When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for March, 2009




Tofu Delight

Tofu Delight is a wonderful dish to incorporate more tasty tofu into your diet!


1 package firm or extra firm tofu (14 oz. or 16 oz.)
4 oz. fresh snow peas
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts (2.5 oz.) drained
6 medium size dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes or longer, until soft)
4 cloves garlic
2 scallions, including the green top
1/2 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1/4 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 tablespoons rice wine or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Rinse the tofu block with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the tofu in half lengthwise and then crosswise cut into ¼-inch thick pieces. (about 20 pieces total). Wash and break off the tips of the fresh snow peas. Remove stringy edges from the pea pods, and discard. Drain water from the softened mushrooms. Cut off the stems if any and cut mushrooms into quarters. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. Wash and trim the green onions, finely chop. Cut red bell pepper into 1-inch long strips. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot. Place tofu pieces in pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until both sides are slightly golden brown. Remove cooked tofu from pan and onto a plate. Add snow peas, mushrooms, garlic, green onions and chicken broth to pan. Cook and stir for approximately 1 minute. Return cooked tofu back into the pan and add water chestnuts and red bell pepper strips. Pour in the sauce mixture. Gently stir-fry to mix thoroughly. Cook for another minute. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes




Creamy Corn and Mushroom Soup

Here’s a wonderful soup to celebrate the last days of winter! It’s another quick, easy, and delicious recipe.

1 can cream style corn (15 oz.)
6 medium size fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz.)
½ cup water
1 egg
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick pot)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and finely chop. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and set aside. In another small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a medium size pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add chopped mushrooms and garlic. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add salt, cream style corn, chicken broth and water. Stir well, cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes to bring a full boil. Stir the dissolved cornstarch and add to soup. Stir until the soup becomes slightly thickened. Beat the egg again then slowly pour into the hot soup. Cook and stir for a few seconds. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 6 to 7 minutes




Tips from the Chef

The All-American Chinese Cookbook would like to answer some of your frequently asked questions. Visit our new link “Chef’s Tips” that includes helpful tips by Chef Lucy to answer all of your Chinese cooking questions. Have a question we didn’t address? Just contact Lucy and we will be certain to post our response on this page.

What are some of the most basic ingredients I need in my kitchen for Chinese cooking?

It is a smart idea to keep some basic ingredients handy in your kitchen whenever you have the craving for Chinese. We’ve created a simple grocery list for you below. The good new is, many of these items can be stored for long periods of time!

1. Canola or Vegetable Oil
2. Cooking Spray (Canola oil or Pam)
3. Soy Sauce (Kikkoman Brand)
4. Chinese Rice Cooking Wine or Sherry Cooking Wine
5. Pure Sesame Oil (Chinese or Japanese Brands)
6. Cornstarch
7. White Vinegar
8. Whole Dried Red Hot Chili Peppers and Crushed Red Chili Peppers
9. Red Hot Chili Oil
10. Hoisin Sauce*
11. Oyster Sauce*
12. White and Black Pepper
13. White and Brown Sugar
14. Small Cans of Water Chestnuts (5 oz.)
15. Small Cans of Sliced bamboo Shoots (5 oz.)
16. Cans of Mandarin Oranges (6 oz. and 15 oz.)
17. Cans of Pineapple Chunks (8 oz.)
18. Cans of Chicken Broth (14 oz. or 15 oz.)
19. Dried Shiitake Black Mushrooms
20. Fresh Ginger Root
21. Fresh Green Onions (Scallions)
22. Fresh Garlic
23. Yellow Onions

*Sold in the Asian section of most supermarkets. After opening they can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.

What types of meat can I buy in advance and freeze?

We generally cook with a lot of skinless and boneless chicken breasts, lean pork, lean ground pork, lean ground turkey, flank steaks, sirloin steaks, and (medium or large size) shrimp.

What type of rice do you recommend?

We preferred to use round-grain rice for all of our rice dishes. We also use thin spaghetti for all the noodle dishes and medium firm or firm tofu blocks.

What are some of your favorite tips?

Chinese cooking takes a lot of preparation. If you can prepare in advance, the cooking time then becomes minimal. One of my best tips is to prepare your fresh ginger root, fresh green onions and fresh garlic in advance.

Ginger: It is much easier to use a small teaspoon instead of a knife to scrap the skin off the ginger root. After peeling the skin, use a food processor to finely chop. Use a measuring teaspoon to scoop the grated ginger and place onto a cookie sheet, leaving an inch of space in between. Freeze, place ginger into a plastic bag and store in the freezer. When a recipe requires ginger, just take one or two teaspoons of the frozen ginger balls, thaw and use for cooking. They will keep frozen for many months.
Onions: Buy a few bundles of green onions (scallions), wash, trim, and chop finely (including the green top). Put into a plastic bag and freeze. When you require one scallion for a recipe, it will equal 2 tablespoons of chopped green onions. This trick is very handy as fresh green onions do not keep for long.
Garlic: If you buy a jar of peeled fresh garlic, it will keep in the refrigerator for a long time. But if you want to keep them even longer, you can also place them into a plastic bag and freeze. When you need one or two cloves of garlic, just take out and chop or squeeze for cooking.
More Time Saving Tips: Freeze finely grated orange peels and freshly squeezed lemon juice in ice cube trays. For really quick stir-fry meals, slice the chicken, beef or pork, marinade it ahead of time, then freeze in plastic freezer bags. Thaw the marinated meat when you are ready to cook and stir-fry with fresh vegetables and ingredients.




Chinese Steamed Rainbow Trout

Whole steamed fish is a popular dish in Cantonese style restaurants. This at home version of steamed trout is both tender and sweet. Oh, and so very healthy!

2 fresh cleaned rainbow trout (approximately 1 pound each)
1 scallion, including the green top
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1 fresh green jalapeno chili pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce (kikkoman brand)
2 tablespoons rice or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
1 oz. fresh cilantro for garnish

Rinse the whole Trout with cold water. Place both fish in a 9×12 baking dish. Wash and trim the green onion, finely chop. Sprinkle chopped onions on top of the fish. Peel and finely grate the ginger root. Sprinkle on top of the fish. Thinly slice the jalapeno pepper crosswise and also place on top of the fish. Drizzle soy sauce, wine and sesame oil over the fish. Wash and trim the cilantro. Cut into 1 inch pieces.

To Cook:
If you do not have access to a large steamer, a 11×15 or 12×18 roasting pan is a fine substituted. Fill the roasting pan 1/3 full of water. Place the 9×12 baking dish inside the roasting pan. Place on top of stove top range, cover the entire roasting pan with a lid or foil and cook over high heat. Bring the water to a boil and then steam the fish for approximately 12 minutes. Spoon sauce over fish, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

When serving, make sure to pour the sauce over the fish meat. It adds wonderful flavor and really makes the dish!

Makes 2 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes




Perfect Boiled Rice

Not every household owns an electric rice cooker. Below is a fool-proof recipe to cook the perfect white rice on the stove top. Round-grain rice is always preferred over long-grain rice. Round-grain rice is moist, slightly sweet and slightly sticky.

2 cups pearl rice (Round grain)
2-½ cups water

Preparation and Cooking:
Place 2 cups of rice in a medium size pot. Use tap water to wash and stir the rice with your hand. Rinse the rice for a minimum of three times and drain well. Add 2-½ cups of water to the pot of rice. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Keep your eyes on the pot to ensure the rice does not boil over. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook the rice for 6 minutes with cover slightly ajar (the water will be nearly absorbed). Cover the pot with the lid and bring the heat to low. Simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off heat and let the rice pot stand covered for another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 6 cups boiled rice
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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