Exotic Chinese mushrooms (Quick Bites)

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Stir Fried Wild Mushrooms With Snap Peas In Oyster Sauce

Six servings

I love the flavor and textural contrast of meaty mushrooms and crisp snap peas, particularly when drenched in a sumptuous oyster sauce. If snap peas are unavailable, use snow peas and decrease the cooking time briefly.

½ pound shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed and lightly rinsed
½ pound oyster mushrooms, stems trimmed and lightly rinsed (if unavailable, substitute shiitake mushrooms)
½ pound cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and lightly rinsed

Seasonings
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2½ teaspoons canola or corn oil
1 pound snap peas, ends snapped and veiny strings removed, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon rice wine or sake
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Oyster Sauce (mixed together)
3½ tablespoons good-quality oyster sauce
1½ tablespoons rice wine or sake
1¼ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ cup chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

  1. With a sharp knife, cut all the mushrooms into quarters, depending on the size.
  2. Prepare the Seasonings and set by the stove.
  3. Heat a wok or heavy skillet until very hot, add 1 teaspoon of the oil and heat until hot. Add the snap peas, minced garlic, rice wine or sake, and salt, and toss lightly over high heat about 1½ minutes, until the peas are just tender (snow peas will take slightly less time). Remove from the pan and arrange the peas around the outside of a serving plate.
  4. Reheat the pan and the remaining 1½ teaspoons oil until very hot. Add the Seasonings and stir-fry about 10 seconds, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and toss lightly with a spatula over high heat about 1 minute. Add the premixed Oyster Sauce and toss lightly to thicken it, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Scoop the mushrooms and sauce onto the circle inside the snow peas. Serve immediately.

Copyright Nina Simonds “A Spoonful of Ginger” 2008

Healthy Chinese Cabbages (Quick Bites)

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Hearty Cabbage Casserole

Classic Chinese Stew 

Six Servings

This soup is a simplified version of a Chinese classic Lion’s Head Stew. Four cabbage outer leaves are reserved and placed over the top of the soup. Once cooked, the browned leaves are said to resemble a lion’s mane.

6 cups chicken broth (If using canned, use low-salt)
½ cup rice wine or sake
4 slices fresh ginger, smashed with the flat edge of a knife
1 medium head Chinese Napa cabbage (about 1 to 1 ½ pounds )
1 tablespoon olive or corn oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a knife or cleaver
1 pound lean ground pork

Seasonings:
1 ½ cups minced scallion greens
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine or sake
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste

  1. Cut away the stem of the cabbage and discard. Remove and reserve four of the outermost leaves. Cut the remaining cabbage in half and cut the leaves into 2-inch squares, separating the leafy sections from the stem pieces.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or a covered casserole, add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat until very hot, about 30 seconds. Add the garlic cloves and stem sections cabbage sections and stir-fry for 30 seconds over medium-high heat. Add the rice wine and toss lightly; cover and cook for 1 ½ minutes. Uncover, add the remaining cabbage sections and the chicken broth. Partially cover, and once the soup reaches a boil, uncover, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. While the soup is cooking, put the ground pork, and Seasonings in a bowl. Mix with your hands to combine the ingredients evenly, then shape into 6 plump oval-shapes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a wok or a skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and heat until very hot. Place the meatballs in the pan and sear until golden brown over high heat; then turn them over and sear on the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the meatballs in the center of the cabbage soup. Cover with the four reserved leaves to create an attractive presentation. Replace the lid and put the casserole in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Gently stir in the soy sauce and salt to taste and ladle into soup bowls. Serve immediately, taking a little cabbage and broth with each serving.

© 2008 Nina Simonds

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.

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