Beef flank stew (牛腩) with Asian spices and soy sauce, my memory of the hawker stall on the ‘Poetry Book Road’ ( FODMAP friendly)

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When I was a little girl, I walked to the primary school each day.  I ate breakfast along the way. I had a ten cents allowance for two plain steamed buns each morning.

I walked down a street commonly known as the ‘Poetry Book Road’. For many years, the street was renamed as the  ‘Red Book Road’ in honor of Chairman Mao’s red book of quotations.

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Translation of the road sign:  Poetry Book Road; to the north, ‘Paper Factory Road’; to the south, ‘Heavenly Successful Road’.  September 2017, GuangZhou, China

At the end of the street, there was a tiny hawker stall selling beef flank and pig intestines. In winters, the hot steam rose from her big pots. The aroma of soy, star anise and clove lingered in the air, mouth-watering and irresistible. The stall operator was a middle age woman, short, chubby and never smiled. She had a pair of gigantic scissors that made loud ‘chop chop chop’ sound. When she received an order, she cut some small pieces off a larger piece, skillfully threading them to a bamboo stick without touching them with her hands.  A stick with 3 pieces of juicy, fatty and heart-warming meat cost 10 cents. It was a difficult decision for a little girl – spending the 10 cents on a meat stick and be hungry for the rest of the morning, or two plain buns. I took some deep breaths (the aroma was so good) and nibbled on the tasteless buns.

Now I remembered, the two buns never filled me up anyway. At school I sat next to a boy whose name was ‘Bin’. We enjoyed a few laughs as our stomachs rumbled at the exact same moment.

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A street vendor selling beef flank stew and pig intestines near Poetry Street, September 2017, GuangZhou, China

I cooked beef flank many times over the past many years. It always brought back memories of the hawker stall on the Poetry Book Road.

 

Beef flank stew

Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Chilled pork hocks with soy sauce and Asian spices (FODMAP friendly, gluten free option)

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A common style of Chinese cooking is called ‘liangban’ or ‘liangchai’, which means a salad-like chilled dish. The ingredients for these dishes can be very diverse, from vegetables to different kinds of meat including offal.  My husband’s favorite liangchai is Sichuan style liver and tongue. My favorite liangchai is pork hocks.

This week I made a liangchai with pig hocks. It took 2 days, but the process was very simple and easy.

Chilled pork hocks with soy and Asian spices (FODMAP friendly, gluten free option)

Recipe is as follows:

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Meals for the homeless – simple stir fry noodles with bacon, leek and carrot

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Fried noodles is one of those ‘as you please’ dishes and you can add whatever ingredients you like.  For the weekly homeless feed, I like to compliment main dishes with a simple noodle dish.  Every week I change the ingredients to please our friends’ taste buds.

This week I made a noodle stir fry with bacon, leek and carrot.

Simple fried noodles with bacon, leek and carrot

Method is as follows:

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Pan fried tofu with soy sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free option, vegan)

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When I was growing up in China, tofu was the cheapest protein and it was always plentiful.  At the fresh food market they sold tofu on a large timber slab, carefully cutting out the required portion for each customer – 10 cents, 20 cents…

My grandmother loved pan frying tofu with load of cooking oil. She cut the tofu into little triangles then fried them until golden brown. She then finished cooking with a splash of soy sauce. What a mouth watering aroma!

Tonight I pan fried some tofu with soy sauce for dinner – the tofu was soft and heart warming.

* Use plain tofu for a FODMAP friendly recipe; use gluten free soy sauce for a gluten free option.

Pan fried tofu with soy sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free option, vegan)

 

It was so easy to make:   Read the rest of this entry »

Fried duck eggs, with green shallot and dark soy sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free option)

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An Italian man at my husband’s work keeps a few ducks in his back yard. He gave us some fresh eggs last week. The eggs reminded me a $20 fried egg dish I had at a posh Asian restaurant, garnished with plenty of green shallot and dark soy sauce.

‘I can cook that’, I said to myself.   It was easy,  I cracked an egg, shallow fried it in hot oil with some green shallot (scallion); then transferred the egg to a plate, splashed a little dark soy sauce on top.  It looked colorful and delicious.

* Use the green part of the scallion for a FODMAP friendly version; use a gluten free soy sauce for a gluten free option.

 

Fried duck eggs, with green shallot and dark soy sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free option)

 

Fried duck eggs, with green shallot and dark soy sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free option)
Fresh duck eggs

Meals for the homeless – sweet Potato Noodles with Chinese mushroom and vegetables (gluten free option, vegan)

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I first enjoyed potato noodles in 1990s. I was puzzled by its rich flavors and unusual texture  – soft, firm and bouncy.  Not until many years later I realized these wonderful noodles were actually made of sweet potato starch, not potato.

I love these noodles – easy and cheap to make, yet so versatile you can add anything to it and the noodles will soak up all the beautiful flavors.

Last Saturday I made a huge batch of noodles.  We served it slightly chilled as part of a street banquet.  I hope our friends enjoyed the noodles as much as I did.

Meals for the homeless - sweet Potato Noodles with Chinese mushroom and vegetables (gluten free option, vegan)

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Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Saute spiced cauliflower, with grilled kiwi fruit (gluten free, vegan)

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Over twenty years ago I lived and worked in Tasmania. I fell in love with the stunning landscape and its beautiful bays. Recently we took our little boy to the east coast of Tasmania. The highlight of the trip was the walk at the Bay of Fire, jumping and running among the colorful rocks. I took many photos. Here are two of my favorite:

Bay of Fire, Tasmania
Bay of Fire, Tasmania

 

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Colorful sea rock at Bay of Fire, Tasmania

I was so fascinated by the ‘kiwi fruit’ on the rock, I decided to make a dish. I sauteed some finely chopped cauliflower and Spanish onion with a little cooking oil, spiced with some turmeric, cumin, garam masala, a little fresh chili and sea salt.  The veggies were served with lightly grilled kiwi fruit slices – the ingredients complemented each other very well, sweet, sour and spicy.

So simple, no recipe required.

Saute spiced cauliflower, with grilled kiwi fruit  (gluten free, vegan)