Just coming back from a business in Shanghai, I decided to pour myself a glass of old-fashioned. I seldom make cocktail at home, normally just drinking wine. But sometimes a stronger cocktail could loose me up a bit more and remind me of nice time hanging out with friends at bar.
March in Shanghai is sunny but still quite chilly. Comparing to Beijing, the streets are neat, more tall buildings with better design, people are more polite and there’s more choices of western restaurants and bars. I don’t come here very often, but every time I tried to go try out some new places, especially for Shanghai cuisine or seafood.
I have to confess, I never had quesadilla at Taco Bell. Well, actually, I never had any food in Taco Bell. I’ve been to the US couple of times, but I always utilize the chance to have a nice steak, cook something new, or try out nice restaurants instead of eating fast food. However, I fell in love with Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla the first time when I cooked the recipe from Food.com.
We don’t have a lot of options of Mexican food in Beijing. There’re a few decent restaurants/bars that you can grab some nice Mexican dishes and have a drink, but all located in busy city center. You could find tortillas chips at high end supermarket, but most people still don’t know what is tacos or burrito. Sometime, I wonder why KFC and PizzaHut are doing a great job here, but Yum never bring Taco Bell to China. KFC had opened 5315 stores in China by 2012, that was even more than the number of 4618 in the US! My friends suggested that maybe the Mexican flavor is so unfamiliar to Chinese taste bud, so it’s more difficult to promote the food here. Maybe it’s true, but not in my case.
Fish fragrant eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi, 鱼香茄子) turns people from hating eggplant into loving it. I’m not bluffing here. Actually, Chinese cuisine provides many ways to cook very nice eggplant dish and this is one of them. While I took some friends from abroad to have local Chinese food, a lot of people were surprised that eggplant could be cooked this way and the flavor is totally new to them.
Although fish fragrant eggplant is a signiture dish in Szechuan cuisine, its taste varies if you have it in different restaurants. Some of them focus on spiciness, some taste delightfully sweet, and some features crispy eggplant. The dish uses a Szechuan style of seasoning calls fish fragrant (Yu Xiang, 鱼香). The seasoning contains soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and chili, balanced with ginger, galice and green onion, which give you a suble and deep salted sweet sour flavor with a hint of spiciness. The fish fragrant seasoning is usually used in pork, chicken, eggplant, tofu and bamboo shoot dishes.
Stir-fried cauliflower with tomato sauce is a very simple dish that high in vitamin and dietary fiber. Even better, it’s super delicious too! The cauliflower is fully soaked with sweet sour tomato flavor and have crunchy and crispy texture.
Most of time, small Chinese restaurants cook this dish with ketchup to lower cost and simplify cooking process. But to make this dish healthier and richer in flavor, I chose fresh tomato with tomato paste for the sauce. Plus, it only increases 5 more minutes of cooking time, so totally worth it!
Chicken wings curry is a comfort food I love to cook on weekend and enjoy the leftover during the week. The chicken is soft and juicy, and the curry has a sweet sour spiciness, which makes me unable to stop eating!
The best part it, the leftover curry tastes even better! I love to melt cheese on top of curry rice to make a gratin. It’s like mozzarella cheese on top of pizza, you’ll never go wrong with it! By baking rice and curry in oven for 30 minutes (200 degrees C / 400 F), the cheese will melt well, the curry is hot and bubbling, the leftover rice is soaked with spicy and appetizing flavor of curry without getting soggy at all. Sometimes, I ate all chicken wings and just have leftover curry sauce. I will then add some lightly boiled vegetables in to curry, like broccoli or spinach, pile mozzarella on top and then slide into oven. Believe me or not, the leftover just turned to a feast in 30 minutes!
I love eating fried food but I hate cooking them. I have balanced and healthy diet most of the time, but I do enjoy eating something fatty but delicious once in a while.
Fried crispy pork chop is one of my favorite unhealthy dishes. I learnt this dish from my dad. In my family, although my mom cooks most of the time, but my dad’s cooking skill is actually superior. Also because my mom doesn’t like cooking fried food, since it uses quite lot of oil and make the room smelly. So this time, I tried a new way to cut down the amount of oil for frying and the result was great!
This fried pork chop dish is simple and delicious. It doesn’t taste heavy and only use the least spices to make the pork stand out itself. The pork is slightly seasoned with Chinese cooking wine and garlic, which remove the fishy smell and tenderize the pork. The recipe uses 3 layers of coating, with flour, egg white and bread crumbs. In this way, the pork will have very crispy surface, juicy and tender meat. The recipe use only enough oil to cover the skillet, but will yield a great result. I served it with mashed potato with spinach salad this time, but you can also serve over white steamed rice or bread, with semi-dry white wine.
A bite of the fresh and hot fried crispy pork chop is light, crunchy and yummy with the combination of 2 textures of soft and sharp. Yum yum!!
I’m so excited to announce the launch of my cooking video show today! I have been planning for this for a while and finally I finished my first show today, about how to cook Chinese style easy oyster mushroom stir-fry. You can click to watch the show above and get the full recipe at the end of this post.
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My name is Maggie, the author and photographer of Omnivore's Cookbook. Here you will find easy and healthy Chinese home made recipes, along with Asian fusion and food around the world. Learn more...