Kung pao (gong bao) chicken

7 March 2014
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For once I have a recipe that will not cause a casual visitor here to wonder why this place is called chinese grandma. I may have four kids, but I’m no grandma; and I’m the kind of American-born Chinese that took Spanish in school and is rendered apologetically mute when a real Chinese grandma comes […]

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Tsukune (teriyaki meatballs)

9 July 2013
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Can you be in love with a recipe? I am in love with this one. My friend Edie came to visit Ohio and brought her cute laugh, her charming freckles (Edie and I prove that Asians can have freckles), her marvelously relaxing presence, and this insanely great recipe for teriyaki meatballs. We made two pounds […]

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Hurricane popcorn

18 March 2013
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I’d forgotten about hurricane popcorn, a ridiculously addictive Asian-fusion snack from Hawaii, until I saw the words “nori popcorn” online recently. And then it all came back – hot buttery popcorn, toasted sesame seeds, crisp bits of roasted seaweed and a bit of sugar – and I had to make it immediately. In college, I […]

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Kung pao (gong bao) shrimp

1 March 2013
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I love my mom. After a week away from the house, she does not for one second contemplate toast for dinner. She washes rice for the rice cooker, throws some frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water, scavenges bits of onion, carrot and cabbage from the near-empty refrigerator. After a fragrant stir fry with […]

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Chinese steamed sponge cake (ji dan gao)

8 February 2013
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Nobody goes to a Chinese restaurant for dessert. Dairy products such as cream and butter, so essential to pastry, were uncommon in China until recent years. Even today, ovens are not typically found in Chinese kitchens. Traditional Chinese treats are made on the stovetop – fried goodies such as sweet, chewy sesame seed balls made […]

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Chinese mini meatballs

28 September 2012
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There’s a whole genre of Chinese cooking involving ground meat – dumplings, won tons, steamed meat buns – that is full of juicy bite-sized goodness but is also preparation intensive. These cute little Chinese meatballs do away with the laborious wrapping of all those nuggets of filling and feature the meat for what it is […]

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Chinese braised beef noodle soup

19 January 2012
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For Chinese New Year – the year of the dragon begins Monday – I have one more recipe from my mom’s kitchen: a long-braised beef shank cut thinly and piled in a bowl of steaming noodle soup. It’s a celebratory meal for the new year, as long noodles symbolize long life, but it’s also comfortably […]

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Tea eggs

7 January 2012
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I’m relieved it’s January. I love the spirit of holiday season, but I’m thrilled to leave the holiday pressures of gifts and travel behind. Though there’s a lot of winter ahead, we are inching our way into longer days. I felt wistful as December closed, but January brings fresh hope. I enjoyed Christmas cookies for […]

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Chinese green beans

19 November 2011
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Chinese green beans may not seem like the most obviously perfect dish for Thanksgiving, but these really are. At a table laden with buttery bread stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes and candied sweet potatoes, lightly seasoned crisp-tender string beans make so much more sense than a heavy green bean casserole. My mom is famous for these […]

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Mom’s barbecue chicken

31 August 2011
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To many immigrant families, fusion cuisine is not a restaurant trend, it’s what’s served at home. Immigrants bring food tastes and memories from their old home country and combine them with available ingredients in their new home country. Sometimes they create faithful reproductions of traditional cuisine, but sometimes – as in the case of my […]

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