Thursday, July 16, 2009

Steamed Black Bean Pork Spare Ribs

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Black bean spare ribs is a favorite with my family. Black beans are a very traditional ingredient, and help enhance the flavour of whatever it's cooked with.

To make black bean spare ribs, you'll need:
  • 1 tsp of black beans
  • 2-3 strips of pork spare ribs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy Sauce
  • Dark soy (optional)
  • Sugar
You'll first need to prepare the meat and black beans:
  1. Break up the strip of spare ribs so that there's one piece of bone per meat
  2. Place the sliced spare ribs into a bowl and add a 1 tsp of baking soda to the meat. This will help tenderize it. Mix around the baking soda, and then add cold water to the bowl until the meat is fully covered. At the same time, add 1 tsp of black beans to a small bowl and add submerge it in cold water. This helps remove some of the salt of the black beans. Leave both the meat and black beans for about 2 hours.
  3. Rinse the meat off with cold water and strain off the excess water.
To cook the black bean spareribs:
  1. Add 1 heaping tsp of cornstarch to the spare ribs. Mix the corn starch evenly with the meat, then add 1 tsp of soy sauce, and 1 flat tsp of sugar to the meat. If you desire, 1/4 tsp of dark soy can be used to darken the meat. Mix the meat around evenly, and place onto a high-rimmed plate.
  2. Now we're going to prepare the black beans. Strain off the water from the bowl of black beans. Finely mince the black beans along with the clove of garlic. Place the minced black bean and garlic into a small bowl and add 1/4 tsp of soy sauce. Mix evenly, then pour into the dish with the meat.
  3. Using your hands, mix the black beans evenly with the pork spare ribs. Pour water into a steamer and turn the heat to high heat. Once the water boils, place the dish with the mixed black bean sauce and spare ribs into the steamer. Cover, and once the water starts to boil again, turn down the heat to medium-high and continue to steam for 15-20 minutes. After 15-20 minutes, turn off the heat and let the dish sit for 5 more minutes before removing the lid. Garnish with green onions if you wish.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Green Bean (Mung Bean) Dessert

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This recipe is for a traditional Green Bean Dessert. The ingredient list is very short, and the ease of this recipe makes it a must try for all my readers.  There are two important points about this recipe. The first is that the recipe as you'll see later calls for sticks of brown sugar. It's extremely important that the specific type of sugar is used because the either granulated sugar and rock sugar will result a very different taste. The second point is that the boiling time is roughly an hour and a half, meaning that you'll need to plan ahead to ensure that you have enough cooking time allotted.
To make Green Bean Dessert, you'll need:
  • One package (approximately 300g) of Green Beans
  • Three sticks of Brown Sugar
  • Roughly 4L of water
To make the Green Bean Dessert:
  1. The night before you plan on making it, open the package of green beans and soak in a large bowl of water.
  2. The next morning, pour the beans into a large pot and add about 4L of water.  Put in the sugar at this point as well.
  3. Boil the water on high heat until it boils, then turn down the heat to medium. Do not cover the pot and continue to let the water boil for nearly an hour and a half, stirring intermittently. The water level will drop, concentrating the flavour of the green beans. in the photo below, you can clearly see that the water level has dropped about an inch from where it was earlier.
  4. The Green Bean Dessert can be considered nearly finished when the water has a homogenous colour.
  5. At this point, add three sticks of the brown sugar into the pot. Stir around intermittently to facilitate the melting of the sugar.
  6. Turn off the heat once the sugar has all been melted, and serve warm, or allow to sit and cool.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Garlic and Hot Chili Stir Fried On Choy

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A couple days ago I posted a great summer recipe for Shrimp Sauce On Choy ("Tung Choy" in Cantonese). In today's health conscience society, you may wish to opt for a lower sodium recipe since Shrimp Sauce is quite salty - not to mention that the aroma is not for everyone. This recipe is a variation of the earlier recipe, substituting Hot Chili Oil for Shrimp Sauce. Although I will use a little bit of salt in this recipe, the overall sodium content is much less than that of using the Shrimp Sauce.

The ingredients in this recipe are:
  • 1 bundle of On Choy from your local chinese Grocer
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (to taste if you desire)
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of Hot Chili Oil (preferebly with some chili flakes
To Cook the On Choy:
  1. First, wash and prepare the On Choy as described in the other recipe
  2. Pour a generous amount of cooking oil and heat the wok on high heat
  3. Once the wok is hot, reduce heat to medium-high, toss in the garlic and the salt
  4. 10 seconds later, toss in the On Choy, and rotate the leaves until all of them have a bit of oil on them
  5. Keep mixing around for 2-3 minutes, then cover.
  6. After 2-3 minutes, open the wok and double check that the stalk and leaves are soft. If not, repeat the mixing and covering procedure.
  7. Once the On Choy is semi-soft, remove it from the wok, leaving the excess water from the cooking process. Discard the water in the wok.
  8. Add a tsp of cooking oil into the wok, and let it heat up. Add the Hot Chili Oil and 10 seconds later, toss in the On Choy. Mix around for 2-3 minutes, then plate to serve.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shrimp Sauce Stir-Fried On Choy (Vegetable)

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On Choy is a vegetable that is available during the summer months. In Cantonese, it's name is pronounced "Tung Choy" which loosely translates to "Hollow Vegetable", because the stem of the vegetable is a hollow tubular structure. Although the way I've prepared it using Shrimp sauce, it is an acquired taste and smell that not everyone may like. For that reason, I'll also provide a recipe to make a garlic and hot chili variation of this recipe on another date.

For this recipe, the ingredients are:
  • 1 bundle of On Choy from your local chinese grocer
  • 1 tsp Shrimp Paste
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
To make the Shrimp Sauce On Choy:
  1. Wash the On Choy in the kitchen sink. It will likely require 2 or more washes to fully clear the grit in the vegetable. Because the stem is hollow, extra care should be taken to inspect it as well. After washing, chop up the On Choy stalks into three equal length sections.
  2. To the 1 tsp of Shrimp paste, add 1 tsp of lukewarm water and stir it around so that it becomes more of a sauce consistency. Add the sugar to the Shrimp sauce and stir around a bit more. Shrimp sauce is salty in itself, so no salt should be added to this recipe at all.
  3. Add a generous amount of cooking oil to the wok and heat on high heat
  4. Once the wok is hot, decrease the temperature to medium-high heat and toss the garlic in
  5. After 10 seconds or so after the garlic is in, pour in the shrimp sauce and stir around - it will sizzle and bubble.
  6. After about another 10 seconds, toss in all the On Choy and mix around, ensuring that all the leaves have some oil on it. Continue to stir around for several more minutes, then cover.
  7. When the On Choy is fully cooked, it will have shrunk considerably, and the leaves should be soft. The stalks may still have some crunch to it when bitten into. Plate the On Choy, but throw out the water in the wok.