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Chinese Cooking

Not long ago I got an old Chinese cookbook with some great recipes and since almost everyone seems to like Chinese food; here are some of my favorites. Soups and appetizers first just like in your favorite restaurant. Parentheses after the title of the dish indicates the first time I made it. Traditionally every meal was eaten with rice.

Egg-drop Soup(11/26/99)

1 large egg 1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil 4 cups chicken stock
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold stock I also like to add some chopped leeks or a seeded and chopped tomato

Beat egg well but not till frothy. Blend in the teaspoon of vegetable oil, mix well, set aside. Bring stock to a low simmer and turn the heat down to its lowest point. Stir up the cornstarch mixture and slowly pour it in the stock. Turn off the heat. Pour the egg in slowly and gently so it congeals into large ribbons and flakes. If you want to add the leeks or tomato do so before adding the cornstarch. Makes about four servings.


Wonton Soup(I've never made this but I like it a lot)

1/2 pound ground pork 36 wonton wrappers-1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 cup water- roll into 3 inch squares
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce 4 or 5 cups chicken stock
1/8 teaspoon sugar 2 cups spinach leaves, torn coarsely
1 tablespoon dry sherry  
1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger  
1 teaspoon finely chopped scallions or leeks  
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 4 tablespoons stock or water black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sesame oil salt or soy sauce to taste

Chop up the ground pork to loosen it then put in a bowl with everything on the left side of the ingredients list(with maybe some black pepper and salt or soy sauce). Mix until it looks well blended and kinda weird. Divide it into about 36 portions, wrap in wonton wrappers. The wrapping part is difficult and very time consuming so I just use store bought wontons and dumplings. Bring 5 or 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot; turn the heat to medium high, drop in the wontons, and stir gently. My recipe book says to keep adding cold water and bringing it to a boil again: 1 1/2 cups water twice. The third time the water boils let it go for about 2 minutes. Wontons and dumplings are done when they float to the top.

Before adding the wontons to the soup you may have to put them in cold water to separate them.

Bring the stock to a simmer on medium heat and put the wontons in it. You can see why I use store bought wontons. Add the spinach, and when the stock boils again, turn the heat down a little. Cook a while and add some soy sauce or salt if you want. Makes four to five servings.


Fried Dumplings(10/6/99)

1 recipe hot-water dough(2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup boiling water) 1 cup boiling water mixed with 2 tablespoons oil
1/2 pound ground pork  
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce  
3/4 teaspoon salt  
1/8 teaspoon sugar  
sprinklings of black pepper  
2 quarter-sized slices peeled ginger, minced  
1 small whole scallion or leek, finely chopped  
1 cup finely chopped celery  
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water Dipping sauce: 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil I also add a couple cloves of garlic to the sauce

Follow the directions above to make the filling. Mix up the dough and divide into 28 pieces. Its gonna be really sticky, keep your work surface well covered with flour. Roll out the little dough pieces into 3 1/2 inch rounds. Pleat about half of each circle into a shell or cup shape, fill them with about a teaspoon of filling. I had leftover filling when I made these, I just used it to make spaghetti and meat balls. Pinch the tops closed and place them on a damp cloth spaced so they don't stick to each other.

Now you can cook them: Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat until fairly hot; add 2 tablespoons oil(I use olive oil), swirl around to coat the pan, and heat for about 30 seconds. Turn the heat to medium, add the dumplings, pleats up, crowded together, and tilt the pan a little to oil the sides of the dumplings. Combine the boiling water and oil. Turn heat under skillet up to medium high, pour the oil-water over the dumplings and unstuck any that are cooked to the sides of the pan. Cover the skillet and steam-cook for a couple minutes. Turn heat up a little to boil off the water, let the dumplings fry until they are golden brown on the bottom. Makes 28 small dumplings.

These are a lot of work but are very tasty, I just use Chinese Brand Pork Filled Dumplings.

Egg Fried Rice(I make this very often)

4 large eggs 2 large whole scallions or leeks, coarsely chopped
salt to taste  
6 tablespoons oil I like to add frozen peas or a little bit of ham too
3 1/2 cups cooked rice to give it that restaurant look, pour some soy sauce in just before serving

Beat the eggs well and add the salt, have the other ingredients ready. Heat a wok over high heat untl hot, add 1/2 the oil and heat for30 seconds. Pour in the eggs and as they puff up stir them around(scrambled eggs). Place in a dish and set aside. Add the rest of theoil to the wok and heat, add rice and stir, poke, and flip with a spatula. Get the oil on all the ric- gives the impression of MSG. Add scallions and other ingredients, including eggs. If using leeks, its best to start cooking them before the rice-they tend to be a little stronger then leeks. Don't break up the eggs too much, pour in the soy and enjoy. Makes 4 servings as main dish.

Bean Curd(Tofu) in Oyster Sauce(10/28/99)

1 big brick of tofu 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water and 2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons oil 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 quarter-sized slices peeled ginger, minced 2 whole scallions or leeks, in1 1/2-inch-long shreds
1/2 cup chicken or meat stock  

Cut the tofu like you would to make a Spamburger, soak the pieces in hot water for 10 minutes. Heat a large skillet over high heat until hot; add the oil, swirl, and heat for 30 seconds. Scatter in the ginger and stir it around. Drain tofu and add the pieces to pan in one even layer, pour soy sauce and stock over them. When liquid boils gently turn over the tofu(I always break at least one). Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 4 or 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir it around until sauce thickens. Add the oyster sauce(this stuff smells funny but tastes good, don't keep it in the refrigerator-its got molasses in it) and turn the tofu a few times. Place the pieces on a serving dish and sprinkle on the scallions or leeks. Makes 2 to 4 servings.


Stuffed Bean Curd(11/1/99)

1 big brick tofu cut into quarters 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 pound ground pork 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped scallions or leeks  
2 teaspoons dry sherry  
1/8 teaspoon salt  
dash black pepper 3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons light soy sauce 1 cup chicken or meat stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water 2 small scallions or leeks in 1 1/2 inch shreds

Cut each square of tofu into triangles; then cut a deep slit down the long side and one short side to about 1/4 inch of the other side. These are easy to break too.

Mix the left side ingredients again and stuff the triangles with the resulting goo, make the edges nice and smooth. Combine tablespoon soy sauce and 2 teaspoon cornstarch mixture. Heat large heavy skillet till hot, oil, swirl, 30 seconds. Turn heat to medium low. Fry the triangles briefly on the meat-filled edges(this keeps the filling from falling out). Turn them flat and brown each side for a minute or so. Add the stock and bring to a boil, turn to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, turning once. Place on serving dish and garnish with scallions/leeks. Makes 2 to 4 servings.


Sliced Pork Loin in Tiger Sauce(10/25/99)

1 pound pork loin in one big piece 10 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 quarter-sized slices peeled ginger 1/4 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 small whole scallion or leek 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  1 tablespoon chili-pepper oil
This is so good I usually make a double recipe 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Put pork, ginger, and scallion/leek in a saucepan that fits the meat snugly. Pour in boiling water to 1 inch above meat. When the water boils again turn heat to medium low and simmer coverd and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until no pink juice comes out if you poke it with a knife. Remove to a plate and let cool.

Smash up all that wonderful garlic into a paste, put it in a bowl with all the other seasonings and stir it up so its smooth. When its time to serve, slice the meat crosswise into thin slices and place them in overlapping lines or circles, then pour on that great sauce. I usually put the scallion on the plate with the meat. Makes too few servings if you ask me.

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