A dish that quickly made an impression on me was hóngshāo ròu (红烧肉, soy sauce-braised pork belly) — cubed chunks of pork belly braised in soy sauce with fragrant spices. The stratas of fat tender the lean as it stews and fills the home with a spellbinding aroma casting hunger upon anyone near. Fork-tender, it falls apart in the mouth. The savory-sweet combination seduces the taste buds, rendering me addicted to this dish for life. As I write this, I wonder, ‘Is it time for me to stew another pot of this simple dish that waited nearly three decades to find my appetite?’
Chengdu, Sichuan, China—From morning into the early evening, I was on my heels learning nine favorite family recipes. From crayfish to wriggling eels, I learned simple dishes and complex dishes. Jiǎng Yì (蒋毅) and his sister Jiǎng Lì (蒋利) proudly shared a feast of their family favorites. Not all of their dishes were easy to cook, but we learned those tricky ones too just in case any food explorers feel up for the challenge.
After a couple of years settling back home in San Francisco, I've come back to what I love most—sharing stories and easy homestyle recipes. I'm a mom now! That means I am in short supply of time. But I love cooking for my family and recounting stories from when I met families in China and learned their favorite family recipes. I collected over 400 recipes since 2009. The best part about these recipes is that they were taught to me by other families without a lot of time and with a lot of mouths to feed.
After meeting many families around the world, it's become clear to me—especially now that I'm a mom—that cooking quick and easy recipes to eat together with the family at the dinner table is a universal joy. If we are fortunate to have the time and resources to cook for our families and eat together, we are blessed.
Please enjoy these easy homestyle recipes I've learned from other families in China and other parts of the world. We have more in common with each other than we realize: we all love sharing good food with our families.
I love to cook easy, homestyle recipes for family and friends. In this blog, you'll find stories and recipes I've learned from families in China and other parts of the world.