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nakji

eG Foodblog: nakji (2011) - Gong Xi Fa Cai - goodbye Tiger; hello Rabb

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The marinade calls for Greek yogurt, but since I'm not made of money, I used plain basic yogurt.

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My blender, called into action again. Actually, by the end of this blog, I might be able to talk myself into purchasing that Vita-mix.

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Does anyone else use Chinese soup spoons for measuring? They're great for approximating tablespoons.

I covered the chicken up, and went out for a walk.

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Definitely "see goo" arrowroot. These are always available for Chinese new Year. Other than steaming or boilng them and eaten with slices of lap yuk - wind-dried pork, I've never had much taste for them. I think you can make soup with them as well. Arrowroot powder, as a thickening agent is made from these.

Bruce had the perfect word to describe lily bulbs - segments. Why couldn't I think of that!? :wacko:

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The neighborhood behind my complex is full of old communist-style housing - not really courtyard, but old alley houses; mostly full of little shops that process and carve jade. Looking out my window right now, I can see into the building across the way at a man on the second floor, working a piece over under a desk lamp. I wonder why he hasn't gone home for the holiday?

There are some open kitchens out on the street. Apologies for the lack of focus.

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Those woks can really kick off with those non-code gas lines.

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Everywhere you go in Suzhou, you can see flasks like these, full of hot water for filling tea bottles. People drink tea from anything from modified jam jars to posh porcelain cups; but most people go around with a clear flask. In the morning, tea leaves are put in, and water is refilled all day. Train stations have big hot water tanks that everyone uses; but any rest station like a guard box or a street chair will have one of these within arm's reach. They are always, always, pink, red, or green. Never another colour.

Then we came out next to another canal. Cleaners were poling by.

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So you get your day's dose of tea leaves at the bottom of the glass, and as you empty it you fill it back up with hot water to reinfuse? That's sorta what I do at work with the tea pot!

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Definitely "see goo" arrowroot. These are always available for Chinese new Year. Other than steaming or boilng them and eaten with slices of lap yuk - wind-dried pork, I've never had much taste for them. I think you can make soup with them as well. Arrowroot powder, as a thickening agent is made from these.Bruce had the perfect word to describe lily bulbs - segments. Why couldn't I think of that!? :wacko:

Sounds...yummy? I'll have a whack at them tomorrow. Would I peel them? Steam them?

So you get your day's dose of tea leaves at the bottom of the glass, and as you empty it you fill it back up with hot water to reinfuse? That's sorta what I do at work with the tea pot!

That seems to be the system.

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Erin,

I see many American/'western' brands in your pantry (Gold Medal, C & H, Clabber Girl...). Did you bring these with you, or buy them in China?

They're purchased here. There are Chinese products available as well, usually for much cheaper, but the dumpling flour isn't great for bread. The baking powder and baking soda I bought because they came in larger sizes for Christmas baking. I usually buy whatever's available when I'm at a certain shop. I rotate between going to different shops for different staples. Carrefour is good for bulk rice, peanut oil, spices, and wine. Summit I go to for SE Asian ingredients, cheese, and meat. I bought those baking supplies there as well. If my husband and I have a lot of time, we'll take a cab out to the Sogo, a Japanese department store in the SIP. Very good for senbei, sake, miso...and Greek yogurt for 70 yuan. I don't know who buys it. Somebody does. Vegetables I get delivered or buy at the wet market.

You've got a lot more American brands than are available here in Tuscany! Not that I necessarily need American flour and the like, but there are a few things I miss. We don't have many ethnic ingredients at all here.

Loving the blog!


Edited by ambra (log)

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We stopped into a convenience store to fuel up for the walk. "Kedi" is a Chinese chain, although FamilyMart are here too.

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The drink fridges are turned off in the winter to keep the drinks nice and warm. Nothing like a warm Coke in the winter!

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The only thing kept cool are the yogurt drinks.

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I thought the Pringles selection might be of interest to everyone. The flavours are red-cooked pork; tomato; cucumber; lemon iced tea; lamb and cumin; hot and sour fish soup; and mala hotpot.

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Drinks:

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Note the full selection of Bacardi Breezers.

There's also a tea-egg station with an assortment of veg and fish sausages. I don't go in for it, but I like how it makes the shop smell of cinnamon.

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Erin,

I see many American/'western' brands in your pantry (Gold Medal, C & H, Clabber Girl...). Did you bring these with you, or buy them in China?

They're purchased here. There are Chinese products available as well, usually for much cheaper, but the dumpling flour isn't great for bread. The baking powder and baking soda I bought because they came in larger sizes for Christmas baking. I usually buy whatever's available when I'm at a certain shop. I rotate between going to different shops for different staples. Carrefour is good for bulk rice, peanut oil, spices, and wine. Summit I go to for SE Asian ingredients, cheese, and meat. I bought those baking supplies there as well. If my husband and I have a lot of time, we'll take a cab out to the Sogo, a Japanese department store in the SIP. Very good for senbei, sake, miso...and Greek yogurt for 70 yuan. I don't know who buys it. Somebody does. Vegetables I get delivered or buy at the wet market.

You've got a lot more American brands then are available here in Tuscany! Not that I necessarily need American flour and the like, but there are a few things I miss. We don't have many ethnic ingredients at all here.

Loving the blog!

Thanks! I guess they figure with a market of a billion plus people, someone's bound to buy it. Actually, that explains the Greek yogurt, come to think of it.

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We didn't pick anything up to eat there - we walked around the corner to the wet market, and went to a window that advertised "Dongbei Thousand Layer Cake". (Dongbei is what we call Manchuria, I think) It sounded intriguing - I can't believe I forgot to snap a picture of the shop.

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I bit into it and realized it basically an egg roll. I gave it to my husband for a bite, and he said, "Wow - it tastes like Chinese food!" By which he meant the sort of Chinese food we grew up with, but we never taste in China. The egg crepe was stuffed with julienned potato strips.

I also got something that looked like an English muffin, but was stuffed with sweet black sesame paste.

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Then we walked along the moat for a while, and watched the old men fishing.

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When we got back, I started in on the chicken again. The pieces get baked in their marinade.

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I put together the ingredients for a sauce.

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Space is a premium for me, so recipes I want to try get cut out and put into a plastic sleeve in a binder. The magazines go into our school library when I'm done with them, for the kids to enjoy - several of them are keen gourmets and enjoy the "exotic" recipes.

One advantage of the plastic sleeves, especially when assembling components for a complex dish with lots of spices and different steps like this one, is that I can mark off my place with a whiteboard marker as I go through the ingredient list and steps, so I can find my place quickly. V. handy - I don't know how many times I've gone through a Madhur Jaffery recipe only to get to the end and realize I've jumped over a step. And when I'm done, I just wipe the recipe clean again.

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This recipe calls for bunging all sauce ingredients straight into the pot, but I took a minute to saute the garlic and spices for a few minutes in some vegetable oil. The sauce after twenty minutes:

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There's a companion recipe for raita, but I had neither cucumbers or enough yogurt, so I Displayed Adaptability:

I had a daikon languishing in the crisper, and one sad little carrot.

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15 minutes tossed with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp. salt, and drained:

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Then I riffed on a raita "dressing": two tbsp of the yogurt I had remaining from the marinade; 2 tbsp. of mango chutney from the bottom of a bottle; half a chili; a tsp salt; and a cup of cilantro leaves. Blended, and tossed over the vegetable that have been squeezed dry.

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Lemon Iced Tea Pringles....interesting!

Yeah... I'm going to go a step further and say those sound awful.

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Lemon Iced Tea Pringles....interesting!

I wasn't brave enough to take one for the team, Shelby - maybe next time? :biggrin:

The chicken goes into the sauce:

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And after another twenty minutes or so to cook the chicken to temperature. The recipe says ten minutes, but it didn't happen in that kind of time.

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I cooked this in my wok, because although it isn't really designed for long liquid cooking, it's the biggest pot I own - and my family has a belief that you should do all of your savoury dishes in a pot that will "absorb deliciousness" and add its own seasoning to subsequent dishes. Like Pot Karma or something.

The finished salad:

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It was excellent - this was one of those times I made something perfectly the first time, entirely by Fridge Serendipity. I wonder if I'll be able to recreate it ever again?

Dinner is served:

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We ate this with a nice Wold Blass unwooded chardonnay.

Tomorrow: Carrefour on New Year's Eve. Pray for me.

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Lemon Iced Tea Pringles....interesting!

Yeah... I'm going to go a step further and say those sound awful.

And I'm going to go out on a limb and say probably not as bad as the blueberry flavour I tried out of curiosity a couple of months back. Just...wrong.

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I cooked this in my wok, because although it isn't really designed for long liquid cooking, it's the biggest pot I own - and my family has a belief that you should do all of your savoury dishes in a pot that will "absorb deliciousness" and add its own seasoning to subsequent dishes. Like Pot Karma or something.

My family feels this way about their cheap cast iron frying pans. It's my go-to pan for anything and everything. Habit, I guess. It's terrible for tossing pasta so I have a wok style (just meaning that it's tall sided and rounded at the bottom) for pasta.

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Lemon Iced Tea Pringles....interesting!

Yeah... I'm going to go a step further and say those sound awful.

And I'm going to go out on a limb and say probably not as bad as the blueberry flavour I tried out of curiosity a couple of months back. Just...wrong.

Blueberry :blink:

I'm sorry, but you are going to have to try the Lemon Tea...I'm dying to know. :biggrin:

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The chicken looks really good. I'm going to have to try your recipe out.

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I cooked this in my wok, because although it isn't really designed for long liquid cooking, it's the biggest pot I own - and my family has a belief that you should do all of your savoury dishes in a pot that will "absorb deliciousness" and add its own seasoning to subsequent dishes. Like Pot Karma or something.

My family feels this way about their cheap cast iron frying pans. It's my go-to pan for anything and everything. Habit, I guess. It's terrible for tossing pasta so I have a wok style (just meaning that it's tall sided and rounded at the bottom) for pasta.

I do pasta in a cheap fry pan, too! One of these days I've got to upgrade. Ming Tsai was on "Splendid Table" last week advocating using woks for pasta. Perhaps it's time to consider crossing over...

Lemon Iced Tea Pringles....interesting!

Yeah... I'm going to go a step further and say those sound awful.

And I'm going to go out on a limb and say probably not as bad as the blueberry flavour I tried out of curiosity a couple of months back. Just...wrong.

Blueberry :blink:

I'm sorry, but you are going to have to try the Lemon Tea...I'm dying to know. :biggrin:

You're going to make me go there? :laugh: If I see some tomorrow, I'll pick some up. In the name of science, of course.

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The chicken looks really good. I'm going to have to try your recipe out.

it's worth doing, for sure - especially if you have to feed a a few people. I normally wouldn't prepare something like that for two, but since we had guests it made enough to go around. Just give each step a little more time than she suggests, I think.

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Does anyone else use Chinese soup spoons for measuring? They're great for approximating tablespoons.

I keep one in the sugar bag and one in the flour bag. They make wonderful scoops.

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Does anyone else use Chinese soup spoons for measuring? They're great for approximating tablespoons.

I keep one in the sugar bag and one in the flour bag. They make wonderful scoops.

Oh, I am so stealing this! Thanks for the tips.

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Yeah, Chinese limes suck. I think there isn't even a Chinese word for lime, only green lemon. But the "green lemons" sold in stores lack the acidity and roughness of real limes. I think you have to get Brazilian or Vietnamese limes. I've had varying luck buying them from City Shop and Smart Direct. I think I'm going to try Taobao next.

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I googled and found a recipe on

http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com/chicken-soup-recipe-04.html

You can peel it and make a soup with chicken breast, carrot and Chinese yam.

Or peel and slice them up. Sandwich the slices between slices of lap yuk and steam.

They'd probably be good sliced and stir-fried with ginger and slices of lap yuk.

I might have to buy some now and try these ideas myself! :hmmm:

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Yeah, Chinese limes suck. I think there isn't even a Chinese word for lime, only green lemon. But the "green lemons" sold in stores lack the acidity and roughness of real limes. I think you have to get Brazilian or Vietnamese limes. I've had varying luck buying them from City Shop and Smart Direct. I think I'm going to try Taobao next.

Are they even limes, or are they under-ripe lemons? They don't taste right to me. Let me know if Taobao works out, I'd love to get some decent ones.

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I googled and found a recipe on

http://www.homemade-chinese-soups.com/chicken-soup-recipe-04.html

You can peel it and make a soup with chicken breast, carrot and Chinese yam.

Or peel and slice them up. Sandwich the slices between slices of lap yuk and steam.

They'd probably be good sliced and stir-fried with ginger and slices of lap yuk.

I might have to buy some now and try these ideas myself! :hmmm:

Oh, that's really useful! I need a soup for tonight, so that will work out for me. I may skip the yam, though.

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