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Pumpkin Carrot Soup

Now here’s a recipe that sings fall! An amazing taste that can’t be better. Your house will smell like pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Carrot Soup

Pumpkin Carrot Soup

2 medium onions, diced
1/4 cup oil, your choice (I use grape seed oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, grated
1 liter water
4 teaspoons chicken or vegetable soup granules
1 small pumpkin, seeded and cut in quarters
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and allspice
1/4 to 1/2 cup 35% cream
Sauté onions in hot oil on medium heat until slightly translucent. Add garlic and continue to sauté until completely translucent. Add grated carrots, water and soup granules (or soup stock as desired) and cook for 10 to 15  minutes or until carrots are soft.
Meanwhile, place pumpkin pieces into a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes. With a large spoon, scoop out the pumpkin from the skin and add to the cooking soup, along with the seasonings (add more to taste as preferred). Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes more or until pumpkin is cooked.
Pumpkin Carrot Soup cooking

Pumpkin Carrot Soup cooking

Remove from the heat and purée with a stick blender, a food processor or a blender. Stir in cream. Serve hot.
Enjoy!!!!!

 

10 Yunnan Recipes on GoKunming.com! Check them out!

If you try any of these recipes, I would love to have your feedback in my Comment Box:

  1. Copper pot rice April 19, 2013
  2. Yunnan-style Hongshaorou March 19, 2013
  3. Mint and green onions February 27, 2013
  4. Yunnan-style red beans and shiitakes January 29, 2013
  5. Yunnan-style tomato salad December 24, 2012
  6. Shredded chicken with chili sauce November 29, 2012
  7. Spicy taro and greens November 11, 2012
  8. Yunnan-style pork and egg custard October 2, 2012
  9. Yunnan-style lotus root and pork September 16, 2012
  10. Yunnan-style edamame beans and garlic September 1, 2012

NEWLY PUBLISHED:  Have a look at my ecookbook, “Roz Weitzman’s World of Chinese Comfort Food” on Amazon.com and Lulu.com

Roz Weitzman’s World of Chinese Comfort Food Is ePublished!

Roz Weitzman’s World of Chinese Comfort Food – Simple Everyday Cooking For Novice and Experiences Chefs Alike” – ePublished at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFA36EC

Author’s Page: amazon.com/author/rozweitzmansworld

“Roz Weitzman’s World of Chinese Comfort Food – Simple Everyday Cooking For Novice and Experiences Chefs Alike” – ePublished at Lulu:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/roz-weitzman/roz-weitzmans-world-of-chinese-comfort-food/ebook/product-20544905.html

– where it will also be made available at the iBookstore and the Barnes and Noble NOOK bookstore™  in the very near future.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

These can be served as an appetizer or a side dish for the main meal.

The stuffing for the stuffed mushrooms is easy to make. Use your imagination and change the recipe with a little more of this, a little less of that, or some completely different ingredient, but the base is always the same…chopped mushroom stems, seasonings, bread crumbs or panko…

Stuffed Mushrooms Stuffing

Stuffed Mushrooms Stuffing

1. Remove the stems of 24-30 medium sized mushrooms and chop finely. Add 3 garlic cloves, salt, fresh black pepper, onion powder, paprika, dried parsley, Italian spice, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or Panko and mix well.

2. Fill the mushroom caps.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms Ready for Stuffing

Stuffed Mushrooms Ready to Bake

Stuffed Mushrooms Ready to Bake

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

4. Then cover each cap with a small slice or mozzarella cheese and broil for 5 minutes.

Stuffed Mushrooms With Cheese Ready to Broil

Stuffed Mushrooms With Cheese Ready to Broil

More About the Local Wet Market

My local wet market is a convenient distance from my apartment, about 2 city blocks. A few times a week, I walk over to see the freshest and newest veggies and fruit of the season. Over the years I’ve learned that one should follow what the locals are eating. In that way I eat fresh and high quality produce. Locals go to the market for their food supplies each day. But early morning isn’t usually the best time to get fresh things. It’s widely known that this produce is left overs from the day before, so later in the day is a good time to shop.

Vegetables at local wet market in China

Skins of pomello are taken off the fruit by making regular cuts into the skin and then removing the fruit all in one go!

Pomello skins at Local Wet Market

When I first began living in China the wet market was a scary place for me. The strange smells, so many completely foreign products and produce, different methods of doing daily business with no prices marked and the almost complete lack of cleanliness were overwhelming to me. Stacks of eggs of all kinds, shapes and sizes like small quail eggs, preserved duck eggs, and large ostrich eggs were daunting. I didn’t like buying eggs that weren’t refrigerated, or meat that was left out in the open, covered with flies, not to mention the animal parts hanging from hooks. Quite strange to me were the meats cut on chopping boards made from slices of tree trunks with a metal ring and two handles attached around the outside. But now it seems perfectly normal to me, maybe better than those plastic cutting boards we are all using these days!

Cleaver and Tree Trunk Cutting Board at Local Wet Market

Squabs or quails are cooked in turning roasting ovens and sold whole. The smells are enticing.

Roasted Squab For Sale at Local Wet Market

Getting used to the units of measurements was a bit difficult at first, but quickly I got to know the measures. Chinese foods are sold by the ‘jin’ which is 500 grams or a little over one pound and vendors will usually quote the price per jin. Smaller measures are ‘ke’ which is a gram, and ‘liang’, a tenth of a jin or 50 grams. And purchasing from the same vendors is to your benefit, building a relationship of trust and friendliness.

You won’t find fresh herbs at the local wet market; the closest thing you will find is cilantro and now in this southern climate I can buy fresh mint. I’ve got a new recipe for mint and green onion that I am looking forward to preparing, so that will likely be my next post. Cilantro is plentiful and a fantastic herb to use in dressings, sauces, soups and is added to all main dishes both for colour and splendid taste. Multiple varieties of garlic, ginger, and green onions also make cooking a real treat.

As time has gone on, I grown to love my trips to the market, even regularly trying new things that I’ve never eaten before. This local cake is sold by vendors on street corners. I’ve wanted to try it but felt I’d be getting too heavy a dose of dirt along with the cake so I never did. But the man sells his cake covered well and therefore the hygiene seemed better. The cake is sprinkled with sesame seeds…I love sesame seeds… and has the taste of a ginger/honey cake. A little on the dry side but nice just the same.

Yunnan Spice Cake Sold at Local Wet Market

Yunnan Spice Cake Sold at Local Wet Market

Now shopping at the local “wet” markets is always extremely rewarding. Not only are the financial rewards great, with the costs being low for locals, but it helps keep plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet. Shopping in the local wet market made me become aware of the economy and resources around me.

I’ve been told that there is a Kunming market that sells Gan Ba Jun or Dried Beef Mushrooms that have already been cleaned and sell for a very healthy sum. One day when I am really in ‘desperate need’ of the scrumptious taste, I’ll figure out where to go to get them, but buying that without being cleaned is not is the cards. I had bought one and half pounds of them for a party a while back and it took three of us 5 hours to clean them. So that’s not the kind of fun activity for me!

As promised, my recipe for Gan Ba Jun Wild Mushrooms:

Gan Ba Jun Mushrooms, Yunnan Style

Gan Ba Jun Mushrooms, Yunnan Style

Serves 4

½ cup oil (for some good reason, the Chinese insist on using a lot of oil for cooking wild mushrooms – I have yet to learn why)

8-10 long green chillies, sliced

1 pound gan ba jun wild mushroom pieces

½ teaspoon salt

Heat the wok, add the oil and heat the oil. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the chillies.

Add the mushrooms and cook over a medium to medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until well cooked. Add the salt.

Dish up on a serving platter and eat with rice.

Yunnan Style Edamame Beans and Garlic

My recipe for Edamame Beans has just been published in http://www.gokunming, a local ezine. Have a look….

http://www.gokunming.com/en/blog/item/2783/recipe_yunnan_style_edamame_beans_and_garlic

Mexican Rice Salad – Fit For a Party

Today I prepared many dishes for my party tomorrow evening, and made one of my favourites, a foolproof version of Mexican Rice Salad, which I got from my dear friend Leslie’s running club. It’s a beautiful blend of rice, corn, red pepper and black beans, with the flavouring coming from green onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. My Chinese guests will love this dish containing their favourite ingredients. Can’t wait for the party, when the dish will have ‘marinated’ with the wonderful flavourings!

2 cup cooked cold Jasmine Rice

1 cup chopped cilantro

3 stalks green onions, chopped or 1 small white onion diced finely

1 ½ cup cooked yellow or white corn

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of three fresh limes

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon ground Mexican chilli pepper

Optional: cheese (grated Mexican taco cheese or grated cheddar)

Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Dian Dou Hua, the Yunnan Version of Custard

Another specialty of Yunnan Province, Dian Dou Hua (豆花), or Dofu Hua (豆腐花) is literally translated as bean curd flower.

Dou Hua is soft, warm tofu served covered with toppings that add crunch and flavour. This popular Chinese snack or addition to a meal is custardy tofu topped with a variety of tangy toppings from mild flavours of green onion, soy sauce, and sesame oil to intensely flavored chilli oil, pickled vegetables, and stir-fried meat mixtures. The toppings are savoury, spicy, tart, and rich.

My first experience with Dian Dou Hua was in a Kunming restaurant called Square Street Restaurant near the International Conference Centre and the old Kunming Airport. This place serves up traditional local Yunnan/Kunming cuisine and they offer the most refreshing bright yellow and light German Beer made at their own microbrewery. The Dian Dou Hua must be ordered in advance (ordered in the morning for a dinner reservation). It comes to the table in a very hot crock-pot that has been cooked in a very hot and larger cooking crock-pot with many other orders of this simple yet delicious delicacy.

At the table, one must wait about 10 minutes for the dofu to do it’s thing – that is, it arrives in liquid form and congeals to a soft, custard-like consistency, just like ‘baby food’ – and smooth as silk. Once it sets up, the Dian Do Hua is ladled out into small bowls and served with a spicy, chilli oil sauce containing small amounts of ground meat, pickled vegetables and chopped chillies. I’m not much for spicy but in this province, the word is ‘spicy’ for most dishes and I am getting used to the attraction of hot and spicy. The combination of the smooth, mushy dofu and the crunchy, spicy topping is enchanting.

Perhaps they do the same thing here in Kunming, but I’ve never see it but in Sichuan Province in Chengdu, Dou Hua vendors carry a pole across their shoulders with two large baskets attached at either side. One of the baskets contains the steaming Dian Dou Hua and the other contains the bowls and fixings.  First, the tofu is spooned out and then some ground Sichuan pepper or prickly ash is added. Then a sprinkle of MSG, a tablespoon of soy sauce, chili oil, chopped preserved vegetables, bits of ground meat, crunchy dried soybeans, and last of all chopped green onion.

Last time I was at the Square Street Restaurant I took home a small container of the special sauce that they use. There is a dofu seller in my local wet market and I know they sell Dian Dou Hua. I wanted the same taste but eaten at home so today I purchased a 12-ounce cup of Dian Dou Hua for one yuan (the equivalent of 16 cents), heated it up slightly in the microwave along with a spoon of sauce and enjoyed a gorgeous mix of texture and taste of Yunnan for lunch.

Manchurian Vegetable Balls

Making friends with someone who cooks these vegetable balls has been a challenge since it’s more of a Northern China dish and I live in Southern China. I had found several recipes  but – wow – the long list of ingredients and 150 steps in the procedure turned me off completely! Finally I watched the lady in my local wet market while she was making them to sell, and I got a good idea of what was involved, having eaten them so very often back in Beijing and Qingdao.

So here you have it, my take on Chinese Vegetable Balls… This recipe is included in my Chinese Cookbook “The Secrets of Chinese Comfort Food – Everyday Chinese Cooking“, soon to be published.

Manchurian Vegetable Balls

Makes 20 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls

1 carrot, grated (makes about 1 cup)

1 zucchini, grated (makes about 1 cup)

½ small cooking onion, grated (makes about ½ cup)

½ cup each of chopped cilantro, chopped fresh mint, and chopped green onion

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons Chinese chicken bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

several dashes of chilli powder (add as much or as little for desired spiciness)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

oil for deep frying

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. More flour may be required if it’s too watery and to make the mixture stick together.

Heat oil for deep-frying on medium high heat in a wok. When oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium.

Lightly wet hands and form mixture into small balls. Add balls in groups of 5 or 6 to the oil and deep by turning balls frequently. Balls are cooked when they are lightly browned outside and firm in texture inside.

Serve with sweet chilli, soy, or plum sauce for dipping.

Eat and enjoy!

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