Sunday, December 4, 2016

Slow Cooker Red Wine Spicy Bean Paste Ox Tail Stew (燉紅酒春辣醬牛尾, Dan6 Hung4 Zau2 Ceon1 Laat6 Zoeng3 Ngau4 Mei5)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
This recipe, using beef oxtails, is very similar to the recipe using beef short ribs: Slow Cooker Chinese-Style Red Wine Beef Short Ribs (燉紅酒牛肋骨, Dan6 Hung4 Zau2 Ngau4 Lak6 Gwat1). Chinese stew spices - star anise, cassia bark or cinnamon sticks, ginger, garlic, and dried tangerine peel – are used together with red wine and spicy bean paste to make this dish. So you can also think of this as a red wine beef oxtail stew with Chinese spices. Notice that rock sugar or dried dates, which are commonly used in Chinese stews, are not used in this dish. The natural sweetness from the red wine suffices in this recipe and any added sugar would make the dish too sweet. The ingredients are browned (except the daikon) before being placed in the slow cooker, but if you’re in a hurry, this step can be omitted.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Grilled Rosemary Fennel Sage Turkey Breast with Pan Roasted Vegetables

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
I cooked for my family this Thanksgiving and I did a trial run using a whole turkey breast, rather than a whole turkey, to try out this recipe. I found the original recipe here: Roasted Turkey with Thyme, Rosemary, Fennel, and Lemon. I modified the recipe to use my gas grill and made a fennel oil paste to coat the outside of the turkey. When I used a whole turkey, I doubled the marinade (and used a bigger pot!) to fully submerse the turkey. The marinade can be omitted, since it uses a couple bottles of wine, or the turkey can be brined. I decided on the marinade since I wanted to use up some of the wine I had around the house. After cooking was complete, my whole turkey took flight when it slid in the pan and dropped to floor once I got it back into the house (the turkey was still edible, but the pan vegetables were not). A picture of the mangled bird is included, so be careful when transporting your cooked bird.
Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
Dropped Whole Turkey

The whole fennel seeds are toasted in a pan before adding olive oil to make a fennel flavored oil. The fennel oil mixture needs to cool before placing it into the food processor, together with the other spices to make a paste. The resulting paste will have large pieces of fennel seeds and rosemary.

A gas grill with a thermometer is necessary for grill smoking a whole turkey. Maintaining a constant temperature of 350⁰F (175⁰C) and previous experience with your gas grill will determine the total cooking time for the turkey. I have found that 12 minutes per pound (450 g.) produces the right results (again, previous experience determines total cooking time). So for a 6 lb. (2.7 kg.) turkey, the total time is about 90 minutes. The 90 minute cooking time is greater than the calculated time (which is 72 min.) because the grill needs time to come back up to temperature after the turkey is rotated halfway through the cooking time.

The size of your gas grill also matters since that will determine how many burners can be kept on for indirect cooking, which influences the ability to maintain a constant temperature. My gas grill is large enough to keep both end burners on during cooking, so I’m able to center the roasting pan with the turkey between two lit burners. For smaller gas grills, only one end can usually be kept lit for indirect cooking once the roasting pan with the turkey is placed on the grate, which might necessitate an increased cooking time. Regardless, the roasting pan should be rotated 180⁰ half way through the cooking time to even out any hot spots in your gas grill.

The turkey should rest for 30 minutes or more before carving, so don’t carve the turkey immediately after coming out of the grill since all the juices will not remain in the turkey meat and will just drain onto the cutting board. Carving is relatively simple: first remove the breast meat from the bone, and then slice each breast against the grain.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ginger Scallion Dungeness Crab Noodles (薑葱北美大肉蟹炒麵, Goeng1 Cung1 Bak1 Mei5 Daai6 Juk6 Haai5 Caau2 Min6)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
Dungeness crab is a crab that’s native to the West coast of the North America. Whenever it’s available, I try to purchase freshly cooked crab to use in dishes. Any crab can be used in this dish if Dungeness crab is not available, and if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy fresh cooked crab, canned or frozen can be substituted. For this dish, I used a variety of herbs (ginger, scallion, cilantro, and mint) to give this noodle dish a fresh and distinctive flavor. The shredded spice tofu gives the dish a texture contrast (to the other ingredients) and adds to the flavor of this noodle dish.


Shallot Sauce Green Bean Shrimp (紅蔥醬青豆角蝦, Hung4 Cung1 Zoeng3 Ceng1 Dau6 Gok3 Haa1)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
I finally realized that I’ve been using peeled shrimp or prawn in my previous recipes. While peeled shrimp makes for easy eating, it’s not the only way to make a shrimp dish. Shrimp dishes are also made with unpeeled shrimp, and there’s a lot of flavor in the shells that makes its way into dish. The downside to using unpeeled shrimp is that the shells must be removed before eating, unless you’re strange like me and eat shrimp with the shells on. So preparation is easy for this dish, since you don’t have to shell the shrimp (you also leave the little feet on!). If leaving the shells on shrimp doesn’t appeal to you, just remove them and cook the dish that way.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Steamed Striped Bass (蒸鱸魚, Zing1 Lou4 Jyu6)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
Striped bass is used to make this steamed fish dish, but you can steam any fish that’s available. Like the previous steamed fish recipe, Steamed Fish (蒸魚, Zing1 Jyu6), a bed of baby bok choy is used for presentation purposes, but you can omit the baby bok choy and just eat the fish all by itself. I generally buy a fish tail rather than a whole fish, since a whole fish is usually too much food for dinner (unless you’re feeding a whole family), but the cooking time is the same for either.

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.


Grilled Hard Root Beer Pork Rib Chops (燒烤根汁汽水酒豬排, Siu1 Haau1 Gan1 Zap1 Hei3 Seoi2 Zau2 Zyu1 Paai4)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
This recipe for pork rib chops uses hard root beer in a soy sauce marinade. You can of course use regular root beer in place of the hard root beer; just use whatever’s available. The marinade is discarded and freshly ground black pepper is used to coat the pork before grilling.



Pork rib eye chops (豬排, zyu1 paai4), about 1 lb. (500 g.) each
½ in.
15 mm.
Knob of ginger (, goeng1), crushed in a garlic press
4 cloves
4 cloves
Garlic (, syun3), crushed in a garlic press
12 oz.
355 ml.
One bottle hard root beer (根汁汽水, gan1 zap1 hei3 seoi2 zau2)
½ cup
125 ml.
Soy sauce (豉油, si6 jau4)
½ tsp.
2.5 ml.
Ground white pepper (白胡椒, baak6 wu4 ziu1)
1 Tbs.
15 ml.
Sesame oil (麻油, maa4 jau4)

Freshly ground black pepper (黑椒, hak1 ziu1) to coat the pork


Garlic press
4 qt.
3.8 L.
Covered bowl

Tongs and an oil coated paper towel
22.5 in.
57 cm.
Covered charcoal or gas grill (or larger)

  1. Use pork chops at least 1-inch (2.5 cm.) thick – the thicker the better. Marinate the pork in a covered container for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator with the ginger and garlic crushed in a garlic press, hard root beer, soy sauce, ground white pepper, and sesame oil. If marinating the pork overnight, take it out of the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking.
  2. Discard the marinade and remove as much liquid from the surface of the pork (a paper towel to blot the pork chops works well). Coat the pork surfaces with freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Prepare the charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking following the manufacturer’s instructions. Light the charcoal or preheat the gas grill accordingly. Soak the smoking wood (pecan, oak, or any other wood can be used) for one hour if desired. I use dry and not soaked wood.
  4. If using a charcoal grill, arrange the lighted coals on one half of the grill. The side of the grill with the coals (the “hot” side) will be used to grill the pork and the side without the coals (the “cool” side) will be used to pre-heat and smoke the pork. For a gas grill, follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to which burners to leave on for indirect cooking. Clean the grill grate and then, using tongs and a paper towel coated with oil, lubricate the grate to prevent the pork from sticking. Put the smoking wood onto the coals or as per the instructions for the gas grill.
  5. Place the pork on the cool side of the covered grill for 3-5 minutes. Uncover the grill, turn the pork over, and cook covered for another 3-5 minutes.
  6. Uncover the grill and move the pork to the hot side of the grill. Grill the pork uncovered for 2-4 minutes before rotating 90⁰ to produce the grill marks, and grill for another 2-4 minutes. Turn the pork over and repeat the process to produce the grill marks on the other side.
  7. Remove the pork from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Be careful not to overcook the pork. The thickness of the pork, the temperature of your fire, and previous experience with your grill will determine the total cooking time for the pork.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Steamed Chicken with Dried Shrimp and Salted Radish (菜脯蝦米蒸鷄肉, Coi3 Pou2 Haa1 Mai5 Zing1 Gai1 Juk6)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
Ground chicken makes a good alternative to pork when making steamed dishes. My previous steamed ground meat recipes used pork: Steamed Pork with Salted Duck Egg (鹹鴨蛋蒸豬肉, Haam4 Aap3 Daan6 Zing1 Zyu1 Juk6) and Steamed Pork with Salted Fish (Haam4 Jyu4 Zing1 Zyu1 Juk6, 鹹魚蒸豬肉). Dried shrimp is common addition to steamed pork dishes, while salted radish is not. In general, any salted ingredient can be used in steamed meat dishes. While I marinate my ground meat overnight, this step can be omitted if you’re pressed for time.

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