Monday

BUDDHA’S DELIGHT

This dish is a perfect study in the balance of flavors and textures. The earthiness of the mushrooms will satisfy your craving for meatier fare.

Serves 4 Prep Time 20 minutes Cooking Time 10 minutes

— 4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced in half

— 6 straw mushrooms

— 4 black wood ear mushrooms

— 4 table spoons oyster sauce

— 2 table spoons Chinese rice wine

— ½ cup chicken stock

— 1/2 medium carrot, sliced into rounds

— 1/2 cup cauliflower florets

— 1/4 cup snow peas

— 3 squares firm tofu (tokwa), cut into triangles and fried

— 8 tokwa nuggets or squid balls, fried

— 8 water chestnuts

— 2 leaves Chinese cabbage

— 4 squares soft cheese

— 1 bunch bok choy

— 1 stalk leek, sliced diagonally

— salt and pepper, to taste

— 3 table spoons chopped cilantro leaves

— 2 table spoons sesame oil

— 2 table spoons corns tarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water

1) Heat oil in a large wok. Add onions and garlic: saute until fragrant.

2) Add mushrooms, oyster sauce, Chinese rice wine, and chicken stock.

3) Add carrots, cauliflower, and snow peas. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

4) Add firm cheese, tokwa nuggets or squid balls, water chestnuts, cabbage, and soft cheese. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Add bok choy and leeks. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cilantro and sesame oil.

5) Add dissolved c o r n s t a r c h: simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer to a platter and serve hot.

Tuesday

GREEN VEGETABLE CURRY WITH COCONUT NOODLES

Here’s a twist on a classic Thai dish. Strips of young coconut meat are added to give this curry a sweet, mellow flavor.

Serves 4 Prep Time 10 minutes Cooking Time 10 to 15 minutes

— 2 table spoons vegetable oil

— 1 red onion, chopped

— 1/2 table spoon minced ginger

— 2 cloves garlic, minced

— 1 table spoon chopped lemongrass bulb

— 4 table spoons green curry paste

— 1 green finger chili, sliced diagonally

— 11/2 cups coconut milk

— 1/2 carrot, sliced into rounds

— 1 cup cauliflower florets

— 1 small eggplant, sliced into rectangular pieces

— 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into triangles

— 6 pieces young corn, sliced lengthwise

— 6 button mushrooms, sliced lengthwise

— 2 cups tender coconut meat, sliced into thin strips

— salt or fish sauce and pepper, to taste

— 2 table spoons c i l a n t r o leaves, chopped, plus extra sprigs for garnish

1) Heat oil in a large wok. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add ginger, garlic, and lemongrass; saute until fragrant. Add green curry paste and green chili; saute for a few seconds, just until the oil in the paste starts to separate.

3) Mix in coconut strips and cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt or fish sauce and pepper. Add c i l a n t r o and mix well. Transfer to a platter and serve hot. Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.

Wednesday

STEAMED CHICKEN, MUSHROOMS, AND ASPARAGUS PARCELS

Open one of these banana leaf bundles and savor its mouthwatering aroma. Filled with chicken, mushrooms, and asparagus, this steamed dish is flavorful and healthy to boot.

Serves 4 Prep Time 15 minutes Cooking Time 15 minutes

— salt and pepper, to taste

— 3 table spoons sesame oil, divided

— 1 table spoon Chinese rice wine

— 1 clove garlic, minced

— 1 table spoon thinly sliced ginger

— 1 teaspoon c o r n s t a r c h

— 8 asparagus spears, trimmed and slice into l’/2-inch pieces

— 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced into strips

— ½ cup oyster mushrooms

— 8 straw mushrooms

— 8 button mushrooms, sliced into thin pieces

— 4 table spoons oyster sauce

— 2 table spoons sliced leeks

— 1 table spoon toasted garlic

1) Mix chicken breast with salt, pepper, 2 table spoons sesame oil, Chinese rice wine, garlic, and ginger. Toss in c o r n s t a r c h. Set aside for wrapping.

2) Prepare 4 (8×10-inch) banana leaves.

Arrange banana leaf bundles in a preheated steamer. Cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

5) Unwrap leaves. Garnish with leeks and toasted garlic.

Thursday

SPICY EGGPLANT WITH MINCED MEAT

The tomato and ground pork sauce in this dish is so delicious and versatile. Try swapping the eggplant with other vegetables such as s i g a r i l y a s y green beans, or asparagus.

Serves 4 Prep Time 7 minutes Cooking Time 10 to 15 minutes

— 2 table spoons vegetable oil

— 1 red onion, chopped

— 1 table spoon minced garlic

— 1 table spoon minced ginger

— 300 grams ground pork

— 1 table spoon fermented red bean curd (t a j u r e), mashed

— 1 cup tomato sauce

— 2 table spoons h o i s i n sauce

— 2 table spoons sugar

— 1 table sspoon black vinegar

— 2 table sspoons sesame oil

— 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five- spice powder

— 1 red bird’s eye chili, chopped

— 4 cups eggplant, cut into 2-inch strips (about 4 medium eggplants)

Saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and ginger; saute until fragrant.

Add bean curd, tomato sauce, and h o i s i n sauce. Mix well and cook for a minute.

3) Add sugar, black vinegar, sesame oil, five-spice powder, and chili. Add eggplant and stock; simmer until sauce is reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and serve hot.

Friday

Upgrade an already tasty vegetable dish with fish fillets, clams, and lobster balls.

Serves 4 Prep Time 30 minutes Cooking Time 20 minutes

— ½ cup all-purpose flour

— ¼ cup water

— salt and pepper, to season

— 150 grams fish fillet, sliced into 3-inch pieces

— oil for deep-frying

— 1 table spoon vegetable oil

— 1 red onion, quartered

— 4 thin slices ginger

— 1 table spoon minced garlic

— 5 shiitake mushrooms

— 8 wood ear mushrooms (t e n g a rig d a g a)

— 8 straw mushrooms

— 10 to 15 medium clams, scrubbed and soaked

— 4 lobster or squid balls, sliced in half

— 2 cups chicken or seafood stock

— 2 table spoons soy sauce

— 1 table spoon Chinese rice wine

— 1 table spoon sugar

— ½ carrot, sliced into l1/2-inch strips

— ¼ cup canned bamboo shoots

— 4 pieces young corn

— 2 table spoons potato starch or c o r n s t a r c h, diluted in 1/4 cup water

— 4 century eggs, sliced in half

— 1 bunch bok choy, leaves separated

— sesame oil for drizzling

1) Mix flour and water in a bowl. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper.

Add onions and saute until translucent. Add ginger and garlic; saute until fragrant. Add mushrooms, clams, and lobster or squid balls; cook for 1 minute.

3) Add stock, soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes or until clams open up. Add carrots, bamboo shoots, and young corn. Add diluted potato starch or c o r n s t a r c h mixture; simmer until sauce thickens slightly.

4) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add fried fish fillets, century eggs, and bok choy. Mix well and drizzle a few drops of sesame oil on top before serving.

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