Chili Pork

1 kg (2 pounds) pork belly or shoulder
20 g ginger (roughly chopped)
10 g garlic (sliced)
300 g onions (3-cm squares)
25 g green chillies (slit)
60 g tomatoes (diced)
20 g vegetable oil
2–3 pcs star anise
25 g soy sauce (½ light, ½ dark)
23 g salt

Place the pork in a pressure cooker, along with ginger, garlic, 50g onions, 2 green chillies, 2 star anise, 18 g salt, and 350 g water. Boil the pork in the pressure cooker on medium heat for 45 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, to enable clean slicing later on. Once chilled, slice the pork about 5 mm wide.
Heat vegetable oil in a wok on high heat. Add the star anise, sliced pork, and half the green chillies. Toss or stir until fat renders from the pork. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes.
Then add the onion squares and fry for about 6 minutes until they are softened. Add the tomatoes and green chillies and fry for another 2 minutes.
Finally, add the soy sauce and salt. Toss to combine. You may garnish with some green onions if you like, but this is optional.

BLT Tacos

1 pound thick-cut bacon
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered (mixed colors are pretty here)
1 small jalapeño, seeded or not, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons Cholula or other hot sauce, or to taste, plus more for serving
8 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
Romaine lettuce leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
1 avocado, sliced (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lay bacon in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool.

While bacon is cooking, toss together tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and a large pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Taste and add more lime juice and salt, if needed.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and hot sauce.

Lay a clean kitchen towel in a medium bowl. Using the open flame from a stovetop gas burner (or in a skillet placed on an electric burner), warm and lightly char tortillas, 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Transfer warmed tortillas to a towel-lined bowl, and cover with towel to keep warm while you finish remaining tortillas.

Serve, letting people make their own tacos by layering bacon, salsa, lettuce, spicy mayonnaise and avocado, if using, on tortillas. Top with more hot sauce, if desired.

Rasta Pasta With Jerk Chicken

2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound penne pasta
3 bell peppers, preferably a mix of colors, thinly sliced
4 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup jerk seasoning
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, pierced, not sliced (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Prepare the chicken: In a medium bowl, combine jerk seasoning, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Pull chicken out about 1 hour before cooking, so it comes to room temperature.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium. Add the chicken to the skillet, and sear chicken on both sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Once chicken is seared, transfer the skillet to the oven and roast chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for about 10 minutes, and slice on a bias.

As chicken roasts, prepare the pasta: Set a pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to a heavy pot set over medium, and sauté bell peppers with green onions until peppers are barely softened, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, about another minute.

Add the 1/4 cup jerk seasoning to the pot and combine. Add the thyme and pierced pepper. Add heavy cream and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Mix in the Parmesan, then add pasta.
Top with the jerk chicken, and garnish with green onions. Serve hot.

Vermicelli Sweet Corn Usli (Upma)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups wheat vermicelli noodles (see Tip)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 green chile, such as serrano, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
1 ear fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
1/2 cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup frozen or fresh grated coconut, plus more for garnish
1 lime, halved

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a medium pot with a fitted lid over medium heat. If the noodles are on the long side, break them up into roughly bite-size pieces. Add them to the pot, and use a wooden spoon to keep them moving so they get lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.

In the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon oil over medium and fry the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the urad dal (if using), the onion, curry leaves, chile and salt. When the onion is completely softened, but not yet browned, add 1 cup water.
As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the toasted noodles, corn kernels, cashews, cilantro and coconut; stir well. Cover, and cook on low for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, and let it rest for another 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and lime juice, then garnish with extra coconut and cilantro, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Look for very fine vermicelli noodles made from wheat, also called semiya or seviyan at South Asian and Middle Eastern grocery stores. The noodles come toasted and untoasted, short and long. If you buy toasted noodles, there’s no need to toast them in coconut oil (Step 1); simply add them to the boiling water (Step 3).

Coconut Milk Rice

2 cups rice (any fragrant rice)
1 1/2 cup coconut milk or (1 cup coconut chopped or grated + 1 ½ cup water)
2 cups Water (adjust as needed, you can use 1/4 cup more)
2 tsp ginger grated or crushed or paste or ginger garlic paste
1 to 2 green chili slit
1 medium carrots chopped (optional)
1 cup green peas frozen or fresh (optional)
6 beans chopped (optional)
2 tbsp oil , Ghee or butter
Salt as needed
Spices for coconut milk rice
1 bay leaf or tej patta
4 cardamoms or green cardamoms
6 cloves or laung
2 inch cinnamon piece or dalchini
1 tsp cumin or jeera
optional for garnish
10 cashews
4 tbsp Grated coconut or coconut flakes

Wash and soak rice for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Optional – Skip this step if you are using store bought coconut milk. Blend chopped coconut pieces with 1 1/2 cup water. Filter to extract the milk and use 1 1/2 coconut milk in the recipe.

Add ghee or butter to a cooker or pot. Fry cashews until golden. You can set aside if you like crunchy cashews.

To the same pan, add spices and fry till they turn fragrant. Add ginger paste and fry until it smells fragrant.

Add slit green chili, chopped vegetables and fry for 2 to 3 mins.
Pour the coconut milk along with the water and add salt. Taste and check the salt.

When the coconut milk begins to boil, add rice and mix well.

Cover and cook until fully done on a medium flame.

Little water can be sprinkled if rice is still not cooked well. If cooking in a pressure cooker, allow to whistle once.

Allow the coconut milk rice to rest for 15 mins then fluff it up with a fork.

Toast the coconut until golden and garnish it over the rice. You can also garnish with cashews.

South Indian Coconut Rice (Thengai Sadam)

1 cup uncooked rice (any kind, or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice)
1 to 1 1/2 cup coconut grated (fresh or frozen) (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1 to 2 green chili (slit or chopped)
1 dried red chili (broken to 2 pieces) (optional)
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 tablespoon chana dal (bengal gram)
1/2 tablespoon urad dal (skinned split black lentils)
1 teaspoon ginger (fine chopped)
12 to 15 cashewnuts or peanuts

Wash rice at least thrice and drain the water. If using basmati rice, soak it for 20 to 30 mins.

To cook rice in pot, bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil and add the rice. Cook covered on a low heat until fully done but not mushy.

To pressure cook basmat rice, pour 1¾ cups water & pressure cook for 1 whistle. To pressure cook normal rice, pour 2 cups & pressure cook for 2 whistles. The rice must be grainy and not mushy. When the pressure releases, open the lid.

Fluff up the cooked rice with a fork and cool completely.

Slit the green chilies, fine chop ginger, and grate the coconut. If using frozen coconut, break up the lumps and loosen the coconut.

Making coconut rice:

Pour 2 tablespoons ghee or oil to a pan and heat it.

Fry cashews or peanuts until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilli, chana dal and urad dal. Saute them and fry until the dals turn golden and aromatic.
Then add ginger, slit green chilli & curry leaves. Saute for 30 to 60 seconds until the curry leaves turn crisp. Add hing.

Optional – Quickly pour 2 to 3 tablespoons water to the pan. This will soften the dals and bring out the flavors of the ginger and curry leaves. If you want your dal to be very soft, then you can add little more water. Cook until all of the water evaporates.
Then add fresh coconut and sprinkle salt on it. Then add rice. Off the heat. If using frozen coconut, then saute the coconut a bit until it becomes hot. Then add the rice.

Mix well and taste test. Add more salt if needed. Serve coconut rice with a simple curry or plain yogurt.

Coconut Rice With Shrimp and Corn

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh (from 2 cobs) or frozen
1 lime, zested, then sliced into wedges
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for serving

In a large, heavy pot, heat coconut oil over medium. Add the onion, ginger and jalapeño and season with the 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add the rice and sauté for another minute. Then stir in the coconut milk and 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer but avoid scorching.

Stir in the shrimp and corn, cover again, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is cooked through and the rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (Add more water by 1/2 cups throughout cooking as needed if the water has been absorbed, but the rice is still too firm.)

Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest and basil; season to taste with salt. Serve immediately with lime wedges and topped with more basil.

Chinese Spicy Beef Salad

For the beef & marinade:
12 ounces flank steak (partially frozen; can also use chuck)
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rest of the dish:
1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
1 Thai bird chili (minced)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons Sichuan chili flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 cup cilantro (leaves and stems, roughly chopped)

Very thinly slice flank steak against the grain (it should be partially frozen to make this easier), and add it to a medium bowl. Add the water, cornstarch, vegetable oil, Shaoxing wine, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, and marinate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the beef, and blanch for 45 seconds to 1 minute, just until it turns mostly opaque (it’s ok if it’s still a little pale pink in spots). Drain well and transfer the beef to a mixing bowl.

Add the garlic, chili, sugar, sesame seeds, and Sichuan chili flakes to the beef in little piles next to each other. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small pan, and pour over the garlic, chili, and sesame seeds.

Add the vinegar, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and cilantro. Toss and serve.

Garlic Broccoli

4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
½ cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Wash the broccoli and set aside. Make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the water and use a spoon to stir until completely dissolved. Mince the garlic.

Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil in your wok and add the broccoli. Blanch for a minute, drain, and put the broccoli into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Heat the wok over high heat. Once the wok is very hot, add the oil, garlic, broccoli, and wine. Stir fry for a minute and pour in the chicken stock. Let the mixture come to a boil, which should be quick since the heat is so high.

Add salt, white pepper, and sesame oil and give it another quick stir. Now make sure your cornstarch slurry is still well-mixed as the water tends to separate after some time. Stir in half of the slurry and let the sauce cook and thicken until it coats the back of a spoon. Add more slurry if it’s not thick enough. Plate and serve hot!

Chinese restaurants blanch the broccoli first because blanching cooks the broccoli faster and make the last step of stir frying and finishing much faster. The sauce also ends up cleaner in flavor. But you can also skip the blanching and cover your wok after adding the chicken stock (add a little extra stock or water to steam it). Then just let the broccoli steam in the covered wok for an extra few minutes, depending upon how crisp you like your broccoli.

Garlic Baby Bok Choy

1 pound baby bok choy (450g)
2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves garlic (minced)
salt and white pepper (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon sugar

Trim the bottoms off of each bundle of bok choy, and split them in half or quarters. Just make sure all of the pieces are relatively uniform so they cook evenly. You can leave them whole if they’re very small and tender.

Wash thoroughly with cold water two to three times. These days, we’re never too cautious about making sure all of the dirt and pesticides are rinsed away. The best method is to use a large basin or sink to rinse and swirl around the vegetables letting them soak for a few minutes before draining and washing again. Shake off the excess water after the final rinse and transfer to a colander to drain. It is important to drain the vegetables well since these veggies will release quite a bit of water during the cooking process.

Heat the wok over high heat until smoking, and add 2 tablespoons oil. Swirl around the oil so the wok is coated. Add all of the garlic and immediately add the bok choy. Move quickly to stir and sauté the greens in the oil and garlic. Stir quickly so you don’t burn the garlic!

Use a folding motion to turn the vegetables or use tongs if that is easier. Once the vegetables begin to wilt, about 30 seconds, add salt, pepper, and sugar. How long you cook them from here is all personal preference.

Egg Drop Soup

4 cups chicken stock (about 1 liter, organic or homemade preferred!)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (Or 5 drops yellow food coloring. Optional, but if you want “the look…”)
3 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 1/3 cup water)
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 scallion (chopped)

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium soup pot. Stir in the sesame oil, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Add in the turmeric or 5 drops of yellow food coloring, if using. This will give the soup that rich restaurant-style yellow color, but it is optional. Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Next add the cornstarch and water mixture. Make sure the cornstarch and water is mixed well, as the cornstarch settles very quickly. Stir the soup continuously as you drizzle in the slurry, or you’ll get clumps of cooked starch in your soup. Use more or less starch if you like a thicker or thinner soup. You can also add the starch in a couple small batches, let the soup simmer for a couple of minutes, then check to see if the consistency is to your liking.

Now we’re ready for the most exciting part: the egg. This recipe calls for the egg to be lightly beaten, which results in both white and yellow egg swirls. The speed at which you stir the soup when adding the egg also determines whether you get large “egg flowers” or small egg flowers (i.e. swirly bits of egg). Use a ladle to stir the soup in a circular motion, and slowly drizzle in the egg until you have added it all.

Ladle the soup into bowls, top with scallions, and serve!

Chicken Lo Mein

8 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs (225g, cut into thin strips)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons oil (plus more for cooking)
1 clove garlic (minced)
4 cups cabbage (shredded)
2 medium carrots (julienned)
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine (or dry sherry cooking wine)
16 oz. fresh lo mein egg noodles (450g)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2 cups mung bean sprouts
2 scallions (julienned)

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 2 teaspoons each of cornstarch, water, and oil. In a wok over high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil, and sear the chicken for a couple minutes until browned. Remove from the wok, and set aside.

Add another couple tablespoons of oil to the wok, and add the garlic. After 10 seconds, add the cabbage and carrots. Stir-fry on high heat for a minute and add the wine in a circle around the perimeter of the wok.

Add the noodles and chicken back to the wok and mix well from the bottom up for about 30 seconds. If the noodles aren’t coming apart, add about 1/4 cup water to the noodles to loosen them up a bit.

Then cover the wok for one minute. Remove the cover and add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, and add the bean sprouts and scallions. Stir-fry for one more minute and serve.

Beef Lo Mein

For the beef and marinade:
12 ounces flank steak
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

To complete the dish:
1 pound fresh lo mein noodles (we recommend using cooked lo mein noodles, but you can also use fresh uncooked noodles of a similar thickness)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 carrot (medium carrot, julienned)
1/2 red bell pepper (julienned)
1/2 cup mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 cup bamboo shoots (strips or sliced)
2 cups Napa cabbage (shredded)
2/3 cup snow peas
2 cups mung bean sprouts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 scallions (julienned, white and green parts separated)

Slice the beef into thin strips against the grain. Place the sliced beef in a small bowl with baking soda, corn starch, soy sauce, and oil. This velveting step will make the beef tender and flavorful, with a glistening look. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the lo mein sauce by combining the soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar, and ground white pepper in a small bowl.

If using cooked lo mein noodles, rinse them under hot tap water to loosen them and drain thoroughly. If using uncooked noodles, cook them according to package instructions until they’re al dente, and drain thoroughly. Set aside. Prepare the garlic and all the vegetables to have them ready for cooking. Arrange them in the order you will add them to the wok.

Place your wok over high heat until it’s smoking lightly. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to coat the wok, and add the beef so it’s all in one layer on the hot wok surface. Sear each side for about 30 seconds. Remove the beef from the wok and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil, along with the garlic, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Add the bamboo shoots and the white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds, and then add the napa cabbage. Make sure your heat is at its highest now, and stir-fry everything together for another 30 seconds.

Add the prepared noodles. They should be warm or at room temperature, and not stuck together! If they are, just rinse them in hot water to loosen them up.

Add the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok, and toss the vegetables and noodles together using a scooping motion. After the noodles are warmed up (about 30 seconds to 1 minute), and your pre-mixed sauce.

Continue stir-frying with a scooping motion until the sauce is evenly distributed, making sure to scrape the bottom of the wok to prevent the noodles from sticking. High heat and a well-seasoned wok should also prevent any sticking.

Next, add the snow peas, mung bean sprouts, and beef (along with any juices that may have collected in the bowl). Continue stir-frying until the noodles are heated through and everything is thoroughly mixed.

Toss in the green parts of the scallions, and taste the lo mein. Adjust the seasoning to your liking (feel free to add more salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, or white pepper according to your own palate). Plate and serve with homemade chili oil or hot sauce on the side!

Home-Style Tofu with Ground Pork (or Chicken)

2 tablespoons oil divided
1 pound firm tofu (450g, pat dry, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4″ slices)
2 cloves garlic (smashed and chopped)
1 red chili pepper (deseeded and thinly sliced)
3 scallions (cut into 1” pieces, with the white parts separated from the green parts)
4 oz. ground pork (110g; can substitute ground chicken)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (can substitute other rice wine or dry cooking sherry)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
Salt (to taste)

Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron pan over medium high heat. Before it starts to smoke, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and tilt the pan so the oil coats the bottom of the pan. Add the tofu and pan fry on both sides—3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat the second tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Cook the garlic, chili, and the white parts of the scallions for about a minute. Next add the ground pork (or chicken) and stir fry for a minute until meat is cooked through.

Add the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Finally, add in the pan-fried tofu and the green parts of the scallions. Turn up the heat, and quickly stir-fry everything together. Add salt to taste and serve.

10-Minute Tomato Egg Drop Noodle Soup

1 serving noodle of your choice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 scallion (chopped, white and green portions separated)
2 small tomatoes (cut into bite-sized pieces)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable or mushroom stock)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt (to taste)
1 egg (beaten)

Boil a pot of water to cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large soup bowl. Toss with a few drops of oil to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

At the same time, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in wok or pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and the scallion whites, and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and stir-fry for a couple minutes, until the oil starts to turn red and the tomatoes soften.

Add the stock, soy sauce, white pepper, sesame oil, and salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes, still using medium heat. Now is a good time to beat the egg in a small bowl and have it ready.

Uncover the wok/pot, turn up the heat slightly, and slowly stir in the beaten egg. Turn off the heat and pour the soup onto the cooked noodles. Top with the chopped scallion greens (you can also add chopped cilantro if you want). Serve. Easy, right?!

Tri-Color Pepper Steak with Leeks

8 oz. flank steak
1 teaspoon soy sauce (for the beef marinade)
1 teaspoon oil (plus more for cooking)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (plus 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon water
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 small leek
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 to 4 whole dried red chili peppers (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light or regular soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar

Slice the beef into thin 3-inch strips and mix well in a bowl with soy sauce, oil, and a teaspoon of cornstarch. Set aside. One good trick is to slice the meat when it is still slightly frozen, when it’s easier to handle. Mix the last 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water and set aside.

Wash the peppers and leeks thoroughly (paying special attention to the leeks, which can be quite sandy). Chop the peppers and leeks into 1 1/2 inch pieces. A lot of times, in Western cooking, people will discard the green part of the leek, which is a mystery to us. In this dish, we’re using the entire leek! Mince the garlic.

Heat the wok over high heat until smoking, and add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the wok. Add the beef and dried chili peppers (if using). The heated wok will give the beef a great sear and prevent sticking. Remove the beef and chilis from the wok and set aside in a small bowl.

Heat the wok to high again and add another tablespoon of oil. Toss in the bell peppers, leeks, and garlic. Stir-fry for a minute and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Next, add the seared beef and chilis, the 2 kinds of soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Mix well and stir-fry for another minute. You should have a good sizzle going with some liquid at the bottom of the wok. If you like more sauce for your rice, add some chicken or beef stock. Finally, add the cornstarch slurry you made earlier to thicken the remaining liquid into a rich sauce. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Sichuan Spicy Three Pepper Chicken

For the marinade:
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon spicy bean paste

Other ingredients:
2 large boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite size pieces)
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 long hot green peppers (de-seeded and cut into 1/2-inch sections)
2 long hot red peppers (de-seeded and cut into 1/2-inch sections)
salt (to taste)
5 dried red chili peppers (whole or cut into thirds; cut them if you like your food spicier)
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons garlic (coarsely chopped)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

In a medium bowl, stir together all the marinade ingredients. Toss the chicken in the marinade and set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok over high heat until smoking. Add the long hot peppers and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the peppers are tender but still a little crisp. You want to see some scorch marks on the outside of the peppers. Add a pinch of salt. Remove the peppers from the wok and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to your wok over high heat. Add the chicken to the pan in a single layer. Don’t stir. You want to get a good, crisp sear on the chicken. Brown the chicken until it’s cooked through. Take it out of the wok and set aside.

Let the wok cool down a bit. Now add a ½ tablespoon of oil to the wok over low heat. Add the dried chili peppers, peppercorns, and garlic. Stir for 2 minutes to toast everything together. Turn the heat back to high and add the peppers, chicken, and soy sauce. Stir everything together for a minute and serve!

Coconut Curry Chicken

2 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 large onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (smashed)
14 ounces coconut milk (400 ml)
2 cups water or chicken broth (475 ml)
2 plum tomatoes (diced)
2 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt and white pepper (black pepper may be substituted)

Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over low heat, and immediately add the curry powder. Let it cook in the oil for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn it. In the meantime, dice the onion and smash the garlic. Add them to the pot, turn the heat up to medium, and give everything a stir.

Stir in the coconut milk and water (or chicken broth). Bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for that, dice the tomatoes and prep the potatoes. Add them both to the pot and season with salt, then add the sugar. Cover the lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Cut the chicken thighs into chunks and season with salt and pepper. Once the potatoes are cooked through, add the chicken to the pot and give everything a stir. Cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve with rice!

Beef and Pepper Stir-fry

For the beef and marinade:
12 oz. flank steak (sliced into thin strips)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (optional tenderizer)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the rest of the dish:
2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic (sliced)
8 long hot green peppers (de-seeded and julienned into 3-inch strips)
1 long hot red pepper (de-seeded and julienned into 3-inch strips)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
Fresh ground white pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock (optional)

Add all the marinade ingredients to the beef in a bowl, mix well and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.

When you’re ready to cook, add oil to a wok and place over high heat until it’s almost smoking. Sear the beef until it’s just browned but still a little rare. If your wok is as hot as it should be, the beef should not stick and you should see a nice seared color. Turn off the heat while you transfer the beef to a separate bowl. Leave any oil/fat in the wok.

Heat the wok back up to medium-high heat and add the garlic and peppers. Stir-fry for 20 seconds and then spread the wine around the wok to de-glaze it. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds and add the beef back to the wok along with any juices from the bowl. Add salt, sugar, soy sauces and fresh ground pepper. Turn the heat back up to high and stir-fry for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the peppers turn darker.

If you like to have more sauce with the dish, add the chicken stock to further de-glaze the wok and reduce the liquid slightly. The cornstarch from the marinade will help thicken the sauce. Plate and serve immediately with rice.

15-Minute Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

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 (225g, sliced)
4 cups chicken broth (950 ml)
1 cup water (235 ml)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2/3 cup coconut milk (160 ml)
6 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles (170g)
lime wedges, 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).