Archive for the ‘Cooking Methods’ Category

Wasn’t going to write about this. Not a big fan of non-stick cooking pans. But for certain dishes, the benefits of non-stick is much easier. I know some people suggest a well seasoned cast iron pan, but those need a little more care and feeding.

Saw this at one of the discount stores (price was pretty decent).

Non-Stick Pan

Non-Stick Pan

Have to remember to keep the heat between low/medium to medium (kind of thinly constructed). Makes great scrambled and easy over eggs (so far).

Last night, tried it on pan-fried tofu. Usually, in our regular stainless pans, the temperature and oil has to be just right or the tofu sticks and makes a mess. Tonight, no problemo. Less oil than normal, low/medium heat, eight to ten minutes each side. Trick is to drain the tofu as much as possible before frying.

Pan-Fried Tofu Steaks

Pan-Fried Tofu Steaks

Just a little bit of sea salt sprinkled on top. Maybe next time some sambal sauce on top. Hope I kept the label, it’s supposed to have a lifetime warranty.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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Used some of  the black-eyed beans that I cooked and froze earlier this week.

The Cat's Gruel

The Cat’s Gruel

Brown rice, quinoa, frozen black-eyed beans, and chia seeds (the same chia seeds used for chia pets). Eaten with pork floss (dried and shredded seasoned pork).

The Mouse's Gruel

The Mouse’s Gruel

Ham bone stock, brown rice, quinoa, frozen black-eyed beans, and frozen okra. Seasoned with a tiny bit of salt and chili powder.

Although I threw the beans in at the last minute to warm through, they still came out a little overcooked for me (just my opinion, The Cat didn’t seem to mind). Next time, I’ll cook the beans “al dente” (I know wrong use of the phrase, but you get the idea) and finish cooking then when I use them,

Overall though, a good and usable exercise.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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Being Lazy

Someone gave us a whole kabocha squash. Normally I don’t like using whole kabocha. It’s a pain to breakdown. The skin is so hard, I’m afraid of hacking  of body parts.

This time, I thought I’d try something different. I cut out the stem, poured about a cup of water inside (i didn’t even bother to clean it out, and threw the whole thing in the oven (400 degrees, 60 minutes).

This is what came out.

Steam Baked Kabocha

Steam Baked Kabocha

Not steampunk, steambaked. 🙂

From this point, the squash was soft enough  to slice through and clean.

Cooked Kabocha Squash

Cooked Kabocha Squash

The method seems to have worked. I’ll find out how it tastes from The Cat later tonight (I packed a wedge for her dinner).

Eat well.

The Mouse

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Dragon Breath

No, I’m not talking about what happens when I eat a lot of garlic, onions, and peppers. I’m talking about the “breath of the wok”. I know I’m not coming close to creating the heat (in temperature) in order to achieve the “breath of the wok” taste and texture. I’m still experimenting, without burning down the house.

Flash Fried Romaine Lettuce

Flash Fried Asparagus

Both were simply seasoned with Kauai sea salt. Both had little burned edges but not quite enough.

Know where I can hire a baby dragon? Maybe that will work for food? Anybody?  🙂


The Mouse

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As mentioned in the previous post, Aunty M asked if I wanted to watch and learn how she makes jai. This is like Obi-Wan Kenobi teaching you the ways of the force. Foolish to say no, one would be.

The Cat jai should be called lo han cai. Lo han (not the “actress”) are Buddhist practitioners (monks) that have achieved a high level of wisdom and skill. Cai are vegetables or vegetable products. So lo han cai is “monk’s vegetarian food”. When I was growing up, I always knew it as jai, for simplicity, I’ll just refer to it as jai.

When I got there, she had already cleaned and soaked the ingredients. She soaks the dry ingredients a couple of days beforehand. She cleaned the fresh ingredients at least a day before. She paced herself so that she isn’t rushed and have to do everything at once. Good thinking.

According to Aunty M, the secret is in the sauce. Her sauce consists of red and white fermented beancurd,

Fermented Beancurd

Chinese oyster sauce, water, and sugar. I didn’t get the proportions (it’s a secret). I’ll experiment later.

The Secret Sauce

Aunty M has about fifteen ingredients that go into her jai, including several different dried and fried beancurd, mushrooms, ginkgo nuts, dried chestnuts, water chestnuts, tree ear fungus, long rice, dried oysters, fa cai (a fungus), etc. She starts off by heating a large pot and pouring enough oil to coat the bottom.

I still remember a lesson from watching Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook). When he had a show on PBS: “Hot pan, cold oil, food don’t stick”.

She then adds the ingredients, in no particular order except sturdy ones first.

Dried Beancurd

More Dried Beancurd

There was another dried beancurd variety that looks like thin sheets of parchment paper (sorry, no picture). Some restaurants that serve dim sum do stuff deep fried beancurd with the thin sheets.

Dried Mushrooms

Aunty M also added canned straw mushrooms.

Deep Fried Doufu

Shi Gu

I’m not sure what shi gu is. Aunty M forgot the English name and The Cat knows what it is but not the English name. I have to go to Chinatown and look for before it’s peeled and cleaned.

Dried Chestnuts

Dried Lilly Flowers

Ginkgo Nuts

Long Rice or Cellophane Noodles

Fa Cai

Last but not least

Dried Oysters

After bring everything to boil and simmering for a bit, gentle stirring, adjusting for taste, all the ingredients blend and you get


The taste was very good. Aunty M pointed out that every family makes jai a little differently. There is no correct recipe, but the basics are lots of soybean products, including the fermented soybean.

Thanks Aunty M for another culinary experience (with the grilled cheese sandwich it began, yes, hmm).


The Mouse

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