April 18, 2012 by MaryAnne
Spring has sprung! Shanghai is currently alternating between gorgeous, sunny, warm days and, well, the usual grim and drizzly murkiness that seems to be its default mood. I, however, have been feeling remarkably sane (highly unusual) and have been quite busy with lots of little cooking projects this week. Last night we had fajitas (but with spicy sauteed chicken), this afternoon I made a massive new batch of roasted garlic oil, and tonight…we had something I hadn’t made in years: tandoori chicken.
Or rather, toaster oven chicken in a style approximating tandoori chicken. With lots of peppers to go with. Lots.
Yesterday, Doug hit the jackpot whilst picking up dinner veggies at the wet market on Taiyuan lu and came home with the biggest bag full of red, green and yellow bell peppers ever. It’s not pepper season here. Capsicum related foodstuffs of the fresh sort are thin on the ground right now. Bell peppers are like hens’ teeth. Now the crisper in our fridge is stuffed to the gills with the suckers.
And my god but they are magnificent! I cut one of each colour open for last night’s fajitas and he could smell them from the living room. The jus (if you can call it that) from the raw red pepper was a lovely deep red that stained the counter top. These were crazy fresh.
Peppers! Oh, and onion. But look, peppers!
I haven’t figured out yet what I’ll do with the other half dozen still in the fridge. I’m sure I’ll think of something. Roasted, perhaps? Try my hand at a Turkish biber salcasi? It’s all very exciting. (more…)
Category Improbable Things, Spicy Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Chapati,Chicken,Indian,OMFG Yum,Toaster Oven,wok,Yogurt | 9 Comments
March 1, 2012 by MaryAnne
I’ve made cheese here before. You may recall my happy forays into mascarpone and ricotta a few months back. As well, over on my other blog, the non-foodie one, I delved briefly into goat milk paneer when I went home last summer. It was creamy and gorgeous and fantastically goaty.
Alas, I have no access to goats here. Also, one of the key ingredients that I had been using for all my previous soft cheeses- lemon juice- seems to be out of season right now in Shanghai. There are a few over priced limes in a few shops but no lemons. I wanted to make paneer again, just to see if it could be done in a wok with irradiated, non-organic, non-goaty Chinese milk and rice wine vinegar.
I’m starting to wonder if there’s anything that can’t be done with a wok and rice wine vinegar. Seriously. I think I may need to include them in my Take Over The World tool kit. And maybe a goat, too. To make a nice wheel of herbed chèvre to spread on crackers when I’m taking a break from ruling said world.
Help! Help! I'm being kidnapped! Geddit? KID napped! I'm a goat! Hahaha!
Category Improbable Things, Milky Cheesy Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Cheese,Indian,Toaster Oven,wok | 11 Comments
October 15, 2011 by MaryAnne
This one is technically a two-parter, as I made the soup at the same time as I threw together the Xinjiang Irish stew. The stew will come later. I don’t want to confuse everyone with too many different things under one heading. The pumpkin should suffice.
Today, Shanghai surprised me on two fronts: first, it’s cool enough now that I wore a sweater when we walked up to the Sichuan place for lunch and had to crunch through a light sprinkling of fallen brown leaves on the road, and second, the sky was…pretty. There was blue in it. Seriously. Patches of blue in the Shanghai sky! Normally it’s like the skies over the Planet Krikkit. No point in looking up cos there ain’t nothing to see.
Look at that sky! This was my view through the kitchen balcony's window as I cooked today.
Our kitchen is tiny, long and narrow, culminating in a semi enclosed mini balcony made of glass and safety railings, which has just a simple cold water utility sink and a corner to store mops and brooms.
We’re 16 floors up and if you stand in that tiny balcony, you are surrounded on 3 sides by pretty much just glass and open windows overlooking the French Concession. Terrible if you have a fear of heights (which I don’t); wonderful for washing dishes with a view. Today was so lovely that I voluntarily sequestered myself in the kitchen, scoping out the sky as I chopped a lot of things with my really big knife.
Let me show you how to make a really easy roasted pumpkin soup in your toaster oven. I did mine at 200 degrees C for about 45 minutes to get it nice and squishy. Easy peasy.
Category Soupy Stewy Things, Spicy Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Autumn,garlic,Indian,OMFG Yum,Pumpkin,soup,Toaster Oven | 7 Comments
October 5, 2011 by MaryAnne
So I’m cheating a bit on this one.
I have a secret weapon. A secret Canadian weapon. A secret, um, Surrey, BC, weapon. Which is also, technically, an Indian weapon. Or Pakistani, depending on which one I use. My aunt gave it to me, so you can speak to her sternly about my lack of Sino-authenticity.
I will admit it: the spices are not from ’round here.
Whenever I go home, my aunt (hi Pat!) goes shopping in her local Vancouver supermarket and buys me an enormous supply of Indian spice mixes. Jalfrezi, Korma, Biryani, Chana masala, the works. I have a cupboard loaded with these things. They’re all from India or Pakistan, and the instructions on the back pretty much assume you’re cooking for 15 people and happen to have, say, a side of mutton and a large barrel of ghee at hand.
I have, um, 2 very small pieces of awful boneless ‘Chinese top’ beef, whatever that is. They’re the kind of cuts that need to be marinated in something penetratingly acidic (hence my fridge full of citrus fruit and yogurt) and then cooked for a rather long time before they take on a texture that could be described as anything other than leathery. The recipe on the back of the box calls for bone-in chunks of beef or mutton, about twice as much as we have. We’re not big meat eaters here (I’m a lapsed vegetarian) and the photo on the front of the box, replete with enormous bones jutting out of rice, is daunting.
I’m a brave little culinary soldier, so I forge ahead.
Let me show you how to make a beef biryani with just a wok and a rice cooker. (more…)
Category Improbable Things, Soupy Stewy Things, Spicy Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Indian,OMFG Yum,rice cooker,wok,Yogurt | 5 Comments
September 15, 2011 by MaryAnne
Yesterday, in a frenzy of gym-avoidance cooking, I spent the afternoon assembling a rather impressive feast of dhal (in a wok), chicken Jalfrezi (in the slow cooker, using the last few inches of my most recent batch of home made yogurt) and the last of our brown/wild rice (in the rice cooker).
Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take any pictures and now all I have to show for it is a stack of plastic leftover containers in the fridge (thank you, Di Shui Dong, for significantly reducing my Tupperware budget). Even though we are only two people, I made enough dhal and Jalfrezi to feed a dozen or so people for several days. I have a feeling I used to be a mess hall cook in a previous life. (more…)
Category Baked Things, Improbable Things, Uncategorized | Tags: Buckwheat,Chapati,Flatbread,Indian,OMFG Yum,Vegan,wok | 3 Comments