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Cantonese Cooking & Traditions

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#61 wesza

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 05:00 PM

The "SIZZLE" from the platters into the Steak originated apparently as 2 so called European Style Restaurants in Asia. Ironically they both has the same names even though I don't think they were related to each other during the 1950's.

The first place was the very well known 'Jimmy's Kitchen" originally located in the Central District in Hong Kong still operated by the Landau Family at 2 different locations in Causeway Bay and Kowloon.

The other Restaurant was in "Kula Lumpar" also called "Jimmy's Kitchen".

Both places started using the Steel Oval Platters to serve Steaks hot as if they came sizzling right off the fire. It was effective merchandising, even though the original rationale was to serve Steaks from Kitchens that needed some way to keep up with the volume of orders by delivering a Steak still hot to the customers.

It eventually traveled all over the world, where it's still being featured in various guises effectively. From "Fajitas" to "Sizzling Rice" all the way to some of the most expensive "Steak House" Steaks. [Ruth Chris?]

Irwin
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#62 jo-mel

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 06:25 PM

Could it have come from the sizzling rice dishes? The rice has to be piping hot from the oil, and maybe rather than heated platters, hot platters were used in an effort to keep the rice really hot until the sauce was poured on top. Then maybe some enterprizing soul got the big idea to------------and the rest is history??

#63 hzrt8w

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 06:46 PM

jo-mel: Congratulations on your 1000th post too! (Tepee, is the cake ready???) :biggrin:

Irwin: Thanks for the history brief. That makes a lot of sense. I grew up hearing the name "Jimmy's Kitchen". I grew up in Tsim Sha Tsui and I often smelled the garlic, melted butter, fried potatoes and curries coming up from the exhausts from whatever restaurants. The sizzling steak with black pepper sauce (western style)dish was quite common in the 60's/70's in Hong Kong. Did it go from there and spread around the world? Wow! What an honor! Fajitas too? It's amazing how one copies from another and morphes into slightly different things.

Edited by hzrt8w, 17 October 2005 - 06:47 PM.

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#64 Dejah

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 07:04 PM

  The sizzling steak with black pepper sauce (western style)dish was quite common in the 60's/70's in Hong Kong.  Did it go from there and spread around the world?  Wow!  What an honor!  Fajitas too?  It's amazing how one copies from another and morphes into slightly different things.

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This was one of our biggest sellers in Soo's. It always set off a domino effect when one customer orders it. The aroma and effect was such that everyone will want one. The BBQ sauce and black bean garlic sauce sizzling plates were always "served" at the customer's table. The curry ones, we'd start them in the kitchen so the aroma doesn't choke up those not so tolerant of spices.

I think I took pictures the last time I served this to company... :hmmm:
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#65 wesza

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 07:07 PM

Could it have  come from the sizzling rice dishes?  The rice has to be piping hot from the oil, and maybe rather than heated platters,  hot platters were used in an effort to keep the rice really hot until the sauce was poured on top. Then maybe some enterprizing soul got the big idea to------------and the rest is history??

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jo-mei:

In Hong Kong the rice thats browned on the bottom of the "Clay Pot Casseroles" would never get any further then being coveted by everyone waiting to get a chance to scoop some up.

It's offered to the guest of honor or eldest at the table first and the rest is up for grabs. It a treat that escapes politeness.

In the States it's a contrived item since Clay Pots are mostly served in genuine Chinese Restaurants where they are baked to order with a rice base. The majority of places prepare the dishes with rice served seperately.

In the States Hot platters evolved in NYC where they are still used for "Roast Pork" and "Spare Ribs" in many Restaurants. It has been served this way since the 1930's.

Sizziling Rice is mostly yesterdays rice compressed into shape, then deep fried to achive the effect. It's good merchandising that tastes pretty good but I never saw it done in Asia.

Irwin
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#66 carswell

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 07:40 PM

While I have nothing of substance to add, this thread reminded me of a funny story. A friend and I went to one of Montreal's Chinese restaurants, an honest Cantonese place that had bowed to popular pressure and added a few Szechuan-style dishes to their menu. When we gave the waiter our order, we stressed that ours were not the typical Canadian palates and that we had a high tolerance for heat. The spiciest dish we ordered was a sizzling platter. When the waiter brought our food, he set the platter on a serving table that was closer to other diners than to us. He caught our eyes, held up a vial, checked one last time by asking "really spicy?" and, on seeing our nods, dumped the entire contents onto the sizzling platter. A veritable mushroom cloud of steam rose from the dish. Within seconds, the waiter was coughing violently. Then the four diners at the table nearest him started coughing. They were soon joined by the diners at the next table. Then the next. And the next. Before long, everyone seated at our end of the restaurant was coughing, blowing their noses and wiping tears from their eyes. Everyone except us, that is; our table was directly under an air-conditioner vent. Still coughing, one of the men in a nearby party stood up, shot us a dirty look and announced "Let's get out of here before they serve something else!" Moral of the story: Cantonese sizzling platter good; Szechuan sizzling platter bad.

#67 jo-mel

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 07:47 PM

Oh!! My 1000th! Hee Hee -- I think I've been broken in! Tepee -- was that message, on another post, for me? I saw it ant thought that someone had passed a milestone, but I'd never checked to see where I stood! Thanks all!

Wesza -- I'm not too nice. When I've served a clay pot with rice, I don't tell anyone what is on the bottom. They are not usually Chinese, so they don't know about that goody, and I have it all to myself!

In Asia, isn't the rice that is left on the sides and bottom of the pot -- and dried out, the original basis for sizzling rice? (And I assume done here by Chinese families) I've done it that way --- leaving a thick coating in the pan, but then I made it in the oven --- then I ?progressed? into buying the cakes.

#68 BarbaraY

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 07:43 AM

I was one of the respondent on that other forum. I'm curious about this, too, as I had never encountered it in this area.

#69 hzrt8w

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 11:38 AM

Moral of the story: Cantonese sizzling platter good; Szechuan sizzling platter bad.

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carswell: Thanks for the funny story! LOL! I could imagine everybody in the restaurant choking on the smell of hot chili except you guys. :laugh: :laugh:

The hot sizzling platters do cause a domino effect. One customer orders one, the others all watch. The people who just come in and see it, a lot of them would say: what's that? Smells so good... I gotta have one too!
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#70 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 12:22 PM

I first saw the sizzling platters in the mid-80s, when more and more HK-style restaurants opened in NY. Flushing’s Chinatown was growing rapidly at the time, and since it was closer to our home than Manhattan's Chinatown, we went to Flushing instead. The first time my family ordered a sizzling platter, we didn’t know that “sizzling” meant that a hot platter was brought to our table. It was a pleasant surprise. Our favorite dish was sizzling sable with black beans. :wub:

The hot sizzling platters do cause a domino effect.  One customer orders one, the others all watch. 

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I took delight in watching the "round-eyes" look in interest when they heard our dish hit the hot platter, particularly when they were eating some unidentifiable glop.
Karen C.

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#71 herbacidal

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 04:43 PM

This was one of our biggest sellers in Soo's. It always set off a domino effect when one customer orders it. The aroma and effect was such that everyone will want one. The BBQ sauce and black bean garlic sauce sizzling plates were always "served" at the customer's table. The curry ones, we'd start them in the kitchen so the aroma doesn't choke up those not so tolerant of spices.


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I don't know about the origin, but I do trust Wesza.

It remains a big seller nowadays at most Cantonese restaurants I've been around, regardless of American Chinese or Chinese Chinese.

The sizzle has always turned heads and caused other people to add it to their order.

Worba for the American Chinese, flank steak or short rib with black pepper sauce for the Chinese Chinese.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

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#72 Tepee

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 05:28 PM

Carwell: Your story made me ROFL!!! Too funny!

On another note, has anyone tried making sizzling dishes at home?
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#73 jo-mel

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 05:49 PM

Carswell --- so how did the dish taste?

I think we've all experienced the 'cough' from fried chilies. It has to wear off. You really can't do anything about those droplets in the air if you are in the middle of them. I had a whole table of students hacking one time. I told them that they REALLY learned a lesson!

I've done the sizzling dishes for both classes and for family. A shrimp one on sizzling rice on a sizzling platter, a steak and onions, and a steak with black pepper sauce.

About the black pepper sauce----- is that Hong Kong innovation for Western tastes or do Chinese like it too? I love it! A place nearby, has oysters on skewers in black pepper sauce on a sizzling platter. So good --- and yes --- it turns eyes. I asked the waiter where the oysters came from. He said he'd ask the chef. The chef told him --- a can!! I couldn't believe it! I still like them and order them whenever I go there. Many black pepper sauces are on scallops or shrimp, but even tho those are fresh, I still prefer those canned oysters.

#74 hzrt8w

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 06:00 PM

I've done the sizzling dishes for both classes and for family. A shrimp one on sizzling rice on a sizzling platter[...]

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I remember serving a dish like that when I worked as a waiter in a restaurant in San Diego. We had to move very quickly from the kitchen to the dining table, with both the sizzling plate and the sizzling rice ("War Bar" [Cantonese]) on our trays. Once set on the table, pour the sizzling rice, then pour the shrimp and sauce (made with tomato base) on to the iron plate. The smell was wonderful... always made us waiters hungry too!

I think the Cantonese black pepper sauce is a Hong Konger's twist on the traditional Cantonese "black bean sauce" and combining the ever-so-popular "steak with black pepper sauce on sizzling plate" dish in Hong Kong western restaurants.

Edited by hzrt8w, 18 October 2005 - 06:03 PM.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#75 jo-mel

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 07:43 PM

hzrt --

On those sizzling rice dishes -- forget the shrimp! I go for the rice with the sauce on it. I'm not one for tomatos in Chinese cooking, and even the tomato sauce dishes are at the bottom of my list ---- but the dish you described does have a flavorable sauce. Hugh Carpenter has a great Tomato Fireworks Shrimp dish that is wonderful over sizzling rice.

#76 Dejah

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 08:38 PM

hzrt --
On those sizzling rice dishes -- forget the shrimp!  I go for the rice with the sauce on it. I'm not one for tomatos in Chinese cooking, and even the tomato sauce dishes are at the bottom of my list ---- but the dish you described does have a flavorable sauce.  Hugh Carpenter has a great Tomato Fireworks Shrimp dish that is wonderful over sizzling rice.

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For sizzling rice, we served it as a soup. The sizzling rice is brought out hot on a hot plate. Along side is a bowl of very flavourful broth with choice of meat and vegetables. At the customer's table, we'd put the rice into a large bowl, then pour the soup onto the rice. Snap, crackle , pop! It's like fan jiew!

Our BBQ sauce for the hot plates was tomato based, with several other ingredients in it.
Must dig it out from my pile of stuff! It was best with chicken or shrimp, tomato wedges, green pepper, onion and pineapple chunks.
Dejah
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#77 BarbaraY

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 01:14 PM

I went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch today and in looking over their evening menu, saw that they have Sizzling Iron Platters.
We often eat lunch out but I seldom go out to eat dinner so I had missed this.
They have Pork Chop, Prawn, Fish Filet, or Happy Family. Will have to give it a try soon. This is the first restaurant in a very rural area to offer these dishes or Salt and Pepper Squid and other squid dishes.

Edited by BarbaraY, 20 October 2005 - 01:15 PM.


#78 hzrt8w

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 11:31 AM

I have observed that in recent years, there is another trend in place: mini-woks.

These woks, each is about 10 inches in diameter, are used to serve certain dishes. The food served is held in the mini-wok, and the mini-wok is set on top of a small fire provided by a methanol gel stove to keep the food warm.

Cute!
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#79 hzrt8w

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 04:22 PM

I have observed that in recent years, there is another trend in place:  mini-woks.

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A picture of a mini-wok is posted here:
Mutton cooked with Tsing Tao Beer
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#80 Philanthrophobe

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 04:09 PM

I ordered this item all the time at a small, local Cantonese restaurant run by an elderly couple, Howard and Jennifer Liang. It was REALLY good. Unfortunately, they sold the restaurant about a year ago, and so far, my attempts to replicate the dish have not been particularly successful.

I miss these people so much. And Mr. Chiang was such a great cook. (I presume they retired.)

The ingredients are fried cubed bean curd, limas, rice, scallions, and hot chile flakes; it's the sauce I can't seem to get right.

Any suggestions? Anything at all?
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#81 annachan

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 06:36 PM

This reminds me of a dish my grandmother used to make. She used regular tofu and left out the heat (we were young kids then). Maybe try using chili paste instead of flakes. Are you using soy sauce or other seasonings? I'm not sure why this came to mind, but what about oyster sauce?

#82 Philanthrophobe

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 06:56 PM

This reminds me of a dish my grandmother used to make. She used regular tofu and left out the heat (we were young kids then). Maybe try using chili paste instead of flakes. Are you using soy sauce or other seasonings? I'm not sure why this came to mind, but what about oyster sauce?

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Yep, I tried soy sauce--too one-note. Then I tried soy sauce/oyster sauce, and it was closer, but still...no Cantonese cigar. I think I might well have to forego duplicating it as Mr. Liang did it, but I intend to have fun trying!!

(I should also mention that I have a bunch of Wei-Chuan publications--still can't find it.)

I'd love to know what seasonings might be good for the combo of tofu, limas, and rice. How did your grandmother make it? (I go to a really great Asian market, so get as esoteric as you'd like with ingredients. )

All suggestions will be enthusiastically attempted! :biggrin: Thanks very very much!
"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

--Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

#83 hzrt8w

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 09:27 PM

[...] I think I might well have to forego duplicating it as Mr. Liang did it, but I intend to have fun trying!!

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Philanthrophobe: Welcome to eGullet!

You know... Liang is the same last name as Leung (mine). Liang is Mandarin pronounciation. Leung is Cantonese. I am a bit surprised that it was a Mr. Liang who made Cantonese food, not a Mr. Leung. :smile:

Can you describe the sauce a little more? I read spicy. But it can be many things. What is the color? Black? Brown? White? Purple? Red?
Black - it can be black bean sauce.
Brown (common) - it can be bean sauce, or oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce, or just soy sauce. Or a combination of these.
White - can be just chicken broth with corn starch.
Purple (I put that in just for kicks) - can be shrimp sauce.
Red - can be nam yu, (fermented red bean curd).
Any of these can be made "spicy" with addition of chili.

Did you taste any garlic, ginger, onion, green onion in the dish? Was there any other ingredients such as black mushrooms, water chestnuts, peanuts or other vegetables?

Bear in mind also that it could be Mr. Liang's one-of-a-kind creation too.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#84 annachan

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 10:03 PM

Yep, I tried soy sauce--too one-note. Then I tried soy sauce/oyster sauce, and it was closer, but still...no Cantonese cigar. I think I might well have to forego duplicating it as Mr. Liang did it, but I intend to have fun trying!!

(I should also mention that I have a bunch of Wei-Chuan publications--still can't find it.)

I'd love to know what seasonings might be good for the combo of tofu, limas, and rice. How did your grandmother make it? (I go to a really great Asian market, so get as esoteric as you'd like with ingredients. )

All suggestions will be enthusiastically attempted!  :biggrin: Thanks very very much!

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I can't remember exactly how she made it, it was almost 20 years ago now. My grandma wasn't into using a lot of different seasonings, so I suspect that she would have used so sauce and/or oyster sauce. She would most likely have used some sugar to balance the saltiness. Probably a corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce.

#85 Philanthrophobe

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 04:06 PM

You know... Liang is the same last name as Leung (mine).  Liang is Mandarin pronounciation.  Leung is Cantonese.  I am a bit surprised that it was a Mr. Liang who made Cantonese food, not a Mr. Leung.  :smile:

Can you describe the sauce a little more?  I read spicy.  But it can be many things.  What is the color?  Black?  Brown?  White?  Purple?  Red?
Black - it can be black bean sauce.
Brown (common) - it can be bean sauce, or oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce, or just soy sauce.  Or a combination of these.
White - can be just chicken broth with corn starch.
Purple (I put that in just for kicks) - can be shrimp sauce.
Red - can be nam yu, (fermented red bean curd).
Any of these can be made "spicy" with addition of chili.

Did you taste any garlic, ginger, onion, green onion in the dish?  Was there any other ingredients such as black mushrooms, water chestnuts, peanuts or other vegetables?

Bear in mind also that it could be Mr. Liang's one-of-a-kind creation too.

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he


Thank you for the kind welcome! I love this site. I'm spending waaaaaaay too much time here...

Just for fun, here's a local newspaper article about the Liangs. And I'm curious: regarding the Leung/Liang difference, if they were Liangs elsewhere in China and moved to Canton to teach at the university, would they have kept the same spelling? --or would it have been more likely that they changed the name to Leung?

Back to the food: the sauce was brown and there was just enough to coat the tofu and limas. I remember tasting a bit of garlic, a bit of ginger, and scallions. I tasted no obvious sweet notes. It was was mildly salty but in a subtle, complex way that I couldn't figure out. The heat came from visible chile flakes. There were no peanuts and no other vegetables; just some finely julienned black mushrooms (I think he said they were tree ears).

Mr. Liang told me that this was a variation on something his grandmother in China used to make--this made me think that someone else might know of a similar dish.

The more I try to describe it, the more elusive this quest seems. Yeesh.

How about this: given these ingredients, what sort of condiments would you be inclined to use, and in what proportion?

Thanks!
"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

--Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

#86 hzrt8w

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 01:07 AM

[...] And I'm curious: regarding the Leung/Liang difference, if they were Liangs elsewhere in China and moved to Canton to teach at the university, would they have kept the same spelling? --or would it have been more likely that they changed the name to Leung?

Back to the food: the sauce was brown and there was just enough to coat the tofu and limas. I remember tasting a bit of garlic, a bit of ginger, and scallions. I tasted no obvious sweet notes. It was was mildly salty but in a subtle, complex way that I couldn't figure out. The heat came from visible chile flakes. There were no peanuts and no other vegetables; just some finely julienned black mushrooms (I think he said they were tree ears).

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Leung/Liang are the same in Chinese writing. In Singapore, my last name is spelled Leong. They probably don't need to pick which spelling while they are in China unless/until they go aboard to other countries.

The sauce you described seems very close to oyster sauce with chicken broth. I have featured that sauce in some of my pictorial recipes. Take a look at the one on Crab with Ginger and Green Onion.

The black mushrooms you described are called "wood ear fungi", a direct translation from their Chinese name.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#87 stephenc

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 01:22 AM

Back to the food: the sauce was brown and there was just enough to coat the tofu and limas. I remember tasting a bit of garlic, a bit of ginger, and scallions. I tasted no obvious sweet notes. It was was mildly salty but in a subtle, complex way that I couldn't figure out. The heat came from visible chile flakes. There were no peanuts and no other vegetables; just some finely julienned black mushrooms (I think he said they were tree ears).



Even though you couldn't taste any obvious sweet notes in the dish, I bet the dish contained tien men jian, sweet bean paste...

If you taste garlic, ginger and scallions, its "yu shang", or "fish-flavored". Ginger, scallions, garlic, sweet bean paste, and a little bit of toban jian (spicy bean paste)

Try this and see if it better replicates what you had...

Edited by stephenc, 06 January 2006 - 01:28 AM.


#88 Philanthrophobe

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 10:11 PM

You guys are the freaking BEST!! I'll be trying all your suggestions and I'll be sure to let you know what results. --and if any other ideas strike you, let me know!
"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

--Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

#89 herp17

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 03:07 PM

Can some one enlighten me about making curry beef or curry chicken? Cantonese style? I don't know if there's a difference or not between other currys. I grew up eating my dad's curry chicken with potatoes and carrots but can never replicate it exactly. It always taste like something is missing. Any suggestions or recipes?

#90 annachan

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 03:59 PM

Cantonese style curry? Never heard of that....In our (Cantonese) household, we make either Indian style curry or Thai style. Other than using the different style of curry powder/paste, I usually add extra cumin to the Indian curry and coconut milk to the Thai curry. As for vegetables, onion is a must, potato is a standard for both and carrot more for the Thai style.

Can you tell us what you put in the curry and maybe we can figure out what you may add to achieve the taste you want? I don't really go by a recipe when making curry, I just add stuff base on taste....





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