Category Archives: What’s New

How to cut a mango in under 30 seconds

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In New York, every summer the “mango ladies” are out in full force. They’re located downtown, mainly around Union Square and on Broadway. Each woman has a little shopping cart that’s been set up with a makeshift table and it’s amazing to watch them cut a mango in less than 30 seconds. If you want, you can season your mango slices with hot sauce, artificial lemon juice or chili salt. The mangoes are either the Tommy Atkins or Kent variety –not Ataulfo my personal favorite. Still it’s a great healthy snack, rich in beta carotene and vitamin C. It’s an Read More …

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Chinese Trinidadian Chicken with Mango Chutney

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“Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge” was a fascinating cookbook to write because my research included not only traditional stir-fries but how the Chinese diaspora managed to stir-fry in Peru, Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Malaysia, South Africa, Burma, India, and even in the Mississippi Delta. One of my favorite interviews brought me to Trinidad to meet Winnie Lee Lum. Her cooking integrates local ingredients she has learned from living in Trinidad for over forty years with the traditional Chinese stir-fry technique. Winnie explained to me, “Chinese food in Trinidad reflects the Creole and Indian influences. Just like the people Read More …

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Chinese Broccoli (aka Gai lan) Shoots

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Yesterday, while shopping in New York City’s Chinatown I bought pristine Chinese broccoli shoots (aka gai lan miu). Snow pea shoots are the more famous Asian greens delicacy but no one seems to talk about Chinese broccoli shoots which are equally special.The shoots look identical to Chinese broccoli except that they’re more slender, dainty and about 5 to 6-inches in length. Regular gai lan stems can be as fat as 3/4-inch thick with coarse leaves a little similar to kale. In contrast, the shoots have skinny stems no thicker than 1/4-inch and leaves which are like young spinach. Be sure to Read More …

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How to Make Fresh Rice Noodles

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This week’s Wok Wednesdays stir-fry is Chicken Chow Fun. The main ingredient is the fresh rice noodle known in Cantonese as haw fun or hor fun, and in Mandarin shahe fun. The ivory white noodles with their tender, slippery and slightly chewy texture are my comfort food. When I was a child my father made a special haw fun noodle soup with soy sauce chicken, Chinese greens and homemade chicken broth that I adored. My cousin Kathy was famous for stuffing the noodles with stir-fried cha siu, bean sprouts, scallions and cilantro. Her recipe is in “The Wisdom of the Chinese Read More …

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Mr. Cen’s Hand-Hammered Wok

Here is the photo of the "woks stacked in an iron tower." My favorite detail in this shot is the soccer ball nearly hidden among the woks. photo credit: Alan Richardson

Mr. Cen, the Shanghainese wok artisan whose incredible hand-hammered woks grace the cover of “The Breath of a Wok” is slipping from me. For years I have dreaded this fate. Since 2004, I have sent friends and fans of my books to visit Mr. Cen in Shanghai. Inevitably, the experience would be the highlight of their China trips. Everyone brought home woks and gushed with stories of how extraordinary it was to witness Mr. Cen and his brother fashioning beautiful woks in their primitive little shop. Sometimes a few years passed between visits. With news of each encounter I was Read More …

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