Beef Stir-fried with Leek
Beef Stir-fried with Leek

Beef Stir-fried with Leek

This tasty little dish is very easy to prepare and uses a two-step cooking process, commonly used in Chinese restaurants, in which the main ingredient is marinated and then deep-fried before being cooked a second time with the other ingredients.

Here, Beef takes center stage, and the initial deep-fry not only shortens the cooking time, it produces a tender, succulent result when the meat is then stir-fried with julienned strips of fresh Leek.


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Vichyssoise - Cold Leek and Potato Soup
Vichyssoise – Cold Leek and Potato Soup

Vichyssoise

Two things… First of all, the name of this Classic Soup is pronounced ‘Vishee-SWAAZZ’. Many North Americans pronounce it ‘Vishee-SWAH’, as though omitting the final consonant were the truly refined and properly Frenchified pronunciation. It isn’t.

Secondly, thick soups of pureed leek and potato have been around forever, but the version created in the early 20th Century and named ‘Vichyssoise’ has traditionally been served cold, often at very formal meals. Personally, I like this type of soup served nicely chilled, but I also love it served piping hot with crusty bread. In French cuisine, a hot ‘Vichyssoise’ would more properly be called a ‘Potage a la Parmentier’.

Of course, you could always just call it ‘Leek and Potato Soup’


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Beef Xian Bing - 牛肉餡餅
Beef Xian Bing – 牛肉餡餅

Beef Xian Bing – 牛肉餡餅

These little delicacies are a northern Chinese specialty. The word ‘Bing’ refers to a wide range of flat, usually unleavened, wheat ‘cakes’ and the word ‘Xian’ specifically indicates that this cake is ‘stuffed’ or ‘filled’. Mostly, the filling is some sort of meat or other, so you can basically think of these treats as ‘Chinese Meat Pies’. Here, I am using Beef, along with a little Leek, to fill my ‘pies’, hence the – 牛肉 (niu rou) prefix to the Chinese characters for Xian Bing (餡餅).


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Filipino Pork Binagoongan
Filipino Pork Binagoongan

Filipino Pork Binagoongan

In the cuisine of the Philippines, a Binagoongan is a dish in which the primary ingredient is cooked with the Filipino fermented shrimp paste known as Bagoong Alamang. This particular version features pork as the main ingredient, and the tangy sweetness of the tomato based sauce is rounded out by both the umami depth of the shrimp paste, and just a touch of chili heat.


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Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef
Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef

Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef

Dry-frying, in Chinese cookery, can mean both that a dish is fast-fried with little or no sauce, and also that the main ingredient is fried, often in more than one step, to yield a dry, chewy result. In this recipe, both ends are achieved in that the beef is first deep-fried, stir-fried slowly until it is dark and bordering on crispy, then tossed with celery and carrot with lots of Garlic, Chili and Cumin.


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Shanghai Bok Choy with Mushrooms
Shanghai Bok Choy with Mushrooms

Shanghai Bok Choy with Mushrooms

The mushrooms used in this recipe are dried Chinese Black Mushrooms, also known as Shiitake, which make an umami counterpoint with the sweetness of the Bok Choy greens. The stock-based sauce in which both are served is seasoned very lightly and the resulting dish could just as easily be a main plate in a Chinese table service as it could a side dish for a Steak, or a Western-style Roast.


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Restaurant-Style Honey Garlic Ribs
Restaurant-Style Honey Garlic Ribs

Honey Garlic Ribs are a standard on almost every westernized Chinese restaurant menu. There are endless permutations on the theme, of course, but the basic requirements are that they be garlicky and sticky sweet.  One characteristic they do share is that virtually none of them actually contain honey as an ingredient, and that the sweetness invariably comes from plain-old sugar. The following recipe keeps very much to that tradition and will let you easily   reproduce your own version of the ever-popular Restaurant-Style Honey Garlic Ribs.


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Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters
Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters

Oyster Chowder with Canned Oysters

Canned Oysters are a pale shadow of the freshly shucked real article, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely. I always like to have a can or two in my pantry for those times when fresh oysters are not available, or for when you just want to put something together quickly, without all the usual shucking around. This super quick chowder recipe makes a nice hearty dish for one, if served with crusty bread and maybe a small salad, and a lovely little starter soup for two.


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Black Bean Steamed Clams
Black Bean Steamed Clams

Black Bean Steamed Clams

Clams and Chinese Salted Black Beans are quite often paired together, but most commonly this happens in stir-fried dishes. Here, they are steamed together with chili, garlic and scallion to make a terrific appetizer or Dim Sum style dish.


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Sweet Sesame Shrimp
Sweet Sesame Shrimp

Sweet Sesame Shrimp

Worcestershire Sauce and Tomato Ketchup may sound like unusual ingredients in a Chinese or Asian recipe but, in fact, in the past several decades, both have become quite commonly used in those parts. Indeed, I would even hazard a guess that Worcestershire Sauce is now used more frequently in Asia than it is in the West. In this recipe, both of these ingredients are used to add a second level of flavor to a straightforward sweet and sour glaze, and the whole is rounded out by the rich nuttiness of Sesame.


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