This is a meal from 7 years ago that I remembered after going through some videos from that time period. 2007 was the first time I came to Hong Kong on my own, and I spent quite a few evenings at my aunt’s house eating homecooked meals. This one was a four-disher:
The night before starting a new job, I wanted to do my old job one last time. To close this stay-at-home-husband chapter of my life, I made three dishes:
Steamed Pork Cake With Shiitake, Chinese Preserved Vegetable, and Wood Ear
Carrot and Marrow Soup
Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce
This was my first time making the pork cake with a real wok and an actual large plate. We’ve been cleaning out our Granny’s house (you might have noticed the posts with newspaper ads from 1938) and I nabbed her big wok. It takes a lot less time to steam because you can spread the meat out more. The result is juicy, tender, and (slightly over because I used a bit too much soy sauce) flavorful meat.
We had some leftover veggies in the fridge so I made one of JC’s old standbys, carrot and marrow soup. I don’t remember if I mentioned how she made it for the first time. Growing up, I never had this combination (and actually, it’s not something you really see in restaurants), and I thought it was a bit odd when I first saw it. But then, I do enjoy both carrot soup and marrow soup by themselves, so the combo makes sense. Leave it to JC to be creative and break tradition.
Choy sum was also left over so I used the steaming water from the wok to boil it. You can’t really parboil it because it will taste raw (choy sum isn’t a vegetable I would eat without cooking). Anyhow, the oyster sauce was also JC’s creativity. For me, oyster sauce usually goes with Chinese broccoli, and unlike the soup, I’m not sure it’s such a great combo. 😉
Well, that’s it for this chapter, now on to the next. Hopefully I’ll still get chances to cook on weekends. Enjoy!
Nothing fancy, just your regular spaghetti with canned tomatoes and the leftover (frozen) shrimp from the salad last week. My recipe called for browning some garlic in olive oil, then discarding the garlic, probably to infuse the oil with garlic flavor. Maybe I didn’t brown enough, or maybe I used too much liquid subsequently, because I couldn’t really taste garlic in the end product. I also made too much pasta again. A pound is way too much for two people, a half pound might be better for next time.
Clams in Tomato Whiskey Sauce
Chinese Marrow (節瓜) Flavoured with Ham and Dried Scallop
Steamed Pork Cake with Preserved Bok Choy (梅菜)
I had some leftover tomato juice from Monday’s canned tomatoes and figured I’d make a tomato egg-flower soup, but on the way to the supermarket it occurred to me that clams might be good in tomato sauce, so decided to give it a try. I sweated some onions first, then poured in the juice, and added another package of diced tomatoes just to be safe. Thinking about it now, maybe I didn’t need that extra package. Added the clams along with some Irish whiskey just for kicks, and it actually came out pretty good. I ate a lot of the sauce like a soup. The leftovers will make a good pasta sauce for tomorrow.
I was craving some mushy Chinese marrow so I cooked these in a broth flavoured with Chinese ham and dried scallops (Swanson’s chicken broth flavoured with ham, and added my own dried scallops). Again, I drank the sauce like a soup and all was well. This one is super simple, plus I cheated with the Swanson’s, can’t really go wrong.
Lastly for today we had the steamed pork cake. I tried pulverizing the meat a little less today, and it came out alright. I realized that the packing of the meat happens not because I put too little accompaniments in it, but because I’m using a little tiny plate in order to squeeze it into the rice cooker. When I eat this dish in a restaurant, it’s always on a flat, large plate, and the cake itself is pretty flat as well. Obviously when you shrink the size of the container, the contents gets packed. This one will be good tomorrow as a leftover after spending a night in the fridge.
Nothing special today, just used the sauce from last night to top some macaroni. Did shell the clams, though.
Guess it’s a tomato sauce week this week, but thankfully the sauce is all gone now.
Stir-fried Yam Leaf with Garlic
Braised Pork Spareribs with Bittermelon and Black Beans
After getting the 青莧菜 last week thinking it was yam leaf, this week I got the real thing. Compared to 青莧菜, 翻薯葉 (aka 翻薯苗) is a little less tender and is probably better off being cooked in some liquid. After stir-frying for a bit, I tried some and it wasn’t as tender as when I’ve had it in restaurants. After adding a little water, it came out pretty good. I want to say it reminds me of spinach a little bit, but unlike spinach it doesn’t leave that feeling on your teeth.
The spareribs came out really good. I bought two whole ones and cut the meat off and into pieces, and braised the bones and meat after browning them with some garlic. After about an hour, I topped off some liquid (water only this time, no “secret ingredient”) and added sweated bittermelon and onion and let that braise for about 30 minutes. Removed the meat and veggies and seasoned and thickened the sauce, and all was well. Went really good with rice. I’m salivating just writing about it!
A lazy Sunday today and wanted something to snack on while watching TV. Plopped some frozen chicken wings in the rice cooker, set the cake function for 25 minutes (maybe I should call them steam-baked?), season at 5 minutes, flip at 12 and season again, and beep-beep-beep, some plump, juicy wings ready for enjoying. These are the same as the ones I made on the Tuesday of 4-14-14.
Pumpkin Chayote Pork Soup
Stewed Pork Belly with Carrots, Shiitakes, and 梅菜
Previously I had mentioned that the chayotes did not require peeling. I was mistaken. I must have been so excited that the pumpkin didn’t need peeling that I forgot I had already peeled the chayote. Well, I didn’t peel the chayote today and it definitely took away from the soup. So, remember for the future: pumpkin ok as is, chayote must peel.
The other thing is that the squash I bought this time were too large. The chayote was 3 times heavier (didn’t realize that when I bought it) and the pumpkin was almost twice as big. Going by the first soup, the sweet spot seems to be about half a catty for the pumpkin and a third of a catty for the chayote.
Wanted to use lotus roots with the pork belly but couldn’t find any, so tried using 梅菜 instead. I also put in some leftover eggplant. Came out good enough (hard to go wrong with pork belly), though I could have used a smaller carrot. If I’m doing 梅菜 in the future, probably don’t need carrot anyway. It’s either that or carrot and lotus root. Maybe could use a bit less of the Chinese sugar that comes in bars as well. Lastly, no shiitake stems. I kept disappointing myself biting into them thinking they were the stalks of the 梅菜.