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Bok Choy with Roast Pork and Straw Mushroom

Bok Choy with Pork and  Mushroom 1

This dish is definitely Chinese in Spirit, although the use of a western white wine in the sauce is a bit of a departure from the traditional. I came up with this as a way to use some leftover meat from my Crispy Roast Pork Hock experiment earlier this week. You could use any leftover pork you like but, ideally, you want some with a bit of crunchy rind still attached…  Read more

Edible Seaweed: Wakame

Wakame 1

After the ubiquitous Nori, widely used to wrap Sushi rolls, and Kombu, the seaweed base for Dashi, Wakame is probably the third most extensively used seaweeds in Japanese cuisine. It is a frequent addition to soups and its bright, emerald green color when reconstituted makes it an especially attractive, not to mention tasty addition to a variety of salads…  Read more

Crispy Roast Pork Hock

Crispy Roast Prk Hock 1

Today’s post is really just a culinary experiment of sorts…  A few years back, I tried using pork hocks to see if I could produce the same sort of crackling, or crispy skin, that I really enjoy on a nice, good quality pork roast. The reason I tried pork hocks was because then, as now, they are the only cut that come with the skin attached on any regular basis up here in the far north. Unfortunately, the results were not that great.

Since that time, however, the techniques I featured in my posts on Perfect Roast Pork Crackling and Roast Pork with Crackling II proved very successful and so I thought I would try the hocks again. For this experiment, I am going to use the Asian method I discussed in the second post. I won’t repeat the instructions in their entirety (as you can read them in the original post) but if you read on, I will show you the way I adapted the approach to this somewhat different cut…  Read more

Culinary Chinese 101: Your First Character…

Chinese 101 01-01

Last month, in an article entitled ‘Culinary Chinese, Anyone?’, I proposed doing a series of posts about Chinese characters related to food with a view to having my readers join me in my progress as I learn the rudiments of reading a Chinese menu. I received quite a few expressions of interest and so I am going to finally get things going…

In the original post, I introduced the character you see appearing (and circled) three times in the above picture. I have chosen this particular character to start off with because, as I mentioned, it is something you will almost have certainly have seen at one time or another (even if you weren’t aware of it) as it appears frequently on restaurant signs, menus, on food packages and on signs in Chinese grocery stores. It may, at the moment, look to you like nothing more than obscure squiggles but the whole object of this very first exercise is to get you to recognize it wherever it appears…  Read more

Pressing Tofu…

Pressing Tofu 1

The firm tofu you purchase at the supermarket has already been pressed during manufacture in order to from it into blocks but many recipes require that it be pressed even further to remove as much water as possible. As I have a number of recipe posts planned that will require this process, I am doing up this simple preliminary post now so as to save repeating myself several times later…  Read more

Hoisin Braised Chicken Drumettes

Hoisin Braised Chicken Drumettes 1

Today’s dish is very flavorful and very simple to make. As long as you have the ingredients, you can put it together at the last minute without a lot of fuss…  Read more

Dashi – Japanese Sea-stock

Dashi 1

In Japanese culinary parlance, Dashi, in the strictest sense, simply refers to a stock typically made from seaweed, mushrooms, dried fish, or a combination of these. Unless the type is actually specified, however, the bare term ‘Dashi’ means a stock made from Kombu and Katsuobushi. This very basic preparation is used in countless Japanese dishes including soups, hotpot or stewed dishes (nabemono) and a variety of sauces. Accordingly, it is one of the very cornerstones of the national cuisine…  Read more

Notable Nosh: Rollmops

Rollmops 1

Rollmops, for the uninitiated, are a delicacy composed of herring fillets that are rolled, usually around a gherkin or other filling, and pickled in slightly sweetened vinegar along with onions and various whole spices such as black pepper and mustard seed. They are very rich (just a few pieces are usually sufficient for a little snack) and my wife and I both love them…  Read more

Shrimp and Egg Stir-fry

Shrimp and Eggs 1

One of my earliest posts, almost two years ago, was for a very common, and simple, Chinese dish known as 蕃茄炒蛋, or ‘Tomatoes Stir-fry Egg’. Today’s post is for a variation in which tiny, salad-style shrimp replace the eggs. It could feature very nicely as part of a Chinese meal but is actually also very nice just as the egg component of a western-style breakfast…  Read more

Foodstuff: Katsuobushi

Katsuobushi 1

Katsuobushi is a preparation of fish, specifically Skipjack Tuna, but also Bonito, that is dried, smoked and then fermented using a mold similar to that used for making soy products like soy sauce and miso. As it is a primary ingredient in the ubiquitous Japanese stock known as Dashi, it is thus one of the cornerstones of Japanese cuisine…  Read more