Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Celery Cashew Nut Salad 凉拌西芹腰豆

This no-fuss three-ingredient, dressing ingredient not included, side-dish salad is easy to prepare (no stir-frying required) and if you are thinking of making more and storing in the fridge, the good news is, it also keeps well (~ two days) in the fridge.

For a non-spicy dressing, omit the chili "sauce" in this dressing. Personally, I prefer sesame oil as one of the components in a dressing for Asian-style salads or side-dishes; while using extra-virgin olive oil or flax oil for Mediterranean-style bean-based salads.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vegetables-Simmered Rice Vermicelli “Stir-Fry" 蔬菜焖米粉

Whenever we visit Singapore, the flight would typically be the wee hours in the morning, flying in from San Francisco. In our most recent April visit, it was an evening flight instead, coincidentally coinciding with late dinner time at my parents'.

Few days before our arrival, I had particularly requested a light dinner, preferably one-dish as I did not want extra work for my parents and their helper. As wished, our dinner was a one-dish rice vermicelli dish cooked with vegetables. Simple, light, and comforting yet very flavorful (what a perfect after-flight meal!).

I knew the flavor came from simmering the vegetables (and vermicelli) with homemade chicken stock/broth marrying the savory of chicken stock and sweetness of vegetables, then completely absorbed by the rice vermicelli.

It may be a simple dish but I believe every (Asian, or Chinese) family has its own version of "stir-fry" rice vermicelli bee hoon. Not long after I returned to California, I decided to replicate this dish, my way - a way of stir-fry bee hoon that is not greasy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bittermelon, Woodear Mushrooms Steamed Chicken 苦瓜黑木耳蒸鸡

This might look strange or even weird as bitter melon and chicken are usually braised as one-dish and not steamed like what is done here. Steaming is a fuss-free alternative to cook this dish, if you are not turned off by bitter-melon.

Taste-wise, I am not particularly happy with the results. I prefer Braised Chicken with Bittermelon to this steamed version, anytime. However, as a way of positive thinking, this dish has two healthy and nutritious ingredients - bitter melon and woodear mushrooms. They are equivalent to the "super-food" in the Chinese culinary world - each has unique compounds that are beneficial for us, medicinal, health or even beauty.

Woodear mushrooms are rich in plant collagen and contains very high amounts of iron, protein and riboflavin (vitamin B12) that is comparable to that of meat (Source: Ezyhealth).

Other than being an excellent source of Vitamin Bs, Vitamin C and the essential minerals and nutrients, bitter melon contains a unique phyto-constituent - charantin, that has a hypoglycemic effect, keeping blood sugar under control. There is also plant insulin - polypeptide P which have been suggested as insulin replacement in some diabetic patients.