One of my new year resolutions is definitely to lose weight and eat healthier.  A few of my friends are trying the clean eating stuff, which means no dairy, no red meat.   I don’t know if I can do that since I’m such a meat lover, but I certainly want to try eating more veggie.  I made vegetable fried rice the other day cos I didn’t have any meat at home.  It has been snowing so much in NY, and I kind of stuck at home for days and didn’t get a chance to go grocery shopping.  But the dish turned out really yummy.  I didn’t feel deprived.  I’m going to make it a few more times.  Plus, it does fit into the clean eating rules. 

Cook veggie first
Add celery, mushrooms, rice and egg
Mix everything well
Vegetable Fried Rice - not too shabby

Ingredients (Serves 2 as side dish or 1 as main dish for a hungry man):

  • Cooked brown rice, 2 cups
  • Soy beans, 1 cup
  • Sweet corn, ½ cup
  • Celery, 2 stalk
  • Carrot, 2 stalk
  • Mushrooms, 5 or 6
  • Onion, ½
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Egg, 1
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp (you can use the vegetarian oyster sauce if you are a vegetarian)
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Sesame oil, a few drops (optional)

 

Steps:

  1. Peel and cut carrots into small cubes, like 1 cm long. Put it aside.
  2. Cut celery into small cubes.  Put it aside.
  3. Cut mushrooms into slices.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut onion into small dices. Put it aside.
  5. Finely chop garlic.  Put it aside.
  6. Use a large frying pan, spray non-stick cooking oil on it.  Use high heat, cook carrots first.  Let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes. 
  7. Add soy beans, onion and garlic.  Mix it well.  Add cooking wine.  Cook it for 2 or 3 minutes.
  8. Add celery, sweet corn, mushrooms, and rice.  Mix everything well.  If the rice is too hard, add a tablespoon of water.
  9. Dig a hole in the middle of the rice.  Add the egg.  Buried the egg with some rice.  Let it cook for 30 seconds or so before mixing it.
  10. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Mix it all well.
  11. Taste it.  Add a dash of salt if needed.  Add sesame oil if desire.

I grabbed a pack of sirloin tips from the freezer and let it defrost on the counter.  I was starring at it and trying to figure out what I wanted to make for dinner.  I cooked half of it for Beef and Tomato, I was wondering what else I could make.  I could probably make Beef and Broccoli but I just broccoli for lunch.  So I decided to try something new.  I made Pepper Steak.  I think I had Pepper Steak at a restaurant when I was in college.  My college buddy ordered that.  It wasn’t good at all.  The beef was cut in really thick pieces and they were chewy.  BTW, even though the dish is called Pepper Steak, don’t expect a huge piece of meat like what you get in a steak house. It’s not like that.  The meat is usually cut in smaller mini steak sizes or like slices.  I don’t mind thick pieces if the meat is good.  But seriously, how often do you get good cut of beef from Chinese restaurants?  At least not the ones from US!  Unlike most Chinese, I’m a meat lover.  I’m super picky about my steak.  So to make this dish, I highly recommend you to make it at home, and use sirloin instead of other cut of beef.  I also use red pepper instead of green pepper because I like the sweetness in red pepper more. 

Use good cut of beef like sirloin tips
Stir fry beef
Stir fry onion first, then add pepper
Add beef and sauce
Pepper Steak - Yum!

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Sirloin tips, 1 pound
  • Red/green pepper, 1
  • Onion, 1
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Chicken powder, ½ tsp
  • Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch, 2 tsp
  • Water, 3 Tbsp
  • Black pepper, a dash

 

Steps:

  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp of cornstarch with 3 Tbsp of water and 1 tsp of oyster sauce.  Mix it well. Put it aside.
  2. Cut onion into strips, put it aside.
  3. Cut pepper into big strips/pieces.  Put it aside.
  4. Chop garlic finely, put it in a mixing bowl.  Add chicken powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp of cornstarch, cooking wine and a dash of black pepper.  Put it aside.
  5. Cut beef into thin slices (or big slices or pieces depend on your likings.  I cut mine thinly to make it cook faster).  Add beef to the mixing bowl.  Mix it well with the seasoning.  Let it seasoned for 20 mins.
  6. Use a large frying pan. Spray non-stick cooking oil on it.  Use high heat.  Cook beef first.  Stir fry it for two or three minutes until it looks mostly cooked.  Put the beef on a plate.  We’ll cook it later after the veggie.
  7. Spray a little more oil to the pan.  Add the onion to the pan. You don’t have to wash the pan J  Stir fry it for couple of minutes.  Then add red peppers, and stir fry everything for another couple of minutes.
  8. Add the beef back to the pan.  Add the cornstarch mixture.  Mix everything well. Let it cook for a minute or two, or until the sauce thickens.  Taste it.  Add a pinch of salt if needed. Serve hot.
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  • Author: fatty
  • Category: Beef

Happy new year! I wish everything is better in 2011.  First on my list: exercise and eat healthier.  I want to lose weight.  What a great way to kick off 2011 with eating healthier dishes like Scallops and Snow Peas.  I remember I had a bad experience having a scallop dish at a diner.  I know it was my stupid mistake of ordering fried scallops in a diner.  No one ordered seafood at a diner, what was I thinking of.  The scallops were not cooked while the batter outside was completely burnt.  I haven’t tried any scallop for a long long time because of that.  Snow peas are not my favorite either.  But until my friend Margy made me this dish, I had never tried this combination before.  She’s not Chinese but she made an amazing Scallops and Snow Peas dish.  It was cooked just perfectly.  The snow peas were sweet and crunchy.  The scallops were huge and cooked just right, meaty texture and had some sweetness.  I highly recommend the dish.  For a new year, I’m going to be open-minded and try new healthy dishes for a change 🙂

Get fresh large scallops
Scallops and Snow Peas - Yummy

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Large fresh scallops, 1 pound
  • Snow peas, ½ pound
  • Carrot stick, 1
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • Pepper, a dash
  • Corn starch, 1 tsp
  • Water, 3 Tbsp

Steps:

  1. Peel and cut carrot into small strips.  Put it aside.
  2. Chop garlic finely. Put it aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add corn starch and water, mix it well. Put it aside.
  4. Pat dry scallops with paper towel.
  5. In a large pan, spray non-stick cooking oil.  Use medium high heat, cook scallops on one side for a 3-4 mins untouched.  Flip the scallops over and cook the other for a few minutes untouched.  Remove the scallops from the pan, put them aside.
  6. Spray a little more oil to the pan.  Add garlic, snow peas, and carrots.  Stir fry it for a couple of minutes.  Add soy sauce and stir fry for another minute.  
  7. Add scallops back to the pan.  Add the corn starch and water mixture.  Add a dash of pepper.  Mix everything well.  Let it cook for a minute or so, or until the sauce thickens.  Taste it.  Add a pinch of salt if needed.  Serve hot.

Christmas is over, and the new year is around the corner.  It looks like people are partying non-stop these days.  At least I know I’ve been eating and eating. LOL.  Here is another great party food – Shrimp Cocktail.  Everyone loves shrimp cocktail.  A lot grocery stores sell shrimp cocktail in a round plastic box.  Those are not so good.  Some of the texture was kind of slimy like a raw shrimp.  I’m not a fan of raw seafood.  So, that would be yucky for me.  The shrimp cocktail offered in most of the fancy restaurants are really big and succulent, but they are expensive.  I remember having a dinner at Marc Charles steak house.  They charge the shrimp cocktail by the piece.  I think each shrimp is like US$7 or $8 dollars.  So how many can we order? We can’t get one or two, that’s awful.  Hahahahaha.  Anyway, I learned how to make shrimp cocktail at home after that.  These days, I would bring some shrimp cocktail to friends’ parties.  It’s inexpensive to make if you can get some good shrimp.  I usually would go to a Chinese grocery store to get the big shrimp as the shrimp is a lot bigger than what I can get from a regular American grocery store, and the price is cheaper too.  So for $10 or less, I got myself a fancy appetizer that feeds at least 3 or 4 people 😀 

Use really large shrimp
Peel and clean shrimp first
Poach shrimp for 2 mins

Put shrimp in a bowl of ice water
Shrimp Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • Large shrimp, 1 pound
  • Water, 4 cups
  • Ice cubes, plenty

 

Steps:

  1. Shell and devein the shrimp first.
  2. Prepare a large mixing bowl with ice cubes and cold water.
  3. In a large pot or pan.  Add 4 cups of water in it.  Use medium high heat. Boil the water first.
  4. When the water is almost boiling, add shrimp to it.  Stir/flap the shrimp a few times so that it cooks evenly.  Cook it for 2 mins or until it turns solid in color (not translucent).  
  5. Use a drainer or a ladle with holes, put shrimp in the large mixing bowl with ice cubes.  This will stop the cooking right away.  Let the shrimp soak in the water for a few minutes or until it is cold enough.  BTW, the water in the pot has a lot of flavor, you can save that for making soup. Just make sure you heat up the water until it boils before you put it away in the refrigerator for later use.
  6. Discard the ice water and ice cubes.  Serve the shrimp with cocktail sauce.  You can chill the shrimp a bit more in the refrigerator if needed before serving.
December 24, 2010

Finally, I can take a few days off and not worry about work or school.  Merry Christmas!  I finished another crazy semester. I was in a good mood and I tried to make some party food.  I got a few invites for Christmas parties 😀  I made Chinese BBQ Ribs.  These are very easy to make.  Really, no skills needed.  You just mix the sauce with the ribs, let it marinate for a few hours.  Put them in the oven, let the oven do all the work. That’s it.  I know there are a lot BBQ police out there. Hahahha.. The ribs I made tonight wasn’t as fall off the bones cos I didn’t bake them for many many hours, but they are certainly yummy and juicy.  Give it a try. They are great party food.  Everyone loved them. They were all gone.

Pork ribs
Lee Kum Kee brand Char Siu Sauce
Marinade the ribs for a few hours
Baked Chinese BBQ ribs
Yummy Chinese BBQ ribs

Ingredients:

  • Pork ribs, 1 packet (about 2.5 pounds for the one I got)
  • Char Siu Sauce, 2 Tbsp
  • Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic powder, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • Pepper, a dash
  • Paprika, 2 Tbsp
  • Honey, 1 Tbsp

 

Steps:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add char siu sauce, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, sugar, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, garlic powder.  Mix everything well.
  2. Add ribs to the mixing bowl.  Mix them well with the sauce.
  3. Cover the mixing bowl with a lid or plastic wrap.  Put it in the refrigerator and let it marinate for a few hours.  I put mine in the fridge for 6 hours.  If you can marinate the ribs over night, it would be even better.
  4. Set the oven to 375F.  
  5. Lay a baking tray with aluminum foil.  Spray some non-stick oil on the foil to prevent the ribs from sticking to it.  Lay the ribs flat in one layer on the tray.  Sprinkle paprika on top of the ribs. 
  6. Bake the ribs for 1.5 hours. 
  7. There may be leftover sauce in the mixing bowl.  You can use a brush to brush some sauce on the ribs occasionally.  
  8. Mix 1 Tbsp of honey with 1 Tbsp of water.  When 1.5 hours is done, brush the honey mixture onto the ribs.  Put the ribs back to the oven and let them bake for another 15 minutes.

So I posted my new Soy Sauce Chicken on facebook last night.  My FB buddies gave me nice comments.  They all said it looked good.  I am pretty happy about it.  I still got a bunch of food pictures of my Hong Kong trip that I need to post later.  For now, I need to post my stuffing recipe first since it’s still the Thanksgiving holidays.  Most of the time, the stuffing were gone pretty quickly for a Thanksgiving meal, while there would be tons of leftover turkey.  I usually had to make another batch of stuffing to go with the leftover turkey.  I used to hate stuffing because I couldn’t relate what it was.  It was mushy, not much texture, it didn’t taste good and I usually couldn’t tell what’s in it.  People put the stuffing in the turkey.  If the turkey wasn’t fully cooked, the stuffing would absorb the blood and you really shouldn’t eat that.  Sorry, it could be very gross.  Anyway, as a Chinese, stuffing is totally an alien food to me. LOL.  Until a few years ago, I decided to learn how to prepare a full Thanksgiving dinner, and I had to learn how to make turkey, stuffing, gravy, apple pies, butternut squash,….  I searched for a lot recipes and watched tons of youtube videos.  Then I found out stuffing does not need be stuffed inside the turkey!  What a relief!  My buddy told me that his mom also put sausages in the stuffing.  I was like “Alright!” That sounds good to me as I’m totally a carnivore!  So I picked a good-looking stuffing recipe online, and I added a pack of sausages.  I could tell by the rate the stuffing was gone that it was yummy. LOL.

Sweet Italian Sausage is the key
Cook sausage first, then add apple, celery, and onion
Stuffing - basically it is some dried bread cubes and spices
Need to let it cool down before adding eggs
Yummy stuffing after it is baked. It didn't last long.

Ingredients (Serves at least 4):

  • Italian sweet sausage, 1 pack
  • Stuffing, 7 cups
  • Celery, 3 to 4 stalks
  • Onion, 1
  • Apples, 2
  • Eggs, 2
  • Chicken stock, 2 cups
  • Sage powder or chicken seasoning powder, a few dashes
  • Dried parsley, 1 Tbsp
  • Pepper, a dash
  • Salt, a dash
  • Butter, 2 tbsp
  • A can of non-stick cooking oil

Steps:

  1. Cut onion into dices, put it aside.
  2. Cut celery into small dices, put it aside.
  3. Cut apples into small dices, put it aside.
  4. Cook the sausages first.  You may want to cut a slit in each sausage and remove the casing first.  Discard the casings.  Use a large frying pan.  You can spray some cooking oil if you like. I didn’t add any oil since sausages are kind of fatty.  Brown a pack of sausages in a pan using medium high heat.  Mix the meat well.  Try to separate the meat into small cubes while cooking.  Cook it for a few minutes until the meat looks almost done.
  5. Add apples, onion, and celery to the meat.  Mix the whole thing well and cook it for 3 minutes or so.
  6. Add stuffing to the pan.  Add 2 cups of chicken stock.  Combine the whole thing and let it cook for another 3 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat.  Let it cool down for 30 minutes or so as we need to add the eggs later.  Ya, you don’t scrambled eggs.
  8. When the pan is cooled down a bit, add two eggs, parsley, dried sage powder, a dash of salt and pepper.  Mix everything well.
  9. Prepare a baking pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil in the baking pan.  Put stuffing mixture into the baking pan.  Add some butter on top.  That would give a crispy look on the surface when it is baked.
  10. Preheat the oven at 375F.  When the oven is ready, bake the stuffing for 45 mins untouched.  Serve hot.

Got back from my Hong Kong trip, and I just make it to Thanksgiving. I didn’t make it home long enough to prepare for a proper Thanksgiving dinner.  So what did I do?  I still made some kind of bird, but not turkey. I thought I would be brave and tried making Soy Sauce Chicken for the very first time instead.  I remember watching Suzie Wong, a Hong Kong celebrity, showing people how to make Soy Sauce Chicken on a video before.  It was a super tedious process.  She put the chicken in a wok half filled with soy sauce mixture.  Then she kept turning the chicken every few minutes until it was completely cooked, which was probably forever. LOL.  Anyway, it’s the holiday, or I won’t have time trying something that required all these effort.  I didn’t have any recipe. So I was making all these up. But guess what?  Unlike my cheesecake, I considered my first time soy sauce chicken a success.  It was very edible. LOL.  One thing to mention was that I gave up cooking the chicken in a pot as it was not easy to keep turning the chicken.  That thing was heavy.  And I didn’t know what utensil to use to turn it.  I didn’t want to use a fork cos I didn’t want to poke holes in the bird.  I end up holding one chopstick on each hand, and somehow managed to turn it.  After turning it once, that was enough for me. LOL.  I decided to finish it off in the oven.  The meat turned out to be very JUICY.  So far, I can only show you how the finished product looked like. I can’t show you the chicken pieces after it was cut cos I was not good at chopping it in pieces with a knife.  I end up cutting the chicken in huge pieces (like KFC’s) with a pair of scissors. Hahahahha… Anyway, it was still a decent Thanksgiving dinner with the chicken, stuffing, butternut squash, and of course, a good glass of wine 🙂

Clean the chicken first
Add soy sauce mixture to the pot
Cook each side for 10 minutes. Pour sauce on the skin.
Transfer the chicken to a baking tray
Ta Da. Soy Sauce Chicken. Very edible ;p

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4):

  • Chicken, about 4 or 5 pounds (I got an organic chicken, it was very good)
  • Soy sauce, 1.5 cup
  • Chinese cooking wine, ½ cup (I’m sure you can substitute with any white wine)
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Sugar, 1 tbsp
  • Ginger, 3 or 4 slices
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • A can of spray cooking oil

Steps:

  1. Cut scallion into 3 or 4 inches long.  Put it aside.
  2. Slightly crush the garlic.  Put it aside.
  3. Wash the chicken under tap water. Remove any stuff inside if any like gizzard, liver etc.  Trim off the fat and the butt.  Some people like my grandma like the chicken butt, but not me.  If it didn’t bother you, you can skip this.
  4. Find a pot or wok big enough for the chicken.  Put soy sauce, water, cooking wine, sugar, ginger, scallion and garlic in the pot.  Add the chicken to the pot.  It’s ok that the soy sauce mixture only covers a portion of the chicken.  Use high heat.  Bring it to a boil.
  5. Let the mixture boils of two minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium high.  Let the chicken cook for 10 minute on this side.  Use a spoon to pour some sauce on the side that hasn’t been cooked yet.  Repeat a few times. That would add some color to that side.
  6. When 10 minutes is up, prepare a baking tray and line it with aluminum foil.  Spray non-stick cooking oil on the aluminum foil.  Preheat the oven to 375F.
  7. Flip the chicken to the other side in the pot and let it cook for 10 minutes. Same thing, use a spoon to pour sauce over to the other side to add more color to the skin.
  8. Turn off the heat of the stove.  Carefully transfer the chicken from the pot to the baking tray with the breast and thighs face upward.  When oven is preheated, put the chicken in the oven and let it cook for 35 minutes.  Set your timer.
  9. Take the chicken out.  Spray the chicken skin with spray cooking oil.  This will give the surface a nice crispy look.  Put the chicken back to the oven for another 10 minutes (a total baking time of 45 minutes).  To check if the chicken is fully cooked, you can use a meat thermometer.  Poke the thermometer in the chicken thigh should be around 160-165F.
  10. Make sure you bring the sauce in the pot to a complete boil if you would like to serve the sauce on the side with the chicken.  Ya, you don’t want to get food poisoning.  The sauce is pretty salty.  You can dilute it with some water, or add a tablespoon of honey to make it tastes better.

It’s almost Thanksgiving in US.  While everyone is getting ready for the big turkey dinner, I could really care less about having any turkey. LOL.  It took me couple of days to prepare for the Thanksgiving dinner.  I got my shopping list, I had to make sure I got to the grocery store at least a week ago to get a good size turkey, ie, whatever smallest one I could get. LOL.  I had to defrost the bird a couple of days before. I had to get up early to start cooking the bird, the stuffing, the side dishes, the pies, … And guess what?  Everyone ate a couple of pieces of turkey, a little bit of everything.  There were just too much leftovers after that.  It would be a waste to throw them out, and yet no one wanted to see or hear anymore turkey after Thanksgiving.  See, too much stress.  I really can skip turkey if I could.  I prefer the Chinese gathering food instead, something like hot pot.  There is nothing like hot pot in my opinion.  Besides a lot of varieties of food, it is really the atmosphere that I missed.  Friends and family gathered around the table, we each make our own food, we eat a little bit, we talk more, we drink more.  It would be a relaxing dinner. I would forget about crazy work or stress.  We dedicated a few hours to spend with each other, and catching up.  That is truly wonderful. The best part is that whatever leftover, we can cook it for only one more meal and it would be gone forever, not like the turkey dinner leftover that I had to convert it into countless meals like turkey soup, turkey sandwich, turkey pot pie, … You know what I mean.  LOL.

A lot of food for Chinese hot pot
Chinese daikon radish and sweet corn soup base
A lot of vegetable and different kinds of mushrooms
Must have different kinds of balls - fish balls, fish cakes, beef balls...
Another must haves - good cut of beef

It wasn’t my intent to introduce all these weird dishes here. But it happened tonight that my buddy ordered a Steamed Fish Intestine dish, and I couldn’t help to take a picture of it.  I had never tried fish intestine before. It was not appealing to my appetite just knowing that it was fish intestine that I was having.  I did try a bite.  It was not as bad as I thought, edible and I didn’t throw up.  LOL.  But I know it wasn’t something that I would order.  From the look of the dish, I would be fooled if no one told me it was fish intestine.  It looked like a poofy egg omelette.  Besides, it smelled really good.  My friend told me it was a traditional Cantonese dish. I had no idea.  All I know was that I tried and I wasn’t crazy about it.

Steamed Fish Intestine - not my thing

Finally, I was able to take a break after all these crazy workloads. I’m in Happyland visiting friends and family. I mean I’m back in Hong Kong. I couldn’t help trying out food I grew up with. A lot of the food that I carved could be added to the Bizarre Food show. LOL. I never crave expensive stuff, rather, I love regular food. Call me cheap or stupid. For lunch today, I had a bowl of dumplings and fish balls soup, and some deep fried fish skins. The fish skins were so crunchy. They were like crackers. I soaked a piece of the fish skin into the soup, it was delicious! The wontons were not regular dumplings. The skin of the dumplings was made from fish, not kidding! They are actually called “Fish Skin Dumplings”. I think the whole wonton was made from fish. It was so yummy. I remember I bought a bag of Fish Skin Dumplings from a Chinese grocery store in NY. I cooked it like I did for regular dumplings. It was pretty yucky and it didn’t taste anything like the real ones I got from Hong Kong. With a simple meal like this, I was totally satisfied. Besides, fish skin has a bunch of collagen. So the more I eat this, I probably have better skin. LOL.

Deep fried fish skin. They are like crackers 🙂
Fish Skin Dumpling, super yummy