A Chinese 滷水 Master Sauce
A Chinese Master Sauce

The Chinese 滷水 Master Sauce is less a sauce than it is a highly aromatic braising stock in which a succession of meats are cooked in the Chinese 红烧, or ‘Red-Cooked Style’. The sauce infuses all the meat or poultry cooked in it with delicious flavors and a beautiful, red-brown color, while becoming richer and richer with each use. The broth can be re-used again and again, and it I said that there are some Master Sauces that have been in continual use for generations.

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Squid Tentacles Deep-Fried at Fan's
Squid Tentacles Deep-Fried at Fan’s

Squid Tentacles Deep-Fried at Fan’s in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

My first experience with a Squid dish at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was a delivery order of Ginger-Fried Shredded Squid. I remember remarking, at the time, that it was one of the nicest squid dishes I have ever had. Their Dim Sum Menu, served on the weekends, also features a dish of Deep-Fried Squid Tentacles (pictured above), and this turned out to be among the best of all Deep-Fried Squid dishes I have been served in any type of restaurant, Chinese or otherwise.

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Shrimps Stir-Fry Eggs
Shrimps Stir-Fry Eggs

Shrimps Stir-Fry Eggs虾仁炒蛋

This very simple preparation is somewhat similar to my recipe for Spiced Eggs with Shrimp. The fundamental differences, however, are that, in this recipe, I use tiny little cocktail shrimp, and very few additional seasonings or other ingredients. The reason for both choices are that, as a general rule, the smaller the shrimp, the more flavor they have, and if you are trying to capitalize on that, it would be counterproductive to add spice seasonings, or other larger ingredients whose taste might overwhelm the tiny shrimp themselves.


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Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers
Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers

Spicy Bay Scallops with Peanuts and Peppers

This dish is the sort of thing that could easily be called ‘Kung Pao’ style Scallops in your typical Westernized Chinese Restaurant. If served in such an establishment, it might have a few other vegetable ingredients to cut down on food costs, but the mere inclusion of both Chili and Peanuts would be sufficient to call it a Kung Pao dish. This preparation doesn’t actually meet the requirements of a properly traditional Kung Pao specialty, though, as it omits the characteristic scorched dried chillies and replaces the sweet and sour notes with Garlic and Red Bell Pepper.

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Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs - 番茄炒蛋
Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs – 番茄炒蛋

Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs – 番茄炒蛋

I have heard, or read, a huge number of Chinese people, cooks and non-cooks alike, who claim that 番茄炒蛋, or Eggs gently scrambled with Tomatoes, is the first dish they ever learned to prepare themselves. It is certainly a popular dish amongst students, and at modest family meals, not only because it is delicious, but because it so incredibly simple to make. The humble meal may consist of nothing more that the requisite Tomatoes and Eggs, along with maybe a pinch or two of Sugar, or it may get considerably more complex with all sorts of other additions, much like an Omelet, or Scrambled Eggs in the West. The recipe for the version here is a touch more complex than the most basic form of Tomatoes Stir-Fry Eggs, but it is still remarkably simple.


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Octopus Grilled at Spiga
Octopus Grilled at Spiga

Octopus Grilled at Spiga

Back in the day, the Spiga Café specialized in Portuguese cuisine down in the fashionable Byward Market area of Ottawa. I had some excellent dishes there, including the Grilled Octopus appetizer you see pictured above, and I was sorry I was unable to work my way through their menu before they closed their doors for good. Everything I ate there was not only delicious, it was, I thought, always very skillfully and artistically presented.


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Preserved Pork Belly and Daikon Soup
Preserved Pork Belly and Daikon Soup

Preserved Pork Belly and Daikon Soup

In this recipe, I have used homemade Chinese-Style Preserved Pork Belly, and homemade Pickled Daikon to make a soup in which the sweetness of the cured pork is offset and complemented by the sour tang of the brine-fermented vegetable. The rich Chicken Broth base is enhanced with Ginger, Shaoxing Wine, and just a hint of Chili.


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Sichuan Style Dressed Cucumber
Sichuan Style Dressed Cucumber

Sichuan Style Dressed Cucumber

There are countless dressed Cucumber preparations, both in Western and Eastern cuisines. A particular variety involving salted Cucumber pieces is especially popular in Asian cookery, particularly in Japan and Korea. This bold and quite fiery version has its roots in Western China, and is pungent with scorched chili, Sichuan pepper, and the tang of Black Vinegar.


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A Jellied Rich Brown Bone Broth
A Jellied Rich Brown Bone Broth

Making a Rich Brown Bone Broth … or Brown Stock … or whichever.

The picture above may not look much like a broth, but, when chilled, a very rich broth that has been prepared with lots of collagen containing bone, skin, and connective tissue will form a thick, highly nutritious jelly when cooled.

The recipe here uses bones and attached meat which are first roasted before being simmered, and this gives the resultant broth (or stock) a deep brown color. In classical Western Cookery (chiefly from the French tradition), this makes it a ‘Brown Stock’, in contrast to a ‘White Stock’ where the meat, and any vegetables used, are sometimes blanched, but not roasted.

Traditionally, a ‘proper’ Brown Stock is made with Veal Bones, but, here, I am using a mix of Beef Marrow Bones and whole Pork Hocks with the skin still attached.

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Naan Pizza with Lamb and Feta
Naan Pizza with Lamb and Feta

Naan Pizza with Lamb and Feta

One of my fellow bloggers once visited the Uyghur Autonomous Region in Western China and later posted a picture of something he called ‘Xinjiang Pizza’. It consisted of an oil and spice topping on the local version of Naan Bread and the idea inspired me to try something a little more complex. I have used Naan from my local supermarket for this recipe (though you could make it yourself, if you like), and I have given it a meat and two cheese topping enhanced with the flavors of Central Asia. Naturally, you can start with the basic idea and add whatever topping suit your fancy.


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