February 24, 2012

Garlic Steamed Scallops over Glass Noodle 蒜茸粉絲蒸扇貝

chinese, glass noodles, recipe, scallops, steamed scallops, steamed seafood

One of the wonders of living in Hong Kong is the fresh seafood that you can get here on an everyday basis.  Where else in the world are people so snobby about their seafood that they demand it alive until the moment that it is ready for cooking?!

And so we can go to our local wet markets and find an awe inspiring assortment of the freshest seafood of all kinds on a daily basis.  And so we happened upon a catch of fresh scallops, a huge tank full, still alive and kicking. (Well, not 'kicking' exactly.  I think scallops more likely are 'waving'.) The wet market lady shucked the top shells upon our request and then we were off, laughing with glee at our incredible find for the night's dinner.  

And how to cook this treasure of the seas?  Simply steamed in all its fresh glory of course!  And so we made Garlic Steamed Scallops over Glass Noodle, or 蒜茸粉絲蒸扇貝, where the scallops are steamed til just tender while the garlic and scallop juice infuse the bottom bed of delicate glass noodles with a deliciously fresh and tasty flavour.  And how can you beat serving on the shell for presentation?  Yumm, umm.  Beautiful, delicious and easy to make!

February 18, 2012

Chinese Steamed Egg Custard 蒸蛋

chinese, egg, recipe, steamed egg, steamed egg custard, 蒸蛋

Smooth, creamy, warming, comforting and quietly good tasting - that is a food to die for, is it not?  One of my personal favorites in this category of comfort foods is the Chinese Steamed Egg Custard or  蒸蛋, which most Chinese probably grew up eating at the family table.

But come the time for me to make it by myself in my own grown-up little kitchen, I discovered to my dismay that this deceptively humble little dish is much more elusive than its simple appearance warrants.  I made it again and again, but alas could not achieve the glass like smoothness that should have been. 

 Confused, I thought longingly back to my Grandma, seeing her in my mind's eye as she casually whipped this dish together: me, helping to stir the eggs, Grandma adding the water and salt by eye and then lowering the bowl into our old beat up rice cooker that still required water to be added around the cooking container.  And then, presto!, the perfect steamed egg custard time after time.  I didn't even know that there were other steamed egg textures possible!   But then, there you go, that's Grandma magic for you.  

February 1, 2012

Chinese New Year Turnip Radish Cake 蘿蔔糕

chinese, daikon, dried mushroom, dried scallop, dried shrimp, festival, lap cheong, radish cake, recipe, turnip cake, 蘿蔔糕

There is nothing so comforting as comfort food.  Something that soothes, takes you back to your childhood, safe and sound, experiencing the delights of the palate with no holds barred, no reference points.  Just the pure delight of yummy or not yummy and filling the tummy.

For most Chinese many of the annual festival foods will qualify for this definition of "comfort food" and the Chinese New Year radish cake is definitely one of the top challengers. This is a traditional, homey, almost countryside kind of food, but full of knock out yummy soothing comforts for the city enslaved tongue.  

Most people in Hong Kong don't make this kind of stuff for themselves anymore, preferring to enjoy the convenience of buying them pre-made from the many stores that profit from the Chinese New Year gorgings that all Chinese indulge in.  Even the older generation nowadays prefer to enjoy this kind of convenience, much to the detriment of my romantic idealizations of the elder generations keeping of the traditional torch and so on.  But nothing, of course, comes close to homemade taste...