November 27, 2016

Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup 雪梨雪耳湯

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With the change in the weather in Hong Kong really kicking in this month, the famous humidity of the long, long summer has dropped away, leaving cool and very dry days behind.  My little girl has a 'hot' nature according to Chinese Medicine, with dry skin, hot body and easy perspiration and thus the sudden dryness of the weather has inflamed her 'hot' nature to the point where she has also been getting a lot of nose bleeds.  

The Chinese, naturally, have a healing soup for everything and so there are plenty of soups that soothe the heat of the body.   I bustled myself down to the wet market today to get the fresh ingredients to make a little pot of the traditional Chinese healing and strengthening soup known as Pear & Snow Fungus Tonic Soup, or 雪梨雪耳湯, that helps to soothe and tonify the body to more easily make the transition into the dryer cooler temperatures of the autumn.

November 15, 2016

Steamed Chinese Cured Pork Belly Lap Yuk 蒸臘肉

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Dear friends, it's time for those dishes that warm you up and provide you with the slow burning energy throughout these long chilly days.  I want to introduce the Chinese Cured Pork Belly, also known as Lap Yuk or 臘肉, a Cantonese preserved meat specialty that is sooo delicious and comforting to eat during the autumn and winter months.  Absolute perfection with a steaming hot bowl of rice.

If you've never had it before, it's vaguely reminiscent of bacon being from the same cut of meat but, I think, even better in its own unique luscious porky sort of way.

November 8, 2016

How to Make Chen Pi Dried Tangerine Peel 陳皮做法

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Inspired perhaps by the seasonal chill finally blowing our way, I remembered this year, finally, to try making my own Chen Pi Dried Tangerine Peels (also known as Dried Mandarin Peels), or 陳皮.  These wonderful dried citrus peels are used as a flavoring agent in both savory and sweet dishes in Chinese cuisine as well as being used as an ingredient in Chinese medicine to help digestion and relieve nausea and cough.  

Every year come early autumn I've seen fruit vendors at the wet market making the chen pi, hanging the graceful loops of drying citrus peels topsy turvy from every nook and crook they could find and have always wanted to try making it at home.  

Chen Pi is, after all, what the Cantonese would call an essential in the Chinese kitchen, the flavor of this humble dried tangerine peel is out of this world unique, based in citrus but much, much more nuanced, with an aromatic slightly bitter taste that whets the appetite and prepares the palate for more.  As the Chinese saying '苦盡甘來' goes: 'When bitterness ends, sweetness begins.'