Hello, August!

This is a collection on a monthly basis, introducing some of the dishes and lovely dishes I cook, eat and meet in everyday life.

Summer is a great season as there are so many fresh fruits, melons and dark leafy greens outside on the market. That’s why it is a season that I love and hate. Cooking has been a tough task for me in summer due to the hot weather. Classic Chinese cooking includes lots of stir-frying over high fire in front of the stove. So basically we are enjoying lots of Chinese style cold dishes (equal to salad in western cuisines). I would like to start with Szechuan peppercorn oil, which is extremely great for summer salad.

The best harvest time of fresh green Szechuan peppercorn is July.Fresh green Szechuan peppercorn oil(known as 麻油) in Szechuan area. It is only popular in Szechuan cuisine and quite hard to find even in other areas in China.  We use it in lots of Szechuan style salad. Unlike common red Szechuan peppers, green peppers are quite hard to preserve. This is one of the creative way to store the aroma in the oil.

Fresh green Szechuan peppercorn
Fresh green Szechuan peppercorn in our back yard
 fresh Szechuan peppercorn oil
Making fresh green peppercorn oil

The second exciting thing about summer is the freshly Szechuan style pickled Chinese long beans (泡豇豆). I love it so much especially when fried with minced pork belly.

june on table

I even wrap this as a filling in steamed buns with my daughter and other family member. It is a enjoying activity. My little daughter even takes dough as her most favorite tool now.


Sweet potato leaves (红薯叶). It can be extremely delicious when stir fry with garlic and oil.

garlic sweet potato leaves

Another great summer vegetable is the loofah (丝瓜).  It might be familiar with your guys in the forms of loofah soap. But the fruit itself is quite delicious with a slightly sweet taste.Following is stir fried loofah with minced garlic, one of the most popular way to cook fresh loofah. But it also tastes great in soups with egg drops.

june on table-4

stir fried loofah

Summer’s favorite–salted duck egg. Those in the photo is my mom’s pickled salted duck egg. She kept some snow water during the big snow in last year.

salted eggs

Chives are tenderest in summer. I made lots of dishes using Chinese chive like this pan-fried tofu with Chinese chive, as they are in the best season.

pork and chive dumplings

And lots of cold salad– seaweed and lotus root salad and long beans salad, tofu salad.

daily dishes in june

A lighter mouthwatering chicken in summer.

daily dishes in june

And a lots of tofu besides the two posted ones: cold tofu salad and pan-fried tofu with chive. This is my mother’s in law’s twice cooked tofu.

daily dishes in june

And always popular tomato and egg stir fry. It is a very basic dish that every Chinese housewife can cook. However a successful tomato and egg stir fry has lots of standard. The dish should be juicy and the egg should be tender and fluffily.

I have a wonderful group of partner as my little daughter loves tomatoes while my husband crave scrambled egg.

june on table-5

A simple layered salt and pepper scallion pancake with salted duck egg.

june on table-6

And my favorite roasted fish with mushrooms, tomatoes and pickled long beans. Fish is in the middle layer.

roasted tomatoes_

If you are interested in any recipe or special Chinese ingredient, please let me know.

Happy cooking in summer and see you in August.

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  1. OMG everything looks so delicious! I’m living in Suzhou currently and often try to cook things from your blog.;) Would be wonderful if you could share pickled long beans recipe and also fish with those beans! Had this once in a restaurant, amazing

    Beautiful photos

  2. Hi! I am a Chinese girl living in the US and I grew up with lots of dishes you listed in this post. Thanks for reminding me all these wonderful food! Would you mind sharing the recipe for thew last dish, the roasted fish with mushrooms, tomatoes and pickled long beans? I love pickled long beans but only fried it ground meat and hard tofu in the past. We also got lots of cherry tomato from our garden this summer and try to come up new ways to eat them. And my husband is a huge mushroom fan!

  3. Hello Elain

    If all this food would be on one tabele I would not know what to eat first. All looks fantastic and I know it all tastes delicious (because I have tried some of your recipes myself).
    You are blessed with the cutest little helper for dumpling making. Surely, the dumplings taste even better with her help, don’t they :-).

    Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

  4. Oh, what an inspiring and beautiful post. Don’t know what to admire most. I’m really thrilled.

    Your little girl is a treasure. I do want to cuddle her right away. You must be so proud of her.Please be careful about posting childrens pictures on the internet. It’s not safe, sad to say.

    A pepper bush in the backyard? You must live at a very nice place.

    And delicious meals prepared by mother and mother in law I can see your family has a grat tradition for good food and you do a very good job in keeping it and passing it on to your daughter. So good to see.

    I really didn’t know that loofah was edible when young. Had to look it up on the internet. Would be nice if you posted the recipe. Once in a while I purchase a squash that’s a bit spongy. Guess I could prepare it like loofah in stead of getting angry about myself and the grocery.

    Your eggs with tomato look delicious. The eggs are just like I prefer them myself. Actually I prepare a meal in a very similar way when I do not have the energy or time to do something more elabourate. It never occurred to me that this might be a “real” recipe and even Chinese. I use to eat it with a slice of bread, but never thought of combining it with a bowl of rice. Will do next time.

    I would also be interested in the recipe for the pickled salted eggs. Do you really need snow water or would ice cubes do the job as well? Anyway, we have snow here each winter, and I could wait a few months before trying it with chicken eggs. Unfortunately duck eggs are only available for those who have ducks themselves.

    1. Thanks for the kind remind Susanne. The lucky thing is that most of my readers are outside China and I am based in China. But I will avoid the post her pictures in future.
      We actually have two brushes in the backyard. My mom is quite proud of them. This year, only one tree has lots of fruits, and the other one is resting.
      Egg with tomato can be great partner for lots of staple food like bread, buns, steamed rice even noodles.
      For the pickled salted egg, all clean water can work but there is a saying that snow water can make the eggs even greater. Chicken eggs are perfect fine if duck eggs are unavailable. We use dark egg mostly because it has larger yolks.
      Happy cooking in August!

  5. Hi Elaine,

    all those dishes look great 🙂 I hope you and your family enjoy the summer.

    The recipe I would be most interested in is the one for the lotus and seaweed salad. And do you have any tips how to make frozen lotus taste better? Because I have not found any fresh lotus here (Germany), only the frozen kind.

    Lots of love,

    1. That’s easy. Pan-fried the tofu slices until golden brown and then add some garlic, scallion, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt. Simmer for 1 or 2 minutes until well flavored.