Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cabbage, Mushrooms, Tofu Stew 香菇豆腐烩白菜

Both braising and stewing are moist-heat, slow-cooking methods that develop flavors over time. Most often, meat such as beef or lamb are braised or stewed as moist-heat over time tenderizes the meat by breaking down the muscle fibers and connective tissues. Then what is the difference between braising and stewing? When referring to meats, braising cooks large cuts of meat vs stewing that uses small uniform meat pieces.

Technically, this homemade Chap Chye should be considered Mixed Vegetable Stew as it consists of relatively-small, uniform vegetable pieces (mainly Napa cabbage), mushrooms and tofu. Though its name means vegetable stew, Chap Chye may not be vegetarian all the time when some Chap Chye may contain dried shrimps as one of the "flavor" ingredients, and often uses oyster sauce as seasoning. Today's Chap Chye version - Mixed Vegetable Stew, however, is vegetarian.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Easy Turmeric-Spiced Vegetables Rice 黄姜菜饭

Pepper up your turmeric-based curries! If you have heard, the alkaloid in black pepper - piperine, significantly enhances turmeric's curcumin bio-availability by as much as 1000% or even more (Source: HealwithFood). The next time you make any turmeric-spiced dish, make sure to give it a few good dashes of black pepper.

This is not the first time I am using vegetable "scraps" in a dish. Left with some broccoli stems and center-hard-cabbage core that have been sitting in the fridge for about two days (after using the broccoli florets and cabbage leaves the other day), it came a good chance to use up these vegetable leftovers. How about throwing in this odd-and-small quantity leftover vegetables (a.k.a scraps) to this turmeric-spiced rice?

This spiced-rice is not meant to be a one-dish meal (of course, if you want it as a quick-fix, you can!) but as a replacement to steamed plain rice to pair with other side-dishes such as Spiced Cauliflower Steaks, Roasted Cauliflower with Basil, and Red Kidney Beans Curry.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Hot (Spicy) Sour Soup 酸辣汤

Mild and harmless-looking, this is not your usual noodle soup. The kick of Thai red chili and Chinese black vinegar can just wake up your senses anytime of the day. So never judge a book by its cover.

Not the Szechuan hot (spicy) and sour soup that you may order off the menu of a Chinese restaurant; however, the spice and sourness is as close as it gets.