How I love steamed fish!
Growing up in Guangzhou in the early 1970s, we lived in a rundown 5-bedroom terrace house on a little lane way called the ‘Yayan Lane’ 雅言里 , translated as the ‘elegant words lane’. The house was bought by my grandfather in early 1950s for $1,200 yuan from a tea merchant. At the time there was a ‘movement’ to crack down tax evasion. Like some other small businesses, the tea merchant had to sell his house to pay his tax bill. It was said that most houses on the market were going cheap over that period.
There were many family members lived at the terrace house at various intervals – my great grandmother, my grandparents, my family, 3 uncles & 1 aunt and their families. My grandma cooked dinners for all the families. Food & basic essentials such as rice, oil, meat, fish, coal & fabric were on rations, and we had books of colorful coupons.
There was a state-ran market across the road from our lane way. The market sold all sort of food – meat & vegetables, seafood, Chinese sausages & BBQ meat, tofu, preserves, oil & soy sauce. When very small fish were caught from large schools, sometime coupons were not required. The neighbors always kept a look out for such rare occasions, and we would hear a shout across the lane way. Grandmother and I would grab a bamboo basket as fast as we could, rushed over to join the crowd. There were no such things as lining up – layers of people cramped in front of the concrete table where the fish piled up among large blocks of ice, pushing each other, yelling to attract attention. The fish was always fresh and undeniably small, not longer than my little hand. My grandmother steamed the fish with soy sauce for dinner. Our skinny house cats would fight over the bones & left-over sauce mixed with some rice – a rare treat for them.
Today, we are so very lucky in Australia with all the wonderful seafood, spices & herbs. My favorite method of cooking fish is steaming. From time to time, when I enjoy a good steamed fish, I could still smell the sea at the crowded market place across the road from the Yayan Lane.
Here is my version of steamed fish – fresh & simple. I used Blue Eye Cod on this occasion. You can use most sort of white flesh fish. My favorite fish for steaming is perch.
Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »
Rice paper roll with chicken, quinoa, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and lettuce (low FODMAP, gluten free)
A friend has recently moved to a low FODMAP diet. When we have dinner parties, I try to accommodate his diet with the simplest, freshest ingredients with low FODMAP. It is fun and challenging working with limited ingredients.
Here is a super easy recipe & well balanced – the pan fried capsicums & pumpkins add lots of sweetness to this dish, lettuce add crunchiness, quinoa adds texture, chicken for protein.
Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »
These gorgeous little rolls are so easy to make – scramble a egg with a pinch of salt; pan fry some lamb and red capsicum with a dash of gluten free soy sauce and sesame oil; boil some rice and cool; slice some cucumber lengthwise (use a peeler); roll some rice with the egg, lamb and capsicum in the middle very tightly with cling wrap then cut into portion with a sharp knife; wrap a piece of sliced cucumber around the rice roll – and there it goes, pretty and tasty.
Thai food always brings back memory of a pink restaurant where I worked for a few years during my university days.
The restaurant was owned by a kind Vietnamese couple – An the husband and Ly the wife. Ly looked after 3 young children and worked in the tiny kitchen every night. An was a full time engineer who managed the dinning room and delivered takeaway food.
When they spoke about their past, I could see Ly’s eyes sparkled, and warm smiles on An’s face. In the old days back home, Ly was known as the ‘Saigon rose’ for her exceptional beauty, and An was a young, well educated officer working for the American army.
I learned to cook some wonderful dishes from Ly. One of my favourite was a ‘xa ot’ dish, meaning lemongrass and chili.
Here is my version of a xa ot chicken.
Easy method is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »