Chinese shrimp stir fry

Adapted from Steamy Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce (I didn’t have)
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro minced (optional, I didn’t use)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined (tails left intact)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil divided (I used butter, peanut oil preferable)
  • 3 scallions, chopped (I wish I’d had, used red onion instead)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, microplane grater (I wish I’d had)

Directions:

  1. Pat the shrimp very dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, add shrimp and cornstarch and toss to coat.
  2. In a wok over high heat, add half the peanut oil (butter) and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the wok is very hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook partially until one side is nicely seared, about 1 minute. Flip and sear the other side of each shrimp, about one more minute. They don’t need to be cooked all the way through yet. Remove them to a plate and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, soy sauce and cilantro and set aside.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and let wok cool off a bit to prevent the aromatics from burning. Add the remaining cooking oil and add green onion (I had red onion), garlic and ginger (couldn’t find) and stir fry for a minute until fragrant. [I used other vegetables, like lima beans, which I added to the wok and stir fried until bright in color and crisp-crunchy.]
  5. Pour in the sauce mixture and add the shrimp back into the pan. Stir fry for another minute or so until shrimp is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Some AirBnB tenants left some frozen shrimp, and I had garlic and butter, so… Home-cooked meal ^_^ My only regret is not having ginger and scallions — I don’t think the lima beans or red onions were the best complement.

~Jessica

Ginger fried rice II

Adapted from The Woks of Life

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Heat your wok over high heat. Add ¼ cup oil to the wok and heat over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and fry until fragrant (the color will darken, but the ginger will not necessarily become crisp). Next, add the garlic. It should be lightly toasted; if it’s still white in color, it needs more cooking time. In total, it will take about 10 minutes time to cook the ginger and garlic.
  2. Next, turn the heat up to high and add the rice to the wok. Stir-fry the rice so the ginger-garlic mixture is evenly distributed. Spread the rice out in one layer so it can evenly toast. Occasionally stir-fry the rice and re-spread it. Next, season the rice with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and white pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Next, pour the eggs evenly over the rice, and stir-fry quickly to distribute. The egg will coat the grains of rice, and you’ll have egg throughout instead of large clumps. If you’d prefer to pre-scramble the eggs and then stir them in at this step, you can do that too.
  4. I added some frozen vegetables (green peas to be exact) and pieces of soy sauce-stewed chicken my grandmother made.
  5. Add the scallions, stir-fry to combine, and serve!

I didn’t have shrimps. I ran out of scallions. I have been trying to be healthy cooking at home instead of always eating frozen dinners or Starbucks. It is hard though!

~Jessie

Stir-fried tomato and scrambled eggs

Adapted from The Woke of Life

Ingredients:

  • 4 small to medium tomatoes (about 500 g, 1 pound)
  • 1 scallion
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp salt (divided, or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
  • 2 tsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Start by cutting tomatoes into small wedges and finely chop the scallion.
  2. Crack 4 eggs into a bowl and season with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon white pepper, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine. Beat eggs for a minute.
  3. Preheat the wok over medium heat until it just starts to smoke. Then add 2 tablespoons of oil and immediately add the eggs. Scramble the eggs and remove from the wok immediately. Set aside.
  4. Add 1 more tablespoon oil to the wok, turn up the heat to high, and add the tomatoes and scallions. Stir-fry for 1 minute, and then add 2 teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ cup water (if your stove gets very hot and liquid tends to cook off very quickly in your wok, add a little more water). Add the cooked eggs.
  5. Mix everything together, cover the wok, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the tomatoes are completely softened.
  6. Uncover, and continue to stir-fry over high heat until the sauce thickens to your liking. Serve!

My mother never made this often, possibly because it’s more Cantonese than Taiwanese, I couldn’t say, but a lot of my college friends were Cantonese, so when I saw some nice tomatoes on the vine on sale at C-town, I thought, what the heck. I ran out of scallions for this second batch, but they do add a lovely color.

I served it with some soy sauce stewed chicken my grandma made me, and some edamame I picked up in Flushing over Jasmine/wild rice.

~Jessica

Bao-zi

A recipe from Steamy Kitchen but this recipe comes from Magic Ingredients YouTube

“Baozi (Chinese: 包子), or bao, is a type of filled bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) dumpling in various Chinese cuisines.” ~Wikipedia

Ingredients:

  • all-purpose flour 400g little bit more than 2.5 cups
  • 160 °F – warm water 250g ( 1 cup)
  • water 250g 1 cup
  • Sichuan peppercorns 1g 1/2 teaspoon
  • star anise 1g
  • big green onions 200g – 3 of them
  • salt 6g = 3/4 teaspoon
  • ground pork 500g
  • Sichuan peppercorn powder 1g = 1/2 teaspoon
  • white pepper powder less than 1g = 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

  1. Dough – Mix all purpose flour and warm water, knead for 3 minutes then cover let it rest for 20 minutes, then knead it again so it looks smooth … let it rest for an hour.
  2. Filling – I boil a small pot of water on the stove then put the first 3 ingredients in the pot, cook for 15 minutes, after it cools off then pour in a big bowl with pork in it, add salt, pepper, egg, stir in a circular direction one way only …. after 5 minutes then add chopped green onions …. difficult task for me because it’s my first time to make this, I watched Youtube so I learned how to shape them like a pro, mine doesn’t look professional but not too ugly I think.

Recipe was for soup dumplings (xiao long bao), but I did not want to make soup (as it takes more work and time). I used ground pork. The hard part was that this was my first time making this recipe. They are not pretty like what is sold in stores, but once I practice a few more times, then they will be better probably. I only used half of her recipe, because it was my first time and I did not want to waste flour if I messed up. I used a non-bleached flour, therefore it was not as white as what is sold in stores. I need to learn more about kneading dough, because she made it look so easy, I think she has a lot of experience…
~Kai-ling

Korean kimchi

Adapted from Sara Moulton

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head napa cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp sweet or hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper
  • 3 medium scallions
  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove

Directions:

  1. Trim off the core end of the cabbage. Split each leaf lengthwise and cut it crosswise into 1 1/2 inch ribbons (about 4 cups). Combine the cabbage and salt in a nonreactive bowl and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours.
  2. Bring the vinegar, sugar, paprika, and cayenne to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop the bell pepper (about 1/2 cup) and transfer it to a medium bowl. Trim and thinly slice the scallions (a heaping 1/3 cup) and peel and Microplane-grate the ginger (about 1 tablespoon); transfer each to the bowl with the bell pepper as it is prepared. Press the garlic (about 1 teaspoon) into the bowl.
  4. Drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry the cabbage; add it to the bell pepper mixture along with the vinegar mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pack the kimchi into a nonreactive bowl or jar, cover, refrigerate until you are ready to use it. Kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

I use apple cider vinegar in making Korean Kimchi. It’s good — I like all of these pickled veggies, no cooking oil, no fat, just fresh vegetables. I made Kimchi with julienned carrots (as a sub for the red bell pepper). First I salted the Napa cabbage in a big pot and put a heavy plate on it, with added weights on it, so it will sweat more water out of it — for 4 hours or longer is fine. Also I used store-bought Kimchi first: after I finished the jar, then I could used the leftover sour juice for starter, as a shortcut. It came out pretty good! No need to spend big money to buy it packaged every time. I don’t eat Kimchi often, but once a while with my homemade fried rice, it’s a good combination in taste.
~Kai-ling

A side of kimchi with pork fried rice

P.S. Also I have heard that Kimchi and sauerkraut are good fermented foods: “Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage… During the fermentation process, beneficial probiotics, or ‘live bacteria’ are produced, and these probiotics are what give sauerkraut most of its health benefits. Sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fibre and contains vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.” (BBC Good Food)

Avocado salsa

Adapted from Food 52

Ingredients

  • clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • ripe avocado, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, (omitted because I don’t handle spice)
  • 1/2 tomatillo, roughly chopped
  • scallion, roughly chopped
  • handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Fold everything gently together in a large bowl. Some of the avocado will mash naturally, but most of it should keep its shape, which tastes divine. Do the garlic and lime juice first, letting them mellow out while you chop up the rest of the ingredients. Serve fresh.

I first read about this in my Google News feed, on Salon. Took way more than five minutes to prep though. Served atop of my crispy pan-seared salmon on vegetable pasta.

~Jessica

How to pan-fry frozen dumplings

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With frozen dumplings, either prepared or homemade, you can boil the dumplings by 1) adding the dumplings to the pot, waiting for the water to re-simmer, adding a cup of water, wait to re-simmer, repeat again with another cup of water, then serve immediately as they float to the surface.

But the tastier version is to fry-steam them. Following Amber’s methods, pour some vegetable oil in a non-stick pan, coating the bottom thinly. Add your dumplings (I usually eat seven at a time) and allow them to fry over medium heat until golden brown on the bottom. Get your lid ready. Add a couple spoonfuls of water per dumplings, or enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and cover immediately, as splattering will commence. Steam them until most of the water is gone, which you will be able to hear. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Shou-wen’s Dipping Sauce
For the dipping sauce, I chop some garlic, boil some peanut oil until sizzling, then add the garlic to the oil. Pour the sizzling garlic oil on some dry chilli powder. Serve.

My dipping sauce
Slice thin some ginger, add some sesame oil, sliced scallions, and enough soy sauce.

~Jessica

White-cut chicken with ginger-scallion oil

IMG_20180106_205206.jpg

(bái qie ji) Adapted from KQED Food and The Woks of Life

Ingredients:

  • One 3-4 lb. free-range chicken, at room temperature
  • 2 whole scallions, cut into large pieces
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt, plus more to season the chicken
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons finely minced scallion (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt
  • soy sauce (optional)

Directions:

  1. Clean the chicken inside and out, removing any innards, rinsing with cold water. Optional: Rub salt liberally inside and out and sit for 1 hour. I didn’t.
  2. Fill a large pot with water full enough to cover at least ¾ of the chicken. Bring the water to a boil, and add the smashed ginger, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Place the chicken in breast side up, cover, and bring to a boil. Switch it to low heat and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Flip the chicken, cover it and cook on low heat for some more time. Test if the chicken is done, insert a chopstick near the thigh. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. To lift the bird out of the pot, slip 2 chopsticks beneath the wings and lift up. Let cold water run over the chicken for a minute or so “to cool the skin off quickly to give the chicken skin a “crunchy” texture.”
  4. Pat the bird dry and rub with the sesame oil. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes before cutting — I started cooking late, so I just let it cool as long as it took to make the dipping sauce and boil some potatoes (my carbs for the meal, because I didn’t have a rice cooker).
  5. Prepare the dipping sauce by heating the vegetable oil just until it starts to smoke. Pour it over the scallion, ginger, and salt, and mix together. Serve with the chicken immediately.

My friend Peggy highly recommends this recipe for times of sickness — I saved the broth afterwards, and it made a pretty tasty soup! I boiled some rainbow potatoes from Trader Joe’s for 10 minutes in the broth, to make the meal a bit heartier. Stay warm!

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 5

Ingredients:
6 eggs $0.99
1 medium carrot $0.25
1 medium green zucchini $0.82
4 red onions $0.98
1 small yellow squash $0.40
Ginger $0.54
Total: $3.98
2 packages udon noodles
roasted peanut oil / sesame oil + vegetable oil
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
Thinly slice red onions, ginger. Slice thinly into sticks 1/2 carrot, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/4 zucchini. Saute onions and ginger and carrots in vegetable oil. Add the two squash, and cook, stirring.

In a separate pot, boil water and cook the udon for 1-2 minutes. Drain and add to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Season with soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Add a spoonful of cornstarch mixed with cold water, to form a slurry. Set aside

Scramble two eggs with chopsticks in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in some green scallions. Fry separately in a little oil in a pan. Add to the rest of the stir fry. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

Redoing my sister’s udon with tofu and bok choy, this is my budget version. I had a bag of frozen edamame lying around, so I tossed that in the stir fry. My kingdom for some crushed red pepper flakes!

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 3

Ingredients:
GOYA Pink Beans in sauce $1.50
4 small red potatoes $1.34
1 head of garlic $0.39
1 red bell pepper $1.32
Ginger $0.54
3 red onions $0.67
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
5-6 Brussels sprouts $0.98
Total: $7.41

Directions
Chop finely the small red onion, 1/3 the red bell pepper, two of the potatoes. Mince two cloves of garlic, and a thumb of ginger. Cut off the Brussels sprout stems and slice each in half. Saute the onion, ginger, then garlic in olive oil. Cook until fragrant. Add the bell pepper, then the potatoes. Season with salt, cracked pepper, turmeric, oregano, thyme. Add the the Brussels sprouts last (mine were slightly overcooked in the stew/soup). Add the can of pink beans (Rosadas guisadas — preparados con aceite de oliva, cilantro, y cebolla). Again, I threw in a handful of pasta for extra carbs. Top with some sliced scallions, and serve. Serves 3-4.

~Jessica