Gobi Manchurian

1 tablespoon avocado oil, or any oil of choice
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1-2 green chilies, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2-3 stalks scallions , chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce, I used 1 tablespoon regular and 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha or any hot sauce, adjust to taste
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder
salt, to taste, if needed

For the cauliflower florets
1 small head cauliflower, cut into medium size florets, around 2.5 cups cut cauliflower florets
6 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
water, to form a flowing batter, around 1/2 cup + 2-3 tablespoons
oil, for frying, I used avocado oil

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a skillet on high heat. Once hot, add the grated garlic, ginger, green chili and chopped celery.

Saute for 1 minute until ginger-garlic start changing color.

Then add the chopped onion, green pepper and scallions. Cook for high heat for around 3 minutes.

Then add the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, hot sauce (like sriracha), sugar and white pepper powder. Taste test and add salt if needed. Set aside.

Meanwhile cut and clean cauliflower florets and drop them in hot salted water. Simmer on medium heat for around 4 minutes.

Drain water and place florets on a paper tissue. Pat dry each individually.
To a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, ginger-garlic paste, salt and pepper. Whisk and start adding water, little by little.

Form a smooth, free-flowing batter. It should not be too thick or thin.

Heat oil for frying on medium heat in a kadai or pan. Once oil is hot, dip the florets into the batter. Make sure they are well coated with the batter.

Drain off the excess batter and carefully drop florets into the hot oil.
Fry on medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until crispy and browned.

Transfer the fried cauliflower florets into the sauce (sauce should be warm when you do this).

Toss to combine until all the florets are well coated with the sauce.

Garnish with scallions and serve gobi manchurian with hakka noodles or enjoy as it is!

If you want to make Gobi Manchurian with gravy: add 1 cup water to the sauce. after adding all the sauces (soy sauce, ketchup etc.). Then in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water.
Add the cornstarch slurry to the gravy and stir. Let it simmer for a minute or two, the gravy will thicken. Add florets and serve.

Sheet Pan Fried Rice with Bacon and Broccoli

2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other high-heat-friendly oil), divided
3 cups cooked, leftover rice (the more dried out, the better)
1/3 cup soy sauce, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli (in bite-sized florets)
1 cup green chopped cabbage (in roughly 2×1/2-inch strips)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped scallions (the green and light green parts), divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup
1/2 cup frozen green peas
6 ounces thick-cut bacon, sliced into roughly 1×1/2-inch pieces
1 sunny-side-up fried egg with a runny yolk per person you’re serving (optional)
Chili sauce of your choice

Heat oven to 475°F.

Drizzle an 11×17-inch rimmed sheet pan with one tablespoon of oil and spread it around, to grease the pan.

Add the following to the pan: rice, the remaining tablespoon of oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, onion, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, and 1 cup of the scallions. Use clean hands to mix and break up the rice clumps with your fingers. (You could do this with a fork instead, but you’d be more likely to spray rice all over your kitchen.) Spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes—until there are lotttts of crispy rice bits, and the carrots have just lost their bite—giving everything a gentle stir every so often to avoid letting the cabbage or the rice around the edges burn. Then, add the peas and bacon pieces, stir again, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the bacon is crisped up.

Remove from the oven. To serve, drizzle with more soy sauce to taste, and top with a fried egg (if using), plus some of the reserved scallions, and chili sauce of your choice.

Ultimate Chili Oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup (50 g) Sichuan (spicier) or Korean (milder) chile flakes
1 star anise pod
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups (480 mL) canola oil
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely ground Sichuan peppercorns

Mix the soy sauce and grated garlic together. Set aside.

Using a spice grinder, grind the chile flakes, star anise pod, coriander, cumin, and curry powder into a fine powder. In a large saucepan at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep, combine the spice powder with the oil, sesame seeds, and bay leaves. Set it over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chile flakes have turned maroon in color (but not black!).

When the chile flakes have turned to the desired color, turn off the heat immediately, then add the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir and let fry in the residual heat for about 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce/garlic mixture. The oil will boil up a little due to the added moisture (which is why we’re using a deep pot). Just keep stirring until the sizzling has died down.

Let the chile oil sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours (or best overnight) before using. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Chongqing Melted Cheese

To Assemble:
1 1/2 tablespoons My Ultimate Chile Oil (recipe below), or your favorite chile oil
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded Pepper Jack cheese
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch finely chopped herbs and aromatics, such as mint, parsley, and scallions
1 piece crusty bread, for serving

Ultimate Chile Oil:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup (50 g) Sichuan (spicier) or Korean (milder) chile flakes
1 star anise pod
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups (480 mL) canola oil
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely ground Sichuan peppercorns

Assemble:
Add the chile oil to a small, heavy skillet (7 to 8 inches/18 to 20 cm; best to use a skillet in a material that retains heat well, like cast iron) and swirl to spread it around. Scatter the cheeses on top and make a small well in the middle, then crack the egg into the well. Place over medium-low heat with the lid on and cook until the cheeses are melted and the egg is just cooked, with the yolk still runny. You can peek a couple of times during the process; it’s fine.

Crack some fresh black pepper on top and sprinkle with whatever fresh greens and herbs you have on hand, such as scallions, mint, or parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

My Ultimate Chile Oil:

Mix the soy sauce and grated garlic together. Set aside.

Using a spice grinder, grind the chile flakes, star anise pod, coriander, cumin, and curry powder into a fine powder. In a large saucepan at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep, combine the spice powder with the oil, sesame seeds, and bay leaves. Set it over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chile flakes have turned maroon in color (but not black!).

When the chile flakes have turned to the desired color, turn off the heat immediately, then add the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir and let fry in the residual heat for about 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce/garlic mixture. The oil will boil up a little due to the added moisture (which is why we’re using a deep pot). Just keep stirring until the sizzling has died down.

Let the chile oil sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours (or best overnight) before using. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Small Batch Congee (Khao Tom)

2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
1/4 pound ground turkey or pork
1 tablespoon fish sauce (more to taste)
2 eggs
1 green onion, chopped for garish
1 handful cilantro, for garnish
1 pinch ground black pepper, to taste

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Lower to medium heat and cook the ground meat in the water for about 5 minutes, separating the meat into chunks.
Drain the meat from the boiling water and wash the pot. Add the meat and rice to the pot.

Add enough water to just cover the rice by an inch and heat to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes for rice to soften.

While the rice and meat are cooking, add fish sauce to taste. Start with 1 tablespoon and add more for more flavor.

Poach the eggs in the porridge for at least 2 minutes depending on how runny you like your eggs.

Divide into bowls and top with pepper, cilantro and chopped green onion.

Singapore Noodles with Pork and Broccolini

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese black bean sauce
4 dried hot chiles 2 teaspoons Maggi sauce or soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (hot chile sauce)
1 pound Chinese broccoli
1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles, linguine or spaghetti
1/2 pound Chinese roast pork, thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced

In a very large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the shallots and garlic and stir-fry over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pork, brown sugar, black bean sauce, dried chiles, Maggi sauce and fish sauce and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it is browned in spots, about 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the chicken broth and cook over moderately low heat until the broth has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Transfer the ground pork mixture to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

In a jar, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar with the oyster sauce, sesame oil and sambal oelek. Seal the jar and shake the sauce to blend.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the Chinese broccoli and cook until it is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the broccoli to a work surface and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Return the water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook just until al dente. Drain the noodles, shaking off the excess water.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the roast pork, ground pork, broccoli and noodles and toss to combine. Add the sauce and cook, tossing, until the noodles are evenly coated, 5 minutes. Add the scallion, transfer to a large platter and serve.

Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry

1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thigh)

Marinade:
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Sauce:
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced

Slice the chicken against the grain into thin bite-size pieces, no thicker than 1/4” (1/2 cm), transfer into a medium-size bowl. Add the marinade ingredients. Stir to mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir to mix well.

Bring 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and cover. Steam until the broccoli just turns tender and the water evaporates, about 40 to 50 seconds. Transfer the broccoli to a plate. Wipe the pan with a paper towel held in a pair of tongs if there’s any water left.

Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Allow to cook without touching for 30 seconds, or until the bottom side is browned. Flip to cook the other side for a few seconds. Stir and cook until the surface is lightly charred and the inside is still pink.

Add the garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the flavor and fragrance.

Return the broccoli to the pan. Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely and pour it into the skillet. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer everything to a plate immediately.

Serve hot with steamed rice or boiled noodles as a main dish.

Tofu Broccoli Stir Fry

1 14 oz. / 400 g block firm (or extra firm tofu)
Marinade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

2 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 large head of broccoli
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cut the tofu into 3/4” (2 cm) cubes and place it in a sealable ziplock bag.
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Pour the marinade into the bag with the tofu. Press out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Gently swirl the bag around so all the tofu is coated with the marinade. Set aside, occasionally flipping as you finish your prep.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved.

Cut the florets off the stalks of broccoli. If there is excess stem, peel it and cut it into 1/2” (1 cm) chunks. Wash them, drain them, and set them aside.
Drain the marinated tofu and discard the marinade.

Heat 1/3 cup of water in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until boiling. Add the broccoli and cover with the lid. Steam until the broccoli is cooked to the tenderness you prefer, 2 minutes for a chewy texture or 3 minute for a softer one. Transfer the broccoli to a large plate. Wipe the pan with a few layers of paper towel held in a pair of tongs to get rid of any excess water.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil into the same pan. Add the tofu. Let cook until the bottom turns golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned. Gently stir a few times with a spatula, then move the tofu onto one side of the pan.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil, the ginger, and the garlic to the other side of the pan. Stir a few times to release the fragrance. Then stir everything together.

Stir the sauce again to make sure the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour it into the pan and stir and cook until the sauce thickens.

Add the cooked broccoli and turn off the heat. Stir to coat everything with the sauce, then transfer everything to a serving plate.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Ginger Chicken with Rice or Noodles

1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs , cut into 1” (2.5 cm) chunks

Marinade:
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Sauce:
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Stir Fry:
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
2 ” (5 cm) ginger, julienned, divided
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 chili pepper, sliced (Optional)

Add the chicken and the marinade ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Mix everything together until the strips are all fully coated. Set aside and allow it to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set them aside.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add the marinated chicken into the heated pan. Separate any pieces that may be stuck together. Cook until the bottom turns brown and flip the chicken. Add half of the julienned ginger to the pan and fry it with the chicken, until the bottom of the chicken is browned.

Add the sauce to the pan and stir for about 30 seconds so that the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the rest of the ginger, bell pepper, and chili pepper (if using). Saute and stir briefly to coat everything, about 30 seconds.

Serve hot over steamed rice or noodles.

Chinese Lentil Soup

1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons Doubanjiang (*Footnote 1)
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste (Optional)

tomato, Chopped
avocado, Chopped
purple onion, Minced

Rinse the lentils with cold water and drain them. While rinsing, watch out and pick through your lentils to make sure there are no rocks or other debris (don’t be alarmed if there are, sometimes small rocks are overlooked during processing and packing).

Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function. Once the screen shows “Hot”, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Saute until fragrant and starting to brown, around 2 minutes.

Add the doubanjiang and cumin. Saute for another minute. If it looks dry, pour in a bit more oil or stock to prevent the ingredients from sticking or burning.
Turn the saute function off. Pour in the crushed tomato, and scrape the bottom again to make sure all the brown bits are lifted (This is important, to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning after adding pressure). Add the vegetable stock and rinsed lentils and stir to combine all the ingredients.

Seal the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is pointed to lock. Set to manual, high pressure, and the timer for 10 minutes for al dente lentils with soup, or for 12 minutes for a stew-like texture.

After the cooking is done, use quick release on the lid or unseal the valve by switching the lock using a spatula (watch out for the steam coming out). Stir and taste the soup. Add the white pepper and salt (if needed), according to your own taste.

You can top the soup with tomato, avocado, or onion if you wish. Serve hot as a side or main dish.

Store the leftover soup in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Notes:

I used 3 tablespoons to create an intense savory and spicy taste. Use 2 tablespoons for a milder taste.

To make this dish without an Instant Pot, use a 4-6 quart pot and follow the recipe and add 2 extra cups of water along with the vegetable broth in step 4. Then simmer the soup on the stove over medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils turn soft but are not falling apart.

Chinese Chili

16 Chinese Facing Heaven chili peppers
16 Chinese Red Lantern chili peppers
1 and 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 yellow onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 lbs (1 kg) ground beef
4 tablespoons Doubanjiang Chinese fermented spicy chili paste
1 can (28 oz) canned diced tomatos
1 cup canned tomato sauce about 1/2 can (7 oz. tomato sauce, or 2 tablespoons tomato paste)
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup beef broth
2 can (14 oz) kidney beans, drained

Finely chopped cilantro
Cubed avocado or sour cream
Steamed rice

Toast the Sichuan peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat until you can smell the fragrance and the Sichuan peppercorns turn a little darker. Transfer the peppercorns to a small bowl and set aside.
Soak the chili peppers in 2 cups of hot water until softened, 15 minutes or so. Use your fingers to press the air out from the chili peppers so they soak evenly. Once soaked, remove the tough stems of the chili peppers and discard them.

Combine the soaked chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, cumin powder, dried oregano, and salt in a blender or in a tall glass and use an immersion blender. Add 1/2 cup of the pepper soaking water without adding the residue at the bottom. Blend until it forms a fine paste.

Heat oil in a 5.5 quart dutch oven over medium heat and add the yellow onion. Cook and stir until the onion just starts to soften, 5 minutes or so.
Use your spatula to move the onion to the edge of the pan and add the ground beef in the center. Add the Doubanjiang. Let cook for a minute without moving. Then stir with a spatula to break the meat into smaller pieces and coat with the Doubanjiang. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is cooked and turns into small pieces.

Add the chili paste. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the diced tomato, tomato sauce, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the beef broth. Cook until bringing to a simmer. Turn to medium-low heat. Simmer, covered, until the beef turns soft, 30 minutes.

Add the kidney beans and stir to mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the chili carefully and add more salt if needed.

Serve the chili over steamed rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and avocado, if using. Serve as a main course.

Store:
Store the leftover chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. The beans will continue to absorb liquid during storage. You can add a splash of broth before reheating to bring back the original texture.
Notes:

If you want a faster and easier recipe, or if you do not have whole Chinese chili peppers, use 1/3 cup of Chinese chili flakes (or 1/4 cup of chili powder) to replace the whole chili peppers. Grind the Sichuan peppercorns into powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Mix all the ingredients for the chili blend and toss them in a hot pan to release the fragrance. Then use the dry chili blend instead of the paste in the recipe.

Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup leftover ham, diced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (yields about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked rice overnight long grain rice
3 eggs, beaten
Salt, to taste

Mix the soy sauce and pineapple juice together in a small bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large nonstick pan and heat it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ham and pineapples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the bell peppers. Stir a few times to mix well, then transfer everything to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic into the skillet. Stir a few times to release the fragrance. Add the rice and spread it out with your spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted.

Move the rice to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the other side of the skillet. Add the beaten eggs onto the oil. Let it cook until the bottom sets, 30 seconds. Scramble a few times until most of the eggs are cooked but some parts are still runny. Mix the rice into the egg, chopping and stirring to mix everything together.

Move the rice to the edge of the pan to make a well in the center. Pour the soy sauce and pineapple juice into the center. Let it cook for a few seconds to evaporate the liquid. Stir everything together until the rice is evenly coated with the seasonings. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is cooked off.

Add the cooked ham mixture back into the pan. Stir everything together. Taste the rice. Add a pinch of salt and mix again, if needed.

Stir-fried Baby Bok Choy

18 oz (500 g) baby bok choy
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (Optional)

Rinse the baby bok choy. Tear apart the large leaves and remove the tough ends (see the blog post above for more detailed instructions and pictures). Wash thoroughly to remove any dirt between the leaves and drain in a colander.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet (nonstick or carbon steel) over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and stir a few times until fragrant.
Add the baby bok choy, stir, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bok choy is evenly coated with oil.

Add sugar and swirl in the light soy sauce. Stir a few times to mix the sauce.
Cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the baby bok choy turns tender, but not to the point of being mushy. You can uncover the pan to check on the progress in the meantime.

Uncover the pan. Carefully taste the baby bok choy. Let cook for another 30 seconds or so to absorb the sauce. Once done, stop the heat and immediately transfer the baby bok choy to a serving plate. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if using.

Serve hot as a side.

Fish-Fragrant Eggplant

1 pound 5 ounces (600g) eggplants (1–2 large)
Salt
Cooking oil, for deep-frying
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan chile bean paste
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
10 tablespoons (150ml) hot stock or water
4 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese light soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon potato starch, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
6 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens

Cut the eggplants into batons about 3/4 inch (2cm) thick and 2 3/4 inches (7cm) long. Sprinkle with salt, mix well and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the deep-frying oil to around 390°F (200°C) (hot enough to sizzle vigorously around a test piece of eggplant). Add the eggplant, in two or three batches, and deep-fry for about 3 minutes, until tender and a little golden. Drain well on paper towels and set aside.

Carefully pour off all but 3 tablespoons oil from the wok and return to medium heat. Add the chile bean paste and stir-fry until the oil is red and fragrant: take care not to burn the paste (move the wok away from the burner if you think it might be overheating). Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until they smell delicious.

Tip in the stock or water, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the eggplant, nudging the batons gently into the sauce so they do not break apart. Simmer for a minute or so to allow the eggplant to absorb the flavors.

Give the potato starch mixture a stir and add it gradually, in about three stages, adding just enough to thicken the sauce to a luxurious gravy (you probably won’t need it all). Tip in the vinegar and all but 1 tablespoon of the scallion greens, then stir for a few seconds to fuse the flavors.

Turn out onto a serving dish, scatter over the remaining scallion greens and serve.

Crispy Tofu with Maple-Soy Glaze

1 12-oz. block firm tofu
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
Kimchi, toasted sesame seeds, hijiki, daikon, sliced scallions, and steamed rice (for serving; optional)

Drain tofu, then sandwich between several layers of kitchen towels to remove excess liquid. Cut into 9 cubes.

Whisk soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and ginger in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. When oil is rippling across the surface, carefully add tofu so it doesn’t splash. Cook, undisturbed, until very crisp and dark brown underneath, 3–4 minutes. Carefully turn and repeat on opposite side. Holding tofu back with a spatula or slotted spoon, pour out oil into a small bowl. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add soy sauce mixture. Cook, reducing heat to medium so it doesn’t over-reduce or burn and basting tofu occasionally, until glaze is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 4 minutes.

Divide tofu among plates. Drizzle with glaze, then top with scallions. Serve with rice alongside.

Steak and Bok Choy Stir-fry (Chow Steak Kow)

For the steak and marinade:
1 pound beef ribeye or sirloin steak (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda (optional tenderizer, depending on the quality of your steak)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

For the steak sauce:
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed into a slurry with 1 tablespoon water)

For the bok choy base:
12 ounces fresh bok choy (cut and thoroughly washed)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3-4 slices fresh ginger (smashed)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon MSG (optional)

When you prepare the steak cubes, leave some of the fat on the steak. This adds key flavor to the dish. Transfer the cubes to a medium bowl, and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss until the steak is well-coated. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small bowl, combine the water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, and sesame oil. Set aside.

Make sure your bok choy is thoroughly cleaned. We always triple wash our bok choy. Not doing a thorough job risks sand ruining your vegetables.

Heat wok over high heat. Spread 1 tablespoon vegetable oil around the perimeter of the wok, and immediately add your smashed ginger slices. After 5 to 10 seconds, add the chopped garlic and bok choy.

Quickly stir-fry the bok choy (so the garlic doesn’t burn), until it begins to wilt. You can also cover the bok choy for 30 seconds if your wok burner is not producing enough heat.
After the bok choy is cooked and wilted (about 60 seconds or so), add the salt, sugar and MSG (if using). Mix thoroughly, transfer to a warm serving plate, and set aside. MSG is totally optional, but it really brings out the flavor of stir-fried vegetables.

Work quickly through these next steps, because your stir-fried bok choy is waiting to be topped with your delicious steak! Carefully rinse your wok with warm water, drain, and wipe off any excess moisture. Place the wok back over the burner set to high heat. Spread 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil around the perimeter of the wok.

Once the wok begins to smoke, add the steak in a single layer, fat-side down for any pieces with visible fat.

Sear for 30 seconds or until brown. Use your wok spatula to toss everything together to ensure even cooking and browning, but resist the temptation to stir too much. High heat is essential to ensure you have a good sear and maximum flavor. I like to sear the steak until cooked medium / medium rare, which is why this steak stir fry recipe calls for large 1-inch chunks of steak.

Once done to your liking, turn off the heat, and scoop the steak over the bok choy to rest. (If any liquid has pooled on the bok choy plate, pour the excess off before adding the beef.)

You’ll need at least 1-2 tablespoons of the residual oil in the wok. Pour off any excess and discard. This is pure beef flavor that will make your sauce taste that much better. Turn the wok back up to medium-high heat. Pour the prepared steak sauce into the wok, using it to deglaze the wok. If you want more sauce, you can add some additional water—bonus if you use the water from the bok choy plate, which has a nice ginger and garlic flavor.

When the sauce is simmering, stir up the cornstarch slurry and drizzle it into the sauce, letting it thicken until it coats a spoon. Simmer for an additional 20 seconds to ensure the cornstarch is cooked. Turn the heat off, pour the sauce over your steak, and serve with rice.

Mapo Tofu

1/2 cup oil (divided)
1-2 fresh Thai bird chili peppers (thinly sliced)
6-8 dried red chilies (roughly chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns (coarsely ground, plus 1/4 teaspoon for garnish at the end)
3 tablespoons ginger (finely minced)
3 tablespoons garlic (finely minced)
8 ounces ground pork (225g)
1-2 tablespoons spicy bean sauce (depending on your desired salt/spice levels)
2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth (or water)
1 pound silken tofu (450g, cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 scallion (finely chopped)

First, we toast the chilies. If you have homemade toasted chili oil, you can skip this step. Heat your wok or a small saucepan over low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the oil and throw in the fresh and dried peppers. Stir occasionally and heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes, ensuring that the peppers don’t burn. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add your ground Sichuan peppercorns and stir occasionally for 30 seconds. Add the ginger. After 1 minute, add the garlic. Fry for another minute, and then turn up the heat to high and add the ground pork. Break up the meat and fry it until it’s cooked through.

Add the spicy bean sauce to the mixture and stir it in well. Add 2/3 cups of chicken broth to the wok and stir. Let this simmer for a minute or so. While that’s happening, ready your tofu and also put a ¼ cup of water in a small bowl with your cornstarch and mix until thoroughly combined.

Add the cornstarch mixture to your sauce and stir. Let it bubble away until the sauce starts to thicken. (If it gets too thick, splash in a little more water or chicken stock.)

Then add your chili oil from before—peppers and all! Stir the oil into the sauce, and add the tofu. Use your spatula to gently toss the tofu in the sauce. Let everything cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the sesame oil and sugar (if using) along with the scallions and stir until the scallions are just wilted.

Serve with a last sprinkle of Sichuan peppercorn powder as a garnish if desired.

Ginger Chicken

3 scallions (cut into 2-inch long pieces, with the white and green parts separated)
4 cloves garlic (cut in half)
6 slices ginger (1/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (can substitute canola oil or avocado oil)
24 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs (680g, cut into 1-inch chunks)
3 shallots (cut into quarters)
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons oyster sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

Using a cleaver, lightly smash the white parts of the scallions, the garlic, and the ginger (use a firmer hand on the ginger). This releases the flavors of the aromatics for a more flavorful dish.

Spread the canola oil around the perimeter of the wok, and heat it until it just starts smoking. Add the smashed ginger slices, and fry for 15 seconds.

Spread the chicken pieces in a single layer in the wok. Sear for 45 seconds. Flip them and fry the other side for another 30 seconds.

Add in the white parts of the scallions, garlic, and shallots. Continue to stir-fry over high heat, mixing everything together for another 30 seconds.

Add the Shaoxing wine, and stir-fry again for 20 seconds. Next, add in the chicken stock, brown sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper, and oyster sauce (optional, but it’ll give the dish a nice additional flavor!). Cover and continue to cook on high heat for 5 minutes.

Remove the cover, and cook for another 7 minutes to reduce the liquid. Mix in the green parts of the scallions, and then immediately stir in the cornstarch and water mixture to thicken the sauce. Add more cornstarch slurry if you like a thicker sauce.

Stir-Fry Sauce for Any Meat and Vegetable

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable or mushroom stock; 350ml)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (can sub gluten-free soy sauce or tamari)
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian or gluten-free oyster sauce)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a jar with a tight lid (must hold 2 cups of liquid), combine all of the stir fry sauce ingredients together and shake well.

This sauce should keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator; all you need to do is measure and pour out what you need for your dish.

Makes enough sauce for about 3 dishes. Nutrition info is for one out of twelve servings of sauce, assuming that there are 4 servings per dish

HOW TO USE THIS STIR-FRY SAUCE:

1. MARINATE YOUR PROTEIN:

Marinate 12 ounces of sliced beef, chicken or pork with:

2 tablespoons water
A pinch or more of baking soda (for beef only)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

2. PREPARE AROMATICS:

Mince 3 cloves of garlic, grate a teaspoon of ginger, and perhaps slice 1 or 2 scallions into 2-inch lengths.

3. SLICE VEGETABLES:

Prepare the vegetables ahead of time, slicing celery, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and/or broccoli. Use whatever you like and make sure to cut the vegetables small/thinly enough so that they’ll cook quickly (i.e. a couple of minutes).

4. PREPARE YOUR THICKENER:

2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

5. SEAR MEAT:

Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to your hot wok (it should be almost smoking). Add the meat, sear on both sides, and set aside.

HOW TO USE THIS STIR-FRY SAUCE:

1. MARINATE YOUR PROTEIN:

Marinate 12 ounces of sliced beef, chicken or pork with:

2 tablespoons water
A pinch or more of baking soda (for beef only)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2. PREPARE AROMATICS:

I like to cut my aromatics fresh, so I will mince 3 cloves of garlic, grate a teaspoon of ginger, and perhaps slice 1 or 2 scallions into 2-inch lengths if I have some.

3. SLICE VEGETABLES:

I’ll prepare the vegetables ahead of time, slicing celery, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and/or broccoli. Use whatever you like and make sure to cut the vegetables small/thinly enough so that they’ll cook quickly (i.e. a couple of minutes).

4. PREPARE YOUR THICKENER:

2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

5. SEAR MEAT:

Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to your hot wok (it should be almost smoking). Add the meat, sear on both sides, and set aside.

Searing Meat in Wok, thewoksoflife.com

6. ASSEMBLE STIR-FRY

Add another tablespoon of oil and add the garlic and ginger. (If you also sliced scallions, you can add the white parts of the scallion at this stage.)

After a few seconds, add the vegetables and stir fry for 1 minute or until just softened.

Add about 2/3 cup of stir fry sauce (more or less depending on how much sauce you like), and heat until simmering.

And add in the seared meat.

Bring to a boil and stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon (you may need a little more or a little less cornstarch slurry depending on how much sauce you added and how high your heat is). Add the green parts of your scallions (if using), and cook for another 15 to 20 seconds.

Serve over rice.

Daikon Radish with Ginger

1 pound daikon radish (about 450 g)
1 slice ginger
1 cup water or stock (235 ml)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (16 g)
1/2 teaspoon salt (about 2 g, or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sugar (about 1 g)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 scallion (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Cut the daikon into half-inch thick, bite-sized pieces. In a pot, add 1 slice ginger, 1 cup water or stock (235ml), 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (16 g), 1/2 teaspoon salt (2 g), 1/4 teaspoon sugar (1 g), 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (a large pinch), and stir to combine. Add the daikon.

Cover and bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes until the daikon is folk tender, stirring occasionally.

Right before serving, add in the chopped scallion, and a few drops of sesame oil (optional). Mix well and serve!