Green onion pancakes are a staple in our lives – perfect as a side for any dinner and, if you throw an egg on it, it’s a delicious breakfast as well. This is also a dish that everyone on my mom’s side of the family makes in a different way. Despite the different methods, it’s unanimous that nai nai’s pancakes reign supreme. Below, her recipe and instructions (with help from mom):
For as long as I can remember, we’ve celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival each year with delicious foods, friends, family and most importantly, mooncakes galore! Mooncakes are intricate pastries filled with a red bean or lotus paste and often includes an egg yolk (not my personal preference, but I’m also an ABC, so what do I know).
Tonight, we ‘threw together’ a meal that, like always, left me in awe of my grandmother. Not because the meal was particularly complicated or unusual, but just seeing my nai nai in action is inspiring. She can barely walk a block without sitting down for a rest (she’s 90 – it’s cool), but get her in the kitchen, and she will take a cleaver to a bunch of cukes like nobody’s business. Lucky for us, that means we often get to enjoy her cucumber salad dish – particularly delightful on an indian summer day.
True nai nai cooking style means using the butcher knife for everything, from slicing celery to whacking a beef bone in half. According to grandma, there is no task too small for the most intimidating if all chopping devices.
Happy Summer Solstice! Chinese cold noodles or Liang Mian (涼麵) is a deliciously savory yet refreshing snack or meal that’s perfect for hot summer days. It’s a great dish to take to picnics, barbecues, camping…
When we were little, my mom used to name some of her classic dishes after more westernized foods so that my sister and I would be more receptive to them. Of course, this was before I became the worldly, confident individual I am now*. At the time, as a second-generation kid growing up in America, I’d much preferred a McDonald’s Happy Meal to whatever delicious five-dish Chinese meal my mom was preparing. It took me leaving home (for college) to really appreciate the home cooking I had taken for granted all that time.
Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) is one of those dishes that is almost always universally loved. It’s flavorful but simple, it’s got some meat but isn’t a meat dish and it’s spicy but not uncontrollably so. Recently, I learned mom has a go-to, quick-fire recipe she uses when she has a package of tofu in the fridge and some ground pork in the freezer*, which is about 97% of the time.
A few months back, I published a recipe for Chinese Spaghetti (aka Zha Jiang Mian). This was my 3rd or 4th time making this dish, so naturally, I undeservedly felt like a pro. That is, until my mother dearest momsplained all the ways in which I messed up. So recently, I revisited this dish, using mom’s suggestions and adding a little flair of my own.
As I was perusing the latest issue of Bon Appétit, I happened upon a recipe that mom could get down with: Shrimp Toast. It’s got the taste and texture of the classic dim sum shrimp ball, and the archetypal Americana charm of white bread with the crusts cut off. This was the runaway hit at our Sunday night pot luck dinner so you can bet we’ll be making it again soon.