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Category Archives: Chinese

豆腐魚肚酸辣湯 Hot and Sour Soup with Fish Maw

Nothing beats a cold day like a hot bowl of homemade soup.  This hot and sour soup will awake your taste buds and warm up your stomach in the cold weather.  I used a homemade chicken stock in the recipe below, but a box of chicken stock would also work in a pinch and save you 1.5 hours of cooking time. Shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots are often used for this soup which can be added here as well. On the other hand, bean sprouts is an unconventional ingredient for this recipe, but it is actually my favorite addition. As you can probably tell, it is a very versatile soup and you can adjust some of the ingredients to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of silken tofu
  • 1 lb of skinless chicken breast or 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 pieces of ginger
  • 1 piece of fried fish maw
  • 1 cup of dried Wood Ear
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar,  Zhenjiang vinegar 鎮江醋, or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper – (adjust to your taste for spiciness)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet potato starch or corn starch
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Fried Fish Stomach/Swim Bladder/Fish maw Preparation:

In a pot of hot boiling water, add 2 slices of ginger and fish maw.  Let it cook over high heat for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and cover for 30 minutes.  Drain and cut into 2 inches a piece.

Directions:

  1. Soak wood ear in hot water and let sit for 20 minutes.  Clean and remove any hard parts with scissors.  Cut into strips.
  2. Prepare chicken stock – bring a pot of water (5 cups) to boil. Add chicken, carrots chucks, and ginger to the pot.  When it comes to boil again, lower the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
  3. Remove chicken, carrots, and ginger from the pot.
  4. Bring the soup to boil over high heat.  Add carrots, wood ear and fish maw.  When it comes to boil again, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Cut the tofu into strips.  When it boils again, stir in tofu.  Add soy sauce, vinegar and pepper.
  6. When it boil again, add bean sprouts, cook for 30 seconds.
  7. In a small bowl, mix the starch with 2 tablespoons of water.  Stir into the pot of soup slowly to thicken the soup.  You may add more starch mixture until desired consistency is reached.
  8. Lastly, turn off the heat.  Crack the egg and stir quickly.  Add cilantro, sesame oil and chili oil for your taste.  Serve while it is still very hot.
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Chinese, Soup Recipes

 

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海參南瓜盅 Sea Cucumber in Pumpkin Shell

This home grown Japanese pumpkin (Kabocha) from Yim’s garden came in just in time for my Chinese style Halloween dish.

Before cooking this dish, I have never had pumpkin with sea cucumber before so I didn’t really know what to expect. They turn out to match very well – the fluffy texture of the pumpkin is a great accompaniment to the springiness of the sea cucumber. The pumpkin also has a natural sweet taste that nice balances the savoriness of the dish very well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small Japanese pumpkin
  • 1 sea cucumber, chopped into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 slices of dried ham 金華火腿
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 scallions, chopped into 2 inch pieces
Directions:
  1. Follow Sea Cucumber Cleaning Direction to prepare the cucumber or use pre-soaked sea cucumber. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in pan. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in sea cucumbers and stir fry for 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the ingredients to a cooking pot. Add 1 tbsp oyster sauce, sugar, dried ham, and 3 cups of chicken stock (enough to cover the ingredients). Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 2.5 hours. Separate sea cucumber with the sauce and set aside.
  4. Cut top off the pumpkin and remove seeds and pulp. Extract some pumpkin meat and set aside. Place the pumpkin on a plate or aluminum foil and set the plate on top of a wide-mouth wok or large skillet as the base with a metal stand to balance. Make sure the water is about 1 inch beneath the plate. Cover and steam over boiling water for 20 minutes or until cooked.  Do not overcook or the pumpkin will break apart.
  5. In a saucepan, cook the sea cucumber sauce with the pumpkin meat extracted earlier for 10 minutes or until softened.
  6. Fill the pumpkin with sea cucumber.  Drizzle the pumpkin sauce on the side to serve.
 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Chinese

 

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紅燒魷魚 Braised Whole Squid

While the dish is named “braised” squid, the cooking time is actually very short. Squid, like some other seafood, can be cooked very quickly until just done, or can be simmered for a long period of time until very tender.  Anything in between, and the squid will be very tough, with a rubber band texture.

There are three main steps in the preparation of the dish, and it is important to understand them as the cooking time is quite short. Firstly, the squid is quickly stir fried under high heat. Secondly, seasonings and water is added to begin the braising process. Lastly, the squid is removed when it is just cooked through, and use a thickening agent (corn starch) to prepare the sauce with the cooking liquid

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium size squids
  • 1.5 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 Chinese star anise 八角
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rock sugar
  • 1 red birdeye chili, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine – Hua Diao 花雕酒
  • 1 green onion/scallions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Remove head and cut right below the eyes, keeping the tentacles intact. Remove the beak and discard. Clean out insides
  2. Wash and pat dry the squids.
  3. Heat wok over high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon oil.  Add ginger and garlic, cook until fragrant.
  4. Add squid and lightly pan fry the squids on both sides, until the squids just turn opaque on the outside.
  5. Add cooking wine, rock sugar, star anise, birdeye chili, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and 1/2 cup of water.
  6. Bring it to boil, cook for a few minutes.  Remove squids from the wok when just cooked through
  7. Drain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids.
  8. Pour the mixture in a saucepan.  In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 2 tablespoon of water.  Bring the mixture to boil.  Add the corn starch mixture to the saucepan.  Bring it to boil then remove from heat.
  9. Let the squids sit for 10 minutes or until cool before slicing into rings.
  10. Pour the sauce on top of the squids and sprinkle some chopped scallions to serve.

*If you’re using a large piece of rock sugar (see the size of the sugar from picture above), remove the rock sugar when it’s half-way melted, or the sauce will be too sweet.   It’s better to use the smaller piece of rock sugar that is just enough (about 1 tablespoon)

 

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山藥雞柳煲仔飯 Claypot rice with Chicken and Tororo

In Japanese cuisine yamaimo is usually eaten raw after being grated into a sticky, paste-like cream known as tororo, typically as a topping for soba or udon. You can find an example in this recipe. The Chinese prefers it sliced and pan-fried or used to prepare soup.  In this recipe, I took the idea of the grated yam and combined it with the traditional Chinese clay pot rice. The tororo helps make the chicken pieces take on a silky smooth texture. It is also a great way to incorporate this health food into your diet.

Sweet Soy Sauce for Claypot Rice:

In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.  Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken thighs, cut into bite sizes
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 egg – separate egg white and egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1.5 cups of rice
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon scallion, chopped
Directions:
  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with egg white and corn starch for 20 minutes in the fridge.  Then add soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Marinate for another 30 minutes or so.  Combine with grated yam/yamaimo.
  2. Wash the rice with water until the water comes out nearly clear; drain completely.
  3. Thinly oil the inside of the claypot.   (Apply oil to the pot before adding rice and water to avoid sticking and to make a crispy rice effect.) Heat over medium-high heat.  Add the rice and water and cover.
  4. Bring it to boil then add chicken.  Cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover for another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked.  Add the egg yolk and cover for a few minutes.  Add cilantro and drizzle sweet soy sauce over rice to serve.
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花雕薑蔥雞 Ginger and Scallions Chicken

After experimenting with baking whole chicken, I tried something different this time and cooked the chicken by steaming.

Steaming is a very nice way for cooking a whole chicken, and has several advantages over other cooking methods. Compared to baking, steaming gives the food more moisture and is not as easy to overcook. It is better than boiling because you do not lose flavor and nutrients to the boiling liquid.

The steps of this dish is fairly straight-forward. First, the chicken is marinated with wine, ginger and scallion. Then, it is steamed over boiling water for about 22 minutes. At the end, pour the marinate and chicken juices on top. The steaming method retains flavor, moistness and tenderness of the meat, which is why ginger and scallions chicken is always a popular in Chinese cuisine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Cornish hen
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine – Hua Diao 花雕酒
  • 1 tablespoon rose cooking wine – 玫瑰露酒
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
Sauce:
  • Chicken stock from steaming chicken
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hua diao wine
  • Dash of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch

Directions:

  1. Pat the hen dry with paper towels. Season with salt.
  2. Combine Hua Diao, rose wine, scallions and ginger.  Marinate the chicken for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Place chicken on a plate and set the plate on top of a wide-mouth wok or large skillet as the base with a metal stand to balance.  (The stand can be found at Chinese supermarkets).  Make sure the water is about 1 inch beneath the plate.  Cover and steam over boiling water for 22 minutes or until cooked.  Remove and reserve the liquid in a bowl.
  4. Combine the liquid with the sauce ingredient above.  Bring it to boil and pour over the chicken.
 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Chicken, Chinese, Meat & Poultry Recipes

 

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鲜蝦煲仔飯 Claypot Rice with Garlic Shrimps

Vegetables, protein and starch – all goodness in one pot and everything is ready in 30 minutes. As summer is slipping away and the weather is getting cooler (it will hit below 50 degrees tonight!), claypot food will even be a better choice. This time i used head-on shrimps as the main ingredient to enhance the flavor of the rice.  The small shrimps weren’t quite enough to bring enough flavor to the rice, although the garlic, shallots, and scallions certainly helped. Next time, I will use bigger shrimps to make this dish even better.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 lb of small shrimps
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 stalk of scallion/green onion, finely chopped
Sweet Soy Sauce for Claypot Rice:
In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.  Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Directions:
  1. Marinate the the shrimp with garlic, shallot and sesame oil. Set aside
  2. Wash the rice with water until the water comes out nearly clear; drain completely.
  3. Thinly oil the inside of the claypot.   (Apply oil to the pot before adding rice and water to avoid sticking and to make a crispy rice effect.) Heat over medium-high heat.  Add the rice and water and cover.
  4. Bring it to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 8-9 minutes. (until all the water has evaporated)
  5. Add shrimps and cook for 5 minutes or until opaque.
  6. Add scallions and drizzle sweet soy sauce over rice to serve.
 

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南乳雞翼 Chicken Wings with Red Fermented Bean Curd

Red fermented bean curd, sometimes also known as Chinese cheese is similar to cheese as it is an acquired taste, and isn’t accepted by everyone if you don’t have substantial exposure to it.  The unique flavor of red fermented bean curd is the perfect companion for a large variety of food. Some people like to simply use it as a condiment for plain congee and rice. It is also great for cooking, especially with pork, chicken and vegetables. Again this is similar to western cheese which can be enjoyed on its own, but can also be used as an ingredient in many different dishes.

Here’s a dish that showcases how red fermented bean curd and honey enhance the flavor of chicken wings.

Ingredients:

  • 12 frozen mid-joint chicken wings
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1.5 squares/bricks Red Fermented Bean Curd
  • 3/4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Directions:
  1. Defrost chicken wings.  Blanch chicken wings in large pot of boiling water for 20-30 seconds. This can remove some oil and the frozen smell/taste from the wings.
  2. Heat wok over high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon oil.  Add ginger and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken wings and cook until light brown.
  4. Add red Fermented Bean curd, soy sauce and dark soy sauce, cook over medium heat for 8 minutes.
  5. Flip the chicken wings over to let the other side absorb the sauce.  Cook for another 8 minutes.
  6. Add cooking wine and sugar.  Mix well and cook for another 5 minute or until cooked through.
  7. Remove from heat.  Transfer chicken wings to a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon of honey before serving.
 

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