Tag: 10 ingredients or less

7 Ingredient Chewy Pecan Bars

Hi again!

Sometime before Thanksgiving, I was trying to decide between pecan pie and pumpkin pie..a very serious problem =O. So, I played the husband card and had Tim decide. Though he picked pumpkin pie, I also wanted to do something with the big bag of pecans from Costco. HMM…I remember seeing this recipe in my recipe binder of sweets, so I pulled it out. I’m glad I made it, because they are SO goood! If you need more reasons to make these, I’ll list 7:

1) No corn syrup. (I am not a fan of its gloopiness)

2) 7 ingredients only, including salt o.O

3) Super easy to make. Really. easy. No need to even buy leavening agents.

4) Has whole wheat flour, so you can say these are whole grain

5) Passed the co-worker test (Tim’s coworkers) with flying colors!

6) Have a great shelf life and stay chewy for a long time (if they stick around that long)

7) Are sturdy, packable and would be great for care packages for friends

It’s everything you want in a pecan bar- chewy, crunchy, nutty, sweet, and just a little salty. Best of all, I actually think that using whole wheat flour enhances the nuttiness, as it seems to be a perfect match for all that sugar and nuts.

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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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Cha Xiang Xun Ji (Tea Smoked Chicken)

Our apartment smells like smoke. It’s okay, though- don’t call the fire department! I’ve made 3 batches of smoked chicken in the past 3 days. Smoking chicken in a wok + no vent leads to me swinging the broom in front of the beeping fire alarm, and Tim wielding a folder to fan the smoke in large vertical strokes in the kitchen.

Growing up, I remember two tasty chicken preparations that made their way into restaurants as appetizers or side dishes: smoked chicken and drunken chicken. Both chickens were always served bone, with neat and clean cuts across the chicken, no doubt made by a sharp cleaver. I tried my hand at making drunken and smoked chicken, but the drunken one didn’t turn out that well, and its failure was overshadowed by the promise of delicious smoked chicken.

This recipe is adapted from this Taiwanese lady who kind of reminds me of a younger version of my grandma. To me, she is adorable, just like the jolly Taiwanese chef who showed me how to make those yummy braised eggs with long hots. Some of her tips didn’t work for me, but it could be due to differences in chicken types and overall set-up. I’ll post what worked for me.

Tea Smoked Chicken xun ji

The chicken was so tender that the leg fell apart when I took it out!

 

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Chinese Steamed Fish (Zheng Yu 蒸魚)

Tim’s dad caught a bunch of flounder and one huge bass (don’t know exactly which, but it was nice and meaty)! The bass that he caught must have been massive, because we only got a chunk of it, but it weigh somewhere around 3 pounds. We got 6 or 7 fish in total, and they lasted us through all of August and then some.

One of my favorite Chinese banquet dishes is the steamed fish that they serve towards the end of the meal. It’s a good thing it’s actually not too difficult to make at home! My mom taught me how to make this preparation of steamed fish a long, long time ago. The fish is steamed first, then you pour a yummy sauce over it, and you heat oil and pour it on to semi-sear the aromatics and become part of the sauce.
Chinese Steamed Fish

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Lu Rou Fan / Rou Zao Fan

There are so many names for this recipe…
I knew it as rou zao fan growing up, but when I went to Taiwan, everyone called it lu rou fan. At one hotel we stayed at, they kept it in a slow cooker in the buffet line. Pork seems to taste better in Taiwan..
Rou Zao Fan is definitely a street snack you would find at a Taiwanese vendor, like this (though this isn’t where I got mine):

From my trip in 2011:

lu rou fan

You can’t tell the size of it here, but for 30-35 yuan (~1 USD), it is more of a light dinner portion (at least for me). BTW, that’s pickled radish- a nice addition to offset the fattiness/richness of it. I guess you can eat however much of it as you want, but I decided to add some “healthier” components and make a meal out of it.

I made this back in college, with diced shiitake mushrooms, and a side of shanghainese bok choy, during my Cafe 1010 days!

lu rou fan

Taiwanese Minced Meat Rice
鲁肉飯/肉燥飯
lu rou fan / rou zao fan
3-4 servings

Ingredients:
-1 lb of ground pork, OR 1/2 lb ground pork and 1/2 lb pork belly, sliced into chubby matchsticks*, or you can decide whatever ratio you want. All pork belly makes for a VERY oily dish.
-1 cup of sliced fresh shallots + 1/4 cup canola oil (or neutral oil), OR 1/2 cup of fried shallots – make sure you get fried shallots, and not fried onions!
-2 Tbsp Shaoxing or rice wine
-1.5 tsp brown or white sugar
-1/4 tsp white pepper
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-pinches of salt (optional)
-3 cups of water +/- some
-5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in room temp water for 15 min if possible (optional)
-2-3 medium boiled eggs, peeled (boiled enough just so that you can peel them without the white collapsing on you) (optional)

Instructions:
1. Cook the meat, then add the shallots, then the rice wine. Keep stirring, then add sugar, white pepper, soy sauce, and mushrooms.

2. Add 3 cups of water, or enough to barely cover mushrooms and meat. If you didn’t have time to soak your mushrooms, then add 1/2 cup of water more. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 30-35 minutes, or longer, depending on the cut of meat. The meat should be very tender. If the sauce has evaporated too much, add some more water.

3. Check the flavor- it should be a tinge of sweet, but mostly soy saucey and shallotey taste. Some soy sauces are saltier than others…mine is more mild, so I added a pinch of salt and a little more soy sauce.

4. When the meat is tender, add the eggs and cook for 5 minutes. If you like your eggs with more flavor, add them in during the simmer. I added them in later to avoid the infamous green ring

5. Serve with rice!

Substitutions/Notes:
*it is much more luscious and buttery with the pork belly, obviously, but also more expensive and labor intensive because cutting of meat (gasp!) is required.
-If you are using fresh shallots, fry them in 1/4 cup canola oil first, until they are a deep golden brown. Drain and save the oil for some other use.
-A good accompaniment is any green vegetable stir fried in garlic and a little bit of salt.
-Should you have leftovers that you don’t know what to do with or don’t want to freeze, this tastes excellent over blanched vegetables, preferably leafy and flat so the leaves can soak up the sauce: (Chinese A 菜 or romaine lettuce come to mind)
-Don’t like hardboiled eggs? Want to avoid the extra step of boiling and peeling? Top the rice with a fried egg (I saw this offered on the menu in Taiwan…it seems like everything can be topped with a fried egg these days)
-The proper sweetener (at least what my mom always used) for this dish is actually rock sugar, comes in large chunks in a box. I don’t always have rock sugar on hand, and I’m not always willing to take the time to break the large chunks into more manageable pieces. But, if you really want to use rock sugar, use a chunk the size of half a ping pong ball.
-If you want to stretch your rou zao, consider adding some firm tofu or pork chops during the braise time. They soak up the sauce, too!

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