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Archive for April, 2012

This soup is not appealing in the picture, but it’s a very comforting and homey Cantonese soup for me. Watercress sold in Chinatown or Chinese grocery stores used to have big stems and big leaves, and was quite cheap. But in recent years the price has go up and they are getting tiny– which is good for making salad, but not for making this soup. So, whenever I see the right type of watercress selling, I always tempt to make this soup.

Watercress & Pork Rib Soup 西洋菜湯

Watercress & Pork Rib Soup 西洋菜湯

Watercress & Pork Rib Soup 西洋菜湯 Recipe (serves 4-6 people)

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs pork spare ribs– cut into pieces
2-3 bunches watercress– see note below
4 dried red dates
1 1/2 gallon water
salt to taste

Method:

  1. Add red dates and water to a deep pot, cover and let it boil for 5 minutes on high heat.
  2. In a separate pot, blanch spare ribs in boiling water to remove any impurities. Remove and rinse ribs. Discard the water.
  3. Add blanched ribs to the deep pot, cover and boil on high heat for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover and continue cooking for another 1.5 hours. The soup will look “cloudy” if cooked for a long time.
  4. While the soup is cooking, wash and rinse watercress several times. Since watercress grow in water, there are tiny slug sometimes hiding in between the leaves.
  5. Add watercress to the soup and give it a couple of stir to mix in. Add more water if necessary. Cover and continue cooking until the watercress turns yellowish and soft, about 30 minutes. Add salt to taste. If you want some crunchy texture of watercress, reserve some and cook in the soup briefly before serving.

Regina’s Note:

  • How to pick watercress for this soup: According to my mom, use watercress that has no reddish stem/leaves or the soup will taste bitter. Also, use watercress that has bigger stems and leaves. The young tender ones are good for salad but not for this soup.

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Recently I bought some salted fish because I have been craving for this dish, a very simple food that brings back warm memories. Salted fish is either sold in semi-dry or wet form. In Cantonese it’s called “Mui Heong” 梅香. You only need a little to bring out the flavor as it has a very pungent smell. Many people think it smells like stinky shoes, but the smell is not as strong after it is cooked. I like to eat this dish simply with a bowl of white rice, and drizzle some of the broth to the rice as well… Oh, silken tofu is much better here than regular tofu.

Steam Tofu with Salted Fish & Minced Pork 鹹魚肉末豆腐

Steam Tofu with Salted Fish & Minced Pork 鹹魚肉末豆腐

Steamed Tofu with Salted Fish & Minced Pork 鹹魚肉末豆腐 Recipe

Ingredients:
1 box silken/soft tofu
1/3 lb ground pork
1/2 inch salted fish– I use the wet salted fish, remove skin and bones
2 slices gingers– minced
4 slices gingers– cut into thin strips
1 red hot pepper– chopped

pork seasoning: cooking wine, salt, ground white pepper, sesame oil, tapioca starch, water

for garnish:
chopped green onion and/or cilantro

Method:

  1. Rinse tofu, then cut into pieces of 1/2 inch thickness. Pat dry.
  2. Lay tofu pieces, single layer, in a deep dish steam plate. Sprinkle a little salt on top of tofu.
  3. Chopped salted fish with group pork together so the fish blend in with the pork. Add in minced ginger and pork seasoning (easy on salt as there’s salted fish in the mixture). Mix to blend well.
  4. Scatter ground pork on top of tofu. Sprinkle ginger strips and red pepper on the top. Steam on high heat until the meat is cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onion and/or cilantro on top. Serve hot with steam rice.

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My MIL is visiting us during spring break. So when I went shopping at Costco last week I got a tub of hand picked Dungeness crab meat; thinking to make something crabby because she likes crab. Then I remember the famous crab dip at Horatio’s– it was so rich, creamy and delicious that I can never forget. So I decided to replicate the flavor.

This is my second time making crab dip. My first crab dip few years back, although wowed by my guests, was not exactly what I was expecting– it just didn’t taste like Horatio’s at all. People who have been to Horatio’s try to replicate the flavor but none has success. I thought I might have most ingredients, and here comes my experiment…

The verdict: Compared to my first trial which I used pepper jack cheese, this time around the dip tastes a lot better and more like Horatio’s version– creamy and rich, and not tangy. I didn’t use marinated artichoke hearts though (Horatio’s got artichoke hearts in the dip). I sliced some torta sandwich rolls from Costco and made some garlic crostini to serve the dip. My MIL likes it very much. She even asks for the recipe. This recipe is a keeper until I crack down Horatio’s secret ingredients (especially the cheese they use…):-)

Dungeness Crab Dip

Dungeness Crab Dip

Crab Dip Recipe (please note this is for a large portion enough for a party appetizer, but you can scale down for smaller serving)

Ingredients:
1/4 medium onion– chopped
3 cloves garlic– chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb Dungeness crab lump meat, free of shells
2 cup shredded Italian five cheese mix, plus more for sprinkling
6 oz champagne aged Cheddar Cheese– grated– see note below
5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

garlic crostini– recipe follows

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a big sauce pan, melt butter and saute onion and garlic over medium heat until aromatic. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the sauce pan, mix gently to combine. Transfer to a oven safe bowl or deep dish container (I used Pyrex glass casserole). Sprinkle more five cheese mix on the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn to broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown the top (always keep an eye on the food when you are broiling, don’t turn away and do something else). Serve hot with garlic crostini.

Garlic Crostini Recipe:

Ingredients:
4 torta sandwich rolls (I bought from Costco)– slice into 1/2 inch thin
extra virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange slice breads on a large baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, then salt and pepper. Turn the breads over and do the same. Bake 3-4 minutes on each side of the bread, or until light golden brown.
  2. Remove from the oven, and rub garlic on each side of crostini.

Regina’s Note:

  • Champgne aged Cheddar cheese: I used this cheese because I just happened to have it (got it from Costco), but regular aged cheddar cheese should be fine too. I won’t go for sharp Cheddar because the flavor might be too strong for the dip.

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