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!

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.

Ingredients, Recipes, Techniques

“Chinese Pot Roast”

I first made this dish when living in Georgia. Being away from home, motivated me to cook Chinese food with no parents and Flushing, Queens to run to.

I discovered this recipe from the late Barbara Tropp’s The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking,” which is a must have for a culinary library.

For me, this recipe is simple and delicious. Each ingredient that is added to the pot, has their own distinctive flavor, but the result is a wonderful harmonious broth.


What is Velveting?

It’s blanching marinated chicken in oil or water prior to stir-frying, thus tenderizes the chicken.

Oil-velveted chicken is firm, while water-velveted is soft and bouncy. I like the water-velveted because of the texture, and  water is easier to dispose than oil when done.

When velveting in oil, you want to heat the oil to 275, and cook until they are 90% done, while stirring. Drain immediately and let cool.

When velveting in water, bring the water to a simmer, never a boil. Then allow them to cook until they are 90% and drain them.

Once velveted, the chicken should be stir-fried immediately.