stir-fry

Spicy Hare stir-fry regional SiChuan style – Recipe

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Hunting season has begun with an abundance of local Wild Game choice; Hare, Pheasant, Goose, Deer and Wild boar to name a few. Since I returned home I haven’t had the chance to try on Wild Game cooking. The occasion did not present itself till recently, to buy Wild Game and fowl directly from a hunter-gatherers group. Almost two weeks ago I picked up a Wild Rabbit or Hare, already butchered in parts; front legs, back legs and saddle at my request. Otherwise, I would have to skin, gut, debone and butchering it myself well that is just too much 麻烦 ’mafan’ or trouble since I only could prepare it the next day.

For this dish, you can use the whole Rabbit or Hare saddle rack by chopping it up in pieces or cut out the loins and then cut at an angle in fine slices. After I had posted my photos I received questions how I deboned the Hare. Instead of writing out that process I found a good instructional video to watch. Newbies to deboning might find this to be helpful improving their technique and make this dish as a next meal.

Sichuan is one of the popular cuisines in China and has set ground in Europe with a growing group of gourmets aficionados, its famously know because of their hot spicy taste and the flavour of numbing Sichuan pepper (aka Mala Wei 麻辣未). However it is actually a variety of flavours combined together; spicy, salty, sour, sweet, bitter, smokey and flowery (Sichuan peppercorns). It is not rare that you will find all of these flavours in one dish.

Flavors of Chuan Cuisine — hot and spicy

A variety of seasonings are used in Chuan Cuisine, and each dish can be cooked differently. Therefore Chuan Cuisine enjoys a reputation for variety. As the saying goes it’s ‘one dish with one flavor and one hundred dishes with one hundred flavors‘.

The most common flavors of Chuan Cuisine are hot and spicy, “the five fragrances” (Fennel, pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, and clove), other mixed spices, chili and Sichuan pepper (made with prickly ash), and sweet and sour. Source: Chinahighlights

Ma Po Doufu, Kung Pao Chicken, Yu Xiang Rou, are favourites in and outside of China, next to the common and exotic ingredients are wild game dishes, in all Chinese cuisines and all over south-east Asia. This realisation came to me after the huge response I had on my post with the request to share my recipe.

Now you might have an idea what you are preparing to taste, eating spicy and hot will never be the same. Since it was a trial cooking with Hare meat I have not taken any photo shots during preparation or cooking, these will be added later. For more information on some of the ingredients with images, you can read this here.

Last Sunday I’ve picked up a frozen goose and another Wild Rabbit, the Goose to try a roast and the Rabbit in three different dishes. Coming up!

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style, dinner tonight

Enjoy!

Spicy Hare or Rabbit Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Who would have guessed at a food swap, having a great coffee talk I would end up joining wild game groups on the net and near the woods (no I don’t hunt). My curiosity has introduced me to otherwise unknown wild game gourmets of cooks and hunters.

It didn’t take too long to buy a fresh wild rabbit/hare directly from a hunter and before I arrived home I decided to prepare Sichuan style version. With the infamous dried peppers ‘Hua jiao‘ 花椒粒 and ‘La jiao’ 辣椒乾 (literal translation is flower pepper kernels and dried Sichuan chilli).

Both are very distinctive spices not easily replaced if you want to add a particular heat and aroma.

Hua jiao & La Jiao

Hua Jiao Flowerpepper and La Jiao Sichuan whole pepper

 

These ingredients are not common in supermarkets or deli stores. I have added the images for recognition. So you know what to search for at the Chinese supermarkets or Asian Toko’s.

Homemade Sichuan hot chilli oil is an infused aromatic oil, made of grounded Sichuan chilli peppers (la jiao) and flower pepper (Hua jiao) to flavour the oil together with other spices. Used as a finish in many stir-fries, swirled on top of noodle soups and an integral part in marinades for spicy appetisers.

A part of my last batch ended up as food gifts so I need to refill and stock up my own pantry soon. Making the oil is not for the fainthearted because using and stir-frying peppers will release a very pungent sensation and can irritate the skin and eyes.

Conveniently store bought works as well, you can find these at the supermarkets/Toko’s. Shop for the standard Chilli oil look for an aromatic Sichuan version on the shelf.

Aromatic oils; Homemade SiChuan hot pepper chilli oil and Sesame oil

Aromatic oils; Homemade Sichuan hot chilli oil and Sesame oil

 

Aromatic oils; Homemade Sichuan hot chilli oil and Sesame oil 

As with buying sesame oil, for advanced gourmet sleuths, they enjoy cooking with various oils for blending or cooking purposes. Buy small bottles once open use it quickly or it can turn rancid. Note of caution, sesame oil is not intended for frying, but only quick sauté for example to fragrance a dressing or sauce at the end of cooking.

Spicy Hare or Rabbit in Chinese Food Therapy

In my childhood rabbit meat was a staple ingredient and prepared by my parents in many dishes; stir-fries, stews, and herbal soups often paired with traditional Chinese medicine. The latter to make a tonic with the purpose of strengthening and nourishing the body. Cooking with Chinese herbs is about recuperating the body and rabbit meat is well known for its high protein content.

In Chinese dietic therapy; “According to TCM food, like medicine can be divided into the characteristics cold-hot-cool-warm. When applied correctly nutritional ingredients can help the patient to overcome an inclination to or even a manifested disease. Food used to aid and act as preventive part of a nourishing diet can achieve the same goal to strengthen recovery process”.

For more information on the use of tonics and food therapy, click on the links. Browse the internet for more in-depth TCM information and/or elaborate search on practices and belief system.

Rabbit or Hare meat is considered foods with warming qualities, high protein level and the temperature was cold. The more reason altogether to add spice in this wild game stir-fry dish bringing it all in balance.

A few days later I posted food pics of my Sichuan style cooked spicy hare dish just for fun between all other social media posts. The food pics picked up attention with a request to share the recipe and preparation method. Instead of a wild rabbit, hare, you can make this dish with other meats as well, for e.g. lamb would be very nice with the peppers, capsicum, and daikon (rettich/white carrot or aka daikon).

Here is the recipe link Spicy Hare stir-fry regional Sichuan style – Recipe.

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Easy week meal, quick, healthy and tasty shellfish in a velvety Thai red curry sauce. In the fridge, I had a container of 2 kg fresh mussels which I transferred into a big bowl to soak/rinse the mussels in water plus 2 tablespoons of salt. The mussels breathe, filtering water and expelling sand. I always take a few hours to soak and change water, by doing so the beard will come loose or a lot easier to remove and the sand sinks to the bottom. The changing of water in between soaks will prevent pouring accidentally sand into the cooking vessel.

Having prepared the main ingredient in advance I was contemplating between French style Moules Mariniere or Belgian style, although I have to admit at times I get confused in discussion regarding ingredients and distinction between the two. With or without cream, wine, herbs, flour etc. Recently I discovered a recipe where I noticed for the first time mentioning ‘Trappist bier’  in Moules à la bière recipe, mussels cooked with Belgian beer of course.

Alas, no beers but Pilsner (Lager) so skipped that for another night and since the weather changed, I opted for a bit of heat and spice instead. However, was missing a few ingredients, in that case you make do with what is available at hand. I had ran out of coconut cream and coconut milk, so I replaced that by  using coconut oil and a small packet of Alpro soya cream which was given as a sample. The alternative recipe is as shown with this post photo images, but for authenticity I will mention at the bottom how to cook using fresh herbs as lemon grass, coriander etc that would have complemented the Thai flavor and as decoration (chili too for heat and color).

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Improvising with a few ingredients I came up with a bit of heat and spice making it flavorful and nice 🙂

ทานให้อร่อยนะ! Thān h̄ı̂ xr̀xy na (than hi aroy na) Enjoy your meal

Thai Red Curry, Palm Sugar, Coconut oil, Soy cream

Thai Red Curry pase, Palm Sugar, Coconut oil, Soy cream

Coconut cream or milk would be preferred for taste and flavor, but soy cream was a good alternative ingredient to thicken the sauce slightly (soy milk is not an option!). If you don’t have palm sugar, regular white sugar works fine. At the background you just can see the bottle of oyster sauce (works as substitute), which I didn’t use, what is missing in this image is Thai fish sauce.

Coconut oil and red curry paste stir fried

Heat coconut oil, add red curry paste and stir-fry quickly, to mix and release flavors

Red curry paste with leeks and soy cream

Add the leeks, soy cream and stir till it starts to boil.

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed in a velvety sauce

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed in a velvety sauce

For a change I flat out had no herbs in my kitchen (no ginger, no galangal, no lemongrass even shallots were finished) so I used finely sliced leek instead. If you do have the aforementioned ingredients than chop it up finely, heat the oil in the wok add the ingredients and when it releases aromas add the red curry paste. Give everything a good stir than add the coconut milk to bind it all together, while rinsing off the mussels in a sieve , let it drip off all the excess water, add them into the wok. Put the lid on and let it cook steam for approximately 7-8 minutes till all shells have opened while giving it two good shakes in between. When done open the lid and tadaa! Stir around the sauce so it coats all the mussels. Wholladuh goodness,Thai red curry mussels, stir-fry & steam ! If you happen to have coriander at hand, chop a handful and scatter on top add finely sliced red pepper for color and a bit of fresh heat.

Cooking with fresh herb ingredients only intensifies the flavors, but even with the minimum I had this time it still was a great dinner. Serve on a plate with plain Jasmine rice and enjoy your Thai infused mussels.

Bitter gourd stir fry egg mix preserved & salted

Bitter gourd is very popular vegetable throughout South-East Asian cuisines, you will find this Asian vegetable in soups, stews, stir-fry dishes and healthy juice drinks. Bitter gourd aka Bitter Melon (or Bitter squash) is now widely available in Asian supermarkets and shops.

This uneven textured green vegetable is good for one’s health. Drinking bitter gourd juice is a great way to detox your body, while regularly eating bitter gourd as a part of your daily diet is known to prevent skin ailments and aids a glowing skin. It contains a lots of vitamins ad nutrients and is especially highly beneficial for diabetics for lowering down their blood sugar levels. The bitter taste boosts the immune system and while there is no accounting for taste, you are definitely into Asian food if you serve, cook and eat Bitter gourd often.

Cut in halve, remove seed & pith

Cut in halve, remove seed & pith

Cleaning Bitter Gourd

The secret of appreciating bitter gourd is to make sure you clean the bitter gourd well;

  1. Slice the gourd in half and scrape out all the seeds with membranes and pith (white sponge), leaving only a thin layer of white 2-3mm to the green skin of the bitter gourd and cut in thin slices.
  2. Or cut cylindrical and carefully clean by hollowing and removing the insides out for stuffing and further preparation.
  3. Parboil the remaining flesh (especially with larger cuts) to mellow its strong flavor for a few minutes only, then prepare for casseroles, stir-fries, stews or soups.

With young and smaller bitter gourds I skip parboiling but make sure I clean them well and season during stir-frying, to ensure that bitterness turns into a pleasant flavor adding to the final dish.

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From left to right: Salted Duck eggs, Chicken eggs, Preserved eggs

Various eggs

  • Century eggs 皮蛋 pídàn is a Chinese delicacy, preserved duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls. The traditional method of processing time depends on the method and may take several week up to several months. At present a simplified approach of soaking the eggs in a chemical bath for 10 days speeds up the aging process while wrapped in plastic. We buy both interchanging century eggs wrapped in rice hulls or in plastic packs for convenience, it can be cooked and often used in cold dishes as salads too.
  • Salted duck eggs 咸鸭蛋 xián yā dàn or 咸蛋 xián dàn (salted eggs) is another typical Chinese food preserve made by soaking the duck eggs in brine or in damp salted charcoal. You do not see them often anymore, eggs covered in a thick layer of salted charcoal paste, mostly they are wrapped in plastic containers or vacuum packed. We often eat them as a side dish with congee (rice porridge) or as an ingredient in baking, rice dumplings or stir-fry dishes. You need to cook salted duck eggs before further preparation in cooking or baking.
  • Eggs are a common staple food and one of the most versatile ingredients used in cooking. The most commonly used bird eggs are chicken, duck, goose. In more refined gourmet dishes the two opposites in egg sizes, quail eggs or ostrich eggs may be used.

Bitter gourd stir fry egg mix preserved & salted

While stir fried bitter gourd with eggs is a common dish found in many local South-East Asian cuisines, the origin of this dish is infused by leftover rather than a particular native dish  since we have eaten many bitter gourd egg stir fry versions. The ingredients are more or less the same the used seasonings may differ by locality and cook. A simpler version will be linked here soon.

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Sliced bitter gourd, three eggs mix and chopped garlic

Scroll down for this recipe as shown in the image.

 

Note: a word of caution while bitter gourd is highly nutritious, the vegetable should not be eaten or given to allergy sufferers, pregnant women and young children:

  • If you happen to be allergic for melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe (cucurbitaceae plants aka gourd family) you better avoid preparing or eating bitter melon.
  • For pregnant women the vegetable contains laxative component which may cause premature contraction and lead to miscarriages. Contact your doctor first.
  • For very young children, since the plant insulin is very effective in keeping blood sugar levels down it might cause the child sugar levels to drop.
  • For diabetes, you can add bitter melon to your diet but MUST check you blood sugar level and consult your doctor if in treatment with sugar medication, because bitter melon can cause your blood sugar levels fall dramatically if consumed too excessively.

Flat beans stir-fry with ground pork & bean sauce, recipe

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Flat beans are in season now for € 0,99 p/kg, fresh bright green, smooth skin, crunchy and string less, flat beans belong to the same group as runner beans. Flat beans here in The Netherlands/Europe are cooked, boiled or steamed, although I do not know many cooks who will use this unless they have a steamer appliance or steamer-oven otherwise too much hassle. My favorite way of cooking is stir-frying, the cutting up takes more time than cooking in a wok or saute pan/flatware.

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Day before I had prepared fresh aubergines with SiChuan chilibean paste and I only needed half a package of ground pork meat, so I had some leftover ground meat to be used.

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When I refer to soybean paste, I realized it can be confusing especially since I have 4 kinds of bean sauce. Three as shown in the picture above; the first one is a Taiwanese brand, the two glass jars Chinese and the fourth one missing is a Thai version (a photo will appear in another dish soon). Now for tonight’s dinner I only used bean sauce, the middle jar but if I would be cooking with chicken or dou fu I would mix bean and hot bean sauce together for an even stronger flavor.

Flat beans stir-fried with ground pork & bean sauce

To speed up cooking even more, you could zap the bean in the microwave for 5-7min (depending microwave power), we like a crunchier texture so never pass beyond 7 min otherwise even stir-frying will make them wilt even more. With cutting up the vegetables, cooking the rice (2-3pers) and stir-frying this dish dinner is served with 15- 20 minutes tops.

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You can substitute flat beans for runner beans and make this a vegetarian dish by omitting ground meat, variation are endless. You can even create a spicier version by mixing both the bean and hot bean sauce or adding a chili paste to enhance spiciness and leave out the bean sauce entirely. This recipe gives you a base to mix and match and experiment further to create your dish.

Rice with dried anchovies, quick stir-fry for lunch

With a few ingredients it is simple to make rice with dried anchovies in a tasty lunch, a quick stir-fry and your good to go. I had some leftover rice, dried anchovies and last bit of tempeh kering (Indonesian snack) to add an extra crunch to the dish. Have to make a new batch of Tempeh Kering or other dishes with tempeh, I am trying my hand to make tempeh at home. As soon as that experiment works I will post my findings accompanied with a dish.

Dried anchovies are versatile in Asian cooking, they are either used for broths like in Japanese, Korean soup and stews, appetizers. In Chinese home-cooking often combined with fatty dishes as in steamed Chinese style meatloaves. Or deep-fried called Ikan billis it accompanies Nasi Lemak, coconut infused rice wrapped in banana leaves. One of many favourite Singapore/Malaysian dishes. Sambal belacan ikan billis is another one, sambal belacan is a spicy chilli paste which can be added during cooking or eaten as condiment often served with Laksa. The more talk about food and we’re wandering away from our stir-fried rice.

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As shown on the photo, these are all the ingredients to start the stir-fry some leftover rice, egg, shallots, garlic, shrimp sauce/paste, chilli-soy paste, soy sauce with  Chinese cooking wine and a heated wok. For the photo I scattered some celery leaves on top, but it is tastier  with coriander and green onions unfortunately all finished it sure was time to shop for groceries too.

Rice with dried anchovies

A quick and easy stir-fry, an assembled dish of various ingredients it has literally a bit of China, Indonesia in it you’ll find the recipe in the box below.

Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

A request from TinYee for “What’s for dinner?”, how about a quick stir-fry tender chicken with broccoli florets flashing out of the wok onto a plate. Let’s not forget to write down the Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe and post it please :-).

If you’re cooking for a family or friends this is a healthy and tasty dish to serve on the table. Chinese stir-frying and Asian cooking is all about setting up for flash cooking.

Chicken Broccoli stir-fry recipe is an easy budget-friendly dish and a crowd pleaser. All the ingredients can be easily substituted with other meat cuts and greens in season. Pork, lamb, beef (even fish, see note) with vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, Pak Soi or Chinese cabbage. Versatile and ideal to mix vegetables of what is left in the refrigerator and needs to be finished

 

Quick, easy and economic no leftovers of ingredients, whether you cook Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry for 4 persons or make 4 meals ahead for your weekly meal plan. Start with the preparation, cutting up the ingredients in bite-size pieces. Season the thinly sliced meat quickly set aside. blanch the vegetables and quickly into an ice-bath. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Cut up broccoli florets or other vegetables in equal bite-size pieces. Blanch the vegetables, short and quickly into an ice-bath. This will stop the cooking process. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Chicken broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

Tip:

Check the fridge if other ingrediënts can be chopped into the dish too. This help clearing and finishing into a colourful and healthy cooked meal. When stir-frying always add the hardest/toughest ingredients first and soft ingredients last into the wok.

Another Chinese stir-fry recipe is Flat beans with ground pork and bean sauce or try seafood suggestion Thai Red Curry Mussels Recipe.

Cooking notes:

  • This recipe is suitable to adapt for Keto, Paleo and diabetes diet.
  • For soy sauce gluten free options:
    • soy sauce choose tamari sauce (wheat free) as the closest substitution
    • Bragg liquid amino (purist would say nay because it’s not made with a natural fermentation but chemical process instead)
    • Coconut amino (a healthy soy substitute, made from coconut sap. It has a salty, slightly sweet flavour and is rich and dark in colour)
    • fish sauce (made from fermented fish/seafood although it is different it tastes as good). If there are none dietary restriction I often use both in cooking.
    • home-cook experiment, make your own instead. Will follow up soon with a discovery post.
  • Cooking oil
    • Olive oil use light, extra virgin is too heavy and will carry an after taste.
    • Sesame oil is only used for flavouring at the end, not intended for stir-frying, it burns too quickly and becomes bitter.
    • Coconut oil is mostly used in Keto and Paleo cooking.
  • Chicken seasoning powder in principle should be gluten free or use a vegetable powder as substitute
  • For vegan diet:
    • use fresh tofu
    • dried compressed soy flavour tofu
    • Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
    • Okara, when I make fresh soy milk the leftover soybean pulp is called Okara. Very nutritious and versatile to make pancakes or burgers.
    • Quorn
    • You can also buy a large variety mock soy meat packages at Chinese supermarkets.
  • Instead of meat, you can also substitute with fish fillets too. Coat the pieces in corn flour and fry them first, take out, continue with the recipe and add when almost done.
  • Cornstarch is what I standard use, next tapioca starch and tapioca flour or arrowroot.
  • Mushroom sauce (vegetarian) and oyster sauce are both used as extra flavour seasonings or omit.