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Chinese Eats at Home (Part 1)


Dejah
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[...]  Sorry to ask a dumb question but what does "bah kut teh" mean?

I think (not sure) it is the Hokkien pronounciation of 肉骨茶 (ròu gu chá [Mandarin]).

I hope you drink the soup, aznsailorboi. :biggrin:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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aznsailorboi - it looks yummy and it looks like it's a vegetarian dish, which would be great for my dad. Sorry to ask a dumb question but what does "bah kut teh" mean?

not a dumb question at all XiaoLing, the only dumb question is the one that one don't ask at all and wouldnt know the answer to. :smile:

Bah kut teh is in hokkien, in pu tong hua its "Rou4 Ku3 Tsa1"(intonation??) its a chinese herbal soup, they have the ready made herbal pouches in the asian groceries, saves a trip to the chinese herbalist. the herbs get simmered with pork or chicken for a few hours. basically extracting the essences from the bones for flavor. usually when using pork, the ribs part get used, sometimes the trotters and hocks get used as well yeilding a more thicker gelatious "tsa"/soup. when using chicken my mom buys the black chicken or a mature laying hen(takes longer for the meat to get tender, hence more time in the pot to simmer, yielding a better flavored soup). in addition to the herb pouch and the protein source, depending on the "family recipe" certain "family secret ingredients" gets added. the recipe I use have dried scallops, a head of garlic peeled and smashed, a block of pein tong, and salt which I add the very last before serving. actually there is a thread dedicated to bah kut teh. its under anywhere in asia i think or just do the search here in e gullet and it should pop up. oh one word of caution this soup is highly potent so be careful serving it to someone who's got hypertension and such, this food is a little bit on the yang side.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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I hope you drink the soup, aznsailorboi.

hahaha ah leung, I did drink it, I wouldnt want all the Aunties and Uncles here in the room upset and be on my case about it like I remember...ahem LOL. jk OH AND I HID ALL THE BROOMS just in case. LOL :laugh:

was gonna make Ma Lai Gow, thought I got everything to make it, but I dont have baking powder :hmmm: . sigh....guess it'll have to wait till tomorrow. I was actually thinking about Ma Lai Gow as a base for regular cake, say like a buttercreme icing cake... this cake would definitely be moist, not sure about the density but only one way to find out is to make it . I'm using Auntie Sue-on's recipe, since it has the seal of approval from her own aunts guaranteeing its HO SICK LAH! :biggrin:

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Thank you aznsailorboi and hrzt8w. I guess this isn't a good soup to make for my parents after all. :hmmm: But it sounds like a winner for my dinner table! :laugh: I will add that herbal pouch to my list of groceries to get this weekend!

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I was actually thinking about Ma Lai Gow as a base for regular cake, say like a buttercreme icing cake... this cake would definitely be moist, not sure about the density but only one way to find out is to make it .

Wow, that sounds rich! Normally I would just sprinkle powdered sugar on it, but...now that I think about it, it's about as dense as a carrot cake, so maybe something like a cream cheese frosting might work?

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Beautiful dish, sheetz! Ma Po Tofu is one of my favorite comfort foods, but I've yet to try to make it myself. What brand of Sichuanese chili bean paste did you use? Is there one that you prefer over others? Would you use less than a half-cup of peanut oil next time? After all this talk of Dunlop in this thread and others, I really feel compelled to try her authentic recipes.

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Wow, that sounds rich! Normally I would just sprinkle powdered sugar on it, but...now that I think about it, it's about as dense as a carrot cake, so maybe something like a cream cheese frosting might work?

ohh ahehe well on second thought i might just stick with powdered sugar sprinkled on top and match it with jasmine tea from my Yixing pot. :wink: but still that won't come till tomorrow since i dont have that darned baking powder.....i really thought i had a brand new one, actually 2 brand new ones and an opened third one. one advise...don't live with your ex who share the same passion, something things just disappear out of the blues. in my case its the baking powder, electric mixer attachments, and my favorite christmas cookie cutters!!!!!! i was left with only one cookie cutter, the pathetic christmas tree one...blah. ok im done venting HAPPY THOUGHTS!!! :biggrin:

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Beautiful dish, sheetz! Ma Po Tofu is one of my favorite comfort foods, but I've yet to try to make it myself. What brand of Sichuanese chili bean paste did you use? Is there one that you prefer over others? Would you use less than a half-cup of peanut oil next time? After all this talk of Dunlop in this thread and others, I really feel compelled to try her authentic recipes.

I'm definitely not one to ask about particular brands of Sichuanese foods as I'm not Sichuanese myself and I don't live in a big city, so I buy whatever I can get my hands on. That said, the chili bean paste I use is made by the Har Har Pickle Food Factory in Taiwan. I think it's the only brand that my little local Chinese grocery carries. The jar looks just like the 3rd one down on this page with the blue label, except that it reads "Hot Bean Sauce" instead of "Chili Sauce."

http://market.treasureshidden.com/index.ph...sort=20a&page=6

ETA: This is the hot bean sauce I use.

http://www.curiouskumquat.com/product_info...085c3c9442a94bb

As for the amount of oil, yes I personally would use less next time, but I wanted to make it very authentic the first time around. I have made other Sichuan recipes before that used lots of oil, so I wasn't totally shocked, but if you're not too familiar with the cuisine you might think the half cup is a misprint. As I was adding the cornstarch thickener at the end it was hard to tell the consistency of the sauce because it was being obscured by a huge pool of red chili oil!

some things just disappear out of the blues. in my case its the baking powder, electric mixer attachments, and my favorite christmas cookie cutters

Sounds like you're another baker, too. Do you do Asian baked goods too or just mostly Western style stuff? I've found it tough trying to make Chinese style breads and pastries because there are so few good cookbooks for these items, and they are different enough from Western style baked items that you can't really use the same techniques or ingredients.

Edited by sheetz (log)
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I could have sworn that it was pork in the ma po tofu when I had it in Sichuan. 

Hmm...I did some wiki research and found this history on Ma Po Tofu, pretty interesting read.  The site states that it is usually made of pork.

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

Well, there's only one way to find out  :hmmm: ...let's all take a trip to Sichuan to find out ourselves! Who's in?    :laugh:

I ate this a few months ago at Chen Ma Po Tofu in Chengdu and I'm pretty sure they told me it was pork! Then again, my Mandarin is pretty bad so they might've meant ME. :wink:

The chilli bean sauce I like the best is this Pixian one as it has whole broad beans and a really balanced taste (ie. not just hot); thought I was being all clever smuggling two pots of the stuff back from Sichuan, only to find the exact same brand widely available in my local supermarket.. :hmmm:

gallery_50383_3988_8899.jpg

gallery_50383_3988_31416.jpg

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Sounds like you're another baker, too. Do you do Asian baked goods too or just mostly Western style stuff? I've found it tough trying to make Chinese style breads and pastries because there are so few good cookbooks for these items, and they are different enough from Western style baked items that you can't really use the same techniques or ingredients.

sheetz I do bake as well, but not as much as I used to, and its mostly cakes and pastries, because I was doing it on the side for extra cash. I will probably go back to it once I get out of the service in July, more time on my hands. but about the asian style baking, i've only done a few, like hopia, its a flaky round pastry with assorted fillings like, sweet red bean filling, preserved pineapple, purple yam filling, candied wintermelon preserves, etc. curry turnovers, char siu buns (steamed and baked), ku chay ah( chinese chives turnovers looks like empanadas but the crust is made of oil and water dough), etc. so tonight will be ma lai gow night (as oppose to pizza night LOL). im making the brown sugar kind.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Thanks for the recommendation, rarerollingobject.

I will definitely add that brand to my grocery list. I am always looking for a good sauce. I have like 50 bottles of stuff in my fridge and pantry.

The brand that I am currently using isn't all that bad:

gallery_48325_4009_23136.jpeg

However, the ultimate and my absolute favorite chili sauce is Lao Gan Ma. I love this stuff! It's so addicting and I put it on everything. I have over 5 different varieties of this chili sauce. My favorite ones actually have pieces of chicken and beef in it!

gallery_48325_4009_12230.jpeg

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C. sapidus: Lao Gan Ma would not be a good substitute for Do Ban Jiang. It's more of a chili oil sauce. The sauce is very fragrant and tasty with lots of delicious tiny morsels in it. There are types that has peanuts, beef slivers, and chunks of chicken with the bone on in the actual sauce. (Be careful with the rao-shi (meat slivers) type because that one is loaded with sichuan peppercorns.)

A typical way that I use them is in sesame noodles. I would add the sauce to add heat to the noodles. I introduced this sauce to my Philipino girl friend and she loves to use the sauce in her chicken noodle soups. She would boil chicken stock and add Lao Gan Ma and some sesame oil along with veggies, chicken and noodles.

Or

Another way to use it is to stirfry vegetables with it. I prefer chinese eggplant with garlic. The sequence should go something like this:

1) heat oil

2) add cut up eggplant and stir fry until it soaks up the oil and is beginning to cook

3) add garlic (if you add before the eggplant it will burn)

4) stir fry eggplant until completely soft and cooked to the desired softness

5) add thin soy sauce to taste; stir

6) add pepper; stir

7) add Lao Gan Ma to your taste (I usually add a table spoon or more because I'm a spice nut.); stir

8) add scallions; stir

turn off heat and serve immediately.

Edited by XiaoLing (log)
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XiaoLing: Thank you for the information on Lao Gan Ma – could it be used as a more-flavorful substitute for chili oil (hong you)? Would Lo Gan Ma be used only on vegetable dishes, or is it also used on meat dishes?

Thanks also for eggplant stir-fry example. It sounds delicious, but the rest of the family has an odd antipathy towards soft eggplant. That’s all right – I can make it for my lunch on the weekend. :biggrin:

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XiaoLing: Thank you for the information on Lao Gan Ma – could it be used as a more-flavorful substitute for chili oil (hong you)? Would Lo Gan Ma be used only on vegetable dishes, or is it also used on meat dishes?

Lao Gan Ma chili sauce has a lot of ingredients inside and not much oil. I don't think it would be a good substitute for chili oil (not enough oil to go around).

It is one of my favorite too. I would say #2 because my #1 most favorite is still Yank Sing chili sauce. I use it mostly as a condiment. In cooking, sometimes. In red braise, hot pot kind of dishes and not vegetable dishes. But then again, I am only a Cantonese not Sichuanese. :laugh:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Isn't nu lan more what gets called the "outer flank" by old fashioned east coast butchers, and not actually brisket? I see it in the butcher case at my local asian grocery, but it's not a cut I ever see at an occidental grocery here on the west coast.

On beef vs. pork in ma po, I have some Sichuan colleagues who say it was originally made with beef. I tend to take what they say with a grain of salt, since none of them actually are cooks (just eaters) but since Ms. Dunlop seems to back up this assertion, I believed them on this one. Anyway, it's a delicious dish in all its permutations. We're making it tonight, and the S'porean in the house has voted for the Cantonese version he grew up eating. We're making it with ground pork!

regards,

trillium

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XiaoLing: Thank you for the information on Lao Gan Ma – could it be used as a more-flavorful substitute for chili oil (hong you)? Would Lo Gan Ma be used only on vegetable dishes, or is it also used on meat dishes?

Thanks also for eggplant stir-fry example. It sounds delicious, but the rest of the family has an odd antipathy towards soft eggplant. That’s all right – I can make it for my lunch on the weekend. :biggrin:

You're very welcome.

I don't think Lao Gan Ma is a good substitute for chili oil. Like hrzt8w said, it has tons of spices in it and not much oil. You can definitely use it in meat dishes. For instance, when I make braised ribs, I would also add a tablespoon or two of that stuff. Or even if you stir fry some five-spiced tofu with peppers and celery and chicken you can add some to spice it up. It's pretty versitile....well...atleast I think so... :raz:

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Isn't nu lan more what gets called the "outer flank" by old fashioned east coast butchers, and not actually brisket?  I see it in the butcher case at my local asian grocery, but it's not a cut I ever see at an occidental grocery here on the west coast.

On beef vs. pork in ma po, I have some Sichuan colleagues who say it was originally made with beef.  I tend to take what they say with a grain of salt, since none of them actually are cooks (just eaters) but since Ms. Dunlop seems to back up this assertion, I believed them on this one.  Anyway, it's a delicious dish in all its permutations.  We're making it tonight, and the S'porean in the house has voted for the Cantonese version he grew up eating.  We're making it with ground pork!

regards,

trillium

I think you're right trillium. A brisket would actually be all meat and none of the yummy chewy stuff we like to eat. The "nu lan" I buy usually has a piece of thin flank steak in the middle of all the fat and tendons.

However, that cut of meat is very difficult to find in American markets. If you really can't find any, I think a brisket is fine as long as you get a fatty one with lots of marbling. And if you can find them, add some beef tendons into the stew.

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Aiyeeah! Away for two days and I've missed so many posts!

I've been to the big city of Winnipeg and came home loaded...as in groceries.

Planning to have some cheung fun with dried shrimp, yu choi mue, char siu for a quick supper.

Ben Sook: We a friend and I went to Kum Koon for dim sum today. It was excellent as usual. We had gook fah cha with our dim sum. Waddled out. :wink:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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XiaoLing: Thank you for the information on Lao Gan Ma – could it be used as a more-flavorful substitute for chili oil (hong you)? Would Lo Gan Ma be used only on vegetable dishes, or is it also used on meat dishes?

Thanks also for eggplant stir-fry example. It sounds delicious, but the rest of the family has an odd antipathy towards soft eggplant. That’s all right – I can make it for my lunch on the weekend. :biggrin:

You're very welcome.

I don't think Lao Gan Ma is a good substitute for chili oil. Like hrzt8w said, it has tons of spices in it and not much oil. You can definitely use it in meat dishes. For instance, when I make braised ribs, I would also add a tablespoon or two of that stuff. Or even if you stir fry some five-spiced tofu with peppers and celery and chicken you can add some to spice it up. It's pretty versitile....well...atleast I think so... :raz:

I love this stuff! I didn't know you could get it with beef slivers, I'm going to look for that - thanks, XiaoLing!

Actually you can turn some into Lao Gan Ma chilli oil by scooping out a couple spoons into an empty jar, pouring peanut oil over it to cover and shaking it up. The flavour deepens over a couple days and really permeates the oil. Best of both worlds!

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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Thanks for the tip rarerollingobject! It's a great tip for my Lao Gan Ma's that are almost empty. Hehehehe...I'll just add some more oil and ta-da! more Lao Gan Ma!! :laugh: I love this "Old Woman sauce"!! (I told my non-asian friends what Lao Gan Ma means and now they call it Old Woman Sauce.) :hmmm:

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Simple but satisfying dinner tonight of sauteed tender pea shoots and sauteed eggs.

Here are the pics:

gallery_48325_4009_207918.jpg

Fresh tender pea shoots sauteed classic Sichuan, Wuhan and Hunan style with garlic, ginger and chiles. It's simple but sooo yummy.

gallery_48325_4009_408034.jpg

A family favorite. Eggs with chinese sausage and onions. Goes great with white rice.

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    • By liuzhou
      It sometimes seems likes every town in China has its own special take on noodles. Here in Liuzhou, Guangxi the local dish is Luosifen (螺蛳粉 luó sī fěn).
       
      It is a dish of rice noodles served in a very spicy stock made from the local river snails and pig bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassia bark, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. Various pickled vegetables, dried tofu skin, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and loads of chilli are then usually added. Few restaurants ever reveal their precise recipe, so this is tentative. Luosifen is only really eaten in small restaurants and roadside stalls. I've never heard of anyone making it at home.
       
      In order to promote tourism to the city, the local government organised a food festival featuring an event named "10,000 people eat luosifen together." (In Chinese 10,000 often just means "many".)
       
      10,000 people (or a lot of people anyway) gathered at Liuzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the grand Liuzhou luosifen eat-in. Well, they gathered in front of the centre – the actual centre is a bleak, unfinished, deserted shell of a building. I disguised myself as a noodle and joined them. 10,001.
       

       
      The vast majority of the 10,000 were students from the local colleges who patiently and happily lined up to be seated. Hey, mix students and free food – of course they are happy.
       

       
      Each table was equipped with a basket containing bottled water, a thermos flask of hot water, paper bowls, tissues etc. And most importantly, a bunch of Luosifen caps. These read “万人同品螺蛳粉” which means “10,000 people together enjoy luosifen”
       

       
      Yep, that is the soup pot! 15 meters in diameter and holding eleven tons of stock. Full of snails and pork bones, spices etc. Chefs delicately added ingredients to achieve the precise, subtle taste required.
       

       
      Noodles were distributed, soup added and dried ingredients incorporated then there was the sound of 10,000 people slurping.
       

      Surrounding the luosifen eating area were several stalls selling different goodies. Lamb kebabs (羊肉串) seemed most popular, but there was all sorts of food. Here are few of the delights on offer.
       

      Whole roast lamb or roast chicken
       

      Lamb Kebabs
       

      Kebab spice mix – Cumin, chilli powder, salt and MSG
       

      Kebab stall
       

      Crab
       

      Different crab
       

      Sweet sticky rice balls
       

      Things on sticks
       

      Grilled scorpions
       

      Pig bones and bits
       

      Snails
       
      And much more.
       
      To be honest, it wasn’t the best luosifen I’ve ever eaten, but it was wasn’t the worst. Especially when you consider the number they were catering for. But it was a lot of fun. Which was the point.
       
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