Pineapple Fried Rice with Shrimp

8 ounces shrimp (225g, peeled, deveined, rinsed, and pat dry)
1 cup onion (150g, diced)
1/2 cup carrot (75g, diced)
4 ounces ham (or Chinese sausage; 115g, finely diced)
6 cups cooked rice (about 900g)
2/3 cup peas (100g)
1 cup pineapple (diced into 1/2-inch pieces)
1 scallion (chopped)
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (plus 1 tablespoon, divided)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or Thai thin soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

First, prepare the shrimp, onion, carrot, ham/mChinese sausage, rice, peas, pineapple, and scallions. If using fresh pineapple, remember to trim away the pineapple core. If using canned pineapple, rinse away any syrup and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Beat 2 eggs with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon Shaoxing wine. Heat your wok over medium heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and scramble the eggs for 1 minute—until just cooked. Turn off the heat, break the egg into small pieces, transfer to a dish, and set aside.

Heat another 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Cook the shrimp until they turn pink, about 1 minute. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Heat the last 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent. Add the diced carrots and ham, and cook until the carrots are no longer crunchy. Add the rice and 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine. The steam from the wine will loosen the rice chunks!

Stir-fry everything together well, and add in the peas, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, the scrambled egg, and the cooked shrimp. Stir-fry everything together for a few minutes.

Finally, add the pineapple and scallions. Mix everything again for a minute or two. To crisp and warm the rice through, you can use your wok spatula to spread the rice in a single layer around the surface area of the wok, making use of all the heat and letting any excess liquid evaporate.

Salt to taste, and serve immediately!

Cashew Chicken

For the chicken and marinade:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (450g, cut into 1-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock (or homemade)
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

For the rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup red bell pepper (75g, chopped)
1/2 cup water chestnuts (80g, cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup scallions (45g, chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1 cup unsalted cashews (roasted at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C for 5 mins)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water)

Mix the chicken, 3 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons oyster sauce, and ? teaspoon white pepper. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed by the chicken. Adding the extra water will really keep your chicken moist and tender. Lastly, mix in 1 teaspoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat your wok over high heat. Spread 2 tablespoons canola oil along the perimeter of the wok until just smoking.

Add the marinated chicken breast, spreading the pieces evenly in the wok. Fry for 1 minute on each side, and transfer back to the bowl. The chicken should be browned on the outside and will be about 80% cooked.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the ginger, and fry for 5 seconds before adding the minced garlic. Immediately add the red bell pepper and chopped water chestnuts. Stir fry for 30 seconds.

Next, add the scallions, and spread your Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok. Give everything a quick stir fry for 10 seconds.

Pour in the sauce mixture you made earlier, using your wok spatula to deglaze the sides of the wok. Add the chicken and any juices that may have collected in the bowl. Once everything comes to a simmer, add your roasted cashews.

Stir up your cornstarch slurry, and add to the stir-fry. Add more cornstarch

Buttermilk Cucumber Salad

2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (from 1 large English cucumber or 3 mini, peeled fully or in stripes if desired)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot rings (from 1 shallot)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup torn or chopped fresh tender herbs, such as dill, tarragon, basil, parsley or dill
INSTRUCTIONS

Transfer the cucumbers and shallots to a colander, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Set aside to drain for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Stir together the yogurt and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Taste and season with with salt and pepper, then stir in the cucumbers, shallots, and herbs.

Lao Hu Cai (Cucumber Tiger Salad)

3 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped (seeded first if desired)
1 bunch cilantro, tough stems trimmed, leaves and tender stems cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetable or toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then cut again in half crosswise. Cut into pieces lengthwise into thin strips. Place in a large bowl.

Add the scallions, jalapeño, and cilantro and toss gently with your hands. Add the vinegar, oil, and salt, and toss once more. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

Shaved Fennel and Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup pitted, torn Castelvetrano olives
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb with fronds
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
3 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 large lemon

Stir the olives, feta, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a medium bowl. Season with black pepper. Finely chop 1/4 cup fennel fronds from the fennel bulb and stir into the olives and feta.

Trim the fennel bulb. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, shave the fennel and cucumbers lengthwise into very thin slices. Toss the fennel, cucumbers, and lemon zest and juice together in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, plate the fennel-cucumber mixture in alternating layers with the feta-olive mixture so you get a little of everything in each bite.

Blistered Cucumbers with Spiced Seeds

4 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.

Toast the sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the cumin and coriander to the skillet and toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until the seeds are just cracked. Transfer to the bowl of sesame seeds and add the red pepper flakes.

Wipe out the skillet and pat the cucumbers dry. Heat the oil in the skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the cucumbers cut side down, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board, cut each piece in half lengthwise, then serve with the spicy seeds for dunking or sprinkling over.

Smashed Cucumbers with Turmeric, Coconut, and Peanuts

4 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers, or 1 small English hothouse cucumber (about 12 ounces total)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper

Smash the cucumbers with the bottom of a heavy pan, then tear into one- or two-bite pieces. Place in a medium bowl, add the lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Set aside for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour, then drain and transfer to your serving plate or bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the peanuts and cook until they turn slightly darker brown, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut, turmeric, and a generous few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the coconut is lightly toasted, just 30 seconds. Immediately pour the peanut-coconut mixture on top of the cucumbers. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Korean Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber, about 8 oz
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Korean chili powder or regular chili powder
1 teaspoon chili oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
sesame seeds for garnishing

Rinse the cucumber thoroughly and slice it into pieces. Add the salt to the cucumber, stir gently to combine well. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Combine the garlic, vinegar, sugar, chili powder, chili oil, and sesame oil together, stir to mix well. Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.

Drain the salt water from the cucumber. Add the dressing to the cucumber, toss well. Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Summer Mango Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or regular sugar)
1 fresh red chili pepper, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
3 ripe mangoes , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves , finely chopped
2 tablespoons shallots , fried (or French fried onion)

Prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, palm sugar, chili, and salt in a small bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.

Combine the mango and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss to mix well. If you plan to serve the dish later, you should transfer everything into a sealed container and store it in the fridge, up to 1 day.

Toss in the cashews and fried shallots. Mix well.