Well, the school term is slowly winding down (thank goodness). After countless essays and a few midterms, I'm down to only one essay to complete and one midterm to write before finals come. With this in mind, I had a little time on my hands tonight to finally get back into the kitchen and make a real meal after having survived on miso soup, steamed tofu and salads for the past few weeks.
I usually have a tub or two of tofu sitting in my fridge as one of my staple ingredients. As I've mentioned in the past, I usually don't venture into cooking Chinese food, but I really wanted to try something new tonight. I found this recipe for a Braised Loquat-Shaped Tofu (枇杷豆腐), which looked really tasty and pretty easy to put together. I made a few changes from the original. Firstly, I substituted the ground meat with ground chicken and some shrimp and processed it in the food processor along with the tofu. Secondly, rather than deep-frying or pan-frying the tofu quenelles, I decided to poach them instead for a healthier option. The dish turned out really well. The tofu quenelles was still light thanks to my poaching method, and the chicken and shrimp added a nice flavour to the tofu quenelles. I also didn't have any dried mushrooms at hand, so I just added some button mushrooms instead. The chicken stock-based sauce, while really simple, was extremely tasty! I really nice, simple, light meal.
I also had some napa cabbage, so I "quick-braised" it and served it in a milk sauce and ham, a dish that my mom sometimes makes a home. Simple, home-cooking Chinese food. Yes, I'll certainly be home for Christmas and my mom's cooking in a few weeks, but until then, I'll just take comfort in my own version of Chinese homestyle cooking.
Braised Napa Cabbage with Ham in Milk Sauce
- 10 to 12 large leaves of napa
- 3 slices fresh ginger, peel removed
- 2 slices ham, sliced or diced
- 1/2 to 1 tsp chicken bouillon, to taste
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 3/4 cup milk
- Thoroughly wash the napa leaves and slice them, about 1/2-inch in width.
- In a wok or a large nonstick frying pan, heat some oil. Add the ginger and stir around for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the napa and cook for about 10 minutes. If your wok or frying pan has a lid, put it on. Add some water to the pan if it seems to be drying up. When the cabbage has wilted down a bit, add the chicken bouillon and stir well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cornstarch and the milk. When the napa is cooked, add the ham and toss. Add the milk mixture and let it come to a simmer and thicken, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.