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Ben Hong

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Posts posted by Ben Hong

  1. Conpoy or dried scallops is added mainly to provide umami to a dish. Anchovies would not be a good substitute because it is too fishy. Better to omit dried scallops altogether if it is so difficult to obtain. I should think that Japanese bonito flakes would be a better sub than anchovy...or even a dash of msg. :smile::cool:

  2. Living in Atlantic Canada we can get a variety of fish for f&c, but why bother with any others if you can get a)haddock, b) cod and c) tilapia. Nothing is more sustainable than tilapia as it is all farmed, and it has become a personal favourite. My absolute fave is the freshwater walleye that is found in cold Canadian waters.

  3. A couple of points: lop yuk or la rou in Mandarin is rarely smoked.

    I believe that Yellowtail is the brand name of a wine which apparently is NOT suitable to be imbibed by the serious oenophiles as it might tarnish their golden palates. However judging by the healthy gallonage that the brand sells there are a lot plebes who quaff the stuff. Dare I say ptui!!!???

  4. Other than a bit of garlic and a bit smashed fresh ginger, we normally would not add strong or peppery spices to a green veggie dish. Never red chiles. I am speaking about Cantonese cooking (restaurant style greens). Lord knows what those weird people in Szechuan and the dongbei do. :raz::unsure:

  5. The tiny black specks that you find in some dishes are actually bits of carbon burned off when a well-seasoned wok is heated to some very high temps, some would even dare call it "dirt" :laugh: . Of course you could even say that it is evidence of wok hei achieved.

    Semantics and terminology are words that could be at play here, hmmm? My idea of wok hei does NOT taste like charring, but it does taste like hot oil in very hot steel doing their "stuff" on the food that they meet. The idea of browning meats before cooking is not a commonly accepted practice, even for Chinese stew -like braises. You see except in purpose cooked dishes like smoked duck and skewered/bbq meats, etc., the presence of smokiness and charring is not acceptable in a dish. You ever hear of the yin/yang dichotomy? Charring is too, too much yang. Some would find it offensive.

  6. I am of the opinion that you don't need shooting flames to achieve wok hei. In our family restaurant some 50 years ago we had the standard stainless steel wok burners (a bank of 5) with 24 and 30 inch woks. If you recall, most of the showy flame flashing cooking shown on TV was done with small 16-18 inch woks that allows the cook to pick up and flip the wok and food around, allowing the flames to shoot out of the burner (insert oooohs an ahhhhs here). Now the head cook in our kitchen was my very senior septagenarian uncle who was about 5 ft. zip tall and weighs in at 110 lbs with anchors in his pockets. You think that he could pick up a 24" wok laden with food and flip it around all day just to show some flames??? This is the same illiterate guy who used to cook on the Canadian railroads being built in the early 20th century, the same guy who committed nearly 1000 recipes to memory... Chinese, western, and desserts.

    Wok hei?? I think he was on the committee that coined the phrase :laugh: . He didn't need no steenkin' flames to get wok hei!!! :raz:

  7. 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:


  8. Chris, there are some cooks out there who think that the flash adds something to the dish. I think that it's a case of bullsh!t baffling brains or just for show. Flames at that particular stage of the cooking process does not add anything to a dish. But then I have been wrong once before.

    Seriously, the commercial wok burners are always on "afterburners" hot with flames licking around the wok and the merest spritz of oil will ignite. Not intentional, just an accepted part of the process.

  9. Gaak!!! That is one "food" that I nearly succeeded in expunging from my memory, that is until you mentioned it. Thanks. I don't know the provenance nor the constituents of this dish. All I remember is that it felt, and tasted like a bowlful of snot. My mother made it savoury, not sweet. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

    In our part of Toisan, we pronounced it "get foon."

  10. not if it includes cinnamon and sugar. :unsure:

    And what's wrong with that?

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with it, I was just stating MY preference. If you desire to throw in bay leaves, or thyme, or even a smooth stone or two, then have at it and fill your boots.

  11. Ben -- you BOIL the broth -- as in 'boil the hell out of it'? Is Shanton broth supposed to be milky? Or do you mean to simmer until all the flavor is in the broth instead of in the bones and meat?

    I always bring just to a boil, scoop off the residual that rises to the top, and then simmer for hours. Ginger and scallions for flavor, except when I have a piece of ham hock. The result is a nice clear broth.

    "Boil" is a generic term. I should have used "simmer", after the initial boil to bring up the temp. A rolling boil will usually make for a murky stock...we wouldn't want that now, would we??

    The ham bone (non-smoked) will add lots of gelatine to the stock, as will chicken skin and bones.

  12. A lot of Cantonese home cooks will poach a chicken with ginger, scallions and garlic as part of a family meal. Then of course we use the poaching liquor as stock for other dishes.

    If i'm making stock from scratch for a specific dish then i would just use chicken wings instead of a whole chicken. Lately i have been saving the end pieces of air-dried ham and ham bones to add to the stock too in imitation of Shanton broth. I even bought a bag of Iberico ham bones for this very purpose.

    "Shanton" broth is actually spoken and written as "Shang (superior) tong (broth)" What you are doing is absolutely correct. Everyone has a freezer these days and a good rich broth is so easy to make, I don't understand the reliance on synthetic flavours and seasonings.

    Some supermarkets debone their own chicken and usually the carcasses, giblets and necks are thrown away or given away. Add a ham hock or two, boil the hell out of it all, strain and freeze. Voila!! Shang tong.

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