My son, Alex Miller, and new daughter-in-law, Yan Zhang Miller, are here from Beijing. It’s Yan’s first trip to the U.S., and after two weeks in New York, they will be taking a road trip across the country, ending in San Francisco, where Alex will meet with potential investors for his new China-based Internet company, Frogo.
The other night they volunteered to cook dinner. First of all, where to get the ingredients? I suggested the HMart in Hartsdale, the newest branch of a giant Korean-owned supermarket chain, which has aisles of packaged Chinese and Japanese ingredients as well as all things Korean and fresh Asian produce (and a cafe and a section with kitchenware and small appliances like rice cookers).
They returned with two bags of groceries including a whole beltfish or largehead hairtail, a fish new to me. According to Wikipedia,“Its flesh is firm yet tender when cooked, with a moderate level of fishiness to the smell and a low level of oiliness… also notable for being fairly easy to debone.” Plus various chilies, ginger, cilantro, garlic, noodles, eggplant, broccoli, cucumbers, tofu, spare ribs, spiced rice powder, and bottled kimchee. I got to sit back, watch and take pictures while they prepared this sumptuous, multicourse banquet:
It was all delicious, but I most enjoyed the unusual caraway-flavored soup made with tofu and kimchee—Korean-style spiced, fermented cabbage—shown in its beginnings in the blue pot above. Here is the recipe as charmingly supplied by Yan: