mongolian beef

Last night, Chinese communities around the world welcomed the Year of the Dragon with festive traditions that were meant to attract good health and prosperity, as well as closer family ties, peace, and harmony in the home.  In honor of the Lunar New Year, I made Mongolian Beef, one of the more popular dishes found in Chinese-American restaurants. It is a simple beef dish typically made with flank steak or tenderloin and stir-fried with scallions in a brown sauce containing many ingredients typically found in Chinese cuisine – oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and Chinese cooking wine, also knows as Shao Xing.  The name, Mongolian Beef, is misleading because none of the ingredients or the method of preparation are drawn from traditional Mongolian cuisine.  Chalk it up to some clever marketing ploy to name this dish in a way that conjures up a “more exotic” type of food. Continue reading

Advertisements

honey walnut shrimp

Honey Walnut Shrimp is one of my favorite dishes.  I’ve always wondered how to make it, but I never bothered to figure it out since the Chinese restaurant down the street makes an absolutely fabulous version.  Per chance, I was watching the program on the Food Channel a few weeks back called Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and the host, Guy Fieri, visited a Chinese restaurant called Pagoda, in North Pole, Alaska (0f all places!).  The chef demonstrated how he made some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the Honey Walnut Shrimp.  (To see the show’s segment, click on the restaurant’s link below.) Seeing how good it looked, I decided to try it for myself.   Continue reading

chinese salt and pepper squid


Most Chinese restaurants often have “salt and pepper” items on the menu.  Pork chops, shrimp, cubes of tofu, chicken wings, or squid are usually battered and deep-fried and served with a mound of chilli peppers and green onions.  I made my version with squid, using both the body and the tentacles (my favorite part!).  I didn’t want a thick batter so I found this recipe which coated the squid with a dry mixture of cornstarch and flour. Since I don’t like super spicy foods, I used the milder jalapeño peppers instead of Serrano or Thai chillies.  I’m not sure how authentically Chinese this dish is, but as the fragrant aroma of the garlic, jalapeños, and green onions filled my kitchen, I knew this dish was going to be good. Continue reading