Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On Cooking Chinese

I admit, I should cook more Chinese food at home. I wish I could. Besides the spring rolls and dumplings I make that are staples in my freezer, the most frequent dish I make is fried rice. It's not exactly easy (tons of elbow grease needed), but it's not that difficult either (doesn't require hours of time).

There are a couple of reasons (excuses) for me to not cook more Chinese food:

First, there's access. The nearest Asian grocery store is in the next town over in Norwalk. Although they do have the basic necessities, it's a know what you want to get and get it done place. It's not a place for dilly dallying, which is what I like to do in supermarkets. You never know what you'd want for dinner until you see it, right?

Second, there's time. Contrary to what most Americans think, Chinese food does not start and end with stir fry, which is quick to make. Cooking Chinese food is time consuming - we don't use ovens, and everything is cooked with a wok. Add to it that a typical Chinese dinner is made up of more than 2 dishes. Who's got the time to make all that in a wok? And then there's Chinese soup, which takes hours to cook - it's not as simple as sauteing onions, add your veggies, spices and stock, then blend like baby food.

Third and finally, there's my husband. He simply doesn't enjoy the dishes I enjoy. He can care less for Chinese soup. And there are some Chinese ingredients I don't dare to keep in my pantry for fear that it may stink up the kitchen. Plus, he may not eat those ingredients either. For example, I've been craving water spinach (蕹菜) sauteed with garlic and fermented bean curd (腐乳). I know, anything fermented sounds bad, but it tastes good. My husband begs to differ.

Obstacles (and excuses) aside, I have been making serious efforts to make more Chinese dishes. I'll be sharing them with you in the near future!

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