Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pearl Shrimp Balls 珍珠蝦丸

Here is another easy to fix dish that will bring something different to the dinner table. Not only is it easy to make, it is also considered to be relatively healthy because of the way it is cooked. Steaming has had a long history in Chinese cuisine while Westerners mostly utilize methods like baking, grilling and deep frying. By steaming, a lot of the nutrients are preserved without adding excessive oil or fat to the food. No wonder it is the preferred method of cooking for many people.

Some foods are good to look at but may not taste as good, while others are sinfully delicious but may not be appealing. This dish is not just attractive and delicious, but also simple to construct using a healthy method as well. I used shrimps in making this dish but other meat like minced pork or chicken can be a good substitute (steaming time has to be increased for pork and chicken). If you find pre-minced shrimp paste more convenient to use, go ahead and use it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stir-Fried Sweet Rice with Chinese Sausages 生炒糯米飯

Hot pot (shabu shabu) and clay pot rice are very popular during the winter. They can really warm you up on cold winter days. Besides these two common winter foods, sweet rice (also called sticky rice or glutinous rice) is also a common dish. Instead of using the normal method of cooking the sweet rice in a rice cooker, I steam it and rinse it under water so it is not too sticky. It is then stir-fried with Chinese sausage. These extra steps prove to be worthwhile and make this dish extraordinary! (some other recipes call for stir frying the rice right after soaking, but it takes forever for it to cook through this way and you will not able to lift your arm afterward !)

The amount of ingredients below is for your reference only. What is really important is how you prepare the rice.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Imitation Shark's Fin Soup 碗仔翅

Abalone, sea cucumber, shark's fin and fish maw are the four supreme delicacies of Chinese cuisine. No banquet is complete without at least one of the four. If all are served, it usually symbolizes how greatly the guests are honored by the host (or how wealthy the host is).

All four delicacies are seafood that have been carefully preserved by drying. They can be kept for a very long time and each of them requires a special method to prepare. Without proper preparation, it will be a waste of money. This is the main reason most people would rather enjoy it in restaurants than doing it at home and risking a mistake during the cooking process.

It has been over a year that shark's fin has been banned in California. But I find the imitation version of it is texturally very close to the real thing. It is consists of gelatin and resembles vermicelli (bean threads). Both the imitation and the real fin are tasteless. The soup gets its flavor mainly from other ingredients and the stock. It is a great alternative to the real fin and good for preserving marine ecosystems as well!

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