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Pickled Assorted Vegetables 涼拌什錦泡菜

Pickled Assorted Vegetables Recipe 涼拌什錦泡菜 

Ingredients:

1 chayote
1 kohlrabi
1/2 stick carrot
5 Persian cucumbers
1/4 stick daikon
3 gloves garlic– chopped
1-2 red hot peppers– chopped
sushi vinegar
sugar
water

Method:

  1. Prepare chayote: Peel off the skin and remove the core. Rinse to remove the sliminess of the chayote. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into chayote with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  2. Prepare kohlrabi: Remove the outer skin of kohlrabi, then cut into small thin size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into kohlrabi with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  3. Prepare carrot: Peel off the skin and remove both ends. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into carrot with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  4. Prepare cucumbers: Remove both ends and the core of cucumbers. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into cucumbers with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  5. Prepare daikon: Peel off the skin and remove both ends. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into daikon with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  6. Combine all vegetables, garlic and peppers in a large bowl (non metal, non plastic). Add enough sushi vinegar to cover half of the vegetables. Then add enough water to barely cover the top of vegetables. Add sugar to taste. Stir with a spoon until sugar dissolves. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 day for the marinade to soak in. Stir the vegetables the next day and continue chilling in the fridge. Pickled vegetables last at least 2 weeks if kept well in fridge. Be sure to use a clean dry spoon to take out a portion for consumption.

Regina’s Note:

  • How to pick kohlrabi: Pick young kohlrabi that is more greenish rather than pale color, preferably with a little green leaves on the top. Old kohlrabi will have tough, chewy fibers/roots throughout the vegetables that make it impossible to use for making dishes.
  • How to pick cucumbers: Always pick cucumbers that are firm. There should not be any wrinkles on the skin or else it’s not fresh.
  • How to pick daikon: Pick daikon with smooth skin. Check the cut stems– they should look freshly cut. Put daikon in your hand and it should feel heavy to you. If it doesn’t feel heavy the daikon might be old or hollow inside.

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Yes, century eggs! The egg white part looks like clear brown jelly sometimes with needle marks like snowflakes, and it tastes like harden jelly, a bit rubbery with a very mild flavor. The  greyish yolk, however, carries a pungent smell and more flavorful. Sometimes the yolk is a bit soft in the center, as you slice through the gooey yolk will stick to the knife. For preserved eggs, I like salted eggs better than century eggs. However, one time when I tried this cold appetizer at a Hunan restaurant and I fell in love with it. It is quite easy to make. The combination of roasted peppers (sweet and spicy) and century eggs blends pretty well; a great side dish to go with just a bowl of steam rice. If you can take spicy foods and century eggs, try it out.

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋 Recipe

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers
6 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 century eggs

seasoning:
1 tbsp black rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp peppercorn oil 花椒油

Method:

  1. Cut bell peppers in half, remove stems and seeds. Drizzle with little oil and roast in the oven at 375°F for about 30 minutes. Cool then peel off the skin. Cut into strips.
  2. Fire roast jalapeno peppers directly on top of flame until the skin turn black completely. I always put jalapeno peppers on a skewer, and roast them directly on the flame on my gas stove top. At first the skin will make little crackling sound then it will start blacken, but hardly any smoke.  When the peppers are blackened, remove from flame and cover them with a paper towel for a couple of minutes. Use the paper towel to rub off the blackened skin and remove the seeds. Cut into strips.
  3. For century eggs, remove the shells and cut into thin wedges.
  4. Put bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, century eggs and seasoning a bowl. Toss gently to mix the flavor well. Serve immediately. Do not mix in seasoning if serving the dish later as it will becomes watery.

Regina’s Note:

  • Only mix in seasoning a few minutes before serving or the dish will get watery the longer it sits in the seasoning sauce.

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This appetizer is even easier than cucumber appertizer that I posted before. If you like five spiced tofu, give it a try!

Five Spiced Tofu Appertizer

Five Spiced Tofu Appetizer

Five Spiced Tofu Appetizer Recipe

Ingredients:
4 pieces five spiced tofu
1 clove garlic– chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp thick soy sauce– see note below
1 tbsp sesame oil
dash of ground white pepper
dash of chili powder

Method:

  1. Boil tofu in water for a few minutes. Remove tofu and dice into small pieces. While the tofu is hot, toss in remaining ingredients, mix well. Let it sit for 30 minutes before serving so the tofu soak in the flavors. Serve at cold or room temperature.

Regina’s Note:

  • Thick soy sauce: This Taiwanese style thick soy sauce can be found in Asian grocery stores that carry Taiwanese products. I like to use thick soy sauce for this dish because the soy sauce is not thin as regular soy sauce, less chance for diluting and more flavorful.

 

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This is a very easy, refreshing side dish to accompany any heavy flavored meat dishes. I like to use mini Persian cucumber, because its skin is not as thick as regular American cucumber. If you can’t find Persian cucumber, English cucumber works fine as well. Also, you can marinate the cucumbers for several days, but toss in soy sauce and other seasoning before serving.

Cucumber Appertizer

Cucumber Appertizer

Cucumber Appertizer Recipe

Ingredients:
6 Persian cucumbers
2 cloves garlic– chopped
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt

2 tbsp thick soy sauce– see note below
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 red hot pepper– chopped

Method:

  1. Remove both ends of cucumbers, cut into 1 inch length, then crush with the side of a knife to break open, remove the core.
  2. Put cucumber, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl. Stir around until sugar dissolves. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge (This can be done several days ahead– if planning for longer marinating time, use less vinegar and sugar)
  3. When it’s ready to serve, drain the cucumber and toss it with remaining ingredients. Serve at cold or room temperature.

Regina’s Note:

  • Cucumber: Choose cucumber that has thinner skin and smaller core, such Persian cucumber, Japanese cucumber or Hot House English cucumber. Pick a good firm cucumber and avoid those are slightly softer on both ends.
  • Thick soy sauce: This Taiwanese style thick soy sauce can be found in Asian grocery stores that carry Taiwanese products. I like to use thick soy sauce for this dish because the soy sauce is not thin as regular soy sauce, less chance for diluting and more flavorful.

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Stewed Beef Shank 卤牛腱

Stewed Beef Shank 卤牛腱 with stewed eggs 卤蛋

 

Stewed Beef Shank 卤牛腱 Recipe

Ingredients:

1 beef shank– cut in half lengthwise

Stew Sauce Base:
3 inch ginger– crushed
4 cloves garlic– crushed
3 stalks green onion
3 star anise 八角
1 tsp five spice powder
1 stick cinnamon bark 桂皮
1/2 stick rock sugar
1 cardamon 草果
1 tbsp salt
4 tbsp cooking wine
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp dark caramel sauce 黑酱油
6 cups water
2 dashes ground white pepper

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients in stew sauce base into a deep pot. Cover and boil on high heat for 15 minutes for the flavor to come out.
  2. In a separate pot blanch beef shank briefly. Rinse and put into the stew sauce. Cover and boil beef shank on high heat for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 1–1.5 hours until the meat is slightly tender. Turn the meat several times while simmering. Turn off heat, cover and continue let the meat stay in the sauce to soak up the flavor.
  3. Cool completely, chill if necessary, before thin slicing the meat or it may fall apart.

Regina’s Note:

  • The cooking time depends on the size of the beef shank. Undercooked beef shank produces tough meat, but overcooked beef shank falls crumbly apart even when you thin slice after chilling. Use a chopstick or fork to check the doneness of the meat– it should feel slight tender as the chopstick/fork inserted into the center of the meat.
  • This stew sauce base can be kept in the freezer and reuse. Just strain and remove grease before freezing. When reuse the sauce, add a little more of each ingredients to bring out the flavor again.
  • The stew sauce is very flavorful especially after stew the meat, and thus great for stewing soy sauce eggs, tofu, tendon etc. It is best to stew each kind of food separately as each requires a different stewing time. Also, add in a little more ginger, green onion, cooking wine etc before adding each kind of food, sort to bring out the flavor.
  • For stewed kelp/seaweed 卤海带, because of its natural fishy scent, requires little more cooking wine to neutralize the flavor. Make kelp the last ingredient to stew if you’re not keeping the stew sauce, or take some sauce out and stew kelp separately if you’re planning to reuse the stew sauce. Also, since kelp cannot be stewed too long, so be sure the sauce is slightly thick before adding kelp (I would say stew kelp on high heat until it boils then simmer on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes, depending the thickness of the kelp. Again, use chopstick or fork to check for doneness).

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In the past the only way I cook lotus root is making black bean, lotus root & spareribs soup. So I am glad to find a new way to enjoy this root vegetable. This is yet another recipe I learned from my neighbor Auntie Wang. The key is to choose young  fresh lotus roots (they are lighter in weigh than those you use for soup) that have clean holes– when you see the sides of lotus root, the holes should be free of mud and flesh is whitish in color. Don’t buy the processed/bleached lotus roots that come in a can or vacuum pack.

The flavor of this dish is sweet, sour and also spicy at the same time. The texture of the ingredients are all crunchy to the taste. For those can’t take the heat, skip hot peppers and make the dish into sweet and sour version (I made some non-spicy lotus root for Ethan)– it’s just as good. This is a very appetizing side dish, and especially good on hot summer days as it is served as a cold dish.

Spicy Lotus Roots

Spicy Lotus Roots

Spicy Lotus Roots Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh young lotus root (free of mud in the holes and flesh is whitish in color)
1/2 red bell pepper (optional– for texture and color)
1-2 young tender celery sticks (optional– for texture and color)
3-4 cloves garlic– finely chopped
6-8 hot peppers– chopped

Seasoning (adjust to taste):
salt
sugar
rice vinegar
chicken bouillon powder (optional)

Method:

  1. Prepare lotus roots: Cut off both ends and peel off the skin. Thinly slice. Then rinse a few times with water. Transfer lotus root to a pot filled with boiling water, let it boil on high heat for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. According to Auntie Wang, rinsing and boiling lotus root will prevent it from getting dark.
  2. Clean, remove seed and stem of bell pepper. Cut into strips. For celery, clean and remove any fiber on the stem, cut into strips. Then blanch in boiling water, drain and set aside.
  3. When the wok is hot and ready, add little oil and quick saute celery. Dish out. Repeat with bell pepper and dish out.
  4. Add little more oil to the hot wok, saute garlic and pepper until aromatic. Add lotus roots and seasoning to taste (there should be a little liquid in the wok from rice vinegar). Return bell pepper and celery to the wok, stir quickly and dish out. (Note: The 1st time I used my iron wok to saute lotus root, I guess the acid from the vinegar react with the meta and so my lotus root turns blueish in color after cooking. The 2nd time I use Corning cookware (as I don’t have non-stick pan in my house) to saute lotus root and it turned out perfect– of course non-stick pan is okay too).

Notes:

  • For sweet & sour version, omit hot peppers.
  • This is a cold dish but you can eat it hot or room temperature. Any extras should be kept in the fridge and would last about 1-2 weeks.

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