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Dried Ingredients in Chinese Cooking


David Ross
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Fish maw doesn't have a lot of flavour. It's like tofu - takes on the flavour of whatever is cooked along with it. I've made it with chicken stock, Chinese mushrooms, waterchestnuts, ham bits,and an egg stirred in just before serving.

I forgot about the characters for sam gna wong. I don't write Chinese, but the first word - sam is the character for 3. Literally, and character by character, I think they are 3 - toothed yellow...would it be croaker?

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I've learnt from my mum to use dried squid (and sometimes dried shrimp) when making stock, the chicken and pork variety. Can't say it smells so good on its own (actually, I could get graphic and get into the details...but I won't) but my word, it's brilliant for soup. Can't do without it.

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

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Does anyone reading this subject know of a cook book devoted to same??? How to prepare and cook various dried foods commonly found in Oriental groceries, Chinese, Korean, etc??? I would purchase a good one in a heartbeat. Thanks.

alanjesq

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I've been trying to use 'Mei Gan Cai' (a type of dried mustard) lately in 'Gan Bian Dou Jiao' (fried string beans) without much success. I've tried everything but the food processor to get this stuff soft enough to eat. Anyone have any pointers? Maybe I just need a different brand.

This is the Wikipedia link for 'Mei Gan Cai'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meigan_cai

Mei Gan Cai.jpg

I use this for red cooked pork. Soak it in warm water till softened, about 30 - 40 mins. Give it a good rinse, it might contain a bit of sand. Cut off any hard stalky bits (I forgot to do this once - it made for very interesting eating). Chop up and throw in braised or stewed dishes.

I think mei gan cai is a type of mustard. I've never had it in the fried green bean dish, it's usually zha cai (pickeled mustard?) that's used, as Will mentions.

There's a restaurant chain here in Beijing that uses what I've been told is 'mei gan cai' in their 'gan bien dou jiao' (dry-fried string beans) dish and so I've been trying to replicate it.

Like I said, I've tried everything I know of to make this stuff palatable without success:

  • putting it in a covered, vented small bowl with some water and nuking it for a minute
  • pouring boiling water over it and letting it sit
  • boiling it for a minute or two and letting it sit

The stuff I have (extrememly dark brown, very dry and in small pieces) looks very different from the greenish strands in Wikipedia. Guess I need to hunt up a different source.

Maybe I would have more friends if I didn't eat so much garlic?

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I'm not sure. But if I had to recreate this dish, I'd, after the ears are soaked, probably very briefly fry them with some oil infused with chili and garlic. Then tip them out of the wok and dress with black vinegar and sesame. Then let them come up to room temperature.

Were they sweet at all?

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I've had this dish a few times, and I don't remember it ever being particularly sweet, no. The most recent rendition (not the one in that picture) was fairly spicy, to the point where someone who wasn't used to eating chilli-enhanced food would have had a problem with it.

Your suggestion sounds plausible, and I'll give it a go if nobody else weighs in — thanks!

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So in the end I did a few more websearches, with the help of Google Translate, and got the impression that the 木耳 are usually boiled briefly (around 3 minutes or so) for this dish, rather than fried. So I did that instead, then drained them and dressed them with black vinegar, a bit of sugar (not enough to make it sweet, just enough to balance the vinegar), a splash of soy sauce, and some home-made chilli oil, including plenty of the chilli "sludge" from the bottom of the jar (I ran out of sesame oil while making another dish, or I'd have added some of that too).

It was pretty good, though I think it would have been better if I'd boiled the 木耳 in chicken stock rather than plain water.

I'd still be interested in hearing from anyone who knows how this dish should be made!

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Interesting. II wouldn't have thought of boiling them - I just rehydrate mine in boiling water.

But a shake of chicken Maggi powder at the end often "elevates" the dish. :biggrin: Or - I imagine making them well ahead of time, and then re-dressing them right before you were going to eat them would give it a bit more depth, too.

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