Although I lived in China for two years, I am always embarrassed to admit that I didn't learn to cook many Chinese dishes while I was there. There were too many delicious and cheap restaurants to make cooking and washing dishes even vaguely appealing. However, I wanted to make sure I had some favorites under my belt, so I arranged for our ai-yi (housekeeper) to show us how to make some classics: eggs with tomatoes and baby bok choy with mushrooms and oyster sauce. These recipes are simple and quick, as well as perfect for the student budget. The only crazy ingredient involved is the oyster sauce, which can be found at Whole Foods or an Asian market. It's also delicious drizzled on steamed broccoli or stir fried bean sprouts with a fried egg on top. In a pinch, you can omit the oyster sauce and season the vegetables with a little soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. My best advice to you is to eat the dishes hot hot hot -- Chinese food just doesn't do well when served cold. The quantities below serve two people. You might also want to make some rice to go along with everything. I recently discovered that Trader Joe's sells brown rice frozen that cooks in 3 minutes in the microwave.
A special thanks to my friend Chrissy for being a wonderful Chef #2 last night!
Egg and Tomato
Staples: salt, pepper, vegetable oil (peanut or canola). Olive oil is OK too in a pinch.
- 4 eggs, whisked with a fork
- 1 t dry vermouth
- 1/2 t sugar
- 1 c chopped tomato, about 2 plum tomatoes
- optional: MSG
Baby Bok Choy with Mixed Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce
Staples: vegetable oil (peanut or canola). Olive oil is OK too in a pinch.
- about 8 baby bok choy, washed well and cut in half or into quarters wedges
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 lb mixed mushrooms, I used a combination of oyster and button
- 1 1/2 T oyster sauce