Month: February 2015

Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms

Braised Bok Choy with Mushrooms 1

I actually put this little side dish together as a side for a leg of lamb I intended to roast but when I opened up the plastic wrapper it had clearly gone off. As a last minute substitute, I ended up braising a piece of flank steak in a little broth with some lemon juice and capers.

I often pan-fry up bok choy and add some mushrooms, most commonly as part of an Asian meal, but here I have used western seasonings and, in a switch from my usual practice, I gave the mushrooms a long braise in chicken stock with garlic first. The result, much more than simply frying the mushrooms, makes them deliciously tender and meaty…  Continue reading “Bok Choy with Braised Mushrooms”

Cauliflower Pickle

Cauliflower Pickle 1

I often buy a commercially made pickle consisting of sections of gherkin, cocktail onions, and cauliflower florets with turmeric as a main flavor component. The cauliflower is my favorite part but I usually find that there are too few pieces in each jar and, with most brands, they are often just a tad too sweet. Accordingly, I made a batch of pickle containing nothing but cauliflower, just a little sugar, and a spice blend to suit my own taste…  Continue reading “Cauliflower Pickle”

Red Cooked Pork with Dried Octopus

Red Cooked Pork and Octopus 1

Red Cooked, or 紅燒 dishes, are, as I have explained in previous posts, those in which the main ingredients are braised with soy sauce, giving them a dark, often reddish color. One encounters pork cooked this way with dried squid from time to time and I originally intended to do that here but, on discovering I had run out of squid, I decided to use some dried octopus I happened to have on hand instead. This dish, whether with squid or octopus, is not one you will find on many restaurant menus but is rather more of a rich, home-style preparation. Normally, especially in Cantonese cuisine, red-cooked dishes are spiced with Star Anise, and possibly cinnamon, orange peel, or the like. I am not fond of the addition of the sweeter aromatics in dishes of this type so I am omitting them here and have instead added just a little dried chili and Galanga, both of which you might find in Sichuanese interpretations.

By the way, the process for reconstituting and preparing the octopus for cooking is largely the same as that for Dried Squid, so you may want to take a look at my earlier post on that topic. Also, you really ought to look at my notes at the end of this post before trying this dish yourselves…  Continue reading “Red Cooked Pork with Dried Octopus”

Foodstuff: Chili Salangids

Chili Salangids 1

I accidentally came across this product while reaching for a jar of XO Sauce whilst shopping down south a while ago. The jar was on the shelf alongside several varieties of XO Sauce and it wasn’t until I picked it up and looked more closely that I saw I had chosen something rather different.

Salangids are, in the strictest use of the term, small fish belonging to the family Salangidae (sometimes called the ‘noodle-fish’ due to their shape and translucency) but I rather suspect that the term is used a bit like ‘anchovy’ and often applied to many sorts of similar fish. Suffice it to say though, the fish in his product, are very tiny, immature fish rather like the ‘Silverfish’ I highlighted in my post on ‘Silverfish Peanuts’. Anyway, biological quibbles aside, I was interested to see what this condiment might be like…  Continue reading “Foodstuff: Chili Salangids”

Dragon Balls

Dragon Balls 1

First, let me say that no dragons were harmed (or even painlessly neutered) during the making of this dish. The name, in fact, is entirely fanciful and reflects the fact that I couldn’t think of a name other than a cumbersome one identifying the ingredients. Although Chinese in spirit, it is not a traditional recipe but was instead put together to use up some pork and peppers I had left over from making the Stuffed Peppers I made a few days earlier. Here, I decided to incorporate some Conpoy, or dried scallops in the meat blend, and the ‘Dragon’ appellation is made a little more apt by the inclusion of both fresh hot peppers and Chili paste…  Continue reading “Dragon Balls”

Foodstuff: Gold D’Or Brand™ Potstickers

Gold D'Or Potstickers 1

Gold D’Or™ is a proprietary Brand owned by Co-op Stores and as such is available pretty much Canada wide (although I am not sure if this is true elsewhere or not). Products sold under this brand tend to be a bit cheaper than equivalents under different labels and, for the most part, I have found them to be generally pretty good.

I love make dumplings of all sorts but I thought it might be interesting to see how these ones put out by Co-op stack up against my own. Although called ‘Potstickers’ on the package, this would only be true if you cook them by what is called the ‘Traditional Method’ in the instructions. They can, however, also be deep-fried, boiled or steamed, and are thus pretty much your typical Dim Sum offering known in Mandarin as Jiaozi.

Gold D’Or puts out three types of their Potstickers: A ‘Pork and Vegetable’ variety (pictured above); ‘Beef and Celery’, and a ‘Chicken and Vegetable’. For today, I just decided to give the first two types a try…  Continue reading “Foodstuff: Gold D’Or Brand™ Potstickers”

Stuffed Peppers with Black Bean Sauce

Stuffed Peppers with Black Bean Sauce 1

Today’s dish features pieces of different colored bell peppers stuffed with a seasoned mixture of shrimp and pork, then fried briefly before being finished in a sauce containing oyster sauce, rice wine and Chinese Salted Black Beans. It can, depending on the portion size, be served as a dim sum offering, a more substantial appetizer, or a side dish as art of a Chinese meal…  Continue reading “Stuffed Peppers with Black Bean Sauce”

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Sesame Cucumber Salad 01

There all sorts of salads in Asian cuisine featuring cucumber (or other veggies) which are first salted and then later served in a dressing of some sort. Sometimes, the cucumber, or whatever, is allowed to ferment slightly to produce a nice lactic acid pickle and, at other times, as here, the salting time is just brief enough to soften the flesh ad make it receptive to flavorings. Today’s dish doesn’t hail from any particular cuisine but is both Chinese and Japanese in character… Continue reading “Sesame Cucumber Salad”