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Yellow Curry

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Yellow curry is another kind of Thai curry, commonly found in the Thai restaurants in Los Angeles here. Comparing with other Thai curries, yellow curry is normally creamier and richer. This is because coconut cream is being used instead of coconut milk. However, I preferred watery curry instead of a creamy one, so I used the coconut milk this time.

Potato is a must-have ingredient to be added in the yellow curry as I heart potato for life. Who doesn’t? Other than potato, I put in okra (lady’s fingers), carrot and red chili peppers as well to give it a more colorful version.

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Hakka Stir Fry Taro Dumpling “Suan Pan Zi” (客家炒算盤子)

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We love taro a lot and we were thinking to make the Pork Belly with Taro which Eric wanted to eat all these while. But it requires too much of work and then it was often put aside. While I was researching about the dish, I stumbled across this long forgotten Hakka recipe Stir Fry Taro Dumpling or Abacus Beads “Suan Pan Zi”(客家炒算盤子). I was so excited as I didn’t have this for years. So I have decided to give the recipe a try. Obviously Pork Belly with Taro was put aside again.

Since my father side is Hakka, that’s why I know of and have tried this dish. We often get to eat various traditional Hakka dishes whenever we go back to “Semenyih”, our old home town (老家) in Malaysia. My uncle is a great cook and he will always prepare a big meal, like 8-10 dishes sometimes double the dishes because we have so many relatives visiting.

In Chinese the dish is called 炒算盤子 “Chao Suan Pan Zi”, literally means Stir Fry Abacus Beads. The taro is steamed and prepared into dough form then shaped into round balls resembling the beads on the Chinese Abacus, an old calculating tool before calculator.

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Braised Napa Cabbage and Mushrooms (台式白菜滷)

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The Braised Napa Cabbage and Mushrooms, or more commonly known as “白菜滷” in Chinese word, is a Taiwanese style vegetable stew. I learned this dish from my Taiwanese coworker as she always likes to cook it. I think it is so much different to our style of cooking and I decided to give it a try. The main ingredient of the dish is the napa cabbage. You can add other ingredients to the pot, some common ones are carrots and all sorts of mushrooms. You can also add pork strips for a more complete pot dish to your meal, or opt out for a vegetarian style.

Eric did not get used to eat this dish the first time when I cooked it, because he didn’t like the cabbage being cooked to that soft texture. But after a couple of tryouts and changes to the recipe, now we enjoy this dish very much. Sometimes we will cook a pot and just goes with white rice, that’s how good it is. I used some dried shrimps and lots of garlic to sauteed the vegetables, that will add more flavors and also a nice fragrant to the dish. Seasoning is also very important to create a tasty sweet broth. Do not overcook the napa or it will turn out too mushy, so be watchful of the time and heat.

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Russian Borscht Soup/ Luo Song Tong (羅宋湯)

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If you ever visit a Hong Kong style western café, you will know once you are seated, the waiter or waitress will serve you with a hot cup of their daily special soup. This is a common practice in most Hong Kong style cafés, in fact Hong Kong people like to drink their soup before the meal. So don’t be surprise. The two popular soups that are usually serving are either the cream of corn (something like Campbell soup) or Luo Song Tong (羅宋湯) / Russian Borscht Soup, this is what I like the most.

I love the taste of Luo Song Tong (羅宋湯) , it is a hearty tomato based vegetable soup that is is quite similar to our ABC Soup actually (in Patrick’s previous post). The main difference is the Luo Song Tong is much more intense in flavor as the soup base is cooked with beef bones or beef stew with lots of tomatoes and all kind of vegetables such as carrot, onion, potato and celery. I always want to try to make this at home. So this has been a good timing since I removed my wisdom tooth and I couldn’t eat too much of solid food, I’ve made a pot of yummy Luo Song Tong for my weeknight dinners with some greens.

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Buddha’s Delight Stir Fry Vegetables (羅漢齋/ 齋菜)

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It had been a fun and busy long weekend filled with luncheons, dinners and friend gatherings for the celebration of Tiger Year. On the other hand, I had a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner with my lovely boyfriend. Everything was just great. Here once again, I wish everyone a good start in the Chinese New Year and wish all the couples a happily ever after (有情人總成眷屬).

On the first day of Chinese New Year, I’ve prepared the well known vegetarian dish so called the Buddha’s Delight or lo han jai (羅漢齋). It is traditionally consumed by the  Buddhist monks who are vegetarians. However this dish has grown popularity over the years and now can be found in most Chinese restaurants for serving. For Buddhists who are not solely vegetarians will also practice vegetarians on the first and fifteenth day of the month based on the lunar calendar. Therefore this vegetarian dish has become more and more popular and eventually become a traditional dish for the Chinese New Year.

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Lama Kitchen is a food and cooking blog fills with savory food with great cooking recipes and ideas for those of you who love food and home cooked meals. Read more