Thursday, 3 January 2008

Wok with me

Posted by Bonita

As I've mentioned before, it's not often that I cook a full-out Chinese meal, despite being Chinese, since I tend to find it a bit more complicated than Western dishes. It's not to say that it's technically more difficult (as long as you stick with the more simple dishes); it's just that I find it a bit of a nuisance to make two or three different dishes to complete a meal, which makes no sense when I'm often cooking for one. So, when I offered to make dinner last night, and a Chinese meal at that, my mom was surprised but was eager to see how I would fare in the kitchen on my own. As my family headed off to the ski hills for the day, it was my duty to have dinner on the table when they got home.


With all the heavy food we've been eating lately, I wanted something more along the lighter side that would also be easy to make. I absolutely love tofu, and there is nothing more simple than Steamed Tofu with Soya Sauce drizzled over top. There is one brand that I absolutely love and always buy: Vitasoy San Sui Tofu. For some reason, there is something superior to the taste of Vitasoy San Sui tofu; it's really smooth with a delightful soy flavour to it. The Vitasoy San Sui series comes in three different textures: silken, firm and extra-firm. I often buy silken and firm. The silken tofu is best for steaming because of it's smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture. You can also use the silken tofu for dessert tofu by making a simple syrup with some ginger in it. I steamed the tofu and topped it off with a sauce made from light soy, dark soy, sugar and green onions.


Next I made some Braised Napa Cabbage in Milk Sauce. We usually put in some ham, but since we didn't have any ham around, I thinly diced up a slice of pancetta instead. Yes, it may sound weird to add panceetta to an Chinese dish, but considering pancetta is very similar to a kind of Chinese ham, I thought it would be okay. It did turn out nicely, thank goodness! A little east-meets-west never hurts.


Lastly, I made Fried Prawns in Superior Soy, which was so easy to make. It simply requires you to pan-fry the prawns, and then make the sauce, which consists of soy sauce, sugar and water. So easy, and the sauce was especially delicious! Needless to say, my parents were impressed that I could actually dish out a Chinese meal and are happy to know that I'm not a totally lost cause (lol)!

Fried Prawns in Superior Soy
Serves 2
  • 8-10 prawns, with heads
  • 1 tsp each mashed shallot and mashed garlic
  • 1 tbsp spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp light soy
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. Remove the intestines from the prawns. Cut away the feelers and legs but retaining the shells. wash thoroughly and wipe dry. slit slightly the back and marinate with the salt, cornstarch and some freshly ground black pepper. Fry in oil till about 80 percent cooked, take out and drain away the oil.
  2. Mix the light soy, sugar, water and a bit of freshly ground black pepper together in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoon oil and saute the mashed garlic and mashed shallot until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the prawns, sprinkle with a bit of cooking wine and add the soy mixture. Fry well until the shrimp are cooked all the way through and the sauce becomes thick. Dish up and sprinkle with the spring onion. Serve immediately.

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