Thursday, December 9, 2010

Comfort Food

This Hong Kong style (Cantonese) dessert soup is a heartwarming and healthy treat that can be easily prepared at home. It requires only a few simple ingredients and takes very little efforts. It is so easy to make you don’t even need a recipe, just boil everything for a while and there you have it. Chinese people often make a pot of this sweet soup on holidays, or as a delightful warm-me-up remedy in those cold winter days. You can adjust the amount of sugar and ginger according to your own taste. I love the spice flavor of fresh ginger. It is a perfect dessert after eating fried rice for dinner.  

Sweet Potato Ginger Dessert Soup  
Recipe by Leslie, 2010  
Makes 4 servings 

You need:  

1  large sweet potato, peeled, cut into bite size  
1  (1½ inches) fresh ginger, thinly sliced    
6  cups water  
1/4  teaspoon salt  
1/2  cup light brown sugar   ( or rock sugar )  

1  medium soup pot, about 4-qt   


Put sweet potatoes and water in a pot. Cook on medium high heat and let it come up to a boil; add salt, ginger and sugar, stir well. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 20-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender. Serve hot in the winter and cold in the summer.    


People in the old days made fried rice to get rid of old food. Nowadays people plan ahead and make extra rice to save for the next day to make fried rice. As long as you have cold cooked rice, you can stir-fry it with anything you like. Although simply adding eggs and green onion would be fine, you can also add vegetables, shrimp, chicken, beef, salty fish, ham, sausage, or barbecue pork. My favorite is chicken fried rice with lots of green onion. But I also like shrimp and Chinese barbecue pork, the more the better. When it comes to fried rice we just can’t seem to get enough of it. It is indeed a tasty comfort food. To make it a healthy meal, I always add some vegetables to the fried rice. Over the years I’ve tried napa cabbage, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, bean sprouts, sweet peas and carrots. While they all taste good but some are not ideal for the rice. I don’t like my fried rice taste too sweet or become soggy if it sits too long. Choices, choices, everybody has their own version of fried rice recipe... and here is mine:

Chicken Fried Rice 
Recipe by Leslie, 2010  
Makes 4 servings  

You need:  

1  store bought rotisserie chicken, need 2 cups bite size meat  
4  cups refrigerated cooked rice, break up large clumps      
1  cup chopped green onion, for garnish  
1½  cups chopped green beans  
1  medium yellow onion, chopped  
3  large eggs, beaten, add a little bit of salt  
2  tablespoons low sodium soy sauce   
1  tablespoon aged (dark) soy sauce  
1  tablespoon oyster sauce  
1  teaspoon sesame oil  
Olive oil, salt and black pepper  

1 medium skillet   
1 large frying pan or wok    


Heat a skillet, add some oil. When the oil is hot, cook the eggs, stirring until they lightly scrambled but not too dry. Remove and put aside. In the same skillet, add some oil, saute the beans and onion until tender, season with salt and pepper. Stir in chicken and mix with the veggie. Remove from heat and put aside.  

Prepare a frying pan on high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the rice, stir-fry quickly, season with soy sauce, aged soy sauce and oyster sauce. Add eggs, chicken and veggie to the rice, quickly stir-fry for a few minutes until the rice is heated through. Taste the rice and add a small pinch of salt if needed. Add sesame oil, toss to combine flavor. Remove from heat, spoon the fried rice out onto a serving platter. Spread green onion on top. Serve hot. Delicious!


Dried shrimp and sausage fried rice was a more traditional recipe created by people who had very few choices of food in the old days. Since they did not have refrigerator back then, meat and vegetables were preserved with either salt or dehydrated. Preserved mustard, salty fish, dried shrimp and sausage were the popular choices and readily available. In fact, you can find them in large Asian markets in Chinatown, pretty pricey too. They look a little strange but taste quite good once you get used to eating them.

No comments:

Post a Comment