After our gluttonous journey through south Louisiana, I wanted our first home-cooked meal to be fresh, light, healthy, and flavorful. As luck would have it, all of these conditions were met in the pages of Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking, a holiday gift from my mother-in-law. The size of this cookbook is the only downside I’ve found so far — it’s really more of a kitchen atlas than a useful cookbook in its current form. I lack counter space in my kitchen, so I had to copy the recipes I’d chosen to a notebook and cook from there. But in all other respects it’s a wonderful book — great recipes, clear instructions, gorgeous pictures, and handy step-by-step illustrations of some of the more difficult preparations. (Cutting a whole chicken the Chinese way and making wontons are two of my favorites.)
The dish pictured above is steamed cod with ginger and green onions. I’ve made steamed fish before, but this was far beyond the Cooking Light recipes I’ve used in the past. It’s a very refined dish elevated by the surprising element of hot peanut oil drizzled over the top just before serving; it finishes the dish with a roasted aroma and ever-so-slightly nutty flavor.
To accompany the fish, I decided on stir-fried Chinese cabbage with oyster sauce, also from the pages of Simple Chinese Cooking. The two dishes were linked by their use of Chinese cabbage, though this stir fry had much more delicate flavors and texture than the fish. They both paired nicely with a bottle of muscadet I’d chilled, and left us feeling satisfied and healthy, a combination we hadn’t experienced in over a week.