During our life in America Sing could not complain about lack of his favorite food. With a huge Cantonese community in the San Francisco Bay Area we could have a clay pot, barbecue meat, we could even visit Hong Kong style cafes. As much as I love so called ‘Asian cuisine’ I missed my own food and don’t even make me start on the bread topic – when I went back home in September 2014 I literally ate dry loaf of bread, just because.
Now when we moved back to Europe it’s much harder to find a real Asian food (in our area). We live in an Irish city with rather small Asian community, there’s only one Japanese restaurant, very few Chinese ones and literally no Korean one. Pho? Forget that it existed. Of course if you go to Dublin you have much bigger chances to find something that suits you, but the capital is located around 2.5h away by car from our city so we only go there occasionally.
You can only imagine how Sing must feel around the potatoes and bread. Literally, some Asian places even offer you RICE WITH FRENCH FRIES WITH CURRY – that’s how westernized the food is.
On the top of that, the prices in the Chinese supermarkets are quite high – 11.50 Euro for a bag of dumplings? Sorry, I will work my butt off and make them on my own instead of paying so much, all I need is 3.50 Euro wonton skin.
With limited resources and inside cheapness (c’mon, 11.50 for half a kilogram of dumplings?!) I started to do simple dishes that are the most similar to the ones Momzilla used to make for my husband.
They are really easy to make and you don’t really need to look around the stores to find ingredients, now with oriental sections in big supermarkets like Tesco you should be able to find soy sauce and black rice vinegar.
It’s even better if you also can find sesame oil. As for soy sauce I used Amoy’s Gold Label Light soy sauce and for the vinegar – Chinkiang vinegar.
I’m not a cook, I’m not even good at cooking but Sing and his co-workers who sometimes come over compliment my recipes. That’s why I call them the recipes for the desperate people, because they have to be really desperate to like them. Hope you will like them and feel free to share your thoughts on them!
I won’t give you any specific amount of this spice or that spice because I think it’s a very individual thing, we like the taste to be a bit heavy so I think you should try to find your own ‘perfect point’.
Slice cucumber horizontally and spoon the inside ‘meat’ of the cucumber so you only have a little cucumber boat left. Then slice what’s left for small pieces (shaped like a rainbow) and sprinkle them with salt. Leave it for 20 minutes, then squeeze the excessive water from the cucumber. Chop the garlic, mix it with the cucumber, add little bit of sesame oil to the taste and pour the vinegar (as seen on the picture). Voila!
I like to leave it in the fridge for 20 more minutes for heavier taste.
Fried napa cabbage
Half napa cabbage
Few clovers of garlic
Eventually few slices of carrot
Chop half of the napa cabbage in 1-2cm slices. Make sure that all the water from washing the cabbage is gone. In meantime chop the garlic and slice the ginger. On a pan heat up the oil and once it’s hot add the garlic and ginger. When you can smell the garlic add the cabbage (and carrot, if you want). Keep the fire high, stir the ingredients. Now cover them for few minutes then stir again. The volume should be much smaller and the cabbage should be softer. At this point you add bit of soy sauce, depends how salty you want the food to be. Stir everything, cover it for few seconds and done!
1 litre of chicken broth, but Momzilla uses only water – the taste is less heavy
2 lightly beaten eggs
Salt, white pepper, sesame oil to taste
1 green onion, but I add 2 since Sing just loves it
Boil the water/chicken broth. Add the spices you want to use before you add the eggs and cook it for about a minute. After that very slowly pour the beaten eggs, stir the eggs in the clockwise direction for a minute. Don’t ask me why clockwise not the other way, only Momzilla knows the answer. Garnish with green onion.
Steamed eggplant with garlic
Few eggplants, preferable the Asian style one, much slimmer and longer than the western one
Lots of garlic
Very simple, very tasty and very garlic-ish dish. Chop the eggplants in a cuboid shape (chop it into the half, then shop those halves in four). Steam the eggplant for 20 minutes or until it’s all soft. Now take the eggplant out and be sure you don’t burn your hands.
On a pan heat up the oil and add lots of your chopped garlic (my parent’s house smelled like garlic even after I left). When the garlic gets fragrant add soy sauce until the bubbles show up. Turn off the gas and pour the mixture of garlic and soy sauce on the eggplant. How simple is that?
That’s a recipe I can be proud of – I got complimented over it for few times and I’ve been told it’s the same taste like in Hong Kong. How more a Hong Kong man can be when he can get his beloved, missed food?
Cover your pork chops with salt and pepper, as you like. The heat up the pan with little bit of oil and fry it from the both sides.
In a small pot melt little bit of butter, add your sliced mushrooms and sliced onion. Let it simmer until the mushrooms are darker but still don’t look like they were about to be added to a pizza. I hope you know what I mean.
Next add water, make the whole thing boil and add the gravy. Stir it until you get a nice, mushroom sauce.
At the end add your ALREADY COOKED rice (I tried with dry and al dente rice, but the effects were awful) into a bakeware dish, put the pork chops on the top of the rice and cover it all with the amount of mushroom sauce you like, but it should at least cover everything with a small layer.
One you do all the things, let it bake for 15 minutes in 180C. De-li-cious!
Did you know any of those recipes before? Would you like to try them out? Let me know if you want more of the recipes and I would be happy to read your recipes!