Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sichuan cold noodles

Serving: 10
Picture taken from 


  1. Chinese dried wheat noodles or Fettuccine 500 grams
  2. Mung Bean sprouts 150 grams or thinly sliced cucumber matchsticks


  • Soy sauce 125 grams
  • Sugar 75 grams
  • Chinese vinegar 75 grams
  • Sesame paste or Peanut butter 75 grams
  • Roasted sesame seed 100 grams
  • Garlic paste (beyond minced) 50 grams
  • Optional: Sichuan peppercorn powder
  • Scallion, green part thinly sliced 75 grams
  • Sesame oil 50 grams
  • Chili Oil 100 grams or less 

1. Cook the noodle according to direction, cool with cold water, and drain.  Spread the noodles out in a large baking pan and mix with 2 tablespoon of sesame oil.
2. Mix all the ingredients for sauce together in a bowl, mix with the cooked noodles and bean sprouts.


  1. Noodles cooked Al-dente are the best for this dish.
  2. After noodle is cooled and drained, really spread the noodles out and mix with sesame oil to prevent sticking
  3. The sauce taste the best if all the amounts are correct, I use a kitchen scale that has both US and Metric weights
  4. Chili oil can be made at home: 
Sichuan Chili Oil
(from Fuschia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty)
1/2 C chile flakes (I generally use a combination of coarse Korean chili flakes and crushed facing heaven chiles, but you can use any kind you like, at whatever heat level you like)
2 C neutral oil (I use safflower oil, usually)
1. Put the chile flakes into a glass jar.
2. Heat the oil on the stove until it hits 225-250 F. (If you go over, just let it cool down to that range, no big deal.)
3. Pour it over the chile flakes and stir once or twice.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lamb and Onions with Cumin

Lamb is something that is very popular in the Middle East, Australia and parts of China. Some people don't like it because of their gamey smell, and there are others who prize lamb's tenderness and its aroma. For me, I love any lamb cooked in such a way that removes the gamey smell and preserve the aroma. Actually one of the best lamb stir fry dish (Chengdu Spiced Lamb) I've had is at the PF Chang's restaurant in Boise, ID. We also tried the same dish at PF Chang's in Fremont, CA and it wasn't as good as Boise's for some reason. If you have a PF Chang's restaurant nearby, I'd highly recommend you to give it a try. Anyhoo, today's cumin dish is kind similar to the PF Chang's version, but with a simpler flavor. I will probably post another one that is more similar to their flavor sometime later. This recipe is adapted from a Chinese recipe site.

Serves 3

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

1 pound lamb leg or shoulder meat, thinly sliced into 1/4 inch thick biteable slices
2 scallion, minced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cooking wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon corn starch
2-4 tablespoon water
1 cup corn or vegatable oil
1 6-inch diameter onion, cut into wedges, halved and seperate the onion layer
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1-3 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

  1. The amount of salt, cumin and chili powder is based on your taste, so during the last seasoning step, taste the dish and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the lamb slices with the salt, 1 teaspoon cooking wine, soy sauce and corn starch. Water should be the last ingredient to add to the marinate, the amount of water gets added depends on how much the lamb slices absorbs. Add in 2 teaspoon of water at a time, mix it well with the lamb with your hand in clockwise circular motion, then keep adding more water until the lamb can't absorb anymore water and the meat feels springy when pressed. Let it marinate for 10 minutes. After the lamb is marinated, if there are some water came out of the lamb, use the clockwise hand motion to mix it back in with the lamb, then mix it well with 1 tablespoon oil. This lamb marinate process is to let the moister get in the lamb while add the oil coating prevents the moister escape during the cooking process, our goal is to make the lamb more tender. This marinating process is exactly the same for beef, which we talked about in the Mongolian Beef recipe.
  2. Heat 1 cup of oil in the wok or skillet over high heat till pretty hot but not smoking, put in the onion wedges and cook until onion start to soften (1-2 mintues), use a mesh to scope out the onion and put it on a paper towl lined plate. Reheat the oil till pretty hot and drop in the lamb slices, quickly cook the lamb until the lamb slices are barely cooked (white on the outside and pink in the middle). Use a mesh to scope out the lamb and drain on the paper towl.
  3. Leave 1 tablespoon of the oil in the wok or skillet over high heat, put in the onion and lamb and quickly add salt, 1 teaspoon cooking wine, cumin and chili powder, mix everything so the lamb and onion is well coated. Cook till the lamb is no longer pink, taste to adjust seasoning, and mix in the sesame oil and cilantro. Serve over white rice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tomato Egg and Tofu

Tomato egg and tofu are three healthy ingredients put together to make a very healthy dish. It goes so well served over white rice, it is like the ultimate Chinese comfort food.

Serves 3

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

4 cups water
1 block soft tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallion, minced
2 tablespoon peanut oil
8 medium sized shrimp, devine and shelled
4 medium sized tomatoes (about 4 inches in diameter), core removed, cut into thick wedges
1 cup chicken stock

3 tablespoon Ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon water
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 scallion, green part only, minced

  1. The shrimp in this dish can be substitute with any seafood, beacon or sausage, just make sure they are properly cooked.
  2. By simmering the tofu in the chicken stock and sauce for 10 minutes, the flavor can penetrate the tofu better, if you have time, you can even try to simmer it for longer for better flavor.
  1. Bring a small pot of water over high heat to a boil, add salt and tofu and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespon oil over high heat, add the scallion, ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, add shrimp and stir fry for 10 seconds. Transfer everything into a place. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat, when the oil is almost smoking, add the tomato and stir fry until frangrant (about 2-3min), add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Drain the tofu, add it to the wok along with sauces, the shrimp, cover, simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Mix the cornstarch with water, add it to the wok over high heat, bring everything to a boil and mix with the back of the ladle until sauce thickens. Turn off heat, sprinkle in eggs, let it sit for 30 seconds, then mix it in with the tofu. Add the sesame oil and green scallion slices, mix and serve over rice.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chicken with Tomato Sauce

Chicken with Tomato Sauce produced one of the tenderest chicken I've had. It tastes kind like sweet and sour chicken, except in terms of texture, it is tender soft because of shallow frying for a short time vs. the crispy deep fried version. This recipe came from a Chinese cookbook.

Serves 2

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 tablespoon egg white
4 tablespoon corn starch
2 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon ketchup

2 tablespoon and 2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon sesame oil

  1. The key to this recipe is the tender texture of the chicken, so the shallow frying step will determine how tender the chicken will come out. If you get the oil temperature right, you are much closer to getting it perfect, therefore it helps to get a deep-fry thermometer. To use a thermometer, make sure the tip is inside the oil but doesn't touch the wok or pot, because the wok might be at a higher temperature than the oil.
  2. The other key to the tender chicken is to cut the chicken pieces as evenly as possible, this ensures all the chicken pieces will be cooked evenly.
  3. Once you master the shallow frying to produce extra tender chickens, you can apply this technique to other chicken dishes, or play around with the tomato sauce to adjust it to your liking.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, add the chicken cubes, egg white and 3 tablespoon cornstarch. Mix them well using a circular one direction motion.
  2. To shallow fry the chicken, heat oil in a wok or a soup pot over medium heat to about 200°F. Add the chicken, and use a chopstick to gently separate the pieces. The oil temperature now shouldn't be above 175°F, if it does, remove the wok from heat until temperature drop down. Just when all the chicken pieces are turning white, quickly remove them with a slotted spoon and drain off the excess oil. The chicken should be white on the outside and still be pink in the middle.
  3. Remove all the oil from the wok, and heat it over high heat, add the ketchup, sugar and 1 tablespoon water, stirring and bring to a boil, mix 1 tablespoon water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and add it to the sauce. When the sauce thickens, add the chicken pieces and stir well, cook for 1-2 minutes then turn off heat. Check if the chicken is done by cutting into the largest chicken piece and make sure the inside is no longer pink. Mix in the sesame oil and serve.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Coffee Spareribs

Coffee spareribs is a dish that I am hesitant to put up because it takes a while to make and it is definitely not healthy. But at the same time, this is one dish that received 5 out of 5 stars on my taste rating and I GUARANTEE it is going to impress your family and guests like no other, in terms of its tender texture, surprising flavors and the shear creativity involved. We first had this dish in a Chinese Dim Sum place (Chinese breakfast restaurant) near San Francisco, and just thought it was the bomb. I came home and immediately started looking up ways to recreate this dish at home. This recipe is adapted from

This image came from the web because I forgot to take a picture when I made it last time.

Serves 2

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

1 pound spareribs, rinsed well and cut between the bones into individual ribs (about 5-10 ribs)
6 cups peanut or corn oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoon cooking sherry

1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoon 3-in-1 instant coffee mix powder (see tips #3 for substitution)
3 tablespoon water
2-5 tablespoon cornstarch
5 tablespoon 3-in-1 instant coffee mix powder (see tips #3 for substitution)
2 tablespoon ketchup
tablespoon water
sugar to taste

1 cup "Cool Whip" cream, or freshly whipped heavy cream with sugar at room temperature

  1. It would be great if the spareribs you have is already trimmed into St. Louis style. If that is not the case, then just cut the ribs into matching bite-able sections.
  2. Since this recipe contains a fair amount of coffee, if you are sensitive to caffeine, it might be better to serve this dish at lunch time instead of dinner, because then the caffeine won't keep you awake at night.
  3. 3-in 1 instant coffee powder is a mix of instant coffee powder with cream and sugar. If you can't find this coffee mix, you can use either regular brewed coffee with cream and sugar added to your taste (then you don't need to add water), or regular instant coffee powder (need to add powdered cream and sugar).
  1. Mix all the marinate ingredients well in a large mixing bowl using a whisk to form a thick, slurp batter, vary the amount of cornstarch added to achieve this consistency. Add in the ribs and mix well, cover and let it marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
  2. When the marinate is almost done, mix the sauce ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Once marinate is done, heat oil in a deep soup pot or wok over high heat until oil start to smoking, add rib pieces one by one into the oil, deep fry the ribs until they are no longer pink on the outside (about 3-6 minutes), remove them with a slotted spoon.
  4. Wait till the oil is smoking again, add in all the ribs at once and deep fry for 1 minute. Check to see if the ribs are done by cutting into the biggest rib and see if the meat near the bone is no longer pink. Remove them with a slotted spoon on to a plate lined with paper towels.
  5. Leave 2 tablespoon oil in the pot or wok, add in the sauce and bring to a boil over high heat, add in the ribs and coat well with the sauce, taste to see if more sugar needs to be added. Transfer to a big coffee mug or plate and add the cool whip cream on top of the ribs. To eat, dip the ribs in the cream.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chicken Lettuce Cup

Chicken lettuce cup is a one dish healthy meal, it's got skinless chicken breast, bamboo shoots and water chestnut. Oh wait, did we forget lettuce? If we've got left overs, it keeps well in the fridge for another delicious meal. This dish came from

Serves 4

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

8 dried Shiitake mushrooms, soak in hot water for 30 minutes, woody stem removed, chopped
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 teaspoons cooking sherry
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger,
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
8 oz can bamboo shoots,
drained, chopped into small pieces using a food processor
8 oz can water chestnuts,
drained, chopped into small pieces using a food processor
2 small dried chilies (optional)
1 package of Chinese cellophane rice noodles (about 3-6 oz), cooked according to instructions on the package
1 iceberg lettuce,
stem removed, and sliced into halves
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

  1. I went to 3 different western grocery stores, and between the 3 I was able to find oyster sauce and hoisin sauce, if you've searched and still can't find them, you can substitude:
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce: 2 tablespoon soy sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce: 1/2 tablespoon ketchup mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of molasses
  1. Combine marinate ingredents in a medium mixing bowl, mix well with the chicken cubes and marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a skillet or wok over medium high heat, add chicken cubes and stir fry for 3 minutes until the chicken is turning white and no pink is shown, remove chicken.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a skillet or wok over medium high heat, add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and stir fry for a minutes until the flavor comes out, make sure the garlic doesn't get burned. Then add the chopped dried mushroom, bamboo shoots and water chestnut, stir fry until they are cooked thru (about 2 minutes). Add the chicken along with the sauce and mix everything well and let the sauce thickens (about 1 minute). Transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. To eat, start with a lettuce leaf, add some cellophane noodles then top with the chicken mixutre, eat it like a taco.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Orange Chilled Noodles

I am starting to like chilled noodles, I use to love only noodle soups, but in the summer days, it is simply too hot to have a bowl of piping hot noodle soup, so I started to make chilled noodles. I find they are pretty easy to make, and keeps really well in the fridge. This dish came from

Serves 2

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

10 oz thin egg noodle or angel hair pasta
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoon roasted peanuts or pine nuts or almonds, chopped

2 tablespoon chili
oil with pepper flakes
2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon Chinese or cider vinegar
4 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 fresh orange, grated zest without the white pith

  1. Please feel free to substitute any of your favorite roasted nuts for the peanuts
  1. Roast the peanuts in a small pan over medium heat until lightly brown and fragrant (about 5-10 minutes), turning frequently towards the last half of the cooking. Remove from pan and chopped into small pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, cook noodles in a boiling pot of water until done (about 3-7 minutes). Drain and use running water to cool the noodles down. Drain well and set aside.
  3. Make the sauce by putting all the sauce ingredient in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
  4. Mix the noodles with the sauce in a large mixing bowl, when mixed well, transfer to serving bowls and scatter with green onion, cilantro and chopped peanuts.