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


jmolinari
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Yes, I have tried that technique also. The way they are rolled, the edges are thinner than the middle so that when you fold and seal them that area is as thick as the centre. Makes for even cooking. With practice this technique is faster than using the pasta roller. There are lots of videos of people make them this way.

So, yes, practice and that means more pot stickers to eat.

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Sorry, I hit post too soon. Clarified now. It's ma po dou fu.

 

Vegetarian 'mapo doufu' is more usually known as 'mala doufu' (麻辣豆腐).

 

 

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.

 

 

Yes, I have tried that technique also. The way they are rolled, the edges are thinner than the middle so that when you fold and seal them that area is as thick as the centre. Makes for even cooking. With practice this technique is faster than using the pasta roller. There are lots of videos of people make them this way.

So, yes, practice and that means more pot stickers to eat.

 

Chinese roling pins used for wrappers are thicker in diameter in the centre than at the ends. 'Bevilled?' I find that they make it easier, although thinking about it seems that the bevilling would have the opposite effect. I dunno!

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Yes, I think tapered is probably it :). I tried both a tapered and a straight and settled on the straight one for mine, though the preference wasn't that strong.

 

Tonight's dinner was

 

Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce

suan ni pai huang gua

 

DSC_8060.jpg

 

Buckwheat Noodles with Red-Braised Beef

niu rou qiao mian

 

DSC_8067.jpg

 

The cucumbers quickly became a staple in our house, they are a very quick, easy, delicious side that complement pretty much everything we've eaten them with. The cool crunch is a great foil for a rich noodle dish like this one. I actually made the red-braised beef specifically for this dish, rather than using leftovers here. Although I only made a half batch, it was probably more than a "good ladleful" as the recipe calls for. I actually had about a cup of cooking liquid left from that recipe, so I basically used that as the broth (I did add the chilli oil, though). The celery leaves were a great touch, they added a fantastic herbal/vegetal note to a very rich, earthy broth. The quality of this dish depends very much on the quality of your broth, so don't skimp! Made well this dish is superb.

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The cucumbers quickly became a staple in our house, they are a very quick, easy, delicious side that complement pretty much everything we've eaten them with.

 

After considerable research and foisting them off on everyone I meet, I haven't found anyone who doesn't like smacked cucumbers whether in this version with garlic or the more chili hot version for those who like a bit of fire.

 

My 86 year old mother insisted that cucumbers don't agree with her, but then went on to demolish most of the bowl of the garlicky version you show.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Xie Loban's Dan Dan Noodles

niu rou dan dan mian

 

DSC_8075.jpg

 

 

Radishes in Chilli Oil Sauce

qiang luo bo

 

DSC_8091.jpg

 

The Dan Dan recipe is again a repeat from Land of Plenty (which honestly I find a little annoying: I already own LoP, I wanted new recipes when I bought this!). However, it is one of the best recipes in that book. It was made even better by me actually reading the book this time around, so I knew that the sesame paste called for here is not, in fact, tahini. The sesame paste actually called for has a much stronger flavor, so is far more noticeable in the dish. This time I also used a homemade chilli oil, which had a more manageable heat level than the commercial stuff I used when I was cooking from LoP. 

 

The radishes were good, but there was a lot of chilli oil left in the bottom of the bowl when we were done eating. I think next time I am going to smash the radishes into chunks so that more of the sauce sticks to them.

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General Tso's Chicken

zuo zong tang ji

 

DSC_8093.jpg

 

 

Spinach with Sesame Sauce
ma jiang bo cai

 

DSC_8094.jpg

 

 

I do love deep frying in a wok. It addresses basically all of the things I hate about deep frying on my regular stove: quick heat-up, quick recovery time, the wok contains the splattering for the most part, and the smell stays outside where the wok burner is. So while normally I avoid deep frying things, I make exceptions here. This recipe for General Tso's chicken is good: not mind-blowing, but worth the effort, I think. It's not at all sweet or gloppy (unlike its take-out cousin here in the US), but rather has a clean flavor profile that winds up still tasting like chicken. What a concept!

 

I was less fond of the spinach. Even using less than the total amount of sauce called for in the recipe, I still found the texture and flavor of this intensely sesame-y dish lackluster. I wonder if the sauce could be thinned with something to improve its texture and let the flavor of the spinach through a bit more.

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Tiger Salad

lao hu cai

 

DSC_8115.jpg

 

 

Shanghai Noodles with Dried Shrimp and Spring Onion Oil

kai yang cong you mian

 

DSC_8126.jpg

 

 

Chilli Oil

hong you

 

DSC_8119.jpg

 

 

Tonight's dinner was not what I was planning, since I was unexpectedly out of chilli oil, which is called for in about 80% of the recipes in this book. So the first order of business was to get started on another batch of that. I'm using Korean ground chiles for this, as Dunlop suggests. It smells fantastic, but is supposed to settle overnight before use, which is how I wound up making the Shanghai Noodles, which is one of the few main-dish recipes that doesn't call for the oil. They were really simple and delicious, and will definitely get added to my regular quick-dinner list. The sauce only has a few ingredients (spring onions and dried shrimp gently fried in oil, plus soy sauce added directly to the dish), but they work beautifully.

 

The Tiger Salad was less successful due to the overwhelming amount of cilantro. The recipe calls for "a good handful", which left too much up to interpretation. Next time I'll go with "a bit" I think.

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Thanks for the photo, very interesting. I like cilantro, but only in limited quantities, so for me that style of salad is too much.

 

I had some leftover noodles from tonight's dinner, so as a snack I just had

 

Mrs. Yu's Sweet and Spicy Cold Noodles

yu lao shi liang mian

 

DSC_8133.jpg

 

As you can see, I skipped the optional chicken (since it was a snack). I did include the optional sesame paste, however. These were delicious, and I'm looking forward to trying them both with the chicken as well as without the sesame paste to see how the dish changes. I think it's probably also even better with a thicker noodle than the one I used.

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Sichuanese Wontons in Chilli Oil Sauce

hong you chao shou

 

DSC_8150.jpg

 

DSC_8136.jpg

 

DSC_8142.jpg

 

To kick the night off we had these fantastic wontons. They are made with store-bought wrappers, and my "water caltrop" folding technique leaves something to be desired, but they were delicious nevertheless. I was surprised at how liquidy the filling was before cooking, but after cooking the egg held everything together with no problem and they were very moist. The sauce is chilli oil, "sweet aromatic soy sauce" (the recipe is in the book), and garlic. The chilli oil I made yesterday is excellent, and obviously features prominently in this dish. I thought the cooking technique was a bit strange, but it worked fine, so I guess Dunlop knows what she is talking about :) .

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Baby Bok Choy in Superior Stock

shang tang bai cai miao

 

DSC_8158.jpg

 

 

Stir-Fried Green Pepper with Pork Slivers

qing jiao rou si

 

DSC_8155.jpg

 

 

The bok choy was excellent, and could hardly be simpler to make. You blanch the bok choy, then serve it in a stock. The green pepper was good, but unremarkable. It wasn't until I'd already gone shopping that I read the sidebar about using slightly spicy peppers. I think I'll try it with poblanos later on this summer.

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Zhajiang Noodles

zha jiang mian

 

DSC_8170.jpg

 

I didn't see any reason to make anything else to serve with this, we had it tonight as a stand-alone meal. The sauce is very simple, basically just sweet fermented sauce with a splash of Shaoxing and some ginger. I think the identical dish would be good on rice instead of noodles.

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I hadn't seen it, thanks for the link. I'm definitely on the Sichuan Cuisine bandwagon, Every Grain of Rice is a great cookbook, as were her previous offerings. On that note...

 

Mrs. Yu's Sweet and Spicy Cold Noodles

yu lao shi liang mian

 

DSC_8181 (1).jpg

 

Last time I made this I included the optional sesame paste, and used a commercial chilli oil rather than homemade. This time I left out the sesame paste and used homemade chilli oil in large quantity. I was surprised to discover that I prefer the version with the sesame paste, I think from now on I'll go back to including it. The homemade oil is of course a worthwhile change. This seems to keep OK overnight in the fridge so I'm having it for lunch tomorrow.

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That makes sense given her writeup of the dish. I wonder if it's intentional. Do you find that in general her translations are literal (or are attempting to be literal)? Or does she adapt them to her audience? E.g. at least here in the US a student would refer to their teacher as "Mrs. So and So" rather than "Teacher So and So".

 

 

Classic Dan Dan Noodles

dan dan mian

 

DSC_8211.jpg

 

 

Stir-Fried Greens with Dried Shrimp

bao xin cai chao xia pi

 

DSC_8200.jpg

 

Tonight's dinner highlights what a difference actually following the recipe makes! I've made these dan dan noodles several times in the past, but to serve them I always tossed everything in a wok at the end and gave it a few tosses, then plated from there. The actual recipe instructs you to sort of layer things in the serving platter, sauce on the bottom, noodles in the middle, and meat on top (OK, so I put the ya cai and green onions on top, too). This results in a much brothier dish, since of course heating everything in a hot wok results in significant evaporation, and I think the noodles also absorb more of the sauce. Anyway, the texture is very different. And better her way! I love both the dan dan noodles recipes in this book. They are very different from one another, but are both great dishes.

 

I also served a stir-fried cabbage with dried shrimp. Wow, salty. This is another case where I need to go back and follow the recipe more closely, as it is likely that I didn't actually have 14 ounces of cabbage, and in fact may have had more like half that. The portion sizes were good as a side, but I needed to actually weigh it and reduce the other ingredients to match in this case.

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That makes sense given her writeup of the dish. I wonder if it's intentional. Do you find that in general her translations are literal (or are attempting to be literal)? Or does she adapt them to her audience? E.g. at least here in the US a student would refer to their teacher as "Mrs. So and So" rather than "Teacher So and So".

 

I find she is usually on the ball. Sometimes she translates literally, but not always. But that is normal. Chinese menus are notoriously difficult to translate and sometimes only a reworded description really works. My favourite literal traslation is "Fluttering Fragrant Maternal Grandmother's Bones" as served in my nearest Sichuan restaurant

 

She does have an irritating habit of using a mixture of Mandarin and Chengdu dialect without always saying which is which.

 

And she does use traditional Chinese characters (which are not used in Sichuan), presumably because trad characters are more used among the Chinese diaspora and are what is likely to be found in Chinese restaurants and Chinese stores n the USA or UK.

.

 

You could very well be correct about the techer thing, though why she opts for Mrs rather than Mr. is anyone's guess. Is it certain Yu was female and married? I don't have the book to hand. I'm not at home. By the way, in the UK all women teachers are "MIss", irrespective of their marital status. In China the term "Teacher X" is always used.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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