Autumn is here and it is seriously getting colder with each passing day! When it comes to food in autumn, it seems like everyyybody, and I mean EVERYBODY gets gaga for pumpkins. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pies, pumpkin every freaking thing! I have to admit though, never had a pumpkin spiced latte, is it really as good as it is hyped up to be? I'm afraid of getting wildly disappointed lol. One thing I realized over the years was that pumpkins are very popularly eaten as a dessert—when I first started working, our office has an annual Thanksgiving potluck. Of course, me being extra when it comes to food, I decided to put a spin on cooking pumpkin by making things like Thai pumpkin laksa curry with noodles, or this past year, braised pumpkin with chicken and shiitake mushrooms. While my coworkers enjoyed my pumpkin dishes, many had never had pumpkin cooked in a savory way before, which was a surprise to me because I grew up eating pumpkin in savory dishes way more than sweets! I've had pumpkin with rice, in soups, braised with assorted meats and vegetables, and it is just so comforting and warming.
Today, I'm sharing my recipe for a braised Japanese kabocha pumpkin, chicken and shiitake mushroom stew. It's SOO good ladled over a bowl of rice and Wilson loves this dish whenever I make it! Japanese kabocha pumpkin is more dense and sweet than the pumpkins in the US and are available at most Asian supermarkets. If you don't have access to kabocha, you can substitute the recipe with a regular pumpkin, but it's definitely yummier with the Japanese kabocha.
Typically I like to cook this dish was dark meat like chicken thighs, drumettes or wings, depending on my mood. The dark meat is much more succulent in this braised dish and there is something about the way that the sauce holds onto the meat that is just so satisfying, especially when you eat the wings and suck on the bones, haha! (gotta love our wings). For this recipe, I used the chicken drumsticks and wings leftover from carving a whole chicken, using the breast meat for another dish and using the dark meat for this stew.
Sometimes if I want to make this dish with chicken breast, I do a light marinade of salt, white pepper, sesame oil and cornstarch with it and do a quick stir fry to seal in the juices and to keep the meat tender. Then, you cook the pumpkin separately and add in the chicken towards the end to prevent the chicken from overcooking.
Chicken + marinade:
We hope you like this homey and comforting dish during the chilly autumn and winter seasons!
Until next time,
Crispy Cantonese Roast Pork "Siu Yuhk" 燒肉 (directly translated as "roast meat") is an essential part of Chinese Canto bbq cuisine. I grew up visiting Chinatown in New York every weekend with my family. For Chinese school, for groceries. We would walk past bakeries and restaurants, and many of the restaurants would feature Chinese bbq or tanks of live seafood at their storefronts. Seeing a plump soy sauce chicken, crispy roast duck, or fatty roast pork hanging in the window is always the best advertising a restaurant can have. You tell the butcher what you want by the pound, he chops it up and gives it to you with some cups of soy sauce or ginger scallion oil. Call us barbaric, but sometimes we can't even wait to get home and we start eating the meat straight out of the box with our hands!
With the COVID19 quarantine in effect, we found ourselves craving all sorts of food that we normally get at restaurants, especially Cantonese style crispy roast pork.
I found a wonderful recipe on Pinterest from a blog called What to Cook Today and made some adjustments to the marinade to suit our tastes, but the method, time and temperature is the same. Definitely check out their food blog, there's lots of great recipes there! I can't wait to try other flavor profiles for this crispy pork recipe! You can enjoy this crispy pork with a bed of lettuce wraps, with bao buns, with rice, in sandwiches or tortillas, the list goes on!
The key to getting that crackly crispy AF skin is to make sure to pat the skin super dryyyyy before you oven it. You can honestly marinate the meat part with whatever flavor you want. We went with sweet hoisin and peppery flavors. The rest is in a salt crust that further draws out moisture to help achieve the crispy skin.
Don't worry about the salt crust making your pork too salty—once it is done baking, the loose salt forms a hard crust that comes off easily and you just have to brush off any excess before returning it to the oven to finish the roasting process.
Then it's a low broil for about 20 minutes and the pork skin begins to crackle, snap and pop!
Out comes a beautifully crackled crispy roast pork. It makes my mouth water just looking at the photos of it again. So. freaking. good. I know, I know, you've been scrolling for a while, recipe is down below!
Just look at that deliciousness. Don't you wish you could pull it right off the screen to sink your teeth into?! Be sure not to cover the meat because the steam and heat will make the skin soft and no longer crispy, which will result in sadness.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! We had this with lettuce, an assortment of sauces like sweet thai chili, peanut sauce and hoisin sauce to dip, and a side of pickled cucumbers for a nice refreshing crunch. Until next time!
Growing up, my grandmother spent a lot of time making all sorts of steamed cakes and dumplings for us to enjoy. It was all made from scratch with fresh ingredients and plenty of love. Coming home from school we'd find turnip cakes or radish cakes, steamed dumplings or potstickers filled with chives, shrimp and pork, and just all kinds of handmade creations.
One of my absolute favorite things she made was a savory, chewy, sticky steamed mochi cake that I am going to share with you today. Honestly I loved all the things she made but this one is special to me because she developed this specifically to my tastes 😊
This mochi steamed cake, which we affectionately call "sticky cake" in our house (or nak nak ti in Taishanese), is filled with a variety of umami ingredients and textures like Chinese sausage, Chinese cured pork belly, cubed ham, dried baby scallops, scallions, pickled radish, mini dried shrimp and rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. The mochi cake is nice and chewy, and the flavors and textures of each ingredient compliment each other nicely as land and sea collide together in an explosion of umami goodness! *angels sing* It is best enjoyed warm from the steamer, and you can eat it as is or enjoy with hoisin sauce and sriracha.
Whenever I call her on the phone or visit my grandmother, she'll ask, "Sooo...want me to make nak nak ti?" And the usual answer, yes!
There's some prep involved with chopping all the ingredients into small pieces, and then cooking it on the stove top for the oils to come out and mix all together. The flour mixture is then made and is applied in layers into a steam cake pan alternating between the flour mixture and the meat. After steaming and giving it some time to set, it's ready to eat!
1. Prepare all your meat and veggies by chopping them all up in to small pieces. I find the smaller the pieces, the less noticeable they are in texture and flavor, whereas slightly larger pieces give you a more discernable flavor of each.
2. Stir fry the baby scallops, all the meat and mushrooms. Once the oil starts rendering out and it smells fragrant, remove and set to the side.
3. Pour both 16 oz bags into a mixing bowl. Add water a little by little and mix until the batter resembles a thick muffin or cookie batter. If it is flowing like pancake batter, you've added too much water, so be careful how much to add. Once well mixed, oil a round cake steam pan, about 12-14 inches. Doing so will help the cake come out of the pan more cleanly. You can also put down cling wrap or parchment paper along the sides and bottom if you wish.
4. Pour a layer of the batter onto the bottom and add the meat filling. Keep layering and alternating until you've run out of batter and filling. Make sure to leave enough filling to cover the top of the cake.
5. Heat a large wok with water (or prepare your steamer). Steam the mochi cake for 1 hour or until firm. Once it's done, remove from the steamer. At this point it will be very soft, (but still delicious), so you can either eat right away or let is cool and firm up a bit before cutting into the mochi cake. Enjoy!
You can always substitute filling choices with whatever you prefer if you're not one for Chinese cured meats, but these are flavors that I grew up eating with my grandmother. Whenever I smell Chinese pork belly or sausage (lap cheong), or pickled radish, or dried shiitake mushrooms (pretty much everything in this dish) it just makes me think of Grandma and her homecooking. There's always something in food the floods your brain with memories of home and for me, this is it! Hope you enjoy!
Just a girl, her husband and two dogs who love food ♥❤🐶👫🐶❤♥