Growing up in a Chinese household with a mother who is a kitchen goddess, I ate very well. Since moving out, I still eat very well but I rarely cook Chinese. That’s because whenever I tried to learn something my mother could make blindfolded, it turns out the level of effort was astronomically higher than anything I had mastered. Authentic home-style Chinese food was something that I look forward to enjoying when I go home to visit my parents, not something I could make every day.
At home, a proper meal, which my mother made (and still makes) every day, would include soup, a vegetable dish, a protein dish, and rice. To round it out she would peel and cut up some fruit for dessert. She also works full time. And dinner is usually served at seven sharp. It’s a miracle I turned out being able to survive on my own.
Despite being a dunce when it comes to Chinese cooking, I did pick up a few tricks from watching my mother and assisting in the kitchen. And that is, the all purpose “glass glaze”. According to my mom, anything you cook can be improved by a clear glaze that picks up the flavour of whatever is in the pan so that it looks great and you end up with a sauce that will go well with rice. It’s ridiculously simple. Are you ready for it? Cold water and corn starch.
And then I learned that the “glass glaze” can be customized with other things to make a sauce. Tonight for supper I made a stir fry with broccoli and pan fried Textured Vegetable Protein, and covered the whole thing with a citrus cilantro glaze.
Here’s how you make and use the glaze:
Mince half a bunch of cilantro, remove thick stalks, set aside.
Use a 1 or 2 cup measuring glass:
- Measure out 1/3 cup orange juice
- Add light soy sauce up to the 1/2 cup line
- Add zest of one orange
- Add cold water up to the 1 cup line
- Dissolve in 2 tsp cornstarch
Once you have your vegetables and protein cooked and ready in a pan with the heat still on, pour in the entire contents as mixed in the proportions above. Do not stir – let it bubble until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the cilantro and mix well, so that everything is coated with the glaze. Take the pan off from the heat, and serve on rice. This glaze makes enough for 4 servings of vegetables.