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Chinese food for Christmas


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Late night last night getting the dried beef a bit further along. Here's what it looked like after marinating:


Deep fried at 325F for a few minutes:


I'm going to finish it later today. Meanwhile, got the poaching chicken onto the stove:


I'm a fan of Barbara Tropp's bring it to the boil and turn it off method. Worked well this time:


Have to debone and shred it after this post is done. I also soaked the mushrooms and tofu sticks last night:


Here's the set-up for the water chestnut peeling, which takes a while. If you hurry, you break of chunks off the best bulbs:


There's always a few lousy ones, but it's a joy to see this on first cut:


30m of fine knife work with the bird's beak and:


Assembled the ingredients for the lu shui pork (pork cubed last night, onions, tofu sticks, mushrooms, halved water chestnuts):


Started on the stove and now in a 250F oven. I'll pull it out when it's just this side of done for reheating tomorrow.

Off to debone the chicken!

Chris Amirault

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Chris, your preps look wonderful. We're sort of hanging loose on plans for tomorrow -- we do need to stay close to home, but have multiple meal options!, given that our furnace appears to have is in the midst of death throws (yes, at the beginning of a long weekend).

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Great meal yesterday. Here's the recap. First, the Xmas Eve/Xmas Day to do lists:


The prepped sauces lined up on the shelf:


Pork post-mincing:


Naw mai fon base being prepped:


Brined chicken in a soy/honey marinade before I took it out for an hour to warm up before roasting:


Branzini after cleaning, heading back into the fridge:


Everything turned out very well. The apps included the nam yu peanuts:


And the dried beef -- which we called "beef candy" -- a multiday affair that was a huge hit:


And then the main dishes. Lop yuk with garlic and fatty, rich chicken stock:


Steamed branzini (Mediterranean sea bass) with ginger, mushrooms, and lop yuk skin:


Pickled green beans with pork:


Steamed scallops with tofu and black bean sauce:


Braised shiitake mushrooms:


Dan dan noodles:


Soy & honey roasted chicken:


Naw mai fon:


Spicy stir-fried cucumbers:


Shredded red oil chicken:


Sweet & sour bell peppers:


Didn't take a picture of the lu shui pork, but it was the hit of the evening.

Chris Amirault

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Chris, that all looks spectacular! Where did the recipe for the red oil chicken come from? And what kind of noodles did you use for the dan-dan?

My prep list was all on my handy kitchen whiteboard. Things got wiped off as they were finished. It helped that my friend, Ami, was visiting from Japan, and she turned out to be a super sous-chef. My husband, on the other hand, turned out to be a miserable photographer. I kept asking him if he was getting pictures of the food, to which he assured me he was - and when I checked them, they we all pictures of people eating the food. Nice. Fun, but of minor interest to y'all.

We had a fusion Christmas, which meant some dishes were Chinese, some entirely western, and some a mix of the two. The fusion dishes, where I made the most of Chinese ingredients in western dishes, were probably the most successful.

Chinese dishes were quick pickled cucumber with Chinkiang vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic - I made this recipe up after trying these at my favourite restaurant in Shanghai. I still haven't got the flavours quite right, but it could be that I haven't soaked them long enough. My neighbour brought braised chicken in what he called a "health" sauce - soy with big chunks of ginger, cassia, and other herbs. He did just the drumstick part of the chicken, which made it perfect for party eating. My co-worker made red-braised pork, from her native Hunan. We resolved we would have to get together in the new year so she could show me, because every time I try to make it, it comes out too bland and greasy.

The fusion dishes were my favourite - corn soup seems pretty common on menus in Suzhou, so I kicked it up by adding thin-skinned green peppers, the kind that are halfway between a chili and a green pepper, and Hunan smoked ham, sliced thinly, with the fatty layer scored to render out the fat to flavour the green peppers. Then I used creamed corn and - fusion! - evaporated milk to make the rest of the soup. Smoky, corny goodness.

The other hit was my jaozi quebecois: In other words - my tourtiere. But, after reading umpteen recipes for it, not being able to find cloves, and deciding the whole thing seemed too bland by half, I used ground pork sauteed with green onion, garlic, Shaoxing wine and star anise. Packed that into Mark Bittman's pie crust (oh, I cursed - but it came out), and I cut a plum blossom into the middle instead of a lily. I had middling hopes for it, but it was the first thing that disappeared at the party. I barely got a slice myself. Next time I might include cilantro and dust the crust with sesame seeds. I'm undecided.

We also had roast Chinese leeks and a bird stuffed with roasted chestnuts and shiitake mushrooms fresh from the market, but those tastes were decidedly western.

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Chris, which recipe did you use for the beef "crack?" For the peanuts?

The beef crack is from Dunlop's Land of Plenty. For the peanuts, I always follow Ah Leung's pictorial. It's worth it to make the big batch he sugests: they go quickly around here.

Chris, that all looks spectacular! Where did the recipe for the red oil chicken come from? And what kind of noodles did you use for the dan-dan?

The chicken also came from Land of Plenty. I had a bunch for lunch yesterday, and save for the soggy scallions, the dish is still great.

Erin, the kitchen whiteboard makes a ton of sense. I wonder if I can get away with one here. I'm hoping you'll share the pickle recipe when you've perfected it; I haven't got one that I like for meals like this. The corn soup and tourtiere sound fantastic!

Chris Amirault

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Chris, that all looks spectacular!

Ditto, ditto, ditto, DITTO!!! Completely, absolutely, breathtakingly, stunning.

The other hit was my jaozi quebecois: In other words - my tourtiere. But, after reading umpteen recipes for it, not being able to find cloves, and deciding the whole thing seemed too bland by half, I used ground pork sauteed with green onion, garlic, Shaoxing wine and star anise. Packed that into Mark Bittman's pie crust (oh, I cursed - but it came out), and I cut a plum blossom into the middle instead of a lily. I had middling hopes for it, but it was the first thing that disappeared at the party. I barely got a slice myself. Next time I might include cilantro and dust the crust with sesame seeds. I'm undecided.

Nakji, if you had any idea how many ingredients my late granfather included in his "secret" tourtier recipe, which he spent much of the 20th century developing, you would feel perfectly free to improvise to your heart's content. I swear there's an entire spice cupboard in there...and you're talking a family of Maurices, Ste Maries, Le Moines, Letourneaus, etc.

Personally, I was never much of a fan, but it went down a treat with all the male members of the family.

- L.

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  • 2 months later...

Incredibly late post but here's our Chinese roast chicken. A filling of dried chestnuts, white pearl barley, peanuts (we normally use lotus seeds although the peanuts were just as good), diced celery, diced carrots, star anise, dried Chinese mushrooms (reconstituted in warm water) and a large diced onion: all seasoned with oyster sauce, salt, sugar and pepper.

It was goooood; particularly served with roast sweet potatoes, pumpkin and ordinary potatoes (see pumpkin below).





Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog


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Yes, stuffed in the cavity and the bottom sewed up. However, the night before (overnight), the chicken was rubbed (inside and out) with soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine (such as Shaoxing or Michiu) infused with cinnamon sticks and star anise, minced garlic, oil, salt and sugar.

Edited by Ce'nedra (log)

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog


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