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A pictorial guide to Chinese cooking ingredients

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#91 dmreed

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 06:15 AM

While reading "Mary Sia's Chinese Cookbook" I came across 2 ingredients with which I am not familiar:

1) Yu Loo - a strong tasting fish extract (I think this is just fish sauce)

2) Green Plum Sauce - used with any meat dish, just as Westerners use mango chutney.

what is the Chinese name(s) for green plum sauce?

She also mentions 2 ways to prepare canned abalone:

1) cover unopened can with water and bring to a boil, simmer for 4 hours making sure can is always covered with water; remove, coll,open can, save juice.

2) remove abalones from can and cut each in two;put abalones in pressure cooker with juice and 1 cup water; cook 20 minutes at 15pounds pressure.

Has anyone here used either method? Are these good ways to prepare caned abalone?
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#92 sunflower

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 04:33 PM

Just joined today and have read this forum for sometime. Great to meet you guys finally. If you have followed the BBC messageboard and read my blog http://sunflower-recipes.blogspot.com/ you probably know who I am.

Anyway to answer the dmreed questions #91:

1) Yu Loo is fish sauce identical to Thai fish sauce.

2) Green plum sauce is called 青梅酱 (ching mei jiang) in Chinese. It is made with small green sour plums similar to greengage plum. I am not sure you can find Chinese green plums outside China, Taiwan and maybe Japan/ Korea.

Regarding the method to prepare canned abalone,

1) Step 1. This is absolutely unnecessary, canned abalone is already fully cooked and tenderised.

2) Do not pressure cook canned abalone this will make it tough like leather.

*slow simmering or pressure cooking only applies to dried abalones.

All you need to do is just open the can and slice very thin. Eat as it is (I will eat it straight from the can) or briefly stir fry with oyster sauce, good chicken broth and Chinese cooking wine. Abalone with sea cucumber and shitake mushroom is a classic Cantonese dish. To serve, line the dish with a bed of steamed Chinese green and lay the stir fry abalone on top.

#93 dmreed

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 06:42 PM

thanks...info much appreciated.

always learning something new!
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#94 dmreed

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 06:11 AM

there are Chinese names for flavors and tastes such as TEEM for SWEET, SEEN for SOUR, HEONG for pan-flavor or WOK HAY, etc.

using soy sauce and other fermented soy products, I know the Chinese are aware of the Japanese flavor called UMAMI but what is the Chinese name for this flavor?
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#95 liuzhou

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 07:59 PM

Umami is referred to as 鲜味/鮮味 xiān wèi in Mandarin.

#96 dmreed

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 11:42 PM

thanks, greatly appreciated...do you have a literal translation of xiān wèi?

how about the Cantonese name?

BTW I am starting a Taste/Flavor page on my site:

http://dmreed.com/fo...nd_flavors.html

this thread although not as active as it once was continues to be a great source of information!
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#97 liuzhou

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 05:49 AM

The literal translation is not particularly helpful (as so often in Chinese!)

It means something like "tasty taste".

Sorry, I don't know Cantonese.

#98 dmreed

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 12:11 PM

thanks...but it is interesting!
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#99 hzrt8w

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 02:42 PM

there are Chinese names for flavors and tastes such as TEEM for SWEET, SEEN for SOUR, HEONG for pan-flavor or WOK HAY, etc.


Chinese characters:

TEEM for SWEET: 甜

SEEN for SOUR: 酸

HEONG for pan-flavor: 香 (I think this is what you were referring to)

WOK HAY: 鑊氣


(I bought a hand-writing Chinese input device. Entering Chinese characters is much easier now. :laugh: )

- 阿梁

Edited by hzrt8w, 08 March 2010 - 02:44 PM.

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

#100 dmreed

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 04:26 PM


there are Chinese names for flavors and tastes such as TEEM for SWEET, SEEN for SOUR, HEONG for pan-flavor or WOK HAY, etc.


Chinese characters:

TEEM for SWEET: 甜

SEEN for SOUR: 酸

HEONG for pan-flavor: 香 (I think this is what you were referring to)

WOK HAY: 鑊氣


(I bought a hand-writing Chinese input device. Entering Chinese characters is much easier now. :laugh: )

- 阿梁


thanks...are the above Mandarin, Cantonese??? Really nice to see you are still here!!!!!!

how about the remaining flavors:

HOM like salt

FOO from very slightly bitter to very bitter

TOM like rice or the "baked" flavor of bread

LOT like in mustard or chili peppers

GUM cool, acrid-sweet like citrus peel
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#101 hzrt8w

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 03:21 PM

thanks...are the above Mandarin, Cantonese??? Really nice to see you are still here!!!!!!


The pronounciations you posted sound like Cantonese but not pure. My guess is perhaps Cantonese with Toisanese accent? They are not Mandarin for sure. Regardless of the dialect, the Chinese characters are the same.



HOM like salt: 鹹

FOO from very slightly bitter to very bitter: 苦

TOM like rice or the "baked" flavor of bread: Not sure what taste you were referring to

LOT like in mustard or chili peppers: 辣

GUM cool, acrid-sweet like citrus peel: 甘
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#102 dmreed

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 05:53 PM

The pronounciations you posted sound like Cantonese but not pure. My guess is perhaps Cantonese with Toisanese accent? They are not Mandarin for sure. Regardless of the dialect, the Chinese characters are the same.



HOM like salt: 鹹

FOO from very slightly bitter to very bitter: 苦

TOM like rice or the "baked" flavor of bread: Not sure what taste you were referring to

LOT like in mustard or chili peppers: 辣

GUM cool, acrid-sweet like citrus peel: 甘
[/quote]

thanks again, those spellings/pronounciations are from "Eight Immortal Flavors" by Johnny Kan.

is there another Chinese name for the "flavor" or "taste" of rice?
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#103 hzrt8w

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:17 PM

TOM like rice or the "baked" flavor of bread: Not sure what taste you were referring to
.....
thanks again, those spellings/pronounciations are from "Eight Immortal Flavors" by Johnny Kan.

is there another Chinese name for the "flavor" or "taste" of rice?


Then I think it is probably:

TOM like rice or the "baked" flavor of bread: 淡

(Meaning: bland. Bland as water. Sometimes Chinese say bland as rice, as rice itself has no inherent taste.)

This author most likely speaks the Toysanese dialect, as clued by the pronounciation of his family name.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#104 dmreed

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 08:33 PM

Then I think it is probably:

TOM like rice or the "baked" flavor of bread: 淡

(Meaning: bland. Bland as water. Sometimes Chinese say bland as rice, as rice itself has no inherent taste.)

This author most likely speaks the Toysanese dialect, as clued by the pronounciation of his family name.


again, much thanks
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#105 Ben Hong

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 10:52 PM

Unofficial Toysanese pronunciation of above terms:

Green plum sauce ... teng moi deng
yu loo (plain old fish sauce)...ngui loo
hom (salty)...haum (falling tone)
fu (bitter)...can be fu or more commonly "nik"
Tom (rising tone) bland like plain white rice...hum (rising tone).
Heung means aromatic in any dialect, as in ng heung foon (5 spice powder)
teem (sweet)...hem (Toysan)
Seen or suen (sour) ...thluon (Toysan)
laht is laht means "hot" in a capsaicin or chili sense.

To outsiders Toysanese sounds like the clearing of a lot of throats in conversation but to the speakers it was the only true Chinese dialect that was understood by all overseas Chinese until about 50 years ago. Sun Yat Sen (almost a Toysanese) had to speak the dialect when he went to all the Chinese enclaves all over the world to gain support and to recruit money. You might say that modern China was born speaking Toysanese. :biggrin:
:wink:

#106 dmreed

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 02:33 AM

Unofficial Toysanese pronunciation of above terms:
.
.
.

To outsiders Toysanese sounds like the clearing of a lot of throats in conversation but to the speakers it was the only true Chinese dialect that was understood by all overseas Chinese until about 50 years ago. Sun Yat Sen (almost a Toysanese) had to speak the dialect when he went to all the Chinese enclaves all over the world to gain support and to recruit money. You might say that modern China was born speaking Toysanese. :biggrin:
:wink:


thanks, much appreciated.

BTW can you please explain to me what "tsap sui" means, I think it is a Toysanese dish.
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#107 Ben Hong

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 06:50 AM

"Tsap sui" sounds like a poor transliteration of the term "chop suey". It literally translates as "mixed bits" and is the butt of many jokes as the representative of the slop that the Chinese used to (some still do) serve to their gwei loh clients. I am sure that wikipaedia has reams of notes on the provenance and meaning of the term. :laugh: :rolleyes:

#108 dmreed

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 09:20 AM

"Tsap sui" sounds like a poor transliteration of the term "chop suey". It literally translates as "mixed bits" and is the butt of many jokes as the representative of the slop that the Chinese used to (some still do) serve to their gwei loh clients. I am sure that wikipaedia has reams of notes on the provenance and meaning of the term. :laugh: :rolleyes:

I have read in multiple places that "tsap sui" (Toishanese), "tsa sui" (Mandarin), "shap sui" (Toishanese/Cantonese) all mean "bits and pieces".

In "The Chinese Kitchen - A Traditional Approach to Eating" by Yong Yap Cotterell (c. 1986) on page 9, she writes:

"Poorer people found solace in humbler eating houses, and the very poor made do with boiled left-overs from restaurants, zacui - anglicized as 'chop-suey'. Until quite recently this was the diet of beggars and rickshaw pullers."

In "The True History of Chop Suey" by Andrew Coe, for About.com
http://chinesefood.a...story.htm?nl=1:

"What is chop suey? In Chinese, the two characters for chop suey are pronounced "tsa sui" in Mandarin or in Cantonese "shap sui," meaning "mixed small bits" or "odds and ends." As a culinary term, shap sui refers to a kind of stew made of many different ingredients mixed together. Shap sui probably first came to the United States with the waves of Chinese immigrants drawn to the California gold fields. Most came from the South China coasts Pearl River Delta and particularly the town of Toishan. In the 1870s, the Chinese were pushed from the American West by racial violence, migrating to cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. There Americans first noticed a dish called "chow-chop-suey.

"However, rumors spread that chop suey wasn't really Chinese at all. Tales circulated that it was concocted by a San Francisco Chinese boardinghouse cook using scraps retrieved from the garbage. The "experts" who recounted these stories were usually Chinese diplomats or students for whom this Toishanese peasant food didn't seem "Chinese" at all.

"But if you go down to Chinatown (referring to USA), find a Toishanese chef, and convince him that you want Chinese-style shap sui, you will discover that it can be a toothsome stew."

In "The Step-By-Step Chinese Cookbook" by Georges Spunt, Thomas Crowell, Publishers, 1973:

"CHOP SUEY

"Sub Gum

"Every writer of Chinese cookbooks lays claim to a story about this particular dish. Most are agreed that Chop Suey, as we know it, is an American adaption of an old Cantonese standby called Sub Gum."

---------------------------

Although many Chinese have said that there is no, or rather was no, "chop suey" in China and that it cannot be found in Chinese restaurants in China. I am under the impression that today in major Chinese cities some restaurants do serve "chop sui" for international travelers especially the gwei loh who expect/desire the dish.

All the above references suggest to me that "chop suey", and especially its Anglisized name, is indeed a dish which originated in China. When reviewing various supposedly "authentic" Chinese "sub gum" recipes, the only difference from "chop suey" recipes is that "chop suey" usually/frequently includes bean sprouts.

BTW I am definitely aware that it is foolish to accept the claims of many authors/authorities as absolute truth regarding Chinese cuisine and ingredients, e.g., I have read several places claims that there is no "Chinese fish sauce" and that "fish sauce" is not used in Chinese cooking...by "fish sauce" they are referring to fermented fish sauce as used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.

I have read a lot of Chinese and Asian cookbooks and my ever-growing collection can be found at http://dmreed.com/fo...-cookbooks.html . I have scanned every one of the 700+ books and read many recipes especially "chop suey" and "sub gum" recipes in detail.
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#109 dmreed

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 02:16 AM

how close is the sauce of Zha Jiang Mian to Mapo Dofu?

the reason I ask is because I prefer mapo dofu over soft noodles rather than over rice.

is mapo dofu ever served over noodles in China?

Edited by dmreed, 02 April 2010 - 02:17 AM.

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#110 liuzhou

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 04:02 AM

how close is the sauce of Zha Jiang Mian to Mapo Dofu?


Totally different. It's like comparing Bolognese sauce to Curry.

is mapo dofu ever served over noodles in China?


Not that I've ever seen in my 15 years in China, but if you like it that way, go for it.

#111 dmreed

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 05:22 AM

is mapo dofu ever served over noodles in China?


Not that I've ever seen in my 15 years in China, but if you like it that way, go for it.


many thanks for your personal observations, they are greatly appreciated. And I do serve it over noodles at home and I have even ordered it that way at several restaurants.

I was just thinking that, to the north-east of Sichuan, mapo dofu might be served over noodles because of the prevalence of noodles versus rice...just a thought.
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#112 NancyH

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 06:54 AM

There is actually a recipe for "Ma Po Tofu Noodles" in the Terrific Pacific cookbook and it is very good.
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#113 dmreed

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:50 AM

thanks...at $.13 + shipping, "Terrific Pacific Cookbook" looks interesting so I just ordered it. fast approaching 800 Asian cookbooks in my collection!
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#114 NancyH

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:53 AM

Terrific Pacific is one of my "go to" Asian cookbooks. Hope you like it!
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#115 dmreed

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 11:10 PM

Yow Yim Choy Sum

I would like to have the Chinese characters for one of my favorite dishes, Yow Yim Choy Sum, which I now order to check the quality of the cooking especially the wok hay when I visit a Chinese restaurant for the first time.

so far, I have had to specifically order the dish as "plain" rather than with garlic or oyster sauce so I would appreciate any further Chinese characters which specify "plain", i.e., just salt and oil!
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#116 CFT

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 02:41 AM

油鹽菜心

Is that a proper term? Can't say I've ever heard of it ordered that way.

Edited by CFT, 13 April 2010 - 02:42 AM.

Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#117 dmreed

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 04:34 AM

油鹽菜心

Is that a proper term? Can't say I've ever heard of it ordered that way.


are those the characters for Yow Yim Choy Sum?

that is the way Yow Yim Choy Sum was described in one of my cookbooks but when I have asked for it at a restaurant, I have been asked which sauce, garlic or oyster sauce, I want the vegetable with...I have had to specify that I want it plain!
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#118 CFT

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 05:57 AM

Yep, those are the characters.
Best Wishes,
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#119 udscbt

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:20 AM

Hello,

I am not sure that this post belongs here since it has no picture and, most importantly, deals with rather down-to-earth ingredients (salt, sugar, pepper and flour/starch) and not more exotic items. I would like to know what people use for these ingredients and whether there are regional differences.

For example, I use kosher or sea salt but what does one use in China or elsewhere? In general, I reduce the amount of salt that different recipes call for since I find that the other ingredients, soy sauce of course but even some sauces, already have a strong salt taste.

I use brown sugar. I find that white refined sugars are too chemical. I do use rock sugar when appropriate.

I have read that only white pepper is used in Chinese cuisine. Is this correct? In all regions? Is black pepper never used?

I have also read that tapioca starch is used to thicken sauces in China. Is this right? I use either corn or potato flour/starch. I have read (in Yan-Kit's book) that a quantity of potato flour equals 1.5 times corn flour.

Thanks for your help and have a good day.

BTW. Has an index of Chinese ingredients been posted? It would be quite useful, especially with the Chinese characters which would help in Asian grocery stores.

#120 dmreed

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:56 AM

油鹽菜心

Is that a proper term? Can't say I've ever heard of it ordered that way.

I read in one of my cookbooks, that this is the way to order it if one wants to check out the wok expertise of the chef! I have yet to try it because none of the restaurants have had it...so I ordered Chinese Brocolli plain instead. Apparently I will have to buy some choy sum and cook it myself.
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