Category: Meats

Grilled Blue Crabs

Hello! I’m two weeks into school and cruising along. Speaking of cruising, our driver, Mr. Yu, was cruising along the wet market when he saw insanely cheap and insanely fresh blue crabs. A phone call and a short wait later, 9 of them arrived at our kitchen. My first thought was to steam them, but Mr. Yu had a better idea- Wok grilling.

Last post, I promised a recipe,  but  it’s so simple there’s no need for one.

 

Heat a wok or large pan on medium high heat and place the crabs shell side down. After about 8-10 minutes, add 2-3 tablespoons of rice or cooking wine and wait 2-3 more minutes. Viola! Done! To get the most out of these crabs, serve with some ginger and soy sauce.

 

I honestly can’t believe we steamed any crab other than the hairy ones for so long. These crabs were DIVINE!!!! Steaming does wonders in preserving the moisture of the meat, but tends to dilute the flavor. Grilling, provided you don’t go crazy with the heat or time, preserves the beautiful natural salty-sweetness of the crab. Even better, the crab is literally cooking in its own juices.

There’s only 1 downside. The roe tends to bubble out a bit and burn. Honestly, there’s really no good way of preventing it all together. Just remember to cook the crabs shell side DOWN and reduce the heat a bit once things start bubbling.

I hope you all enjoyed this short little recipe. If you guys try this, please comment  with the results. See you guys next week!

 

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Beer Marinated Roast Squab

Hi! One of my goals for the new year was to cook or test a new recipe at least once a month. This week, I decided to honor that commitment with this recipe: Beer Marinated Squab*.

*People keep telling me to call it squab, but let's be honest, it's a pigeon
*People keep telling me to call it squab, but let’s be honest, it’s a pigeon

I wanted to replicate the perfectly crispy, succulence of a perfect dim sum roast pigeon, but with a beer can chicken flavour. The inspiration for this actually came from some “research”aka Diners Drive-ins and Dives and random Googling. The “research paid off because this was honestly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made. Onto the cooking!

Before getting to the recipe, there’s a few important things to consider. First, to get a crispy skin, you must thoroughly  dry the skin. I put mine into the refrigerator uncovered overnight, then further dried it out with paper towels before baking. If time is limited, running a blowdryer (on the cold setting) over it for an hour or two should do the trick. Whatever the method, the skin should be almost translucent and pretty pruny

 (obviously not my pic, but you get the idea)

Second, pigeon is one of the only birds that can be eaten without being fully cooked. While the stigma around undercooked poultry causes some to “prefer” pigeon well done, I found that a mid rare- medium roast was both more juicy and tender. Of course a well done pigeon can also be juicy and tender, but that’s a lot harder for people like me who aren’t professionals.

Finally, don’t worry about what beer to use. Literally any kind will work. A darker beer will produce a more intense and deeper beer flavour while a lighter beer will allow the spices to shine through more. I used a particularly light (and cheap) brand of Tsingdao beer.

Well, enough said, time for the recipe


Beer Marinated Squab

Ingredients

  •  1 medium- large squab (1-1.5lbs)
  • unground spices, to taste
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 1 can of beer, chilled
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Place spices in water and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fragrant. Cool completely, then add beer.
  2. Marinate pigeon for 12-16 hrs, then dry until skin is nearly translucent.
  3. Preheat oven to 180C (356F) and bake for 20-25min. Remove from oven.
  4. Raise temperature to 250C (482F) and bake for 5-10 more min, or until skin is golden and crispy.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

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That’s it for this week! Comment if this recipe worked for you

Braised Ham Hock with Pickled Mustard Greens

Hello!!! I know I talk a lot about school (Ap World , AP Euro, MUN), but to be honest, I have a whole lot of free time. With this free time, I’ve been doing quite a bit of “recipe research”. I’ve come up with a few, except, my kitchen  is not the most experiment friendly. However, last week, I stumbled across this recipe for Choucroute Garnie, braised meats with sauerkraut, and just HAD to try it. Only problem, it’s a rather complicated, very nuanced French dish with special requirements for ingredients. What did I do, I “China-ized” it. Behold: Braised Ham Hock with Pickled Mustard Greens.

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Basically, its a slow cooked, spiced hunk of fat, meat and tendon on a bed of pickled vegetables and onion.

The Meats

The original recipe called for pork shoulder, pork loin, some smoked meats and a variety of high quality specialty sausage and kraut. Pork shoulder is nice, but I wanted  something funkier. Enter ham hocks.

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Ham hocks are perfectly fatty and meaty with plenty of tendon and skin to hold everything together. I could have used knuckle, but the butcher only had 2-3 pound ones.. too big.

To accompany the hocks, I chose pork belly. It seems redundant to use the fatty hock, then add fattier belly, but I needed the oil to cook the onion.

For more salty, smoky flavour, I used salted pork leg meat. Tip: use sparingly, this stuff is STRONG

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Honestly, some Chinese smoked pork belly or sausage would have been better, but I was already using fresh pork belly. Also, smoked meat and sausages need almost two hours to clean and parboil- No thanks!

Vegetables

Onions are onions, nothing fancy.

In lieu  of sauerkraut, I used pickled mustard greens. Ideally, I would have bought homemade pickles from the market, but apparently mustard greens aren’t in season. I had to settle for packaged

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Pickled mustard greens are pungent, salty and sour, perfect for cutting through the richness of the meat

Other

The recipe calls for braising in alcohol. The base recipe, being French, recommended dry white wine. Using French wine in a Chinese dish? Not happening. The natural alternative would be strong rice wine, unfortunately, we ran out. Luckily, my mom ordered two cases of “yellow wine” (黄酒), so there was plenty for me to use.

Cooking

Before cooking, I salted the hock and let it marinate overnight. This is supposed to help break down the meat and give it flavour. I cannot testify about the tenderizing effect, but salting really does flavour- wise. To further enhance flavour, I stuck garlic cloves into the meat. I picked this tip up from Diners , Drive-ins and Dives. It works like magic. If you just throw the garlic into the pot , not much of the flavour gets into the meat. This solves the problem.

I also advise soaking and rinsing the salted meat and pickled greens. both are SALTY and the flavour needs to be toned down. They won’t be used until later so after de-salinating them, set them aside. Prepwork done. Time to cook

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Render out the pork belly. You want it so that the meat and fat are browned and that there is a good amount of oil in the wok/pan/dutch oven. Set aside. Using the fat, sautee the onions until soft, not browned. Put the hock in and sear slightly, then add spices, wine and water. Bring mixture to a boil.

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Once boiling, transfer to a pot/casserole dish. If you are using a dutch oven, ignore this step. The baseline recipe calls for one, but as usual, I didn’t have one. Our stewing pot was too big, so I compromises with a clay pot we used to make Chinese medicines in. Boil for another 10-15min, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 2-2.5 hours. If you’re using smoked meats, take this time to parboil

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Add the salted meat, pickled vegetables and more water if necessary. Continue cooking for another 1-1.5hrs, or until the meats are fall apart tender. Serve and Enjoy!!!

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Note: You can braise in the oven. Put it in the oven at 120C for 2-2.5hr, add the rest of the stuff and go at 150C for another 1.5-2hr.


Braised Ham Hock with Pickled Mustard Greens

Ingredients

  1.  1 450-500g ham hock
  2. 250-300g pork belly, cubed
  3. 150-200g salted pork (I used salted leg meat), cubed
  4. 1 small onion, sliced
  5. 200-250g pickled mustard greens
  6. salt
  7. unground spices, to taste
  8. 2-3 cloves of garlic, halved
  9. 1 cup rice wine
  10. Water or stock, as needed

Directions

  1.  Wash the hock, dry and salt fairly liberally. Let marinate in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Make incisions into the meat and stick the garlic into them
  2. Heat a wok to medium heat, add the pork belly and render until meat (and fat) is browned. Remove and set aside
  3. Add the onions to the wok and cook until softened but not browned. Add the ham hock and sear a bit then add wine, spices and water. Cover and let boil.
  4. Preheat oven to 125C. Once boiling, transfer the mixture in the wok into a Dutch oven or casserole dish. Bake for 2.5hr.
  5. Rinse the pickled greens and chop roughly.
  6. Raise the oven temperature to 150C. Add the pork belly, salted meat and mustard greens to the dish. Bake for another 2 hours or until meat is tender.
  7. Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

Recipe Post: Steamed Pork Trotters

In my previous post about my recent trip to Xiang Tan, I mentioned that the pork trotters were AMAZING. Thus, it is only proper that I share the recipe

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Steamed Pork Trotters

Ingredients

  •  1 -2 pork trotters, preferably the front ones, diced
  • Unground spices (Chinese Cinnamon, Bay leaves, star Anise cloves)
  • Ginger, cut into wide, thin slices
  • salt, to taste
  • soysauce

Directions

  1.  Heat a wok on medium and toss the trotters in with the ginger, salt and spices. Cook until the fat renders and the trotter is almost cooked (Around 10 minutes).
  2. Place into a pressure cooker and steam for approximately 20 min.
  3. Remove from steamer and douse with soy sauce. Serve and enjoy!

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Yep, only three steps and less than 40 minutes, including prep, until deliciousness.

Recipe Post: Marinated Beef

Hi!!!! It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe, so I thought it would be nice to start doing that again. Right?

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As the title says, today’s recipe is for “marinated beef tendon”. Sounds strange? Not really. I’ve already thrown around the term “marinated meat” (卤肉in Chinese)in a few previous posts. It refers to meat that’s boiled with soysauce and spices. If that sounds vague, the recipe should explain pretty well. If the recipe still sounds strange, try it out. I promise it is good.

In this recipe, I’m using beef (actually yak) tendon, because that’s what I had. However, any tough, lean cut of meat will work. It also works with softer things like eggs and tofu. If you are really adventurous, you could try pork knuckle, liver, pig ear, feet and even gizzards. The possibilities are endless (Obviously the cooking times will vary). As a rule for meats though, the longer it is cooked, the more flavorful and tender. Onto the recipe:


Marinated Beef

Ingredients

  •  2-3 8 oz. cuts of lean beef or other meat
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • unground spices, at least 4 types
  • a splash of cooking wine
  • ginger- cut into large, thin slices
  • 1-1.5l water

Directions

  1.  Wash the meat if necessary, then make a few shallow cuts into the meat. This allows the flavor to enter
  2. Fill a pot 60-70% full and put the meat in. Parboil for 5-10 minutes. Once boiling, remove any foam that comes up, especially if it is grey.
  3. Discard the dirty water and refill the pot. Add the spices, soy sauce, cooking wine and ginger. Cover and allow to boil
  4. Once boiling, turn the heat down and allow to slowly cook for at least 1.5hrs. Ideally, cook for 3-5hrs.
  5. Remove from heat, slice and Enjoy!!!!

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Well, I hope you have a good weekend. See you next week!

Braised Lamb

Hi!!! Long time no see. Last week, I was in Beijing for the 23rd annual BEIMUN conference. The conference was AMAZING. We got to stay in the Crowne Plaza, pretty much all my friends in MUN went and I got best speaker in my comittee. Unfortunately, our plush surroundings and limited time prevented us from doing much exploring. However, on the second day, we managed to go to a nightmarket  or 小吃街, which literally translates to Little eats street. I was excited!!!

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There was tons of iconic Beijing snacks such as 糖葫芦, candied hawthorne and smelly tofu, but those treats can be gotten anywhere. I beelined for the fried insects.

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I knew there would be scorpion, but that was just the begining. They had cicada larve, starfish and even seahorses (is that even legal???!!!!). I wanted to try everything but I only had 20rmb on me so I settled for the larve. So onto this week’s recipe: braised lamb

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This is one of my new favorite dishes. We use preboiled lamb from my mom’s hometown. Preboiling the lamb cleans it up, renders fat, and drastically shortens cooking time. Basically, we stir fry it with minimal oil, add hot water, seasoning, cooking wine, and let it simmer. When it’s halfway done, we throw in a few welsh onions for flavor and nutrients. It’s SOOOOOO good and healthy.

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Notes: it is very important to use hot water. Hot water makes the meat more tender and shortens the cooking time

Now, without further ado, the recipe


[recipe title =’Braised Lamb’

Ingredients

  •  300-350g mutton
  • oil
  • 1-1.5l hot water
  • soy sauce
  • cooking wine
  • 3-5 welsh onions, chopped into medium-large peices
  • ginger, in thin, wide pieces

Directions:

Boil the mutton until fully cooked, discard the water and chop the meat into cubes or thick slices. Heat a wok on medium high heat, a a little bit of oil (no more than 1-2 tbsp) and stir fry the lam for 30 seconds or so. Add some soy sauce, the ginger and cooking wine and continue stirfrying for another 2 minutes or so. Add  1-1.5 liters of hot water. When the mixture is boiling, turn the heat to low, cover and allow to simmer. After about 10 minutes, add the welsh oinon and continue cooking until there is little liquid left (around 15min). Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!!!!!!

 

Sweet and Savory Braised Lamb Chops

Hi!!! Winter is really in full swing now. Shanghai is down to only a few degrees Celsius and everywhere I walk, people are wrapped in thick, down stuffed coats. What do we do when the weather gets cold? Well in China, we put on our long johns (no kidding), open the air purifiers and cook some lamb. We had lamb in the freezer and my mom found an old recipe, so behold, sweet and savory braised lamb chops. YAY!!!

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Onto the cooking!!!!

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First put the lamb in a mixture of honey, soy sauce and sesame oil, add some minced garlic, and let it marinate for 10-15 minutes. If you like it spicy, you could also add some finely chopped peppers. My brother doesn’t so we skipped that part this time.

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After marinating, heat up a pan on high and sear the chops for 1-1.5min on each side. Turn down the heat, pour in the marinating liquid, some water and continue cooking until boiling. We used a wok, but if you sear the lamb in a frying pan, I highly suggest transfering the meat into a pot or large saucepan before adding the rest of the liquid

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Once it is boiling, reduce heat to a small flame, cover the pot and continue cooking until the liquid becomes a thick sauce. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!!!

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Tips:

  1.  Use good, fresh meat. This is especially important since lamb has a very distinct taste and the quality of the meat is very obvious. Plus,the better the meat, the jucier and more tender the dish will be
  2. Take extra care to preserve as much of the “juice” or blood in the meat as possible.
  3. Be extra careful when searing as the sugars in honey caramelize and burn easily

 

Sweet and Savory Braised Lamb Chops

Ingredients

  • 8-10 medium sized bone in lamb chops
  • Honey
  • Sesame oil
  • Light Soy sauce
  • 1/2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 3-4 small red chilies finely chopped (optional but recommended)
  • 1-1.5 liters water

Directions

Mix together the honey, sesame oil and soy sauce in a 1:1:1 ratio. Add the garlic, chilies and let the lamb chops marinate in this mixture for 10-15 minutes. Heat a pan, or wok to high and sear the meat for 1-1.5 min on each side. Be extra careful as the honey caramelizes and burns quickly. Reduce heat to medium and add in the rest of the marinating liquid and water. (Transfer to a pot or saucepan if necessary). Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and allow the meat to slowly simmer for 35-45 minutes. The liquid should reduce down to a thick sauce. Serve and enjoy!!! 🙂

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Steamed Short Ribs

Hi. I usually reserve posting for weekends, but today is special for 2 reasons. A) I have no homework B) My aunt and 4 year old cousin came to visit Shanghai from Hunan and decided to stop by and eat. YAY!!! There were only 2 guests so we didn’t exactly prepare a feast (less than 10 dishes), but we did make some pretty good dishes. Among them: steamed short ribs. They’re simple, healthy and sooooo delicious. Let’s get cooking!!

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Marinate the ribs in cooking wine and some salt, throw in some ginger and steam in a pressure cooker. Violà- it’s that simple.

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Steamed Short Ribs

Ingredients

  • 5-2lb spare ribs
  • cooking wine
  • salt
  • ginger

Directions

  1. Place the ribs in a bowl and add the cooking wine, ginger and salt. Allow to marinate for 15-30min
  2. Fit a pressure cooker with a steaming rack and steam the ribs for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Remove and Enjoy!!!!

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Red Braised Pork

Hi, I’m back, sorry for taking so long though. Just an update, school started on Monday and I finally finished honor band prep. As a celebration, my parents agreed to teach me a new dish every week- my first lesson was yesterday: My mom’s red braised pork 🙂

Red braised pork is a favorite all over China, especially in the south. It’s one of the most recognizable Chinese dishes around and it’s also a family favorite. Plus, its very simple albeit time consuming. Onto the recipe!!!

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First wash out the blood from the pork and cut it into cubes.

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Then stir-fry the pork, add the soysauces, cooking wine and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes

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Add water, rock sugar, green onions, ginger and wait for the water to boil. When it boils, turn the fire down to low and cover.20150830_174500_resized

Cook for another 2-3 hours on low heat until the water is reduced to a thick sauce. Enjoy!!!!!!

Red Braised Pork

Ingredients

  •  500-600g pork (layered and fatty)
  • Light soy sauce (flavor)
  • Dark soy sauce (color)
  • Cooking wine
  • Ginger (large, thin slices)
  • Rock sugar
  • Green onion
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable oil

Directions

  1. soak the meat until the meat is blood-free
  2. heat oil in a wok until bubbling, place in ginger into hot oil until fragrant, then add meat
  3. stirfry until the meat is 50% cooked and pour out excess oil. Then add the soysauces and cooking wine, continue cooking for another 2-3 min
  4. add enough water so that the pork is covered and add in the remaining ingredients (Sugar, green onions and garlic)
  5. once the water is boiling transfer mixture into a pot or saucepan. Cover and cook on a low fire for an additional 2-3 hours.
  6. Serve and enjoy!!

Note: Be sure to taste as you cook, it’s the only way to succeed. There is no “perfect” measurements.

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