I am writing a food blog! This is a big change for my home “cooking career.” I’ve enjoyed fine food and cooking all my life. I’ve cooked for and entertained my family and friends for years. Up till now that’s how I view my cooking for the most part: as entertainment. I’ve never really considered writing about cooking. That is until recently when Kim Foster, who is a very dear friend, an accomplished writer, and is a long time blogger, suggested I share my cooking experiences with others. And so here I am writing about my life long passion for food.
I’m often asked what my favorite cuisine is when someone first engages me in discussing food. I always find that to be an unusually difficult question to answer. The truth is I love all kinds of food: from Austrian to Zanzibarian, from fast food to French bistro, and from street vendors to fine dining. However, having a Chinese background and growing up in Singapore, where food has been elevated to a religious status, I am most acquainted with the various styles of Chinese cooking. That is why I decided to write about Chinese cooking, specifically Chinese home cooking.
I love the comfort of Chinese home cooking made from simple ingredients and cooked with simple techniques. Many of these dishes are not commonly available in Chinese restaurants because they are considered too common. This is true in Asia as well as in America. (Although restaurants specializing in “Si Fang Cai” (私房菜) or home style cooking, have become a new trend in China in the last few years.) This type of Chinese home cooking is what I’d like to share with you. One particular dish called “Hong Shao Rou” (紅燒肉), or literally translated as “Red Cooked Pork,” is one of my favorite. This dish is served regularly when I was growing up, and I continue to make it here at home in America. It has become a signature dish in my Chinese cooking repertoire.
Red cooking is the basis of many Chinese home cooking. It is a term used for braising different kinds of food with garlic, dark soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. This technique can be used for pork, chicken, fish, tofu and many other ingredients. The phrase “red cook” comes from the fact that these dishes result in a shiny bright brown sauce appearing almost red. It is one of the most versatile techniques in Chinese cooking. And I’ve decided to name my blog for this technique to emphasize its flexibility and adaptability.