Big Plate Chicken with Noodles

For marinating the chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons oil
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
5 bay leaves
6 slices fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
6 -10 whole dried red chilies (optional)
1½ teaspoons sugar
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons shaoxing wine
3 – 5 cups water, start with 3 cups and add more as needed
8 oz. dried noodle of your choice, preferably a thicker-style flat noodle
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
Salt to taste
1 scallion, sliced

Start by marinating the chicken. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a bowl with the marinade ingredients. Set aside for 20 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

When you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in a wok over low heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, ginger, garlic, Sichuan peppercorns, chilies, and sugar. Cook this mixture for 2 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Stir-fry until the chicken is seared.
Add the potatoes and carrots and stir-fry for a minute. Then add the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the wok and cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

While the chicken is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Follow the package instructions to cook the noodles. Drain.
Once the potatoes are cooked through, by now, there should be at least 1 1½ cups of liquid in the wok so add more water if needed.To your wok, stir in the bell peppers. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste the dish and season with salt to taste. Now transfer the noodles to a large plate, and cover with your chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with scallions and serve immediately!

Note: If you want more sauce, add a little more water to the wok. If the sauce is too thin, just turn up the heat to reduce and thicken the sauce.

Chongqing Chicken

For the chicken/marinade:
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

For the rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 slices ginger, julienned
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup whole dried red chilies (see note!)
1 teaspoon Shaoxing cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 scallion, chopped

Note: You can use fewer dried chilies if you like. This dish won’t actually be that spicy, unless you break open some of the dry hot peppers. If you do like the dish spicy, don’t break open more than six peppers.

Start by rinsing the chicken and cutting it into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to a bowl and toss with the marinade ingredients. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients. When you’re ready to cook, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer, and let it sear (DO NOT STIR at this point). Once you’ve got a good, crisp crust on the bottom of the chicken, stir and continue to sear the chicken until it’s browned and crisp on all sides. You really need a hot wok to achieve this. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon.

There should be about 1 tablespoon of oil left in the wok at this point. Add more if you need to. Heat the wok over medium low heat, and add the Sichuan peppercorns. Let them toast for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add the whole dried chilies, and stir for another minute. Monitor the heat levels to avoid burning.

Turn up the heat to high, and add the chicken, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and scallion. Continue to stir-fry, until any liquid in the wok has evaporated. Serve with rice and a veggie!

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken

2 tablespoons oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
8 oz. boneless chicken breast or thighs, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2/3 cup coconut milk
6 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles
1 lime, juiced
Sliced red onion, red chilis, cilantro, scallions to garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil, garlic, ginger, and Thai red curry paste. Fry for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Add the chicken and cook for a couple minutes, just until the chicken turns opaque.

Add the chicken broth, water, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. At this point, taste the broth for salt and adjust seasoning accordingly (add salt if needed, or if it’s too salty, add a bit of water). Pour the boiling soup over the dried vermicelli noodles in your serving bowls, add a squeeze of lime juice and your garnishes, and serve. The noodles will be ready to eat in a couple minutes.

(Alternatively, you can add the noodles to the boiling broth to cook them, and then divide among serving bowls).

Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

For the chicken & marinade:
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces sliced chicken thighs or chicken breast
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
8 ounces wide dried rice noodles
1½ teaspoons brown sugar, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
2 teaspoons soy sauce (Thai soy sauce preferred)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
pinch of ground white pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 shallots, sliced (about ? cups)
1 scallion, julienned into 3-inch pieces
4 Thai red chili peppers, deseeded and julienned
1 cup loosely packed holy basil or Thai basil
5 to 6 pieces of baby corn, split in half (optional)
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine

Work the two tablespoons of water into the chicken with your hands until the chicken absorbs the liquid. Add the soy sauce, oil and cornstarch, and mix until the chicken is evenly coated. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Follow the directions on the rice noodle package to prepare your noodles. What I usually do is prepare a stainless steel bowl with hot tap water to soak the noodles for about 15 minutes. Then I just drain them and set aside.

Stir together the dissolved brown sugar/water mixture, soy sauces, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat your wok until it’s close to smoking, and spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter of the wok. Add the chicken and let it sear for 1 minute on each side until it’s about 90% cooked. Remove from the wok and set aside. If the heat was high enough and you seared the meat correctly, your wok should be still clean with nothing sticking to it. If not, you can wash the wok to prevent the rice noodles from sticking.
Continue with the wok on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil, along with the garlic and grated ginger.

After a few seconds, add the shallots. Stir fry for 20 seconds and add the scallions, chili peppers, basil, baby corn and shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds and add in the rice noodles. Use a scooping motion to mix everything for another minute until the noodles warm up.

Next, add the prepared sauce mixture and stir-fry at the highest heat for about 1 minute until the noodles are uniform in color. Take care to use your metal spatula to scrape the bottom of the wok to prevent sticking. Add the seared chicken and stir-fry for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Firebird Chicken

the chicken and the marinade:
12 oz. chicken breast, sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

For the rest of the dish:
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 scallions, sliced at an angle into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup bamboo shoots
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons Sacha sauce (Chinese BBQ sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili oil (preferably with a good mix of both oil and toasted pepper flakes)

Optional auxiliary sauce kicker:
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, plus just enough water to make a slurry (optional)

Add the chicken to a bowl, along with 2 tablespoons water. Use your hands to massage the water into the chicken until it is absorbed. Add the rest of the marinade ingredients to the chicken, mix well and set aside.

Heat your wok until almost smoking, and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spread the chicken one layer deep, and let sear for about 20 seconds. Turn the chicken and let the other side sear for another 20 seconds. Then, immediately transfer back into the marinade bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil and ginger to the wok, and let caramelize for 10 seconds. Working quickly, stir in the garlic and scallions. After 15 seconds, add the seared chicken (and any juices from the bowl), and the bamboo shoots.

The wok should be on the highest heat and should be searing hot for this next step. Pour the tablespoon of Shaoxing wine around the wok and quickly add the Sacha sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and chili oil. It’s a good idea to combine all these ingredients in a bowl before you turn on your stove, so that you’re not fumbling with jars and bottles while cooking. Note: If this sounds too spicy for you, you can add chili oil to taste rather than the entire amount called for.

Stir-fry everything to combine—at this point, it’s a glistening, spicy, delicious party. The sauces should combine nicely and the cornstarch from the chicken marinade should thicken the sauce slightly. Add a tablespoon of chicken stock if the sauce is too thick. If you like a lot of sauce, add in the optional auxiliary sauce kicker ingredients at this point, and stir fry for another 20 seconds. Plate and serve over rice!

Thai Basil Chicken

3 tablespoons oil
3 Thai bird or holland chilies, de-seeded (if desired) and thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound ground chicken
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth or water
1 bunch holy or Thai basil leaves

In a wok over high heat, add the oil, chilies, shallots and garlic, and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes, breaking up the chicken into small bits.

Add the sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir-fry for another minute and deglaze the pan with the broth. Because your pan is over high heat, the liquid should cook off very quickly. Add the basil, and stir-fry until wilted. Serve over rice.

Beef Chow Fun (gon chow ngau ho)

For the beef & marinade:
8 oz. flank steak
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oil
For the rest of the dish:
12 oz. fresh flat rice noodles
3 tablespoons oil
4 scallions, split in half vertically and cut into 3-inch pieces
3 thin slices ginger
2 tablespoons shaoxing wine
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
salt and white pepper, to taste
4 to 6 ounces fresh mung bean sprouts

Combine the beef and marinade ingredients and let it marinate for about an hour. The little bit of baking soda tenderizes the meat.

Some rice noodles come as large sheets, while others are already cut. If you have the sheets, slice the rice noodles so they’re about ½-3/4 of an inch thick.

Heat your wok over high heat until smoking, and add 1½ tablespoons oil to coat the wok. Add the beef and sear until browned. As long as your wok is hot enough, the meat shouldn’t stick. Set aside. Add a little more oil to the wok. Then add the ginger first to infuse the oil with its rich flavor for about 15 seconds. Add the scallions.

Spread the noodles evenly in the wok and stir-fry the whole mix on high until it is mixed evenly, about 15 seconds. Add the shaoxing wine around the rim of the wok.

Next, add the sesame oil, soy sauces, pinch of sugar, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste (taste the noodles before adding salt) along with the beef. Stir fry, making sure your spatula scrapes the bottom of the wok and you lift the ho fun in an upward motion to mix well and coat them evenly with the soy sauce.

If the noodles were cold and refrigerated when you started, you may have to toss the noodles longer to heat them through properly. If the noodles are fresh, then less time will be required. Your heat should remain as high as possible at all times. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry until the bean sprouts are just tender. Serve!

Cantonese Beef Curry

3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into large (1½-inch) cubes
1/4 cup oil, plus 1 tablespoon (divided)
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 shallots, finely chopped
One 6-inch section of lemongrass
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup good curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups chicken broth or water
4 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 medium onions, cut into large chunks
3 large potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

First, blanch the beef to get rid of any impurities. Boil a pot of water, add the chunks of beef, and bring to a boil again. Drain immediately and set aside.

Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium low heat. Add the garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and bay leaves to infuse the oil. Cook for a few minutes. Then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir until well-combined. If need be, add a little bit more oil so the curry powder doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Take care not to burn the spices!

After a minute, add in the beef, chicken broth, sugar and tomato paste. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, give the mixture a stir, turn the heat back down to medium, and cover. Let the curry simmer (covered) for 60-75 minutes. Check on the curry occasionally to stir and make sure your curry isn’t burning.

While the curry is simmering, prepare the onions, potatoes, and carrots. Next, heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok over medium heat. Cook the onions until transparent (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a separate dish and set aside.

After the beef is done simmering, it’s time to add the coconut milk, potatoes, and carrots. Turn up the heat, mix everything well, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down again to medium low, cover, and simmer for another 20 minutes.
By now, the potatoes, carrots, and beef should be tender. Add the onions and salt to taste. If need be, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid a bit to thicken the sauce. The sauce should be thick, but there should still be plenty left to pour over your rice. This one gets better after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, so don’t be afraid to make a big batch!


2 3-inch pieces ginger, cut in half lengthwise
2 onions, peeled
5 pounds beef marrow or knuckle bones
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2 pieces
2 scallions, cut into 4-inch lengths
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 1/2 ounces rock sugar, or 2½ tablespoons granulated sugar
8 star anise
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom pod (optional)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound dried pho noodles
1/3 pound beef sirloin, slightly frozen, then sliced paper-thin against the grain

Sliced chili
Thinly sliced onion
Chopped scallion
Mung bean sprouts
Thai basil
Lime wedges

Start by charring your ginger and onions. One at a time, use tongs to hold the ginger and onions (one at a time) over an open flame, or place it directly on an electric burner. Turn until they’re lightly blackened and fragrant about 3 minutes. Rinse away all the blackened skins and set aside.

Place the bones and beef chuck in large stockpot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and thoroughly clean the stockpot. This process will give you a much cleaner broth.

Add 5 quarts fresh water back to the stockpot and bring to a boil. Transfer the bones and meat back to the pot, along with the charred/cleaned ginger and onions. Add the scallions, fish sauce and sugar. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the beef chuck is tender, about 40 minutes. Skim the surface often to remove any foam and fat.

Remove one piece of the chuck and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Transfer the beef to a container and refrigerate. Leave the other piece of chuck in the pot.

Now toast the spices (star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds) in a dry pan over medium low heat for about 3 minutes, until fragrant. Use kitchen string to tie up the spices in a piece of cheesecloth, and add it to the broth.

Continue simmering for another 4 hours. Add the salt and continue to simmer, skimming as necessary, until you’re ready to assemble the rest of the dish. Taste broth and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, sugar, and/or fish sauce as needed.

To serve, boil the noodles according to package instructions. Add to a bowl. Place a few slices of the beef chuck and the raw sirloin on the noodles. Bring the broth to a rolling boil and ladle it into each bowl. The hot broth will cook the beef. Garnish with your toppings, and be sure to squeeze a lot of fresh lime juice over the top!

Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup

4 lbs beef or pork soup bones
2¼ lbs (1 kg) beef shank
½ of a whole roasting chicken (or a leftover roasted chicken carcass)
10 cups water
4 cups (about 1 liter) chicken stock
Spice mix (see recipe below)
Salt, to taste (I added about a tablespoon)
½ of a small Chinese radish, quartered and thinly sliced
1 lb fresh or dried white noodles (they can really be any thickness, as long as they are wheat-based noodles rather than rice noodles, and have a nice chew when cooked)
Hot chili oil, to taste (see recipe below)
chopped scallion
chopped cilantro
For the spice mix:
7 star anise
12 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
5 bay leaves
6 large slices of ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons white peppercorns
5 licorice root slices (if you can’t find these, you can leave them out)
3 pieces dried orange peel
1 black cardamom
For the hot chili oil:
3/4 cup oil
2 star anise
1/2 of a small cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (just the regular kind you’d sprinkle on your pizza)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Rinse the soup bones and pat dry. Roast them on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the beef shank and the chicken (or chicken carcass) to the pot. Bring everything to a boil again. Once boiling, remove the shank and the chicken, discard the water, and clean the pot. This process gets rid of any impurities, and will give your broth a cleaner flavor.

Put the beef shank and chicken back into the pot along with the roasted bones, 10 more cups of water, and 4 cups chicken stock. Make the spice mix by combining all ingredients and tying them tightly in cheese cloth with a bit of kitchen string. Add this to the pot as well and season with salt. Bring everything to a boil.

Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and let everything simmer for about 2 hours. After 2 hours have elapsed, remove the beef shank and set aside. Add the sliced radish and continue simmering for another hour. After that, use tongs to pick out and discard the spice pouch, chicken, and soup bones. Taste the broth for salt and adjust the seasoning if needed. The soup base is ready.

While all that is happening, you can take the time to make your chili oil. In a small pot, add the oil, star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns. Place the pot over very low heat and let everything toast together slowly for 15 minutes. Take care not to burn the spices. Use a slotted spoon to remove the spices, and turn off the heat. Let the oil cool for about 5 minutes, and then add the chili flakes. Slowly toast these in the hot oil until very fragrant (it should almost smell like popcorn), and very red. Stir in the salt and sugar.

Once the broth and chili oil are done, cook the noodles in a separate pot according to the package instructions. Divide the noodles among 6 bowls. Slice the cooled beef shank into thin slices, and fan them out over the noodles. To finish, add a big ladle of broth and radishes, a spoonful of hot chili oil, and a handful each (don’t be shy) of chopped scallion and cilantro.

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Ro Mian)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds beef shank, cut into 4 large pieces
1 pound beef tendons
6 large slices fresh ginger
9 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 small fresh red Thai chiles, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
4 medium Roma tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
1 cup Shaoxing rice wine
4 star anise pods
1 tablespoon crushed Sichuanese peppercorns
1 cup soy sauce, plus more to taste
½ pound leafy greens, such as baby bok choy or spinach
Black vinegar, to taste
2 pounds Asian wheat noodles
Preserved mustard greens, chopped, for serving
Fresh cilantro (leaves and stems), coarsely chopped, for serving
Scallions (light green and white parts), chopped, for serving

In a large pot, heat one tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the beef shank and tendons and cook until browned all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer the beef to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the ginger, garlic, onion, and chiles and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and tomatoes and continue to cook until the sugar has dissolved and the tomatoes have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chili bean paste and continue to cook for an additional minute.

Return the browned meat and tendons to the pot. Add the Shaoxing wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the star anise, crushed peppercorns, soy sauce, and about 2 quarts of water. Bring the liquid to a boil; then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook, occasionally skimming any fat and debris off the surface, until the meat is meltingly tender, about 2 hours or longer for the tendons.

Transfer the beef shanks and tendons to a cutting board. Strain the soup through a colander into a clean pot, and discard the solids. When the beef and tendons have cooled, chop both into 1-inch slivers and add the meat to the strained broth. Bring the broth back to a slight boil, add the greens, and simmer just until tender. Season the soup with black vinegar and additional soy sauce to taste.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions, and drain them. Divide the noodles among large soup bowls, and pour the soup over them. Serve the mustard greens, cilantro, and scallions on the side, so each diner can pile them on in whatever order and amount they like.

Dan Dan Noodles

1/4 cup peanut oil
2 teaspoons coarsely ground Sichuanese peppercorns, or to taste
1/4 cup preserved cabbage (tianjin)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 pound ground pork
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1-pound package Chinese wheat flour noodles
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chili oil
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame paste
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped, for serving
4 scallions (green and white parts), chopped on the diagonal

Heat a large wok on high heat and swirl in the peanut oil. Add the Sichuanese peppercorns and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the preserved cabbage, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Season the pork with kosher salt and black pepper, add it to the wok, and cook, stirring with the back of a spoon to break up the bits, until the pork is browned, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold running water. Divide the noodles among 4 soup bowls or 6 snack bowls.

Stir the chicken broth, chili oil, black vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame paste into the wok. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Pour the pork mixture evenly over the noodles in the bowls. Garnish with the peanuts and scallions, and give a stir to mix everything together before eating.

Thai Basil Beef (Pad Gra Prow)

2 tablespoons oil
12 oz. beef, sliced thinly against the grain and mixed with 1 teaspoon oil and 2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 of a red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup thai basil leaves, packed
cilantro, to garnish

Heat your wok over high heat, and add the oil. Sear the beef until just browned, remove from the wok, and set aside.
Add the garlic and red pepper to the wok and stir-fry for about 20 seconds. Add the onions and stir-fry until browned and slightly caramelized.

Toss the beef back in, along with the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir-fry for another few seconds, and then fold in the Thai basil until it’s just wilted. Serve with jasmine rice, and garnish with cilantro.

Mongolian Beef

8 ounces flank steak, sliced against the grain into ¼-inch thick slices
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus ¼ cup
1/3 cup vegetable oil, for frying the beef
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
5 dried red chili peppers (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water or low sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch slices on the diagonal

Marinate the beef for 1 hour in 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Dredge the meat in the remaining 1/4 cup of cornstarch until lightly coated.

Heat 1/3 cup oil in the wok over high heat. Just before the oil starts to smoke, spread the flank steak pieces evenly in the wok, and let sear for 1 minute (depending upon the heat of your wok). Turn over and let the other side sear for another 30 seconds. Remove to a sheet pan; tilt it slightly to let the oil drain to one side (lean it on a cookbook or cutting board). The beef should be seared with a crusty coating.

Drain the oil from the wok, leaving 1 tablespoon behind, and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the ginger and dried chili peppers, if using. After about 15 seconds, add the garlic. Stir for another 10 seconds and add the soy sauce and chicken stock (or water). Bring the sauce to a simmer, add the brown sugar, and stir until dissolved.

Let the sauce simmer for about 2 minutes and slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry mixture–until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the beef and scallions and toss everything for another 30 seconds. There should be almost no liquid as the sauce should be clinging to the beef. If you still have sauce, increase the heat slightly and stir until thickened.
Plate and serve with hot steamed rice!

Beef Tomato Stir Fry

the beef marinade:
1 lb. flank steak sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the sauce base:
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
For the rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons oil
2 thin slices fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup sliced shallot
1 large scallion, cut into 2-inch pieces at an angle
4 to 5 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Marinate the meat with the cornstarch, the first teaspoon of oil, and salt. Set aside for one hour. Also, combine all the ingredients for the sauce base in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the wok and heat until just smoking. Spread the beef around the wok and sear for 1 minute until 80% done and remove from the wok. Set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in the wok over medium heat. Add the ginger slices, and let caramelize for 10 seconds. Turn the heat up to high, and add the minced garlic, shallot, and the white portions of the scallion. Toss for 10 seconds.

Add the tomato wedges to the wok. Spread them around the wok in an even layer, and let sear for 15 seconds. Add the Shaoxing wine, and stir-fry the mixture for another 10 seconds. Now push everything to one side of the wok.

On the cleared space of the wok, add the sauce base. Stir until bubbling to meld the flavors together.

Now it’s time to add the beef and any juices in the bowl to the wok. Stir–fry everything on high heat until mixed well and sizzling (about 20 seconds). Be sure not to overcook the tomatoes or they will disintegrate into the sauce!

Toss in the remainder of the scallions and add the cornstarch slurry a little at a time until the sauce is thickened to your liking. Let the sauce cook for 15 seconds after adding the last bit of the cornstarch slurry to ensure the starch is cooked.

Chinese Spaghetti Bolognese

8 oz. dried spaghetti
1 tablespoon oil
12 oz. ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions, undercooking it by about a minute (it will finish cooking in the sauce). While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce.
Heat a wok over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Add the ground beef and cook until slightly browned, breaking up any large chunks of beef. Add the onion, garlic, and Shaoxing wine, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the onion is transparent, and then add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the oyster and soy sauces, sesame oil, and white pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cover, add the peas, and stir for one minute.

Stir up the cornstarch slurry (since the starch will separate from the water when left to sit), and drizzle the slurry into the sauce while stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken until it coats a spoon.

Drain the pasta, and add it directly to the wok. Toss until the pasta is coated in sauce. Feel free to add some of the pasta cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick, and add more cornstarch slurry if the sauce is too thin. Serve!

Eggplant over Polenta

Eggplant Sauce

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
6 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped oregano Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it — the safest way to do this is to scoop out the eggplant to a plate using a slotted spoon, then pour off the oil into a bowl before added the eggplant back in. You can save the oil to fry lamb chops or eggs in tomorrow.

Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.


6 ears of corn
2 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, diced
7 ounces feta, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper Remove the leaves and “silk” from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels — either stand each ear upright on its base and shave downward, or lay each ear on its side on a cutting board to slice off the kernels. You want to have 1 1/4 pounds kernels.

Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and barely cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid. Process them for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process.

Now return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency. (Be aware that if you have a lot of liquid left in the pan, it can take a while to cook down the polenta, and it will sputter. Consider holding back some or all of the liquid. Alternately, if you like the consistency after processing, you can skip to step 5.)

Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and optionally cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Whipped Ricotta Frosting

Makes 2 to 3 cups

300 grams firm ricotta
40 grams unsalted butter, softened
180 grams confectioners’ sugar
1 pinch (generous) salt
Zest of 1 lemon

In a food processor, whip the butter and ricotta until smooth and there are no lumps. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and salt until the frosting has reached a thick consistency. Mix in the lemon zest. Chill completely before using.

Use anywhere a tangy cream cheese frosting would be appropriate.

Yogurt Whipped Cream

Makes about 3 cups of whipped cream

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup plain yogurt, Greek or otherwise, full-fat or otherwise, chilled

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat heavy cream and yogurt on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Alternately, you can use a hand mixer or whisk by hand. Taste and add more yogurt or cream to taste and whisk again to soft peaks.

Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork

1/4 cup ground pork (about 2 ounces)
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup minced scallions, divided
1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped garlic, plus 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed, divided
3 medium Asian eggplants (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
1/4 cup Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar

In a small bowl combine the pork and 1 teaspoon cold water. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the scallions, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, and ginger. Add 1 teaspoon cold water and stir until the pork absorbs all of the water.

In another small bowl combine the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/4 cup cold water.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch stainless steel skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 teaspoon of the oil and add the pork mixture, using a metal spatula break up the pork. Stir-fry 30 seconds, or until the pork is opaque but slightly rare. Transfer the pork to a plate.

Swirl in the remaining 1/4 cup oil and heat for a few seconds or until hot but not smoking. Carefully, add 1 tablespoon of the chopped garlic and stir-fry 10 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the eggplant and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until the eggplant flesh has changed color and has absorbed all the oil. Swirl the rice wine into the wok, immediately cover the wok, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 30 seconds.

Uncover and sprinkle on the sugar. Swirl the soy sauce-water mixture into the wok, increase the heat to high, and stir-fry 1 minute.

Return the pork to the wok. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the eggplant and the eggplant is just tender when pierced with a knife.

Uncover, and stir-fry 15 seconds. Stir in the remaining 2 smashed garlic cloves. Cover, remove the wok from the heat, and set aside for 1 minute, or until the pork is just cooked through.

Remove the garlic cloves for serving if you like and sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup scallions. Serve warm, room temperature, or even cold.