Steamed Pork Patty with Dried Squid Served over Rice
Steamed Pork Patty with Dried Squid Served over Rice

Steamed Pork Patty with Dried Squid

Back in the day, I had a Chinese room-mate who was newly arrived from Hong Kong. He wasn’t a terribly accomplished cook, but he had one dish in his repertoire that was truly delicious. This dish, featuring a Steamed Pork Patty with Dried Squid, produced copious amounts of umami-rich cooking juices during steaming that were terrific spooned over rice. The version here builds upon my room-mate’s simple recipe by including dried mushrooms for an extra flavor punch


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Eggs with Eggplant and Basil
Eggs with Eggplant and Basil

Eggs with Eggplant and Basil is Asian in spirit but doesn’t actually belong to any specific cuisine. It calls for the long, slender types of eggplant common to Japanese, or south-east Asian kitchens rather than the fatter, deep purple eggplants more familiar in the west. It could easily be served as a side dish as part of a more complex meal, or eaten alone as a snack or even a simple breakfast…


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Steamed Whole Tilapia
Steamed Whole Tilapia

Steamed Whole Tilapia with Ginger and Scallion

In western kitchens, fish is usually only cooked in fillets or steaks, rather than whole, and the cooking methods are primarily frying, deep-frying, or baking. In Chinese cuisine, however, fish is frequently steamed, both in pieces, and as a whole fish with the head and skin intact.

Here, whole Tilapia is given the traditional Chinese treatment by steaming it with ginger and garlic. As a final step, more ginger and also some scallion is added and hot oil is poured over everything just before service. The result is exquisitely aromatic and delicious.


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Three Shred Duck – 三絲鴨肉
Three Shred Duck – 三絲鴨肉

Three Shred Duck is a great way to use up leftover duck and it derives its name from the fact that the Duck meat is stir-fried with three other shredded ingredients… in this case, Carrot, Scallion and Celery. This very Chinese preparation is actually a good example of the type of stir-fried dish that is usually made to finish up the rest of the meat left after a meal of Peking (Beijing) Duck…


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Veal with Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms
Veal with Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms

The peppers in this Mediterranean-style dish of Veal with Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms are actually my own homemade Marinated Sweet Peppers. You can substitute with fresh, if you like, or even used a commercially prepared jar of roasted peppers, but the herb and garlic flavors of the marinated peppers work much better in this recipe.

Once tender veal strips are sautéed along with the peppers and seared button mushrooms, the result would be delicious served atop pasta, but is terrific with nothing more than thick ‘door-steps’ of crusty fresh bread…

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Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Chicken isn’t a traditional Italian Dish, but baking the fowl with these typical Mediterranean flavorings makes it very Italian in spirit…


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Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower
Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower is not a traditional dish in the cuisine of any particular country as far as I know. Rather, this dish was put together to use and showcase some of my own homemade Simple Cauliflower Pickle. The result does rather have the flavors of South Asia, though, and it would probably fit, both in terms of taste and appearance, in a meal alongside other Indian dishes.


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Dry-fried Green Beans and Bamboo Shoots
Dry-fried Green Beans and Bamboo Shoots

This recipe for Dry-fried Green Beans and Bamboo Shoots is based on a very popular Sichuan dish called ‘Dry-Fried Four-Season Beans’. In that particular dish, the long green beans are first deep-fried in order to make them deliciously crisp-tender, and then pan-fried with other ingredients. Here, bamboo shoots get the same treatment as the beans, and then they are both stir-fried together with ginger, chili, and umami-rich reconstituted dried shrimp.

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Eggs with Dried Scallops
Eggs with Dried Scallops

Eggs with Dried Scallops, also known as Conpoy, take the very simple dish of basic scrambled eggs to a new level. In China, and across south-east Asia, other ingredients are often included to eggs to add an umami boost. Dried mushrooms or cured ham both work very well, and fish sauce is sometimes used. Here, conpoy, are added to the same effect. To offset the natural sweetness of the dried scallop, a little chili paste is included as well.

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Bok Choy with Dried Scallops
Bok Choy with Dried Scallops

Bok Choy with Dried Scallops is a good illustration of how a simple basic ingredient like can turn an otherwise plain vegetable dish into something special. Bok Choy is the vegetable of choice in this recipe, but the basic idea works well with almost any other greens.

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