Recipe: Sichuan Lamb Shanks

~ This is Day 229 ~

In the past 3 weeks, I think I’ve only seen the sun once, or twice… a mere glimpse, before it disappeared back behind the clouds. When the weather is cozy, I like to make braised lamb shanks, Sichuan-style!

On average, one lamb shank per person. Also depends on how big your Dutch oven is.

The Night Before

  • 2-4 lamb shanks
  • Kosher salt

Using a sharp paring knife or cake tester, poke slits in the shanks. Generously season your lamb shanks with kosher salt and place in a container with a lid, or plate and have it covered.

At 4pm-5pm

  • 4-inch ginger
  • 4 stalks scallions
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 TBS doubanjiang
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Bouquet garni
    • 1 TBS fennel seeds
    • 1 TBS Sichuan peppercorns
    • 2-3 pieces star anise
  • ¼ – ½ cup dried whole chilis
  • 3 Yukon potatoes
  • 3 rainbow carrots
  • 6 oz. tofu skin
  • Scallion tops/chives, as garnish

I forgot to mention, before putting on the cartouche, make sure your braising liquid is perfectly seasoned. There is a lot of salt in the fermented chili paste usually, so most of the times, I don’t need to add additional salt. But always check and adjust!

If you liked any of my tools and stuff from the video, you can get it yourself with these links:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Of course if you live by an Asian/Chinese supermarket, the spices cost a fraction of Amazon’s links.

Crab Fried Rice

~ This is Day 125 ~

Not to sound elitist, but what do those people do during quarantine/lockdown if they “don’t cook”? Seamless everyday? My mind is baffled. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t know how to cook.

So… Fish Cheeks opened up outdoor dining but I live uptown so it’s a trek to go down there during COVID-19. Also, I’m still skeptical about outdoor dining in NYC, there seems to be groups/crowds nearby your table… Even though I am used to the mask now, NYC is experiencing an intense heatwave and I can’t deal again. SO, if I can’t get Fish Cheeks‘ crab fried rice, I’ll make it myself!!! I mean, it’s just crab + cold jasmine rice + accoutrements. It’s not identical to their fried rice but fried rice is fried rice!

I have been ordering seafood from Pierless, a restaurant purveyor of all things seafood. Many restaurant purveyors started selling their products at wholesale price to home chefs since quarantine began. And I love that! You know you’re getting the best quality, compared to regular grocery stores! Although prices can be expensive sometimes, you just have to justify what you would want to pay versus what you can get in the regular stores.

In this picture, I have fresh Lump Crab Fried Rice with Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Corn, Scallions, and White Sesame Seeds.

Quarantine Day 12

Today is my twelfth day of self-isolation, living in NYC in this epi-center of the novel coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic. The United States has now surpassed both China and Italy on total confirmed cases. Besides leaving my apartment for two separate grocery runs, I have not left my apartment since Wednesday March 18. The common roof deck in my apartment building is locked between the months of October through April, so I’ve been cooped up in my shoebox apartment this whole time.

There are some days where I do absolutely nothing, where I spend almost my entire day in bed, sleeping and napping, and doing whatever on my laptop, either watching TV/movies or reading random things. Then the other days consist of a semi-permanent routine, where I wake up between 7-8am (no alarms set) and I do 30 minutes of yoga, focusing on breathing and stretching, then I workout for 30-60 minutes, using all my home equipment (which isn’t much), but I follow live in-home exercise videos on Instagram, cook + eat + clear lunch, nap after lunch, clean a specific and different area of my apartment, cook + eat + clear dinner, and find tasks within my apartment that needs up keeping before making my way to bed.

Then repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. My mental-health is still intact but there are times where I feel the insanity seeping in. There is only so much you can do at home. Thank goodness for technology, i.e. FaceTiming with family and friends. I haven’t downloaded Zoom yet though. With limited resources and ingredients, I have discovered that I loathe cooking for myself now. Why do I have to eat?? Thinking about what to eat for my next meal immediately makes me frustrated. I am so sick of eating steamed rice and pasta so I have started making Chinese staples from scratch. It’s been fun but the excitement of making them was short-lived because it ended up being another bothersome chore that I had to do everyday in order to feed myself.

Another self-discovery is that I think I am over drinking! The desire for a glass of sparkling or cocktail is no more.

There’s a lot of articles out there predicting how this will end. I hope the warmer weather will contain the spread of the virus. I hope one day soon I can meet up with my best friends and brother and rediscover what it means to socialize again.

Service: March 29, 2019

Yesterday, I made pork belly steamed buns for family meal! I think it’s my last time planning/cooking family meal for awhile because I am now being rotated to the upstairs Private Events team.

I like to make more complex family meals on Friday/Saturday because that’s when the restaurant’s staff is at its highest and more people can enjoy my food.

I seared the pork bellies the night before and marinated them with the cooled down braising liquid. The day of, everything was brought to a simmer and placed in a 250°F convection oven for 3 hours, then pressed, in order to get nice, cuttable blocks.

I wasn’t able to get a good picture because by the time I realized that I forgot to take the picture, my plate was already half-eaten.

IMG_1300

The pork bellies were served with steamed open buns, rice with Chinese pork sausage, pickled cucumber, sauce made from the braising liquid, and a Napa cabbage coleslaw with miso vinaigrette.

Dungeness Crab with Ginger & Scallions

This is probably one of my favorite dishes in Chinese cuisine. My mom used to make this for us once every few weeks when I was growing up in Hong Kong but with different crabs (since there were thousands of different varieties of crab). We only had Dungeness crab in Canada and the U.S.

Along with two simple and quintessential Chinese ingredients, ginger and scallions, and rice wine, brown sugar plus soy sauces, you can have this often very expensive dish in the comfort of your own home.

Personal tidbit: save the sauce to dress noodles for lunch the next day. Delicious.