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nakji

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

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Truc to release dirt clinging to greens: try this. Fill sink with water adding 2-4 drops of anionic detergent, wetting agent or DAWN liquid dish detergent [not soap]. Add greens, swish a bit, and let them lie around a tiny while. Drain & rinse. Don't think the word "chemical" = evil, & the label "green" = benign. NO WAY!!

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Someone, somewhere recently posted that they prefer this recipe for RCP to the one provided in Revolutionary Cuisine: I agree - this one came out the best I've ever done. Although I also used palm sugar, which may have made a difference.

That was me again! :laugh: I do think the Sichuan Cookery one tastes better (more syrupy and sticky) but the biggest attraction was not having to make a caramel first like the Revolutionary one has you do, which I kind of hate as it's hard to get right in the claypot I use.

Where do you get the duck sausage? Is it with all the other sausages? I've always thought they were all pork.

The two kinds of sausages I always see sold together (both in Chinese BBQ shops and Chinese supermarkets), in Sydney anyway, are 1) pork and 2) duck liver.

So duck liver lup cheong are pretty common but usually a little darker than the ones nakji showed - these may be liver-less.

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Yesterday it was really cold here in NYC, I was chilled to the bone and I really needed something to warm me up. Then I saw that photo of those potato chips, including the ones with MaLa flavor, so I took it as a sign. I ordered up some Ma Po Dofu (called Ma Paul Tofu in this particular restaurant), and ate it as I continued to enjoy the blog. It definitely did the trick. (fwiw- those are the only flavor of chips from that shelf that I'd probably get if I had the chance).

Great job so far, I'm really enjoying it- especially the shots in the markets.


Edited by TongoRad (log)

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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OMG all of that food looks so good!!! The pork....droooooling....

:biggrin: That's why I was so confused about the time difference there...I kept trying to calculate why New Year's there was so much earlier than here :laugh: :laugh:

Well, you were one up on me.

Shelby, I didn't see any more of those Lemon Iced Tea chips today, although I will admit - I didn't look too hard.

I really wasn't....I'm not very good at math :laugh:

I suspect that they've removed that flavor from the shelves. :laugh:

I may go out today to find out. They're too crazy to be missed.

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Truc to release dirt clinging to greens: try this. Fill sink with water adding 2-4 drops of anionic detergent, wetting agent or DAWN liquid dish detergent [not soap]. Add greens, swish a bit, and let them lie around a tiny while. Drain & rinse. Don't think the word "chemical" = evil, & the label "green" = benign. NO WAY!!

I'm not sure the ionic charge of Chinese dish detergent.

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Someone, somewhere recently posted that they prefer this recipe for RCP to the one provided in Revolutionary Cuisine: I agree - this one came out the best I've ever done. Although I also used palm sugar, which may have made a difference.

That was me again! :laugh: I do think the Sichuan Cookery one tastes better (more syrupy and sticky) but the biggest attraction was not having to make a caramel first like the Revolutionary one has you do, which I kind of hate as it's hard to get right in the claypot I use.

Where do you get the duck sausage? Is it with all the other sausages? I've always thought they were all pork.

The two kinds of sausages I always see sold together (both in Chinese BBQ shops and Chinese supermarkets), in Sydney anyway, are 1) pork and 2) duck liver.

So duck liver lup cheong are pretty common but usually a little darker than the ones nakji showed - these may be liver-less.

You're right about the recipe. Making caramel in my claypot is tough, too, as you can see it's really dark, so it's difficult to tell what stage the sugar is at. And the palm sugar was a real keeper.

As for the sausage, there were darker sausages next to these balls - I probably just grabbed the wrong ones. But I liked the ball for its unusual shape.

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Yesterday it was really cold here in NYC, I was chilled to the bone and I really needed something to warm me up. Then I saw that photo of those potato chips, including the ones with MaLa flavor, so I took it as a sign. I ordered up some Ma Po Dofu (called Ma Paul Tofu in this particular restaurant), and ate it as I continued to enjoy the blog. It definitely did the trick. (fwiw- those are the only flavor of chips from that shelf that I'd probably get if I had the chance).

Great job so far, I'm really enjoying it- especially the shots in the markets.

Glad you're enjoying it! Mapo doufu is perfect for cold weather, and when you get a sign like that, it's time to act. You're right about the chips. Although I'd probably also give the lamb-cumin a go, too.

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The lily bulbs that I have seen (through gardening rather than cooking) are more segmented, like a head of garlic. I know, you want to know what your bulbs are, rather than what they aren't.

Re Diana Kennedy: I grabbed my well-worn Art of Mexican Cooking to see where the pages fell open.

Bricklayer’s eggs (huevos al albanil) are a revelation. The recipe tolerates chile substitutions pretty well, although the sauce is best with pasilla chiles in the mix. Potatoes fried with chile sauce (papas chirrionas) are also wonderful if you can find tomatillos.

If you can spare a few hours and can find raw pumpkin seeds or something similar, chicken in red country mole (pollo en mole rojo sencillo) is delightful and relatively simple for a mole. Ms. Kennedy also blesses using the sauce with pork loin, although I think it would be killer (if apparently non-traditional) with slow-cooked cubes of pork butt.

Thanks, Bruce! I've got Diana Kennedy out, and dog-eared to those recipes. Today, I attempt the mole, the bricklayer's eggs, and the potatoes with tomatoes on the other side of the page from the papas chirrionas, since I don't think I can get tomatillos, somehow.

Wish me luck.

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Thanks, Bruce! I've got Diana Kennedy out, and dog-eared to those recipes. Today, I attempt the mole, the bricklayer's eggs, and the potatoes with tomatoes on the other side of the page from the papas chirrionas, since I don't think I can get tomatillos, somehow.

Wish me luck.

Consider luck sent your way. We made the potatoes with tomatoes a long time ago – my notes say “not bad”, which is faint praise. We did use a similar sauce for the last two meals and quite enjoyed it, so I will be very interested to see how it works for you. Thin the sauce with chicken stock if it seems too thick and starts to stick or burn.

So, out of the billion or so people in China, how many others do you think will be cooking a Mexican feast tonight? :smile:

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You're right about the recipe. Making caramel in my claypot is tough, too, as you can see it's really dark, so it's difficult to tell what stage the sugar is at. And the palm sugar was a real keeper.

Oooh, what kind of palm sugar is it? Is it dark? Where did you get it?

As for the sausage, there were darker sausages next to these balls - I probably just grabbed the wrong ones. But I liked the ball for its unusual shape.

I used to think all Chinese sausage was the same but recently I got some from Carrefour that reminded me of good dry Spanish chorizo, a little spicy, not sweet at all like most Chinese sausages. It comes in a large diameter log (about double the usual) and looks a little red from the spice. I'm thinking about getting a meat slicer and eating it raw like chorizo—though I've also cooked with it and it's delicious. The ham here would be good for that too, as it's similar to jamon serrano. Ah, charcuterie, I miss that even more than the cheese.

So, out of the billion or so people in China, how many others do you think will be cooking a Mexican feast tonight? :smile:

Maybe a few hundred. I know at least a handful of Mexican families, including one whose daughter goes to the school that my girlfriend teaches at. They had an international day where all the students brought food from their native countries and they brought tamales and tacos, all very good and they were from Veracruz. Boy was I (pleasantly) surprised.

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Oooh, what kind of palm sugar is it? Is it dark? Where did you get it?

I brought it with me from Canada - I bought it bulk at a health food shop, so not sure exactly what kind it was.

I used to think all Chinese sausage was the same but recently I got some from Carrefour that reminded me of good dry Spanish chorizo, a little spicy, not sweet at all like most Chinese sausages. It comes in a large diameter log (about double the usual) and looks a little red from the spice. I'm thinking about getting a meat slicer and eating it raw like chorizo—though I've also cooked with it and it's delicious. The ham here would be good for that too, as it's similar to jamon serrano. Ah, charcuterie, I miss that even more than the cheese.

I'll have to experiment - there's a smoked pork loin that I use for soups all the time.

Maybe a few hundred. I know at least a handful of Mexican families, including one whose daughter goes to the school that my girlfriend teaches at. They had an international day where all the students brought food from their native countries and they brought tamales and tacos, all very good and they were from Veracruz. Boy was I (pleasantly) surprised.

Yes, there's a sizable community in Beijing, too; isn't there? Of course, they could all be going out for Chinese tonight.

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The sky is lit up...like the fourth of July, I guess.

Happy real New Year!

First thing, I decided to run out to my local wet market to pick up some fresh tomatoes for my Mexican Chinese New Year feast.

On my way out the door, my neighbours were putting up their "antithetical couplets" for luck. The diamond has the character "fu" - "luck" on it. I'm not sure why it's posted upside down. Anyone?

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I wanted to swing by a local baozi window for lunch, but they were shut - the only baozi available on the street were from the convenience store, which are worst-case-scenario-on-your-way-home-from-the-pub-Mr.Dibbler-sausages-baozi.

So I just carried on to the wet market.

I was a bit worried after that that it would be shut, but fortunately it was quiet but open.

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I have a particular booth I always go to - I think as a market shopping strategy, you really need to be faithful and establish relationships.

There was a window selling sesame cakes and egg pancakes, but they weren't hot off the grill, so I decided to wait for home.

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It was nice to see my regular vendors and wish them "Happy New Year" - before I started the vegetable delivery, I saw them every day, but I still see them most weekends. It's becoming fairly obvious to me just from writing this blog that I spend a lot of time sourcing vegetables. They were very gracious and agreed to pose for photos, although halfway through the Missus' she shouted, "Wait!", and when I jumped and said, "Sorry." she said, "No - no - I was wearing my apron - let me take it off" and we had a good laugh and tried again.

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The Laoban - As you can see, they're a reliable source for beansprouts.

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Their beautiful selection:

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Some more pickles for Helen. Kent, do you know what this is?

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And when I got home: lunch. A different sort of pickle: Cheddar and Branston sandwich.

gallery_41378_6890_214971.jpg

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I have been inspired by our old-fashioned cake topic to make dessert for dinner tonight. I'd picked up a fresh pineapple yesterday at Carrefour with the intent of making it part of my five-a-day, and what better way to pad your five-a-day than with cake? I'm pretty sure this is the intent of that program.

I found this elegant little recipe online that called for fresh pineapple. I really liked how half the pineapple is the topping, and the other half is juiced for the cake. I didn't have a seasoned cast-iron pan, so I baked it in a regular pan.

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The recipe called for dark rum, so I substituted bourbon, which is pretty much the only liquor I reliably have in the house. (And a crusty bottle of Cointreau I use for cooking - but I didn't think that would strike the right note.) With ground cardamon and fresh vanilla bean in the cake, I was having second thoughts about even getting it into the oven.

What can I say, cocktail guys? I drink wine.

The finished product:

gallery_41378_6890_415758.jpg

Actually, kind of reminds me of the pork from yesterday.

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And to dinner prep: I finally cracked the spine on Diana Kennedy, which I've been hanging on to since my birthday last July. I bought chilies in Toronto before I even had the book, and hand-carried them, along with raw pumpkin seeds back into China. Never mind packing, you know clothes, or anything in my luggage; I have my priorities in order.

Thanks to Bruce, I chose pollo en mole rojo sencillo, from "Art of Mexican Cuisine"; Huevos al albanil; and papas guisadas.

Prep:

Roasting tomatoes:

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Well-travelled chilis and pumpkin seeds:

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I'm beginning to think I should invest in some oven pans, too - after seeing all these tin pans in my pictures. Hmm.

The wok becomes comal:

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I really am going to get that Vita-mix. I've sold myself on it already. Seed paste together with chili paste:

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The final sauce, ready to be cooked down.

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Thanks to the mole, my range now looks like an out-take from Dexter. Spatter analysis says: guajillo with traces of pasilla.It definitely got wiped down today.

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Friends from last night showed up again tonight for a re-take on our New Year's meal. I rounded out the dishes with some other additions.

First, I have to flog Jaymes' salsa, which I first read about in our Diana Kennedy topic. It is simplicity itself, takes all of three minutes to make, and usually sends people I make it for into flights of superlative. What I like best about it is that it doesn't have pesky chunks, like those bottled salsas from the 90's, that end up littering the landscape around the rim of the bowl with sad little chunks of discarded bell pepper.

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So yeah, I served that with lime tortilla chips /shame/

(Everyone is seeing every dish I own - over and over. That's the pork claypot from last night.)

The star of the night: the potatoes - Bruce, you only had faint praise for this? Day-um. I need to cook more from this book. This recipe has the benefit for me of not having any ingredients that I have to hand-carry into the country in it. Well, I substituted Holland chilis for serranos. Please, no one tell Diana. I'll be making these again.

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I shall not make again: (as I used up my complete chili supply on it - except for a small bag of cascabels)

The mole:

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Hmm. I expected it to have more heat. Since I've never tried a mole before, I was surprised. The process reminded me a lot of putting together African Chicken, which - being honest - I think I like a lot more than this particular mole. I'll have to try a range of different moles.

A salad from vegetables I had in the fridge:

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Dressing made with blended onion, lemon juice, sugar, garlic, salt, and oil.

The Huevos:

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This recipe threw me. She says break up the eggs, but not to beat them. But then to stir them into the chili sauce? Are they supposed to remain whole eggs? Or are they more of an omelet? I semi-scrambled them, then let them set. I'd appreciate any guidance. They were delicious, either way - this proportion of guajillos to pasillas made an excellent sauce.

And the mahogany red of everything makes this quite an auspicious meal, from a Chinese standpoint. Ahem.

No hope of masa, so I served the lot with white rice rather than corn tortillas. We're only now getting comfortable enough to consider dessert.

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Some more pickles for Helen. Kent, do you know what this is?

gallery_41378_6890_14522.jpg

Pickled mustard greens, I believe. Perhaps the most consumed (in terms of quantity) of the pickles in China. You'll often just chop it up and toss it into various stir-fries.

Hmm. I expected it to have more heat. Since I've never tried a mole before, I was surprised. The process reminded me a lot of putting together African Chicken, which - being honest - I think I like a lot more than this particular mole. I'll have to try a range of different moles.

I took a cooking class in Oaxaca on how to make moles. So once you get that Vita-Mix (or Blendtec, that may be cheaper and/or better) I'll come over and tell you if it tasted right. :wink:

The big variant of course is which chilies you get. I think you could even do fairly well if you just use dried Chinese chilies.

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Great blog and beautiful city.

Are there any restrictions on bringing food into China, or does anything go as long as it fits into the suitcase?


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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The freshness of even dried chiles can make a difference. I just made some chile colorado over the weekend with what I knew were old pods, but I wanted to clean out the cabinet and make use of them anyway. In the end the flavor definitely needed a bit of punch. Also- I am not familiar with Diane Kennedy's recipes (definite mea culpa on that, but my other resources haven't been too bad) but most moles that I have made needed more salt than the recipe has called for, and that can make a big difference.


aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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. . .

And when I got home: lunch. A different sort of pickle: Cheddar and Branston sandwich.

gallery_41378_6890_214971.jpg

Now we're talking! One of my favourite lunch sandwiches. But I am so jealous of all the amazing food you are buying and preparing. Thanks for taking us all along.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Some more pickles for Helen. Kent, do you know what this is?

gallery_41378_6890_14522.jpg

Pickled mustard greens, I believe. Perhaps the most consumed (in terms of quantity) of the pickles in China. You'll often just chop it up and toss it into various stir-fries.

Hmm. I expected it to have more heat. Since I've never tried a mole before, I was surprised. The process reminded me a lot of putting together African Chicken, which - being honest - I think I like a lot more than this particular mole. I'll have to try a range of different moles.

I took a cooking class in Oaxaca on how to make moles. So once you get that Vita-Mix (or Blendtec, that may be cheaper and/or better) I'll come over and tell you if it tasted right. :wink:

The big variant of course is which chilies you get. I think you could even do fairly well if you just use dried Chinese chilies.

You know? I was thinking that when I was prepping them. Which ones, do you think?

I've seen Vita-mixes on Taobao. Hmm.

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The freshness of even dried chiles can make a difference. I just made some chile colorado over the weekend with what I knew were old pods, but I wanted to clean out the cabinet and make use of them anyway. In the end the flavor definitely needed a bit of punch. Also- I am not familiar with Diane Kennedy's recipes (definite mea culpa on that, but my other resources haven't been too bad) but most moles that I have made needed more salt than the recipe has called for, and that can make a big difference.

Yes! I salted aggressively throughout, thinking that would help. I added some lemon at the end, too.

I'm thinking the age of the chilies was a factor - even though I had them in the freezer.

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Great blog and beautiful city.

Are there any restrictions on bringing food into China, or does anything go as long as it fits into the suitcase?

I'm sure there are laws on the books - but in practice, it's likely even the people manning the customs desk don't know the extent of them. Information is a difficult commodity to come by, even for officials. Calling and asking would yield you different answers on different days.

Suzhou is a beautiful city; I feel really lucky to be living here.

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