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jmolinari

Cooking with Fuchsia Dunlop's "Every Grain of Rice"

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Someone suggested starting a topic to discuss dishes made from this book. I think it's a good idea.

I got the book a couple weeks ago and read through it. It's fantastic. While i have Dunlop's other books and have cooked from them A LOT, this one seems more streamlined for weeknight dinners with dishes that don't require 8-10 marinade or sauce ingredients.

I've cooked a couple meals from it and everything has been awesome.

Last week it was chicken with black bean sauce and spinach with fermented tofu. Both were delicious.

Last night it was pork tenderloin with chinese chives (not a recipe in the book, but i took the recipe for the chicken livers with chives and subbed pork tenderloin), stir fried cabbage with dry shrimp and bok choy with shiitake (i used dry, rehydrated).

Everything was delicious. I really liked the baby bok choy. The flavors were clean and light. Wife thought it was kind of bland, but i liked it. The cabbage was also delicious, though wife and daughter didn't agree :) I thought it was funny that my purple cabbage turned my yellow/orange tiny dry shrimp green.

Forgot to take pictures of the dishes.

What is everyone else making?

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mukki   

Have loved:

Stir Fried Beef with Black Beans and Chile

Red Braised Pork Belly (cooked the pork down longer than the recipe seems to indicate)

Stir Fried Broccoli with Chile and Sichuan Pepper

Cumin Beef (easier recipe than the one in RCC, though not as unctuous because it skips the initial velveting step)

Kung Pao Chicken (repeat from LOP)

Zha Jiang Mian (but made with modifications to spice it up)

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I've made the cabbage with dried shrimp, and the vegetable soup with pork meatballs. Both delicious.

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I made the pork and potato stew a couple days ago. I pressure cooked it, which was awesome because it was done in about 45 minutes. I did 30 minutes on the pork. Let the PC natural release (About 10 mins), added potatoes and carrots, high pressure 6 minutes and natural release (about 10 minutes).

Also added carrots for some vegetable component.

Served with partially milled brown rice.

Super delicious.

photo.JPG


Edited by jmolinari (log)

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janeer   

have made two quick dishes, Cold Chicken with Spicey Sichuanese Sauce, and Ho Fun Rice Noodles with Mushrooms.

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I made the "send the rice down" chopped celery with ground beef, and the twice-cooked swiss chard (the latter especially delicious).

I had real Pixian chili bean paste this time and it makes a huge difference over the Lee Kum Kee kind!

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FeChef   

I came into this thread expecting to read about dishes with rice. Are my eyes decieving me or is there no mention of rice in any of these posts?

Ah, I just noticed the 4th post.


Edited by FeChef (log)

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janeer   

I made the "send the rice down" chopped celery with ground beef, and the twice-cooked swiss chard (the latter especially delicious).

I had real Pixian chili bean paste this time and it makes a huge difference over the Lee Kum Kee kind!

What did you think of Send the Rice Down?

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It was good, I think perhaps I should have dried the celery more thoroughly before stir-frying. It suffered in comparison to the chard, which was ridiculously good.

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janeer   

It was good, I think perhaps I should have dried the celery more thoroughly before stir-frying. It suffered in comparison to the chard, which was ridiculously good.

It was good, I think perhaps I should have dried the celery more thoroughly before stir-frying. It suffered in comparison to the chard, which was ridiculously good.

Thanks; the dish appealed to me. I will try the chard; I like chard when it's really (ridiculously) good.

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Both dishes are built around Sichuan chili bean paste... I really think that getting the Pixian stuff makes a huge difference. I've never tasted anything like it. Huge chunks of whole chili skins in the paste, mild and pickled tasting, just chunky and fantastic.

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Will   

Here are some of mine, including a lot of my favorites. Most have been written about in the Chinese cooking at home thread here, as well as on "that other food forum". I've written more about it in those other places, so I'll just summarize here with a "greatest hits".

Silken Tofu with Avocado" (鳄梨豆腐; èlí dòufǔ, p42)

avo_tofu.jpg

I was a bit skeptical of this one, even with all the praise it was getting, but it was pretty good.

Vegetarian Clay Bowl "Chicken" (钵钵腐竹; bōbō fǔzhú, p51)

clay_bowl_fuzhu.jpg

This came out better the second time I made it. I brought it to a picnic, and it went over quite well.

Smoky Eggplant with Garlic (火烧茄子; huǒshāo qiézi, p63).

smoky_eggplant.jpg

One of my favorites from the book. This supposedly comes from a restaurant in Sichuan. The smoky flavor of the grilled eggplant makes it like a Chinese baba ganouj.

Smacked Radishes (熗萝卜 qiàng luóbo, p58)

smacked_radishes.jpg

Pipa Doufu (琵琶豆腐; pípá dòufǔ, p78)

pipa_doufu.jpg

Ok, this one does take a little bit of effort, but it's a surefire hit - everyone I've made it for has liked it.

Stir-Fried Tofu with Black Bean and Chilli (香辣豆腐干; xiāng là dòufǔ gān, p86).

laoganma_doufu_gan.jpg

Greens with sizzling oil (油淋菜心; yóu lín càixīn, p168),

greens_sizzling_oil2.jpg

This is a fairly quick and easy dish that's definitely more than the sum of its parts.

Twice-cooked Swiss chard (回锅牛皮菜; huíguō niúpícài, p186).

huiguoniupicai.jpg

I knew I had to try that as soon as I saw the recipe, and it exceeded my expectations. A really great preparation of chard.

Hangzhou Eggplant (肉末茄子; ròumò qiézi, p212)

hangzhou_eggplant.jpg

Not actually 'rou mo' since I made it without meat. I did replace the pork with diced soaked shitakes rather than leaving it out. I didn't salt the eggplants, despite her suggestion to salt them, so I think that's why this came out a little bit bland. I still prefer yuxiang qiezi, even after trying this one twice.


Edited by Will (log)
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liuzhou   

I'm a bit surprised that she has included avocado in a dish in a book supposedly about everyday Chinese home cooking. I've never met anyone in China who knew what avocados were and they are decidedly difficult to find outside of shops catering to ex-pats in the major cities.

But, I'll give it a try.

By the way my local restaurant has two dishes - 茄子肉末 (qiézi ròumò) and 肉末茄子 (ròumò qiézi) - 'eggplant and minced pork' or 'minced pork with eggplant' depending on which ingredient is more copiously represented. :rolleyes:

Great pics.

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Will   

I'm a bit surprised that she has included avocado in a dish in a book supposedly about everyday Chinese home cooking. I've never met anyone in China who knew what avocados were and they are decidedly difficult to find outside of shops catering to ex-pats in the major cities.

While a lot of the book is fairly traditional, I think she also in this book (more than the others) has some recipes that try to encourage people to take a Chinese approach to cooking with less traditional ingredients, which I think is a good point for the book to drive home -- that is, that you can take a "Chinese" approach to cooking with ingredients that are common here, but not there. This is also helpful since if she went too traditional, people might have difficulty finding ingredients for a lot of the recipes.

This inspiration for this particular recipe comes, from what I can remember from the description, from a restaurant in Taiwan. I think avocado is probably a little more familiar there than in mainland China. I'll try to re-read that section and summarize next time I'm at home. While I don't think it actually comes from a monastery as I had originally thought, it is an interesting take on the more common dish with sliced pidan ("century egg") along with the tofu (both appropriate for Buddhist vegetarians and others who don't eat egg, and for people for whom pidan might not be palatable). I believe she does mention this somewhat more traditional variant (which I think is popular in Taiwan due to the Japanese influence -- correct me if I'm wrong) as well.

We live in California, where avocados are, of course, fairly plentiful. My mother-in-law (who's Chinese) loves using avocado in her home cooking. The most recent variation is shanyao (山药; i.e., nagaimo) blanched and sliced (cold), served with alternating slices of avocado, and dressed with a bit of lemon. I think it's an interesting use, though certainly not traditional in any sense.


Edited by Will (log)

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liuzhou   

Thanks for your response, Will. Interesting.

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Will   

So, looking at the description again, this is a riff on a dish from a contemporary restaurant on the outskirts of Taipei; the dish is definitely "fusion". The original dish it's based on was fresh tofu with uni (sea urchin) on top, soy sauce, a hint of wasabi, and a wedge of avocado. Whatever the origin, the dish is pretty tasty.

She has the more usual variant with soy sauce, green onion, sesame oil (and optional pidan) on the previous page (41).

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liuzhou   

Thanks again!. It does sound tasty, yes.

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Now that the weather has warmed here I've been doing a lot of cooking from Every Grain of Rice (eG-friendly Amazon.com link). Tonight I finally pulled out the camera, here was dinner:

 

Gong Bao Chicken with Peanuts (recipe here)

gong bao ji ding (宮爆鷄丁)

 

Sichuanese Green Soy Bean Salad

xiang you qing dou

 

DSC_7980.jpg

 

This is the same Gong Bao recipe she included in Land of Plenty. I thought I'd go ahead and make it again. My overall impression of the dish is that the ratios are off, and that there are too many peanuts in it. You could almost call it Peanuts with Chicken instead of the reverse. I'm not crazy about peanuts as a star attraction, so I'd be inclined to tweak the recipe to decrease that quantity. Otherwise the dish is very good. The soybeans were very simple and delicious, and provided a nice foil to the chicken.

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Many of these dishes reheat well, so today I made a couple to take in for lunch this week.

 

Sichuanese "Send-the-rice-down" Chopped Celery with Ground Beef

jia chang rou mo qin cai

 

DSC_7990.jpg

 

This one was very fast and easy to make. I used Chinese celery, which seems struck me as more assertive than the thicker stuff we get in normal supermarkets in the US. Since the seasonings in the dish are relatively light (chilli bean paste, ginger, and Chinkiang) the flavor from the celery was still dominant in the dish. These are the leftovers from that meal, minus the smacked cucumber (there are never leftovers of that), ready for lunch tomorrow.

 

Next up:

Pock-Marked Old Woman's Tofu (Vegetarian Version)

ma po dou fu

 

DSC_8006.jpg

 

Not actually vegetarian in this case, since I used chicken stock, this dish reheats beautifully. Which is good, since my wife doesn't like tofu so I can't make it for dinner! I love this version, it's got a great level of spice and tons of flavor.


Edited by Chris Hennes Finished the post! (log)
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rotuts   

Nice

 

however, I don't quite understand what the lower dish is

 

it looks a bit Tofu-Like

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And as a snack this evening...

 

Xi'an Pot-Sticker Dumplings

xi'an guo tie

 

DSC_8020.jpg

 

DSC_8024.jpg

 

DSC_8030.jpg

 

This is the first time I've made the wrappers myself, so that was a new experience. They wound up a bit thicker than I would have liked, and I had a hard time getting a uniform size, but overall they were successful. Obviously some more practice is in order. The flavoring was a bit bland, especially once they were dipped in the Chinkiang vinegar. This may be at least partially due to the use of "regular" chives (which are abundant in my garden) instead of Chinese chives, which I don't have at the moment. 

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Chris, I agree about all the peanuts in the chicken dish. Having said that I always like making the recipe as written the first time trying it and then making adjustments second time around. Sometimes one gets surprised.

I LOVE pot stickers and have always made my own dough. But, yes getting the thickness the way you like it takes some practice. Not sure how you rolled out the dough. A pasta roller works well and I use an empty can from canned tuna with both ends taken off to punch out my rounds. The dipping sauce is one part white vinegar and two parts soy sauce then we add chili oil mixed with chili flakes for some heat. These are definitely the realm of 'my last meal"

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Her instructions for making the wrappers have you cut individual dough balls for each, then roll them into small circles with a small rolling pin. The procedure seems sound, I was starting to get the hang of it towards the end, I think I just need to make a few hundred more potstickers. Which is not such a terrible fate.

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