Monday, April 23, 2012

The Best Chinese? Make it Yourself!

I've always found Chinese cooking fascinating. Really and truly I guess this applies to most forms of Asian cookery.  I am a die-hard fan of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean.  But it's not just the plain deliciousness of these cuisines, it's the brilliance of them. 

What I'm referring to is the resourcefulness of this type of cooking.  Think about it.  Let's use the Chinese as the example.  And, I'm not talking about the Americanized Chinese take-out, 24 hour buffet, or mall food court Chinese.  If you've ever read a Chinese cookbook, one thing that stands out is the small amount of each ingredient.  Take fried rice...obviously, you use as much rice as you need to feed the number of people in the family. But, the protein (chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, fish, etc.) is relatively small.  But that's ok, there are then small amounts of various vegetables added next.  This technique likely began and evolved from times when ingredients, money and resources were scarse.  The Chinese figured out that you can make a satisfying, hearty and nutritious main course with a little bit of meat, a little bit of egg, a little bit of cabbage, a little bit of carrot, a little bit of onion, and on and on and on.  The end result is, in this example, a wok full of fried rice packed with veggies, protein and 6 people with full tummies.  Just brilliant.

Today I found myself considering the growing amount of leftovers in my fridge.  I have half a of a pork roast, ham, broccoli, about 1/2 pound of shrimp.  Just those ingredients alone scream some sort of Asian inspired dishes.  So, I popped into Publix for a few staples (a green cabbage, egg roll wrappers, wonton wrappers) so I can use up these fridge inhabitants before they go South on me.  Tonight, it was beef with broccoli (1/2 lb of skirt steak, broccoli, ginger) and shrimp potstickers (my leftover shrimp, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, 5 spice powder and green onion). 

Cute little dumplings waiting to be cooked

 Tomorrow, I'm going to repurpose that pork roast into eggrolls with cabbage, ginger, bamboo shoots & water chestnuts.  The beauty of that plan in that I will have plenty of egg rolls to stash away in the freezer for later!

As a side note, my husband continues to improve from his tonsillectomy from a week ago, so I also used some of the broccoli for a cream of broccoli soup for him.  Not only was he able to eat (and actually taste it!) he went further and ventured into the beef with broccoli and downed some of that too.  Yea!  He's finally able to tolerate eating and getting some fuel into that body.  Good news indeed! 

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