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  1. Big Plate Chicken - 大盘鸡 This very filling dish of chicken and potato stew is from Xinjiang province in China's far west, although it is said to have been invented by a visitor from Sichuan. In recent years, it has become popular in cities across China, where it is made using a whole chicken which is chopped, with skin and on the bone, into small pieces suitable for easy chopstick handling. If you want to go that way, any Asian market should be able to chop the bird for you. Otherwise you may use boneless chicken thighs instead. Ingredients Boneless skinless c
  2. Beef with Bitter Melon - 牛肉苦瓜 The name may be off-putting to many people, but Chinese people do have an appreciation for bitter tastes and anyway, modern cultivars of this gourd are less bitter than in the past. Also, depending on how it's cooked, the bitterness can be mitigated. I'll admit that I wasn't sure at first, but have grown to love it. Note: "Beef with Bitter Melon (牛肉苦瓜 )" or "Bitter Melon with Beef (苦瓜牛肉)"? One Liuzhou restaurant I know has both on its menu! In Chinese, the ingredient listed first is the one there is most of, so, "beef with bi
  3. Stir-fried Squid with Snow Peas - 荷兰豆鱿鱼 Another popular restaurant dish that can easily be made at home. The only difficult part (and it's really not that difficult) is preparing the squid. However, your seafood purveyor should be able to do that for you. I have given details below. Ingredients Fresh squid. I tend to prefer the smaller squid in which case I allow one or two squid per person, depending on what other dishes I'm serving. You could use whole frozen squid if fresh is unavailable. Certainly not dried squid. Snow peas aka Mange Tout. S
  4. Clam Soup with Mustard Greens - 车螺芥菜汤 This is a popular, light but peppery soup available in most restaurants here (even if its not listed on the menu). Also, very easy to make at home. Ingredients Clams. (around 8 to 10 per person. Some restaurants are stingy with the clams, but I like to be more generous). Fresh live clams are always used in China, but if, not available, I suppose frozen clams could be used. Not canned. The most common clams here are relatively small. Littleneck clams may be a good substitute in terms of size. Stock. Chicken, fish or
  5. Hello all, I need help figuring out which part of the sichuan peppercorns I bought to use. From what I've read, I think I'm supposed to use the hulls rather than the black seeds. Toast the hulls and grind them up, correct? This is for use in my fave dish, mapo tofu. Thanks for your help! (Well, that didn't work. I guess I don't know how to upload a photo. Nuts. Maybe I don't need a photo? Maybe just tell me whether to use the hulls or the black seeds, or both?)
  6. I just got back from Vancouver, and had an experience that reminded me of Titus Wong's query about cooking ong choy--back on the favorite chinese veggies thread. Titus said his ong choy was always tougher than what he remembered, and a bunch of us shared our cooking tips. Well... As many of you know, Vancouver is considered one of the best places for Chinese food in North America and you can easily find Chinese food stuffs there that are still unusual in the U.S. So, we were at an upscale Hong Kong style seafood restaurant and ordered ong choy. When it came, the stems were yellower than I was
  7. I have looked for years for a black steel wok with a flat bottom it had to be thick steel to stop it from warping on the induction cooktop 3500W Burner. Well I found it made by the French company Mauviel it is 12.5" diameterwith 3mm thick steel the flat bottom is 4 1/2 inches, although it has a flat inside too it cooks wonderfully. The weight is 5lbs heavy but manageable .The cost is $100 considering there is no alternative it's cheap.Here is my review. I know there are people looking for a good wok for induction so I hope some find this post good information.I do have a JWright cast iron wok
  8. Mid-Autumn festival is still a month away but mooncakes are starting to rear their ugly heads in SF Chinatown. I know people who actually like them, but I suspect most people view them as China's version of the fruitcake. They're for giving, not for eating, and you sort of know that whomever you give them to will give them to someone else. (At least that's my view.) Do you like mooncakes? If so, what style do you prefer, the Cantonese varieties that have everything but the kitchen sink in them, or the more spartan northern style? Meat-filled Jiangsu-style? Ice Cream mooncakes (I kid you n
  9. While there have been other Chinese vegetable topics in the past, few of them were illustrated And some which were have lost those images in various "upgrades". What I plan to do is photograph every vegetable I see and say what it is, if I know. However, this is a formidable task so it'll take time. The problem is that so many vegetables go under many different Chinese names and English names adopted from one or other Chinese language, too. For example, I know four different words for 'potato' and know there are more. And there are multiple regional preference in nomenclature. Most
  10. Hello everyone, This is my first post, so please tell me if I've made any mistakes. I'd like to learn the ropes as soon as possible. I first learned of this cookbook from The Mala Market, easily the best online source of high-quality Chinese ingredients in the west. In the About Us page, Taylor Holiday (the founder of Mala Market) talks about the cookbooks that inspired her. This piqued my interest and sent me down a long rabbit hole. I'm attempting to categorically share everything I've found about this book so far. Reading it online Early in
  11. I know a few people here know her already, but for those that don't, she is simply the best creator of Chinese food and rural life videos. It's not what you will find in your local Bamboo Hut! It's what Chinese people eat! Here is her latest, posted today. This is what all my neighbours are doing right now in preparation for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year to the Lantern Festival 15 days later), although few are doing it as elegantly as she does! Everything she posts is worth watching if you have any interest in food.
  12. Hey everyone. So im looking for the most affordable chocolate shaking table that actually works.. does anyone have experience with the ones from AliBaba or china in general? i bought a $100 dental table from amazon but i guess its not the right hrtz cause it kinda works, but not well enough. im looking in the $500 range or under.. any advice? Thanks
  13. I noticed the recipe for the regular mooncake crust asking for “lye water.” I also found it as a component of the dough for char chiu bao. As far as I know, only chinese (or chinese influenced) recipes require this ingredient and only those recipes that involve rice or wheat flour. In indigenous Filipino cooking, it only shows up in two items, both of them kueh-type snacks and appears to be as flavouring. A few drops is also used to release the flavour/colour of achiote (anatto) seeds. My question is, what exactly is the role of lye water in Chinese cooking?
  14. This arose from this topic, where initially @Anna N asked about tea not being served at the celebratory meal I attended. I answered that it is uncommon for tea to be served with meals (with one major exception). I was then asked for further elucidation by @Smithy. I did start replying on the topic but the answer got longer than I anticipated and was getting away from the originally intended topic about one specific meal. So here were are.. I'd say there are four components to tea drinking in China. a) When you arrive at a restaurant, you are often given a pot of tea which p
  15. An eG member recently asked me by private message about mushrooms in China, so I thought I'd share some information here. What follows is basically extracted from my blog and describes what is available in the markets and supermarkets in the winter months - i.e now. FRESH FUNGI December sees the arrival of what most westerners deem to be the standard mushroom – the button mushroom (小蘑菇 xiǎo mó gū). Unlike in the west where they are available year round, here they only appear when in season, which is now. The season is relatively short, so I get stuck in.
  16. Luffa is going on sale this weekend at my local chinese chain market. 3lbs for a dollar. Anyone have any ideas of things or experience with what to do with it?
  17. Today, I was honoured to be invited to lunch in a relatively nearby Miao village, where they were celebrating their good harvest. Before we could eat we were entertained by the some of the villagers. These women sang to us. Some men played their traditional Lusheng instruments. Then they had a tug-of war between the men and the women. The women won (but there were twice as many women as men!) Most people just hung around looking good in their best leisure wear.
  18. I love sesame paste, in Beijing its common to put it on nearly everything...well, maybe thats going a bit too far, but it is a near daily necessity for many simple, homestyle dishes like noodles or even just dipping slices of cucumber into sesame paste as a snack. I live in an area where there is an abundance of oriental markets, but whenever I've bought sesame paste from them, I've always been disappointed with the flavor. Even when doctored, the flavor is just too much. I've used a number of different brands and asked friends and family members in China as to what they do to turn the paste
  19. I posted a similar and apparently provocative question (5 top restaurants in US) a while ago and the thread won't die. For good reason apparently: it's one of the ultimate and basic questions that is close to all our hearts: what is the best? Well, rather than talk about where is the Chinese food better, in Kuala Lampoor or Singapore, I think we should talk about the best Chinese restaurants/meals/foods we have had. Period. Which ones they were, what we ate, why it was so good, and of course where we had them.
  20. I love hot sauces of all kinds, but mainly the Asian types of hot sauce. I am not used to American types of hot sauce, such as Tobasco and the likes, because they are too sour for me. This is unusual for a Cantonese, as we typically avoid eating hot food. This habit only started in my college days. Perhaps that's the result of working in a few Sichuan/Beijing (the so-called "Imperial" style) restaurants. Hot sauces are a little bit like wines, in that there are different types that would go well with different types of food. Some are good with wonton noodle soup, some are good as condim
  21. I have some Lee Kum Kee, hot bean paste (Toban Djan). It seems tierd and whimpy to me; does anyone know of a better brand that is easy to find. I was wondering if anyone has had any of the chin's family recipe hot bean paste that they are always talking about on the Iron Chef? Is it in his book? Do I need to make my own to get the real deal?
  22. I've been on a stir-fry kick lately. The sauce I've been using varies little and is a hodgepodge of whatever I have on hand. Some soy sauce, some garlic black bean sauce, some Shaoxing wine, a little chicken broth, grated ginger and some corn starch to thicken it all up. I need to expand my sauce repertoire and am looking for new from-scratch recipes for stir-fry sauces. Or if you like using a store-bought sauce, what do you recommend?
  23. As Ben Sook requested: How many of you make and indulge in joong in May? Do you know the history behind this tradition? What are your family recipes? This is my joong session from last year: http://www.hillmans.soupbo.com/soos/joongzi.html May is always a busy teaching time for me so I don't have a set date to make mine. I do have my supplies on hand, so I will enter the fray when I can no longer control the drooling! As with all cook-offs, it is never too late to enter! I am still trying to make my siu mai and more attempts with dan tart.
  24. Everywhere around me are noodle places. When I go down town, I see even more. I find them interesting. I am in the south of China where the preference is for rice noodles. In the north, wheat is more common. But that's not the only choice you have to make. Here are a few noodle joints, all within ten minutes walk of my house. There are more (though some are still closed for the New Year holiday). This one specialises in not specialising. They are all rice noodles though. This one give more choice. You can have either rice
  25. A few days ago, I was given a lovely gift. A big jar of preserved lemons. I know Moroccan preserved lemons, but had never met Chinese ones. In fact, apart from in the south, in many parts of China it isn't that easy to find lemons, at all. These are apparently a speciality of the southern Zhuang minority of Wuming County near Nanning. The Zhuang people are the largest ethnic minority in China and most live in Guangxi. These preserved lemons feature in their diet and are usually eaten with congee (rice porridge). Lemon Duck is a local speciality and they are also served
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