Posts tagged ‘chinese’

Scallion pancakes

Well it’s less like a pancake and more of a crispy flat savory pastry. I got the recipe from Basil and Ginger, with excellent pictures and instructions. It’s really good and relatively easy to make (and I usually dislike anything requiring rolling). I used organic shortening, and rolled it very thin (as thin as I can get before all the scallion pieces poke out). I cooked it extra crispy and browned.


July 28, 2008 at 2:16 am 4 comments

Year of the Rat

chinese new year
(dried candied vegetables, red carnations, happy golden rat, CCTV New Year Special… so weird)
The lunar new year means lots of red everywhere, and of course the food. My mom hit a new record, with 10 dishes.
Whole steamed carp (I think) with soy sauce, cilantro and scallions. To save time my mom steamed the whole plate in a bag in the microwave.
Stir-fried squid with pickled vegetables. I love the salty sharp tart flavor.
Lotus root boiled in stock. They tend to be either crunchy or starchy (potato like), these were the starchy kind that my dad overwhelmingly prefers.
sea cucumber
Sea cucumber in oyster sauce. This year my mom went with dried sea cucumbers and soaked it for two weeks! I don’t know if was really necessary. Usually frozen ones have a strange alkaline taste that sometimes renders it inedible, but these were perfect. Sea cucumbers don’t really have a taste on their own, they just cook up soft and gelatinous (something Asians love).mbnoodlesffish
Mung bean noodles and fried fish (ignore the blurry pic). The long noodles bring longevity and the fish somehow represents things going smoothly (swimmingly?) for the New Year. You eat one fish before the New Year and one right after. The fried fish were rubbed with salt the day before cooking and are really tasty but wrought with dangers of countless tiny bones (for those untrained).
mixed seafood
Shrimp and squid stir-fried with sugar snap peas.
mushrooms fishcake
Shitake mushrooms with fish cake. Usually Chinese fish cakes are just made from one type of pureed fish. You can but the fish paste raw, and here it’s mixed with some chopped shrimp and water chestnuts.
pigs feet chicken
Only things left are the things I don’t eat, pig’s feet with moss (never liked the smelled of the moss) and steamed chicken (sorry again for the blurry pic). These are sort of obligatory, with the moss (faat choi) sounding like and symbolizing wealth/prosperity. And the chicken is there for every occasion. 
lina-sm.gif L

February 7, 2008 at 9:15 am 5 comments

Mom’s radish cake and water chestnut cake


My mom makes radish cakes (lor bak go) several times a year, mostly during the cold months (apparently when daikon radishes are at their best). They are made from grated daikon radishes and rice flour as the base, and a number of ‘fillings’; usually Chinese sausage, smoked dried pork, dried shrimp, dried mushrooms and white pepper (essential). For me, she leaves out the pork. I told her she could leave out the dried shrimp too (the mushrooms are my favorite part) but she insist that it gives it the (Chinese) flavor. She cooks the fillings first and wilts the radish in a pot before mixing in a blend of rice flours. Then the batter is steamed till set.  The particular ratio of ingredients I never took notes on and never really tried to make on my own. I’ve only seen her do 10lbs of radish at a time. The restaurant versions can’t compare. I don’t cook much Chinese food (nearly never), the only Chinese food I really want would be my mom’s cooking.


After letting the cake cool, you can slice it and fry it up (which is the best/only way to eat it). Browning it brings out the spiciness of the radish and white pepper, eating it fresh, it’s kind of mushy and somewhat blander. And this way there’s never any stale leftovers.



This is a water chestnut cake (ma tai go); it’s made from water chestnut starch, sugar, water and fresh water chestnuts (for crunch) and it’s also steamed. For some reason the water chestnut starch sets up very gelatinous and has a distinct nutty grassy flavor. And can also be browned on the stove top, but I prefer it plain. I guess I should ask my mom for the measurements to this one, it has very few ingredients and seems pretty easy.

water chestnut

(fresh water chestnut, still has mud on it, needs to be cleaned and peel)

Countdown to Chinese New Year! Tomorrow is going to be the new year’s eve dinner, I already saw my mom soaking the sea cucumber. Plan to take plenty of pics.

lina-sm.gif L

February 6, 2008 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

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