Normandie Kitchen

Shared food in a share house

Tag: brad

Bean-sprout salad

Salads of blanched bean sprouts with sesame are very common side dishes in Japanese (called moyashi no goma ae) and Korean food (called sukju namul). This salad is extremely simple to make, versatile, and works well with almost any combination of Chinese, Korean or Japanese food. In particular, the most simple version works as a counterbalance to strong and spicy Korean or Chinese dishes. The soft nuttiness of sesame, and the gentle crunch of blanched bean sprouts work well together.

Brad
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Sesame sauce noodles

This versatile recipe might sound like an absurd, five-year-old’s invention — spaghetti with peanut butter. But you can make this remixed Sichuan dish with little more than those two ingredients. In Chinese, the original is called cold noodles with chicken slivers (雞絲涼麵), and, accordingly, it’s usually made with chicken. But if you’re happy to bastardise it, this recipe works with whatever happens to be in the fridge (I love cucumber, eggs, and tomato; but leftover chicken, celery, bean sprouts, tofu or mushrooms would work). Infinitely flexible, infinitely delicous, this is a staple meal, for Brad, Wendy, and Joyce. Thomas suspects it might be the perfect, post-zombie apocalypse dinner. Master it now, before the walking dead appear.

chicken sliver noodles

Brad, Wendy, Joyce

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Five spice poached chicken

Poaching chicken is a quick, and easy, way to prepare meat for salads or noodles; or just to eat with a dipping sauce. It’s also a nice way to infuse chicken with a lot of flavour — although you can do pretty much the same thing, without the aromatics. If you want to use skinless, boneless chicken breast, for some sort of “healthy” alternative to food, feel free. But your best bet is to use a whole chicken, or at least a mix of bone-in, white and dark meat, for maximum flavour.

poaching_chicken

Brad

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Char siu bao

This is one of the best winter foods — sweet, fluffy bread, wrapped around a savoury, fragrant filling — especially when served with spicy chinese mustard. There are a lot of different kinds of bao (or mandu, or niku man, or banh) but the barbecue pork one is the archetype. They’re best eaten right away, but are good reheated, too, for breakfast or lunch. This recipe is a little bit labour intensive (sorry, not sorry), so if you want to make char siu bao, grab a bunch of friends, and start stuffing.

stuffed_buns — Brad, Wendy

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Steamed-bun (bao)

This is one of the simpler recipes for steamed-bun (bao) dough we’ve found. It produces a fluffy, sweet, nicely textured bao, and you can stuff it with the typical Chinese char siu, or the Vietnamese banh bao filling — or a shiitake filling. You can pretty much stick anything inside them, and it will be good. In Japan, in the winter, steam cabinets with a variety of bao, or man, are everywhere. When I lived in Yonago, there were almost always pork, curry, pizza, mushroom, and blueberry.

char siu bao

Brad, Eliseo, Wendy

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Yunnan mushroom salad

This simple salad always garners raves, and is a staple side dish in the Normandie house. Liang ban (涼拌) are literally just cool salads, vegetable or meat — with ingredients such as cucumber or chicken. This recipe has chili, as you’d expect from Yunnanese food. The combination of chewy and crunchy textures; and hot, salty, and sour flavours are irresistable. Yunnanese food isn’t as familiar in North America as the sweeter, more delicate, Cantonese-inspired Chinese food. It is often spicy and intense flavoured, and reflects the ethnically diversity of its province.

yunnan mushroom salad

Brad

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Chinese BBQ pork – char siu

Char siu, or char siew (fork roast: 叉燒), is sometimes referred to as BBQ or roast pork. It’s a Cantonese dish, and is probably a familiar sight, as the red meat hanging along side the duck in the window of Chinese restaurants. It’s savory, slightly spiced, and slightly sweet. Because it’s so easy to buy good char siu, you might not want to bother making your own, to use in noodle soup, or char siu bao (steamed buns) — or just to eat with hoisin sauce. But it turns out, it’s easy to make, and the char siu you make at home can be more delicious than the restaurant version. And you can control the sweetness — and red food colouring — to suit yourself! We recently made this, for a big char siu bao making party. It was amazing.
char_siu

Brad
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Sweet soy lotus root (kinpira renkon)

Kinpira renkon is classic Japanese. Salty, umami, and sweet; tender and crunchy — it’s one of the most delicious ways to eat lotus root. You can put it out as an appetiser, or as a side dish to a meal, or as a snack — it’s as addictive as peanuts, and people will keep munching on it. If you aren’t familiar with lotus root, the distinctive pattern of holes might make it seem exotic. But, cooked, it has a warm nutty flavour that’s more comfortable than strange.kinpira renkon

Brad

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Hoisin sauce

Hoisin is a common sauce used in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. You can think of it as more-or-less equivalent to barbecue sauce — thick, pungent, sweet, and fragrant, it’s often used in glazes for roast meat. Many commercial hoisin sauces contain nothing more than sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and starch (plus a list of additives) — and are flavoured with five-spice. You can quickly, and easily, make your own hoisin using with the ingredients of a typical pantry. Bonus, it’ll taste better than Lee Kum Kee, and you won’t have an extra bottle of rarely-used sauce cluttering your cupboard!

Brad
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