Recipes, Techniques

Chicken soup with pickled mustard greens

Some people may think chicken stock is to time consuming and that you have to buy carrots, celery, and onions to make good stock. Well, that is not the case for Chinese chicken stock. It is so simple! Basically, you need chicken bones, ginger, scallions, and water. The reason why is that the Chinese prefer a clean taste, light-colored stock for sauces and soups. I would say try both method and see which one you like the most.

Sichuan pickled mustard greens is a must have for your pantry. The method of preparation is as follows: the mustard stems are first semi-dried on wooden frames in the winds of Yangtze River Valley; then they are salted, pressed to extract some of their water content, mixed with ground chiles, Sichuan pepper, and a selection of other spices for flavor.

The final result is a soft, crunchy, salty condiment that can be eaten as a relished or chopped up for noodles, soups, and stir-fries. Rinse with water to get some salt off before use.

This dish is a platform for creativity for yourself. You can add meat, chili oil, or different vegetables. Have fun with it!

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Recipes

Cold Daikon w/ Chinese Salsa

In a Sichuan dinner, cold appetizers are placed on the table to start off the meal. These appetizers can vary from cold meats, fish, or vegetables. Then it is followed by several hot dishes. The meal is coming to an end when either rice or soup are served to the table.

For me, finding new methods and flavors to cook vegetables is more exciting than cooking meat sometimes.

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Recipes

Red-Braised Pork Belly

I’m a big fan of one pot-meal. It’s simple, quick and delicious for anyone’s busy schedule. Pork belly in Chinese is called “Wu Hua Rou,” because of its five or six layers of fat and lean meat. I didn’t say this dish was healthy, but it sure is tasty with a bowl of rice or making it as a sandwich.

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Recipes

Cold Beef With Hot Garlic Sauce

Last week, my family and I had a bbq with the rest of our extended family and friends. It’s always interesting to introduce bbq to Chinese people for the first time, while me and my dad are cooking it as well.  I guess when they see two male handling large meat, they are in awe.

After everyone took their own leftover bag to go home with, I was left with my dad’s roast beef. In Sichuan cuisine, a meal may start with cold appetizers of fish, beef, vegetables, and chicken. This slice thin cold beef dish is what you may found on a table.

Recently, I purchased Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty, a book on Sichuan cuisine. Her recipe of pork with hot garlic sauce inspired my dish. The more I continue to cook Chinese food, the more I research on Sichuan, because its part of who I am.

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Recipes

BaBa’s Jia Jiang Mian

BaBa means father in Chinese. Yes, my dad taught me how to make this dish the right way, not the book way. He dislikes cookbooks, always saying to me “Books they just give you ideas, the rest is up to you to cook.”

Jia Jiang mian translates into “Fried Sauce Noodles” It is a rich dish with bean paste, hoisin, and chili garlic sauce. I like to serve it with thick noodles to complement the ground pork butt mixture.

If you want to get creative, you can use the pork mixture as filling for a taco.

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Recipes

Eggplant with Hot Garlic Sauce

At the restaurant we serve eggplant caponata on the menu. I love eggplant caponata!! It is a mixture of roasted or deep-fried eggplant with onions, tomatoes, spices, sugar, and vinegar. The taste should have a sweet and sour note. Garnished with raisins and pine nuts. It is truly a gift from Italy.

Also, eggplant is in the season now. So, I was inspired by both the season and the restaurant.

This dish can be found in Beijing and in western China, but I made it more Sichuan by adding chili peppers. Especially, since my father’s family is from Sichuan.

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Recipes, Techniques

Cold-Tossed Celery in “La Gan Ma” Dressing

After working six days straight in the restaurant, the last place where I want to be in is in a kitchen. But after yoga class, I was hungry. So I looked into my fridge and pantry for answers to a quick and light snack.

I had Trader Joe’s celery and “La Gan Ma” chili oil. I made a quick pickle of the celery with salt and sugar, then made a vinaigrette with the chili oil.

One of my favorite stations in the restaurant is garde manager. Basically, I’m making salads, canapes, or soups. It may not sound exciting, compare to cooking a dry-aged rib eye, but making a salad taste and presented well has a lot to do with finesse as well as sensitivity.

This celery dish is a garde manager dish. Also, it displays a side of Chinese cooking that is simple, healthy, and beautiful to look at.

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