Basic Beef Tataki

Basic Beef Tataki Recipe

You could probably call this a Japanese Carpaccio, but the proper appellation is Beef Tataki, where the ‘Tataki’ is actually the name of the specific cookery technique involved.  This technique was originally used specifically for steaks of Bonito Tuna but has now been widely adapted for beef as well.

Essentially, the technique involves grilling beef very briefly over high heat to sear the outside and then cooling it rapidly to prevent further cooking. This results in an umami rich dark surface with an interior that is almost raw. The result is most commonly served sashimi style, much as you see pictured above, but a prepared pieces of Beef prepared this way be easily put to other uses as well. In either event, the technique is one well worth having in your repertoire…

Read More →

Brined Pork Roast

Brined Pork Roast

I have often brined meats before cooking as it not only helps keep them moist and juicy, but is also a great way of infusing flavor. The technique is most commonly used for smaller pieces of meat intended for the barbecue, but it also produces great results with small roasts. With pork, you can oven-roast a lean-cut and avoid the dried-out effect that often results and have especially well flavored slices for a regular roast pork dinner. Best of all (and the reason I like using this technique) is that it makes absolutely super, deli-style, cold cuts.

Read More →

Slices of Red-Cooked Beef Shank

Red-Cooked Beef Shank

Recently, I published a post entitled Beef Shank: A Neglected Cut. In this post, I will be using a large section of shank and illustrating the Chinese technique of ‘Red-Cooking’ (紅燒), which involves simmering meat in a soy-sauce based medium along with various aromatic additions. The result can certainly be eaten as is for a ‘pot-roast’ sort of meal but this basic recipe is primarily intended to produce something that can be later used in a variety of other recipes. In the above picture, you can see some slices of previously Red-Cooked Beef Shank which have been re-heated and served with just a little splash of the simmering medium as a little appetizer.

Read More →

Homemade Preserved Pork Belly - 五花臘肉
Homemade Preserved Pork Belly – 五花臘肉

Homemade Preserved Pork Belly – 五花臘肉

When pork is cured by drying, it takes on a lovely sweet-taste reminiscent of golden apples. This quality is capitalized upon in the traditions of Italian Prosciutto, Spanish Jamón Serrano, and a host of other culinary specialties, including Chinese-Style Preserved Pork Belly (五花臘肉). All of these products, as with pickles, or other dried foodstuffs, were developed before the advent of refrigeration in order to preserve harvested food for later use. Nowadays, we continue the traditions because the results are so tasty and satisfying. Making Homemade Preserved Pork Belly takes a little time, but the process isn’t especially difficult, and the results are terrific.


Read More →

A Japnese Nihaizu Seasoned Vinegar
A Japnese Nihaizu Seasoned Vinegar

Two Basic Japanese Seasoned Vinegars

Nihaizu and Sanbaizu are both seasoned vinegars used in Japanese cuisine, sometimes as marinades, or the bases for dipping sauces, but primarily as dressings for the salad type preparations known as ‘Sunomono’. The basic forms for each are extremely simple and can be varied in any number of ways to suit personal needs and tastes.


Read More →

Crispy Fried Onions
Crispy Fried Onions

Crispy Fried Onions are a terrific topping on many different foods. Indeed,  I can’t imagine serving an Indian Biriyani without including crispy fried onions on top of the dish, and you can also find them being added to many rice, meat and vegetable dishes in  India, Indonesia, and a host of other Eastern cuisines.

In the West, crispy fried onions are widely available commercially either in the form of flakes or ‘strings’, and they are often used on burgers, in sandwiches, and scattered over salads, baked potatoes, and cooked vegetable dishes. The commercially packaged varieties are, unfortunately, often tasteless or stale, but it is easy enough, if a little time-consuming to make them yourself at home.


Read More →

Homemade Xiaolongbao - 小笼包
Homemade Xiaolongbao – 小笼包

 The Chinese Soup Dumpling Secret

If you have ever tried any of the Chinese delicacies generally known as ‘soup-dumplings’ or their (often) larger, and well-known cousins, Xiaolongbao, you have probably enjoyed the way that the steaming, liquid content squirts in your mouth when you bite into them. Quite possibly, it also occurred to you to wonder how on earth the cook gets the delicious broth into the dumplings in the first place…

Not long ago, when I featured the technique for making a Basic Chinese Pork Stock, I hinted at this ancient Chinese secret. If you haven’t guessed the answer yet, read on…


Read More →

An Appetizer of Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
An Appetizer of Marinated Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted Red Peppers that have been marinated in olive oil make a lovely Italian Antipasto style Appetizer but they are great to have on hand for a variety of other uses. They can be added to a whole variety of more complex hot and cold dishes, are fantastic when pureed for sauces and condiments, make great garnishes when sliced or dices attractively, and, on a more pedestrian level, go great on sandwiches and wraps.

You can buy some fairly decent pre-made varieties in jars, or occasionally in bulk from the deli section of the supermarket, but they are easy enough to prepare at home and the results are far better…


Read More →

Sweet Onion Shreds
Sweet Onion Shreds

Raw onion can often have an unpleasantly harsh ‘bite’ to them, but if you use the following technique, you can produce delightfully sweet onion shreds that can be used in all sorts of ways. They are a wonderful addition to salads, make a great condiment on burgers or sandwiches, and they can even be used as attractive, and edible garnish for appetizers or sushi plates

Read More →

Dough being rolled for dumplings
Dough being rolled for dumplings

The Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough we are making here is of the unleavened, wheat flour variety. It is probably the most common dumpling wrapper dough all around the world, especially among home cooks. You will find it in such diverse types as Chinese Jaozi, Xiaolongbao, and Wontons, as well as the Korean Mandu, Japanese Gyoza, and the internationally ever-popular ‘Pot-Stickers’. The ingredient list is very short, as you will see, and virtually anyone can learn how to make a versatile dough with this extremely simple little recipe.


Read More →