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

Mahjong!

 

A Winng Hand

A Winng Hand

Two things that I decieded I would learn in Hong Kong is speaking Cantonese and learning to play mahjong. The Cantonese is not really going very well. But, I have become hooked on mahjong and can play fairly well.

The hand above is basically a “hole-in-one” for mahjong. I will probably never see this hand again in the rest of my life playing mahjong. It is called The Thirteen Orphans hand and one of the higheset scoring hands in the game. It consists of all for winds, a one and a nine of each common suit and one of each honor tile.

About 60% of the hand was drawn from the beginning. Because it was so odd to me, meaning there were no pairs and no strings of common suits, I consulted a book to see what I could do to make sense of the hand. I saw the Thirteen Orphans and decided to try. About six moves later I got the mahjong.

I sent this photo to Steve in the Shenzhen office and asked if he would check with some of the staff that play mahjong to help me score the hand. They said it was a great and of high scoring value, but it did not come out until a week or two later that they actually undrestood that I had won with the hand. A few jaws dropped in amazment. Victor said, ” I have been playing mahjong my whole life and have never seen that hand.”

After that win, all other hands seem mundane.Now, I am spoiled.

A winning hand

A winning hand

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!

 

 

 

Hong Kong-Style Ginger Mango Chicken

This recipe comes from Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge by Grace Young page 124 and is part of the Wok Wednesdays project that can be found on Facebook.

I was looking forward to making this dish. I love the savory and sweet combo. It is visually very pleasing as well. The ingredients are simple to prepare and the easy-to-find ingredients make is a cinch to prepare.

Easy to prepare and ready to wok-n-roll!

Easy to prepare and ready to wok-n-roll!

What stands out in this dish is the meat preparation. Velveting is described as an advanced technique, but the directions in the cookbook are very explicit and easy to follow. This was my second time employing the velveting technique, and it really produces moist, plump chicken pieces.

Ginger Mango Chicken in the process.

Ginger Mango Chicken in the process.

I liked this dish, but not as much as other recipes we have enjoyed from SFTTSE. However, I am a fan of velveting chicken. This dish would be good for people that do not like a lot of spice. It is a mild flavor.

The finished dish.

The finished dish.

 

 

Wok Wednesdays – Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans

This recipe comes from Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge by Grace Young page 233. It is  part of the Wok Wednesdays project which can be found on Facebook and www.wokwednesdays.com

Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans, note the steam!

Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans, note the steam!

We could not get enough of this dish. I thought the beans were a little old, but they cooked up wonderfully. I followed the instructions to cook beans for a minute or so to let the beans brown and blister a bit and then stir-fry for 30 seconds and repeat the process.. Total bean cooking time was about six minutes.  They were tender crisp and nice and hot. Note the steam rising off the beans.

Pat Chun Preserved Veget

Pat Chun Preserved Vegetable

I used preserved vegetables (not Sichuan preserved veggies as the recipe called for), because that is what I had on hand. Next time, I will add some Sichuan peppercorns to give it more spice, but this was nice for those that might not want a spicy dish. My husband tasted these preserved vegetables and started eating right out of the jar with his rice.

I have marked this as one of my top five recipes made so far from SFSE. Could eat it everyday!!

Did you feel the earth move a bit last week?

 

Mahjong Tiles

Mahjong Tiles

Last week in an international mahjong competition held in Toulouse France, the Chinese were given a “French Lesson” according to the South China Morning Post. French players won gold, silver and bronze prizes. Fourth, fifth and sixth place were taken by two Italians and a Dutch player. The closest Chinese player ranked seventh out of 108 players. Thirteen of them were Chinese. This is like an all-Chinese team from Beijing winning the World Series of Baseball.

I guess the Chinese did not see it coming. On Sina Weibo (Chinese version of Twitter), the news went viral. Most were in disbelief. There was even a comment that stated “we cannot let foreign devils beat us!” That comment surprised me. Although I could not beat many at mahjong, I guess I am a “foreign devil!”

Hundreds of years old, Mahjong is a game of tiles and is mostly a gambling game. To me, it reminds me a bit of rummy and dominos. It is addictive and after taking a class, I enjoy a game which can go on for hours.

Steve shared the news of the Chinese defeat at the office and they were in disbelief. Several people in the office are mahjong players, and one is reported to be very good. Excuses were made that the rules must be odd and allowances given. However the most interesting question/observation came when Steve was asked if he read this in “an expat newspaper.”

I’ll take the word of an “expat newspaper” any day while we are living here.

That is a whole other topic for a post.

The Dangers of Running in the Jungle

This fell from a tree this morning and hit me on the head while I was running to the top of The Peak. It knocked me silly and and knocked me down. Not sure what kind of fruit it is, but I heard it disconnect from the branch above and it fell some 30 feet. It cracked open on my hard head.

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On the Road to Burma (Myanmar) Part I – Yangon

Rainy Yangon St.

Rainy Yangon St.

I was relieved as we approached the the International Terminal at Yangon airport. We could see from the taxi that our overloaded luggage cart was still there. After a busy, stimulating, inspiring, beautiful week-long visit to Burma (Myanmar), we hastily had left our baggage out in the open at the airport security desk in Yangon for more than four hours. We had planned to check our bags at the airport and go to dinner at our guide, and now friend’s, flat about 12 miles away. Our flight did not leave until 1:00 a.m. and we arrived from Began at 6:30 p.m. fully loaded down with bags.The Dragaonair ticket counter did not accept checked luggage before two hours from departure. We had done our very best to spread our money around in Burma and we had a lot to lug and show for it, too much to haul across town in a taxi.  At the assurance of two well-meaning English-speaking travelers, we left our baggage cart and headed for a taxi. Airport security had agreed, through our volunteer translators, to watch our bags. Not thinking twice about it, we jumped in a taxi and sped away. Only after we were in the taxi a few silent minutes did it sink in what we had just done. We left our bags without a ticket or a name or anything but a nod and smile. Oh well, worst case scenario would be that it was all gone when we returned. I could live with that.

Found safe and sound in the Yagon International Airport

Found safe and sound in the Yagon International Airport

So ended a fantastic trip to Burma (I will continue to call it Burma at the behest of Aung San Suu Kyi). It is a wonderland for those wanting to see an authentic and emerging country. Tourists are finding their way to Burma, and it will change dramatically and quickly. The Burmese people are anxiously awaiting the changes and hoping for all good things ahead. After the visit of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Burmese are eager to welcome American travelers of which there are very few compared to other nations. Never did we feel unsafe  and the Burmese people are welcoming and genuine. Obviously we felt this safety and friendliness as we did not hesitate to leave our belongings so easily.

We started our time in Yangon. We had a recommendation for a guide that had worked with other Americans traveling from Hong Kong. Mr Han (mr.han1000@gmail.com) is a treasure. He works for a local tour company, but is on the cusp of operating his own operation independently. He is well organized and plans well and he uniquely tailors your visit with your interest and considers safety in food and lodging above all else.

Swedagon Paya, The Strand Hotel, Feel Myanmar Food, the ferry to Dalah, Chaukhtatgyi Buddha, National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters, Aung San Suu Kyi’s home, Inya Lake were some of the many destinations in Yangon.

Shwedagon Pagoda Yangon, Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda Yangon, Myanmar

Inside the Shwedagon Pagoda

Inside the Shwedagon Pagoda

Monks on the way to meal break in Yangon.

Monks on the way to meal break in Yangon.

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Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda Reclining Buddha in Yangon

One of the many roadside stalls for tea or meals in Yangon.

One of the many roadside stalls for tea or meals in Yangon.

Chili, sesame, pickled tea leaves, ginger, peanuts at Feel in Yangon

Chili, sesame, pickled tea leaves, ginger, peanuts at Feel in Yangon

 

 

The crowing event, and one of the most exciting and humbling moments of my life, was when we were present at NLD headquarters when Daw Anug San Suu Kyi, appeared. Being in her presence was palpable. She exudes grace, determination and peace. I was totally unprepared when she stopped and made eye contact with me directly and asked me “Where are you from?” Tongue tied, I managed to say the USA and how much of an inspiration she was to me and the world. She then extended her hand to me and replied, “Welcome to Burma.” With that, she was whisked down the stairs and into a waiting car. Wow……..my brush with greatness, I will never forget it.

Mr. Han managed to capture the moment. At National League for Democracy Headquarters, Yangon

Mr. Han managed to capture the moment. At National League for Democracy Headquarters, Yangon

Visitors II – Good Friends Make Shopping Kind of Special

Our great friend of many, many years, Andrea arrived in Hong Kong for fun, shopping, site seeing and a trip to Burma. She, just like Jim and Marcia, filled a grocery list of items to make our time here more like home. Thank you for that.

 Great time at Sugar located in the Hotel East. Hong Kong

Great time at Sugar located in the Hotel East. Hong Kong

 

We filled the two weeks with: Ten Thousand Buddhas, subway rides, plane rides, shopping, Macau, temples, Cat Street, Hong Kong Mailboxes, shopping, dinner at Feast, gin and tonics,hydro ferries, shopping, martinis, horse and buggy rides, wine, shopping, woks, photographing cats on the street,BLACK flag rain storms, lunch at Himalaya, vegetarian dim sum, Star Ferry, Big Rubber Ducky in the Harbor, shopping, a stroll on the Ave of the Stars, Orwell’s Burmese Days, Sham Shui Po, cyclones, Shanghai St., dinner at Fernando’s,thunder and lightening, Ruins of St. Paul, shopping, Long Wah Tea House, shopping, lunch at Chi Lin Nunnery, Hong Kong Park, parasols, scheming, Aung San Suu Kyi, lunch at the Tea House in HKG Park, a hike to The Peak, shopping, “one of the best meals of my life,” (X2 after Fernando’s), rubber shoes, Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace,lucky money, temples, shopping, palm readings, oh yeah….did I mention shopping! Mom would be proud!

 

On the Walk of Stars in Kowloon.

On the Walk of Stars in Kowloon.