Chinese-Style Fried Fish with Ginger

This is one of my favorite ways to have fish if it has to be done Chinese-style. My mom fried fish this way and my grandmother was the one who taught me how to do it. This is one of the two things my grandmother taught me how to cook, the other being lotus root soup.

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vinegar pig trotters

vinegar pig trotters

In many ways I’m glad I’m Chinese and grew up with parents who taught us that most animal parts can be eaten. Yes, they also told us some animals shouldn’t really be eaten (like dogs and cats). That being said, in our family we often fought over who would get to eat the fish head, chicken livers and feet and devour the last pig trotter. I developed an appetite for the weird and wild from young.

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pickled green chillies

In Chinese or rather Singaporean cuisine, there are many different types of chilli sauces. For example, the chilli used to accompany chicken rice is not the same chilli used for wonton noodles or yong tau fu, or bak ku teh or…basically the list goes on. Pickled green chillies are commonly served with fried hor fun noodles, fried bee hoon, and wonton noodles. My dad kinda likes them with almost everything though. However, you would not be caught dead eating these chillies with say, chicken rice – it just doesn’t go. That being said, it’s hard to find these pickled chillies here in the US in Asian restaurants. If they are present, they are usually made with jalepenos, since the Asian green chilli (or the kind of chilli used back home) can’t really be found here. The closest chilli would be the Serrano. As such, if you live in the US I would recommend using Serrano chillies over jalapenos as they have a stronger kick. Do not use bird’s eye chillies (i.e., the small red/green chillies).

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simple chinese lotus soup

a bowl of lotus soup

Lotus soup is one of my favorite Chinese soups. Having a Cantonese dad, my mom often had to cook a soup with each meal. Lotus soup was frequently on the menu because we all enjoyed it and it was also very easy to put together. My mom would usually add in some smoked cuttlefish and dried scallops. I liked the scallops, not the cuttlefish. The best lotus soup I’ve ever had was made by my aunt. She adds scallops and dried oysters to her version and I love the smoky, sweet and rich flavor of her soup. However, a simple lotus soup does the trick most of the time and because the hubs is not a fan of anything seafood-y in his food, this version hits the spot. My grandmother actually taught me how to make this version. I’ve put together a more pictorial version of this recipe in hopes that you (the reader) would try this out!

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curried tofu, green bean and corn stir-fry

curried green bean, tofu and corn stir-fry

This month the hubs and I are attempting to clear our pantry and freezer – that is, cook as much as possible from what we have in the pantry and freezer and not buy anything new to add to it (unless absolutely necessary). We have decided to do this twice a year as a way to take stock of what we have and to ensure nothing expires on us and goes to waste. So far this exercise has also forced me to be creative and cook new things, something that I am quite pleased about. This dish used frozen green beans, frozen corn,  a packet of firm tofu I had bought a week before this exercise started and some curry paste (already present in the fridge).

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scallion pancakes

scallion pancake

These extra flaky scallion pancakes were made on our Dumpling and Scallion Pancake night we had with friends a few weeks ago. Usually dumplings and scallion pancakes are made together because the dough used to make the dumpling wrappers is the same as the dough for the scallion pancakes. In our case, we just made the dough for the scallion pancakes. This recipe was super easy and the results were fantastic. The pancakes were all gobbled up and everyone enjoyed them.

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spicy cold celery

spicy cold celery

I usually only buy celery when I need it in a recipe. However, most recipes call for a stick or two and I always end up with a huge bunch leftover. As such, I am always on the lookout for ways to use up celery. Some things I’ve done before include celery sticks with a garlic yogurt dip (yogurt, garlic powder/minced garlic, salt, pepper), including it in soups (such as my 3-2-1 soup) and this spicy cold celery dish. This dish can be found on the menus of Shanghainese restaurants. I’ve never ordered it before though since I refuse to pay money for a simple dish like this.

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homemade bak kwa (chinese bbq pork jerky)

homemade bak kwa

For Chinese New Year this year I decided to try making bak kwa, also known as Chinese BBQ pork jerky. A good friend of mine who lives in Australia had made it before and talked about how easy it was. Bak kwa is one of the more expensive CNY treats and popular bak kwa stalls have long lines during the CNY period. People are known to queue for hours to buy bak kwa. In Singapore, bak kwa vendors also sell beef, fish and bacon bak kwa. Pork, however is still my favorite.

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