Possibly the Best Eggplant Dish? / 燉茄子

Singapore Braised Eggplant
Good with Curries and Western Meat Dishes

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

Asian Eggplants

Eggplant has an image problem with Western cooks.  This results from the fact that they usually cook it the wrong Continue reading

Can Walnuts Stop Cancer?

Ellagic Acid Helps Combat Cancer
Benefits to Kidneys, Urinary Functions

Walnuts can certainly play a role in a healthy diet that helps prevent and even control the condition.

Walnuts are high in Continue reading

Nepalese Cuisine

The Roof the the World
Chandradeva’s Pathway

“The wildest dreams of Kew are the facts of Kathmandu.” — Rudyard Kipling [1]

Vale of Kathmandu, Nepal

Vale of Kathmandu

What is Nepalese cuisine? Actually, the question should be, What Nepal? Or, what cuisine? For a relatively small country, Nepal has an astonishing variety of cuisines that can be called Nepalese.

Often thought of as a lofty, mountainous  land, home of the world’s Continue reading

Litchi Ice Cream

Yang Gwei-fei’s Favorite
A Nondairy Version

“Eunuchs gallop up in continuous succession,

“Bearing delicacies for the Imperial kitchen.” — Tu Fu

Using litchi fruit to make nondairy litchi ice cream

Litchi Fruit in Syrup

Here is a simple nondairy ice cream featuring Litchi fruit, the favorite of the Honorable  Concubine, Yang Gwei-fei, favorite of the Tang Dynasty emperor. Continue reading

Japanese Cuisine 日本 料理

A Poetical Pursuit of Food [1]
Harmony for the Palate and the Eye

–“All Japanese food needs its setting.” — Sir John Pilcher, H.M. Ambassador to Japan [2]

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see 20 percent of Americans eating sushi as part of their regular diet in 10 or 15 years.” — Boye De Mente, 1987 [3]

Tosa Sake for New Year

Japanese food is one of the great cuisines of the Pacific Rim — and the world. Its popularity is leaping over national boundaries. Japanese cuisine is about Continue reading

Malaysian Cuisine

Durian Cake and Zuberbuhler’s Special
Raffles, Maugham and Lord Jim Country

“At the end of the tenth century Canton carried on direct trade with the Malay Peninsula.” —Friedrich Hirt and W. W. Rockhill [1]

Tang Dynasty horse from the Silk Road

Tang Dynasty Camel
From the Silk Road, 8th Century

For centuries the Malay Peninsula has been an important corridor in the southern sea route of the Spice Route.

The Strait of Malacca was an important Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Spice Route Travelers — III

The Manila Galleon and the Third Route
Tomatoes, Chili Peppers and Beche de Mer

“Tang cookery sounds like modern Japanese cookery — plain food, sometimes raw, with few savory mixtures or interesting sauces.” — Edward Schafer

 

“The best of modern Chinese cooking developed in relatively modern times under the influence of foreign taste and customs, in particular those of India and the lands of the Desert and the Isles.” — Edward Schafer

Malayan on the Silk Road

Curly Haired Man, Malayan
Silk Road, Tang Dynasty

We sometimes forget how many of the foods we associate with Pacific Rim cuisines today were not native to much of the region in the oldest times and have migrated back and forth along the ancient trade routes. Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Spice Route Travelers – II

The Southern Sea Routes
Before Marco Polo

Jackfruit

Jackfruit

“The Po-Lo-Mi (jackfruit) is the size of a pumpkin, its outer skin covered with nodules like the hair on a Buddha’s head.  Its color is green while growing, and turns yellow when ripe.  The pulp is of extreme sweetness.” — Zhao Rugua“Even in Dunhuang, further out on the camel road, grape wine was an expensive addition to an important celebration, like champagne for our festivals.” — Edward Schafer

 

Edward Schafer researched the movement of men, goods and ideas along the Silk Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Berthold Laufer

The Golden Peaches of Samarkand
Chronicles of the Silk Road — Tang Dynasty

Crystallized Ginger

“Without coriander, saffron, mint, ginger and oregano, the foods of the Middle East and China wold be bland indeed.” — Kathie Webber [1]

Kathie Webber is right.  Who could imagine Sichuan cooking without hot red peppers?  And yet they are a fairly recent addition to the Sichuan kitchen. Continue reading

Litchi

The Honorable Concubine’s Favorite Fruit
First Food Shipped by Refrigerated Transport

“Eunuchs gallop up in continuous succession,
“Bearing delicacies for the Imperial kitchens.”
Tu Fu, “Ballad of Lovely Women” [1]

It was the eighth century.  The eunuchs were Imperial couriers, a kind of Chinese Pony Express.

Their saddlebags were crammed full of Continue reading