Our friend Xindi invited us over for dinner a couple of weeks for a traditional Chinese meal. She wanted to make some of her favorite dishes and one new recipe! For a change I got to play sous chef extraordinaire. I chopped vegetables (typically Aaron's job) and took out ingredients. Xindi did all the real work measuring and tasting to see if things how things were progressing.
On the menu this evening was cucumber salad, "carrots," and cod with a ginger sauce over bok choy. The recipe for the "carrots" and cucumber salad came directly from Xindi's mother, so I was at a loss when she asked me to read the recipe to find out how much of any ingredient to include. She translated it for us, luckily! Phew now that it's been translated I can tell you that by "carrots," Xindi means radishes. Though she assures me that in China they call radishes "carrots."
Another funny thing is that Xindi had to call her mother while making the cucumber salad and "carrots." This in itself is not funny, I call my mother all the time when I'm cooking. However, Xindi's mother convinced her that we Americans don't care for sesame oil or Chinkiang vinegar. So, all she added to the vegetables was salt, msg, and a dash of sugar. Aaron and I found this hilarious and were finally able to convince her that we love both of those commodities.
Anyhoo...here are the recipes! My apologies, Xindi's mother doesn't measure anything when she is cooking (kind of like me) and so everything is stated as "a little." We can make that more positive and say season "to taste."
"Cucumber salad: (my mom doesn't measure when she cooks. Everything is measured by "a little")
- Buy a couple of the long and skinny cucumbers
- Cut the cucumbers into bite size pieces
- Add a couple of cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- Add a little MSG, a little sugar, a little salt, a little sesame oil, and a little vinegar.
- Taste as you go. There is no harm in tasting a few bites along the way.
Here's a link to the Steamed Fish and Bok Choy. Trust me, it is worth it. I am not a big fan of fish, and I loved this!
Sadly, I can't find the recipe for the "carrots" but it was essentially the same as the cucumber salad except with more sugar. All I really remember is smashing the "carrots." Sous chefs get the best job! Just remember "carrots" here means radishes.