This week I discovered an Asian grocery store 10 minutes’ drive away. Their stock range was quite comprehensive. The man in the shop helped me with the bags to my car which was sort of services I never experienced from an Asian store. I managed to find a parking spot very close to the shop – can’t believe my luck. I was very impressed.
I picked up a beautifully fresh hairy gourd from the shop. Hairy gourd is a very popular vegetable in Southern China, easy to grow with plenty of subtropical rains. The gourd is normally cooked in a soup or a stew with a tender and soft texture.
Today I decided to do something different with a ‘liangban’ 凉拌 salad. I added XO sauce to the salad for a kick as the gourd, on its own, could be quite plain. XO sauce is a mildly spicy paste made with dried seafood, garlic and chili, packed of flavors.
I first peeled the skin of the gourd; I then julienned the flesh, disregard the seedy part of the gourd (but reversed for a soup dish). I then briefly blanched the vegetable until it was just cooked (about 1-2 minute) and ran it under cold water to cool; I mixed the drained vegetable with sesame oil, XO sauce, a generous dash of dark soy sauce, white pepper, chili, sesame seeds and sliced green shallot. I left the salad in fridge to chill for couple of hours before serving. So simple and delicious. No recipe required.
LaoSui is translated literately as ‘old water’. It is a hot brine with variety of spices – cloves, cinnamon bark, fennel, citric peel, Sichuan pepper, star anise, dry ginger and licorice root. LaoSui spices are versatile and frequently used to marinate meat and eggs. For this beef shank recipe, I used pre-packed LaoSui spices from an Asian store.
I picked up the beef shank from an Asian butcher – I used the ‘little shank’ rather than the ‘big shank’ so it is easier to slice. I like to make a large batch so the ‘LaoSui’ marinate is not wasted – cooked meat can be stored in fridge to enjoy over 2-3 days.
Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »