vanilla curry

spice paste

1 large onion, chopped               
3 garlic cloves, peeled               
1" fresh ginger, peeled
2-3 long thin red chilies, seeded


3 tbsp oil or ghee
1 vanilla pod, finely chopped
4 tbsp yogurt, mixed with 1 1/4 c coconut milk or water
1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (OR peach OR mango)
3-4 tbsp chopped cilantro or dill

Put all the spice paste ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Heat the oil or ghee in a large pan, add half the vanilla and cook for 1-2 minutes or until it starts to give off a pleasant aroma. Add the spice paste and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the base of the pan, until evenly golden brown. If the mixture is too dry, add 1-2 spoonfuls of the yogurt mixture.

Add the pineapple and sauté for about 5 minutes or until it starts to soften. Add the yogurt mixture; bring to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer very slowly for about 45 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Stir in the cilantro or dill and season with salt to taste.

To use, pour the sauce over duck or chicken pieces that have been browned and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Alternatively, the sauce can be poured over broiled or barbecued poultry.

red curry paste

1 large onion, coarsely chopped       
6 garlic cloves, peeled           
4-6 large red chilies, to taste       
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped OR           
Papaya, mango or banana
2" fresh ginger or galangal, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp peanut or sesame oil
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1/3 c coconut milk

Place the onion, garlic, pineapple, chilies and ginger or galangal in a baking pan, sprinkle with the oil and sugar and mix well. Place in an oven preheated to 375°F and bake, turning the ingredients and basting with the pan juices occasionally, for about an hour or until evenly browned.

Allow to cool slightly, then process to a smooth purée in a food processor or blender. Transfer the purée to a clean pan; add the fish sauce and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated.

To use, put 4-6 tablespoons of the paste and 1 3/4 c coconut milk in a pan with cubed meat or fish and simmer until cooked. The paste can also be rubbed on raw meat and left to marinate for 2-3 hours before roasting.

Shelf life; 1 week in the fridge OR 6 months in a sealed jar. To process, sterilize 1 pint jars, then boil in canner for 20 minutes.

peking duck

This duck should be roasted at least 6 hours ahead to allow it to cool before carving. Reheat just before you need it.

2 ducks


125 ml soy sauce
45 ml honey
10 ml crushed black peppercorns
15 ml grated ginger
1 clove crushed garlic
15 ml grated orange rind

Remove fat from duck cavity and neck. Place ducks on rack over baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 day. Combine marinade and brush on duck. Refrigerate another day, brushing occasionally with any extra marinade.

Prick skin all over and bake at 350°F for 20 min, breast side up. Prick skin again and bake another 20 min. Turn duck breast side down, prick again and bake 20 min more. Turn duck breast side up again and bake 30 min longer. If skin is not dark enough, raise heat to 425°F and bake for 15 min longer or until skin is mahogany coloured (1 1/2 hr to 1 3/4 hr altogether).

Cool on rack. To serve Oriental style, with a small sharp knife, starting at the breast, slice skin away from breast meat and thigh, keeping it in several large pieces. Reserve. Slice breast meat from bone and cut thin slices. Remove thigh and leg sections. Slice meat from thighs and add to breast meat. Remove wings and reserve with legs.

To reheat meat and skin, place skin and legs on rack of roasting pan. Place meat in dish and cover with foil. Reheat at 375°F for 10 min or until hot. Arrange leads and wins on either end of a large platter. Place meat around the edge. Surround with skin. Heap cucumber salad (see below) in centre. Serve with Hoisin Red Wine Sauce (see below).

hoisin red wine sauce

250 ml red wine
500 ml duck or chicken stock
15 ml balsamic vinegar
25 ml Hoisin sauce
15 ml soy sauce

Bring wine to boil & reduce until 1/4 c remains. Stir in Hoisin sauce and cook 1 min. Add stock and soy sauce and reduce until slightly thickened, about 7-10 min.

cucumber salad

1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
15 ml soy sauce
6 green onions, slivered
Salt and pepper
15 ml lemon juice

Salt cucumber slices lightly and let sit in colander for 30 min. Wipe dry with paper towel. Layer cucumber slices on platter. Top with green onion slivers. Combine dressing ingredients and sprinkle over salad.

bao (Dot Heart Lunches)

4 1/2 c unbleached flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp melted shortening

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c of the warm water. Sift flour, sugar and salt together and stir in remaining water and shortening. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Knead for about 5 min; let dough rest 30 min covered in warm place while preparing fillings. All fillings are made with cooked, ready to eat meats and provide an unusual way to use leftovers. You will need roughly 2 c to fill the 24 buns you can make with this recipe of dough.

1. Barbecued pork with Hoisin sauce, soy, green onions and Chinese parsley

2. Cooked pork or ham, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and same seasonings

3. Cooked chicken, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, green onions, celery and seasonings

Chop all ingredients finely.

FILLING and STEAMING Pinch off plum size pieces of dough and flatten on a breadboard. Place 1 level tbsp filling in center. Pull dough up over filling and pinch edges together. Place pinched side down on a 2x2" square of wax paper. Let rise in warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 hr. Place buns in your wok on a rack above boiling water. Cover and steam for 15 min. Allow to cool if you plan to freeze them.Makes 24 buns

stir fry sauce

125 ml cornstarch
125 ml soy sauce
50 ml firmly packed brown sugar
50 ml cider vinegar
15 ml minced fresh ginger
125 ml dry sherry or water
2 cloves garlic, minced
375 ml beef or chicken broth
2 ml cayenne pepper

In a 1-litre jar combine the first 5 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and shake until blended. Store covered in fridge up to 2 weeks. Shake well before using. Makes 750 ml

won ton soup

1 lb ground pork
Won ton wrappers
1/2 c chopped green onions
3 c fresh spinach
1 egg
4 cans chicken broth (55 oz)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 c dry sherry OR white wine
2 tsp cornstarch 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen peas and carrots

1. Combine pork, green onion, egg, soy sauce and cornstarch in bowl; mix. Place about 1 slightly rounded tsp of the pork filling on each won ton wrapper. Brush edges of wrapper with a little water to moisten. Bring one side of wrapper over filling and roll up as a cylinder, leaving about 1/2" of the wrapper unrolled at the top. Pull the two ends of cylinder together to meet and overlap under filling, pinching firmly. Place won tons in single layer on cookie sheet as you work. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

2. Heat 3-4 quarts salted water to boiling in a large kettle. Add half the won tons. After water returns to boiling, lower heat to moderate and cook won tons 5 minutes uncovered. Lift out to colander with slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining won tons.

3. Combine chicken broth and peas and carrots in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook, covered, 5 minutes, then add won tons and spinach. Return to boil. Stir in sherry and serve at once.

NOTE: To freeze won tons, place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in freezer. When won tons are frozen solid, transfer to plastic bags. To cook and serve, follow steps 2 and 3, increasing cooking by 5 minutes. OR you can cook won tons according to step 2, then plunge into cold water and drain. Freeze as above. To cook, follow step 3.

asian pork wraps

3/4 lb lean ground pork
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
12 - 9" rice paper wrappers
1/3 c chopped green onions
24 large fresh basil leaves
1/3 c Hoisin sauce
1 medium carrot, cut into very thin matchsticks
1 c bean thread noodles

Soak bean thread noodles in hot water for 15 minutes.

Sauté pork and ginger until no pink remains. Drain. Stir in green onions and Hoisin. Toss noodles in sesame oil.

Soak a rice paper wrapper in hot water until just softened, about 20-30 seconds. Lay flat on counter. Place 2 basil leaves in a row about 1/3 from the bottom of the rice paper. Top with 1/12 of the pork mixture and 1/12 of the noodles. Cover with a few carrot matchsticks. Fold bottom of rice paper over filling. Fold in sides and roll as tightly as possible from bottom to top.

Place in a single layer in storage container; repeat with remaining wrappers. Cover tightly and refrigerate. At serving time, slice in half diagonally and serve.

steamed pork dumplings

250 g lean ground pork
1 tsp salt
1/3 c chopped green onions
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
18 won ton wrappers
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp plum sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar

Combine pork, green onions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, salt and pepper in food processor, then pulse to blend. Spoon about 1 1/2 tsp in centre of each won ton wrapper. Moisten edges with cold water. Fold 3 sides of round wontons around filling, meeting centre to form a 3-cornered hat shape. If using squares, fold edges to meet in the middle, forming a 4-cornered hat.

Place in a single layer in wax paper lined sealable containers and refrigerate or freeze until required. Spray rack of a bamboo steamer or metal vegetable steamer with cooking oil spray and place dumplings on rack over boiling water. Cover and steam for 10 minutes. Serve dumplings hot with dipping sauce made of plum sauce, mustard and rice vinegar. Makes 18

vietnamese wraps

3/4 lb ground pork, chicken or turkey 375 g
1/2 tsp salt 2 mL
1/4 tsp pepper 1 mL
1/2 c Hoisin sauce 125 mL
1 - 10 oz can water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped 284 mL
1/3 c chopped green onions 75 mL
24 - 6" rice paper sheets
1 tbsp black or white sesame seeds 15 mL
24 medium fresh basil leaves
24 medium fresh mint leaves

1. In a large nonstick skillet cook pork over high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper and stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain. Let cool. This mixture can be prepared to this point up to 24 hours before serving and refrigerated.

2. In small bowl, combine Hoisin, water chestnuts and green onions; add pork and mix well before refrigerating.

3. Fill pie plate or other wide, shallow container with lukewarm water. Place 2 rice papers in the water and let soften for about 45 seconds. Remove 1 paper at a time and place on paper towel; cover with a second paper towel. Repeat until you have 12 layers of rice paper. Let sit for 1-2 minutes or until pliable. Invert stack and use in order in which they were removed from the water.

4. Place 3 rice papers at a time on clean work surface. Sprinkle each with a pinch of sesame seeds. Place 1 basil leaf on bottom third of paper and top with 1 tbsp of the pork mixture; cover with 1 mint leaf. Fold right and left edges toward centre of filling, pressing firmly. Fold bottom edge toward centre and gently but firmly roll up. Repeat with remaining papers. Cover assembled wraps with very damp towel while soaking and filling remaining ones.

5. Wraps can sit at room temperature for up to 3 hours; do not refrigerate or they will harden. Makes 24

salad rolls

6 leaves romaine lettuce, slivered
3 green onions, slivered
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut in julienne
1 c crabmeat or mock crab, flaked
2 small carrots, slivered
2 oz (50 mL) bean threads or 1/4 c chopped fresh basil rice vermicelli
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
12 sheets rice-paper wrappers


1/4 c lemon juice
1 tsp Chinese chili sauce
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp soy sauce

Soak bean threads in hot water for 30 minutes. Blanch in boiling water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain and reserve in large bowl. Mix together remaining ingredients except rice-paper wrappers and add to bean threads.

Working with a bowl of warm water beside you, wet one sheet of rice paper at a time. Place on counter until softened, about 2 minutes. Place 1 heaping tbsp filling on upper third of each wrapper. Roll paper over filling. Tuck in ends. Roll into a cylinder. Place seam side down on serving platter. Cover with a damp tea towel and refrigerate until needed.

Whisk together sauce ingredients. Serve as a dip with salad rolls.

ginger veal and lettuce rolls

3/4 lb (375 g) ground veal
5 ml sesame oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 egg
25 ml soy sauce
1 clove garlic
15 ml grated fresh ginger
1 large head Boston lettuce
15 ml rice wine or sherry

dipping sauce

50 ml soy sauce
5 ml minced fresh ginger
15 ml rice vinegar
5 ml sesame oil
5 ml sugar

Combine dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and let stand for 30 min for flavours to blend. Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 min to avoid charring.

In food processor combine meat with soy, ginger, wine, oil and egg. Process until smooth. With motor running drop garlic in through feed tube. Shape into 18 cylinders about 2" long and 1" thick. Rolls can be covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hrs at this point.Insert skewers lengthwise through each cylinder. Broil about 4" from heat for 7 min; turn and broil for 6 min longer or until cooked through. Brush with vegetable oil if meat seems dry. Separate lettuce into individual leaves and have guests slip veal from skewers onto lettuce leaves and wrap into rolls. Makes 18

murgha curry

1 onion, minced
1 c chicken broth
1 peeled apple, chopped
1 c milk
1/4 c butter/marg
1/2 c heavy cream
1/3 c AP flour
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ginger
3 c coarsely chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 c hot cooked rice
Dash of pepper
Raisins, nuts, coconut

Cook onion and apple in butter in top of double boiler over direct heat until onion is yellowed. Blend in flour and seasonings. Slowly add broth, milk and cream; cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. Cover and cook 10 min longer. Add lemon juice and chicken; heat well. Serve with rice.

sweet and sour sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp vinegar
5 tbsp brown sugar
1 c cold water
2 tbsp cornstarch

Combine ingredients in saucepan and cook 10 min until thick and clear (it will thicken when the mixture boils).

won ton wrappers

3 c sifted AP flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2/3 c water

Sift flour and salt into large bowl. Make a well in centre and add egg and water. Stir with a fork until dough holds together and leaves side of bowl clean. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 4-5 minutes. Cover dough with bowl and allow to rest 30 minutes. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough, half at a time, to a rectangle 21x14" Dust lightly with cornstarch. Cut into 3 1/2" squares. Stack squares on a plate (cornstarch will prevent squares from sticking together).

spicy cold soba noodles

1/3 c soy sauce
1 tbsp chili oil
1/2 tsp molasses
3 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/4 c sesame oil
1/2 bunch sliced green onions
1/4 c tahini
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 lb soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)

Heat soy sauce until reduced by half. Turn to low and add molasses. Warm briefly and transfer to bowl. Add remaining ingredients except noodles. Add salt to taste. Boil noodles about 3 minutes. Drain and plunge in ice water. Drain and rinse. Combine with sauce and chill. Makes 4 smaller servings at 467 calories each.

sticky rice

500 ml sticky rice
Lettuce leaves

Soak rice in water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain. Line steamer basket with lettuce. Spoon rice over lettuce. Place covered steamer over boiling water and steam for 30 min. Serve immediately or keep warm over gently simmering water for up to 1 hour.

If you do not have a steamer, place equal amounts of rice and water in pot. Bring to boil and boil 3 min. Cover and steam for 10-15 min. The texture will be stickier.

fa mien (Basic Chinese Yeast Dough)

1/4 c sugar
6 c AP flour
1 3/4 c warm water
2 tbsp lard or unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tsp baking powder

In a bowl dissolve sugar in water, stir in yeast and proof it for 15 minutes or until foamy and full. In large bowl stir the yeast mix into the flour and add the lard. Form dough into a ball and knead on floured surface for 10 minutes or until smooth and satiny. Form dough into a ball, put in an oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Let dough rise, loosely covered, in a warm place for 3-4 minutes, or until triple in bulk. Punch down dough and turn our onto floured surface. Make well in centre, add the baking powder and knead in thoroughly. The dough keeps, wrapped airtight and chilled, for about 3 days.

hua chuan (Flower Rolls)

1 recipe Fa Mien (Basic Chinese yeast dough)
Imported sesame oil

Halve the dough and roll each half into an 18x8" rectangle on a floured surface; brush with imported sesame oil and put one top of the other, oiled sides up. Beginning with a long side, roll the dough jelly roll fashion into an 18" log and cut the log into 2" pieces. Press a pair of chopsticks firmly across the middle of each piece so that the ends “flower”. Arrange the rolls about 1 1/2" apart on steamer trays lined with parchment paper and let them rise, covered with tea towels, for 20 minutes. Stack the trays and steam the buns, rotating the trays every 5 minutes, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the buns are puffed and springy. Makes 9

chih ma pao (Sesame Seed Buns)

1/2 recipe Fa Mien (Basic Chinese yeast dough)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c sesame seeds
1/4 c lard or butter, softened

Shape dough into 15" log, cut it crosswise into 1" pieces covered with dampened towel.

Heat wok over moderately high heat until hot, add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until they are golden. Transfer the seeds to blender or food processor, add sugar and process until seeds are ground. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add lard or butter. Cream until smooth.

Flatten one piece of the dough cut side down to 3" circle slightly thicker in the centre than at the edge. Put about 1 tbsp of filling in centre and gather up the edges of the dough to enclose the filling, pinching them together at the centre. Arrange buns pinched side down about 1 1/2" apart on steamer trays lined with parchment paper and let them rise, covered with tea towels, for 20 minutes.

Stack the trays and steam, rotating trays every 5 minutes, for 15-20 minutes, or until they are puffed and springy. 15 buns

ch’a sha pao (Barbecued Pork Buns)

Fa Mien (Basic Chinese yeast dough)
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 lb Chinese barbecued pork, 1/4" dice
1 tbsp ketchup
2 c + 1/4 c water
2 tsp imported sesame oil
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

In bowl combine the 2 c water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, ketchup, sesame oil and pepper.In a dish dissolve cornstarch in the 1/4 c of water.

Heat a wok or saucepan over moderately high heat until it is hot, add soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until thickened. Add the pork, toss it to coat and let mixture cool to room temperature.

Halve dough and shape each half into 12" log. Cut each log crosswise into 1" pieces and keep pieces covered with a dampened tea towel. Flatten a piece cut side down into a 3" circle slightly thicker in the centre than at the edge. Put 1 tbsp pork filling in centre and gather the edges together to enclose the filling, pinching with the thumb and forefinger to form pleats radiating out from the centre of the closure. Arrange buns about 1 1/2" apart on steamer trays lined with parchment paper. Let buns rise, covered with tea towels, for 20 minutes.

Stack trays and steam, rotating trays every 5 minutes, for 15-20 minutes or until buns are puffed and springy. 24 buns

yue ping (Moon Cakes)

4 c AP flour
3/4 c unsalted butter or lard, melted and cooled
3/4 c instant non-fat dry milk
1 c chopped pitted dates
1 tbsp baking powder
1 c apricot preserves
1 tsp salt
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c raisins
3 large eggs
1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsp water

Sift together flour, milk powder, baking powder and salt. Beat sugar and eggs until the mixture ribbons when the beater is lifted. Beat in vanilla and stir in flour mixture alternately with the butter to make a rough dough.

On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth. Form into a 12" log and cut into 24 pieces. Cover with a dampened tea towel.Combine dates, preserves, nuts, raisins and coconut. Flatten one piece of dough into a 2 1/2" round and put a tbsp of the filling in the center. Bring up the edges of the dough to enclose the filling, pinching them together to seal, and press the cake seam side up into a floured moon cake mold so that it is flush with the top of the mold. Rap end of mold on the counter once on each side to expel the cake from the press and with a pastry feather brush off the excess flour.

If you don’t have a mold, flatten one piece of the dough into a 3" round, put 1 tbsp of the filling in the center and bring up the edges to enclose the filling, pinching together to seal. Invert cake on counter, flatten slightly and with tip of sharp knife make a decorative design in the top without cutting through to the filling.

Repeat with remaining dough. Arrange 1/2" apart on greased large sheets and brush lightly with the egg yolk mixed with water. Bake at 350°F 25-30 minutes or until they are golden. Cool on rack. Makes 24

chicken pulao with shrimp

1 tsp oil 1 tsp ground cloves
1 c butter 1/8 tsp pepper
2 large onions, sliced
2 c raw converted rice
1 lb cut chicken
1 lb raw shrimp, deveined
1 tsp salt
2 c chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c beef broth or consommé
3 tbsp dark raisins
1/2 tsp saffron
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water
1/8 tsp cardamom
2 tbsp whole almonds
1/8 tsp mace

In small bowl, mix garlic, raisins and spices. Wash rice. Soak saffron in 1 tbsp water. Set ingredients by the stove in order listed.

In skillet or casserole, warm oil over medium heat, melt butter and stir fry onions until crisp. Remove and reserve.

Add chicken and stir fry 1 minute with salt. Add spice mixture and stir fry until chicken is browning, 5-6 minutes. Add rice; fry 5 minutes or until opaque. Add shrimp, mix well, add stocks, stir until boiling and cover.

Reduce heat to minimum, simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in saffron mixture and almonds 5 minutes before rice is tender. Serve hot sprinkled with reserved onions.

Memories of Marla Pritchard and her nice little kitchen on Fernwood Avenue