Garlic Noodles

12 ounces thin spaghetti (340g; can also use dried Chinese noodles or fresh egg noodles)
salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar (depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 whole scallions (chopped)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles/pasta according to package instructions. If using fresh noodles, you may simply need to blanch them. (Reserve some of the pasta cooking water, as you may need it in the sauce later.)

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until lightly caramelized, and stir in the turmeric (if using), oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir for 1 minute and add the scallions.

After 30 seconds, to let the scallions wilt, toss in the cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the noodle cooking water to loosen them up.

Serve them either as a side dish, or as a quick and easy vegetarian main, with some bok choy or sauteed broccoli on the side!

1-2-3-4-5 Tofu

21 ounces firm tofu (1 1/2 containers, 600g; cut into cubes)
2 tablespoons oil
4 slices ginger
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons water

Preheat a wok (or cast iron pan) until it starts to smoke lightly. This is very important to prevent the tofu from sticking.

Add 2 tablespoons oil, along with the ginger slices. Over medium heat, fry the ginger for 1 minute. Add the tofu, and take 10 minutes to brown the tofu on at least 2-3 sides.

When the tofu is lightly browned (or to your liking), add in 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 5 tablespoons water. Stir and mix everything well. Turn up the heat to bring it to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to medium/low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Halfway through, check to make sure the liquid is not drying up. If so, reduce the heat further and add in a little more water if needed.

After 15 minutes, remove the lid. The sauce should be mostly cooked down. With the heat on high, gently toss the tofu to ensure every piece is coated in glistening sauce. This process takes a couple of minutes. Reduce the liquid until there is ¼ cup of liquid left and the tofu is gleaming with sauce. Serve immediately.

Asian Cabbage Salad with Shrimp

1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
1/2 small green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (6 packed cups)
2 carrots, julienned
2 Kirby cucumbers, very thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook until pink and curled, about 1 minute. Drain the shrimp and transfer them to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry.

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, red curry paste and shallot. Add the cabbage, carrots, cucumbers and shrimp and toss until evenly coated. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, until the cabbage is very slightly wilted. Toss the salad, top with the peanuts and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

The dressing can be refrigerated overnight.

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Peanut-Lime Dressing

4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
1/2 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
Zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, combine the red and green cabbage, carrots, and cilantro.

In another bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, chili flakes, honey, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir in the water until the dressing is smooth and set aside.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped peanuts and serve chilled.

All-Purpose Chinese Brown Sauce

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.

Whether you have carrots, peppers, onions, celery, snow peas, snap peas, bean sprouts, bok choy, etc. left over or readily available in your fridge, you can use any combination you like. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe!

HOW TO USE THIS STIR-FRY SAUCE:

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.

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).

PREPARE YOUR THICKENER: 2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

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.

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.

All-Purpose Chinese White Sauce

For the Chinese white sauce:
3 cups stock (chicken stock, pork stock or vegetable stock, 540 ml)
3 cloves garlic (finely minced or grated)
3/4 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon scallion (white part only, minced)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 teaspoon MSG (totally optional!)

Pour chicken, pork or vegetable stock into a resealable glass jar. It’s best to use home-made stock but you can use store-bought as well. If you use store-bought prepared stock, try to use a pure stock without any other flavorings added (herbs, spices, etc.), as usually store-bought stocks are usually made for western cooking.

Next, add the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites. It’s best if these aromatics are very finely minced. Add, salt, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce), and MSG if using.

Seal, and shake well to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake before using. Makes enough sauce for 4-6 dishes.

To make a stir-fry:
8 ounces meat of your choice (225g, pork, chicken, or beef; thinly sliced ¼ inch thick)
3 cups mixed vegetables (bell pepper, mushrooms, celery, carrots, snow peas, snap peas, broccoli/broccolini, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, lotus root, etc.)
1/2 cup firm tofu (cubed, optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 – 3/4 cup prepared Chinese white sauce (depending upon how much sauce you like)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water; you may need a little more or less, depending upon how much sauce you use and how thick you like it)

Take your sliced meat, and velvet it using our method for velveting beef, velveting chicken, or velveting pork.

Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil, and blanch the vegetables and tofu for 30 to 60 seconds. Drain thoroughly and set aside. (Blanch in 2 batches if you have lots of vegetables, or if vegetables require different cooking times. Dense vegetables like carrots will take a little longer than snap peas, for example).

Heat your wok over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to evenly coat the wok. Spread the velveted meat in the wok in one layer. Sear for 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the wok and set aside. Note, instead of searing the meat, you can also blanch it; just reduce oil to 1 tablespoon for stir-frying.

Next, without washing the wok, reheat your wok over high heat, and add the blanched vegetables and Shaoxing wine. Stir everything together, and add the meat.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your white stir-fry sauce, and stir-fry everything together to deglaze the wok. Keep cooking until the sauce comes to a full simmer.

Mix the cornstarch and water into a slurry. Move the pork and vegetables to the sides of the wok. There should be a little well of sauce/liquid at the center of the wok. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the liquid, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Give everything a final stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Plate and serve over steamed rice.

Cantonese Ginger Scallion Oil

Ingredients
2 scallions (must have white parts, 50g)
10 thin slices fresh ginger (20g)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (120 ml)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
light soy sauce (to taste; OPTIONAL)
Instructions
Wash the scallions and pat them thoroughly dry. Thinly slice them into rounds, and then use your knife to mince them further.
Next, slice 10 rounds of ginger very thinly. Julienne them into matchsticks and mince them finely. (These steps could be done with a food processor.)
Combine the scallion, ginger, oil, and salt in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, and it’s ready to serve!

Notes:

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN USE IT:

As a condiment to chicken or any meat of your choice – poached, pan-fried, or even grilled

As a dip for tofu, for our vegans out there

In cold noodles

As a flavoring or topping for leafy green vegetable stir-fries

Over plain rice with a fried egg, or fried rice!

If we are enjoying poached chicken (bai qie ji), we split it into two small bowls, and add light soy sauce to one of them to taste.

Roasted Fish (or Scallops, Chicken, or Tofu) with Miso Rice and Ginger Scallion Sauce

1/4 cup white or sweet miso
1 1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain rice
4 (6-ounce) skin-on fish fillets (or other protein; see note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 cups finely shredded cabbage, such as green, Napa or savoy (about 8 ounces)
Roasted sesame oil, for serving

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium saucepan, whisk miso with 2 1/4 cups water until dissolved. Stir in rice and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork (it will be a little sticky).

On a rimmed baking sheet, rub salmon all over with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and arrange skin-side up. Roast until fish is just opaque and cooked to medium, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, scallions, vinegar and ginger, and season with salt and pepper.

Divide miso rice and cabbage among bowls. Top with salmon, ginger-scallion vinaigrette and sesame oil.
Notes:
The rice complements other seafood, too, like cod, shrimp and scallops. It’s also a great accompaniment to grilled steak and roasted chicken. And if it’s a satisfying plant-based meal you’re after, miso rice is a natural match for delicious tofu-vegetable bowls. Use the versatile ginger-scallion vinaigrette as the sauce.

Shredded cabbage brings freshness and crunch to the finished dish, but use whatever crispy vegetable you have on hand: shredded brussels sprouts, carrots, snap peas, radishes and iceberg lettuce are all great options.

Some readers suggest waiting until almost the end of the cooking time for the rice to add a watered down miso mixture. Miso is full of great enzymes that are good for digestion that can be destroyed when boiled.

Basic Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch (about 1/4 ounce; 7g)
1 tablespoon (15ml) water
2/3 cup (160ml) pineapple juice
1/3 cup (80ml) rice vinegar
1/3 cup (74g) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (45ml) ketchup
1 tablespoon (15ml) soy sauce

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine pineapple juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in cornstarch slurry and cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cucumber Salad with Soy, Ginger, and Garlic

2 large thin-skinned cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small garlic clove, minced, or granulated garlic or garlic flakes to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne, plus more to taste
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons sunflower oil or grapeseed oil
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Sprinkle the cucumbers with a generous amount of salt and let sit in a colander in the sink for 15 minutes. Rinse and dry on a kitchen towel. Transfer to a salad bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and pepper. Whisk in the sesame oil and the sunflower or grapeseed oil. Toss with the cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. Chill until ready to serve.

Cucumber Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Chili

6 Persian cucumbers (about 1 pound), cut lengthwise into thin spears, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1/4 cup salted, roasted peanuts
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 small garlic clove, grated
Chile oil, store-bought or homemade, for serving (optional)

Toss cucumbers with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Set aside to drain.
Chop peanuts, cilantro and red-pepper flakes together until very fine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Add up to 1 tablespoon water, if needed to thin mixture. Transfer salted cucumbers to the bowl with dressing and toss to coat.

Japanese Spicy Pickled Daikon (with Korean, Chinese, and Indian Variations)

1 pound daikon radish
15ml (1 tbsp) table salt
125ml (1/2 cup) sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) apple cider vinegar
125ml (1/2 cup) water
30ml (2 tbsp) sea salt
2 red chillies, washed and finely sliced
60ml (4 tbsp) dill, washed and chopped
Peel the radish and then slice it thinly as desired.

Sprinkle with salt and leave for 2 hours in order to draw out moisture.

Place the salt, sugar, vinegar, water and chillies in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Continue stirring the pickling mixture until all the salt and sugar have dissolved. Set aside to cool down.

Squeeze the excess moisture out of the radish.

Layer the vegetable along with sprinklings of dill in a sterilised, airtight storage container.

Pour in the pickling liquid, ensuring all surfaces of the radish are covered.

Wait for at least 2 days, but preferably 1 month, for the flavours to develop.

Variations:

Korean Pickled Daikon
You can easily turn this pickled dikon recipe into a kimchi-style recipe. All you need to make this a kimchi pickled daikon recipe is the chilli paste kimchi is made with. This includes the Sunchang Gochujang hot pepper paste. Just mix as much hot pepper paste as you see fit.

Chinese Pickled Daikon
You can easily make a Chinese-style pickled daikon. Simply add the following traditional Chinese ingredients and spices below, such as:

star anise
cloves
cassia or Chinese cinnamon
sesame seed oil
fennel seeds

You can also consider these additional ingredients:

cabbage
Korean radish
carrots
scallions
zucchini
gingergarlic
turmeric

Pickled Mooli
You can also make this an Indian-style recipe. Just add some turmeric powder or these turmeric substitutes. Next add ginger, curry powder, garam masala mix and fresh chillies or chilli paste. This way you can incorporate as much Indian flavour as possible.

Chili-Garlic Shrimp

1 lb (450 g) raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Sauce:
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)

Stir Fry:
4 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced

Combine the shrimp and Shaoxing wine in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Mix until the salt is evenly dispersed. Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil (or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a medium-sized skillet until hot. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch and all-purpose flour to the bowl with the shrimp. Toss until the shrimp are fully coated.
Shake the extra flour off the shrimp and add them to the pan. You might need to cook them in two batches. Let the shrimp cook without touching them, until the bottom turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip to brown the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Once done, transfer the shrimp to a large plate without overlapping and keep cooking the rest.

Once you’re done cooking the shrimp, turn off the stove and use paper towels to wipe the pan to remove any residue.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the sauce to the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy, 20 to 30 seconds.

Turn the heat off and return the shrimp into the pan, tossing to coat thoroughly.

Serve hot as a main dish.

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.