Hot and Numbing Stir-Fried Potatoes (with Variations)

FOR THE POTATOES:
2 pounds small yellow new potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
Kosher salt

FOR THE SPICE BLEND:
2 teaspoons red Sichuan peppercorns
1 star anise pod
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon white peppercorns or 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 whole dried hot chiles (such as chile de arból or Japonais) or 1 tablespoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon (or replace with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon MSG to make the dish vegan)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

FOR STIR-FRYING:
1/4 cup peanut, rice bran or soybean oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cool water by 2 inches. Season heavily with salt. (The water should taste like very salty seawater once the salt has dissolved.) Place over high heat, bring to a boil and cook until there’s no resistance when a knife or cake tester is poked through the largest potato, about 10 minutes after they come to a boil. Drain potatoes and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet to air-dry.

While the potatoes cook, make the spice blend: In a small bowl, shake the Sichuan peppercorns and discard any shiny black seeds, twigs or leaf fragments. Add the husks to a dry wok, along with the star anise, fennel seeds, white peppercorns and half the cumin seeds. Toast over medium heat, tossing frequently, until very aromatic, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a small bowl to cool slightly. Return wok to heat and add remaining cumin seeds and the chiles. Toss and stir until very aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a second small bowl.

When cool, transfer the spice mixture in the first bowl, along with the 2 chiles from the second bowl to an electric spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Add salt, sugar and chicken bouillon. Grind to a fine powder and return to the empty bowl.

Add the cumin seeds that toasted with the chiles to the spice grinder or the mortar (no need to clean it out) and pound or pulse until very coarsely ground. (There should be large, distinct pieces of cumin seeds.) Add half-ground cumin and the sesame seeds to the rest of the spice mixture and stir to incorporate.

Stir-fry the potatoes: When potatoes are dry, heat 3 tablespoons oil in the wok over high heat until shimmering. Add potatoes and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until browned in spots, about 4 minutes.

Clear a small space in the center of the wok and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to it. Immediately add the garlic, scallions and spice mixture to the oil and stir until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Toss everything until the potatoes are thoroughly coated in spices, about 15 seconds. Season to taste with more salt as desired. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Tips:
To stick with more traditional Thanksgiving flavors, flavor the potatoes with garlic and rosemary:

Follow recipe steps above, omitting the spice blend and skipping Steps 2 through 4. As the potatoes boil, finely mince 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves. Add the minced rosemary leaves to the wok in Step 6, along with the garlic and scallions, plus 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

For another flavor profile, try the potatoes with blistered cumin and mustard seeds:

Follow recipe steps above, omitting the spice blend and skipping Steps 2 through 4. As the potatoes boil, heat 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil in a wok over high heat until shimmering. Add 2 teaspoons each cumin seeds and black (or brown) mustard seeds and stir-fry until they sizzle and pop then popping starts to subside. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small heatproof bowl. Transfer the blistered mustard and cumin seeds to a separate bowl and add 2 teaspoons curry powder and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. This is your spice mixture to be added to the potatoes as directed in Step 6. Use the strained oil to stir-fry in Steps 5 and 6. This version is especially good with a handful of chopped fresh cilantro leaves tossed with the potatoes just before serving.
Thanks

Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower

For the Baked Crispy Cauliflower
5 tbsp corn starch or other starch
6 tbsp bread crumbs use gluten-free crumbs to make gf
5 tbsp or more water
1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) cayenne use a 1/3 tsp for less heat
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) salt
1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) roasted sesame oil
1 tsp oil
1 medium head of cauliflower chopped into florets

For the Kung Pao sauce:
1 tsp oil
8 to 10 (8 to 10 ) dried red chilies chinese red chilies, or arbol or cayenne, or use california red for less heat
1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) coarsely crushed sichuan peppercorns or use a mix of coarsely crushed black pepper and red pepper flakes
2 to 3 tbsp chopped cashews or peanuts
4 to 5 cloves of garlic minced
1 inch ginger minced
2 tbsp scallions chopped

Sauce mix
2.5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce/tamari use certified gluten-free sauce to make gf
1.5 to 2 tbsp (1.5 to 1 tbsp) rice vinegar
1 tsp chinese rice wine optional
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup (63 ml) + 2 tbsp water use 1/2 cup for more sauce
1 tsp cornstarch

Chop up the cauliflower and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F / 220ºc. Mix the cornstarch breadcrumbs, and the rest of the ingredients to make a batter. Let the batter sit for 10 seconds to thicken if it isn’t thick. The cornstarch continues to thicken the batter, so as soon as it is a good not too watery consistency, start dipping the cauliflower in the batter, tap to drop excess and place on parchment lined baking sheet. If the batter thickens too much while working, add a tsp or more water and mix in and continue.

Bake for 30 minutes or longer until the florets are cooked through. Check with a toothpick/knife
Meanwhile make the sauce. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the red chilies and peppercorns and cook until the red chilies are fragrant, but not overly brown, or someone starts sneezing. (For more heat, break some of the chilies into half and add to the skillet.)

Add the nuts and mix for a few seconds. Add the ginger, garlic, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until the garlic is golden. 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add in the scallions, and 2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped green peppers or other veggies if using and mix in. Increase heat to medium. Cook for a minute.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and add to the skillet. Continue to cook until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens slightly. 2 mins. Carefully taste and adjust salt, sweet and spice. If the sauce is not hot enough, break a few of the chilies open or add in red pepper flakes to taste and mix in.
Arrange the baked cauliflower in a shallow bowl in one layer. When ready to serve, Drizzle the sauce over each floret. Serve.

To store, store the baked cauliflower and sauce separately. Heat the sauce, pour over the florets. To serve with rice/cooked grains, double the sauce mix and bring to a boil to thicken, toss in the cauliflower and serve immediately over rice.

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

Sesame Soy Sauce:
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic , minced
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sriracha
2 tsp cornstarch or 1.5 tsp tapioca starch
1/4 cup (59.15 ml) cold water

Cauliflower:
1/2 cup rice flour
3 tbsp tapioca or corn starch.
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper and cayenne
1/2 cup (118.29 ml) water
2 tsp sesame oil
1 (265 g) small head of cauliflower, chopped into equal size florets

Garnish: sesame seeds and scallions

Sticky Sesame Sauce: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Cook the garlic ginger for a minute. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple and bring to boil. Mix cornstarch in the water and add this cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil to thicken, Take off heat.

Cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 425 deg F ( 220 C). Line a baking sheet or dish with parchment. In a large bowl add the dry ingredients for the batter and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients and min until smooth.

Add the cauliflower and mix to coat. This batter keeps thickening as it sits, so mix and toss quickly.

Transfer to the the lined baking sheet. and bake for 30 mins. Make the sticky sauce in the meanwhile if you havent yet.

Once baked, you can do one of the following:

1. Brush the sauce over the cauliflower florets and bake for additional 10 to 15 mins (time depends on how crisp and sticky you want the sauce)

2. Wait for a few mins then transfer the florets to the sauce. Mix gently to coat. Serve immediately or transfer to the baking sheet to bake for 10 to 15 mins.

Sprinkle black and white sesame seeds and chopped scallions and serve as is, or over rice or in lettuce wraps.

Note: you can substitute tofu for some of the cauliflower.

Chicken Mei Fun

FOR THE RICE NOODLES:

7 ounces dried thin rice vermicelli noodles
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce

FOR THE CHICKEN:

7 ounces chicken breast (cut into strips)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 pinch five spice powder (optional)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

FOR THE REST OF THE DISH:

2 slices ginger (julienned)
4-5 small shallots (thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
5 oz. cabbage (shredded)
3 scallions (cut into 2-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste
2 tablespoons water (optional)

Soak the dried rice noodles as per the instructions on the back of the package. To test whether or not they’ve been soaked enough, take a noodle and chew on it to make sure it’s no longer hard/dry. Drain thoroughly, shaking off the noodles to get rid of excess water.

In a large bowl, mix the rice noodles with 1 teaspoon of oil and 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce until evenly coated. Set aside.

Add the chicken to a medium bowl, along with the cornstarch, water, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, five spice, and vegetable oil. Marinate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the ginger, shallots, carrot, cabbage, and scallions. Have everything ready to go before you turn on the stove.

Heat your wok over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons oil, followed by the ginger and chicken. Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through. Add the shallots, and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the cabbage and carrots, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

Season everything with 1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Mix well.

Finally, add the prepared rice noodles along with the scallions. Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry everything together to heat the noodles through and distribute the chicken and vegetables. Salt to taste.

If you like more al dente noodles, you can serve immediately. If you like softer noodles, add 2 tablespoons of water to the wok, cover, and cook for a minute over low heat before serving.

Cold Tahini Noodles

Kosher salt
1 pound dried udon noodles (may substitute Chinese egg noodles or whole-wheat linguine)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger root, finely grated
2 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 large carrot, scrubbed well and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin 2-inch-long strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (or 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook for 8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, drain again and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and toss to coat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the rice vinegar, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and chili-garlic sauce.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to coat. Add the carrot, cucumber and bell pepper and toss to mix it together.

Sprinkle the scallions and peanuts (or toasted sesame seeds) on top before serving.

Zha Cai Rousi Mian (Shredded Pork Noodle Soup)

For the pork:
4-6 ounces pork shoulder or pork loin (cut into thin strips)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the rest of the soup:
8 ounces fresh white noodles (use half this weight if using dried noodles)
4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
7 ounces pickled mustard stems (may also be labeled “pickled radish” – look for ?? – Zha Cai on the label)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 scallion (chopped)

In a small bowl, combine the pork, cornstarch, oil, wine, oyster sauce, and salt. Set aside to marinate while preparing the other ingredients.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles, and cook according to package instructions. Drain and distribute between two bowls.

Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil and keep warm on the stove. Taste for seasoning and season with salt to taste if desired.

Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Add a tablespoon of oil, and stir-fry the pork until browned. Add the Zha Cai and sugar, and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Ladle hot broth over the noodles, and top with the pork and Zha Cai mixture. Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and scallions. Serve.

Cantonese Supreme Soy Sauce Pan-Fried Noodles

300 grams fresh thin egg noodles (Twin Marquis Hong Kong Fried Noodles)
4 Tbsp cooking oil – divided, plus more as needed
1 large onion – peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups beansprouts

Seasonings:
2 Tbsp soy sauce – or more to taste
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the seasonings and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the fresh egg noodles in the boiling water for 1 minute or less. Don’t overcook the noodles. If you use dried noodles, cook them according to instruction. I suggest to cook it to al dente and then refresh with cold water.

Preheat a wok or large skillet until really hot. Add 3 Tbsp of oil. Add the blanched noodles to the wok. Spread it on the wok as thinly as possible and let them fry until certain spots get slightly charred and crispy. Flip over and let it crisp up on certain spots. Drizzle with a bit of oil on the side if necessary. Dish out the noodles.

Preheat the wok again. Add 1 Tbsp of oil and add onion slices. Stir fry until they are slightly softened but still has a bit of crunch.

Add the noodles followed by the seasonings. Toss to mix everything and to make sure the seasonings coat the noodles. Add beansprouts and stir fry for about 30 seconds or so or until it just a bit soft but still have that crunch. Have a taste and adjust by adding more soy sauce if needed. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Variations:

Supreme soy sauce noodles is a very basic Cantonese chow-mein and usually with no protein or leafy vegetables added. However, if you want to make it into a “complete” meal with some protein and veggies, you certainly can.

PROTEIN: chicken, beef slices, pork slices, tofu, shrimp, etc. Stir fry this with a bit of oil after you pan-fry the noodles and then dish out and add them back in together with the noodles and seasonings later.

VEGETABLES: Bok choy, yu choy, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), mushrooms, etc. After stir frying the onion, add the veggies and continue to stir fry until the veggies are soft and continue with the rest of the recipe.

Sheet Pan Salt and Pepper Chicken

1 pound (450 grams) boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) , cut to 1-inch (2-cm) pieces
1 egg , beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 small batch basil (or nori sheets) (*Footnote 1)

Marinade
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic , finely grated
2 teaspoons ginger , finely grated
2 teaspoons brown sugar (or regular sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Spice Mix
2 teaspoons white pepper powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar (or regular sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder

Combine the chicken and the marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Mix well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge.

Combine the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl and stir to mix well. Note, this recipe prepares more spice mix than you might use, so you can adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

When you’re ready to cook, add the beaten egg into the bowl with the chicken. Stir to mix well. Add the cornstarch. Stir to coat the chicken, until it forms an uneven coating with a little dry cornstarch left unattached. The batter should be quite dry and not very runny.

Add the oil to a large skillet (nonstick or carbon steel), just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken one piece at a time using a pair of chopsticks or tongs. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much.

Cook the chicken until the bottom turns golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip to brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, you can deep-fry the chicken with more oil at 350 F (176 C) until golden brown.) Transfer chicken to a large plate and remove the pan from the stove to let it cool a bit.

Your pan should still have a thin layer of oil remaining in it. If not, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat over medium heat. Spread the basil leaves. Cook the bottom side for 30 seconds. Flip to cook the other side until crispy. Transfer the basil leaves to a large plate to cool.
While the chicken is still hot, sprinkle about half of the spice mix over the chicken and gently toss it with a pair of tongs. Taste the chicken. Add more spice mix if needed. Add the cooked basil leaves and toss again.

Serve as an appetizer.

You can store the leftover chicken in a sealed container in the fridge. To reheat the chicken, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Heat the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through.

Notes
The crispy basil leaves add another flavor dimension to the dish, but it does require some extra effort to cook them. I’ve found that dried nori sheets have a similar texture and equally interesting taste. You can simply shred some nori and add it to the chicken to skip frying the basil.

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops

1 lb (450 g) boneless pork chops , cut into irregular 1/2” to 1” (1 to 2.5 cm) pieces (See the blog post above for how to cut the chops)

Marinade
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry for gluten-free)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pepper salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Cooking
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or enough to cover half of the pork)
3 cloves garlic , sliced
1 jalapeno , thinly sliced

Combine the cut pork with the oil, shaoxing wine, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and salt. Mix until the pork is evenly coated. Marinate for 15 minutes.

Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Add enough oil to a medium-sized pan to cover half of the pork. Heat over medium heat until hot. Prepare a plate lined with paper towels.

Add the garlic and peppers to the oil and fry them until the garlic just turns pale golden and the jalapenos crisp up on the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, draining the excess oil as you do, and place them onto the paper towel lined plate. Once the peppers and garlic have cooled, transfer them to a big bowl.

Add the 1/4 cup cornstarch to the marinated pork chops and toss to coat. Add the pork to the pan, a few pieces at a time, so they do not crowd the pan. Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until the coating is crispy and lightly browned.

Remove the pork from the pan, draining the excess oil as you do, and place them on the paper towel lined plate. Let rest for at least 10 to 20 seconds, so the paper soaks up some of the oil. Once you’ve cooked all the pork chops, transfer them to the bowl with the pepper and garlic.

Sprinkle half of the salt and pepper over everything and toss to evenly distribute. Taste the pork and sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Sichuan Chicken Salad

2 10-12-ounce bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts
6 scallions, white parts coarsely chopped, green parts thinly sliced on a bias, reserved separately
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into 4 pieces and smashed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Kosher salt
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
2 tablespoons chili oil
2 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (optional), toasted and finely ground
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise on a bias
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

In a large saucepan, place the chicken skin side down, then add the scallion whites, ginger, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Add 4 cups water and the sherry, if using, fully submerging the chicken.
Bring to a boil over medium-high, then cover, reduce to low and cook at a bare simmer until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover the pan and let the chicken cool in the liquid for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the chili oil, tahini, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, 1½ teaspoons of salt, Sichuan peppercorns, if using, and cayenne.

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the skin and bones, then transfer the meat to a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the tahini dressing, then use a wooden spoon to smash the meat, shredding it and working in the dressing. Use your fingers to pull the shreds into bite-size pieces.

Add the cucumber and ¾ each of the peanuts and scallion greens. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and toss until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts and scallions.

Chinese Quick-Pickled Shallots

1 shallot, sliced into 1/4″ (1/2 cm) round pieces
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (or black peppercorns)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the shallots in a heat proof bowl.

Add the peppercorns to a small pot. Toast over medium-low heat until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to the pot. Cook and stir until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved and the liquid is coming to a simmer.

Pour the hot pickling liquid over the shallots. Let the shallots cool completely.

Serve immediately, or you can store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

All-Purpose Peanut Sauce

2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (minced or grated)
1/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky are both fine; 1/3 cup = 80g)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce (omit to make this vegan or substitute with vegan fish sauce)
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (or to taste)
2-3 tablespoons hot water (to your desired consistency)

Optional Add-ins
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon chili oil
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha
Instructions

Add all of the ingredients into a small bowl. Add the hot water, and stir to combine until you have a smooth sauce. Alternatively, you can make this in a food processor for a smoother consistency.

Enjoy this sauce on noodles, veggie noodles, tofu, grilled meats, vegetables, wontons or dumplings, salads, summer rolls, and more!

Chile Oil Noodles

14 ounces dried udon noodles
1/4 cup chile oil with crunchy garlic
2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sichuan chile oil, or to taste
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup finely sliced garlic chives or scallions, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons store-bought fried shallots, crumbled by hand (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (see Note), plus a few sprigs for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package instructions, stirring from time to time to prevent them from sticking. Drain well in a colander, then run noodles under cold water until cooled.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all three oils with the soy sauce and 1/2 cup garlic chives.
Toss cooled noodles into the chile oil mixture. Gently fold in the crumbled fried shallots and chopped cilantro. Divide among four bowls, and top with more garlic chives and cilantro sprigs.

Pork Fried Rice With Corn and Shishito Peppers

2 cups cooked white rice (12 ounces; 350g)
2 1/2 tablespoons (40ml) vegetable or canola oil, divided
6 ounces (170g) fresh corn kernels, cut from 1 to 2 ears of corn
2 scallions, sliced, whites and greens reserved separately (1 ounce; 30g)
12 shishito peppers, thinly sliced, or 1 green bell pepper, finely diced (about 6 ounces; 170g)
6 ounces (170g) leftover roast pork or ham, finely diced
1 teaspoon (5ml) soy sauce
1 teaspoon (5ml) toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt
Ground white pepper
1 large egg

If using day-old rice, transfer to a medium bowl and break rice up into individual grains with your hands before proceeding. Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is pale brown and toasted and has a lightly chewy texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon oil and remaining rice.

2.
Return wok to heat and add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred on several surfaces, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with rice and toss to combine.

If using day-old rice, transfer to a medium bowl and break rice up into individual grains with your hands before proceeding. Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is pale brown and toasted and has a lightly chewy texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon oil and remaining rice.

Return wok to heat and add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred on several surfaces, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with rice and toss to combine.

Return all rice and corn to wok and press it up the sides, leaving a space in the middle. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the space. Add scallion whites, peppers, and pork and cook, stirring gently, until lightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Push rice to the side of wok and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Break egg into oil and season with a little salt. Use a spatula to scramble egg, breaking it up into small bits. Toss egg and rice together.

Return all rice and corn to wok and press it up the sides, leaving a space in the middle. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the space. Add scallion whites, peppers, and pork and cook, stirring gently, until lightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Push rice to the side of wok and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Break egg into oil and season with a little salt. Use a spatula to scramble egg, breaking it up into small bits. Toss egg and rice together.

Add scallion greens and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Perfect Egg Fried Rice

3 tablespoons (45ml) vegetable or other neutral oil
3 large eggs, thoroughly beaten
1 1/2 to 2 cups (about 1 pound/450g) cooked rice (see note)
2 teaspoons (10ml) light soy sauce
3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise

Preheat a wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. If cooking on a powerful outdoor wok burner, reduce heat to minimum. If using a standard Western burner, keep heat on high throughout cooking. Add eggs to center of wok and cook, swirling wok until eggs are puffy and lightly browned on the bottom, about 10 seconds on a powerful burner or 30 seconds on a standard burner. Flip eggs and lightly brown on second side. Push eggs up to the side of the wok.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and swirl to coat. Add rice to center of wok. Flip eggs on top of rice, then using a wok spatula, break the rice and eggs up, tossing and stirring as you break them. Stir-fry until rice starts to pop and jump on its own when you set the wok down, about 1 minute on a powerful burner or 2 to 3 minutes on a standard burner.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil around the rim of the wok, then add the soy sauce to the same spot. Stir-fry until rice and eggs are evenly coated in the soy sauce (the rice should be more or less broken up into distinct grains without any large clumps). Add scallions. Remove from heat and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Chinese Cold Dressing

4 cloves garlic (minced; 4 cloves = about 15g)
3 thin slices ginger (minced; 3 thin slices = about 8g)
2 scallions (chopped, with the green and white parts separated)
3 Thai chilies (chopped)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (or to taste)
2 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1/2-1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped; or to taste)

In a large heat-proof bowl, arrange the minced garlic, minced ginger, the white parts of the chopped scallion, and chopped Thai chilies so they are adjacent to each other at the bottom of the bowl (don’t messily pile them all on top of each other).

Now infuse the Sichuan peppercorns in oil. In a small pot, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the Sichuan peppercorns over low heat until fragrant, taking care not to burn the peppercorns.
After about 10 minutes, remove the peppercorns using a fine meshed strainer or slotted spoon. Heat the infused oil just until it begins to smoke. Pour it carefully over the arranged aromatics in the bowl. It will bubble and sizzle! Carefully stir to evenly distribute the heat.

Now add in the sugar, vinegar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt and five spice powder. Mix well.

Finally add in the green parts of the chopped scallion and the cilantro. (If pre-making the sauce, leave these last ingredients out and add them right before serving.)

This all-purpose Chinese Cold “salad” dressing is ready to add flavor to blanched or steamed vegetables, tofu, seaweed, noodles, etc. With this sauce, you can make a variety of refreshing, cooling dishes during the warmer months, and use it for anything you have on hand.

Simply blanch or steam some vegetables, say: carrots, celery, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, string beans, even mushrooms. You could also include some traditional Chinese add-ins like tofu, seitan, five-spiced tofu, bean threads, seaweed, wood ears, noodles, etc.

This dressing will make your dinner planning that much easier. Make double, triple or quadruple this recipe and keep it refrigerated to be used throughout the week.

Peanut Noodles

200 g fresh white (wheat) noodles (7 ounces; or 100g/3.5 ounces dried)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (minced or grated)
1/3 cup peanut butter (85g; creamy or chunky)
2-3 tablespoons hot water (depending on desired sauce consistency)
1 tablespoon Thai sweet soy sauce (we like the “Healthy Boy” brand; can substitute 1 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce, plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce to keep the dish vegan)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
2 teaspoons chili oil (optional)

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Meanwhile, prepare the garlic and ginger, and add to a serving bowl along with the peanut butter and hot water.

Stir to combine, letting the hot water loosen the peanut butter. Then stir in the sweet/dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil, along with the lime juice and chili oil if using.

By now, your water should be boiling. Cook your noodles according to package instructions. Drain and toss in your sauce. Serve.

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.