Still sick in bed. I have very little energy today so I am going to repost a photo and add the recipe for it. Egg and Tomato (鸡蛋炒西红柿) is a classic Chinese dish that every household makes when in need of a quick and simple dish. It’s like the tomato sauce and pasta for Chinese families. I’d like to think this is a pretty healthy meal; you have your carbs, veggies/fruits, and protein. I crave this right now in my sickly state but would need to buy tomatoes to make this… reminder to self:
ALWAYS HAVE TOMATOES IN THE FRIDGE. edit: NEVER STICK TOMATOES IN THE FRIDGE! There’s a Z-3 compound in tomatoes that pretty much dies when it’s forced to live in cold environments. Without that compound, the tomato apparently loses most of its flavor, shrivels up, and becomes watery and grainy – GROSS. I can’t believe I’ve been making this mistake all these years. Thanks, S.V.L. for the pointers!
Recipe (as usual, measurements are approximate because I never measure when cooking Chinese food*):
Continue reading Comfort Food for Speedy Recovery: Egg and Tomato
This is the first dinner I have had to cook for myself in a long time. Cooking for one is always annoying and difficult. On the one hand, it presents an opportunity to be extra lazy… you could just make a quick sandwich to simply appease your growling stomach. On the other hand, you’re eating by yourself, which isn’t exactly on my list of fun activities, so you want to make yourself something nice. So last night, I made myself something simple and nice. A little effort goes a long way when you’re cooking for yourself. I made a shiitake mushroom and pork stir-fry and a tiny pot of rice.
I’m Chinese so I don’t follow strict recipes but I’ll try to describe as accurately as I can the portion* of ingredients that I used. I first thinly sliced up a piece of pork loin, about the size of my palm, and marinated it in soy sauce, sugar, Chinese cooking wine, sesame oil, and a little bit of corn starch (helps to soften the meat). While the meat was marinating, I removed the tough stems of two large handfuls of shiitake mushrooms and chopped them up into quarters. Shiitake mushrooms are great because they are juicy, meaty, and very naturally fragrant. Continue reading Cooking for One: Shiitake Mushrooms and Pork Loin
Big Wing Wong
102 Mott St
(between Canal St & Hester St)
New York, NY 10013
It was a sunny President’s Day and we decided to celebrate by biking into Chinatown and stocking up on some cheap groceries. We get our groceries roughly every two weeks from Hong Kong Supermarket, the biggest supermarket (I believe) in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Vegetables and meats are so, so much cheaper here than at your average American supermarket. Sometimes, you can get a whole bag of tomatoes for a dollar! You can also find much more variety of vegetables, such as bitter melon, pea shoots, and fresh prince mushrooms – makes cooking much more interesting. Since we were already in the area, we of course picked up some lunch. I decided I was in the mood for some juicy char siu. Char siu is a Chinese barbecue pork that is often eaten with rice, noodles, or even in a bun. Red food coloring is often added to give the meat its reddish exterior. It has a shiny glaze of honey on the outside that gives the meat a slightly sweet flavor.
Based on various reviews I read online, Big Wing Wong apparently has some of the best char siu in the area. The restaurant was extremely busy when we popped in. Tables were filled with various parties as you are expected to sit wherever there is an empty space. We ended up sitting at a table with three girls who worked at the restaurant. They were on their lunch break, which only ended up being not more than 15 minutes. The place is extremely fast paced. People come in and either order a whole duck to-go, or sit down and eat with their heads buried, without pausing to take a breath, down their tea, and peace out. We were clearly noobs as it took us more than 5 minutes to decide what we wanted to eat and I of course had my camera out. Continue reading Gimme some of that Chinese BBQ!!!
BCD Tofu House
17 W 32nd St
(between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10001
I love Korean rice. It is sticky, extremely fragrant, and has a beautiful shine to it. Unlike Thai rice, which is also very yummy, Korean rice grains are individually small, bulbous and slightly gelatinous. Thai rice is long and thin, usually very good for making fried rice because they do not tend to stick to each other. It is fragrant in a different way…
To make perfect Korean rice, you first have to choose the right kind of grain. It has to be small and round and be absent of any black parts. The rice should also be more recently milled as it begins to lose moisture after awhile. Another way to increase moisture is to soak the rice for about 30 minutes in the summer and 1-2 hours in the winter before you are about to steam it. If you soak it for too long, the grains can become brittle and lose some nutrition. Soaking the rice perfectly can help to make the rice sticky and resilient.
Obviously, don’t just come to BCD for their rice. They have AMAZING Sundubu Jigae (tofu stew) and offer a large variety of banchan (appetizers – always free at Korean restaurants!).
This is what you make after you get out of a stressful day at work and just need a good bowl of heartiness for dinner. This is also good to make when you need to feed a large crowd because large quantities of curry does not diminish its quality. Threw together some chicken, corn, carrots, potatoes, and lots of onions with three blocks of Japanese curry (made enough for about five hungry people) and simmered until the curry was a nice thick consistency. Then scooped out a bowl of steaming hot rice and plopped on a generous portion of curry. Then repeat for lunch because there are always leftovers.
53rd and 6th Halal Cart (aka. “Halal Guys”)
53rd St & 6th Ave
New York, NY 10019
Street food holds a dear place in my heart because it reminds me of home. Food trucks barely count as street food now with the level of complexity and branding they come with. It is the street carts that make one or two things with or without sauce that really remind me of home. 53rd and 6th (or “Halal Guys” as they like to refer to themselves) is one of the best chicken/lamb and rice places in the city. Continue reading 53rd and 6th Halal Cart: Chicken and Rice
366 W 52nd St
(between 8th Ave & 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
This delicious little $4.50 bowl is something I know I will crave often. Totto’s classic torched char siu (BBQ pork) with thin slivers of scallions topped over a bed of semi-sticky rice that somehow maintains an aromatic sweet aftertaste… Add a bit of Japanese mayo goodness and you’ve got one of the best appetizers there is.