I heard the Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa is going to donate his entire year of earnings to help Japan.  What a great guy!  I was very impressed by his generosity.  I donated what I could to the Red Cross for the Japan Tsunami Fund. I donated to my friend’s Girl Scout troops.  I bought ticket for my vacation next month.  I bought some software for my school work.  With all these spending plus the crazy gas price, I have to cut back on other things. I made a frugal dish called Ants Climbing A Tree. It’s a traditional Chinese noodle dish. Usually it was pretty spicy, but I made it mild.  It has a little bit of ground meat and the clear cellophane noodles and some seasonings. That’s pretty much it.  It’s easy to make.  The clear noodles absorb whatever seasoning that I added, and it was delicious.  Cellophane noodles are pretty cheap, like 20 cents a pack.  I probably used 1/3 pound of the meat. So I would say the whole dish is probably like $3!!  Not bad at all for a cheap meal when I’m a budget.

Cellophane noodles
Cook Cellophane noodles first
Cook onion and ground meat
Add noodles and sauce
Ants Climbing a Tree

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Ground meat, 1/3 to ½ pound (I used ground beef. The traditional dish used ground pork. You can even use ground chicken or turkey).
  • Cellophane noodles, 2 small packs
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Scallion, 2 stalks
  • Small onion, 1
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Water, 4 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Chili sauce, ½ tsp (you can add more)

 

Steps:

  1. Boil about 5 or 6 cups of water in a saucepan.  When water boils, add cellophane noodles. Let it cook for 7-10 mins until it is soft.  Use a colander to hold the noodles and discard the water.  Put it aside.
  2. Cut scallion into dices. Put it aside.
  3. Finely chopped garlic.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut onion into strips, put it aside.
  5. Prepare the sauce: In a bowl, add chicken powder, water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper and cornstarch. Mix it well.  Put it aside.
  6. Use a non-stick frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Use high heat.  Add garlic, onion and meat to the pan.  Add Chinese cooking wine.  Stir fry the meat until it is cooked.
  7. Add cellophane to the meat.  Let it cook for couple of minutes to make the noodles dry up a little bit.
  8. Add the sauce.  Mix everything well.  Turn down the heat to low.  Let it simmer for 4 or 5 minutes or until the sauce is fully absorbed by the noodles.  Stir the sauce well into the noodles.  Add the chili sauce to the noodles.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt or more chili sauce if needed.
  9. Add chopped scallion.  Mix it well. Turn off the heat. Serve hot.

恭喜發財 (wish you rich), 身體健康 (wish you healthy) , 心想事成 (wish your wishes come true), 出入平安 (wish you safe and sound), 財源廣進 (wish your wealth keeps coming), 青春常注(wish you beautiful), 兔年行大運 (wish you best of luck in the year of the rabbit)!  OK, I think I cover all the blessings that most people would say to each other.  HAHAHAHA. 

 I was going to make some vegetarian dish today but I had so many meetings that I really had no time to make anything.  For breakfast, I had plain ramen noodles.  So I considered myself fulfilled the tradition of being vegetarian for at least the first meal.  Mom should be happy about this 🙂 I could have continued to be a vegetarian for lunch, but I couldn’t resist the Sushi at work today.  I had some spicy salmon maki rolls.  It was not bad. For dinner, I did Chinese take out as I had no time to cook (ya, more meetings after dinner).  I ordered Beef Negimaki appetizer, Sesame Chicken, Pork Fried Rice, and large Wonton Soup.  So combine what I had today, I had fish, chicken, beef and pork.  Even though the food was Americanized Chinese food (aka fake Chinese food), I covered it all 😀 I couldn’t ask for more.  And tomorrow, Chinese New Year Day 2, I’ll treat myself a great piece of steak and a bottle of nice merlot 🙂  Life is good.

Chinese New Year Dinner - Beef Negimaki, Sesame Chicken, Pork Fried Rice

I was really in the mood of trying something new.  I needed to do something to de-stress.  Work hasn’t been going on too well.  Hopefully the coming Chinese New Year can bring me better luck.  For now, food is my comfort.  LOL.  I got a bunch of meat and other stuff from the grocery store the other day.  I heard it’s going to snow again next week.  I got a packet of very thin and lean center cut pork chops.  The meat looked really good.  I don’t usually make pork chops because most pork chops that I found in regular American grocery stores were like an inch thick, which were too thick in my opinion.  It wasn’t easy to find the thin cut pork chops.  I decided to make Baked Pork Chops and Rice. This is a very common Hong Kong dish that I grew up with.  I remember I only made this once back in my college days.  I cooked the rice first.  I marinated the meat, and then pan fried them.  I made the sauce. I put the pork chops on top of the fried rice.  I added the sauce.  Sprinkled some cheese, and then baked the whole thing for a little bit.  It was more work to make this dish compare to what I usually made.  But I really needed to occupy myself with something that took my mind off work.  

Make cut marks with the back of the knife
Pan Fry Pork Chops
Stir fry rice with an egg, add salt and pepper
Put Pork Chops on Rice
Cook Sauce. Then add sauce pork chops
Baked Pork Chops and Rice

Ingredients (Serves 2-3):

  • Cooked rice, 3 cups
  • Egg, 1
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Scallion, 1 stalk (optional), cut into dices
  • Pork chops, 1 pound (thin cut, prefer boneless center cut)
  • Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar, ½ tsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Parmesan cheese, ½ cup (Optional)

 

Sauce:

  • Canned tomato, 1
  • Onion, ½, chopped into dices
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Ketchup, 1 Tbsp
  • Worcestershire sauce, a few drops
  • Cornstarch 1 tsp
  • Water, 3 Tbsp

 

Steps:

  1. Pan fried the cooked rice. Add an egg. Mix it well.  Add a dash of white pepper and salt.  Optionally, you can add chopped scallion to the rice.  Put it in a container that can be used for baking.
  2. To prepare the pork chops, use the back of the knife to make some cut marks on the meat first.  This helps to tenderize the meat and helps the meat to absolute the seasoning.  Flip the meat over and make more cut marks.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and Chinese cooking wine.  Add pork chops. Mix them well with the seasoning.  Add cornstarch and mix them well.
  4. Use a large frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil on it.  Use high heat.  Put pork chops in the pan.  Let it cook untouched for 2 minutes on one side.  Flip them over and let it cooked for another couple of minutes or until cooked. They should cook fast since the meat is thin cut.  Turn off the heat.  Put the pork chops on top of the rice in a baking container.  You can cut the pork chops in pieces first if you prefer. I cut them with a pair of scissors.
  5. Now make the sauce.  Cut the onions into small dices.  Use a frying pan.  Add oil to the pan. Put the onion into the pan. Let it cook for 2 or 3 mins.  Then add a can of canned tomato to the pan.  Add a oyster sauce, ketchup and few drops of Worcestershire sauce.  Mix it well.  Let it cook for 5 mins in low heat.
  6. In a small bowl, mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Add the cornstarch to the tomato sauce.  Let it cook until the sauce thickens.
  7. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the pork chops and rice.  Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Use the broiler on high.  Put the dish into the oven and let it cook under the broiler for 5-10 mins or so until the cheese melts.
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.

I was thinking about making wontons originally. I got the wonton wrappings, which are the yellowish ones, not the white wrappings.  I got some shrimp, some ground pork. I was ready.  But then I changed my mind.  Hm.. how about making steamed siu mei instead?  I actually have never made siu mei before.  But I thought the ingredients are kind of similar.  I was gonna be adventurous and gave it a try.  A friend of mine always says that there is always a first time for everything.  So true.  I did it!!  The wrapping or shaping of the siu mei was so easy.  There was basically 0 technique involved.  I made it last night, it was very good, and I made again tonight 🙂  And you know what?  As lazy as I am, I really think that the siu mei is much easier to make than wontons because I can just steam them after they are shaped, and 18 minutes later, they are done.  There is no boiling of wontons on one pot, and making another pot of soup, or checking if the wontons stick together or to the pot.  Well, may be when I got more time, I’ll make wonton from scratch.  For now, I enjoy the steamed siu mei.

Wonton wrappings
Put ground pork, chopped shrimp and mushroom in a bowl
Put generous filing in a wrapping
Fold the edge of the wrapping up like a cup cake
Put siu mei in a steamer
Steamed Siu Mei

Ingredients (Make about 15):

  • Wonton wrappings, 1 pack (Get the yellow wonton wrappings instead of the white ones.  The white wrappings are ok, they are just thicker)
  • Ground pork, ½ pound
  • Shrimp, about 1/2 pound
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms, 3 (or 5 or 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms)
  • Egg white, 1
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Sesame oil, 1 tsp
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1/2 tsp
  • White pepper, a dash

Steps:

  1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in a hot water for 30 minutes or until they are softened. Or you can pre-soak them and leave them in the refrigerator overnight.  Or you can use fresh shiitake mushrooms instead.  Dried shiitake mushrooms have a strong mushroom taste.  I used the dried one here.  When they are softened, finely chopped them, and put them in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Finely chop garlic, add it to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add ground port into the mixing bowl.  Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken powder, sesame oil, sugar and a dash of white pepper.  Mix it well.  Put it aside.
  4. Peel and clean shrimp.  Cut it into small pieces. You can then finely chop it if you prefer. That’s what I did.  It looks like a chunky paste.  Add the shrimp to the mixing bowl.
  5. Break an egg, and just add the egg white to the mixing bowl.  Mix everything well.
  6. Prepare a small bowl of water, put it aside.
  7. Prepare the steamer.  Add enough water in the steamer. Start boiling the water.
  8. Prepare a plate the can fit into the steamer.  Or you can use two pieces of aluminum foil and foil it like a container that will fit.  Spray oil on the plate/foil to prevent the siu mei from sticking.
  9. While you wait for the steamer to get ready, you can start wrapping the siu mei.  Get a piece of wonton wrapping, put it on your left hand.  Then put one tablespoon of filing and put it in the middle of the wrapping. Leave a little space on the edge.  Use your finger to dip a little bit of water on the edge of the wrapping.  Then fold the edge of the wrapping up like a cup cake.
  10. Put each siu mei on the plate.  For the best result, leave space between siu mei.  In my case, I was too lazy to steam them two times, there wasn’t much space between them. They end up sticking a bit. But that’s ok. I didn’t care. They still tasted good 🙂
  11. Put siu mei in the steamer.  Steam with a lid on for 18 minutes on high heat.  Serve hot. You can serve it with a little bit soy sauce or chili sauce on the side.  BTW, you can freeze the leftover wrappings.  Just defrost them before you use it next time.

My god, this detox thing that I’m doing is not easy.  It may be easy for others just to skip meat for breakfast and lunch. But the more I reminded myself not to have meat, the more I crave meat.  CRAP.  I think I screwed up because I also cut down the amount of food I had. I should have a regular portion so that I would feel full.  I had a no meat noodle soup for lunch today. After that I still felt so hungry and I ate a bag of chips!!!!  That totally ruin the purpose of having a detox diet.  I just ate a 100g of fat!  I felt guilty and depressed.  I really felt “meat-attack” after 4 days of detox for breakfast and lunch.  I needed some meat.  As a super meat-lover, I couldn’t go too low on the meat level, or I would have this “meat-attack” symptom.  There was a time when I was very broke in college, and I didn’t cook meat for a few days.  I ate a lot of ramen noodles but still felt so hungry.  I couldn’t even sleep.  It was 3am in the morning, and I woke up and went to the kitchen.  I had two pieces of pork chops in the freezer. I defrosted them, cooked them, and ate them at 3am!!  These few days, I had the same feeling.  I really felt I need a good meal of meat to ease my craving.  I made Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon. This was probably like a 2000 calories for one steak.  I knew it’s not a good thing to have when I wanted to lose weight. But I did watch out for my portion. I had a very small piece.  Not bad.  Tomorrow, I’ll go back to the boring detox meals.  I had never made Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon before.  But I had this once in at the Marc Charles Steakhouse.  It was so good.  The steak was completely wrapped with bacon.  Tonight, I tried to wrap 3 pieces of bacon around a small piece of steak, it wasn’t as easy as I thought.  But it was all worth it because the steak was very juicy and tender.  Besides, I didn’t have to pay a fortune for the meal. 

 

Wrap a piece of bacon around the side of the steak
Wrap a piece of bacon around the side of the steak
Wrap a piece of bacon around the side of the steak
Wrap two pieces of bacon around the steak like a parcel

 

Put the ends of the bacon facing down
Put the ends of the bacon facing down
Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon with Grilled Shrimp
Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon with Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • Filet Mignon, 2 pieces (small, about 0.4 pound each)
  • Bacon, 6 pieces (I put 3 pieces per steak, you can use less or more)

 Steps:

  1. Wrap a piece of bacon around the side of the steak.
  2. Wrap the second piece of bacon around the steak, make sure it wraps around the ends of the first piece of bacon, ie hide the ends of the first bacon inside.
  3. Then wrap the third piece of bacon around the meat, and hide the ends of the second bacon inside the third piece.  This is kind of tricky because what I learned was the bacon may fall off if I didn’t seal the edges carefully.  I could have use a piece of toothpick to pin it.  But I didn’t have any toothpick.
  4. Start the grill, or you can cook it in a frying pan.  
  5. Put the side with the ends of the bacon facing down first.  In this way, the weight of the steak will press down the edges to stay in place.  The cooking time varies according to how you like your steak cooked.  I cooked it for like 6 minutes on one side. Then flip it over and cook it for another 6 minutes. Take it out of the heat, let it rest for three minutes or so. That was like medium.  You can sprinkle a little bit of pepper while it is being cooked.  I didn’t put any salt since bacon is kind of savory.  Serve hot.  I grilled some shrimp as well to make it surf and turf.

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
c
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 😀

 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.
March 13, 2010

I haven’t cooked pork chops for a long time.  I have almost forgotten pork is the other kind of white meat if you choose the lean one.   I am kind of tired of cooking the same few dishes over and over again.  I made King Do style Pork Chops last night.  The original dish should be called King Do Ribs. I used the pork chops instead of ribs to cut down the fat.  Ya, every little bit helps.  But it was still good.   My buddies and I used to order set dinners at some Chinese restaurant when we were in college.  With a set dinner, it was fixed price, and the dishes were pre-selected as well.  We usually ordered a fixed dinner for 6 or so.  It included some Chinese soup, some appetizer dish, stir-fried crabs or shrimps,  steamed or fried chicken, a steamed fish, King Do Ribs or some meat dish, some stir-fried vegetable, rice, fruit or dessert.   It was a great deal for the variety and amount of food we got.  It was like a mini-banquet.  We definitely got our money worth it.

 

Tenderize the pork chop
Tenderize the pork chop
Pan fried the Pork Chops
Pan fried the Pork Chops
Cut the chops into strips
Cut the chops into strips
Making King Do Sauce
Making King Do Sauce
King Dor Style Pork Chops
King Dor Style Pork Chops

Ingredients (Serves 2) :

  • Pork Chops, 1 pound  (boneless would be better)
  • Small Onion, 1
  • Ketchup, 2 Tbsp
  • Worchestershire sauce, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 2 Tbsp
  • Corn starch 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Garlic powder, a pinch
  • Pepper, a pinch

Steps:

  1. Cut the onion into thin strips.  Put it aside.
  2. You need to tenderize the pork chops first. If you have one of those fancy thing that looks like a rubber spikey hammer, use it, or you can do what I did.  Use the back of a knife and hit the meat a few times.  This could help to create more surface area for the meat to absorb the sauce later.
  3. Add the corn starch to the meat, and just kind of dust or coat it.
  4. In a large frying pan, spray or add a tablespoon of cooking oil.  Use high heat. Put the meat on the pan.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Let it cook for 2 mins on one side.  Flip it over, and cook the other side for another 2 mins or so.  If you have very thick chops, cook each side for 3 mins.  Remove the pork chops from the pan and put them on a cutting board. They are not fully cooked at this point, that’s ok. We’ll have to cook them with the sauce later.
  5. Cut the meat into big strips, about an inch wide.  See, if you have boneless chops will make this easier. Mine had bones 🙁
  6. Use low heat.  Add onion to the pan, and stir fried it for 3 minutes or so.
  7. Add ketchup, oyster sauce, cooking wine, worchestershire sauce to the pan.  Mix it well with the onion.  Taste it. Add a pinch of salt if needed. 
  8. Add the meat back to the pan and mix it well with the sauce.  Use low heat.  Cook it for another 3 mins or until the meat is fully cooked.
February 14, 2010

I love dumplings. I can eat thirty of them each time. I’m not kidding.

I used to hang out with a bunch of foreign students when I was in college. One time one guy from Beijing decided to teach everyone to make dumplings. That could be one of those days that we were so bored and had nothing better to do. Anyway, we went out to grab the ingredients like ground meat and some other ingredients, I forgot. But I remember he said something about dumplings. He said people in China were pretty poor when he grew up. They didn’t have much money to buy meat. So in order to make that meat looked bigger, they made it into dumplings. They mixed the meat with some veggies, put it on a wrapper, fold the edges of the wrapper, squashed the meat in the middle to make it look like a pocket filled with stuff, something that symbolizes abundance. Interesting. I never thought of why dumplings are shaped the way they are. That was the day I learned how to wrap a dumpling. I forgot what ingredients or seasonings he used. We probably made more than 100 dumplings that day among the 6 or 7 of us. They were so yummy. I probably ate more than 30 or so as I said.

Dumpling Wrapping
Dumpling Wrapping

 

Dumplings in Soup
Dumplings in Soup

Ingredients (make about 50 dumplings)

Dumplings:

  • Dumpling wrapper (prefer the round ones, the square one are fine as well), 1 package
  • Ground meat (I prefer pork, you can use chicken, beef or even turkey), 1 pound
  • Shrimp, shelled, deveined, 1/2 pound
  • Chinese bok choy, 3 leaves
  • Shiitake mushroom (dried or fresh), 4 or 5
  • Egg, 1
  • Chopped parsley (dried or fresh), 2 Tbsp
  • Oyster Sauce (I only use the brand Lee Kum Kee), 1 Tbsp
  • Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Pepper, a pinch
  • Chinese cooking wine (or white wine), 1 tsp
  • Sesame oil, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp

Soup:

  • Salt, a pinch
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Water, 6 cups
  • Scallion, 1 stem, chopped finely

Steps:

  1. If you are using dried shiitake mushroom, soak it in the water for an hour.  When it gets soft, squeeze out excess water.  Dice the mushroom into very fine pieces.  Put it in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the cleaned shrimp into small pieces (like cut one shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces depending on the size of it).  Add it to the bowl.
  3. Add the following to the mixing bowl: ground meat, chopped parsley, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chinese cooking wine, salt, pepper, sugar, cornstarch and sesame oil. Mix well.
  4. Chopped the bok choy very finely. Add it to the mixture.  Mix well.
  5. Add an egg to the mixture. Mix well.  Let it season for 20 mins.
  6. To wrap the dumplings, prepare a small bowl of water.  Put about a tablespoon of mixture to a wrapper.  Put the mixture in the middle, make sure you leave some space on the edge.  Use your finger or the back of a spoon to dip some water to the edge of the wrapper.  Fold the wrapper in half to make a half moon shape.  Press down the edge to make sure it seals tightly.  This is the easiest way to shape a dumping.  If you are more skillful, you can make some crease on the edge to make the dumplings look fancier. Put all the dumplings aside.
  7. If you are not going to cook all the dumplings, freeze the extra ones in the freezer.
  8. Boil a big pot of water.  When the water boils, add the dumplings.  Boil it for 6 or 7 minutes, or until they float to the top.  Stir occassionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  Drain the dumplings and put them in a serving bowl. 
  9. Use another pot to make soup.  Add water, oyster sauce, soy sauce and salt. Bring it to a boil.  Turn off the heat.  Add chopped scallion.  Pour the soup over the dumplings. 
  10. You can also add some cooked noodles into the soup as well.