Monday, June 29, 2015

Napa Cabbage, Bok Choy with Mushrooms, Tofu 大白菜焖蘑菇豆腐

Is this a vegetable stir-fry or a vegetable braise? This dish leans towards quick and simple braising (in this context which means frying it quickly then simmering in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid) of  Napa cabbage with mushrooms and tofu.

Unlike Napa Cabbage, Mushrooms and Tofu Stew which can afford a little more cooking/simmering time, this vegetable dish should not be overcooked due to the presence of other vegetables particularly leafy greens.

If there are leftover vegetables such as Bok Choy, cauliflower in the fridge, they can be added to this dish and it will make quite a substantial dish; a dish that can be good enough to go solo or to pair with rice. With the addition of four varieties of mushrooms - oyster mushrooms, beech mushrooms, crimini mushrooms and enoki mushrooms, a vegetarian dish can be made very wholesome, nutritious, healthy and delicious.

The fancy name, often used in some Chinese restaurants, is Buddha's Delight 罗汉斋; otherwise it is also known as Combination Vegetarian Stir-Fry 什锦炒菜.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Taiwanese cuisine, Fu Lou Restaurant, Tainan 福楼台南

Fu Lou Restaurant (福楼)in Tainan, Taiwan has garnered very good reviews from locals and foreign visitors. The menu is amazingly extensive from sashimi, teppanyaki to local Tainan delights.

One of the top ten recommended dishes: Roasted Sponge Gourd

The entire menu or even the Top Ten dishes cannot be covered (and tried) in a single restaurant visit but the fact is, we can only do once this time. Therefore, the best (easy-way out) is to try some of the popular and recommended dishes.

Clockwise from top-left: Baby Napa Chinese Cabbage with Dried Red Cherry Shrimp 炒娃娃菜, Homemade Shrimp Rolls 虾卷, Roasted Sponge Gourd,Grilled Squid,

All the dishes were spot-on delicious. Homemade Shrimp Roll - the shrimps were not too finely minced, therefore the fillings did not turn out pasty. In fact, the shrimp rolls had that springy bite, and were so juicy and moist, quite different from the shrimp rolls in Chou's and A-Sha though all delicious. Fu Lou's rolls were also generous with the shrimps - the rolls were mainly shrimps with a little minced-up Chinese celery that gave the savory rolls a good fresh balance.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Korean Spicy Cold/ Chilled Tofu 韩式冷豆腐

From the perspective of being nutrient-dense, firm tofu or extra-firm tofu has a higher calcium content than silken tofu. However, the latter offers a silky texture that is velvety and always perfect when cooking dishes such as Mapo Tofu, Soft Tofu with Mushrooms and Chicken, Chinese Hot and Sour Soup, Green Tea Miso Soup.

I used to enjoy silken tofu a lot due to its super-soft-melt-in-your-mouth texture and still do; but with time, I find myself appreciating firm tofu much better. Their firmer texture makes them suitable for stir-fries, stews and braises which are what I often do; and pan-frying or roasting/baking before adding them to stir-fries and quick-stews imparts a better "smoky" flavor.

Previously, I have pan-fried (you can roast/bake as well) firm tofu and made Korean Spicy Tofu. Today, this is a fuss-free take on the same Korean spiced tofu dish, without the pan-frying step.

It is definitely a quicker sweat-proof way to make a very appetizing side-dish especially during the hot summer days.