Wok Wednesdays – Stir Fried Bok Choy with Pancetta

stir-Fried Bok Choy with Pancetta, is an adaptation of the recipe on page 226 of Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge by Grace Young.  And, check out Wok Wednesdays on Facebook, a group of over 1000 members cooking their way through Grace’s fantastic cookbook.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Pancetta complete!

Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Pancetta complete!

This was my first attempt back at Wok Wednesdays. I’ve missed it!! It has been three months of moving and trying to settle back into life in the US after living in Hong Kong for two years. But I think we are finally arrived!

 

My first observation is how inexpensive food is in the US. Even when shopping in the high end markets and buying organic, it is less expensive than in Hong Kong for safe and organic vegetables.

I knew that this would be a winner as we always love stir-fried greens. Pancetta or American bacon always adds nice flavor. Super easy to prepare and super easy to enjoy.

Since I am living at least part-time in Phoenix, we are enjoying wonderfull fresh veggies. It is the height of the season here. All great greens and winter veggies in the farmer’s markets. Feeling quite spoilied at the moment.

Looking forward to getting going again with Wok Wednesdays.

 

Wok Wednesdays – Stir-Fried Watermelon Rind

Stir-Fried Watermelon with Ginger Pork is an adaptation of the recipe on page 232 of Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge by Grace Young. See page 230 for information on watermelon rind. And, check out Wok Wednesdays on Facebook, a group of over 500 members cooking their way through Grace’s fantastic cookbook.

Peeled and chopped. So little waste.

Peeled and chopped. So little waste.

Waste not, want not. That came to my mind when preparing this recipe. After removing the outer skin of the watermelon with a peeler and cubing the inside flesh, very little remained of the watermelon. In doing research,I found that he watermelon rind is has some nutritional benefits. It contains an amino acid, citrulline, that aids circulation. 

Mainly used as pickles in the US , the rind has the consistancy of a cucumber. In China, it is mainly used in stir-frys , and it offers a nice backdrop for other flavors. I used chile sesame oil on the finishing touch and the little bit of watermelon flesh left on the rind gave a little hint of sweetness.

Sitr-fried watermelon rind Stir-Fried Watermelon Rind 2

Would I make this recipe again, absolutely especially during the summer months when watermelon abounds.

Tip from Grace Young: Look for seeded watermelon rather then seedless, because the rind is a bit bigger. I could not find seeded watermelonn in the market and it was a bit thin by the time I peeled the outer skin, but it worked fine.

Wok Wednesdays – Stir-Fry Fuzzy Melon with Ginger Pork

Stir-Fried Fuzzy Melon with Ginger Pork recipe comes from page 232 Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge by Grace Young. Check out Wok Wednesdays on Facebook, a group of over 500 members cooking their way through Grace’s fantastic cookbook.

Fuzzy melon in the wet market of Hong Kong

Fuzzy melon in the wet market of Hong Kong

As a Weight Watchers leader, a common summertime theme was to get members to try a new vegetable as there are many fresh options for vegetables available. I was always astounded by the limited vegetable palate of most members. Sometimes trying the zucchini was an adventure.

For me, I struggled to find vegetables that I had not tried and incorporated into my cooking repertoire. Asian vegetables opened a whole new world of things to try. Strolling through the enormous Asian markets in Minneapolis with my favorite Asian cook, Ari, was fascinating. I learned so much. What to buy, how to cook, frozen vs. fresh, canned vs. frozen. Little did I know that her help in Minneapolis would improve my cooking in Hong Kong. And, Wok Wednesdays has guided me along the way in finding new ways to prepare and cook the common Asian vegetable.

Fuzzy Melon

Fuzzy Melon

I have seen the fuzzy melon in the wet markets in Hong Kong. It is available year round. The fuzziness is not detected until you touch. It is a little prickly, but not too bad. These melons were tender and a bit on the small side. I selected two, and they were the perfect amount for the recipe.

Chopped melon

I did not peel them. My mistake but when I realized the recipe called for peeling, I tasted the uncooked piece, and the skin was tender and not bitter, so I proceeded. I actually think that visually, the dish, I think, is more appealing with some or all of the skin unpeeled.

In the wok and very pretty!

In the wok and very pretty!

It is amazing how far protein can go in a stir-fry dish. With only two ounces of pork in the dish, it was still very flavorful and filling. I thought the fuzzy melon was very close to zucchini. It had great texture, and the ginger was very nice with the pork and the melon.

The finished dish! Filling and tasty stir-fried fuzzy melon with ginger pork

The finished dish! Filling and tasty stir-fried fuzzy melon with ginger pork

Ok, I met the summertime challenge of trying a new vegetable. Actually, I meet that challenge a lot living in Hong Kong. Fuzzy melon was new for me. It was nice, and I would cook with it again. Maybe in a soup or fresh on salad. What could be next in tasting new and different things? Durian? Not likely at this time, but one never knows.

 

 

Wok Wednesdays – Cashew Chicken

This recipe comes from Stir-Fry to the Sky’s Edge page 123 by Grace Young and is part of the Wok Wednesdays cooking project that can be found on Facebook or on Wok Wednesdayas 

cashew chicken

cashew chicken

 

Cashew Chicken. It is not a dish I would order in a restaurant. It was very easy and good, but not very remarkable compared to other dishes.

I deciced when I joined Wok Wednesdays that as I would always try to make the recipe as written when I can find all the ingredients. I then make notes and suggest changes I would make. for me and my family.  On this dish, I would definately add some heat in the form of thai chilis, serrono or jalepenos. It would be a great dish to serve to those that do not like heat, but enjoy an nice Chinese stir-fry.

Wok Wednesdays – Stir-Fried Garlic Snow Pea Shoots with Crabmeat

This recipe comes from Stir-Fry to The Skys Edge page 156 by Grace Young and is part of the Wok Wednesday Project that can be found on Facebook

The finished dish. Stir-Fried Garlic Snow Pea Shoots with Crabmeat

The finished dish. Stir-Fried Garlic Snow Pea Shoots with Crabmeat

This fairly easy, really decadent dish was a cinch to make and was packed with a very rich flavor. Pea shoots are sweet and tender when young. It was an easy find in the wet markets of Hong Kong. Lump crabmeat was more of a difficult find, but in the more western-style groceries we did find them.

Fresh, tender pea shoots.

Fresh, tender pea shoots.

Crabmeat and egg white.

Crabmeat and egg white.

Crabmeat is mixed with chicken broth and egg whites are whisked to form the sauce.

The stir-fry of pea shoots and garlic

The stir-fry of pea shoots and garlic

The garlic and pea shoots are stir-fried to make the base for the delicious crab sauce.

The first time I had pea shoots was in a pasta dish made by my daughter, Kam. The recipe came from the NYTimes Mark Bittman and and included morel mushrooms. It is a really wonderful dish, and a a perinneal favorite when we are in Oregon in spring and have a weath of delightful morels. Like the crabmeat, the morals are rich and lovely with the sweet and tender pea shoots.

Not a photgenic dish, but it did not last too long.

a picture is worth a 1,000 words

a picture is worth a 1,000 words

Wok Wednesdays: Stir-Fried Mongolian Lamb with Scallions.

Stir-fried Mongolian Lamb with Scallions

Stir-fried Mongolian Lamb with Scallions

This recipe comes from Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge page 90 and is part of the Wok Wednesday’s online cooking project that can be found on Facebook.
Wok Wednesdays just celebrated the 500-member mark. Congratulations!Keep on Wokkin!

Last month, I finished reading “On The Noodle Road from Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta” by Jen Lin-Liu. It was an excellent read, and I so wanted to set out on her path to expereince all the noodle. I also was intrigued with the use of lamb in the northern part of China chronicled in the book. It makes sense that lamb would be used in this region, but you don’t find lamb in a stir-fry here in Hong Kong. So, I was pleased to try this recipe.

This turned out to be such an effortless dish for me. Not always able to find things like lamb or beef in the markets here, I found it within 15 minutes and less then 1 km from my house. I also had all the ingredients for the sauce on hand, and I quickly found spring onions (which also is not always easy).

I used the Cantonese-style wok for this dish because I love how it sears meat, and it did not let me down. The sear was great on the bits of lamb. I marinated the meat about three hours with the garlic and the sauce. And, using my handy-dandy micro shredder made quick work of the spring onions.

I am pleased with just about everything that I make from SFTTSE, but this was truely an outstanding dish. The flavors of the sauce complimented the lamb. It had a bit of spice to it and the sauce was great. I served with just steamed green beans and some rice. I don’t think I want lamb any other way, except for maybe in a gyro!

Simple ingredients for Mongolian lamb prepped and ready to go!

Simple ingredients for Mongolian lamb prepped and ready to go!

Wok Wednesdays- Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms

Some of the ingredients for Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms from Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge page 212

Some of the ingredients for Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms from Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge page 212

I’ve mentioned my friend, Ari, in Minneapolis that makes us sambal bajek and sends it to us so we will never be out of supply. She is a wonderful cook, and we were regularly treated to her Indonesian specialties while we were neighbors. Sometimes these dishes awaited us, hot on the counter, when we arrived home from work or a long trip. Long beans was one of our favorite dishes.

I looked forward to making this dish from Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young. You can find the recipe on page 212. If you have not bought this book and you are interested in the techniques of stir-frying, go get the book!

I see long beans year round in the wet makets of Hong Kong. Long beans grow well in southern China. Not exactly a green bean as we know it in the US. It does grow to about 18 inches which is a little short of the other name we know, yard-long beans. It has a softer texture than a more common green bean.

One other intriguing ingredient in this dish is the Chinese sausages. They are plentiful in the dry markets in Hong Kong. They come in a variety of textures. Some are made from duck liver and have a blue color. Some are very dry and there are also fresh varieties. I chose a dried, smoked but not-too-dry option.

Chinese sausage ready for the wok

Chinese sausage ready for the wok

Wow! Talk about comfort food! The sausage was so flavorful. Just a little sweet but tender and moist. The pork mince is very satisfying. We both just loved this. All the flavor and the crunch. I could not find Sichuan preserved vegetables, just preserved vegetables. So, I added sichuan pepper corns with the pork mince. It added the spicy flavor that we like.

Yummy! This was a great tummy satisfying dish!
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Yummy! This is a tummy satisfying dish!

This is a winner of a recipe, but maybe just once a year in our house. Definately not in the Weight Watchers recipe category.

Wok Wednesdays – Cilantro Chili Noodles with Egg

Another simple and very flavorful recipe from Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge by Grace Young.  Stir-Fried Cilantro Chili Noodles with Egg page 266

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In Hong Kong, one might think that it would be easy to find just about anything for a stir fry, but not the case. Surprisingly, cilantro rarely exists in any quantity in most markets be it local street or upscale western. When I find cilantro, I buy it. I saw a big batch at my neighborhood wet market and snapped it up for this recipe. It turned out to be six US dollars worth! The recipe calls for Anaheim chilies, while these are becoming quite “pedestrian” in the states, they are non-existant here. I decided to try a “capiscam” (that was how it was labled) that was long and a beautiful deep green.

Steve loves to take a quick photo of the stir-fry action in progress

Steve loves to take a quick photo of the stir-fry action in progress

The dish turned out lovely. As a matter of fact, I went out and scoured the markets for more cilantro and made it twice last week. Steve and I both loved it. The easy and simple sauce is absorbed by the noodles and the capiscam I used was perfect heat.

Something I learned about noodles. The first package in the photo below was used on the first try. It was a little sticky, but the flavor was great. The second was made from another variety of rice stick noodles and they were marked “chewy.” They were much much better for this recipe. Not sticky and had some body to them. Also, I measured the noodles after soaking and I think that was correct as the ratio to sauce, egg and cilantro seemed perfect.

Prep and ingredients for Cilantro Chili Noodles

Prep and ingredients for Cilantro Chili Noodles

Wok Wednesdays

I was really happy to see this dish on the list of upcoming recipes. Having been to Macau several times in the last six months, I am in love with the merging of Chinese and Portuguese flavors. I wrote about our first visit to Macau in March of this year if you are interested.

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I really loved this dish. Just like the Burmese chicken, I love the layers of flavor. Usually not a big fan of coconut milk in most recipes, however, I was pleased with and the creaminess that it provided for the sauce. I used smoked paprika instead of sweet and was very happy with the flavoring there. And unlike the the basmati rice from last recipe, I found it easy to obtain Spanish chorizo. I opted for the mild, but I am sorry that I did. I would have liked it a bit spicer, but the cured meat complimented the chicken well.  Surely we will enjoy this dish again.

If you want to try making this dish and many other wonderful stir-fry recipes, check out Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge and join Wok Wednesdays which can be found on Facebook or at http://wokwednesdays.wordpress.com/

 

The ruins of St. Paul World Heritage Site

The ruins of St. Paul Macau

 

 

Wok Wednesdays. – Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice

This recipe comes from Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge by Grace Young page 265. It is  part of the Wok Wednesdays project which can be found on Facebook and www.wokwednesdays.com

Something close and very, very good to Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice

Something close  to Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice

 

Such a simple recipe with such simple ingredients .Or so you would think. Looking forward to making this recipe, and I was so sure I had everything I needed except the Basmati rice. Just a quick trip to the store that turned into a trip to three stores and no Basmati rice to be found in the Mid-levels in Hong Kong! Plan B was to use jasmine long grain rice, but I did not have any leftover as suggested for fried rice. Moving forward, decided to use the jasmine rice freshly cooked.

After the trip to multiple stores for rice, in pouring rain I might add, I set upon my mission to complete the the fried rice. After finding no ketchup in the refrigerator and no chili garlic sauce ( I thought I had those staples) the improvising continued. I would make this dish, or a reasonable incarnation of it or die trying! I used tomato paste diluted with a bit of sugar and worchestershire for the ketchup. Easy enough. I then opted to use some homemade Indonesian Sambal Bajak in place of the garlic chili sauce. I also used veggies on hand which consisted of red pepper, red onion and carrots.

I was so very pleased with the result, although I am sure it is nothing like what the original recipe intended. But we gobbled it up with pleasure. I served it with stir-fried lemon and salmon.

My one-time Minnesota neighbor and great friend, Ari, made me a supply of Sambal Bajak to bring to Hong Kong. She is a native of Indonesia and an excellent cook.  Although I have purchased sambal bajak at market, there is nothing like hers to be found. It is a delight and a staple in our house. A very complex mixture of flavors with an incredible heat! Not for anyone that does not like it “hot”. We use it on eggs, baked sweet potatoes, stir-fried cabbage, chicken with rice in lettuce wraps……… I could go on and on and on. Anyway, THANK YOU Ari for the sambal and THANK YOU  Grace for the inspiration. I will diligently look in local gourmet stores for some Basmati rice and attempt the recipe again with all the prescribed ingredients.

Update: Five stores later, I found the basmati rice!