Category Archives: What’s New

Happy Year of the Monkey


Many people have asked me the meaning of the year of the monkey. Not being a Chinese astrologer I’m really not the person to advise on such matters. But yesterday, I received this beautiful photo of my friend and mentor Florence Lin, that provides a glimpse into the monkey personality. Florence is born in 1920, the Year of the metal Monkey. Her daughter wrote me, “Mom is doing slave work for us: slicing meat paper thin (for the special new year’s eve dinner). Her only pay is a scotch on the rocks and a few peanuts.” Seeing Florence with her Read More …

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Chinese celery

Chinese celery

In celebration of New Year’s, tomorrow’s Wok Wednesdays stir-fry is Julie Tay’s Singapore-Style Duck with Chinese Celery (page 131 from Sky). While you can certainly use regular “Western” celery, Chinese celery is worth taking the time to find. The flavor is much more intense and aromatic. Unlike Western celery it is never eaten raw because it’s not as tender. The Chinese like adding it to soups, stews and stir-fries. Celery is popular to eat for the lunar new year. The belief is that eating celery has positive meaning because the word for celery in Cantonese kun choi is a homonym for diligence. Read More …

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The best gift: a Wok


This holiday season if you’re wondering what to give, you can’t go wrong with a wok. At a time when we all want to simplify our lives, this essential tool is ideal for nine different cooking techniques: stir-frying, pan-frying, braising, boiling, poaching, steaming, deep-fat-frying, smoking, and even roasting. Instead of the expensive ten piece cookware set William Sonoma wants you to buy, for under $30, you can purchase a high-quality American-made wok that can do just about everything. When you give a wok you’re giving a piece of culinary tradition. For over 2000 years the wok has been the workhorse Read More …

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Thanksgiving Sides Stir-Fried


I read recently that the average person eats 4500 calories for a Thanksgiving meal! That’s obscene. Especially when you consider that most people consume 1600 to 2000 calories per day in the U.S.! I confess that I eat more than I should each Thanksgiving but I would guess my calorie count doesn’t even come close to 3000 calories. The entire Thanksgiving feast, from the rich appetizers to the decadent pies is high in calories.  But it’s my theory that the mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles, vegetable gratins, and corn pudding, ladened with butter and cream add unnecessary calories. My secret for a “healthier” Read More …

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Sandpot Stir-Fried Chicken Rice

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Tomorrow’s Wok Wednesdays recipe is classic Cantonese dish: Sandpot Stir-Fried Chicken Rice. Chinese sandpots are inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes from 2 to 6-quarts. They’re great for soups and braised dishes but the Cantonese love them for special one-pot rice dishes. A pot of rice is cooked and 5 minutes before the rice is done, a stir-fry of chicken and mushrooms flavored with ginger and a little ham is stir-fried until it’s nearly cooked, placed on to top of the rice and finishes cooking from the rice’s steam heat. The rich sauce, accented with ginger melts into the Read More …

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