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 January, 2011




Chinese Hot Pot

The Chinese Hot Pot is a popular, interactive, winter dish for family and friends to enjoy around the table. Unlike the Western oil-based fondue, the Hot Pot recipe can be made with water or with any kind of stock to cook both meat and vegetables.


Everything for this recipe can be bought at your local grocery store. All you need is a 12″x12″ wide and 3″deep electric skillet which is the minimum required to cook with 4 to 6 people. The best part? Ingredients can be prepared ahead of time by thinly slicing the meats and vegetables. Guest can then mix their own sauces which is key for a tasty meal.

For the basic Chinese Hot Pot you will need to heat the electric skillet on the table first. Be sure to cover the table top with some kind pad so you do not burn your nice dining room table (we’ve learned the hard way!). Add 10 cups of water to the pot so it is approximately ¾ quarters full. One person should be responsible for controlling the temperature of cooking.


Meats and Seafood:
1 pound chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves). Slice thinly crosswise into ¼ inch pieces.
1 pound pork loin (very lean pork). Slice thinly against the grain into ¼ inch pieces.
1 pound medium size shrimp (31 to 40 count per pound). Peel, devein and rinse the shrimp.

½ pound napa cabbage. Wash and cut into 2 inch chunks.
½ pound bok choy cabbage. Wash and cut into 2 inch chunks.
1 tofu block, firm. Cut into 1 inch chunks.
½ pound broccoli. Wash and cut into small florets.
1 bundle cilantro (4 oz.). Wash well and cut into 2 inch sections.

You may use other meats and seafood of your choice such as quality beef, lamb, scallops, calamari, etc. You can also use any kind of vegetables such as spinach, regular cabbage, etc.

Sauces & Condiments: You must have all 5!
1. ½ cup smooth peanut butter. Mix with ½ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt. Using a pair chopsticks or a fork, mix well into a soft and smooth paste.
2. ½ cup soy sauce (Kikkoman brand), ¼ cup white vinegar and 2 teaspoons pure sesame oil. Mix together in a bowl.
3. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic (8 clove garlic), 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger roots (2 oz.). Mix them together in a bowl.
4. Bottle of Sriracha hot chili sauce. Drip as much as you wish when you mix your sauces for dipping. (Sold in the Asian section of most supermarkets).
5. Bottle of Tabasco sauce. Drip as much as you wish when you mix your sauces for dipping.

Authentic Chinese Hot Pot sauce includes sesame paste. Because you can only buy it in the Chinese market, we are using smooth peanut butter. You can also use any type of spicy chili sauce and/or BBQ sauce to mix with your sauce bowl for dipping the meat and vegetables.

Presentation and Eating:
As mentioned above, the skillet filled with water should be placed in the middle of the dining table. Large plates of meat and vegetable should be placed around the pot with bowls of sauces. Everyone should be given a large plate with a pair chopstick or fork and a small bowl for dipping sauce.


First, spoon each of the individual sauces and spices into your own bowl. Carefully work on your sauce to make sure it is the way you like it –  mild or spicy?

When the water in the skillet comes to a boil, everyone around the table can begin to add their choice of meat, seafood and vegetables a little at the time to cook.  Cook items for no more than 1-2 minutes and be careful not to overcook your meats or seafood. There should be a large slotted spoon in the skillet to stir and pick up the cooked food for your plate. (Or, purchase little wired baskets as a fun way for your guests to cook and scoop their meal). With chopsticks, take the cooked food from your plate and dip into the sauce from your own bowl to eat. This is a very healthy meal with a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: About one hour




Stir-Fry Curried Chicken

Chinese curry has a taste of its own. It’s not creamy like you find in Indian and Thai recipes. For this quick stir-fry dish, you may use any kind of curry powder. Depending on the type of curry powder you buy, it can even become hot and spicy. However, most of the big brand yellow curry powders here in the states are mild with delicious flavor.


1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts halves)
1 medium size carrot
½ green bell pepper (3 oz.)
½ small yellow onion (3 oz.)
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar

Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise in half then cut crosswise into ¼ inch thin pieces. In a bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Peel the carrot and slice crosswise into ¼ inch thin pieces. Cut the green bell pepper into 1 inch squares. Cut the onion into 1 inch chunks.

To Cook:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick wok or a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown 1 tablespoon of curry powder for just a few seconds. Add marinaded chicken, cook and stir to separate the chicken pieces for about 2 minutes. Add carrots, bell peppers and onions. Stir-fry until the chicken is almost cooked through and the vegetables are tender but still crisp for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon sugar. Cook and stir for another minute. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes

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