Category: Meat & Seafood (page 2 of 5)

Mei Gan Cai Shao Rou

Mr. ABC Chef jokes that it’s Me(i)-Gan cai, and it has easily become one of his favorite things to eat, braised with pork. What IS mei gan cai ( 梅乾菜)? Before, I only knew that mei gan cai was some vegetable that was salted and then dried, but didn’t know much else, so I decided to do a little research..

So, this is what I learned- mustard greens are salted, (xue cai or xue li hong), fermented, (fu cai), then dried (mei gan cai). All these products are made from the humble mustard green and some salt..AMAZING.  Check out some videos of the process- this and this were what I found.

mei gan cai shao rou

Please eat me!

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Siu Mai – Shao Mai

No trip to get dimsum is ever complete without ordering this 2-3 bite wonder (or 1, if you are Tim) made of a generous pork and shrimp filling, and thinnest of wrappers. In fact, ha gao, siu mai, were probably among the first Cantonese words I learned as a child, as they were always found in the same cart.  The Cantonese ladies would roam the dining room with the carts, and we would ask “Ha gao, siu mai?” and they’d either shake their head or reach over and lift the lids of the steamers up, one by one, until they found them for us. When I found out that siu mai was also Mr. ABC Chef’s favorite dimsum, I was happy but also sad- sad because that meant there would be more competition to snag any “extra” siu mai from the standard orders of 4 in each basket.

I never really thought to make it myself, but after getting dimsm in Long Island with Mr. ABC Chef’s family, I was motivated that only 4 siu mai came in each order (~$3) but if I made it, I could get many more!

(Oh yea, in case it wasn’t clear from the previous paragraph, just take note that this recipe is for Cantonese style Shao Mai, and not the Shanghainese type that has mostly sticky rice filling)siu mai dim sum Continue reading

Yu Mi Rou Rou (Corn and beef)

This was one of the first posts that appeared on my blog in 2010 (!) But now, with an updated picture and some better instructions. This is obviously a very flexible dish and you should use whatever ratios of meat:corn you like..Just don’t add too much soy sauce, because you don’t want brown looking corn. ENJOY!
This dish reminds me of elementary school. My childhood friend Ashley and I loved this dish, and would always be excited if one person or the other had it in their lunch. It was definitely considered a “good” lunch to get.

It’s a very simple dish, and I hope you will be as excited to eat it as we 7 year olds were! “Rou rou” was the kid-friendly way to say meat, which is just “rou,” and it’s hard to call this by the ‘grown up’ name, so say it with me- yu mi rou rou!

yu mi rou rou

Hello, favorite windowsill of mine 😡

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Chicken (or Fish) with Peppers and Onions

While I was growing up, my mom not only was good at making food taste great, but she was also creative in using ingredients in smart ways, and always got dinner on the table in a really short period of time.  I have no idea how she did it!

Chicken with bell peppers and onions was a dish that I remember my mom made a lot (she also made it with fish sometimes). Whether you use chicken or fish, this dish is  hen xia fan (很下飯), meaning it goes really well with rice, and may tempt you to get seconds and thirds of rice 😉

There was an abundance of peppers in my CSA this year, and judging from my co-workers gifts of long hots and habaneros to me, it was probably just a great year for peppers (and watermelon, too, so the CSA people said).

The first time I made this, I made the tragic mistake of underestimating the power of long hots. I knew some of the long hots were pretty spicy, as my co-worker Patti warned, but I didn’t think all of them could have been so spicy. Seriously..long hots? Hot? Hah! Yeah, right. So, I used 6 or 7 long hots in addition to other peppers, also thinking that it would be a good way to use up the long hots while they were still fresh. The result? Cloudy, watery tears, and several breaks from eating, just to let our mouths regain feeling. Hao guo yin! (好過癮) which means ‘how exciting/exhilarating’.

Oops. Next time, I’ll take some seeds out..(maybe 😉 )

Use your favorite peppers (or a combination of them) and either fish or chicken in this easy, fast, and tasty stir fry.


Ji (yu) ding chao qing jiao yang cong Continue reading

Jiu cai hua rou si- Flowering Chinese chives with pork

If there’s one seasoning/herb I could never grow sick of, it’s garlic. I once was afraid that if I ate too much garlic, I’d get tired of it. After 27 years, I’m still going garlic-strong, so I don’t think my love for this stinky bulb will go away anytime soon. Fortunately, Mr. ABC Chef shares the same love for garlic…

Garlic chives, Chinese chives, or jiu cai 韭菜 are one of my favorite spring/summer time vegetables to eat, because to me it is basically like eating garlic in vegetable form… They are great in dumplings, wrapped in dough, or just cooked with eggs. What’s jiu cai hua, then(韭菜花)? It’s actually the bolted form / flowered form of the garlic chive. I have no idea why, but I guess when the jiu cai flowers, the stem also gets crunchy, so the texture is different than jiu cai! So cool, huh?! I thought they were originally two very very closely related plants because the textures were  different, but after I got a fresh delivery of homegrown jiu cai from Ling (thanks Ling!!). What my dad said was about the flowering was confirmed when I saw some jiu cai hua poking out amidst the oodles of jiu cai!

jiu cai hua rou si Chinese chive flowers flowering Continue reading

La zi ji – Chicken with Dry Hot Peppers

la zi jiDoesn’t the pinyin look like “lazy ji(chicken)”? Anyway..I guess I am on a chicken kick, because this is my second chicken dish in a row! And, coming from a porky household, that says a lot.

La zi ji is a dish that is prettttty popular among Sichuan food lovers, and I can see why! Who wouldn’t like fried chicken pieces nested in tons of hot peppers? (Okay, maybe not people who don’t like spicy…) In addition to frying the chicken, most restaurant versions of this dish also coat the chicken in quite a bit of cornstarch, so then it’s like half cornstarch coating and half chicken.

I really don’t like deep frying in our apartment, because it splatters grease everywhere, and it uses up a bunch of oil, and it makes me feel guilty when I eat the food. Of course, there are obvious exceptions to this rule, but for the most part I don’t make fried foods as a habit. By pan-frying the chicken instead of deep frying, it makes la zi ji a rather simple dish to make to satisfy spicy food cravings while not splurging so much on  calories.

I realized that I really like to eat this dish by getting a piece of chicken, followed by a piece of pepper (with rice, of course). Sometimes a piece of Sichuan peppercorn will also make it to the mix, for a true ma (numbing) la (spicy) taste 🙂

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Hu Jiao Bing (Pepper Pork Scallion Bun)

Hu jiao bing (胡椒餅) is a street food that was first introduced to me when my Aunt Cynthia dubbed it her favorite snack food from Taiwan. Intrigued by the description of a baked bun filled with peppery marinated pork and tons of scallions, I really wanted to try one!

During Christmas break of 2005, my grandma took me to Taiwan as a early high school graduation gift. I had already gotten accepted into college, so the trip was a big treat that I enjoyed a lot.

I remember eating lots of good food in Taiwan that first trip, but one specific memory involving hu jiao bing stands out to me..

hu jiao bing pepper pork bun

Continue reading to see what’s inside this mysterious bun…

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Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay in posting; life has been getting in the way of me sitting down to write posts. I actually have hefty backlog of posts to work on….

This week has been pretty packed, with Mr. ABC Chef (my husband, Tim) coming back from PyCon in Montreal, celebrating his birthday with two birthday dinners (one where I made Korean food for him and 4 of his buddies!), and going to Hopkins Alumni weekend, which was mostly an excuse to hang out with my best friend 🙂

The best friend and I ate out every meal, except Sunday breakfast, which we made together- dou jiang and fan tuan, which are staples of Taiwanese breakfast. Stay tuned for a fan tuan (deep fried dough aka you tiao, dried pork, and salted and slightly sweet radish bits- all wrapped up in sticky rice, almost like a sushi roll!) recipe to come.

Then on the way home, Megabus was delayed a whole hour, so I spent over an hour in line, doing nothing but trying to get the intermittent WiFi to idly browse Instagram and Facebook, while fighting the cold breeze.

Anyway, now we are back to our regular schedule!

I would regularly ask, “媽媽(mama), how do you make this?” when we just ate something really tasty at a restaurant. Or, my mom would shake her head and discreetly mutter to my sister and me that the restaurant was taking shortcuts because x and y dish should not be made this way, but that way instead.

媽媽 always said that the Chinese “salt and pepper”seasoning should just be toasted salt, and Sichuan peppercorns, ground up. Nothing else. When we got salt and pepper pork chops (because they were always the least expensive and you would get more than if you ordered squid or shrimp), I would look forward to the deep fried pork pieces that were laced with this addicting seasoning, and when the meat was gone, I would use my chopsticks skills to hunt for abandoned pieces of scallions and jalapenos, and mix it with the restaurant white rice in my bowl. I wondered why no one else would eat these pieces of salty goodness that were left behind, but was also glad that my sister and I had these morsels all to ourselves.

salt and pepper shrimp

 I’ve been wanting to post a recipe for salt and pepper shrimp that would do justice to its name. When you make the salt and peppercorn powder, prepare to be blown away by the mysteriously addicting aroma that is created by the marriage of two simple spices!

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Shi Zi Tou (Lion’s Head (Meatballs) )

I don’t have any particular childhood story for lion’s head meatballs, other than the fact that I remember eating the ones my grandma made, and the fact that I always make it with her special ingredient, which makes it not as traditional, but I really like it this way! Read along.

Two factors make my mouth water when I think of shi zi tou: well-seasoned meat, and tasty broth to go with it. I think most restaurants serve lion’s head with gooey cornstarch sauce, but I prefer a clean broth and fen si, or mung bean vermicelli, that can soak up some of that yummy broth.

It’s getting warmer, and the season for hearty braises will soon be gone, so make this while you can! My sister said “you totally need to post a shi zi tou recipe”, so this is for you, 姐!

lion's head

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MKee’s House Special Fish with Rice- Ga Herng Ban Kao Fan

There’s only one restaurant that Mr. ABC Chef (Tim) likes in’s a Cantonese BBQ restaurant named M Kee. This place is near and dear to the hearts of many of our friends. You know it’s a legit because you would see the older folks from the Cantonese congregation go there- a very good sign.

One of our Cantonese friends, Amanda, whose father is a chef, had this dish that we had never seen before. It had fish, pork, string beans, celery, dried black beans, and didn’t look like anything we had seen before! We asked for the name and ordered it with rice.

It was…DELICIOUS! Generous chunks of fish, crunchy Chinese celery, seared string beans, morsels of ground pork, and seasoned well with dried black beans and fermented olives.  The combination of all the flavors together was quite magical, frankly 🙂

Ever since then, it’s become our favorite when we are there, and we recommend it to anyone who asks. There was a period where we went to M Kee so much that we got to know the waitresses and they would instinctively jot down my order as “ga herng”.

Needless to say, others have caught the ga herng bug and share a common love for it.

Amy, Nafis, and our other CCCNC friends- this recipe was made for you and all other fellow lovers of ga herng! I did my best to re-create a version that brings your tastebuds back to M Kee without tasting as heavy. For more a restaurant-y style rendition, add more sugar and soy sauce, making sure to heed my warning about soy sauce in the notes section.

*Apologies to all Cantonese people out there- I have no idea how to “spell” this dish properly in PinYin. Sorry if it is majorly butchered!

Special ingredients for this dish include:

The label says black beans, but they are actually olives based on the Chinese characters..

Funky looked fermented olives

I like these- they are dried and last forever

See? They last so long there is no expiration date ^_^V

M Kee house special fish ga herng ban cao

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