Sunday, June 5, 2011

Recipe #65: Mustard greens with dried scallops (干貝芥菜)

Mustard greens have a mix of spiciness and bitterness. As such, I usually don't eat a lot of it. However, the large-sized Chinese mustard greens are the only variants that I will eat. Not only because there is a hint of sweetness in the bitterness, but also that the dried scallop improves its taste.

In Chinese folklore, mustard greens is often called the "vegetable of long life." As such, this dish is often served at Chinese New Year or formal gatherings. This is because the festive dishes are elegant, which the scallops add to. In restaurants, there is usually no scallops, so most Cantonese restaurants will offer mustard green.


1. 1 bunch mustard greens
2. Dried scallops, soaked in 1/2 c. water
3. 1/2 tsp. light color soy sauce, 1 Tbs water
4. salt to taste
5. 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
6. 2 tsp. cornstarch


1. Soak dried scallops in water.
2. When scallops are soft, rub them apart, keeping the water (with the aroma of scallops).
3. Slice mustard greens into large chunks, and boil them till tender and drain.
3. In a saucepan, add cooking oil. When it is hot enough, add mustard greens.
4. Quick stir, then add salt and sautee.
5. Trans vegetables to plate.
6. Mix light color soy sauce, water and cornstarch well.
7. Pour the water (with the scallop aroma) in fry pan, sprinkle a little salt, and add cornstarch mixture, and bring it to a boil. It should result in a thick gravy.
8. Pour scallop gravy on mustard greens, serve hot.


1. A brief boil is adequate; you don't want to cook it too much, or the tenderness will be gone. The color will also be worse.
2. The reason for the boil is to remove the bitterness, which makes the taste less palpitable; I recommend not against frying it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Recipe #64: Stuffed luffa (絲瓜) with dried scallops

Taiwanese-born people, especially girls, are known to love luffa. Not only for its texture, but also for its skin-beautifying properties. In warmer weather, eating luffa can help balance the body. As such, one cannot grow so much pimples.

In the event where pimples do appear, it is a common practice to cut off a luffa, and attach a bottle to collect the sap, which would then applied to the face a bit every day. Even if there are a lot of pimples, they would be quickly cured.

One of my mother's college roommates had a bunch of pimples. She used this method; not only did her pimples disappear, her skin also became soft and fine, and also very beautiful. In the heart of Taiwanese girls, the luffa is a legend.

Of course, the luffa is used in many recipies...


1. 2 dried scallops
2. 8 oz. ground pork
3. 1 large luffa, peeled
4. 3 dried mushrooms
5. 1/2 egg white
6. 1 tsp. minced ginger
7. 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
8. 1/2 tsp. salt
9. 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
10. 1/2 Tbsp. sake or cooking wine
11. 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch


1. Cut luffa into 1" sections.
2. Soak dried mushrooms and scallops in separate bowl.
3. Chop mushrooms when soft, and rub scallop apart.
4. Add mushrooms, egg white, ginger, green onion, salt, and sake into ground pork, and mix well with hand.
5. Remove the center of the luffa (keep a small part of the bottom), and fill with pork mixture.
6. Arrange stuffed luffa on plate, and steam for about 15 minutes.
7. Mix soy sauce and scallops with 1 Tbsp. water and steamed juice, and bring it to a boil. It should result in a thick gravy.
8. Pour the gravy over luffa and serve.


1. Round (not the ones with jagged edges) luffa works best with this recipe.
2. This is one of the higher-class dishes, so it is usually served at parties with important guests. Otherwise, the scallops are not included. Speaking of which, dried scallops are often sold in Japanese medicine stores.