I used to order Seafood in White Sauce (served with rice) when I was a teenage. For a long time, I thought it was something difficult to make, but it wasn’t.  I remember I learned how to make it once in a cookery class by blending the butter, the flour and milk together. It was not as hard as I thought. I know I’m trying hard to lose weight and butter is probably not my friend. But I really want to try something else than just stir frying some veggie and shrimps together. I made the white sauce by blending a very very little amount of butter, flour and milk, and add the rest of the ingredients. It was yummy and appealing.  It’s something for a chance.  Besides, it is seafood in a white sauce is very popular Hong Kong dish that I grew up with. I do miss it.  If I had time, I could put the rice in an baking container, pull the shrimp and veggie (with the white sauce) over the rice.  Then sprinkle a bit of cheese on top, and then bake it for a few minutes till the cheese melts. That would be a Baked White Sauce Seafood Rice, super yummy.

Boil carrots first
Add broccoli to the water.
Cook shrimp next
Cook mushroom and add butter and flour
Mix the white sauce well
Add shrimp and veggie back to the pan.
White Sauce Seafood (with Rice)

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Shrimp, 1 pound (cleaned and shelled. Or you can use a pound of mixed shrimp and other seafood).
  • Mushroom, 1 pack (pre-cut)
  • Broccoli crown, 1 (about the size of a hand)
  • Carrots, 3
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Butter, 2 tablespoon
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • All purpose flour, 1.5 Tbsp
  • Milk, about 1-2 cups
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp

 

Steps:

  1. Cut broccoli into bite size. Cut carrots into bite size. Boil some hot water in a pot. Use high heat.  Put carrots in the pot and let it cook for 5 mins or so.  Add Broccoli to the pot and let it cook with the carrots for another 4 or 5 mins.  Turn off the heat. Drain off the water.  Put it aside.
  2. Finely chopped the garlic. Put it aside.
  3. Mix cornstarch with the shrimp.  In a large pan, spray non-stick oil on it.  Use high heat. Put shrimp in the pan.  Let it cook for one side for a minute or so.  Flip it over to cook the other side for a minute or two. Turn off the heat. Put the shrimp in a plate and put it aside. It’s ok that the shrimp is not fully cooked yet because you will put it back in the sauce to cook more later.
  4. Spray a little bit more oil to the pan. Put mushrooms, garlic and Chinese cooking wine onto the pan.  Stir fry the mushroom until it is cooked.
  5. Add butter and all purpose flour to the mushroom in the pan.  Turn down the heat to the lowest.  Mix the flour to the butter.  Add a little bit of milk at a time, and mix it well until it turns into a sauce.  You can adjust the amount of milk according to the thickness of the sauce you prefer.  Add chicken power, a pinch of salt and pepper, mix it well.  Taste it.
  6. Add broccoli, carrots and the shrimp back to the pan. Mix everything well with the sauce.  Let it cook for 2 minutes or so until the sauce is well mixed and the shrimp is fully cooked.  Turn off the heat. Serve hot.  Serve it with rice.

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.

My god, what a week!  I’m glad it was over.  I was working like non-stop to meet my deadline. It was stressful.  But I still pushed myself an hour to exercise, and watched out for what I ate and the portion that I ate. I lost 3 pounds this month. I am happy.  Even though it wasn’t like a big loss in pounds, but I notice my tummy is getting smaller.  The best of all, my clothes are not as tight!! 😀  I’ve been making a lot of Chicken and Broccoli and Shrimp and Asparagus. These two became my major healthy dishes.  Both are super easy to make.  I served them with brown rice.  Half an hour was all I need to make the dinner from scratch. I can’t complain.  The only part that I cheated was using read-made rice that can be prepared in the microwave for a few minutes. Hahaha..  But I think even if I made the rice in a rice cooker, it would just add 5 minutes to rinse the rice, it shouldn’t be a big deal.  I got all my ingredients for the dish from Trader Joe’s.  I got a bag of frozen jumbo shrimp that was peeled and cleaned, a bag of mushrooms that was sliced, and some asparagus.  Now you know why this dish is so easy. There isn’t much preparation needed. Just stir fry everything and add a sauce, that’s pretty much it.

All ingredients: Shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms
All ingredients: Shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms
Cook shrimp first with garlic
Add mushrom and asparagus
Add sauce, then add shrimp back to the pan
Stir fried Shrimp and Asparagus, yum!

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Big shrimp, 1 pound (if you get the peeled and cleaned ones, that would save you more time)
  • Mushrooms, 1 package (I got a pack that was already pre-sliced)
  • Asparagus, a big bunch
  • Garlic, 1 or 2 cloves
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Fish sauce, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Corn starch, 1.5 Tbsp
  • Water, 5 Tbsp

Steps:

  1. Peel and clean shrimp.  Pat dry with a paper towel. Put it in a bowl.  Add a teaspoon of cornstarch and a dash of white pepper to the shrimp.  Mix it well. Put it aside.
  2. Slice mushrooms. Put it aside.
  3. Rinse asparagus. You may want to get rid of the rough part.  Just gently hold the asparagus towards the bottom end, then break it. Wherever it breaks, the bottom part is the tough part that is not so edible, discard that.  Cut asparagus into halves (about 3 or 4 inches long).  Put it aside.
  4. Finely chop 1 or 2 cloves of garlic. Put it aside.
  5. Prepare for the sauce: add Chinese cooking wine, fish sauce, oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp of cornstarch, 5 Tbsp of water in a bowl. Mix it well, put it aside.
  6. Use a big frying pan. Spray non-stick cooking oil.  Use high heat. Add garlic and shrimp to the pan.  Lay the shrimp flat in one layer.  Let it cook for a minute or so.  Flip it over to the over side, it cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the shrimp from pan.  Note you don’t need to fully cook the shrimp because we will add it back to the pan later.  So don’t worry about it.
  7. Add mushrooms and asparagus to the pan.  Note you don’t need to clean the pan after cooking the shrimp, that’s the beauty of it.  Stir fry the asparagus and mushroom for 2 to 3 minutes or until it get softens.
  8. Add sauce to the pan.  Mix it well with the mushroom and asparagus.  Cook it for a minute or so.  Add shrimp to the pan.  Mix everything well. Cook it for another minute or until the sauce thickens.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed.  Add a little bit of water if the sauce gets too thick. Adjust according.  Serve hot.

I probably should eat more tofu. It is packed with tons of protein.  Even though the taste is very bland, there is something wonderful about it that I love.  I used to have a lot of tofu dishes growing up.  One of the tofu dishes that I love is stuffed tofu.  Whenever I came across a street vendor that sold deep fried food, I would order a couple of the deep fried stuffed tofu.  It was crispy outside and soft and moist inside.  It was steaming hot and I almost burn my tongue every time eating that.  I could also find the same dish from dim sum restaurants.  The pan fried it instead.  Now that I’m on diet, I made the healthy steamed version instead.  Actually the tofu was usually stuffed with ground fish meat.  But I couldn’t find any ready made ground fish meat in regular American grocery stores.  And I wasn’t sure I wanted to try grounding it myself.  So, I decided to use shrimp instead.  I don’t have a food processor.  I was just chopping the shrimp into smaller pieces and then chop a lot more times to make it into a paste.  I remember seeing mom did that when I was kid. I know that is do-able.  I added some chopped onion with the ground shrimp meat.  It turned out very delicious.  I was proud of myself.  It’s an easy dish to make. I was happy that I’m eating healthier.

Mix chopped onion, ground shrimp and seasoning in a bowl
Cut tofu into thick slices
Spread shrimp mixture over tofu
Put the tofu into the steamer
Steamed Stuffed Tofu
Steamed Stuffed Tofu

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Tofu, 1 pack
  • Shrimp, ½ pound (You don’t need large shrimp, just get some smaller ones cos it is going to be ground anyway)
  • Onion, finely chopped, about 3 tablespoon
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Chicken powder, ¼ tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Sugar, ¼ tsp
  • Sesame oil, a few drops
  • Chopped scallion, 1 stalk (optional for garnish)

Steps:

  1. Finely chopped onion.  Put it in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Shelled and cleaned shrimp.  If you have a food processor, blend the shrimp into a paste.  Or you can just cut the shrimp into small pieces first, then keep chopping it until it turned into a paste.  It doesn’t take long, a few minutes will do.  Add shrimp to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add a dash of salt, white pepper and chicken powder into the mixing bowl.  Mix the shrimp, onion and everything together.  Put it aside.
  4. Prepare the steamer.  Put enough water in the steamer.
  5. While waiting for the steamer to get ready, cut tofu into thick slices about 1 inch thick.  Lay it flat on a plate that will fit into a steamer.  Or you can put it two pieces of aluminum foil like I did.
  6. Spread the shrimp mixture onto the tofu to make a thin layer.
  7. What the water boils, put the stuffed tofu into the steamer.  Steam with the lid on for about 8 mins.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the sauce: add soy sauce, sugar and a few drops of sesame oil.
  9. When the stuffed tofu is done, discard excess water from the dish.  Then drizzle the sauce over it.  Add a few diced scallion for garnish if desired.  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.