Category Archives: Seafood

Steamed Fish

One of the simplest and purest way to cook fish is to steam it. It works best with the freshest fish you can find and with limited amount of time and perpetual laziness.

All you need is salt, ginger, green onions, and a splash of Chinese cooking wine.

I didn’t even have a steamer. I put a plate inside a very large cast iron pan filled with about half an inch of water but then it was a pain, literally, to remove the plate after the fish is done. I do not really recommend it, but if you have no choice, feel free to improvise with whatever pots and pans you have. Just make sure that the rim of the plate you use doesn’t block steam from rising with in the pot, or pan.

Step one, cut the ginger and green onion into strips.

Step two, salt the fish.

Step three, sprinkle the ginger and green onion strips onto fish.

Step four, splash some Chinese cooking wine on top. Not too much, you don’t want a drunken fish. Ha. Bad. Yes.

Step five, steam for about 10-15 minutes. I start counting time when the water begins to boil and steam begins to leak out of the side of the pot.

Step six, don’t burn yourself taking the plate out.

So hard right?

You can really taste the fish this way, and the aromatics are just right. Bon appetit!

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Cucumber Tuna Salad on Romaine with Roasted Walnuts

Hm, what to do when you’re hungry and your only source of protein is a can of tuna? And you want to eat healthily, simply, but still yummily?

You get chopping. That’s what you do.

For a doze of Omega 3’s, vitamins, and protein, try this salad. Or rather, salad duo, since the tuna salad sits on top of some shredded romaine in a lemon and cracked pepper dressing.

Super easy. Fairly quick. Ultra healthy.

Cucumber Tuna Salad on Romaine with Roasted Walnuts
serves 1

2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp. for tuna salad
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked pepper, plus a little more for the tuna salad
enough onion salt to taste
1/2 can flaked tuna in water, drained
1/3 c. finely diced English cucumber
1 very small carrot, shredded
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

  1. To roast the walnuts, either use the microwave (a couple minutes on high and stir every 30 seconds, until fragrant) or the oven (400 degrees for 5 minutes, stir once, until fragrant). Set aside.
  2. Mix the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. olive oil and season with cracked pepper and onion salt to taste. Set aside.
  3. Mix tuna with the remaining olive oil, cucumber and season with cracked pepper and onion salt to taste. Set aside.
  4. Place shredded lettuce on a dinner plate and spoon the tuna salad in the middle. Sprinkle the shredded carrots around the tuna salad and drizzle the dressing over the romaine. Finally, sprinkle with roasted walnuts.
  5. Toast to your health!

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Happy Birthday Franklin!

Today is my brother’s birthday. We celebrated on Sunday with his church friends and a much-loved soccer ball cake. My mom and I cooked a lot of food for dinner today. It was a feast, as I’m sure my stomach will happily tell you. Here are some pictures, enjoy!

This is This is Braised Smoked Pork Shank. We purchased the pork shanks partially cooked and smoked, and braised it in soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and green onions. The soy sauce is probably why it turned out so dark, but looks notwithstanding, the meat was tender and wonderfully smoke infused.

This is Tofu with Fish Sauce. The tofu is panfried until crisp and then briefly cooked in the sauce. The sauce has nothing to do with fish. It’s simply a version of a sweet and sour sauce with Sichuan peppercorns.

I’ve never seen vegetable Asian noodles before, but today at the supermarket Franklin requested them so we bought it. It’s flavoured with spinach and reminds me of spinach pasta. This is Stir-Fried Vegetable Noodles with ground pork, mushrooms, and zucchini. The Chinese traditionally eat noodles on birthdays because the noodle’s length symbolizes a long life.

Mom’s specialty. Simply stir-fried shrimp. See it also here.

Baby bok choy with dried salted shrimp. It’s refreshing to have a simple vegetable dish in a multi-course meal.

This is a cold dish and makes a great appetizer. It’s blanched long beans tossed with soy sauce, black vinegar, and smashed garlic. Very addictive.

Chinese chives with squid. Both main ingredients are fresh-tasting and complement each other. The squid is tender;  the chives are vibrant. I realized that I may possibly like squid more than shrimp, perhaps because there is no shell to peel. Lazy me. 😉

The last dish is just peanuts roasted in the wok. This dish usually accompanies potent Chinese liquor such as Maotai. We didn’t drink with our dinner but included this dish because mom wanted to make eight dishes. Eight is an auspicious number in the chinese language because when pronounced, the word sounds somewhat like the word “to become rich.” So it wouldn’t do to have only seven dishes. Gotta have eight for my brother. The peanuts are wonderfully salty and nutty because of the low heat and long toasting time. Use high heat the peanuts will be burned. My mom rushed making this dish because we all wanted to start eating already.

What do you say? Isn’t Franklin a lucky boy?

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Filed under Chinese, Dinner, Meat, Seafood, Side dishes, Vegetables

Shrimp Pasta with Lime for Lunch

You know what? I became six years old today. I skipped down the road with my six-year-old little sister. It was a sight. I’m not sure if I still skip as gracefully as I did back then, but I do know that I have to skip slower for Carolyn to keep up.

I did feel younger momentarily. You should try it one day. Just do something completely childish, like skipping down the road, yell “EWW!! COOTIES!!!”, or something.

Then I played frisbee with the kids, and Carolyn, as bad luck would have it, got hit in the nose with the disk. So the poor dear got a nosebleed and I helped her to calm down and clean up. Then she said later that I looked like a mom.

I felt older momentarily. Much older than I should feel. But Carolyn is okay, and after she ate a fudgsicle, she was better than okay.

Then we had lunch, which was pasta. Pasta with shrimp and broccoli, and a sauce with onions, garlic, and lime. I used whole wheat penne. Hey, gotta get your fibre right? And I added some cooked mussels, out of their shell, just because we happened to have it.

Shrimp Pasta with Lime
serves 4, for lunch

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. whole milk or cream
1/2 lime
salt and pepper
1 small crown broccoli, broken into florets
1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled, and the shell reserved
8 oz. penne pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the shrimp shells. Boil for a couple minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove the shells and discard. Add the pasta.
  2. Heat a large sauce on medium high, add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Stir and let cook for 2-3 minutes, until starting to become soft. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
  3. Ladle in about 1/2 cupful of pasta water and reduce slightly on medium heat.
  4. Add the milk, then squeeze in the lime juice.
  5. Slide the butter into the sauce and stir in the shrimp. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, add the broccoli to the pasta pot with the pasta still in it. If you test a piece of pasta, it should still be hard in the middle. Boil all together for another 2-3 minutes or until broccoli is crisp tender.
  7. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the saucepan. Toss well to coat. Season again.
  8. Turn off the heat but keep tossing until the sauce is mostly absorbed. Serve.

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Filed under Lunch, Seafood

Mama's Shrimp

Would you like some steaming hot shrimp? Meet my mom! She’ll make you some. She’s nice like that. 🙂 You’ve already seen her hands at work in making dumplings. She has awesome hands. Hands that held and rocked her babies. Hands that learned to cook simple and gorgeous dishes like this one. Hands that swept and wiped and chopped and stirred and poured and petted and touched and loved. We kids grew up because of our mother’s hands.

I am so grateful for that.

She makes this dish whenever she has cravings for seafood, since she’s the only one in the family crazy about seafood. This is how she always makes it.

The exact proportions are unknown to me, and probably unknown to her as well. Everything varies each time, much like her dumplings, and much like most other things she cooks. I’ll try it on my own one day and tell you if it’s anything close.

She uses green onions, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorns. The oil is heated until very hot, then the aromatics are added, then the shrimp. The shrimp is cooked over high heat and very quickly, thus retaining their vibrant color and sweet juices.

And no soy sauce. Really. Just a bit of salt.

Nothing to distract us from the unique flavour of the shrimp.

She used tiger shrimp today and the results were especially spectacular. I ate more than I normally would. Each shrimp had the perfect crisp and crunch to it, and the flesh was oh so sweet. She finished the dish with a bit of chopped cilantro, which never fails to lift a dish.

As beautiful to eat as it is to look at.

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Lime-Infused Scallops with Garlic, Ginger, and Cilantro Pan Sauce

Wow, that’s a mouthful. But it does describe the dish very aptly. Let me just say on the get-go that I am not crazy about seafood. I like it well enough I suppose. I eat it every once in a while. I cook it every once in a while. That’s about it. I don’t actively seek for it. I never have cravings for it, like I do for crackers, unless it’s oyster crackers, haha. That was bad.

This tasted good. Simple as that.

It was tender, fragrant, bright, and has all the sweetness of fresh scallops. It tasted good. Although honest to goodness I loved the sauce more. It’s made by deglazing the pan and adding a big knob of butter. Butter is great. It smooths out the sauce and coats the scallops with a beautiful sheen.

I love butter.

This is a great dish to make for your sweetie on a date night in. Pick a lovey-dovey romance film. Have yourself a dinner and a movie. 😀 Or if you love seafood, unlike me, and pamper yourself. Have a glass of dry white wine while cooking. Have some more while eating. You will be happy. I promise.

Lime-Infused Scallops with Garlic, Ginger, and Cilantro Pan Sauce
serves 4

1 lb. sea scallops, preferably the largest you can find (the size will determine the cooking time)
6-8 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1/2 c. flour
salt and pepper
1 lime, cut in half
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 c. chicken stock
2 Tbsp. butter

Slice half of your garlic and half of your ginger to fry to garnish the dish. Mince the rest. Wash your scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. Squeeze the juice of half a lime onto the scallops to coat.

Mix the flour, salt and pepper (as much as you think is right, a pinch of each did it for me). Dredge the scallops in the flour mixture.

Heat 1 Tbps. oil in a large skillet on medium high. Fry the slices of ginger and garlic until golden brown. Remove and set aside. Drizzle another Tbsp. oil in the pan and add the minced garlic and ginger. Sear the scallops on medium high heat. I did mine for about 2-3 minutes a side, but mine were about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Adjust the cooking time for your scallops. The key is to cook them until they are opaque and firm when pressed slightly in the centre. Do NOT over do it. Or else you would have some expensive rubber on your hands. Not good. Do this in batches, if you need to, or add more oil if you need to.

Remove the scallops from the pan. Add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the caramelized bits on the bottom. Cook for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat. Slide the butter in and stir until melted. Squeeze in a little more lime juice and add the cilantro. Spoon over the seared scallops.

I served mine with sauteed onions and fresh soy beans. Don’t forget the wine.

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Tuna Sandwiches for Lunch

My brother was requesting tuna sandwiches. Whining about it really. So I had no choice. Here it is.

The addition of finely chopped celery and sweet Vidalia onions gave the tuna salad texture, and the garlic gave it just enough flavour punch. The lemon juice perks it up. Use freshly ground black pepper, if you can.

Tuna Sandwiches
makes 2 sandwiches

1 can light tuna, in water (I used flaked tuna just because that’s what I had on hand, feel free to use white tuna)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
3 Tbsp. finely chopped Vidalia onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
a couple squeezes of lemon juice
Lettuce leaves
4 slices sandwich bread (we like whole wheat)

Chop, mince, drain (make sure you drain the tuna well). Mix all together. Season to taste and add lemon juice. Take into account the salt in the mayonnaise and in the canned fish. Don’t over-salt. Toast the bread (or not) and layer with tuna mixture and lettuce leaves.

Enjoy your lunch! 🙂

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Filed under Lunch, Seafood