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Posts posted by jhirshon

  1. I seem to recall that Fuchsia Dunlop's magnum opus on Sichuan cooking has an extraordinarily comprehensive list of Chinese cooking, cutting and flavouring techniques listed - that might be a resource for you to turn to on this?

    And since she is a member of eGullet, under the name 'fiore', perhaps she will read this and chime in? :)

    Looking forward to the results - JH

  2. This is my personal recipe for Jook - I am most partial to it. :)

    cheers, JH

    The Hirshon Imperial Jook

    1 cup rice

    8 cups water or unsalted stock (I prefer using all stock)

    1 cup or so Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine - dry sherry may be substituted)

    3 tablespoons Chinese Abalone sauce (preferred) or 2 tablespoons soy sauce

    Recommended Condiments:

    Finely minced ginger

    Finely minced scallion

    Finely minced garlic

    Chopped cashews or peanuts (I prefer cashews)

    Finely chopped Szechuan Preserved Vegetable (zha cai / 榨 菜 )

    Chopped 1000-year old egg (large chunks)

    Chopped Pork fu (dried seasoned pork - use shredded cooked chicken if keeping kosher)

    Finely chopped bamboo shoots

    Hot Chili paste or hot chilies preserved in vinegar, finely chopped

    Canned Quail eggs (if using these, throw them into the jook to simmer for the last hour or so)

    Sliced Lop Cheong (Chinese sausages, sliced and steamed for 15 minutes)

    Sliced Chinese Crullers

    Yau Char Kwai) (Chinese Crullers)

    Add stock or water and liquid ingredients to rice, bring to a boil, then turn down to a very low simmer and cook at least 2 hours, preferably 3 or more or even overnight - you cannot overcook this dish. According to Chinese doctors, the longer you simmer the jook, the more 'powerful' and healthful it becomes.

    When done, ladle into bowls and allow each diner to add condiments to their taste.

  3. Ptipois - many thanks for taking the time, that is enough for me to work with. :) I will also harmonize the spice and herb mix a bit to be more sympathetic to beef - will try this next weekend and will report back with what I hope will be a definitive version, worthy of enshrining in the fabled halls of eGullet - and posterity.

    Unlike others on this thread, I will not debase myself with crude and calumnious language - the results will speak for themselves.

    YES - IN YOUR FACE!!!!

    err...ok, maybe not, it must be catching. ;)

    cheers, JH

  4. This is my New Year's Menu:

    First Course - Lettuce-wrapped Oyster-flavoured Duck

    Meanings: Lettuce: Prosperity; Oysters: Receptivity to Good Fortune; Duck: Fidelity

    Second Course - The Hirshon Imperial Shark’s Fin Soup

    Meanings: Shark’s Fin: Luxury

    Third Course – The Hirshon Szechuan Noodles with Peanut Sauce

    Meanings: Noodles: Longevity

    Main Course: The Hirshon Steamed Cantonese Fish Sprinkled With Nori Shreds

    Meanings: Whole Fish: Abundance, Togetherness; Seaweed: Good Luck

    Dessert: 8 Treasure Rice Pudding and Fresh Oranges

    Meanings: Oranges: Wealth; 8 Treasure Rice Pudding: Wealth

    Wines to Include Rare Madeira and Tokaji

  5. To ANSWER your query, I always use a superior Chicken stock for final service.

    MY shark fins are soaked overnight in water with the addition of a little white Chinese  vinegar. Then they are rinsed and steamed in superior stock with ginger slices for about 30 minutes depending on the size of the fins. Add to soup with whatever else you want.

    Shark fins add texture, not much flavor. If you use shreds, you may not be getting shark. Whole fins are expensive and hard to find. The bigger they are the more they cost. -Dick

    yep, these are whole fins. :)

    I'll post my full-on guidelines for cleaning and preparing whole fin (I make it about once every few years) so others have access to the technique, instead of the shortcut listed in my first post.

    cheers, JH

  6. All - here is my recipe for Kung Pao Chicken. :)

    The Hirshon Kung Pao Chicken

    Chicken and Marinade Ingredients:

    3 boneless Chicken breasts, partially frozen to allow for easy cutting

    2 Tbsp Cornstarch

    2 Tbsp Soy sauce

    3 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

    1 egg white

    1 Tbsp oyster flavored sauce (Hop Sing Lung brand preferred)

    1 t. Szechuan peppercorns


    1/4 cup Chinese sweetened black vinegar (Koon Chun brand preferred) or balsamic vinegar

    1/4 cup chicken broth

    3 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry (Pagoda Blue label preferred)

    2 Tbsp hoisin sauce (Koon Chun brand preferred)

    1 Tbsp soy sauce

    2 tsp sesame oil (Kadoya brand preferred)

    2 tsp chili garlic sauce (Fu Chi brand preferred)

    2 tsp brown sugar


    2 1/2 Tbsp peanut oil

    8-10 small dried red chiles de arbol

    4-5 large cloves garlic, halved, with any green shoot removed

    1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger,minced

    1 rib celery, destringed and finely diced

    1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

    3 Green Onions, white and light green parts only, cut in 1" lengths

    1/2 cup quartered whole water chestnuts

    2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

    1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews (JH preference) or unsalted roasted peanuts

    Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat. Let this marinate for at least 30 minutes.

    Toast Szechuan peppercorns until fragrant in dry wok. Grind or crush and set aside.

    Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

    Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add 2 Tbsp oil, swirling to coat sides. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant and starting to blacken - then remove chiles from wok. Add drained chicken and nuts and stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove the chicken and nuts from the wok and add to chiles. Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil, swirling to coat sides. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add celery, bell pepper, scallions and water chestnuts; stir-fry for 1 1/2 minutes. Return chicken and chiles to wok + ground sichuan peppercorns; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Serve immediately.

  7. Worth noting - the best shaoxing for my cooking i've found is Pagoda Brand, with the Blue label - it is usually clled Hua Tiao Chiew.

    This is the original Shaoxing, made in Zhejiang province and is a great sipping wine as well - although if I am drinking it, I stick with the $20+ bottles in ceramic urns - it is aged far longer and is absolutely wonderful with any Chinese meal.

    cheers, JH

  8. All - I went to my favourite Ethiopian restaurant today and cajoled the cook into giving me the authentic recipe for this dish. Since she could not write English (!) I had to transcribe it verbally. This may need some tweaking, as the measurements she gave me were not exact, but it's pretty darned close!

    I will try and buy some shiro powder and test this recipe - anyone who HAS access to it now, please try it and tell me (and everyone else) how it worked out! :)

    cheers, JH


    Shiro Wot (Ethiopian Jewish Vegetarian)

    4 tablespoons oil

    1/4 cup minced onion or pureed in a food processor

    1 tomato, chopped fine or pureed in a food processor

    2 cloves garlic, chopped fine or pureed in a food processor

    4 teaspoons shiro powder (the chef didn't say, but I assume we're talking about the spiced version)

    1/2 cup water

    1 green chili pepper, slit



    Heat oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft and just starting to brown. Add tomato and garlic to the onion and saute a bit. Add shiro powder and saute 2-3 minutes. Add water, mix and cover - cook over medium for 10 minutes. During the last minute, add in some butter and salt and the slit chili pepper - remove chili pepper before serving, it is for aroma only.

    JH note - for a spicier version, instead of butter, use Niter Kebbeh (Ethiopian Curried Butter)


    This preparation can easily be prepared at home. There is absolutely no need for especially high heat or a wok stove.

    Prep the garlic: Finely mince 1 cup of peeled garlic cloves by hand or in a food chopper and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add 1 T of cornstarch and mix until the garlic is coated with the starch and none is visible in the bowl.

    Fry the garlic: In a small wok or saucepan heat 1 cup of vegetable until it is moderately hot, about 300 degrees F. With the heat turned to its highest level, add all the garlic at once, and using a whisk, gently swirl the garlic in the oil until it starts to color. This should take a minute or two. As soon as the garlic is a light golden color immediately drain it, and transfer the fried garlic to paper toweling to absorb the extra oil. The garlic will continue to cook and darken in color after being removed from the oil, so don’t be afraid to remove it while it’s still lightly colored. By the way, this oil is now garlic-flavored and delicious for cooking.

    Season the fried garlic: Preheat a clean, dry wok until it is hot but not smoking. Add 1t crushed red pepper to the wok and as soon as it becomes fragrant add the golden fried garlic and 1t salt (and 1/2t MSG if you use it). Turn off the heat, toss a few times, then use as a topping for fried seafood such as shrimp, squid, lobster, soft and hard crab. As a variation, you can also add some ground pepper, black, white, or fagara (sichuan peppercorn powder) or even a touch of five-spice powder. You could also add your fried seafood to the wok and toss it with the spices rather than just pouring garlic topping over the seafood.

    Substitute: Instead of crushed red pepper you can use sliced or chopped fresh chili as well as a little chopped scallion.

    eatingwitheddie - you hit the nail on the head, this is almost assuredly what I had at Mayflower - THANK YOU! :) Now if we can just get these in Chinese characters (i.e. Golden Sands topping Shrimp) we're in business! :)

    cheers, JH

    cheers, JH

  10. Hi all - thought I'd contribute a recipe of my own to this amazing thread! :)

    cheers, JH


    Roomborstplaat (Cocoa-Flavored Brown Sugar Candy)

    Source: World Wide Recipes, 9-27-98

    Yield: makes about 1- 1/2 lbs (650 g)

    2 oz. (60 g) shelled hazelnuts (filberts) or walnuts (JH note - I prefer filberts)

    3 Tbs (45 ml) butter, softened

    1/2 cup (125 ml) light cream

    1+1/2 cups (375 ml) superfine powdered sugar

    1 cup (250 ml) dark brown sugar

    2 Tbs (30 ml) unsweetened cocoa, preferably imported Dutch cocoa

    Drop the nuts into enough boiling water to cover and boil for 2 minutes. Drain into a sieve and, while they're still hot, rub the nuts vigorously between two dish towels to remove as much of the skins as possible. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 5 minutes, or until lightly brown and aromatic. Chop the nuts coarsely and set aside.

    Spread 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the butter evenly over the sides and bottom of false-bottom or spring form cake pan 8- inches (20 cm) in diameter and at least 2- inches (5 cm) deep. Heat the remaining butter and the cream in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat until the butter is melted and small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, cocoa, and brown sugar, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until all the ingredients are completely dissolved, then raise the heat a little and cook undisturbed for 15 minutes until it reaches a temperature of 300F (150C) on a candy thermometer.

    Note: If you don't have a candy thermometer, drop a tiny bit of the mixture in a cup of cold water. The sugar should be at the hard crack stage, and should immediately form hard, brittle threads.

    Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped nuts. Pour the mixture into the buttered cake pan, smoothing it evenly with a spatula. Set aside at room temperature for about one hour, until the candy is firm, then remove from the pan. Traditionally, this (Dutch) candy is never cut, but broken into irregularly shaped pieces before eating.

  11. Happy New Year, all - any ideas on where I can purchase edible camphor (kacha karpoor) - it is extremely difficult to obtain in the U.S. It is *not* inedible synthetic camphor but an item used in a number of Indian (and Chinese) recipes.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)

    cheers, JH

  12. Is it true that the French have formally banned anyone from riding the Metro while carrying fresh Epoisses?

    Does anyone out there know for sure?

    not sure about that, but in most Southeast Asian countries, you are banned from public transportation if you are carrying a fresh Durian...which reeks as badly as Epoisses (if not significantly worse)

    cheers, JH

  13. Great thread - thought I'd add my recipe to it as well, which includes some finely diced Szechuan preserved vegetable for added flavour, among others. :)

    cheers, JH


    The Hirshon Ma Po Dofu

    1/2 pound ground beef

    2 Tbsp soy sauce

    Pinch of cornstarch

    Pinch of 5 Spice

    1 tablespoon Korean Kochujang or hot Szechuan bean paste

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 teaspoon pureed or very finely minced ginger

    1 Tbsp peanut oil

    2 Tbsp. hot chili oil

    2 Tbsp black beans, mashed to a paste after having been rinsed

    3/4 pound dofu (firm preferred), chopped into small cubes

    4-5 tien tsin peppers, sliced (or use fresh red fresno chiles)

    2 Tbsp. finely chopped Szechuan Preserved Vegetable, previously washed

    1 Tbsp chicken stock

    1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine (or use dry sherry)

    1 teaspoon sweetened black vinegar (or balsamic, if unavailable)

    1 teaspoon sesame oil (Kadoya brand preferred)

    1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, lightly toasted and then ground

    5 green onions, sliced thinly crosswise, white and light green part only

    Take the beef and mix it with the soy sauce, cornstarch, and 5 Spice. Let sit at least 20 minutes (can refrigerate overnight). Heat wok to high heat. Add the peanut oil. When it shimmers, add the chili paste and garlic. Fry about 30 seconds until it releases its smell. Add the beef and cook thoroughly. Drop heat to medium and add the bean sauce, the peppers, and the tofu. Cook about 8 minutes until the tofu picks up some color. Add broth, wine, vinegar, ginger, garlic, preserved vegetable, chili oil, sesame oil and the ground peppercorns and then stir well. Adjust heat to taste with more chili oil, if desired. Add green onions. Serve over rice to absorb sauce, if desired.

  14. Based on the rough proportions, ingredients and techniques listed above, I have worked out a recipe using actual proportions - I haven't made this yet, but my mental palate tells me it's good. ;)

    My version calls for straining the soup prior to adding the noodles to remove the seasonings and adds back the beef - a bit more elegant that way, I think.

    cheers, JH


    The Hirshon Chinese Beef Noodle Soup, Niu Rou Mian

    2 pounds cubed brisket, including fat cap

    4 tablespoons peanut oil

    4 tablespoons minced ginger

    4 scallions, diced

    4 tablespoons chili paste with garlic, or to taste

    12 cups beef stock

    4 tablespoons shaoxing

    5 tablespoons dark soy flavoured with mushrooms, or to taste

    1 tablespoon equivalent piece of dried orange peel

    2 tablespoons crushed Chinese rock sugar

    7 star anise, broken into points

    2 tablespoons 5-spice powder

    2 packages fresh Shanghai noodles

    To prepare the dish lightly brown brisket in peanut oil then remove all but 1 T oil from the pan. Add ginger and scallions, the chili paste, the browned meat, and stock to cover all. Bring to a boil and add shaoxing, soy, sugar, star anise and 5-spice powder. Add the soy a tablespoon at a time - you want some color to the stock, but not to much salt - use your best judgment.

    Cover and braise gently until the meat is tender 2 1/2-3 hours. Uncover the dish, skim away any fat, and reduce the liquid over high heat until its flavor is concentrated. While reducing, correct the seasoning: check for salinity, sweetness, heat and anise flavor adding a bit more of whatever is necessary. Prior to serving, strain the soup and add in previously cooked Shanghai noodles and add back the beef.

    Before serving you can garnish the dish to your taste with some chile or sesame oil, chopped scallions, beansprouts or pickled vegetable (suan tsai) - the JH recipe for suan tsai follows:

    3 tablespoons chopped pickled mustard greens

    1 tablespoon minced garlic

    2 teaspoons sesame oil

    1/2 teaspoon szechuan peppercorn / salt blend

    3 teaspoons sweetened black vinegar

    1 tablespoon minced hot chilli peppers

    Make sure to rinse off the pickle brine of the mustard green prior to chopping. Combine mustard green, minced garlic and chilli peppers and stir fry. Add salt and vinegar and finally drizzle the tsuan tsai with sesame oil just before removing from heat.

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