The other night, I slapped a band-aid on my knee, wrapped up my cake and headed out to a very special dinner at Cindy’s house.
Why was it so special?
Because Cindy taught us how to make delicious Chinese food at home!
Ashley and I have been telling Cindy that she needs to teach us how to cook real Chinese food for months now, and last night was finally the night!
Cindy’s about to move to Cambodia (!!) to do medical mission work so this was a great final farewell.
On the menu was a Cantonese beef dish with carrots and radish, a tofu “cold dish” (Cindy says it’s just called “tofu cold dish”?) with sesame oil, green onions and turnip preserves), fluffy jasmine rice and bok choy stir fry with chicken.
Cindy’s number one culinary rule? When in doubt, add soy sauce!
So, first up: the beef!
This is a Cantonese-style dish that Cindy’s mom made all the time when Cindy was growing up. It almost seemed like half pot roast half beef stew to me and was extremely comforting and delicious. The only downside is that you have to cook it for three hours, but that makes the meat literally melt in your mouth!
“Soy Sauce Meat”
1.5 lbs chuck roast
1 T sesame oil
2 very large carrots, sliced thick
1 long white radish (daikon), sliced thick
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 star anise
1 cup soy sauce
5 slices fresh ginger
3 chopped green onions
2 cups water (about)
In a large dutch oven, brown the meat in the oil over medium high heat.
Add one cup of the soy sauce, the sliced ginger and garlic and add just enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for thirty minutes.
After thirty minutes, add the carrots, radish and star anise. Cover with the rest of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) again for three hours.
We also had tofu! This was my favorite and so easy to make….I might actually make more for myself today!
Tofu “Cold Dish”
1 package soft tofu (we used firm, which I liked, but Cindy said it’s best with soft or silken)
1 T sesame oil
2 T soy sauce
2 green onions, chopped
2 tsp sriracha
1 T chopped turnip preserves (available at Asian markets)
sprinkle of sesame seeds
Drain the tofu and chop into cubes. Put in a large bowl and toss with all other ingredients. Serve!
Brief intermission to tell you that we decided that Cindy really should be the Chinese version of Giada and have her own Asian cooking show. Don’t you think?
Okay, maybe I’m just really bummed that she’s leaving me and moving all the way to Cambodia!
Finally, we had bok choy stir fry!
I have to admit, as more of a baker than a “cook”, stir frying has always kinda freaked me out.
I guess because you have to go so fast or else you’ll burn everything! Cindy made it look easy though and Ashley and I decided we could totally do this at home. And, if we burn things we’ll just skype Cindy in and have her help us out. Everyone loves a virtual dinner party!
This was super easy though, so even a stir fry novice could totally do it. You just chop up the bok choy (Cindy buys hers from the Asian market and says to wash it twice to get rid of all the sand!) and drop it in a hot wok with some sesame oil and…soy sauce!
Cindy also added some chicken that she tossed in cornstarch, and then seasoned it with a little sea salt. It was ready in five minutes and tasted great!
Random side-note: I won a Cuisinart rice cooker last year at the Foodbuzz conference and then never received it! I never really missed it until now, after tasting Cindy’s perfectly cooked and fluffy jasmine rice.
Thanks, Cindy, for such a fabulous girl’s night dinner!