Thursday, September 3, 2015

Black Bean Chili Sauce Sugar Snap Pea Shrimp Noodles (黑豆辣椒蜜豆蝦麵, Hak1 Dau6 Laat6 Ziu1 Mat6 Dau6 Haa1 Min6)

Copyright © 2015 Douglas R. Wong. All rights reserved.
The crunchiness of the sugar snap peas contrasts nicely with the texture of the shrimp in this slightly spicy black bean chili sauce noodle dish. You would think that stir fried noodle dishes are easy to make (and they are), but the number of ingredients contained in this common dish can be large, making the preparation and cooking these dishes at home a process longer than one would expect. This really isn’t a problem in a restaurant because of the high heat available to heat the wok. In a restaurant, the ingredients are added one after the other to the wok without really affecting the high temperature, resulting in a tasty quick cooking dish. This is not true for a typical home kitchen because the heat source is not as powerful as that found in restaurants. So if the restaurant method was used at home to cook the dish, the first ingredient would stir fry because the temperature would be high, but the subsequent ingredients would steam rather than brown because the temperature would drop with each added ingredient. Hence the need for the home cook to reheat the wok before adding and then removing each ingredient separately in order to stir fry, rather than steam, the ingredients. I’ve used this wok cooking method at home even though I have a special wok burner in my kitchen, which doesn’t approach the heat generated in a restaurant, but is hotter than the typical heat source found in most home kitchens. So if you’re stir frying over a typical kitchen stove burner, the time needed to cook a dish is longer since the time needed to reheat the wok is longer.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mixed Seafood Rigatoni

Copyright © 2015 Douglas R. Wong. All rights reserved.
This is a really easy recipe to make, since just about all the ingredients are pre-packaged and ready for use. Mixed seafood and Italian sausage are the main ingredients in this pasta dish, which produces the tasty seafood and meat combination commonly found in Chinese dishes. The Italian sausage is available hot or mild in a single package, so unless you buy the individual sausage package (in which case the casings should be removed), all you do is open the package. As is usual for my pasta recipes, I use a wok to stir fry the pasta before adding the sauce. Making a pasta dish is no different to me than making chow mein – the techniques are the same, I’m just using a different sauce to make the noodles.
Mixed seafood is available in the frozen section at your local Asian market. The packaged mixture is inexpensive and intended for use in a hot pot or soup, but after thawing can easily be used in stir fries or, in this case, pasta dishes. Depending upon the brand available, the mix of seafood varies. The usual mix has at the very least fake crab meat, squid, and shrimp. Additionally oysters, clams, octopus, and other seafood is in the mix depending upon the manufacturer. So compare the ingredients of the brands available at your local Asian market before buying a package.
Enjoy!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Oyster Sauce Shrimp with Japanese Chilies (蠔油日本指天椒蝦, Hou4 Jau4 Jat6 Bun2 Zi2 Tin1 Ziu1 Haa1)

Copyright © 2015 Douglas R. Wong. All rights reserved.
The combination of the dried red Japanese chilies, together with the sweetness of the shrimp and oyster sauce, makes a great flavor combination. The new ingredient that I tried in this dish was purchased at my local Mexican market: dried red Japanese chili peppers, which are similar to the more common Chile de árbol peppers (which have more heat to them). The dried red Japanese chili peppers aren’t mind numbing hot like the dried red chilies that you can purchase at your local Asian market. While there is some heat, the chilies are more flavorful than hot.
I recently went to a local Chinese restaurant, whose specialties are dishes cooked with chilies (lots of chilies!). What was interesting about one dish was that there were handfuls of these red chili peppers in the dish, but you tasted the underlying flavor of the chili more than any heat. The dish was very spicy without being hot. So I thought about how to get these chilies, and I knew that they weren’t available at my local Asian market. I realized that these chilies are available in bulk at my local Mexican market. I bought a good amount and tried using dried red Japanese chilies in this dish and got the result I was hoping for.
 
The translation of the Japanese chili peppers to Chinese characters is probably not correct. I appended “Japan” to “dried red chili peppers”, so I would appreciate if someone could tell me what the correct translation should be.
Enjoy!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bean Sauce Pork Belly Stew (燉豆瓣豬腩肉, Dan6 Dau6 Faan6 Zyu1 Naam5 Juk6)

Copyright © 2015 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
The easiest way to cook pork belly is to make a stew in a slow cooker (also called a crock pot in the USA). Pork belly needs a long cooking time over slow heat in order to become so tender that the pork almost melts in your mouth when eaten. Pork belly can easily be purchased at your local Asian market, and always comes with the skin attached. The pork skin is an integral part to the mouthfeel of the cooked dish and should not be removed. Excess fat, produced from the pork belly during cooking (pork belly is used to make bacon in the USA), needs to be removed when cooking is complete. Prior preparation (i.e. marinating) is not required since the dish’s flavor comes from the sauce; just cut the pork belly into pieces and put into the slow cooker.
I added Lian How brand Bean Sauce to the soy based sauce that is usually the basis for this dish. While the basis of the sauce is soy sauce, the star anise, cassia bark (cinnamon), and rock sugar (among other dry spices) add the traditional flavors to this dish. Tapioca starch is used to thicken the sauce and is added to the slow cooker at the start of cooking, so the completed dish has a thickened sauce at the end of cooking. Corn starch will not thicken the sauce due to the long cooking time. I have previously used tapioca starch as a thickener in long cooking recipes and adopted this method from America’s Test Kitchen.
Enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Grilled Barbeque Sauce Turkey Breast (燒烤火雞胸肉, Siu1 Haau1 Fo2 Gai1 Hung1 Juk6)

Copyright © 2015 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
I was able to purchase a single half turkey breast at my local market, rather than having to purchase a whole turkey. Grilling the turkey breast after marinating is my preferred method of cooking. I used an already prepared bottled barbeque sauce made by Koon Chun Sauce Factory that’s added to the marinade in place of hoisin sauce. The taste is fairly similar, so hoisin sauce is definitely a good substitute if you don’t have this particular brand’s bottled sauce. Depending upon the weight and height of the turkey breast, indirect cooking on the grill takes less than an hour. Cooking another turkey half breast at the same time takes no more cooking time on the grill and makes great a source for turkey sandwiches.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Steamed Black Bean Garlic White Perch (蒜蓉豆豉蒸鱸魚, Syun3 Jung4 Dau6 Si6 Zing1 Lou4 Jyu6)

Copyright © 2015 Douglas R. Wong. All rights reserved.
White perch was available at my local Asian market already cleaned and packaged, meaning that the fish was “freshly dead” (for those fans of Young Frankenstein). A variation on the basic Steamed Fish (蒸魚, Zing1 Jyu6) recipe is to cook the fish with salted black beans and minced garlic as a topping. I chose to use the individual components as a topping, but an already prepared bottled sauce, such as the Lee Kum Kee brand Black Bean Garlic Sauce, can be used instead. The fish is always finished with heated oil and a soy sauce mixture. You can use a small pot or a wok to heat the mixtures, but I’ve been using the microwave to heat the soy sauce mixture. As always, you need to be very careful when you pour heated oil and liquids on the fish, as the hot oil and liquid will pop and splatter off the fish. Finally the cooked fish is topped with green onions and cilantro (optional).
Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Abalone Sauce Stone Crab Fried Rice (鮑魚醬蟹炒飯, Baau1 Jyu4 Zoeng3 Haai5 Caau2 Faan6)

Copyright © 2015 Douglas R. Wong. All rights reserved.
My previous recipe: Abalone Sauce Stone Crab Noodles (鮑魚醬蟹炒麵, Baau1 Jyu4 Zoeng3 Haai5 Caau2 Min6), used noodles with stone crab and this recipe is the fried rice version. Abalone sauce is used again as the basis for the sauce in place of the usual oyster sauce that I use in fried rice dishes. Oyster sauce can be substituted in place of abalone sauce if not available.
For me, fried rice dishes usually means leftovers, so this is a rather luxurious version of fried rice using cooked stone crab. The only leftovers in this dish is the rice itself (which is necessary). Regardless, this version of fried rice is tasty and worth the effort to shell the stone crabs to make this dish.
Enjoy!
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