Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry

For the chicken and marinade:
12 oz. (340 g) boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the rest of the dish:
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Fresh ground white pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
1 pound string beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
Instructions
Add all the marinade ingredients to the chicken in a bowl, mix well with your hands so the chicken absorbs all the marinade liquid, and set aside.
Prepare the sauce by mixing together ½ cup stock or water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, a pinch of freshly ground white pepper, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
When ready to cook, preheat your wok over medium high heat until it’s almost smoking. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the wok and sear the chicken until it’s just browned. If your wok is as hot as it should be, the chicken should not stick. Turn off the heat while you transfer the chicken to a separate bowl. Leave any oil/fat in the wok.
Add 2 additional tablespoons oil to the wok, and add the string beans in a single layer. Sear the string beans on one side, about 1 minute. Stir-fry the beans for 30 seconds, and then add ¼ cup water to the wok. Cover the wok and allow the green beans to steam for 60-90 seconds (still on medium high heat).
Add the garlic and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Spread the Shaoxing wine around the wok to deglaze it, stir-frying for 15 seconds. Then add the sauce mixture and bring it to a simmer.

Add the chicken back to the wok and stir-fry everything together for another 30 seconds. The cornstarch in the sauce mixture will thicken it. When the sauce is at the consistency you’d like, plate and serve immediately with rice.

Tiny Bok Choy in Vinegar and Oyster Sauce

1 1/2 pounds smallest baby bok choy
4 medium garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Totole chicken powder mixed with 4 tablespoons water or 4 tablespoons chicken broth
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Zhenjiang vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce

Cut baby bok choy in half vertically, from top to bottom. Rinse and dry well (a salad spinner is good for this).

Heat wok over a high flame and add 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil. When the oil is hot, lower flame and add garlic slices. Stir-fry briefly to soften, but do not brown.

Add bok choy, increase flame, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the salt and chicken broth and cover pan. Steam for about 1 minute and check doneness. When cooked through but still crisp, plate bok choy.

Mix oyster sauce, vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl or measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Drizzle sauce over the bok choy and serve.

Zha Jiang Mian Fried Soy Noodles with Pork

1/2 carrot
1/2 cucumber
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
10.5 oz ground pork, 600g
1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
3 tbsp soybean paste (ground bean or broad bean paste)
1 1/2 tbsp tianmianjiang paste (sweet bean or sweet wheat paste)
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 servings cooked wheat noodles tossed with sesame oil
1 tbsp spring onion, chopped to rounds
3 raw garlic cloves (optional)
3 tbsp roasted peanuts (optional)

Directions:
Wash and slice cucumber into 1/8″ thick matchsticks 2″ long. Wash and peel carrot, then slice into 1/8″ thick matchsticks 2″ long. Boil 3″ water in medium pot. When water boils blanch carrot for 1 min. Remove carrots and let cool. Keep the water in pot for use later to heat up noodles.

Heat wok over medium heat until hot, add 2 tbsp oil. Add in minced garlic and ginger, stir for a few seconds, then add in the pork. Use a spatula to stir, add in rice wine and break up the ground pork as it cooks. After 2 mins or when the pork is completely cooked add in soybean and tianmianjiang pastes, water, sugar, and dark soy sauce. Stir to mix, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 mins or until the sauce thickens and is glossy.

If using fresh noodles warm by heating up the water in the pot again. When water boils add in the noodles for 1- 2 minutes or until warmed and loosened then pour noodles into a strainer. If using dried noodles cook according to the package instructions. Separate cooked noodles equally into noodle bowls. For each bowl of noodles scoop 1/2 cup fried sauce over then add a handful each of cucumber and carrots. Sprinkle spring onion over all. Add raw garlic and peanuts if using. Ready to serve!

Notes: You could add in or substitute the carrots and cucumber with any vegetable you think would tasty good, like mung bean sprouts, soybean sprouts, edamame, radish, or even toss on some thinly sliced dried tofu.

Pin Noodles with Chicken and Sprouts

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallion, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch-long pieces
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 pound fresh silver pin noodles
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
6 tablespoons thin soy sauce
Fresh ground black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over high heat, and stir-fry a third of the scallions until wilted, about 1 minute.

Add a third of the chicken and continue to stir-fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Add a third of the noodles and continue to stir-fry until the noodles are heated through and softened, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the mung bean sprouts, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and season with pepper to taste. Toss, cook for 1 minute, divide into 2 servings, and serve hot.

Repeat twice more, splitting each batch into 2 servings.

Perfect Dumpling Sauce

1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 tablespoon hot water. Then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, minced garlic, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Stir to combine.

Serve with freshly cooked dumplings.

Lychee Jam

24oz lychee,* peeled and deseeded, 700g
12oz sugar,* 350g, 1 3/4 cup
20-30 lemon or lime seeds
1 lime

Peel and deseed the lychee. Blend in food processor until mostly liquid, some small pieces of lychee left are okay. Put in medium sized pot along with sugar. Squeeze juice of one lime in. Put lemon/lime seeds and the squeezed lime into small linen bag, tie and add to pot. Cook over medium low heat for about 15 mins or until the temperature reaches 220°F or the jam passed the jam readiness test as detailed in the post above.

Once jam is ready, remove from heat, remove the bag of seeds, squeezing out any jam, and let cool to room temperature. Pour cooled jam into sterilized jar and keep in fridge. Use within 2-3 weeks. Enjoy!

*Note: However much fruit you use is up to you, just remember that the fruit:sugar ratio should be 2:1 by weight.
**Note: Save your lemon and lime seeds whenever you use your lemons and limes, and store them in the freezer for later use.

Five-Spice Kumquat Jam

1 lb kumquats, around 30-40 kumquats (450g)
1 1/2 cups sugar (300g)
2 cups water
pinch salt
1/4 tsp five spice powder

Prepare clean and dry jars.

Place 3 metal spoons in your freezer, for the jam set test you will do later.

Wash kumquats. Slice kumquats thinly, removing and reserving the seeds. Tie seeds in a piece of cheesecloth. Add kumquats, sugar, water, salt and seed bag to small pot, bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for 15-25 mins until temperature reaches 220°F (104°C) and the mixture seems quite thick. Add in five spice and stir to incorporate.

Test if jam is set enough with the frozen spoon test:

Use your prepared chilled spoon from freezer, dribble some jam on the back of spoon. Careful here, the jam is hot, hot! Once it cools, drag one finger through the jam on spoon. If your finger leaves a clear clean line through the jam, then the jam is ready. If not yet ready, cook for another few minutes and test again with another chilled spoon.

Once your jam is set, pour into your prepared jars and let cool completely. Keep in the fridge and eat up within 2 weeks, though, if you’re like me, you’ll be more in the fridge than out of it until the jammy jar is licked clean as a bean.

Durian Ice Cream

3/4 cup durian pulp
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks

Mash the durian pulp through a mesh strainer to remove the strings.

In a small pan, stir the milk, cream and sugar and heat until hot but not boiling and the sugar is all melted.

In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks.

Pour a tiny bit of the hot milk/cream in to the eggs, stirring constantly. Add more hot milk mixture a little at a time, remembering to stir constantly, until half the mixture is in the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot milk/cream/sugar and stir. Heat over low heat, again stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Stir in durian juice and let the mixture cool down. Chill in fridge to prepare for making with your ice cream machine.

Lychee Ice Cream

2 cups (14 oz) fresh lychee peeled and deseeded, 380g
1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt

Wash, peel and deseed lychee. Puree the lychee in blender or food processor.

Stir cream and lychee together.

In a small pot, add in milk, condensed milk and heat over low heat until just steaming.

In separate bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt.

Pour heated milk into egg mixture, 1-2 tbsp at a time, stirring constantly while pouring.

Pour egg/milk mixture back into the pot. Heat over low to medium heat, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat, then stir in the lychee cream mixture. Let cool completely.

To make ice cream follow the instructions of your ice cream maker.

Tea Ice Cream

1 1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup raw sugar
pinch salt
3-6 egg yolks (the more egg yolks the creamier)
6 Pu-erh teabags (or the equivalent amount of your favorite tea)

In a small pot heat cream and milk over low heat until steam rises. Remove from heat, add in tea bags (with paper tags removed) and cover. Let sit for 10 mins or more until the tea flavor is fully released into the milk. Squeeze liquid from tea bags and remove. Return milk mixture to heat and heat again til the steam rises. Remove from heat.

Mix egg yolks and sugar in bowl. Add in milk mixture little by little, stirring after each addition. Pour the milk egg mixture back into the pot and heat over low heat until the mixture thickens into a custard. To check if custard is formed, dip spoon in mixture and run finger over the mixture coating the back of the spoon. If the line your finger makes on the spoon holds clean then your custard is done. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Let the custard cool to room temperature by placing in a bowl of iced water.

Make ice cream according to the instructions of your ice cream maker. Or if you don’t have a machine you can do it by hand like we do. Cover the cooled custard and place in freezer. Wait about an hour and half and then check. You should see ice crystals starting to form at the sides of the custard. Stir up the custard completely, breaking up the crystals as much as possible. Repeat this procedure of freezing and then stirring up for a 2-3 hours until the custard has an even texture like soft serve ice cream. At this point the ice cream should be left to freeze over night.

To serve bring ice cream out 5 mins ahead of time to let it soften. Scoop and enjoy!

Black Sesame Ice Cream

1 2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
6 tbsp sesame paste* (see recipe below)
1 cup cream
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsp roasted black sesame seeds

Heat milk in pot until simmering. Remove from heat. In bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar, then add maple syrup, black sesame paste and mix. Slowly add the milk, stirring the whole time. Pour all back into the pot and heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the pot bottom, until the mixture is thick enough to cling to the back of your spoon. Take off heat. Let cool.

Whisk cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add whisked cream and roasted sesame seeds to the cooled custard and fold to mix.

Cool mixture in refrigerator and then use your ice cream machine to make ice cream or if you don’t have ice cream maker then cover your ice cream mixture with cling wrap and put in freezer. After 20 minutes, take out and stir vigorously. Put back in freezer. Repeat every half hour for three hours, making sure to break up any ice crystals that form. After three hours the ice cream will be in a soft serve state. You can enjoy it then, or if you like it harder, just pack into your ice cream container and freeze for a couple hours more before eating. For serving take out of freezer 5 mins before scooping. Sprinkle on some roasted whole black sesame seeds for visual effect and crunch.

Black Sesame Paste*
3 1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Directions:
Roast sesame seeds in cast iron or non stick pan over medium heat. Stir until the seeds pop and smell fragrant. Let cool, set aside 1 tbsp and grind the rest in coffee or spice grinder until fine and mixture is moist. Remove ground sesame to a bowl and add the honey and stir.

Sichuan Chili Oil

3/4 cup peanut oil (175g)
1 tbsp Sichuan pepper
2 dried chilis, chopped

Heat the wok and add in the oil. When the oil is hot add in the chopped chilies and sichuan peppers. Cook over low heat for 10 mins.

When cooled to room temperature, put in a sterilized covered glass jar.

We decided to keep the chilies and pepper in but if you like you can strain them out after 3 days and just keep the chili oil.

Store in a sterilized covered jar in a dark, cool closet for up to 6 months.

Stir Fried Nian Gao Rice Cakes with Pork

3 cups Nian Gao Rice Cakes (sliced to 1/4″ slices)
20 Baby Bok Choy
1/4 lb pork, rump or shank (140 g)
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Shao Hsing Rice Wine
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn or potato starch
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp concentrated chicken stock essence or 1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp corn or potato starch

Soak the Nian Gao Rice Cakes for 3-4 hours. Slice to 1/4″ slices if not sliced already.

Slice the pork against the grain into matchsticks or thin slices and then marinate for at least 1/2 hour with soy sauce, sugar, wine, pepper, sesame oil and starch.

Wash baby bok choy carefully, changing water several times as there usually is sand. Slice the boy choy in half for more bit sized pieces.

Heat wok. Add 2 tsp oil. Add pork slices, spread out and let brown for a half a minute, then give it a good stir. Remove to a plate.

Add 2 tbsp oil to medium high heated wok. Add the bok choy and salt, then quickly add the rice cakes in a layer over the bok choy, cover and turn down heat to low. Cook until the rice cakes are soft (a few minutes). Check occasionally and add a bit of water if too dry.

When rice cakes have softened, add chicken essence and 1 cup water or chicken stock. Stir to mix, then cover and cook at low heat for 2 minutes. Make sure to poke at the Nian Gao to separate pieces if they start sticking together.

Add the pork in and stir. Mix your 1 tbsp of starch with 2 tbsp of water, give it a big stir and add to your wok. Stir immediately, watching the sauce to check the thickness. The sauce should cling lightly on everything. Turn off the heat immediately and serve.

(Adapted to omit mushrooms)

Chinese Banged Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers (japanese or english type)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash your cucumber thoroughly. Cut off the tips on each side. Holding one end, carefully bang on cucumber with the flat of your cleaver until the cucumber splits and flattens out. It will be a little mushed up which is what you want. Once the whole cucumber is flattened, chop into bit sized piece. (We like to chop at a diagonal.) Do the same to each cucumber.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix and place into colander. Let cucumber drip juices out for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Squeeze cucumber lightly to remove most of the juice.

Mix together the chopped cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste. It should be equal parts salty, sour and sweet. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice, before serving. The longer the marination, the tastier.

Steamed Chinese Eggplant

3 chinese eggplants
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 small red chilis, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp spring onions

Marinade

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Wash and cut the eggplants to 2 1/2 inch lengths, discarding the stems. Place eggplants into steamer and steam for 25-30 minutes until really soft. Cut or tear each piece into bite sized shreds (I use a tong to grab the hot egglants and a knife to slice thru). Pile attractively into serving dish.

Mix soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a bowl. Heat oil in wok and fry the garlic and chilis (if using) over medium heat until garlic is a golden brown. Carefully pour the garlic/chili/hot oil into the marinade. Stir until well mixed. Pour sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with spring onion and serve.

Cauliflower Stir Fry

1 small head Cauliflower, or 1/2 large head
2-3 Tbsp peanut oil
2 slices of ginger
1/4 Tsp sea salt
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup of spring onion, cut to rounds
1 Tbsp of sesame oil

You can see from the ingredient list that it is quite specific. This very simple dish has few factors, therefore the taste quality of each factor becomes important.

Wash and cut cauliflower into florets. Shake as much water as you can from the cauliflower.

Heat wok at medium high until it starts smoking, add oil and swirl to coat wok. Right away add ginger slices and stir briefly to infuse ginger essence into oil.

Add cauliflower (Careful here!: There will be a loud hissing and spitting of oil as any water left on the cauliflower hits the hot oil. Just tip the bowl containing cauliflower into the wok facing away from you and watch out for that spitting oil) and stir to coat all the cauliflower florets with oil.

Add salt. Keep stirring until the florets start to show some brown spots (about 2 minutes), turn down the heat to medium low, add the chicken stock and cover, stirring occassionally.

Let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until only a 1/4 cup of stock is left in wok (this will be the sauce). The cauliflower should be soft, not crisp.

Add spring onions, give everything a toss and turn off the heat. Add sesame oil, mix and serve.

Soybean Sprout and Tofu Stir Fry

1 1/2 lb or 600g of soybean sprouts (the yellow tipped kind)
2 cubes of dried tofu, sliced (Eden Foods makes this), seasoned if possible
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 slices of ginger (1/4″ thick)
1 tbsp rice wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp corn starch or potato starch
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup spring onions, cut in rounds
2 tsp sesame oil

Directions:

Wash the soybean sprouts and shake dry as much as possible. Heat the wok at medium high until just smoking, add oil and then add the ginger right away.

Move ginger around to flavor the oil and then quickly drop all the bean sprouts into the wok, being careful of spitting hot oil. (Tip: Drop the sprouts either in a very big bunch so that it can cover the circumference of the hot oil, or pour the vegetables into the wok facing away from you.) Scoop and turn over the sprouts until all are lightly covered with oil.

Add the sliced dried tofu. Keep scooping and turning.

Add the rice wine. Keep stirring for another two minutes or until the bean sprouts have lightly browned in spots.

Add the chicken stock and white pepper and stir, then cover. Let cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally or until liquid reduces to approx 1/2 cup.

Mix starch and water together and pour into wok, stirring and watching as the sauce thickens.

When the sauce consistency is thick and glossy, add the chopped spring onions and stir once and then turn off the heat.

Sprinkle sesame oil over; stir and then serve.

Shanghai Pork Chop Noodles

4 pork chops
1 tsp white pepper
2 tsp shao hsing rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp five spice powder
12 oz shanghai noodles, 340g
1 liter chicken stock
4 tbsp spring onion, cut to rounds

Marinate the pork chops in white pepper, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar for 20 mins.

While meat is marinating prepare a big pot of water. When water is boiling, add in noodles, stirring to prevent noodles sticking together and cook for 4 mins. Remove and rinse noodles under cool water. Let drain.

Dump out water and refill pot with chicken stock. Heat stock until just boiling.

Heat 1/4″ of oil in pan wide enough to fit pork chops. Mix flour and five spice powder in shallow plate, dredge the pork chops in flour and shake off any excess flour. Fry the pork chops until golden brown on bottom. Flip over and repeat. Remove and place on kitchen to soak off excess oil. When cool enough to touch, slice into 3/4″ thick slices.

Separate noodles equally into four noodle bowls. Pour hot stock into each bowl, sprinkle handful of spring onions over noodles and place sliced pork chop on top. Serve hot and enjoy!

Pin Noodles

1 1/2 cup wheat starch, 200g
1 cup plus 2 tbsp rice flour, 184 g
6 tbsp tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups hot boiling water

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together except the water in a large mixing bowl. Add in boiling water and stir until the water is all mixed in and the texture is crumbly. Wait until cool enough to handle, sprinkle working surface with flour and knead into a soft pliable dough. Separate into 9 equal parts and with your palms roll each part into 1/2″ thick rolls, then cut into 1/4″ slices. This portion of dough, when hand rolled, will make a noodle about 2″ long. If you want longer noodles adjust the thickness of the slices.

Place one piece of dough in the palm of your hands and roll into a 2″ length noodle, letting the middle of the dough plump up and the ends to taper. Place rolled noodles into a tray that has been dusted with flour.

When all noodles are made, heat a pot of water, adding 1 tsp of oil. When the water is boiling add in the noodles. When the noodles float back to the surface remove and rinse immediately in cold water and then drain thoroughly. Your noodles are now ready cooking in whatever wonderful noodle dish you have planned!

If not using right away, carefully stir in a tiny bit of oil to prevent noodles from sticking together and store airtight in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

Cantonese Beef Stew with Bean Curd

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 small onion cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic
250 g beef cut into small cubes
1/2 cup water
6 mini carrots
2 sticks dry beancurd sticks soak in warm water for 30 minutes, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
3 dashes white pepper

Heat up a claypot with the oil and add the onion and garlic, stir-fry until aromatic.

Add the beef into the claypot, followed by the carrot and beancurd sticks.

Add the water and all the seasonings, stir to combine well.
Cover the claypot, turn the heat to low, simmer and cook until the beef becomes tender.

Serve hot with steamed white rice