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Chinese Eats at Home (Part 1)


Dejah
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Thanks for the comments! I actually learned most of my chinese cooking from my grandmother, but of course she didn't have real recipes. The eGullet forums have been great for getting more specific direction.

Dejah, I don't bother blanching the bitter melon. I like the bitterness, but I cook it for a few minutes with the cover on the pan so it's not so crunchy. I got the pork belly in Chinatown for ~$2.00/pound. It's usually pretty inexpensive there, but I don't make it too often since it's SO fatty.

We've got plans to make mapo tofu later this week since we found some real sichuan peppercorns last weekend. I've never tried this so we'll see how it goes!

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Sorry. Should have explained.

'Killer' as it's so spicy! Also my first name starts with a /k/. So it became "/k/***'s Killer Krab"!

I buy my crabs here in China from my crab girl in the market. They are blue crabs.

news_bluecrab_basket.jpg

They are live when I select them, but crab girl rapidly cuts them up (without benefit of anaesthetic) and I take them home.

Generally, I reckon on two to three per person.

Let's say for a dish for four people. I chop garlic very finely. About 4-6 cloves. An equivalent amount of ginger also finely chopped.

Then comes the Killer Category. I would use 6 or so small Thai chillies, again chopped very finely. It depends on who is coming to dinner. Known chilli lovers get more!

Open all windows.

Heat wok, fry garlic/ginger/chilli mix. Cough and splutter as the chilli hits your lungs. Concentrate and throw in the raw crab. Stir like mad.

Add about a tablespoon of soy sauce and 2 tablespons of oyster sauce. Keep stirring. Add a smidgeon of water if it looks like drying out.

(Actually in the photograph, I overdid the water, but soon boilled it off.

When the crab turns pink and the meat turns white (maybe 5 minutes), throw in some chopped spring onion /scallion.

Eat.

Note:Salt not required.

(I knew my Chinese mother-in-law had finally accepted me one Spring Festival dinner when she called me into the kitchen and said "Please. You cook the crab. You do it better than me." Greatest honour of my life.)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Heat wok, fry garlic/ginger/chilli mix. Cough and splutter as the chilli hits your lungs.

[...]

(I knew my Chinese mother-in-law had finally accepted me one Spring Festival dinner when she called me into the kitchen and said "Please. You cook the crab. You do it better than me." Greatest honour of my life.)

You should have explained indeed; I enjoyed your run-down of the process to cooking "/k/***'s Killer Krab"! . :biggrin: Yep. Frying a garlic/ginger/chilli mix is hilarious!

What? You are not chinese? I assumed you were all along.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Thought Genghiz Khan would like some royal company....made Beijing Emperor Chicken, the easiest thing to do. Just rub a powdered herbal mix all over the chicken and steam wrapped for 2-3 hours depending on the size of the chicken. I'm afraid my nekkid chicken isn't a pretty sight. The girls only eat chicken skin deep-fried. So I usually strip the chicken of skin and fats for steaming.

emperorchicken.jpg

This morning, I dropped in at the wet market which was in front of the post office I went to. I was delighted to find 2 items not always available...water chestnut and fat broccoli stems.

2vegbroccoli.jpg

Quick stir-fry of the above plus carrots, onions and gingko nuts.

brocstemwchestn.jpg

Edited by Tepee (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Heat wok, fry garlic/ginger/chilli mix. Cough and splutter as the chilli hits your lungs. [...]

(I knew my Chinese mother-in-law had finally accepted me one Spring Festival dinner when she called me into the kitchen and said "Please. You cook the crab. You do it better than me." Greatest honour of my life.)

You should have explained indeed; I enjoyed your run-down of the process to cooking "/k/***'s Killer Krab"! . :biggrin: Yep. Frying a garlic/ginger/chilli mix is hilarious!What? You are not chinese? I assumed you were all along.

Aiyeeah! Forget about it, Liuzhou. You can't be anything other than Chinese! You've morphed. :laugh:

Wonderful looking crabs. Way too early for me to be drooling.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Yau ja guay = deep fried devil. Legend has it that it was a private insult to the Manchu Dynasty used by some would be insurgents.
Back to school for you Ben sook!

The "yau zaa gwai" (youtiao) represent the minister Chen Kwui (Qin Hui) and his wife. They were the ones responsible for orchestrating the death Southern Song dynasty general Ngok Fei (Yue Fei).

I also like the story of how there are statues of the 2 kneeling in front of Ngok Fei's tomb. Passers-by are encourage to spit on them.

There is a theory that "yau zaa gwai" is a corruption of "yau zaa kwui", since people would not openly insult a minister of the imperial court.

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

http://www.answers.com/topic/youtiao

I would translate them as fried doughstick.

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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Back to school for you Ben sook!

The "yau zaa gwai" (youtiao) represent the minister Chen Kwui (Qin Hui) and his wife. They were the ones responsible for orchestrating the death Southern Song dynasty general Ngok Fei (Yue Fei).

I also like the story of how there are statues of the 2 kneeling in front of Ngok Fei's tomb. Passers-by are encourage to spit on them.

Ahh, I like your story better. I heard my version of the story from the storytelling of my elders, who may or may not have great abilities of recall. I know that at their age, my memory is like Swiss cheese these days. You have Wikepedia.

Edited by Ben Hong (log)
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Ahh, I like your story better. I heard my version of the story from the storytelling of my elders, who may or may not have great abilities of recall. I know that at their age, my memory is like Swiss cheese these days. You have Wikepedia.
I also had Saturday Chinese school for about 16 years before Wikipedia. :wink:

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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Here are Qin Hui and his wife in Hangzhou.

gallery_36558_2964_95886.jpg

The Wikipedia article is nice:

The Cantonese name yau ja gwai and Hokkien name u char kway literally mean oil-fried ghost and, according to tradition, is an act of protest against Song Dynasty official Qin Hui (秦檜, Cantonese: Chun Kui), who is said to have orchestrated the plot to frame the general Yue Fei (岳飛), an icon of patriotism in Chinese culture. It is said that the food represents Qin Hui and his wife, both having a hand in collaborating with the enemy to bring about the great general's demise. Thus the youtiao is deep fried and eaten as if done to the traitorous couple. In keeping with the legend, youtiao are often made as two foot-long rolls of dough joined along the middle, with one roll representing the husband and the other the wife.

The word yau ja gwai is believed to be a corruption of yau ja Kui (油炸檜, Mandarin pronunciation: yóuzhá Huì; lit. oil-fried Qin Hui), possibly because the population were afraid to openly declare their contempt towards the corrupt official; nevertheless, the food became a tool in expressing contempt.

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Thanks, guys, for this most interesting bit of history. Never knew I was tearing into a traitorous couple when I eat yau char kwai. And, if that is not vicious enough, I sometimes dunk them into black coffee with great satisfaction.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Thought Genghiz Khan would like some royal company....made Beijing Emperor Chicken, the easiest thing to do. Just rub a powdered herbal mix all over the chicken and steam wrapped for 2-3 hours depending on the size of the chicken. I'm afraid my nekkid chicken isn't a pretty sight. The girls only eat chicken skin deep-fried. So I usually strip the chicken of skin and fats for steaming.

Tepee: most excellent! If you cook this chicken for Gengis Khan, he would have stayed in China to eat more instead of invading Eastern Europe. Millions of people would have thanked you! :laugh:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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That's most excellent too peony! Have you guys (sheetz) tried glazing the top of the egg tarts and caramelize it with a torch like they do in some of the Portuguese chefs? But maybe Chinese egg tarts do not have enough sugar to do that???

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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No...No...It's Chinese Eats at Home, and dan tats definitely fit here!

Does it have to be things we cook? Can it be things we bought and ate at home?

How about things we ate while we are AWAY from home? :huh: Haven't been home for a week... almost.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Have you guys (sheetz) tried glazing the top of the egg tarts and caramelize it with a torch like they do in some of the Portuguese chefs?  But maybe Chinese egg tarts do not have enough sugar to do that???

Portuguese tarts are baked at a higher temperature than the Chinese ones so that's why they are browned on the top. I don't think they use a torch on them unless you're thinking of some kind of creme brulee version that I've never heard of.

Peony, those tarts look beautiful. What's your recipe for the filling?

With all the discussion about yau zha guay I looked into some other recipes for them and I came across this recipe that combines all the techniques I've mentioned. I've tried it once and it seems like a good compromise between the different methods and doesn't take too long to prepare. I think I made them in under an hour and a half from start to finish.

Edited by sheetz (log)
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[...]yau char kwai. [...]I sometimes dunk them into black coffee with great satisfaction.

That's what I heard as a common practice in Malaysia. I myself may not be used to it: with savory food on one hand and a sweet drink on another.

Cantonese do that in the congee (my comfort factor). Beijing Chinese do dip the yau tieu in plain soy milk. I tried that when I was in BJ. It tastes good too.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Portuguese tarts are baked at a higher temperature than the Chinese ones so that's why they are browned on the top. I don't think they use a torch on them unless you're thinking of some kind of creme brulee version that I've never heard of.

That must be it. I was confused between watching different TV food programs. I cannot bake to save my life and am confused between the two.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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thanks people for your kind comments about the tarts...

but credits are not all my...my relatives help too...

Dejah and Sheetz..the tart recipe is from Amy beh..

here's the link :egg tarts

but I leave out the salt n vinegar in the filling, instead use lemon juice.

peony

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Here's my mapo tofu attempt. Thanks hzrt8w for the great pictorial.

gallery_45959_3064_617.jpg

I didn't have any ground pork so this was just tofu, and I used a combination of chili bean sauce, black bean garlic sauce and chili garlic sauce. I also got some whole sichuan peppercorns, toasted them in a pan then ground them. My one problem is that there was a somewhat bitter aftertaste (maybe from the peppercorns?). Has anyone else encountered this?

For greens, we sauteed amaranth shoots with garlic:

gallery_45959_3064_67131.jpg

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Hi all

First time poster here but loooong time lurker! :biggrin: I'm an Australian living in Sydney, but born in HK and raised between HK, China, Singapore and Japan...with Filipina, Shanghainese and Cantonese nannies so my cooking repertoire is..shall we say..Pan-Asian.

I speak "yum cha Cantonese" (ie..I get by) and fluentish Japanese and since I'm not Asian, my friends think it's bizarre that I cook complicated Chinese dishes but go blank wondering how to cook a potato and have a real distaste for bread..

Nice to meet you all. :smile:

Anyway, this is a FANTASTIC thread and my first contribution is twice-cooked pork belly. Often make it with garlic shoots but sometimes loooove the sweet slippery squelchiness of a well-cooked green onion:

gallery_50383_3988_50286.jpg

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