August 31, 2021

Winged Bean Garlic Stir Fry 蒜蓉炒翼豆

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆

 Have you ever seen a bean with wings?  Or wings with a bean?  No?  Well then, I am very pleased to introduce you to the fabulous Winged Bean 翼豆!  We discovered these strange beans in the wet market the other day.  So funny looking with four little wing like corners on each bean. Never seen them before but the vegetable lady assured us that they were quite delicious.  

Excited as always to try a new veggie, we scooped up a bag full to take home.  True to the vegetable lady's advice a very simply prepared Winged Bean Stir Fry was delicious: kissed with fragrant garlic, these stir fried beans were tender yet still lightly crunch with a sweet light flavor reminiscent of green peas and snow peas.

August 24, 2021

Gong Bao Chicken | Kung Pao Chicken 宮保雞丁

Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁

This easy Chinese stir fry, the Gong Bao Chicken 宮保雞丁, also known as the Kung Pao Chicken, is a dish of bold and striking flavor and textures, a voluptuous treat for the culinary senses.  It is a savory dish, touched with the umami of soy sauce, the tang of black vinegar, the pepperyness of ginger, the hot of chili pepper, a hint of numbness from the szechuan pepper,  and the fragrant aroma of sesame and spring onion.  

In texture the Gong Bao Chicken is tender and chewy (the chicken), crisp ( the water chestnut) and crunchy (the peanuts).  This easy to make yet spectacularly bold stir fry has a little bit of everything nice!

Note:  This dish has chili pepper in it!  Integral part of the dish.  As you've probably noted ours doesn't.  This is because our little girl can't tolerate spicy at all (working on training her!) so for the time being we cook without it :(

August 16, 2021

Chinese Salt Pickled Vegetables 自製中式泡菜

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These little veggie goodies that you can make at home are fantastic little bombs of fermented probiotic goodness!  With a simple brine of salt and water vegetables can be transformed into delicious health boosting pickles that can keep for a long time.  

This process to do this is known as lacto fermentation whereby good bacteria known as Lactobacillus are used to break down starch and sugars into lactic acid, a natural preservative.  The transformative result is veggie pickles with a tanginess introduced, flavors intensified and layered with new taste notes, texture still packing a bit of crunch.

As this was the traditional way to preserve vegetables in the days of old, one can find lacto fermented food in most every culture.  Sauerkraut, kimchi, jalapeños, dill pickles, yogurt, kefir, natto (our new obbession!), kombucha, tempeh and miso are just a few examples of the endless variety of fermented foods found around the world.  

Today we introduce the traditional Chinese way of making Pickled Vegetables 泡菜, a brine soak resulting in yummiliciously delicious veggie pickles infused with aromatic Chinese spices.  It's super simple to make, just need a bit of time and patience.

August 9, 2021

Mandarin Pancakes 荷葉餅

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I love flatbreads of all kinds.  Probably cuz I love finger foods and these little breads are so wonderful for making snackable packages of finger food!  Perhaps you have tried these particular Mandarin Pancake flatbreads before while having Peking Duck or Moo Shu Pork: they are used to wrap up the cooked meat and veg into yummilicious little packages before consuming.  

These Chinese breads look like and serve similar purposes with flatbreads from other cultures, like the chapati from India and the tortilla from Mexico, but actually these Chinese flatbreads have unique charm and feel all their own.  

And while traditionally this flatbread is used with specific Chinese dishes like the Peking Duck, etc., we like to modern it up by using the Mandarin Pancake to wrap up just about anything, be it warm and saucy or cool and spicy.  The great thing about these easy to make sesame scented Mandarin Pancakes 荷葉餅 is that they are soft and flexible yet strong enough to hold both food and sauce without leaking.  Make a bit of stir fry and,  instead of cooking up rice, just use these flatbreads to wrap up your stir fry and there's your dinner! 

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