How to make authentic Sichuan spicy chili oil recipe? Today I’m going to reveal Sichuan Chef’s secret recipes!
1/4 of a cup of red pepper flakes
A pinch of salt
1/2 of a cup of vegetable oil
1 raw cinnamon
1 tablespoon of star anise
1 tablespoon of Sichuan pepper corns
3 bay leaves
In a bowl, add 1/4 of a cup of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Set aside. In a pan, heat up 1/2 of a cup of vegetable oil, add 1 raw cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of star anise, 1 tablespoon of Sichuan pepper corns, 3 bay leaves. Cook until the aroma comes out. Then filter out the oil. Lastly pour the hot oil in the bowl.
We’d like to invite you on a culinary journey beyond kefir and pancakes with caviar. In a spirit of clean eating these traditional dishes from Eastern Europe take a center stage. Some of the dishes might look a bit too adventurous at first. Fear not as they’re nutritious filled and office-friendly lunch options. You can buy some of these ready-made in your around the corner Polish deli or check out NetCost Market location near you. This supermarket chain carries the largest selection of Eastern European foods in New York and offers over 45,000 products–from daily-made soups like borscht, to veil schnitzels, pickled veggies and even pickled fruits.
Without further ado
Vareniki with cherries
What is it: Vareniki is a classic Ukrainian dish. Think light ravioli, made of unfermented dough. In Ukraine vareniki are steamed more often than not.
Why you should try it: Steamed or boiled vareniki are naturally fat & cholesterol free and the wild cherry feeling is incredibly juicy. It makes delicious lunch entree that keeps mid day sweets craving in check. Wild cherries and tart cherries are exceptionally rich in health promoting antioxidants (lutein, zea-xanthin and beta carotene) that play protective role against harmful free radicals.
Serve: With tablespoon of sour cream. Or drizzle with honey and add shaved almonds to transform this lunch entree into hearty dessert.
What is it: No holiday table is considered complete without this dish in many Eastern European countries. Bone broth has been trending this past two years thanks to its promoting healthy gut, radiant skin and nails growth properties. Essentially, holodez is a bone broth meets jelo.
Why you should try it: Holodez is satisfying low calorie entree. Only 140-230 cal per 3 oz serving. It’s served cold and thus is great for hot summer days in New York. It nourishes your body with long list of beauty and well being benefits of the bone broth, including protecting your joints and supplying your body with collagen that adds radiance to your skin.
Serve: Garnish with fresh cilantro and teaspoon of horseradish.
Eastern European Style Sour Cream
What is it: Sour cream popular in Eastern Europe has more of a homemade taste to it. It’s much creamier, almost like a heavy cream and sour cream mix.
Why you should try it: It’s natural, tasty and rich in calcium alternative to mayonnaise. It’s also much lighter in terms of calories–about 25 cal per tablespoon vs about 90 cal per tablespoon of mayonnaise.
Serve: Add fresh dill and pinch of salt.
Hot Smoked Mackerel
What is it: Mackerel smoked at 120°F to 180°F from 4 to up 12 hours. It’s cooked through and has a flaky texture. This item is quite hard to find in regular grocery stores. You’re better off trying artisan and specialty stores. You might want to also try Net Cost Market I mentioned earlier as they offer the widest selection of hot smoked fish I’ve come across in New York so far. Tip: While you’re there check out the market’s bakery department. They have desserts from all over Europe: From French crepes and Greek baklava to Turkish delight and Russian homemade style pirogki (yeast-leavened dough pastries stuffed with fruits and berries in season).
Why you should try it: Hot smoked mackerel is very flavorful, high in protein and low in saturated fat.
Serve: Great on it’s own! You can also serve it with mush or steamed baby potatoes, scrambled eggs and creamy pasta. Or else take you devil eggs to a whole new level of flavor by adding hot smoked mackerel to boiled yolks filling–just make sure you removed fish bones.
Did you know that Chinese eat dumplings on Chinese New Year because they look like gold ingots and therefore it symbolizes wealth and a good fortune? Today we are going to make pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings. And here are the ingredients.
24 dumpling wrappers
2 leaves of Chinese cabbage, minced
8 ounces of minced pork
2 tablespoons of water
1/4 of a thumb of ginger, minced
1 stalk of scallion, minced
1/4 cup of small dried shrimp
4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of shaoxing wine
A pinch of salt
A pinch of Chinese pepper powder
A pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
3 tablespoons of oil
First add 1 tablespoon of oil and mix in the minced cabbage (the oil will seal the juice of cabbage inside, so it will make the dumpling wrapping process a lot easier later).
In a big bowl, mix 8 ounces of minced pork with 2 tablespoons of water together (this is my mom’s secret in making the most delicious and juicy dumplings ever), then add 1/4 of a thumb of minced ginger, 1 stalk of minced scallions, 1/4 cup of small dried shrimp (this is going to add extra dimension of umami flavor), 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of shaoxing wine, a pinch of salt, a pinch of Chinese pepper powder, pinch of sugar. Mix well. Then 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and add 2 tablespoons of oil and mix again. Lastly add the minced cabbage that we mixed in oil and combine.
Dampen the edges of the wrapper with water, scoop 1/2 of a tablespoon of filling on it. First fold in half. Pinch the middle of both sides. Then pleat it like this. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3.
Boil water in a big pot, then add a pinch of salt and a dazzle of oil in the hot water (the salt is going to make the dumpling soup nice and clear later, and the oil will prevent the dumpling from sticking together). Then add the dumplings in and stir slowly with the back of a ladle. Cover with a lid. (There’s a saying in Chinese — 蓋蓋子煮皮，開蓋子煮餡. It means that when you cover the lid, you cook the dumpling wrapper, and later when you take off the lid, you cook the filling inside.) Now once the water is boiled, add 1/4 of a cup of cold water. Repeat this step for 3 more times. Scoop out the dumplings and enjoy!
Did you know that I recently went to Milan for the World Pasta Day? So today we are going to cook a pasta dish that is inspired by my trip and with a Chinese twist. It’s pasta in scallions, ginger, and garlic sauce. Italian dry pasta is also very healthy. It is made with durum wheat which contents 70% complex carbohydrates, more than 10% protein, and fiber and minerals. So if your dry pasta has a rich ivory approaching yellow then it’s definitely made with durum wheat.
8 ounces of Angel Hair dry pasta
6 stalks of scallions, chopped
6 slices of ginger, chopped
6 gloves of garlic
6 tablespoons of oil
6 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce (or 4 tablespoons of regular light soy sauce)
A pinch of salt
A pinch of pepper
A pinch of sugar
Boil water in a pot, add salt just right when it’s boiling (by doing this it won’t increase the cooking time, the water will still be boiling). Cook the Angel Hair pasta for 4 minutes or until al dente.
In a hot pan, add 6 tablespoons of oil, 6 slices of ginger (Since I sliced into tiny pieces, I’m going to add a little more), 6 gloves of garlic, and 6 stalks of chopped scallions. Then wait until the aroma comes out (I added the ginger first because its texture it’s harder than garlic and scallions, and garlic’s texture is also harder than scallions), and wait until the aroma comes out. Then add 6 tablespoons of soy sauce (Use 6 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce or 4 tablespoons of regular light soy sauce), a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of sugar.
Transfer the pasta to the pan and mix well. Serve!
Today let’s learn to cook youtiao! Youtiao (said yo-tee-ow) are also called Chinese doughnuts or fried breadsticks. The ingredients are fairly simple—flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and water—but the process is quite time consuming. It can take up to 9 hours. But regardless, the results are priceless.
There’s an interesting story behind the Cantonese word for fried breadsticks or yauhjagwai. It literally means “oil-fried ghost” and refers to two despicable figures from ancient China. History has it that Mr. and Mrs. Qin were the most hated couple during the time of the Song Dynasty. Also known as Qin Hui and Lady Wang, these two villains conspired with foreign invaders against China’s greatest general, the legendary Yue Fei.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, the New York-based classical Chinese dance company, included a dance in its program entitledSweeping Out the Tyrant, based on the tale of an insane monk sweeping the villainous Mr. Chin out of a temple.
“Following their deaths, the couple’s exploits were exposed, and from then on, Mr. and Mrs. Qin have been etched into the Chinese blacklist,” wrote principal dancer Alison Chen on Shen Yun’s blog. “Chinese people have hated the Qins so much, they’ve even made voodoo statues and voodoo snacks in their dishonor.”
So yes, many people today still hate wicked Mr. and Mrs Qin so much that they want to deep fry them, and dunk them into warm sweetened soymilk!
1 lb of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/3 teaspoon of baking soda
1/3 teaspoon of sugar
A dash of salt
1 cup of water
Put the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour the water into the well. Then add the sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix together, and then knead to form dough. Cover the dough for about 30 minutes.
Knead the dough until the surface becomes smoother (1 to 2 minutes). Cover the dough again, and this time let it ferment for 7 hours.
Put the dough on a floured surface. Then roll it to form a long ½ inch thick rectangle about 4 inches wide by 24 inches long. Then cut the rectangular dough into ½ inch strips. Place the strips together in pairs, with one on top of each other. Use the back of your knife to press a line through the center of each pair of strips.
Add four cups of oil to a deep skillet. Once the oil is hot, lightly press and stretch the strips to the desired length and gently lower them into the hot oil to deep fry until golden brown and puffy.
You can enjoy youtiao with a bowl of hot sweetened soymilk or a savory rice congee.
Comment below to let me know how this recipe worked for you and what other Chinese recipes you would like to learn.
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about the 5000 years of classical Chinese culture, you must watch Shen Yun Performing Arts! The company returns to Lincoln Center in New York City from Jan 9th to 18th, 2015. Enjoy!
As the weather turns colder, instead of craving for fresh fruits and salads, my cravings for hot soups, stews, and teas grow excessively. But did you know this is normal according to Traditional Chinese Medicine? It’s pretty much the way our body tells us what it needs in order to survive in freezing cold weather.
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the universe is a balance of yin and yang energy and that all living beings follow the course of nature. As the seasons change, the proportions of yin and yang in our bodies also change. In winter the body’s yang energy becomes hidden inside the body, and the warm yang energy becomes far removed from the extremities of the body, such as the hands and the feet. Therefore, we should make some changes to our diet throughout the year to maintain a good balance of yin and yang.
According to Dr. Jenny Fan, an acupuncturist and herbalist in Milpitas, California, “Our bodies are instinctively expressing the fundamental principles of winter—rest, reflection, conservation and storage. It is important to nurture and nourish our kidney qi.”
Think about what people used to do back in the ancient time. They followed the cycles of nature. In winter, days are short and nights are long, so people rest more and conserve energy for the upcoming spring. They also ate seasonal foods. During the winter, fruit and leafy vegetables wouldn’t grow, so people ate whatever was available. People in ancient China emphasized eating warming foods. For example:
1. Lamb: nourishes and warms your body, because it promotes blood circulation and removes dampness and coldness. During winter it can also help boost your immune system.
2. Yam: is considered good for treating a yin deficiency, kidney problems, fatigue, and a dry cough. It’s also an excellent source of mucus protein (thought to have a role in reducing blood sugar), B-complex group vitamins, and vitamin C. It contains minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
3. Ginger: helps expel coldness and dampness inside the body and improves blood circulation. It can help relieve a variety of illness symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and the symptoms of a cold or the flu. According to the American Cancer Society, some patients undergoing chemotherapy have found ginger helpful for reducing nausea. Some proponents have said ginger can keep tumors from developing, but scientific evidence has not supported this claim.
4. Garlic: has been used as both a food and a medicine in China for thousands of years. It can help the body remove toxins, including bad or waste blood. It can kill bad elements in your body, like bacteria. It contains several important nutrients and minerals, including vitamins B6 and C, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc.
5. Goji: traditionally this should be cooked before consumption. It can be added to rice congees, or soups, as well as to herbal teas. It helps to lower blood sugar, is good for blood circulation, and helps to promote better eyesight. Chinese women often eat it to promote youth and beauty. It has 6 types of vitamins, 18 amino acids, and 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals.
6. Jujube: also known as Hong Zao can be eaten in a similar fashion to Goji. Some people make jujube vinegar and wine. Jujube is believed to ease stress, and was a traditional antifungal, antibacterial, antiulcer, and anti-inflammatory treatment. It also helps to promote heart health and can aid blood circulation. Chinese women also eat this to promote youth and beauty.
7. Adzuki Bean: also known as Hong Dou, is commonly eaten in sweet foods, either by making it into red bean paste or adding it to dessert soups. It helps with qi and blood circulation. It can help the body detox. It’s high in protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
These are all superfoods in Winter according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, you don’t need to go overboard and start eating a whole lot more. Remember, everything in your diet should still maintain a healthy balance of yin and yang. The recommendation is only to eat proportionally more.
Please comment below and share any other superfoods we should try this winter. I’d love to check out your suggestions. In the meantime stay warm, and happy eating!