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When it's too hot to cook: 小瓜蒸红椒

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skylee

Over here your 小瓜 is called 翠玉瓜. But Chinese veggie names are confusing. (But I suppose this also happens elsewhere: same thing, different names.) I think it tastes too bland. Mixing it with red pepper does not seem helpful. I think it would make more sense to add the ham in the veggies than putting it in the rice.  But I agree that cured meat/sausages are usually cooked in the rice.

 

Your knife appears in most photos. It seems you do like it a lot. I think I used to walk past that knife shop (in Yau Ma Tei, isn't it?) a lot when I went to see movies in the nearby cinematique, but I never thought of buying a big knife there.

 

I think I should buy a cooker like yours. But buying and keeping rice is troublesome.

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Alex_Hart

Looks yummy, abcd! I'm also in the summer blues. My favorite meal back home during the summer was sliced tomatoes, fresh sliced mozzarella with garden basil. Douse it in some high quality EVOO and serve with a nice loaf of bread = perfect summer meal. Haven't found my perfect summer meal in China yet!

 

The 小瓜 is called 西葫芦 here, I think. Sometimes the same market has different names for the same thing. 

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abcdefg
13 hours ago, skylee said:

Your knife appears in most photos. It seems you do like it a lot.

 

That knife is my pride and joy; it's the star of my kitchen. What a pleasure to use! Bought it last month in Hong Kong. Here's the background story:

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54306-my-new-hong-kong-knife-菜刀/

 

13 hours ago, skylee said:

I think it tastes too bland.

 

You're right that this dish is simple and bland 清淡, with only garlic and ginger as spices. If one wanted it to be more complex and have more forward flavors, steaming some sliced mushrooms 香菇 and minced bird's eye chili peppers 小米辣椒 with the other vegetables would help with that. This time I was striving for something really easy and basic, so I omitted them.

 

I sometimes make it with sliced carrots instead of red bell peppers and they do provide an additional note. Also, a small dish of dipping sauce that is half light soy sauce 生抽 and half aged vinegar 老陈醋 is a nice touch. Can mix a small pinch of sugar 白砂糖 and a small pinch of MSG 味精 into that sauce to make it pop.

 

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Putting the sausage or cured meat in with the rice lets it's flavor cook into the rice. There is also a secret bonus: namely a thin, delicious light-brown crust forms on the bottom, right along the non-stick pot. It has so much flavor that it's like desert.

 

A rice cooker really does come in handy. It's a versatile appliance. I use it to make tea eggs, especially these little quail eggs, as described here: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54342-quail-tea-eggs-鹌鹑茶叶蛋/

 

@Alex_Hart -- That sounds like a fine Caprese salad. These aged Shanxi vinegars 陕西老陈醋 do a pretty good job of standing in for an Italian Balsamic. The one I'm using now is 10 years old. (Age on the side.)

 

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Alex_Hart

Haven't tried buying the old ones; will need to! Have been meaning to also try the local ones. Shaoxing itself is rather nearby, and I'm told a worthy place to visit. Hopefully next semester.

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