Xinjiang Big Plate Chicken (Da Pan Ji)

Marinade
1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Other ingredients
4-5 chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, cut in large bite-size pieces (cut with a meat cleaver or have butcher do so)
3 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Pixian chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
2 teaspoons Chinese dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 slices of ginger
3 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
6 whole dried Chinese chilies
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons cumin
4 star anise
3-inch piece cassia bark or 1 cinnamon stick
1 pound white potatoes, roughly chopped into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
8 to 12 ounces fresh or dried wheat noodles (wide is traditional)

Marinate chicken pieces for 20 minutes in marinade ingredients: soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil and cornstarch.

In a separate small bowl mix sauce ingredients: 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, Pixian doubanjiang, dark soy sauce and Shaoxing wine.

Heat wok over medium flame and add 3 tablespoons oil. Add garlic, ginger, scallion whites, dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, cumin, star anise and cassia and stir around until mixture becomes fragrant, for about 2 minutes, making sure that it doesn’t burn.

Turn heat up to high and add marinated chicken. Stir-fry until chicken is partially cooked and starting to take on some color, making sure not to burn the spices.

Make a well in the center of the wok, add the sauce mixture and cook briefly. Add 3 cups water, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover wok and simmer for 10 minutes for bone-in chicken (5 minutes if using boneless).

Add potatoes to the wok and return to a boil. Lower heat, cover wok and simmer 5 minutes. Taste, and add salt if needed. Add bell peppers, cover wok and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions, aiming to have them done just as the stew is done.

If you would like a thicker consistency to the stew, mash a few of the potatoes with a fork. Just make sure to retain enough sauce for the noodles!

Transfer hot noodles to a large wide plate or bowl and cover with the chicken stew. Garnish with scallion greens and serve immediately.

Sesame Noodles

1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused or Sugarmaker’s Cut Maple Syrup
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 lb spaghetti
3/4 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
3 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Put the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup in a blender and pulse until blended.

Boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti until just al dente. Drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking then combine with the sesame sauce.

In a smaller pot, blanche the asparagus by cooking in boiling water for two minutes then removing them to a bowl of ice water. Drain and add to pasta.

To serve, put room-temperature noodles and asparagus in a bowl and top with scallions and extra sesame seeds. Serve extra soy sauce on the side to taste.

*Adapted from a recipe for Peanut Sesame Noodles, Gourmet, June 2002

Tofu Skin Stir Fry

3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound bok choy, thoroughly washed and drained (or vegetables of choice)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pack of fresh tofu skin, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the ginger, and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the garlic.

After a few seconds, turn up the heat to high, and add the bok choy. Stir-fry everything together. When the bok choy has begun to wilt, stir in the salt, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper.
Now add the water and fresh tofu skins. Do not stir! It’s important to keep the tofu skin on top of the bok choy so that it doesn’t touch the wok (or it will stick). Cover the wok with the lid, and steam for a minute.

Then open the lid, drizzle in the cornstarch mixture, and stir-fry gently to mix everything together.

Beef and Broccoli with Noodles

2 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

FOR THE SAUCE

3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional

In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, beef broth, honey, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, ginger, Sriracha and 1/2 cup water; set aside.

In a large pot of boiling water, add Yaki-Soba until loosened, about 1-2 minutes; drain well.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add steak and cook, flipping once, until browned, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in Yaki-Soba, broccoli and soy sauce mixture until broccoli is tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds, if desired.

NOTES:

*Yaki-Soba is ramen-style noodles and can be found in the refrigerated aisle of your local grocery store.

Beef and Ramen Stir Fry

2 (3.5-ounce) packages instant ramen noodles, flavor packets discarded
1/3 cup beef stock
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup diced sweet onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

In a large pot of boiling water, cook ramen noodles until tender, about 3-4 minutes; rinse with cold water and drain well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together beef stock, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar and Sriracha.

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and onion and cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.
Stir in garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in beef stock mixture, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Stir in ramen noodles until heated through and evenly coated in sauce, about 1-2 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Pork and Chili Stir-Fry

1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced Ginger
1 tablespoon minced Garlic
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
2 teaspoons sambal olek or other spicy red chili sauce
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
2-3 Green Chilies (sliced jalapenos, serranos, or bird’s eye chilis, depending on how hot you want your dish)
1/2 cup chopped Spring onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 head butter lettuce

In a 10-inch pan over medium high heat, add oil. To the hot oil, add minced ginger and garlic and let them sizzle for 2-3 seconds. Add the ground pork. Mix well and brown the meat, breaking up all the clumps. You want some crispy parts, but mainly you want to cook the pork well.

While the meat cooks, chop up the green onions and cilantro. Mix them in a bowl and set aside.

After about 8 minutes when the meat is almost done, push the meat to the sides to create a small space in the middle. Add the sliced green and red chilis.

Pour in soy sauce, sesame oil, the sambal olek if using and stir well.

Turn off the stove and let the pork rest uncovered for 3-4 minutes to cool a little.

Stir in the chopped green onions and cilantro. Sprinkle the lemon juice and stir well.

Separate the butter lettuce leaves and allow your diners to serve themselves some of the spicy pork mixture into each butter lettuce, leaf. Or skip the lettuce and just eat the meat—good either way.

Easy Scallion Pancakes

6-8 scallions
salt (to taste)
vegetable, canola, or light olive oil (for brushing and cooking your scallion pancakes)
1 pack store-bought round, white dumpling wrappers (1 lb or 450g)

Wash the scallions and pat them thoroughly dry with a clean kitchen towel. Slice the scallions in half lengthwise and finely chop them.

Prepare a small dish of salt and a dish of oil, along with a pastry brush.

On a clean work surface, take a dumpling wrapper, brush it with a thin layer of oil, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Then cover with a layer of scallions. Top it with another dumpling wrapper, and lightly press it down. Repeat the process until you have 4-7 layers of dumpling wrappers.

Use a rolling pin to roll the layered dumpling skins into a pancake––however thick or thin you like. Rotate the scallion pancake as you roll to get a perfect round shape.

Heat a flat-bottomed non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Spread 1 tablespoon oil around in the pan, and add the scallion pancake. Cook each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. (Avoid using high heat, as it will burn the pancake without cooking it through).

If the pan looks dry after flipping the pancake, you can add another tablespoon of oil.

Enjoy these plain or with a dipping sauce! We’ve found that they go great with our dumpling dipping sauce.

Notes
To pre-make and freeze any uncooked scallion pancakes:
After rolling out each pancake, place on a sheet of parchment or wax paper, and place another sheet of paper on top.

Layer the scallion pancakes between the wax paper or parchment paper.

Transfer to a large freezer bag, and place on a flat shelf in the freezer so they freeze flat.

To cook, add them directly to a pan with hot oil––no need to thaw beforehand.

Stir-Fried Beef and Herbs

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
2 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 pound 80 to 85 percent lean ground beef (not extra lean)
3 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
3/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch and sugar. Set aside. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the oil until shimmering.

Add the beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces, until mostly browned but some pink still remains, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the chilies and soy sauce mixture, then cook, stirring, until no pink remains and the meat is evenly coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint and cilantro.

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.