Our corridor is filled up with ‘moving in’ noise. After our dearest friend Mag moved back to France, her flat was empty for a couple of weeks, then since yesterday, the new neighbors have started moving in. The flat still stays the same, but the people are different now…Talking about changes — no, I don’t like changes, especially coming to friends, definitely like old friends.
I was talking about this with some friends some time ago — ok, I have past the age feeling shy to introduce myself to the others and make new friends, but it is not so easy to make new friends either as you grow up. Our friends said it is true, because with old friends, you had been growing up together, experienced those turbulent youth years together, you understand each other better, where the new friends, it takes time to get to know each other well. He is right — it takes time, but after being good friends, it is so difficult to say goodbye.
When I was about to come to England, I really was not sure if that was the right decision. My best friend Xin encouraged me, ‘you should go, just imagine, the historical buildings, streets, totally different environment, different culture, different life, you are going to see a different world, it is great experience in life.’ She then said in quieter voice, ‘but… we have been best friends for so long, the next few years are supposed be the most memorable years in our lives, you know, getting married, and having kids… But we will not be able to experience this and share our happiness together…’ I didn’t know what to answer, but also did not though that I would ever stay here for so long. After I left, she decided to move to the South, as she did not have to bear with the city without me there.
But our friendship remained the same, even in the past twelve years, we could only meet almost every 5 years. When she heard that my favorite clothes was stolen, next thing I knew, I received a big package from her, which was filled up with the clothes she just bought for me. — This is the kind of friendship I have.
So, saying I haven’t been lucky lately is probably really wrong, just like my husband said, it is a wrong state. I am actually lucky, for having so many lovely, caring, close friends and family…
Mag, enjoy your new life in France, have good deep sleep, and we will see each other soon! :)
This recipe is again not really originally from northeast China, but this way of cooking has been so popular in the past ten years — boiled… in (spicy) sauce. In Chinese, it is called ‘Shui zhu’, means water boiling.
It is an original Sichuan recipe — needless to say, even it does not show anything in the name of the dish — it is surely spicy. Nowadays, in many Chinese restaurants over here (in England) you can find this dish rather easily. It actually became very popular among my friends. The sauce goes well with fish, beef, lamb. With different ingredients, there are different vegetables to combine with.
The recipe I share here is with beef, again, the good thing of making it at home is that so you can adapt the spiciness to your taste, oh, and probably less oily. :) Apparently, there are many different ways of making it, this is only just one of them. :) Hey, saying that, I still think if you want to taste the ‘real’ thing, you will have to go to Sichuan! With all those unique ingredients/seasonings from Sichuan, it makes us difficult to recreate the real thing.
Ok, let’s say we try to make a ‘homemade’ version. :) Still, the most important thing, (apart from the taste of the sauce), is the smoothness and softness of the beef, as it is very easy to be hard, not good for chewing. And the celery in this recipe surprisingly does not only act a ‘combination’, but also as ‘seasoning’, its flavor influences the dish so well.
Here you go.
Beef (tenderloin is probably the best for this dish), celery, salad leaves (I used round lettuce)
Oil, spring onion, ginger, garlic, light soy sauce, cooking wine, corn flour, preserved spicy chilli sauce, sugar, Sichuan peppercorn, crushed chilli pepper, salt.
1) Slice the beef into very thin pieces, and chop a few celery stems into thin strip pieces.
2) Mix the beef with a 1/5 cup of water, 1/2 tablespoon of cooking wine, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of corn flour. Leave it for at leave 30 mins. (They say this way is very good for getting tender texture of beef, some say it is even better if you put an egg white in.)
3) Chop couple of gloves garlic, half of spring onion, and a small piece of ginger into ‘strips’.
1) In a heated wok, pour in around 3 tablespoons of oil.
2) When oil is almost hot, add in chopped spring onion, garlic and ginger, along with a teaspoon of spicy chilli sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoon of cooking wine, stir fry them for a little while.
3) Add in two full cups of water, and and 2/3 teaspoon of salt, bring it boiling. (If you have the ‘soup’ left from boiling beef before, it is even better.)
4) Add in chopped celery. Keep it boiling.
5) Add in lettuce leaves briefly. As soon as the leaves is getting soften, take them our, and neatly lay on a plate.
6) Add prepared beef slices in the wok, keep on boiling for further 3 mins, depending the beef, but DO NOT over cook it, otherwise, it will get really hard to chew. Normally if it is 80% cooked, you can turn off the fire.
7) Pour the beef and the sauce into the plate over the lettuce leaves.
8) In a empty wok, add in 2-3 tablespoons of oil.
9) When the oil is about to get very hot, add in a small handful sichuan peppercorn and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed chilli. (It depends on your preference, you can add more sichuan peppercorn and chilli.)
10) Pour the hot oil over the beef in the plate. —
I know, it is a bit difficult, as there are many ‘steps’. But it will worth the hussle when you are eating it — you will know what I mean. :))
I definitely suggest that boiled plain rice to go with it — just for in case, it is too spicy. :))) And don’t forget the lettuce, it is now super tasty as well. :)
- Beef (tenderloin)
- Salad leaves
- Spring onion
- Light soy sauce
- Cooking wine
- Corn flour
- Preserved spicy chilli sauce
- Sichuan peppercorn
- Crushed chilli pepper
- Slice the beef into thin pieces, and chop a few celery stems into thin strip pieces.
- Mix the beef with a ⅕ cup of water, ½ tablespoon of cooking wine, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of corn flour. Leave it for at leave 30 mins.
- Chop two garlic gloves, half of spring onion, and a small piece of ginger into strips.
- In a heated wok, pour in around 3 tablespoons of oil.
- When oil is almost hot, add in chopped spring onion, garlic and ginger, along with a teaspoon of spicy chilli sauce, 1½ teaspoon of cooking wine, stir fry them for a little while.
- Add in two full cups of water, and and ⅔ teaspoon of salt, bring it boiling.
- Add in celery. Keep it boiling.
- Add in lettuce leaves briefly until they become soft. Take them out, and neatly lay on a plate.
- Add prepared beef slices in the wok, keep on boiling for further 3 mins, depending the beef, but without over cooking.
- Pour the beef and the sauce into the plate over the lettuce leaves.
- In a empty wok, add in 2-3 tablespoons of oil.
- When the oil is about to get very hot, add in a small handful sichuan peppercorn and half a teaspoon of crushed chilli.
- Pour the hot oil over the beef in the plate.