Category Archives: Chinese

Thai Basil Clams

For 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb live Manila Clams
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small bunch of Thai Basil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Thai chilies (thinly sliced)
  • 2.5 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tbsp nam prig pow (optional)

Clean the clams:

  1. Select undamaged clams that are unopened, keep them in a cool place, unwrapped, so they can breathe
  2. Right before cooking, soak the clams in rice water or water with added salt or water with added cornmeal for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  3. Take the clams out and thoroughly scrub the shells of the clam
  4. Rinse lightly underneath the running water

Recipe:

  1. Heat up the oil in a wok on high, add in thin strips of Thai peppers and smashed or coarsely chopped garlic
  2. Add cleaned clams in right away and stir until all clams are opened
  3. Add in fish sauce, sugar and nam prig pow (if available), mix them well with the clams
  4. Add Thai basil leaves, stir quickly and remove from heat
  5. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: rice, spirits, buns …

NOTES: I didn’t find nam prig pow at 99 Ranch, but perhaps it was just under the name “roasted chili paste”… and I was single-mindedly looking for “nam prig pow” only… It was nevertheless very delicious!! I should have bought at least 2 lb of the clams… The Thai chilies were pretty powerful, my lips are still ‘hot’ because of them, and I only used four small ones!! Don’t stir the clams for too long after adding the Thai basil leaves, and eat  them while they are hot…. :), so good!!

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Filed under appetizer, Chinese, Main Dish, Seafood, Side Dish

Spicy Snow Pea Stir Fry (肉末辣炒荷兰豆)

For 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of snow peas
  • 1/5 lb of ground pork
  • 1 tsp of canola oil
  • 3 tsp of starch
  • 2 tsp of rice cooking wine
  • 1 tsp of oyster oil
  • 1 tsp of light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of granulated chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped scallion
  • pepper flakes (up to personal preference)
  • salt to season

Recipe:

  1. Fold in 1 tsp starch and 2 tsp rice cooking wine with the ground pork
  2. Mix together 1 tsp oyster oil, 1 tsp light soy sauce, 1/2 tsp granulated chicken bouillon, 2 tsp starch, 2 tbsp water and some salt as the sauce
  3. Boil the snow peas for about 1 – 1.5 minutes, bath under cold water briefly, drain well and set aside
  4. Heat up a wok on medium-high, add 1 tsp of canola oil and stir fry the ground pork, take out when it turn color
  5. In the same oiled,  heated wok on medium-high, mix in minced garlic, ginger and pepper flakes, quickly stir  for about 0.5 minute
  6. Add in snow peas, stir fry for about 2 minutes, next, add in ground pork, stir, and finally add in the sauce (step 2) and finely chopped scallion, mix well
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  rice, buns, Chinese white spirit …

NOTES: The photo does not do this dish justice at all. You better have enough rice to eat with it, very yummy!! Don’t forget to remove the ends and veins of snow peas. Adding a couple of drops of oil when boiling the snow peas will help to keep the snow peas green and tender. Special thanks goes to H.L. for doing most of the work, taking the photo and offering words of ‘encouragement’ 😉

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Filed under Chinese, Main Dish

Coconut Sago Pearls Soup with Kabocha (南瓜西米露)

For 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small kabocha (an Asian variety of winter squash/pumpkin)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 1/3 cup of sago pearls
  • 3-4 tbsp of sugar
  • 1.5 cups of water

Recipe:

  1. Heat up a small sauce pan or pot filled with water halfway
  2. When the water comes to a boil, pour in the sago pearls and keep on stirring. When the water comes to a boil again, turn off the heat and let the sago pearls sit in the covered saucepan/pot for 20 minutes
  3. After the 20 minutes is up,  stir the sago pearls a little and turn up the heat to bring it to another boil,  stir and then turn off the heat, wait for 10 more minutes
  4. Then, drain the pearls and rinse with cold water to cool them down,  set aside to use later
  5. Dice the kabocha into small cubes, steam till soft (~15 minutes)
  6. Boil the can of coconut milk, 1.5 cups of water and sugar in a small pot, turn off the heat when sugar has melted
  7. Mix in 1/4 of the pearls, 1/4 of the kabocha and 1/4 of the coconut mixture in a small bowl
  8. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  Possibly with some biscuits or butter bread…

NOTES: This dessert soup can be served hot or cold depending on preference and seasons. Amount of sugar added also depends on personal preference. To get the desirable texture of the pearls, please follow the boil and sit steps closely.

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Filed under Chinese, Dessert

Pork Neckbone Soup with Lotus Root (莲藕猪骨汤)

For 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces of chopped pork neck bones (palm-sized)
  • 1 lotus root (2 sections)
  • 1 tsp of canola oil
  • salt

Recipe:

  1. Heat up approximately 2.5 quarts of water inside a CLAY POT
  2. Cut or Slice the lotus root into little chunks, horizontally or vertically
  3. While waiting for the claypot water to come to a boil, put the neckbones in a separate pot and fill with water just enough to cover all the bones. Boil the bones for about 3 minutes.
  4. Take out the bones, rinse and cleanse off any suds. Pet them dry with paper towel.
  5. Heat up the canola oil in a fry pan and “mix/stir fry” the neckbones for about 4 minutes
  6. Dump the neckbones and the lotus roots into the boiling clay pot, turn heat down to low but make sure it’s till quietly bubbling, let it simmer for about 2 hours.
  7. Right before the time is up, add in salt to season to your own liking.
  8. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  The soup can be served alone or you can cook in it – noodle/glass noodle/chunks of sourdough bread/bits of flour doughs …

NOTES: Clay or stone pots are highly recommended and remember not to add water during the 2-hour simmering process, as it will make the soup far less tasty. This recipe is the most basic version of the neckbone & lotus soup, feel free to bring a twist to it by adding Chinese herbs, mushrooms, other dried seafood… Definitely my go-to easy-to-do comfort soup 🙂

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Filed under Chinese, Soup

Pork with Water Chestnut & Mustard Green Stir Fry (荸荠雪里红炒肉)

For 2

Ingredients:

  • 7 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced
  • 1 handfuls of sliced pork belly
  • 1/2 handful of diced preserved mustard greens
  • 1 tbsp of rice cooking wine
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • a pinch of sugar

Recipe:

  1. Heat up 1 tbsp of canola oil in a medium size non-sticking fry pan.
  2. Stir fry the pork bellies on medium-high heat till they are slightly pink in the center.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low, stir in the diced mustard greens for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of rice cooking wine and the sliced water chestnuts
  5. Turn up heat to high, fervently STIR & MIX all the ingredients till water chestnuts turn 75% translucent, sprinkle in the salt and sugar
  6. Cook them for several minutes longer then turn off the heat.
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  while warm with rice (any variety from white to mix-colored to brown), or with steamed buns, or with plain rice congee, or inside fluffy peking-duck buns, or …

NOTES: The light bulb finally came on today that pork belly is essentially bacon, so maybe I don’t hate bacon afterall and I can befriend with boys again, yay! 😀 There are several types of preserved mustard greens in the markets: the diced, fresh green colored one often in a plastic container (Xue Li Hong or 雪里红, a little crunchy and a little salty), or the packaged whole or half preserved one (Suan Cai or 酸菜, sour and salty), or the minced ones packaged in a bag or metal container (Zha Cai or 榨菜, salty and/or spicy). I used the first kind in my dish,  which is the least salty of the three. However, you may substitute any of the three for this dish, it would turn out brilliant! Just be careful with the amount of salt if you are using the latter two. MM insisted that I should use scallion and ginger while stir frying meat, I only gave in on adding some diced scallion while cooking the meat, but I don’t think it’s necessary. The fresh water chestnut was so crunchy, juicy and sweet that I think I could have skipped the pinch of sugar! On a redder note, cut my left ring finger while slicing the slimmy water chestnut, boo! But the dish turned out really yummy, I guess it was worth the sacrifice 😛

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Filed under Chinese, Main Dish