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 :D  

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.
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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 :D   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.
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It was a really nice day in NY.  I played a good round of golf and met an older couple. The wife was a soft talker.  She talked so softly, and so slowly, and she talked about boring stuff… She was like the Soft Talker in one of Seinfeld’s episode!  I have never met anyone like that.  I thought of my friends and some easy party food that I usually make.  I haven’t hosted a party for a long time.  I usually would make some dumplings and wings.  These were popular snacks.  For the wings, the Chinese BBQ sauce is the key. Char Siu Sauce is a Chinese BBQ sauce, which tastes totally different from American BBQ sauce.  It has a strong sweetness.  One way of doing it is to mix the Char Siu Sauce with the uncooked wings first, and then bake it.  But the weather is getting so warm that I didn’t feel like baking it and making the whole house feels warm tonight.  So I grilled the wings instead.  The result was even better. The wings were gone fast.  Everyone loved it.

Char Siu Sauce - Chinese BBQ sauce

Char Siu Sauce - Chinese BBQ sauce

Grill wings first

Grill wings first

Mix half cooked wings with sauce

Mix half cooked wings with sauce

Chinese BBQ wings

Chinese BBQ wings

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Wings, 1.5 pounds
  • Chinese Char Siu sauce or Chinese BBQ sauce, 1.5 Tbsp (I used the Char Siu Sauce here, it was yummy)
  • Soy Sauce, 1.5 Tbsp
  • Garlic powder, a dash

 

Steps if you are using a grill:

  1. In a big mixing bowl, mix Chinese BBQ sauce, soy sauce and garlic powder well.  Put it aside.
  2. Grill wings on a grill for 5 mins on one side.  Flip them over, and grill them for 5 minutes on another side or until they are kind of half cooked.
  3. Remove the wings from the grill.  Turn off the grill.  Put the wings in the mixing bowl with the Chinese BBQ sauce and soy sauce.  Mix them well.  Let the wings sit for 10 minutes so that the meat is seasoned.  i would not suggest to mix the wings with the sauce first before they were grilled because the wings may get burned easily with the sauce on if it was cooked for a long time.  If you are cooking the wings in an oven, you can marinade the wings with the sauce first.
  4. Put the wings back to the grill. Turn the grill heat to be medium or low.  Let the wings to be cooked on one side for 10 mins.  Use a brush to brush leftover sauce to the wings.  Then flip them over to cook for another 10 mins.  Brush more sauce to the wings while cooking.  

Steps if you are using an oven:

  1. Mix the Chinese BBQ sauce with soy sauce and garlic powder in a big mixing bowl.  Put it aside.
  2. Dry the wings wih a paper towel.  Add wings to the mixing bowl.  Let them marinade for 15 mins first.
  3. Preheat the oven for 375F. 
  4. Lay a shallow baking tray with aluminum foil.  Spray non-stick cooking oil on the foil. 
  5. Put wings on the tray in one layer. 
  6. Bake it for for about 20 mins on one side.  If there are leftover sauce in the bowl, use a brush to reapply the sauce to the wings.  Flip it over and bake it for another 15 mins or so on the other side or until it is fully cooked. 
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It has been a tough week for me dealing with a sick cat.  I’m sure it is tougher for him since he is the one suffering physically.  I really wish I could do something to help.  I didn’t really feel like making anything fancy for dinner.  I found some leftover rice, some roast pork and some shrimp. Hm.. I could make Yeung Chow Fried Rice.  That would be yummy.  Yeung Chow is probably the name of some place in China.  Ya, my Chinese geography is pretty bad.   Anyway, the basic ingredients for the dish are roast pork and shrimp.  If you have these two, you are good to go.  I made Yeung Chow Fried Rice for a gathering at work once.  I got some boneless spareribs from a Chinese take-out place and used that instead of the roast pork.  They tasted very similar.  My ex-boss was asking me for recipe, so I knew it tasted good.  hehehhehe… I put some carrots to add a bit of veggie there. Usually, you’ll find small peas in most of the fried rice dishes including this one.  But I really don’t like peas at all.  I usually picked all of them out whenever I had fried rice.  My friends teased me said I acted like a kid.  LOL.  Anyway, within 20 mins, I finished making the dish.  I also made some pan fried dumplings to go along with it. It was a simple and satisfying meal.

Basic ingredients for Yeung Chow Fried Rice

Basic ingredients for Yeung Chow Fried Rice

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Cook the carrot, garlic, ginger first. Then add roast pork

Add rice, and then shrimp.

Add rice, and then shrimp.

Add an egg, and then slowly fold the rice in with the egg.

Add an egg, and then slowly fold the rice in with the egg.

YeungZhouFriedRice5

Yeung Chow Fried Rice :D

 Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Leftover cooked rice, about 2 cups
  • Shrimp, ½ pound
  • Roast pork, 1/3 pound
  • Onion, ½
  • Carrot, 2 sticks (Optional. I put it in. You don’t have to)
  • Peas, ½ cup (I didn’t put them in, but they usually appear in any fried rice dish)
  • Egg, 1
  • Scallion, 2 stalks
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Water, 2 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • White pepper, a dash

 

Steps:

  1. Finely chopped garlic and ginger, put it aside.
  2. Cut onion and carrots into small dices. Put it aside
  3. Cut scallion into small pieces, put it aside
  4. Cut roast pork into small dices. Put it aside.
  5. Cut shrimp into smaller pieces.  I cut each shrimp into 3 pieces.  You can keep it as a whole instead if you prefer.  Put it aside.
  6. Use a large non-stick frying pan, spray a little bit of oil.  Use high heat.  Put garlic, ginger, onion and carrots and peas into the pan.  Let it cook for 2 mins.
  7. Add roast pork.  Stir it well for a minute.
  8. Add rice.  Mix the rice well.  Add 1 teaspoon of cooking wine.  Depends on how dried the rice is, add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan.  Stir well.  Let it cook for 2 minutes or so.
  9. Add shrimp to the rice.  Stir well and let it cook until it is no longer translucent. 
  10. Dig a whole in the middle of the pan.  Put the egg in the middle and don’t touch it and let it cook for 20 seconds. Then slowly fold the rice in with the egg.  Mix it well.  Let it cook for a minute.
  11. Add a dash of salt and white pepper and oyster sauce for taste.  If the rice is still too dry, add another tablespoon of water. Mix it well.  Turn off the heat.
  12. Add scallion.  Mix it well.  Serve hot.
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The weather is getting nicer.  The other day, someone in the neighborhood was doing some BBQ, and it smelled so good.  I can’t help it. I had to use my grill as well. LOL.  I got some wings and fired up the grill.  I love BBQ. I liked to hang out with my friends for  BBQ when I was kid.  Each of us had our own BBQ stick, a long metal stick with a wooden handle. We sat by a fire pit.  We cooked our own food.  It was so primitive.  For each person, we usually prepared 1 piece of steak, 1 piece of pork chop, couple sausages, some fish balls, couple of wings, corn, mashmallows … tons of food.  We ate, we talked, we listened to the sound of the waves by the beach.  It was wonderful.  BBQ back then was a whole different experience to me than BBQ here.  When I got invited to someone’s BBQ party, the host usually had to stand by the BBQ grill and cook the food for all the guests.  Poor guy!  There was no fun for him!  While others were drinking beer, talking and having a great time, he was busy cooking and feeding the hungry crowd.  I would never want to host a BBQ party myself.  LOL. 

About 1.5 pounds of wings

About 1.5 pounds of wings

Cook wings on a grill

Cook wings on a grill

BBQ Wings with Orange Teriyaki Glaze

BBQ Wings with Orange Teriyaki Glaze

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Chicken wings, 1.5 pound
  • Orange juice, 2 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Ginger, 2 slices
  • Honey, 2 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Chinese wine, 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Water, 2 Tbsp

Steps:

  1. Finely chopped the ginger. Put it in a bowl.
  2. Add orange juice, soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, sugar, chinese wine, cornstarch and water to the bowl.  Mix it well.
  3. In a small saucepan, pour source to the pan. Use low heat.  Stir until the sauce thickens.  Put sauce in a bowl.
  4. Fire up your grill. Make sure you spray non-stick oil to the surface of the grill first so that food won’t stick.  Use medium high heat.  Put wings on the grill.  Cook it for 15 mins with the BBQ grill lid on.  Flip over to the other side, and put the lid down and cook it for another 15 mins.
  5. When the wings look cooked, brush sauce to the wings.  Let it cook for a minute or so on each side.
  6. Remove wings from the grill.  Brush more sauce on top of the wings.
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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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