Chili oil

Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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“Congee With Mushrooms, Carrots & Egg (Chinese Rice porridge)
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Excerpt from a previous post of  Congee  on ChefsOpinion :
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” Rice Porridge –
The first thing that comes to mind is probably baby food or hospital gruff.
Most folks would never think of ordering it from a menu in a restaurant, much less wake up and crave it for breakfast, if they hadn’t tasted or at least seen it before.

Now, let’s try again :
Congee. Lúgaw. Chok. Xifan. Juk. Okayu.
OK now, that’s better  🙂

Sounds more interesting and exotic? These are just a few names given to rice porridge around the world. If there is a country or region which traditionally eats rice, then there is some form of rice porridge eaten.
Congee can be enjoyed as breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner. Congee most often contains rice, but other grains can be used.
Ideally, it is made with strong, tasty stock that infuses great taste and debt into the dish. But from there on, let your fantasy run wild. Congee can be made with seafood, meat, vegetables or a combination thereof.
Then there are the toppings – Pickled vegetables, fried shallots, sliced scallions, any mushroom, crisp fried garlic, dried shrimps, 100-year eggs, cilantro, etc, etc.
If you like it, put it on.
Below is a version I made on Sunday for breakfast. The texture is more like a Filipino Lugaw, with the rice VERY soft but still keeping its shape. .
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Congee With Smoked Pigs Tails & Vegetables  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for more  Congee  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here to read all about  Congee
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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Braised Teriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks

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Braised  teriyaki chicken tastes more intense of teriyaki sauce than grilled or sautéed teriyaki chicken, because the braising process allows the sauce to penetrate the meat much better than marinating and then grilling or sauteing would.
However, if you only like your chicken skin crisp, this preparation might not be for you. But if on the other hand you do like the texture of a braised chicken skin (think  coq au vin  as a reference) and if you love the braising liquid/sauce from a well-seasoned braised dish (again, think of the great sauce a coq au vin will provide), this  “Braised Teriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks” will make you happy. The additional sauce from the chicken provides a wonderful coating to the already flavorful rice sticks.
Superb food, achieved with small effort and in little time. Life is Good !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Teriyaki Dishes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for Coq Au Vin  on  ChefsOpinion
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BraisedTeriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks

Braised Teriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks

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Braised Teriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks

Braised Teriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks

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BraisedTeriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks

Braised Teriyaki Chicken With Spicy Rice Sticks

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Best Snack – Ever !?

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Pork Rinds, Pork Skins, Pork Scratchings, Pork Crackling, Chicharrones, Scrunchions, Oreilles de Christ, Chicharrón, chicharrón con Gordo, Gratons, Khaep Mu,  Tóp Mỡ, škvarky,  Grieben, Griaba, Torresmos,  Couratos,  Knabbelspek, Flæskesvæ, etc, etc, etc.
Fried pork skin is eaten in most if not all areas around the world where pork is consumed. (Many other animal skins, ears and intestines are also used to make cracklings, but today I just want to talk about pork skins, most widely known as Chicharrones, but also by the many other names listed at the beginning of this post.
I sometimes buy them ready-made in bags and have found a few very good brands in the supermarkets around here, especially in the Latin-Markets. But nothing comes close to the freshly made homemade stuff, still warm and with a texture, flavor and aroma which you just don’t get from a bag. I happened to have some pork skin in the fridge which I removed from a pork butt I cooked yesterday, anticipating the chicharrones I wanted to prepare today. (I usually cook the butt skin-on).
However, pork skin is widely available from butchers and markets so you should have no problem sourcing it.
The process is very simple :
To fry the skins, use duck fat, pork fat or peanut oil. Simmer the skin in salted water until very tender, drain, let dry for a couple of hours. Cut into strips or cubes and fry at low temperature until very crisp. Remove to absorbent paper and season to your liking. Just plain kosher salt will do, but you can experiment with additional seasoning, such as cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, curry powder, za-atar, old bay seasoning, or my favorite,  five spice powder, which I have used in today’s dish. I also like to sprinkle finely sliced scallions and chili flakes over the cracklings and use a dipping sauce of chili oil and hoi sin sauce.
WARNING !!!!
I recommend to cook the chicharrones outside in the open air; splattering of fat WILL occur !
In any case, no matter if you cook the chicharrones inside or outside, cover the fryer 3/4 with a lid while frying to minimize the fat going all over the place and possibly ignite on the hot stove.

To sum it up – making chicharrones at home is like making love :
– if you know what you are doing, the rewards can be wonderful 🙂
– if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might get burned 😦
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Chicharrones

Chicharrones

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Chicharrones

Chicharrones

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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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For  50 years I have prepared and eaten Filet Mignon with either Sauce Bernaise or a Demi Glace derived sauce, such as Sauce Chasseur, Sauce Bordelaise,  Sauce Chateaubriand, Sauce Perigueux, Sauce Robert, etc, just as any hot-blooded, french-trained chef would do 🙂
Yet yesterday, although I had demi glace at hand ( I usually make a batch of demi glace and freeze it in individual portions ), for this dish I wanted to try something new, especially something to go well with the shiitake mushrooms.
So I mixed together the following ingredients which are a staple on my cupboard :
” Hoi Sin Delight ” –
Hoi sin sauce, soy sauce, garlic paste, chili sauce, lemon juice and – hold on to your hat -ketchup ! From this I got one of the best sauces I ever had with grilled or sauteed meat. I liked it so much that from here on I will use this concoction often, whenever I need a quick and delicious sauce or dip for any protein – seafood, chicken, beef, pork or what-not. Even as a drizzle for fried rice or grilled vegetables, this stuff rocks !
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And "Hoi Sin Delight"

Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And "Hoi Sin Delight"

Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And "Hoi Sin Delight"

Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Fiery Midnight Snack – Chilli-Noodles With Seafood And Egg

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Here  is the thing – if yo are able to use anything fresh in preparing food – not frozen, not canned, not otherwise preserved – that’s usually the best way to go (although not always).
But, as I have mentioned before, we are not always so lucky as to have access to fresh, unprocessed food. Then, it is my honest opinion that as long as you use good quality preserved food, you will be able to prepare great dishes – just don’t skimp on the quality of the ingredients.
Having said that, if you have a well stocked larder and freezer, you are ready to prepare a wide variety of wonderful dishes without being a slave to store opening hours and store offerings.
Last night for dinner I shared  a prosciutto sandwich with Bella at around 9.00 pm. Usually I can withstand any temptation of more food after that time of day, but while setting up to watch a great movie (A simple Plan) , hunger struck me with all its nasty temptations,  (Bella of course is always in that state) :-), so I decided to whip up something fierce and satisfying for the both of us.
My larder revealed (among a lot of other goodies) rice noodles  (Bánh phở), canned octopus, canned anchovies and canned mussels. In the freezer I had some leftover homemade  lobster balls  and a bag of  titi shrimp. Together with fresh chilies, scallion and onions as well as garlic paste, grated ginger, chili paste, chili oil and sesame oil, this made for a very fiery, very satisfying midnight snack which, after the end of the movie,  motivated Bella and I to go on a 1,5 hour early morning walk from 2.30 am to 4,00 am.  Life is good !
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Bon Appetit !   Spice-up your Life !
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Chili-Noodles With Seafood And Egg

Chili-Noodles With Seafood And Egg

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Chili-Noodles With Seafood And Egg

Chili-Noodles With Seafood And Egg

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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How to cook rice noodles:
Place rice noodles in a deep bowl. Bring a good amount of water to boil. Pour the boiling water over the rice noodles until they are completely submerged. Stir the noodles to prevent from sticking. Check often to see if they’re cooked through. This will take 1 – 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the noodles. Once the noodles are tender, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Toss them with a bit of  sesame oil  to keep the noodles from sticking to each other if you’re not going to use them right away. If you use the noodles in a stir-fry, under-cook them or they will become mushy. If used for soup, you can cook the noodles straight in the soup.

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Easy does it # 26 – Char Siu Bao

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Dear  Friend’s,
Although most of my followers are culinary professionals, there is also a large segment of followers who are just starting to enjoy cooking on a slightly higher than basic level. I have therefore decided to publish, under the moniker “Easy Does It“,  from time to time some very basic recipe variations of dishes (and even pre-cooked dishes) which otherwise might seem too complicated to some folks. I will break them down to the easiest, most simple instructions, so that those of you who are intimidated by elaborate recipes will be able to prepare these dishes properly, adjusted to your taste and liking, right from the get-go. After all, just because you are not (yet ?) a professional chef should not prevent you from enjoying great food at home. 🙂
Enjoy !
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If only  Char Siu Bao (Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled buns) would be as easily available as our western buns in any restaurant, supermarket, bar and dive ! I would devour them at least once a day, everyday :-).
In the not so distant past, I have made Char Siu Bao many times from scratch. After all, over the years (decades), I was in charge of a few Chinese restaurants and even cooked in one on a daily basis (in Pakistan), so I am lucky enough to know the basics of some delicious Chinese food preparation.
However, with a great international/Asian food market close by, there is no need to do all the work by myself anymore. In fact, some of the prepared, frozen food items such as Baozi , Shumai or many other baked, steamed and boiled dumplings which are available frozen at  “Foodtown Supermarket” in Davie are better than what I can get in most of the Chinese restaurants around here. And, as a quick dinner after work or a lazy lunch or just a snack in-between, these frozen marvels are unbeatable for convenience, quality and price. So I suggest that if you want to have another great standby for a rainy day, surprise guests or just a quick “different” meal, put some of these into your freezer and be prepared for anything. 🙂
Foodtown Supermarket” has many varieties of steamed buns, filled with all kind of fillings, but I always come back to the Char Siu Bao which are my favorites.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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For more about Foodtown Market click here
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Char Siu Bao

Char Siu Bao

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Char Siu Bao

Char Siu Bao

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Char Siu Bao

Char Siu Bao

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Udon Noodles With Tenderloin Tips And Bell Peppers

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Udon,  the Japanese noodle-love of my life !

Apparently, Alison Spiegel (and many others) caught the same love bug) :

( Excerpt from : | By  )
“Ramen may be everyone’s favorite Japanese noodle soup these days, but just because it’s the trendiest doesn’t mean it’s the best. We’re huge fans of ramen — don’t get us a wrong. We could eat ramen for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks any day of the week, instant or otherwise. But it’s time to get to know other Japanese noodles, like soba and udon. Because they’re made with buckwheat, which is gluten free, soba noodles have gotten their due lately. Udon noodles, however, have been falling by the wayside, and we’re here to tell you why you should give them plenty of attention this winter.

Thick, chewy and ridiculously satisfying, udon noodles are in a league of their own. These long, Japanese wheat noodles are great hot or cold, and with a neutral flavor, they’re an unmatchable foundation for everything from miso soups to curry. In Japan,kake udon is one of the simplest and most common ways to eat these soft yet sturdy noodles. Udon noodles are served in hot dashi, a Japanese broth made with kombu and bonito flakes, and are topped with scallions. They might also come with tempura or fish cakes. Other popular ways to eat udon noodles include yakiudon, in which the noodles are stir-fried, and zaru udon, in which the noodles are served cold with a soy-sauce based dipping sauce. However you eat udon noodles, they will leave you feeling full but not stuffed, comforted but not sluggish, and completely nourished.”

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All about Udon
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Udon Noodles With Tenderloin Tips And Bell Peppers

Udon Noodles With Tenderloin Tips And Bell Peppers


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Udon Noodles With Tenderloin Tips And Bell Peppers

Udon Noodles With Tenderloin Tips And Bell Peppers


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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Grilled Tenderloin With Mushrooms And Cannellini Beans

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Although  I have cut back on my consumption of red meat, I still crave a rare steak once in a while. Tenderloin is not usually my cut of choice (that would be bone-in rib eye), but my Argentinian butcher had a special of grass-fed, cleaned and trimmed beef tenderloin for 26.85 per pound. Who could say no to that ? – not me, since the same quality and cut runs usually a lot higher around here.
This cut and quality needs no fru fru, just some kosher salt, garlic oil and chili oil and that’s it – beef heaven 🙂
The mushrooms with cannellini beans are the perfect side dish, spicy, flavorful and hearty.
What a great dinner, Bella and myself perfectly happy and ready to plan the next meal 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Grilled Tenderloin With Mushrooms And Cannellini Beans

Grilled Tenderloin With Mushrooms And Cannellini Beans

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Grilled Tenderloin With Mushrooms And Cannellini Beans

Grilled Tenderloin With Mushrooms And Cannellini Beans

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Grilled Tenderloin With Mushrooms And Cannellini Beans

Grilled Tenderloin With Mushrooms And Cannellini Beans

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first bite for Bella, as usual :-)

first bite for Bella, as usual 🙂

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

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Yesterday,  on my way home from work , I told myself that under no circumstance will I cook and clean up the kitchen, I was just too tired and a bit under the weather.
So, while driving along university drive and contemplating where to stop for a bite or some take out, evaluating the choices a I checked out the restaurants along the way, I crossed off one after the other, knowing that none of them would be able to satisfy my craving for real, good, tasty food for a decent price. Eventually, as I drove by my favorite Asian Market, I made a quick stop to buy some octopus sashimi. I was not sure at this point what I would prepare with it, but I usually have enough stuff at home to fix a couple of good meals. When I got home, rice noodles, peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic paste, grated ginger, chili oil, sesame oil, red chilies, green peppers and onions were the usual suspects.  Together with the octopus they became a great and perfect dinner.
As usual, more often than not, if I want to eat exactly what I want, I have to prep it myself (and clean up the kitchen afterward 😦  ).
But as always, it was well worth the time and effort and I’ve saved a bunch of good dollars doing it 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

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Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

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Preparation :
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mix soy sauce, water, peanut butter, sriracha, sesame oil, lime juice, chili oil, simmer for one minute, if too thick, add water, if too thin, add peanut butter

mix soy sauce, water, peanut butter, sriracha, sesame oil, lime juice, chili oil, simmer for one minute, if too thick, add water, if too thin, add peanut butter

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season octopus with kosher salt and chili oil, saute in VERY HOT pan with garlic oil for about 3 seconds, remove from pan, set aside

season octopus with kosher salt and chili oil, saute in VERY HOT pan with garlic oil for about 3 seconds, remove from pan, set aside

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saute onion, green peppers and red chilies in garlic oil

saute onion, green peppers and red chilies in garlic oil

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add rice noodles which you had soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained, add a small amount of  soy sauce and water, cook until liquid has evaporated

add rice noodles which were soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, then drained, add a small amount of soy sauce and water, cook until liquid has evaporated

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put noodles to one side of the pan, add some more garlic oil, add whisked eggs, scramble, cook until eggs are dry

put noodles to one side of the pan, add some more garlic oil, add whisked eggs, scramble, cook until eggs are dry

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add peanut sauce, mix well

add peanut sauce, mix well

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stir fry for another minute, check / adjust seasoning

stir fry for another minute, check / adjust seasoning

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plate noodles on serving dish, top with octopus, sprinkle with chives and sesame seeds

plate noodles on serving dish, top with octopus, sprinkle with chives and sesame seeds

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Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

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Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

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Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

Spicy Octopus And Rice Noodles In Peanut Sauce

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Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup 酸辣汤

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Spicy lunch (I made it VERY spicy), washed down with lemon ice tea while
watching “The Great Gatsby”.
Perfect Saturday so far 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

 

Saute shrimp, dried shrimp, squid, garlic paste and grated ginger in peanut oil for one minute. Add chicken stock, salt, chili sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer, add sliced water chestnuts, soaked and cooked wood ears and small amount of cornstarch slurry. Add whisked eggs, stir slowly  in one direction only. As soon as eggs have set into long, thin strands, remove soup from fire. Check/adjust seasoning. Add cubed tofu. To serve, sprinkle with sliced scallions and fried onion julienne.
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Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup  酸辣汤

Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup 酸辣汤


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Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup  酸辣汤

Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup 酸辣汤


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Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup  酸辣汤

Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup 酸辣汤


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Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup  酸辣汤

Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup 酸辣汤


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Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup  酸辣汤

Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup 酸辣汤


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