A Family Dinner

August 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Here are some photos of a dinner I cooked for my family before I left for school. It was a traditional Chinese meal.

Some highlights:

Stir-fried Chinese greens with olive oil and garlic. I forgot the exact name of the vegetable, but you can find it in any Asian grocery. This was very simple to make – just heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a wide pan or wok until it starts sizzling, and toss in diced garlic. After about a minute, add to the pan the chopped and washed greens. You can add the whole bunch of greens – as they cook they really wilt down into a tiny pile. Stir-fry the greens until they cook down, maybe three or four minutes. Add salt to taste right before you remove the greens from the pan. It is delicious and healthy.

This next dish, butterflied shrimp, is a little bit more tricky. You need to use fresh jumbo shrimp with the heads still on in order to achieve the freshest and most flavorful dish. Again, you can find this in most large Asian groceries in the meat and seafood section in the back. Do not peel the shrimp, but use a sharp knife to slice a slit down the back. This lets the flavor in and allows you to remove any of the intestines (little black strips). Marinate the shrimp in a mixture of salt, green onion, and sliced ginger for about half an hour. Then stir-fry in a wok in olive oil, just until both sides turn an opaque pink. This simple preparation really highlights the delicious savoriness of the shrimp.

Lastly, tofu with vegetables. Slice up a large block of extra firm tofu, and fry up the slices in a wok covered with olive oil. Flip the pieces over once, making sure both sides are a crispy golden brown. Add seasonings of your liking – I believe I added salt and soy sauce. Then toss some bok choy and sliced fresh mushrooms into the pan with the tofu. You may need to add a bit of water to the pan in order to maintain moisture in the dish. Cover the wok for about five minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through.

Along with these dishes we had some leftovers from dinner the night before, as well as a pot of white rice. It was a pretty typical dinner for us – lots of green vegetables, some tofu, and seafood.

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Chinese-Style Butterflied Shrimp and Vegetables

December 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

This delicious dish is a fine example of what I have learned to make from my parents. It’s fairly quick, healthy, and delicious as long as you use the freshest ingredients. The flavor is light and delicate, and the shrimp’s succulent taste infuses the crisp greens, highlighted by a touch of garlic and ginger. As with most Chinese dishes, the exact proportion of the ingredients depend on the individual’s preferences.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of fresh, unpeeled, raw shrimp
  • Some type of Chinese green such as napa cabbage or bok coy
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • 1 stalk of green onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

First, butterfly the shrimp by slicing down the middle with a sharp knife. Remove the intestines.

Place all the shrimp in a bowl and mix with a generous sprinkle of salt.

Dice the green onion, garlic, and ginger.

Heat up a large wok on the highest setting, pour in olive oil to coat the surface. Wait until the oil starts to sizzle and throw in the garlic and ginger.

After about a minute, the flavors of the garlic and ginger have been released. Put the shrimp into the pan and gently stir until they turn from translucent to opaque. Just after the shrimp have turned the faintest pink, throw in the vegetables and green onions.

Stir everything together briskly until the vegetables turn tender. Depending on the type of vegetable, this may take 1-5 minutes. Then immediately remove from heat and plate. It’s very important to not overcook the shrimp or they will be rubbery instead of tender.

Making this dish well really depends on the freshness of the ingredients as well as the timing of every step, which relies upon the cook’s intuition. With practice, you will be able to whip up this beautiful, sophisticated stir fry in 30 minutes. I definitely had to have a lot of coaching from my mom and dad, but now they trust me to execute all the steps on my own.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Hope you are enjoying the holidays with your loved ones.

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