May 9, 2011 · Sichuan Cuisine · (No comments)


Adapted from AllRecipes.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds
  • arugula
  • avocado


  1. Bring the quinoa, vegetable broth, and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing by whisking together the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, and curry powder in a mixing bowl. Stir in the cooked quinoa, red onion, and raisins; season to taste with sea salt. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator several hours until cold.
  3. Stir in half of the toasted nuts immediately before serving. Spoon quinoa over washed arugula. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over top, layer with avocado slices and drizzle with olive oil if desired.



May 4, 2011 · Sichuan Cuisine · (No comments)

After more than a month without posting (and an unknown few weeks coming up!), I am using this post simply to document a few highlights from the past month or so before they are lost forever.



Roasting root vegetables

For quite a while this spring, the only good looking produce in the barn of the nearby organic farm was sunchokes or jerusalem artichokes. While experimenting with some different recipes, I found one for a delicious Root Vegetable Hash. In addition to the sunchokes, the hash included white potatoes and sweet potatotes. Served over arugula and topped with carmelized onions and fried eggs, the dish was good, but ultimately too sweet. If I were to make it regularly, I would roast the sunchokes first (they cooked more slowly than the two types of potatoes) and either reduce or eliminate the sweet potatoes as the sunchokes themselves are sweet. While eating, we spiced it up with Tabasco which definitely cut down on the sweet. Overall, it was a good change and reminded me how delicious breakfast can be for dinner.

One of the best dishes found in my sunchoke research was a simple Cauliflower and Sunchoke Soup. Like a few soups I’ve tried lately, this one has very few ingredients as was quite easy to make. The flavors of the cauliflower and sunchoke blended well and needed little seasoning. The soup will definitely be on the menu a couple times next spring.



At Ian’s request (and my pregnancy cravings), I have been cooking more dishes from my culinary course in Chengdu. In particular, I have successfully made Guo Ba Rou Pian a couple times. I was concerned about the flavor of the dish as I cannot find pickled red chilis in any of the

Our balcony lettuce

Frequently in Chengdu, our ayi, Xiao Wang, would stir fry fresh greens (often spinach) with nothing more than a little garlic and salt. To supplement a vegetarian Chinese meal of Mapo Doufu and corn and peppers, I repeated her technique but added a splash of black vinegar at the end. The dish was delicious and I would feel comfortable serving it at any meal.



Due to its freshness, flavor and price, arugula has become a staple in our refrigerator. Now that the farmer’s market has begun again, I am buying a large bag at least once a week. My favorite way to use it in a combination hot and cold salad. Whether tossed with hot rice, pasta or sauteed vegetables, the arugula manages to stand up enough to retain its crisp texture but wilt enough to blend in. With a little vinaigrette, there is nothing better for lunch or dinner. Yum!

May 2, 2011 · Sichuan Cuisine · (No comments)

From The Kitchy Kitchen.


1/4 cup olive oil, plus two tablespoons
2 onion, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
2 large heads of cauliflower, trimmed of green leaves and coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)

1 lb sunchokes, peeled and cubed

Fresh-ground black pepper

8 cups chicken broth
4 cups water (if needed)


Peel and cube the sunchoke, coat it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 425 F oven for 30 minutes, or until soft and deeply browned. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add a 1/4 cup of olive oil, add the onion, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chile powder, chile flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper, and lastly the garlic. When very soft but not browned, cauliflower, sunchokes and chicken broth. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender or using an immersion circulator, blitz the soup until luxuriously smooth. Add water if it feels too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning.


May 2, 2011 · Sichuan Cuisine · (No comments)

From The Year in Food via Tastespotting.


1 pound sunchokes, 1/2″ dice
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, 1/2″ dice
2 small sweet potatoes, 1/4″ dice
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 ounces baby spinach or arugula (about 4 handfuls)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
grated Parmesan, to finish
salt + pepper
1-2 eggs per person


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the sunchokes and both potatoes in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Salt and pepper generously. Roast for about 25 minutes, until cooked through but still firm.

While the vegetables are roasting, caramelize the onions. Warm a large skillet over a medium low heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the onions and stir to coat them evenly in the oil. Saute them, covered, until they are soft and somewhat jammy, stirring occasionally – this should time perfectly with the roasting vegetables.

When the vegetables are ready, remove from oven and combine with the onions. Add the spinach or arugula, along with the thyme, and stir until the greens are wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Keep covered and warm while you cook the eggs.

Top with fried eggs and fresh parmesan.


February 3, 2011 · Recipe, Sichuan Cuisine · Comments Off on Baozi and Mian

While I love using the recipes from my course at the Sichuan Culinary Institute, often the idea of ingredient shopping and preparation is too much. To get some of the flavors of Sichuan quickly and easily, I’ve turned to making baozi (steamed buns) and variations of mian (noodles).


Noodle cart in American Garden

While living in Chengdu, I ate some type of noodle at least 3 times a week. Xiao Wang would make mian whenever we didn’t have leftovers for lunch, Ian and I would head to the local noodle shop nearly every weekend, and we caught the cold noodle cart every time it passed in front of our house. There was nothing more delicious or satisfying than spicy noodles.

In my cooking course, we learned to make both Dan Dan Mian and Hong Tang Nuirou Mian. Both dishes take a little preparation to make thebases, but the bases can be stored in the refrigerator and used at a moment’s notice. I make both when I can, but my go to noodle lunch is a variation of Xiao Wang’s noodles.

Preparation could not be more simple.

  1. Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add a good amount of salt and noodles. (The noodles can be anything from ramen style to udon to basic spaghetti). Just before noodles are cooked, add a couple of leaves of lettuce (romaine is best) per person. RESERVE cooking water.
  2. While noodles are cooking, put a bit of each of the following into each serving bowl: soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, sesame oil, chili oil, sesame paste, garlic and sugar- all optional or to taste.
  3. Place noodles on top of flavoring ingredients and pour a ladle full of cooking water into bowl.
  4. Top with chopped scallions if possible.
  5. Serve and have each person mix his own bowl until uniform.


Baozi preparation takes more time and planning than mian, but is not difficult and results in completely wonderful little buns that can also be frozen and resteamed whenever needed. In Chengdu, there are as many types of baozi fillings as you could possibly imagine. For a fortunate few months, we had a baozi stand that would pop up outside of our house every morning and evening. The stand sold about 4 types of extra large baozi and an equal number of mantou (steamed bread rolls) variations. It was nearly impossible to walk by without buying at least one each. The following is a recipe for the dough and two ssample filling. However, the filling could be nearly anything that sounds good- BBQ pork, spicy beansprouts, diced chicken and vegetables, etc.

Baozi Dough

  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T dried yeast
  • 500 g  / 4 C white flour
  • a little vegetable or peanut oil


  1. Add sugar and yeast to 250 ml/1 C of lukewarm water. Leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes until frothy.
  2. Place flour in a mixing bowl. Pour in yeast mixture and miz well, adding about 50 ml/1/4 C of lukewarm water.
  3. Knead dough until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  5. After dough has doubled, punch it down to its original zie. Leave for 20-30 minutes until it has risen again.
  6. After second rise, turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes.
  7. To make baozi: rip off a small piece of dough (about the size of a large lime). Roll the dough into a ball and then flatten with the palm of your hand. Flatten until  dough is about 3 mm thick. Try to make it thicker in the middle, thinner around the edges. Place a couple T of filling in center. Pinch sides of baozi together and pinch the top.

Mushroom Filling

  • about 4-5 handfuls of mushroom
  • about 1/2 a head of cabbage
  • soy sauce
  • salt


  1. Finely mince the mushrooms and cabbage. You can use a food processor. The mince should be very fine.
  2. Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a wok. When hot, add mushroom and cabbage. Cook until well done and all moisture has evaporated.
  3. Add soy sauce and salt to taste. Because the baozi dough is bland, the filling should be overly salted for balance.
  4. Follow directions above to fill baozi.

Steam baozi for about 20 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce of soy sauce, black vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil and sugar (all to taste).

If you have extras, freeze in a large freezer bag and steam for 10-15 minutes to reheat.