Summer Cooking 2010: The Best Cauliflower Dish in the World?

Cauliflower
Cauliflower

Day two of my visit home and I decided to cook up something unexpected!  Big, white, fluffy cauliflower! Woo hoo! First of all, my father looked at the huge serving of cauliflower I had prepared and was anything but ecstatic. …great… Ben’s cooking dull, taste-less, rabbit food… I knew this meal could be a tough pill to swallow, so I had to take out the big guns!

To clarify, my father is a meat-lover. Most dads are. Steak, hamburger, chicken, or pork should fill the air at most meal times.  A major dish at lunch consisting of rabbit food was a little disappointing to say the least. So, I thought… if I could transform the flavor of this vege into something mouth-watering and meaty, what would it taste like?

Let’s Tarantino this recipe so that the food-drama doesn’t go to waste… Continue reading Summer Cooking 2010: The Best Cauliflower Dish in the World?

Pork Rib Chunks with Garlic & Black Bean Sauce

Garlic pork ribs
Ingredients for Garlic pork ribs

I’m finally letting this simple, but amazingly delicious recipe out of the bag! I would eat ribs everyday if I could because they are so freaking delicious. My favorite rib-dish is actually steamed and served more frequently at Zao Cha (早茶) or “morning tea,” which is most common in Southern China.  I have yet to find a more delicious way to cook pork ribs at home, but we will need to take a quick trip to the Asian Market first.

Start by preparing the following ingredients:
MEAT: Obviously, first comes the pork rib chunks. I buy them from a butcher’s market, which sells all cuts of meat in open air. The amount in the serving bowl to the right is about one full rib, which is about 8 inches long. You can get a 12 inch long rib chopped up for 2 people if this option is available. If you are not sure about portions, take a look at this article related to meat portion control.

Chilli powder, Corn starch, and Marinade
Chilli powder, Corn starch, and Marinade

SEASONINGS: We’ll simply take the chopped up pork ribs, rinse them through water, and do a simple 1 minute-marinade. I like 李锦记 (Lee Kum Kee) Brand’s prepared Black Bean and Garlic Sauce” marinade shown in the picture. (buy online) I also mix in some 玉米生粉 (Corn Starch), which is that bag with the ear of corn on it. Any corn starch will do. Notice that I don’t cake this onto the ribs; just put a shallow amount in your palm, with the marinade, and mix by hand a few minutes before cooking. I also put in Chilli powder according to taste. A spicy edge can enhance the flavor.

PLANTS: I’ve chosen to separate the shelved Seasonings from the fresh ones. As in the picture above, just cut a few slices of raw ginger, long segments of scallions, and loosely chopped up garlic. This should only take 1 minute.

1 ~ Warm up a frying pan/wok with corn oil (or whatever is available in the house). Throw in some of the garlic you chopped up with 1 or two slices of ginger. Shortly after you can throw in the scallions.

2 ~ Quickly throw in your marinaded pork ribs. Move them around in the pan to give them equal heat. If you find the frying pan is drying out, just add small amounts of water periodically. You’ll slowly develop a nice coating of sauce this way.

3 ~ Cover and let them cook for a few minutes, mixing them up with the sauce in the pan. Add water if needed. (The meat cooks rather quickly because it is not frozen and its rather thin on the bone. Cooking times may vary according to the thickness of your meat.)

4 ~ I usually pull them off after 4-5 minutes. If you want, choose a thick piece and pull it out. Slice it and check the middle.

Garlic Bean Pork Ribs
Garlic Bean Pork Ribs with Rice

I eat this dish with white rice, as you can see from the picture of the final product. Also, it goes well with stir-fried green beans.  Notice that the vegetables and the rice portions are about 50% of the meal. (Try your best to make a habit of this!)

Enjoy!

Full Meal with Green Beans
Full Meal with Green Beans

Soy Sauce

Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce
Lee Kum Kee Soy Sauce

The “Shu Ji” of my university here in China suggested the best brand for both Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil. Because she is the most powerful person in this highly respected university (Jinan Daxue) I’m willing to
take her advice.

Lee Kum Kee, which is a Cantonese translation of 李锦记, or in Mandarin “Li Jin Ji”. You can find it at your local Asian market or perhaps online. I’ll find a shop somewhere online and link it here later.

By the way, I’ve NEVER seen La Choy brand used in China. It’s probably just an American thing now… I know it wasn’t that yummy at stir fry night when I was growing up… Believe me, the brands of your seasoning matter.

Sesame Oil

Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil

The “Shu Ji” of my university here in China suggested the best brand for both Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce. Because she is the most powerful person in this highly respected university (Jinan Daxue) I’m willing to take her advice.

Lee Kum Kee, which is a Cantonese translation of 李锦记, or in Mandarin “Li Jin Ji”. You can find it at your local asian market or perhaps online. I’ll find a shop somewhere online and link it here later.

By the way, I’ve NEVER seen La Choy brand used in China. It’s probably just an American thing now… I know it wasn’t that yummy at stir fry night when I was growing up… Believe me, the brands of your seasoning matter.

Simple Chinese Cabbage Dish

Example of Fried Cabbage, but I don't use bacon...
Example of Fried Cabbage, but I don’t use bacon…

Ingredients– In order of use: Sesame Oil (Lee Kum Kee), Garlic, Ginger, Head (or half head) of cabbage, Soy Sauce (Lee Kum Kee), Water (if needed)

1~ Warm up a wok or pan with sesame oil.

2~ Throw in a few slices of garlic (don’t waste your time by mincing), also add 1 or 2 slices of skinned ginger. Let them brown slightly.

3~ Throw in chopped up, or ripped apart, pieces of cabbage. Half a head for 1-2 people. Full head for 2+ people. Cover pan while you get Soy Sauce ready.

4~ Pour in soy sauce. Just enough to give each leaf a coating. Cover and cook a few minutes. Shovel around in the pan so that everything gets attention from your ingredients.

5~ When leaves are smaller and stalks are looking browner (from soy sauce), turn off heat. Use spatula to shovel out the cabbage from the sauce into a serving dish. Put it on the table and get the next dish started!

* If the dish is too salty, add some water to smooth out the impact of the soy sauce.