It was one of those rare occasions where I had no place to go so my brother decided to make dinner for everyone. We went to the market that afternoon and picked out the seafood we wanted to eat, brought them back and my brother, his father-in-law and the amah proceeded to do the cooking for our evening feast.
Steamed scallops was a huge hit and my brother made sure there was plenty to go around. My son who is a self-professed non seafood over coudn’t stop eating these. Steamed with a little bit of soy sauce and minced garlic, the scallops themselves were succulent and fresh not requiring much additions whatsoever to shine.
Don’t ask me what type of fish this was because I don’t know. It was steamed with scallions and ginger and doused with a soy sauce and scalding oil dressing and enhanced the tender fish perfectly.
My sister-in-law’s dad cures his own pork belly in Nanjing, where he’s from. He tells me the temperature there during the winter is perfect for curing meats even though essentially, the meat is only salted and then air-dried for a month. No nitrates are used and the meat is not smoked. When ready to eat, the pork belly is sliced thinly and then steamed before serving.
Clams in black bean sauce was another of my son’s favorites. I’ve been seeing a pattern here and I think he prefers mollusks to any other types of seafood.
Stir-fried chives with scrambled eggs and chili turned out delicious. I’ve never had it this way before and will definitely make it a point from now on to prepare it this way at home. A few pinches of salt is all you need. The chives and chilis do the rest.
Several vegetarian options were offered this evening starting with a simple cold tofu drizzled with sesame oil, soy sauce and scallions.
Watermelon rind was prepared two ways — as a salad tossed with a Chinese vinaigrette, and also, stir fried. I preferred the salad variety as the strips of watermelon rind were crunchy while the stir fried ones turned mushy from the heat
Stir-fried chilis were delicious. There was a sight kick to them, but not enough to kill your tastebuds. It was a welcoming change to the other simpler vegetables we had that evening such as cucumber salad tossed in fresh minced garlic and salt.
Our last dish is stir-fried Coba, or Water Bamboo with pork. I’ve never seen it in the US because its importation is prohibited, but it is swollen crisp white stem of Mongolian wild rice grown as a vegetable. Its texture is a cross between bamboo shoots and burdock root.
Though the dishes were plentiful, portions were not ginormous so we ended up pretty much devouring everything. There is nothing better than a home-cooked-meal, especially one I didn’t have to make.