A homemaker, Judy Chan lives in Baldwin with her husband, Bernard. They have a grown son, Michael.
Who is your culinary inspiration?
My dad, who passed on when I was 15. He was a great cook. He used to cook all these wonderful Chinese dishes. And every weekend, he would have a traditional American roast beef dinner, which was a family treat.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I moved to Baldwin about 35 years ago.
When did you start cooking?
I must have been in grade school. I used to make breakfast for my sisters before they went off to junior high school. I'd make them ramen noodles. Later on, I became known as the official family cook.
How many people do you cook for these days?
Most of the time, it's just myself and my husband, but I love to entertain. I usually have about 12 to 15 people.
What's the last party you threw?
I did a tea party for a bridal shower. I made tea sandwiches, scones -- everything was tea-sized: little pastries with fruit, cream puffs, teeny-tiny cheesecakes.
Do you bake?
I make a wonderful cheesecake. Also cookies and cupcakes. I'm known by all my niece's school friends as Aunt Judy because I baked for my niece's school functions.
When it's just you and your husband at the table, what are some of the dishes you make?
Tonight, I'm making beef with bitter melon. Another dish I make a lot is ma pao tofu. We like tofu and it's so healthy.
It sounds as though your repertoire encompasses both Chinese and non-Chinese dishes.
I try to have them complement one another.
Where do you like to eat out when you're not cooking?
Chat Noir in Rockville Centre is one of my favorites.
MA PAO TOFU
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ pound ground pork or ground turkey
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
¼ cup frozen petite peas
1 box silken tofu, about 1 pound, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 scallion stalk, chopped
1. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, chicken broth and oyster sauce. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in nonstick pan. Add the ground pork or turkey, stirring until no longer pink, breaking up with spatula. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add chili garlic sauce to meat mixture; cook another minute.
4. Add the reserved soy sauce mixture. Cook until sauce begins to boil and thicken, about 3 minutes. Stir in peas.
5. Add tofu to mixture, stirring lightly so as not to break up tofu cubes. Cook 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
6. Stir in scallion. Serve over rice. Makes about 4 servings.