Monday, September 19, 2016

Luffa (Chinese Okra/ Singua) with Fresh Mushrooms 香菇炒丝瓜丝

These baby shiitake mushrooms are lighter-tasting (less earthy flavors) compared to their larger-size shiitake counterparts. They did not overpower the natural subtle sweet flavor of luffa (also known as Singua or Chinese Okra) when cooked. The other good mushroom alternative that may pair well with luffa, are beech mushrooms, that in my opinion, are also lighter in their earthy flavors when cooked.

On the day I cooked this dish, the other one was asking the reason why I like to cook luffa. Well, I have cooked many other vegetables many times but never asked this question. So I thought: he was complaining about the dish; he did not like luffa. However, I became clear-headed as I sort out my thoughts and reasons.

I do not have a special inclination towards luffa though I must admit I have cooked luffa in several different ways - steamed, in stir-fries, soups, salads. Yes it is a nutritious and healthy ingredient to cook with but so are the other vegetables and squash. I use luffa more often in summer because these are the few months that luffa is at their prime, or more accurately - very fresh and tender. Other times, luffa tend to be fibrous, so I don't even buy them. Luffa is not easily found in the grocery stores.

This Asian squash is usually only available in the Chinese grocery stores/supermarkets and in the context of this round-type of luffa, only available in the summer's farmer market. That is why I make use of their limited availability, and cook it as often as I can.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Tomato Fried Eggs with Garlic Kale Pasta

Tomato Fried Eggs 番茄炒蛋 may sound ordinary but this simple classic Chinese home-style dish is nutritious and delicious. Very often, tomato fried eggs is prepared as a side-dish typically paired with steamed rice or rice congee/porridge.

How about turning them into a one-dish pasta meal today, with additional sauteed garlic kale and sweet peppers.

Homey delicious, and homey good.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Garlic Bittermelon Stir-Fry 蒜炒苦瓜

If dicing small makes it easier (and quicker) to cook, slicing thin also achieves the same.

A lot of bittermelon dishes uses rich or heavy seasoning (e.g. fermented soy- or black beans), or flavoring (e.g. salted egg, tomatoes, spices) in order to mask the bittermelon's bitterness. These dishes are delicious and I enjoy them, as the saltiness perfectly balances the bitterness of this vegetable. However, there are also lighter-seasoned bittermelon dish such as bittermelon salad and garlic bittermelon stir-fry.