The weather and I have a bone to pick. It’s the middle of July and it’s hot but the sky is cloudy and it rains. My allergies are totally acting up. Not cool weather, not cool. My sister and my mom wanted me to make dinner today so I spent about 2 1/2 hours in the kitchen with my baba. It was SO hot. It was pretty neat because I had my stir fry cookbook out and I was telling my baba the stories about the people in the book. It was interesting to me because he related to most of them. He also told me cool stories about my uncles which I found super interesting. He usually doesn’t talk to much about his life before he came to the United States. I think it’s mostly because he probably thinks I don’t find it interesting. I was telling him about a story of a lady in the cookbook and how she grew up with 11 brothers and sisters. I told my baba that she said there were never any leftovers with so many people. He told me that during that time, food was scarce. He said that he barely had any rice to eat and a lot of people starved to death or had severe cases of malnutrition. He said he was extremely lucky even though he was never full at the end of every meal. When he told me that story, I felt like I was connected to his extended family who still live back in Hong Kong. It’s difficult to hear stories like that and not feel like I’m extremely lucky to have been born in the United States. Sometimes I take my world of opportunities for granted and it was such a treat to hear him talk about people back where he grew up. I have only been to China and Hong Kong once but that was when I was 3 or 4 years old. I can’t remember much so I haven’t seen his extended family. As I grew up, some of them would come to visit but not many. A trip to the United States was too expensive. I don’t know how to make a lot of Chinese dishes. I can make beef hor fun or chow fun and shrimp and eggs. Those are traditional dishes whereas char siu is more Westernized. I can make egg rolls too but I find that to be Westernized as well. It’s true that you don’t know authentic Chinese cooking unless you know a homecook. Those are the treasures because I can tell you from experience, the homecook Chinese dishes are the best ones. The whole chop suey and kung pao chicken is not very appealing to me. I prefer my parents cooking versus Chinese takeout dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I love honey walnut shrimp but I still love homecooking the best. My uncle is a chef at a Chinese restaurant and I’ve heard funny stories from my cousins about his lack of ability to be a homecook. His style of cooking is more of the restaurant Chinese food whereas my grandma’s cooking is very traditional and homemade. To this day, she is still the best cook I know. She can make anything taste good! 🙂
Here’s the recipe..
Stir Fry Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms (adapted from Grace Young)
1/4 cup chicken broth (if possible get it at an asian supermarket! those are more flavorful than the american kind)
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, washed and strings removed
1 1/2 cups diced shiitake mushrooms (cut each mushroom into four pieces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a small bowl, combine rice wine with chicken broth and soy sauce.
2. Heat a frying pan or a wok over high heat. Do not use medium high. Stir fries requires exact temperatures to get the best results.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan or wok and swirl it to cover the entire pan/wok.
4. Add the minced ginger and stir fry for about 10 seconds. Do not wait longer or else your ginger will burn.
5. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for about another 40 seconds until they’ve soaked up the oil.
6. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the mushrooms and stir fry for another 40 seconds. When most of the broth mixture has vaporized, add in the last tablespoon of oil, sugar snap peas, and sprinkle in the salt. Please do so as it is written in order.
7. Stir fry snap peas until they turn bright green. It shouldn’t take long. I like my snap peas to be crunchy so a minute should be good. If you leave them on for longer than 2-3 minutes, the skins of your snap peas will look like an old persons skin. Very wrinkly and kinda gross since it’s food.
Enjoy the recipe! It’s very authentic but restaurant flavorful. I love it because it doesn’t take very long to make this stir fry. Altogether it probably takes about 5-10 minutes. It makes an excellent side dish. Even my baba said it was good! He made me leave it on the wok longer because he was like “IT HAS TO BE COOKED!” I laughed because when I first thought it was done, it tasted just like my mom’s. That’s how I knew it was good, haha. Thanks for reading 🙂