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.
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.
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.
Dad was home this week for a business trip so we were fortunate to have several family meals together. For our Thursday night meal, mom sentenced us to 30 minutes dumpling hard labor upon walking in the door. To be fair, although these dumplings were wrapped by dad and myself, much of the work of making the actual dumpling fillings (in this case, chives, pork, shrimp) was done in advance by mom. Thanks, Mom!
Mom and I couldn’t agree on a name for this dish. The direct Chinese translation (油爆蝦) is Oil Pop Shrimp – which kind of sounds like a pimple gone wrong.
Mom has been making this dish since I can remember and to be honest, I wasn’t always a huge fan of it. Not because it’s not delicious (which it is), but mostly because I’m a lazy eater and to truly enjoy this dish, you gotta work for it.
To the mom who has fed our hearts and bellies for 30+ years – Happy Mother’s Day! We love you more than words can say.
Mom whipped this dish up tonight after both dad and son-in-law bailed at the last minute for dinner. Their loss. I like to think this dish was made out of spite. It was DELICIOUS.