Happy Mother’s Day.  It’s a nice day out there except a bit windy and cold, but still, it’s nice weather.  I made Soft Shell Crab last night.  I totally passed out after dinner.  It was a long day for me.  I had an in class exam yesterday, and I was just so happy that it was over even though I didn’t do too well.  I stopped by a grocery store and got food after that.  My buddy at the seafood counter was recommending me to get soft shell crab.  My first reaction was like: 1. I don’t know how to clean them, and 2, I don’t know how to cook them.  He said he’ll clean them for me.. Sweet :D .  Then he said “deep fry them”.  I was like “not good” because I’m on diet.  I’ve been trying hard to lose weight.  I’m not deep frying nothing.  So he suggested to coat them in some flour and pan fried them.  I’ve never cooked any crab in my life other than crab legs. But I felt adventurous yesterday, and there was always first time for anything.  It was kind of funky when I touch them as they were soft before they were cooked.  I coated them in cornstarch, and then pan fried them.  They turned out pretty good. It wasn’t as crunchy as if they were deep fried, but I was sure my body thanked me for doing the right thing.   Beside, the whole thing was edible.  I didn’t have to spend any effort to separate the shell from the meat like the regular crabs, or worry about the shell cut my tongue.  Ya. I didn’t have good experience with crab when I was a kid.  Just too much work for eating that little meat.

Coat Soft Shell Crab with Cornstarch

Coat Soft Shell Crab with Cornstarch

Add scallops to the pan

Add scallops to the pan

Pan Fried Soft Shell Crab and Scallops

Pan Fried Soft Shell Crab and Scallops

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Soft Shell Crabs, 2 (I made 1 per person, you can have more if you prefer)
  • Scallops, 1 pound
  • Cornstarch, 1 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Vinegar, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove

Steps:

  1. Let’s prepare the dipping sauce first.  Finely chopped the garlic, put it in a small bowl.  Add soy sauce, sugar, vinegar to the bowl.  Put it aside.
  2. Clean the soft shell crabs, and dry them with paper towel.   Coat them with a tablespoon of cornstarch.  Put them aside.
  3. Dry the scallop with paper towel.  Put it aside.
  4. In a large frying pan, put in some cooking oil or spray non-stick cooking oil.  Use medium high heat.  Ad soft shell crabs to the pan first since they take longer time to cook.  Let them cook for 3 mins.  Flip them over.  Let them cook for another 3 mins.
  5. Then add scallops to the pan, and cook them for 3 mins on each side.  While the scallops are being cooked, flip the crabs over occasionally to check if they are golden brown in color.  Also check if they feel harder as they are cooked.  For the scallops, if they are fully cooked, they should be more white in color, and not translucent.  Add a dash of salt to the scallops.
  6. Serve hot.  Serve the dish with dipping sauce on the side.
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I was staying up late last night doing my school work.  I had my TV on, and I was flipping channels.  I came across a show on TLC called “Hoarding Buried Alive”.  I cannot imagine how people can bury themselves literally with tons and tons of stuff.  The whole house was like a storage room.  A psychologist was there to help them.  It turns out that people were holding on and keep piling up stuff because every item represents a piece of memory to them.  It’s hard to let go a part of the memory.  I guess people use different ways to hold on to their memory.  For me, I’m not super neat, but I don’t pile up junk either.  Instead, I associate food with people, memory, all the good and bad times of my life.  A lot of food I like may not really taste super yummy, but it is the memory I associate with it that makes the food special.  Here is one of them – Cheung Fan, some kind of rice noodle that you can order at a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant.  The noodle itself doesn’t have much taste.  When you mix it with soy sauce, hoisin sauce and hot sauce, it would be yummy.  There was a street vendor near to my house when I was kid.  They sold breakfast food including Cheung Fan, Chinese Donut Sticks, Congee in the morning.  Mom would ask me to get some Cheung Fan, and Congee for breakfast. Usually there were like 10 or so people waiting in line to get them. I saw the owner put a thick, white, glue-looking mixing on a flat pan to make a thin layer.  Then he quickly put a cover on top.  After a few seconds, the white mixture was steamed.  It turned into a big flat piece of noodle.  He would cut it into 3 pieces, then quickly roll each piece into a long roll.  This whole process happened so fast.  I loved watching how the noodles were made and how fast the guy could do it.  He passed the rolls of noodles to his wife who took care of the customer’s orders.  She would hold a few rolls in her hand, use a pair of scissors and cut them into edible size like 2 inches long.  Put the noodles on a piece of non-stick paper or so, and sprinkled quickly some dark soy sauce, put some hoisin sauce and hot sauce on one corner, and then she put the whole thing in a small white plastic bag.  The noodles were soft and melt in my mouth. It was one of my favorite breakfast.

Of course, now we don’t have any street vendors making fresh Cheung Fan in US.  I can only buy a bag of ready-made Cheung Fan from the refridgerated section of a Chinese grocery store.  They were nowhere as good, but it was the memory that it reminded me that left a warm feeling.

 

Ready-made Cheung Fan. You can get it from a Chinese Grocery Store

Ready-made Cheung Fan. You can get it from a Chinese Grocery Store

Put a wet paper towel on top, and microwave it for 1 min

Put a wet paper towel on top, and microwave it for 1 min

Pan fry the Cheung Fan just like what they do in Dim Sum restaurants

Pan fry the Cheung Fan just like what they do in Dim Sum restaurants

 

 

Cheung Fan with Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce

Cheung Fan with Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Cheung Fan.  You can get it from the refridgerated section of a Chinese grocery store.
  • Dark soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Hoisin sauce, 1 tsp
  • Hot sauce, 1 tsp (optional if you like it spicy)

Steps:

  1. Put the noodles on a plate.  Since they were refridgerated before, the noodles became harder and all turned into a big lump. It’s OK.  We’ll untangle them. Wet a piece of paper towel.  Put the wet paper towel on top of the noodles.   Then put it in a microwave on high temperature for 1 minute.  This will make the noodles softer.
  2. Break the noodles by hand. Be careful, some part of the noodles could be hot.  Use a pair of scissors and cut the noodles into edible size like 3 inches long.
  3. Use a large non-stick frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Put the noodles in the pan.  Spread them out in one layer.
  4. Use medium heat.  Let the noodles cook for 2 minute or so.  Don’t touch it. This is not a stir fry dish.
  5. Flip the noodles over to the other side.  Cook them for another 2 mins or so or until the noodles are soft.
  6. Put them on a plate.
  7. For the sauce, you can pre-mix the sauce together like I did, or you can add the soy sauce first, then put hoisin sauce and hot sauce on the side.
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Finally the weekend is here. Thank God!  I have time to catch up on my blog. It was such as long week. I started a new job. I was busy meeting up with my new boss, and the people that I needed to talk to for my job transfer.  I also organized an Asian Pot luck lucheon.  Originally, I planned to make some Chinese Chicken Fried Rice or Fried Soy Sauce Noodles.  But I was really running out of time. So I made some pan friend chicken dumplings instead.  Of course, I did not make the dumplings from scratch. I got 3 bags of Chinese Chicken Dumplings from Trader Joe. They are like $3 a bag, and they are pretty decent dumplings.  I made a dumpling sauce with it. It turned out great. Everyone loved it.

Lay Dumplings In One Layer in Pan

Lay Dumplings In One Layer in Pan

Use Aluminum Foil as a Lid

Use Aluminum Foil as a Lid

Pan Fried Dumplings for Pot Luck Party

Pan Fried Dumplings for Pot Luck Party

Ingredients:

  • Frozen chinese dumplings, 1 bag. I used the Trader Joe Chicken Dumplings here. They have thin skins and cook fast.
  • Water, 1.25 cups

Dumpling sauce:

  • Soy Sauce, 2 Tbsp
  • White Vinegar, 2 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Worchestershire sauce, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Water, 2 Tbsp
  • Sesame oil, two drops (optional)

Steps:

  1. Use a large frying pan. Spray non-stick cooking oil to fully cover the surface of the pan.
  2. Lay frozen dumplings flat side down in one layer onto the pan.  Make sure they don””t overlap with each other. NO NEED TO DEFROST the dumplings ahead of time.
  3. Use high heat. Let the dumplings cooked for 2 minutes to make the skin crisp.  DO NOT touch/flap them.
  4. Pour 1.25 cups of water to the pan.  If the dumplings have thicker skins, pour 1.5 cups of water instead.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid, or a piece of aluminum foil.  Let it cooked for 7-8 minutes with high heat or until the water dries up.  The water will give a steamming effect to the dumplings.
  6. Turn off the heat when the water dries up.  Let it sit for 1 minute with the lid on.  Remove the dumplings from the pan.
  7. To make dumpling sauce, put all the sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl.  Mix it well.  Optionally, you can add sesame oil, chopped garlic and ginger to the sauce to make it fancy.
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I mentioned I wanted to eat more healthy food. I’ve been pretty good for the last two days.  I did my Cardio X last night. I talked myself out of getting Doritos at work.  I had Chicken white meat for lunch.  So far, so good.  I decided to keep the good spirit up, I made a Chinese Salmon dish tonight.  Apart from eating healthy, I do need a good brain food to keep up with school.  I used to make salmon for my sister when she was in college. I told her salmon can help her be smarter cos she wasn’t smart enough. LOL… Well.. I wasn’t totally joking. Salmon is a great brain food. Everyone knows it has tons of Omega-3. But do you know it helps you to improve brain matter and your memory?  Now that school starts again, I certainly need that! 

 

Salmon with Teriyaki Glaze

Salmon with Teriyaki Glaze

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  1. Salmon with skin on, 1 pound (you can use the one without skin, but the skin really has a lot of nutrients and collagen)
  2. Salt, a dash
  3. Pepper, a dash
  4. Teriyaki Sauce, 2 Tbsp
  5. Oyster Sauce, 1 tsp
  6. Water, 1 Tbsp
  7. Sugar, 1/2 tsp

Note: This is a pan fry dish. Make sure you have your windows open to allow enough air into your house.  You would not want to deal with the smoke alarm in the middle of it.

Steps:

  1. Spray non-stick cooking oil onto a frying pan.  Sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper to the pan. 
  2. Use high heat.  Put the salmon with meat down (skin up) in the pan.  Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of aluminium foil.  Cook it for 5-6 minutes for a thick cut of meat (like what I had in the picture), or 3-4 minutes for a thinner cut.
  3. Flip the fish so that the skin is at the bottom.  With high heat, cook it with a lid on for 2 minutes or so.  Turn down the heat to medium.  Cook it with the lid on for another 3 minutes.
  4. The salmon should be done by now.  Use a knife, cut a slit on the meat to check if it is fully cooked.  The uncooked meat is darker orange in color.  Turn off the heat and serve when it is done.
  5. To make the glaze, add Teriyaki sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and water in a small bowl.  Mix it well.  It’s ready to serve  
  6. Drizzle a few drops of glaze to the fish according to your liking.

Remember to serve it hot.

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