Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Yangchow Fried Rice

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



This is my new favorite. Unbelievably simple, healthy, and delicious! 

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Shrimp
Bowl 2: Rice, peas
Bowl 3: Ham, scallions
Bowl 4: Salt, white pepper


I was skeptical while making this stir-fry - with no seasonings other than salt and white pepper - and as hard as it was, I did refrain from adding that little bit of garlic, and soy sauce that is typical of fried rice recipes. 

This took me by surprise - it really was full of flavor - no other seasonings are needed, and the white pepper added the perfect amount of heat. No wonder in China, Yangchow fried rice is prized for its clean and fresh flavors (perfect description btw). I have said before, simple can be best, and it rings true with this recipe.



This was so simple to prepare: the shrimp is stir-fried in a small amount of oil just until it turns color, add a little more oil, and the rice and peas, stir until heated through, throw in the ham, scallions, and seasonings, mix all together, and it's done. A most delicious meal in mere minutes.

This also would be utterly delicious made Catonese style, with Chinese barbecued pork in place of the ham. 

Do give this recipe a try; you'll be missing out if you don't.

We as a group do not post the recipes on our blogs, but lucky for you, the recipe is published on Fine Cooking's website, and of course, you can always find it on page 259 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, by Grace Young.




Friday, April 8, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Chinese Jamaican Stir-Fried Chicken with Chayote

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



A most delicious stir-fry! Served with rice, you have yourself a complete meal. 

The recipe calls for two not so ordinary ingredients: Pickapeppa Sauce and Chayote (pronounced Chahy-oh-tee or Chī'ōdē) squash, which also goes by the names of vegetable pear, christophene, chocho and mirlton. Depending on what article you read, it is either a fruit or vegetable. I'm sticking with fruit.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Chicken, dark soy sauce, garlic, cornstarch, salt, oil
Bowl 2: Onions
Bowl 3: Salt
Bowl 4: Chayote
Bowl 5: Water
Bowl 6: Pickapeppa Sauce, ketchup
Bowl 7: Salt

This stir-fry begins by adding the chicken to the wok first, which is allowed to sear and stir-fried briefly before it is removed from the wok (to be added back in later). Oil is added to the wok with a bit of salt and the chayote - this is stir-fried for a short time, and then some water is added, the wok is covered for about five seconds, uncovered, stirred, and covered again until the chayote is crisp-tender. The chicken is added back in along with the sauce mixture and a bit more salt, and stir-fried just until the chicken is cooked through. Yep, that simple.

Chayote

I have purchased chayote at my local grocery in the past, however, this time, I had to make a trip to 99 Ranch, my local Asian market. If you can't find chayote, you could substitute zucchini; though I may skip or shorten the time of the steaming portion of the recipe, for zucchini is pretty tender from the start, whereas chayote is crisp like an apple, as I prefer my vegetables on the firmer side.

I found it easier to peel the chayote after slicing it in half and giving it a quick rinse with water (it can be slippery); I was able to get a better grip on it, and also able to get to more of the skin in the creases at the top.
                           
(source)

The Pickapeppa Sauce (aka Jamaican ketchup), I did not even check my local markets for, and went straight to World Market, knowing I had seen it there before. Other members mentioned they did find it at their Safeway and Ralphs supermarkets - so maybe it is not so uncommon after all.

This sauce tasted to me, a lot like A-1 steak sauce with a dose of vinegar. However, mixed with ketchup and stir-fried along with the other ingredients, it had a totally different flavor - nothing at all like steak sauce.



Andy said this was another A+ meal; and on his second helping he voiced "this is way good.."

It is said that the seed of the chayote is a delicacy in Mexico. So of course I had to give it a try. The seed was very tender, with a "green" flavor, almost grass-like; it was just OK - not something I would have a hankering for in the future.

(Update: to clarify, I ate the seed raw, Grace informed me that it should be cooked.)


I did have an extra chayote that I used for making this raw, light, crisp salad for my lunch. I came across a recipe on Canadian Living, that used a very simple citrus (lime) vinaigrette to toss partially cooked chayote in, along with some cilantro. I chose not to boil the chayote, and just sliced it very thin with a mandoline. Raw chayote is crisp like an apple, with a very mild flavor - similar to a cucumber, sans the sweetness.

Check out the following links for more information on this interesting fruit:


We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. You will find the recipe on page 133 of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find at your local library.  





Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




Yep, you read that correctly - b a g e l s.  The recipe calls for your standard plain Jewish bagel to be made into a delicious Chinese stir-fry. Crazy as it sounds, it works!


The recipe comes from Lejen Chen, of Mrs. Shanen's in Beijing. The original recipe is normally made with laobing, a type of Chinese flatbread. Lejen, having extra bagels on hand, decided to try it with bagels instead, and I thank her, for I'm sure the laobing would be hard to come by for me, if not downright impossible.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, dried chili pepper
Bowl 2: Bacon
Bowl 3: Garlic
Bowl 4: Cabbage
Bowl 5: Soy sauce, rice vinegar
Bowl 6: Bagels
Bowl 7: Salt

The contents of bowl one are first stir-fried in a little oil to bring out their flavor, then the bacon is added and cooked just until it begins to crisp up a bit, then the garlic is added (the fat from the bacon is not thrown out! This is what helps flavor the dish), then the cabbage (which I would have liked more of), which is cooked just until it starts to wilt, at which time the soy sauce mixture and bagels go in, the wok is covered for a short time to soften the bagels (mine were extremely fresh - pillow soft, and I could have probably skipped this part), then a little salt is sprinkled in and tossed to combine. Voila! You now have an interesting and tasty side dish. 

I was thinking this would be good for breakfast too, served alongside or topped with a poached egg. I don't see why you couldn't prep everything the evening before so it's ready to go when you are. If you feel your bagels are too dry, just sprinkle some water over them before covering the wok.


Think of this as a deconstructed BLT sandwich - minus the T; though you could add some halved cherry tomatoes if you like - I wouldn't tell. :)

We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. You will find the recipe on page 255 of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find at your local library.  The recipe just so happens to be available here as well. :)







Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young





The black bean sauce in this recipe is not made with your typical black beans (think Latin cuisine), but with fermented black beans (aka douchi or salted black beans) which are actually black soybeans that have been fermented and preserved in salt. You will find these beans at your local Chinese or Asian grocery. 

The beans have a musky scent, and an earthy, oaky, raisiny (without the sweetness) flavor, not to mention salty, which you can rinse the beans to remove some of the saltiness as we did for this recipe.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1:  Red onion, red pepper flakes
Bowl 2:  Chicken, cornstarch, dry sherry, soy sauce, salt
Bowl 3:  Carrots
Bowl 4:  Fermented black beans, garlic, ginger, dark soy sauce
Bowl 5:  Chicken broth, dry sherry
Bowl 6:  Salt
Bowl 7:  Scallion


As I was consuming this wonderful meal (I served this with jasmine rice and steamed zucchini), I thought how comforting this is. It's one you'll want to have in your repertoire, filed under comfort foods.  

Next time I make this, I'm going to toss in a few whole fermented beans as well, and up the red pepper flakes for I do like my food on the spicier side.

The recipe can be found here, but I highly recommend you get the book - the recipes are fabulous.



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. You will find the recipe on page 137 of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. 






Saturday, February 27, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Doubly Delicious: Stir-Fried Crystal Shrimp & Stir-Fried Garlic Shanghai Bok Choy

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




I'm really behind in making of the recipes and posting for Wok Wednesdays this month. The shrimp dish was due back on the tenth, and the bok choy on the twenty-fourth, so I made them the same evening - hence this Doubly Delicious post!

Stir-Fried Crystal Shrimp:


This dish gets its name, Crystal Shrimp, by "washing" the shrimp in salt a couple of times before it is marinated in egg white and cornstarch, also known as velveting. This technique Grace says, gives the shrimp a crisp, crystal-like texture that the Chinese revere.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Scallions, ginger
Bowl 2: Shrimp, egg white, cornstarch (Oops.. this is the position for the shrimp after boiling.)
Bowl 3: Peas
Bowl 4: Salt
Bowl 5: Chicken broth, dry sherry, cornstarch, white pepper

Before the actual stir-frying begins, the shrimp, after marinating for an hour, gets a quick simmer in oiled water just until they start to turn color.

The ginger and scallions are stir-fried just until fragrant, at which time the partially cooked shrimp (which have been drained well) are added along with the remaining ingredients and stir-fried until the shrimp are cooked through and are covered in a silky sauce.

I know I have said this before, but it just amazes me how delicious these meals turn out with so few ingredients, namely the seasonings in this recipe. Do buy the freshest shrimp you can find - it will make a difference.

Lucky for all you readers! This recipe is available on-line if you don't have the book yet. You gotta get the book!! And for those that do have it, you'll find it on page 160.

Surf & Turf!

May be hard to believe, as delicious as the shrimp is, we did have leftovers! I had served the shrimp with rice and the following bok choy recipe which made plenty to go around; the leftover shrimp was a great accompaniment to our dinner the next evening.

Stir-Fried Garlic Shanghai Bok Choy:

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Garlic
Bowl 2: Bok choy
Bowl 3: Salt, sugar
Bowl 4: Chicken broth, dry sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch


Did you know the proper name for baby bok choy is Shanghai bok choy? Neither did I until I did an internet search, wondering if I was even going to be able to find it. Happy to discover that everything I needed for this recipe (as well as the shrimp recipe) could be found at my local market. Love it when that is the case!


This was  a  m  a  z  i  n  g !  With just a few ingredients, it was big on flavor. This is one recipe you'll want to put into regular rotation.


So simple to make - I know, I sound like a broken record! All the recipes in this book have been easy, some a tad more involved than others, but still easy, and delicious!! And this is one that can't really be any simpler.

After a quick sauté of the garlic, the chopped bok choy is added to the wok, along with a little salt and sugar and stir-fried for a minute or so, then the broth mixture is added, and everything is stir-fried just until the bok choy is left with a slight crunch to it; crisp-tender, as the pros say.



These two recipes together made for a most wonderful meal. You'll want to serve it with some rice as I did (I went with jasmine rice), for the bok choy has a good amount of sauce that was delicious spooned over the rice.


We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. You will find them on pages 160 and 220 respectively, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Clams with Spicy Bean Sauce

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




The hubby had no problem polishing these off; this after him saying, clams? with no excitement whatsoever, when I mentioned to him all I had left to do was wash the clams before I started stir-frying (he's not much of a fan of shellfish). To my credit, I did ask him beforehand, like a week before, if he was good with clams for our next WW meal - his answer, if you are making them.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Shallots, ginger, garlic
Bowl 2: Clams
Bowl 3: Thai red pepper
Bowl 4: Chicken broth, bean sauce, soy sauce
Bowl 5: Scallions

 Four of the clams had cracks - so I tossed them; just to be safe.

Nature's art.




Super easy weeknight meal!! I served this with a spinach salad and French bread. The clams would go nicely served over pasta as well, as a couple of our members did. To see how beautiful the clams look nestled amongst a swirl of linguine, check out Lisette's photo on the WW Facebook page.

This took no time at all to get on the table. This of course depends on your clams. Audrey, another member tells me, if you have access to really fresh clams, like harvesting them yourself, or from a clam fishery, you may need to soak them in cold water for about an hour for them to release their sand. For me, I purchased them at our local higher-end market, which meant they probably had been sitting around, and soaking long enough to expel most of their sand before I purchased them. I had very little residue after rinsing and brushing - and no grit at all while eating them.

If you Google how to prepare clams, some sites say to soak the clams in salted water - probably not the best idea, for clams can be salty on their own, and this recipe calls for bean sauce, which has a fair amount of salt. I felt this stir-fry was a bit too briny, though Andy thought it was fine, and there were no complaints from other members in regards to it being too salty.

A couple of other Wok Wednesday members recommend soaking the clams in water with cornmeal of all things; and Grace even mentions in the book, that old-fashioned Chinese cooks swear by placing a carbon-steel cleaver in the bowl with the clams, this being the best way to clean them.



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 169, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library.    

The recipe is also available here; however, I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.


 



 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Singapore-Style [Chicken] with Chinese Celery

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young





This recipe was picked for the upcoming Chinese New Year. The actual recipe is made with duck, however, I had to substitute chicken for this one.

According to Grace: "Celery is popular to eat for the lunar new year. The belief is that eating celery has positive meaning, because the word for celery in Cantonese, kun choi, is a homonym for diligence." I also read that duck symbolizes fertility - good thing I'm past that stage in my life, being I had to substitute chicken.

To read more on traditions during the Chinese New Year, see Grace's posts, Chinse New Year Traditions and Gifts for the Gods: Food for the Chinese New Year.

 
As you can see, Chinese celery is very similar to American celery. The difference is the stalks are a lot thinner, and the flavor is more pronounced; unlike Western celery, it is vary rarely, if at all, eaten raw, for it is not as tender.  Personally, I enjoyed it raw, more-so than our celery.

 The Kitchen God, with offerings of wine and fruit (blood orange), overseeing my mise en place. 

Bowl 1: Five-spice tofu
Bowl 2: Ginger, shallot, Thai red pepper (my addition)
Bowl 3: Salted soy beans
Bowl 4: Chicken, soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, sesame oil, rice wine, salt, pepper, five-spice powder, sugar
Bowl 5: Chinese celery, Anaheim chilies
Bowl 6: Chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine


The Kitchen God, overseeing the soon-to-be stir-frying (I hope he is not too tipsy from the wine). 

I ended up using chicken in place of the duck, for the duck I had in the freezer was unfortunately freezer-burned, and my meat market only had frozen available. I can only imagine what the "wild" taste of duck would impart on this stir-fry; the chicken made a fine substitute, but missing that "gamey" flavor of duck.

The recipe calls for Anaheim peppers, which I'm sure is what I used (no sign stating what they were), but they did not have any heat to them, so I added four small, dried Thai red peppers with the ends snipped; the amount of heat was spot on.

You can't go wrong when a recipe calls for Chinese five-spice powder - amazing flavor. However, do read the labels! The ingredients vary between brands; my friend Karen, of Karen's Kitchen Stories mentioned hers had six ingredients!! Check out a previous post here for a list of different brands and their ingredients.


The recipe states this will serve two to three as a main dish with rice. I forgot to make rice, and too bad too, for it had a fair amount of sauce; even without the rice, this stir-fry was quite filling!



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 131, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.





Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Lettuce with Garlic Chili

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




Grace mentions that this is a recipe to be served for Chinese New Year, birthdays, and graduations; for lettuce symbolizes prosperity, and translates to "growing money".  Maybe I'll have good fortune, for I also recently made Grace's recipe Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups - which by the way is so, so good.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Garlic, serrano pepper
Bowl 2: Romaine
Bowl 3: Salt, white pepper
Bowl 4: Dry sherry, chicken broth, soy sauce


The tomatoes were my addition, for I felt it needed a splash of color. This dish also looks pretty just sprinkled with some sesame seeds, as other members of the group had done.

With just a few simple ingredients, you have a quick and tasty side dish. 

 Here are the Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups - you really need to make these...




We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 195 (p.99 for the lettuce cups), of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.


  


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Noodle Soup with Stir-Fried Scallops and Enoki Mushrooms

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




Who knew a stir-fry could turn into such a beautiful, satisfying soup.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Ginger
Bowl 2: Scallops
Bowl 3: Bok choy, carrot, enoki mushrooms
Bowl 4: Salt
Bowl 5: Dry sherry, bean sauce, sambal olek
Bowl 6: Fresh Chinese egg noodles

This recipe takes a few more pots to make, but so worth it. Before beginning the stir-fry portion of the recipe, you have two pots going, one for boiling the noodles in, and one for simmering the broth. You bring both pots to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cover until needed - later in the recipe. Genius. It never occurred to me in the past, to cover the pot of simmering water. I had always heated up the water and kept it at low heat, and by the time I was ready for it, it had boiled down too much, and I would have to add more water. Thanks for the tip, Grace!


I did sub out a couple of ingredients. The recipe calls for chili bean sauce, which I did not have, so I used equal amounts of bean sauce and sambal olek. I also used vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth, for we had a surprise visit this evening from our daughter, who is a vegetarian.

Speaking of the broth.. it is simmering away with a few slices of smashed, fresh ginger - this really kicks the flavor up a notch. I can just imagine, sipping on the gingered broth alone, on a chilly winter evening, especially if one is suffering from a cold.

As the two pots are simmering away on the back burners, we start the stir-fry portion. First a little garlic is sautéed until fragrant, then the scallops are added and allowed to sear (which mine did not - they released a lot of liquid!) Next, the vegetables are stir-fried just until the bok choy starts to wilt. Salt is sprinkled on and the sherry mixture is stirred in, and cooked just long enough for the scallops to cook through.

To serve, and this I found interesting; soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper are placed into the bottoms of individual soup bowls. The noodles are divided amongst the bowls and tossed with the "dressing" before being topped with the scallop stir-fry, and then ladled with broth.


We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 270, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.