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Making ribs and potato salad on the Fourth of July!

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Ah, the Fourth of July. The big holiday to celebrate our independence from the British – and I’m in China. Well, though I am far away from home, it is that distance that makes me go so far to learn how to cook! I was craving delicious BBQ ribs and potato salad, which is typical Fourth of July fare. I had never made it before, but I did a little bit of research online, made a few modifications, and came up with a couple delicious recipes! Here is the product of what I spent yesterday afternoon cooking:

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Oven baked pork barbecue ribs and potato salad, heaven

The labor altogether probably took me about three hours, but it was well worth it! Here are what you need to make both the potato salad and the ribs.

Ribs Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 kg of pork ribs
  • Bottled BBQ sauce (I used Heinz)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Ground red pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Salt

Potato Salad Ingredients:

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 white onion chopped fine
  • 1 bunch of celery chopped fine
  • 1 big teaspoon of mayonnaise (The more the better usually)
  • One big teaspoon of mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

Let’s get to how you make these delicious dishes! Let’s just start with the potato salad:

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Potato Salad:

To make the potato salad, start by peeling and chopping your potatoes into chunks. Next, boil the potatoes in a pot for 15-17 minutes. Drain into a colander and let cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, chop the white onion and celery fine. Once the potatoes have cooled a bit, combine the potatoes with the chopped celery and onion, the mustard, the mayonnaise, and the salt and pepper. Mix together until the mayonnaise is well distributed. I only used one big teaspoon for my salad because I don’t like excessive mayo – You can even double up on it though if you want it a little creamier. Put it all into a bowl and wrap it in plastic, and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour to chill it. Delicious!

Next, let’s move onto the ribs.

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To make these mouthwatering ribs, start by combining the brown sugar with the salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, and the brown sugar in a bowl and mixing it all together. Pour it out onto a tray or some kind of surface and spread it out. Wash and pat dry the ribs with some paper towels. Then start by dipping the ribs into the rub, and be sure to get each rib well coated on both sides with the rub. Cover your cooking tray in aluminum foil. Once all the ribs are coated, pop them into the oven at 150 degrees celsius (300 Fahrenheit) for 2 hours. When they are done, pull them out and remove the foil and then cover them with your bottled barbecue sauce. Brush them with a sauce brush to get them well coated. Place them in the oven for 5 more minutes, remove and brush the other side, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then remove the ribs, let them cool for a few minutes and enjoy this delectable Fourth of July treat! Feel free to check out the recipe video for both of these dishes from my YouTube channel below!

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Chongqing noodles: Spicy and delicious!

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Today while walking around Dafen my girlfriend Maggie and I stumbled upon a restaurant from Chongqing, a city about 1500 kilometers northwest of Shenzhen. The laoban was serving Authentic Chongqing noodles so we decided to have a try. I ordered ma la xiao mian (麻辣小面, pungent and spicy noodles) and Maggie ordered paigu xiao mian (排骨小面, pork rib spicy noodles)

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Chongqing noodles, a famous noodle dish from the city of Chongqing.

The laoban was a very nice guy. He allowed us to film him cooking the noodles and even sat down with us and had a quick chat. In the video, he boils the noodles and adds them to the soup broth. He then adds a number of things. He adds some chili powder, lajiao, a little more broth, green onions and cilantro. Maggie ordered paigu which has meat in it, so he added some pork ribs to the dish as well.

Upon trying these noodles for the first time, here are my thoughts. The noodles were not too chewy, which I really like, very easy to eat. The sauce and dish overall is pretty spicy. You can taste a lot of chili oil in there and the bite you get from the lajiao is not a normal spicy. It has almost a citrusy sour flavor to it. It sort of reminds me of hot pot, but it’s not really the same thing. The greens (green onions and cilantro) do a lot to enhance the look and flavor of this dish as well.

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That’s all for today’s entry but be sure to check out the video for this afternoon’s lunch on my YouTube channel:

How to make 猪肉包子, Chinese steamed pork buns.

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Today my girlfriend Maggie and I did an authentic Chinese recipe for 猪肉包子, or pork steamed buns. If you recognize the name, baozi, the first article on this blog was written about niurou baozi from the streets. We decided to make some at home, but with pork.

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A bunch of our baozi, before we steamed them!

 

The recipe was quite a bit of work, but the end result was well worth it. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large leek (chopped)
  • 1 kilogram ground pork (You can use less, this is enough for about 30 baozi
  • Salt (About 1 tsp)
  • Soy sauce (2 cap fulls)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of water

That is everything for the baozi, but we also made a nice pungent dipping sauce to go with it which is very easy to make and only has 3 ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of garlic chopped
  • Soy sauce
  • White vinegar (1 tsp)

To see how to make this recipe, check out the video on my cooking channel!

 

 

Chaoshao: A sweet and delicious Chinese pork dish.

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Today I felt like writing about one of my favorite Chinese foods. The Chinese are celebrating labor day weekend, so traffic in the city is out of control. I’m on the 21st floor but all I can hear are mass numbers of horns honking from the street below.

But that won’t stop me from updating the blog! Today we returned to our same laoban from last week, the one that makes killer 猪杂汤粉, pork noodles. We ordered our usual, the noodles, but also ordered a few other things as well. From a separate street stall we ordered 20 RMB worth (~$3.09)of some chaoshao, 叉烧, one of my favorite Chinese pork dishes.

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A picture of the chaoshao we ordered at 20RMB, ~USD $3.09

 

Chaoshao is basically Chinese style roast pork, covered in an incredibly sweet and flavorful sauce. The sauce contains things like soy sauce, spice powder, honey, ginger, garlic, etc. The pork meat is soaked in this marinade for many hours, and then slowly roasted over a cooking fire. Upon tasting this, your flavor receptors immediately go off. It is a great combination of salty and sweet, nice tender meat that isn’t dry.  This meat is seriously, OUTSTANDING and I am sure could win awards back home. It’s so good we even combined it with our noodles.

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Adding chaoshao to our pork noodles for optimal flavor.

From our noodle laoban we also ordered one other dish: 牛筋丸, or niu jin wan, also known as beef meatballs. The meatballs are 1 rmb each, at a combined cost of 10RMB for all of them (~$1.54)

The meatballs were absolutely outstanding. In China you will often find street vendors selling Chinese soups with vegetables where you can pick the things you want to add from trays (Vegetables, meats, etc) and have the laoban boil them together in a soup for you. Usually the meatballs and fish balls that you will find at these stands are processed factory foods with who knows what in them. I only order meatballs from this particular laoban because I know she does them fresh and from real beef. They were excellent.

When factoring in the cost of our entire meaty and delightful lunch, it only clocked in at 50 RMB, or about ~$7.72.

I’d like to leave you today with Episode 6 from my YouTube cooking show: The Tomato Herbs and Cheese Toasted Sandwich:

Chang fen: A cheap, delicious and exotic breakfast in China.

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This morning I felt like going down the street to my local laoban (The boss of an establishment in China, in this case the boss of a restaurant) and ordering a bit of Chang fen.

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Chang fen (肠粉) is a very common breakfast in China. It is made with rice paste (Rice ground up in a machine and mixed with water) eggs, meat, and vegetables. The way they cook it is by steaming it in a multirack steamer. They crack an egg on a cooking tray, mix in the rice paste, spoon in some ground pork, a couple vegetables and send it in the steamer for a very short time.

When it comes out of the steamer, they pour on top a sauce which is a mixture of soy sauce, oil and water and garlic. When served, I recommend adding a dash of chinese chilis, lajiao (辣椒) to give it a little more kick and flavor. When I came in the restaurant with my girlfriend this morning, the laoban gave us 2 complimentary drinks of dou jiang, 豆浆, or hot soybean milk!

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dou jiang, 豆浆, hot soybean milk. Sweet creamy and delicious!

The soybean milk is probably the most common drink at breakfast for Chinese people. It can be served hot and cold, and is very refreshing either way.

When you bite into chang fen for the first time, it might seem a bit plain. It is a breakfast food that can be done very poorly, or very graciously! I have had terrible chang fen, and mind blowing chang fen. This restaurant is up there with high quality, but not quite the best. However, the cost is just amazing. One order of chang fen at most places in the city runs for about 4 ¥, or ~.64 USD! I got two eggs with mine, so mine was 5¥, about .80 cents. For the two of us it was only 9¥ total, ~$1.50! The soybean milk was complimentary but normally costs around 2¥, .32 cents.

To describe the taste, think of rice. The base of this dish is a rice paste, so think of rice but in sheets instead of rice grains. The texture is different, but the flavor is a bit plain and the same as eating white rice. This is why they have the sauce served with it to give it more flavor, and also adding lajiao or cilantro on top is a good way to bring out the flavor.

Overall I definitely recommend trying chang fen if you are in China, or even recommend it as a daily breakfast if you live here. It is cheap, delicious, and relatively healthy compared to most foods on the street. I’ll leave you with a recipe for two bean spicy beef chili, which is episode 5 on my cooking show (The lighting in this episode is not very good, I apologize for that, but in all episodes after the lighting issue is fixed 🙂

Adventure and good eats await!

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Hello there guys, and welcome to my blog! My name is Ian Young. I’m 26 years old and from America, but am currently living in the city of Shenzhen located in the province of Guangdong in China. I have been living in China for two years now and since I came here, my life has been transformed. I developed a keen interest for travelling and cooking, and in recent months have decided to take my skills and curiosity to the internet. I started my cooking show The Laowai Chef a few months ago now, and already have 12 episodes on youtube. You can see my channel at this link. Please check it out and subscribe!

Today is officially the first day of my life as a digital nomad. I will be posting lots of pictures and recipes of some of the delicious foods I cook and updating this blog regularly, and every day as well. I will also be doing lots of videos about China and other countries in Asia, and eventually the world. I have planned an upcoming trip to go to Thailand this July or August so I am currently making preparations and planning to film and document the entire journey.

That’s it for today, but I’d like to leave you with a picture (I apologize for the poor quality. I am soon getting a quality film camera so all camera and video related quality issues will be soon amended!) of some spicy pork burgers that I once made, which was the first episode of my cooking show The Laowai Chef, featuring myself (Ian Young). Have a great day!

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