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Chinese New Year/Tet for 2011: what are you cooking?


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your pictures are absolutely beautiful!

I have a question about kau yuk, I've eaten ones that felt quite heavy or oily and others that were neither.

The initial deep fry: what effect does that have on the fat?

Does the duration of steaming affect that 'mouth feel'?

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The initial deep fry is to render out some of the fat, but deep frying the taro also means that they absorb less water during the steaming process, thus less likely to turn to mush in the final dish. As for duration of steaming, you steam it until the meat is tender, steam it too long and it will indeed affect the "mouth feel". Ideally, the meat should be tender and the taro cooked through, but still hold its shape when picked up with chopsticks.

Thanks for the nice comment about my pictures :)

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I've just found out one of my guests doesn't like hotpot, so it's back to the drawing board. Okay, I'll need three cold dishes, I think; one soup, one tofu, one meat, and two vegetables - that should do for five people, you think? No fish, because none of my guests like it.

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Right.

I was thinking of the meats and vegetables and all. My confectionery partner and friend Barbara cannot have anything with any pepper in it. Not even green peppers. I cannot imagine life without the numbing hotness of hot peppers. (Currently I have a container of DL's Aztec Hot Chocolate Ice Cream in the freezer. Not even my DH will eat it. I LOVE IT!)

ps. We eat a lot of Chinese food at home and I was wondering what is the most important date of the Chinese New Year on which to celebrate?

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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It's the mala flavour, I think - the heat from the chilies and the numbing flavour from the Sichuan peppercorns.

If that's the only thing they object to, mala hotpot is only one type, and if you get one of the split style pans, you can have an herbal or non-spicy broth on one side, and the good stuff on the other side. If you start with a basic broth of some sort, and add some of those pre-packaged Chinese herb packets and some goji berries, should taste pretty good. You can use the same base broth on both sides, and add the mala seasoning for hot pot that comes in little jars to one side (it's really concentrated).

BTW, I don't know if you're making the broth or buying packaged base, but, especially in China, I would be wary of the packaged stuff. I've heard some sketchy things about the oil that makes it into some of the packaged hot pot bases. We do use the packaged base sometimes, and I'd guess that most of the stuff that gets imported to the US is Ok, but....

Edited by Will (log)
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Photos are up, you can view them here

Beautiful! Can you tell me what kind of tofu you use for stuffed tofu and what is the stuffing?

Thank you!

I used a fresh (silken) tofu bought from a Chinese supermarket here in the UK. I actually cheated a bit for the stuffing (!) Traditionally, you would use a mixture of pork and perhaps some white fish of some sort or even prawns if you were feeling a bit indulgent. My mother used to put some dried fish in the mixture. However, I just used pork (belly again for the fat) and added a load of fish sauce to give it that umami hit and added some finely chopped spring onions.

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"China Moon Chili-Orange Oil" from Barbara Tropp's China Moon cookbook. That recipe was an "Ah-Ha" moment for me. I will put it on some noodles or if I get to making some dumplings or buns I'll use it there.

And, Yes, I did used to keep it in the cupboard for months. Now I will refrigerate it, and freeze if any is left.

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Photos are up, you can view them here

Beautiful! Can you tell me what kind of tofu you use for stuffed tofu and what is the stuffing?

Thank you!

I used a fresh (silken) tofu bought from a Chinese supermarket here in the UK. I actually cheated a bit for the stuffing (!) Traditionally, you would use a mixture of pork and perhaps some white fish of some sort or even prawns if you were feeling a bit indulgent. My mother used to put some dried fish in the mixture. However, I just used pork (belly again for the fat) and added a load of fish sauce to give it that umami hit and added some finely chopped spring onions.

I would like to try this sometime, thank you. The tofu in the photo looked very firm, I will look for something like that.

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Hot Pot was fun.

Stock was made from scratch w pig neckbones, daikon, and tomatoes.

We're heathens - we picked the meat off the bones and ate it.

Everyone got a kick from choosing their own bits, adding them to cook, then fishing them out.

Our guest bought something called Satay Sauce which she said was mandatory for hotpot. I couldnt figure out a single ingredient in it, from tasting. I'll post a photo of the jar if I get the energy. Each of us doctored the sauce to taste using soy sauce, scallions, and chopped garlic.

The daikon chunks and the cuttlefish dumplings were the most popular. Chicken slices and cabbage also disappeared with great speed.

And then, because its that time of year too, we had Girl Scout cookies for dessert.

Thanks for the hints re mess. We covered the table w a towel. It made the drips irrelevant.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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For New Years Day dinner, I made this recipe:

http://thelittleteochew.blogspot.com/2009/05/vegetarian-chap-chye.html

I made a few additions / subtractions - shimeji mushrooms instead of the button, omitted the enokis (because the ones I got smelled a little funky), and added some tofu-skin thingies. No idea if the 'fa cai' ('fat choy') is genuine; 2 stores didn't have it at all, and seems like it's pretty tightly regulated these days. That little package was $7.

Prepped and ready to go:

167981_496905426732_500046732_6272588_2685756_n.jpg

Ingredients fried separately (not pictured) and cabbage put on top (I didn't fry stuff in the clay pot):

167981_496905421732_500046732_6272587_5219718_n.jpg

Finished dish:

167981_496905416732_500046732_6272586_8114065_n.jpg

Edited by Will (log)
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I didn't take any photos of the New Year's Eve meal at my mother's place, we did have Kau Yuk but that was the only Hakka dish she made. She did manage to score the meatiest King Crab legs i'd ever eaten though and we had the usual assortment of veg and steamed fish - a particularly luscious lemon sole. A gulleter on another thread was moaning about the how lemon sole is soggy and simply inferior to dover sole. Well that may be the case if it's grilled or fried but when fresh lemon sole is steamed whole on the bone for 9.5 minutes it's amazingly sweet, moist and tender. Everything a Cantonese fish lover looks for, so it's a bonus for us that it's half the price of dover sole.

But I did take a couple of snaps of the CNY meal I cooked yesterday. Some of my work colleagues were thinking of going out for a meal to celebrate but managed to convince me to cook instead. So with everyone chipping in for the cost of ingredients I did my best give them a feast. I did my usual lobster noodles to start then laid on some luxury [1] chicken rice TM, steamed bass, golden sand shrimp, stuffed tofu/pepper/bitter melon & gai lan and dong po pork:

20110205a copy.jpg

20110205b.JPG

Even though my colleagues all said they hadn't played Mah Jong for years and couldn't remember the rules, after dinner we played for four hours! We were very slow though and only managed four winds but enjoyed it immensely.

[1] Coined by one of my guests as i'd put some conpoy in with the chicken rice - just to, you know, take it up another notch in a Pimp My Chicken Rice kind of way!

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One of the very few recipes I've put on the Recipe Gullet is Dong Po Pork, so knock yourselves out! I must confess that i didn't use the claypot to braise my pork, just an ordinary metal casserole. The result was fantastic this time, the pork was made two days in advance and I pressed the meat out of the liquor for those two days. The trick with this dish is to cook it whole and only slice the meat when it is cold so that you can slice nearly all the way down. By luck when I got round to slicing it was almost perfectly 8" x 4" so I took two 1"x4" strips off and hence the dish turned out perfectly symmetrical in the claypot. The strained and defatted liquor was poured back over the pork and then the whole thing was warmed through thoroughly. To describe the meat as melting would be an understatement, it was luscious. This dish was a life saver as almost everything else was a la minute. But like you said earlier YSL, you gotta make an effort for CNY!

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Happy New Year!! It's been quite a while since I have started a post and what better way to do it than with a New Years post?! :biggrin:

I have been eating a ton of food and it hasn't stopped since New Years eve. :wub: Not that I am complaining...

What has everyone been eating for this celebration? I have a bunch of pics. I'll start off with a few from New Years Eve.

I wasn't able to go home that night so I had to cook my own CNY dinner. Four dishes were made with a Wuhan and Canton fusion. hehehe...

CNY 001.jpg

And here are the close ups. (sorry, was lazy and used my iphone camera instead of a real one.)

CNY 002.jpg

Fa Cai with lotus root and fresh shitake mushrooms

CNY 003.jpg

Braised white perch. It came out a bit darker than I wanted but it was still delicious!

CNY 004.jpg

Cellophane noodles with dried shrimp

CNY 005.jpg

Braised chicken with chestnuts

I'll be back to post more. In the meantime...what did everyone else have?? :biggrin:

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