Sichuan hot pot at Red Pepper Rotterdam


Remember last week I was nagging about needing more hot pot in the Netherlands? Well, I went to Red Pepper in Rotterdam and I am satisfied. You can eat high quality hot pot there with a big range of ingredients to choose from and they serve a delicious home made dipping sauce.

Sichuan hot pot

The chef of the restaurant comes from Sichuan and has worked in one of the best Sichuan restaurants there, according to their website. It’s possible to order all kind of spicy Sichuan food, like spicy fish soup (one of my favorite Sichuan dish) but this time we went for the hot pot. Every person gets their own little pan which boils on spirit, which reminded me of oldskool hot pot at home.

You can pick a vegetarian or beef soup base and you can choose your spice level. We went for mild, which is a little bit tongue tingly. The soup tasted really nice; salty, herby and spicy. It tasted like the hot pot soup in China.

If you choose the hot pot option, you will get a list with all the ingredients, You can check off the ingredients you want, just like all-u-can-eat-sushi. It’s always possible to get more ingredients. The price is: meat ingredients 5 euro, veggies 3 euro and fish 7 euro. You need to eat a minimum of 15 euro. We ate about 22 euro per person on ingredients.

Other food

Lazy Bear tried the beef noodle soup with mild spice level, but it was quite a punch for him. The soup base was really nice. I also used it to fill my hot pot. We also ordered a cold dish: thin pork slices with cucumber and garlic. So good!

We ordered bubble tea which also tasted very authentic. You can taste they use real tea (or they can fool me very well). Their tea pot is also beautiful. Overall, their design style in the restaurant is well thought off; nice menu card books with mouthwatering pictures, pretty designed eat tools and a lovely interior.

Verdict

Interior / design = 9
Food = 8
Service = 7.5

I really like my first time hot pot in the Netherlands. I will be going back for sure, to try all the other authentic Sichuan foods.

The restaurant is really close to Round&Round, so it’s perfect to combine Sichuan food and soft cakes. Too bad Round&Round was closed on our day of visiting.

Visit them!

Red Pepper
Groenendaal 45F, 3011 SM Rotterdam
T: +31 (0)10 307 03 88
www.restaurantredpepper.nl

Mon-Sat    12:00 – 22:00
Sun            14:00 – 22:00

Food souvenirs from China

Mom is back in town! And she has brought back some snacks and food ingredients.

I believe you can’t get these brands or type of item in the Netherlands. Else, I wouldn’t let mom bring it. Let’s go deeper into the products…

Luobogan – Dried radish

This is a salty dried white radish root. I eat it with my instant noodles and congee. It is a nice salty kick in the food. It’s also delicious in a stir fry with meat or veggie for a salty crunch. You can reduce the amount of salt. Because it’s salty, it is not the most healthy food. “So don’t eat too much of it!” hearing my mom in the back of my head.

The first time I learned about the bunny brand, was in the airplane to China. Since then I am hooked to the bunny brand dried radish.

Spicy dried pepper and Sichuan pepper corn

Okay, these two items you CAN get in the Netherlands. BUT, I believe these items are more fragrant and of a better quality than the items you can get in the Netherlands. It is from Xi’an (China). Xi’an is famous for their spicy and mouth-tingling food. They use a lot of spicy pepper and Sichuan pepper corn. Mom said the peppers are not very spicy, but they give a nice fragrant to the dish. 香味。

I have a Peugeot pepper mill at home. Chinese as I am, I have put Sichuan pepper corns inside, instead of black pepper. I often grind some Sichuan pepper in stir fry dishes, soups, sauces etc… It gives a slight subtle fresh taste to the dish. (Omg, I just sniffed the Sichuan pepper package, but the smell is so strong, it is stuck in my nose.)

Jujube – red dates with walnut

Mom has had brought back this snack before: red jujube with a nut inside. It was so good, so this has also become a wanted food souvenir. The red jujube is big, meaty and sweet. The walnut is crunchy and nutty. It is such a good combination to bite in!

In the Netherlands you often find ‘wet’ dates, dates which are soaked in their own sweetness? On Google I found that jujube and dates are from different trees. Jujube grown on trees with green leafs and dates grown on palm trees, but in Dutch we call them both ‘dadels’.

Extra: Dried bamboo sprouts

These dried bamboo sprouts are from a previous mom-food-gift, but it is still a precious item. If you have ever seen the movie “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”, then you have also seen a bamboo sprout. It’s the small sprout where Princess Kaguya is born from.


If you haven’t seen the movie, you can watch it here. Recommended!

Bamboo sprouts are delicious! I love the crunchiness and bite feeling. These bamboo sprouts are salted and dried for preserving. Before you use them, you have to soak them in water to re-hydrate them.  And you have to change the water a few times, to remove the salt. Nowadays I also boil them before putting them in a dish, since they have a strange sour taste. I often use bamboo sprouts in chicken soups or meat dishes. They will absorb the meat taste.

If you ever go to Hangzhou (China), try out the chicken soup in the mountains. It was the best chicken soup I have ever had. You get a whole chicken paired with mushrooms, young bamboo shoots and goji. I ate this dish in 2010 and it inspired me to make the chicken soup recipe.

Coming soon…

Originally I planned to make a video recipe today, but the food souvenirs inspired me to write this post. So coming soon: a lazy video recipe.

Also I would to thank you all readers for visiting my blog. Nowadays I often see visitors from different countries and that makes me really happy; to tell my stories to so many people worldwide.


See you on the next blog!

Basics of stir frying

It’s hard to be original in the foodblog world.. I had the idea to share the basics of stir frying, if you know these basics you can stir fry million combinations of Chinese dishes. But then I see a post of a Serious Eats on Facebook with an update of Wok Skills 101. Noooo, there goes my ‘original’ idea. I will first write down my story and then read the Wok 101 post to compare whether I learned the same basics.

Let’s start.

The trick to stir frying is knowing how long you have to stir fry each ingredient in the dish. The time also depends on how you cut the ingredient. For example if you take a carrot and cut it in big blocks, you might need to wok 5-10 minutes to create a soft bite. But if you cut the carrot in thin slices, it might only take 1 minute to make it soft.

You can use big blocks of carrot in a stew, since you will cook it for a long time and you don’t want to let the carrot dissolve in the stew. Thinly slices carrot are better for stir frying shortly in a veggies dish.

Fire

Fire is also an important variable when stir frying. It’s best to use real fire than induction or electric heating/stove. Fire can heat the whole wok, which is better for searing the ingredients quickly. This way the juices stay in the meat and vegetables. A wok is usually rounded at the bottom, not flat like a pan. The roundness makes it easier to toss the ingredients around, so that every side of the ingredient is heated equally within the same time. Or else you will get half raw, half seared meat.

Wok Hei

If you have a gas stove, you are lucky, I have induction. With the biggest fire you can create a taste which you can’t create with induction or an electric stove. People called it Wok Hei, breath of the wok. It is a fragrant delicious taste around the ingredient. When you eat the food, you smell it sort of in your mouth. Chinese people would call it Xiang 香 (=fragrant, delicious, wanting more of it). A word which has no translation in Dutch or English.

Basics

Meat, vegetable and spring onion or garlic are the main ingredients. You can use different meats, vegetables or taste makers combinations to create different dishes. Then you have the salt makers. I usually use soy sauce to marinate the meat. Add oyster sauce when stir frying the vegetables and at the end add salt if it is still not tasty enough.

Below is a recipe to show you the steps of stir frying.

Cut all the ingredients in equal sizes, so it will fit in your mouth. That’s why chopsticks are enough, you can put everything in your mouth without cutting.

I usually cut the taste makers and vegetables first. Then I cut the meat with the same knife, because it doesn’t matter to have vegetable juices on the meat. But it does matter if the vegetables get meat juices on them. (Don’t ask why.)

Marinate the meat with soy sauce, about two table spoons? {Also add corn starch to the meat to keep the juices inside}

{Heat the wok and add oil.} Add half of the spring onions and garlic to the meat. Stir fry the meat equally till about 80% done. Try not to have big chunks of pink in the meat.

{Add a bit of oil again.} Add the rest of the spring onions and garlic. Stir fry vegetables till soft, but crunchy.
Add the meat to the dish. Stir fry till the meat is not pink anymore. Add salt to taste. In this example I also added leftover rice. You can ignore that. Now you can serve your professionally stir fried dish. Enjoy!

Here is a time table showing when to stir fry what ingredient.

I was talking to my parents about this basic method I learned and apparently my uncles don’t take out the meat. They stir fry the meat first, maybe till 50%? Add vegetables and then stir fry till all is done. If you look at the time table that sounds logical. Meat and paprika time is about the same, so you could put them together. But then you have less control about making the meat equally non-pink. If there are a lot of ingredients in your wok, it harder to let every piece touch the side of the wok. I guess that’s why my parents take out the meat. More control about the tenderness of the meat.

After reading Wok 101

I forgot to talk about the oil. You need oil for stir frying, this can be sunflower oil, sesame oil or olive oil. Sesame oil is very fragrant, I also use this to marinate the meat. I use olive oil for stir frying. The taste makers (spring onion, garlic) are creating the fragrant in the oil.

I forgot to talk about maizena (corn starch). Add corn starch when marinating the meat. This will also keep the juices inside.

Okay, this is really the basics of stir frying. These days I use a lot of other ingredients in the meat marinating part, like black pepper, grinded sichuan pepper, sugar, curry powder etc. I learned about these ingredients from Korean and Thai recipes. It’s really fun to experiment with ingredients. It always tastes different.

If you have any questions, let me know 🙂

Dad’s Famous lamb skewers 羊肉串

 

Last week I wrote about my dad’s famous lamb sis kebab and lucky for you guys. He made it the week after, so I could take some photos to show you the recipe. It’s not difficult to make them. You only need to buy good piece of lamb (we use the leg). Have some decent BBQ fire skills and it will be a piece a cake.

Ingredients

  • Lamb leg meat
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly grind cumin seeds
  • Freshly grind hot peppers
  • Salt

Need

  • BBQ, coal, fire
  • Metal satay sticks

One | Preparations

yangrou-01 yangrou-04

Cut the lamb pieces into 4 cm long, 2-3 cm wide and 1-2 cm thick pieces. So it will be easy to puncture the stick in the middle of the meat. Cut 1 onion into finely chopped pieces. Mix with the meat. Put the egg white of the egg in the meat. Mix it well. The onion and egg white will make the meat very tender.

You can make two powder flavours, one is only grinded cumin and the other one is grinded cumin + grinded hot pepper. If you like spicy, add more hot pepper. Mix about 3 teaspoons of salt with the 5 teaspoons of grinded cumin. (I am guessing this ratio.)

Start up a fire with coals in the BBQ, so the BBQ will be hot and ready when you are done with step 2.

Two | Making skewers

yangrou-02 yangrou-03

Use the metal sticks and stab the meat right in the middle, so the meat will be equally burned at every side. Make the meat part as long as it can fit on the BBQ. Put some onions on the skewers for decoration. I am kidding, for taste of course.

Three | BBQ-ing

yangrou-05

When the BBQ is warm put on the skewers. Sprinkle quite an amount of cumin powder on them. Turn them after about a minute or two? I actually haven’t really BBQ-ed them, so use your eye to decide when to turn them. Let the skewers sit till you don’t see any pink anymore, then turn them around and wait till all is brownish.

Four | Almost doneyangrou-06

The inside can still be a little bit pink, then the meat is still very tender. Enjoy with some Turkish bread.

enjoy

And TADA! You have the most delicious skewers and it’s easy to make. Actually I should try to BBQ them the next time. See if I can make them as tender as my father’s. Then I can prove my BBQ skills. And provide a better recipe. Hah.

Kiroren Restaurant ~ Xinjiang food in Rotterdam

china map-05

A new Xinjiang restaurant has emerged in Rotterdam: Kiroren Restaurant. They opened on 8 August 2016. I visited their restaurant on their 20th day. It is located near the Beurs in Rotterdam. china map-01

Google maps says: Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China, is a vast region of deserts and mountains. It’s home to many ethnic minority groups, including the Turkic Uyghur people. 

My father comes from the Xinjiang area, so I am quite familiar with Xinjiang food. I was quite excited to hear about this new place.

History

china map-06

The brother Shirali Tursun and Ahmatjan Tursun are from Urumiqi (乌鲁木齐). They saw there wasn’t any Xinjiang restaurant in the Netherlands yet. There were a few in Germany, London and America, but not in the Netherlands. So they started their own restaurant. They have a chef, Kaysar Sirajialin, who has practiced 30 years of cooking and 10 of those years in Beijing in the Xinjiang cuisine. Now he is cooking for Kiroren Restaurant in Rotterdam.

The brothers have a famous whole-lamb-recipe from Xinjiang from the father in law and they use it now to make their chicken. It also includes a delicious sauce. Too bad it was already sold out for the day when I visited the place. Their lamb is very tender. They receive lamb meat from the butcher farm, so it is extra fresh, since it hasn’t been cooled for a very long time. And it is cheaper, 6 euro per kilo!

The food

We ordered some of the dishes we often eat: Mapo tofu, shiss kebab (lamb on a stick 羊肉串), pulled noodles and meat, “big plate of chicken”(大盘鸡). Aah, just take a look at the photos and the names: 

The lamb meat was so nice! And we got a lot of big pieces of lamb on a stick. My father often makes lamb on a stick, but he said these were very good. They had a special herb in them. In the future I will post the famous lamb recipe from my father. I liked the “big plate of chicken” the most. The chicken was spiced very nice and the flat noodles under it with the sauce is just to die for!

I am just getting hungry by looking at the pictures. Maybe I should eat some lunch…

The Menu

menu2

You can find their menu on their Facebook. I believe they removed the sushi from the old menu. I went there for a second time (February 2017) and the menu didn’t have the sushi anymore. Only the Xinjiang dishes.

kiroren-menu

This restaurant is really a recommendation if you like meat and spiced food. It was not spicy, but it had a lot of spices.

Price is about € 26 p.p including drinks. I ate with 5 persons and we paid € 130,- and we still had leftovers. They don’t serve alcohol there.

Second visit experiences (Feb 2017)

We went for a second time to Kiroren Restaurant to taste that authentic Xinjiang food. We tried the chicken we didn’t have last time, with the secret powder recipe, but we were not so impressed. This chicken is made by grilling over fire; a bit dry. The big chicken dish with pulled flat noodles is still our favorite chicken. This chicken is stir fried with a lot of oil; the texture is softer/juicier. The owner told us that they had revised the big chicken dish, to let it taste more like the authentic one in China. But honestly, we liked their first version better. That was really an explosion of taste in your mouth. This new revised recipe was a softer explosion, still good none the less, but we had tasted something nicer before to compare it with.
We ordered a lot of the same dishes as last time, because they were nice. A new one was the eggplant. Eggplant has always been a favorite dish of ours, red hot burned eggplant (红烧茄子). It tasted nice and spicy. Wish there was more eggplant, because we finished it very fast.

Time to visit them!

Kiroren Restaurant
Schiedamsedijk 1
3011 EB Rotterdam
+31 (0) 10-3419836
www.kiroren.nl (the website is not done yet on the day of posting this)
Facebook

Mon – Thur, Sun             12:00-22:00
Fri – Sat                          12:00-23:00

Swiss food?

In the near future I will be going to Swiss for a holiday with friends. We were planning what to do there and while I was looking at sightseeing spots I was thinking: what kind of food do they have there? What is typical Swiss food? I found some cat and dog photos while Googling O_O, so I was quite surprised. Not only people from Asia eat cats and dogs.
So, what is typical Dutch food? “Stamppot”? (mashed potatoes+ stuff) “Bitterbal”? (croquette boll)
Chinese food is: fried rice, dumplings, noodles… Actually I also don’t know what typical Chinese is. They have too much food to choose from.
This thought inspired me to create a series of:

When in [some country] eat [their speciality food]

What is a food you SHOULD have eaten when in Swiss? After the trip I will let you guys know.
For now I can suggest you this for Holland:
bitterbal
For China I suggest:
dumpling
Do you have suggestions for your country or countries you have visited? I might make a picture of it..
enjoy

Eastern Snackhouse ~ Chinese food in Delft

When you want to find a good traditional Chinese restaurant, follow the Chinese. They usually know the authentic places. Don’t expect a lot of friendly talk with the service, because it’s all about having the food fast. Exactly how I like it. Eat first, talk later.
Delft Eastern snackbar-02

In Delft (NL) there is also a small gem where you can get delicious Chinese food. They also serve some Japanese and Indonesian dishes. But you should go for the Chinese food, because the owners are Chinese. The last time I went there I tried their congee for the first time. The owner suggested to have it with surimi sticks instead of chicken. And it was a very good choice! The congee was salty enough, thick enough. Oh wait. It wasn’t congee, because there was no rice in it. Soup I guess then.. 玉米汤 (corn soup)

It has: surimi sticks, egg swirls, corn.. It’s so good! I recommend it. Here is a drawing of it:

Delft Eastern snackbar-01

The lady owner is also very friendly. If you can talk Chinese, she will have a little chat with you and it feels like talking to a mom in a home environment. Really lovely ^^

And of course the food is also very good. I don’t really know the names of the dishes, but you can ask her for the best Chinese dishes. Don’t pick the rice + some meat dishes (for one person), but pick veggie and meat dishes. Share with your friends and you can try a lot of good stuff. Oh and did I say it is quite cheap? Go! Go!

Visit them!

Eastern Snackhouse
Kromstraat 35, 2611 EP Delft, The Netherlands
+31 (0)6 39636 493
They are on Iens.nl