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Chinese Eats at Home (Part 2)


peony
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Dejah: Beautiful bao!

Sheetz: I would love to see your curry turnovers.

I smoked up the house seasoning a new 16-inch cast iron wok. The seasoning isn’t finished, but I used the new wok to stir-fry baby bok choy and broccolini while Fuchsia Dunlop’s tangerine beef simmered away in the old wok. Friends showed up for dinner, so Mrs. C made cheeseburgers, rice, and sweet potato fries.

The tangerine beef was delicious, and the “generous handful” of dried chiles ensured that Mrs. C and I shared the dish without competition. :wink: Although too involved for a weeknight meal, tangerine beef will make an excellent spicy appetizer for dinner parties.

I still feel strange taking dinner pictures when we have guests, but I will try to get a decent shot of the few morsels that were left over.

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Bruce: Re-tangerine beef: How can you make
but I will try to get a decent shot of the few morsels that were left over.
to look so good! :wub:

Dejah: Thank you! Credit to Ms. Dunlop on the recipe, of course. I have yet to be disappointed by anything from Land of Plenty. After seeing XiaoLing's incredible CNY spread, I need to get Ms. Dunlop's Hunan cookbook, too.

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Wonderfully delicious bao Dejah!

Do you make your own dough?

My mom would sometimes cheat and use store bought biscuit dough instead of making her own from scratch. It's surprisingly good and tasty. Until you realize how many calories you're eating and of course you can't eat just one or two.

Edited by XiaoLing (log)
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Wonderfully delicious bao Dejah!

Do you make your own dough?

My mom would sometimes cheat and use store bought biscuit dough instead of making her own from scratch.  It's surprisingly good and tasty.  Until you realize how many calories you're eating and of course you can't eat just one or two.

Thanks, XiaoLing. :biggrin:

I do sometimes make my own dough, and they seem to be the best when I use cake flour instead of all purpose.

This time, for convience sake, I used a pre-mix bao flour. I always worry when the baking powder is not mixed in throughly, and I can taste the bitterness. Makes my tongue curl. :wacko:

My trusty old cast iron tortilla makes perfect circles, and cupcake liners are more convenient than cutting squares of wax/parchment paper.

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I do sometimes make my own dough, and they seem to be the best when I use cake flour instead of all purpose.

I like to use a blend of cake flour and AP. Or, for those who have access to it, a Southern style all purpose flour like White Lily or Martha White works fantastic.

<sigh>My tiny Chinese grocer doesn't carry the bao mixes, so that's not even an option for me.

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I am attempting to make pork belly again tonight. Heaven help me.

I was inspired by Grace Young's recipe for Hung Shao Rou in the latest issue of Sauver magazine. I love this dish, even though I really don't have any clue about it. I see it all the time at the "rice box" places here in NYC and in Maryland. What's not to like? Fatty pork in a slightly sweet and salt sauce. YUM!

So last night I followed the recipe as best as I could considering I only had about 5 oz of pork belly. I sliced the belly into 1/4" x 1/2" slices and then:

-Placed the slices into a pot of light salted water

-Brought it to a boil, kept it at a boil for two minutes

-Drained it and set it aside

Then I stir fried some ginger coins in oil for a minute with a scallion, added the pork, then some rice wine, then mushroom soy sauce and then added about a cup or so of water along with 3 pieces of bing tong. I simmered this for two hours and then I let it cool overnight. It's chilling in the fridge as we speak. Tonight I'll skim the fat and then continue cooking it by simmering the pork on the stove for another two hours or so and hope that it tastes somewhat normal. I'll let you know what the verdict is.

I might add peeled and almost cooked potatoes towards the end. I don't want to add raw potatoes as I'd have to add more liquid and I don't want to use fully cooked potatoes b/c I'm afraid they might not absorb the flavor and they might fall apart and get mushy.

Edited by Gastro888 (log)
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I am attempting to make pork belly again tonight.  Heaven help me. 

So last night I followed the recipe as best as I could considering I only had about 5 oz of pork belly.  I sliced the belly into 1/4" x 1/2" slices and then:

I simmered this for two hours and then I let it cool overnight.  It's chilling in the fridge as we speak.  Tonight I'll skim the fat and then continue cooking it by simmering the pork on the stove for another two hours or so and hope that it tastes somewhat normal. 

Wow! Gastro Mui. That's 4 hours of simmering for 1/4" x 1/2" slices. I'd be interested to know if the meat end up as slices.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Here you go, Dejah: spicy beef slices with tangerine peel (chen pi niu rou). I can't wait to see your feast tomorrow.

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Wow, that looks great! My cousin and I have been sporadically doing an Orange Flavor Beef quest in New York restaurants and all have been disappointing so far -- too much breading, not enough chan pei, not enough hot pepper, etc. I wish they made it more like that. :sad:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Wow, that looks great! My cousin and I have been sporadically doing an Orange Flavor Beef quest in New York restaurants and all have been disappointing so far -- too much breading, not enough chan pei, not enough hot pepper, etc. I wish they made it more like that. :sad:

Michael: Thank you! This version had no breading, and I prefer it that way. Next time I'll use more tangerine peel and get the oil a bit hotter before deep frying. It definitely had plenty of hot pepper, though. :smile:

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Pork belly is my waterloo.

I made the pork belly. Nope, I didn't take pictures. It didn't look "right" to me. I tasted it and the fat was fine. However, the meat part of the belly was kinda squeaky in my teeth, if that makes any sense. It didn't have any of that melt in your mouth goodness that I think it should've had. I was told that it tasted fine and like what mom makes but me personally I wasn't blown away.

Any tips on how to cook this? My mom never made Hung Shao Rou so I've no clue.

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Tonight we had red-braised chicken, stir-fried mushrooms, stir-fried snap peas with garlic, and jasmine rice. For the red-braised chicken, I started with XiaoLing’s description from Introduction to the Culinary Delights of Wuhan (click). I added chile bean paste, star anise, and five-spice powder, and substituted palm sugar for sugar and chicken stock for water.

Abso.Lutely.Dee.Licious. Everyone in the family loved it. I don’t usually improvise dinner, so I was quite tickled that the chicken worked out so nicely. Thank you, XiaoLing!

gallery_42956_2536_52094.jpg

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Tonight we had red-braised chicken, stir-fried mushrooms, stir-fried snap peas with garlic, and jasmine rice. For the red-braised chicken, I started with XiaoLing’s description from Introduction to the Culinary Delights of Wuhan (click). I added chile bean paste, star anise, and five-spice powder, and substituted palm sugar for sugar and chicken stock for water.

Looks and sounds like you "kicked it up another notch!" :laugh::laugh:

Went out to our "farm house" for the afternoon, so supper was a throw together of leftover fresh chicken stir-fried with lots of Spanish onion, chopped up chilis and curry powder. Vegetable was steamed gailan finished with a drizzle of sesame oil. No rice as I had high fibre WASA biscuits with cheese for a snack.

I need time to process my Sunday dinner pictures.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Very well done C. sapidus!! Looks great! :smile:

Great additions to the recipe. My family actually does add chili bean paste and 5 spiced powder (I'm not a big fan of 5 spiced powder so I always forget about that spice in braised dishes) to the recipe sometimes but we never put star anise. I must try that next time! Sounds yummy!

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I’m not sure if I should post this here but since a Chinese person made them, I might as well. :biggrin:

I was in the mood for some curry so… :hmmm:

What do you get when you combine fried chicken and curry sauce? :unsure:

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Chicken Katsu Curry!! :wub:

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The curry sauce came out a bit thinner than I usually make it but it’s still very good and satisfying. :smile:

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Finally, time to sit down, process and post some pictures from our Sunday dinner:

The "mess in my place": :wink:

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Clockwise from high noon: chicken, vegetable medly and special BBQ sauce for hot plate, pickerel with dow see, ginger and green onions for the steamer, appetizer platter with baked curry chicken in puff pastry, shrimp chips and spring rolls ready for deepfrying, steamed gai lan.

Spring rolls, curry chicken, and papaya:

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I could never make the same dipping sauce as Vietnamese restaurants, so I just threw together some fish sauce, seasoned sushi vinegar :shock: , chopped mint and ground white pepper. It was surprisingly good.

Just like doing perfect french fries, this is the "first fry" for the ginger beef:

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The ginger beef after the "second fry" and tossed with the spicy ginger sauce. I deep-fried some fine threads of gingerr and toss them on top.

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The leftover scallops. I was a bit late with the trigger finger.

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These Sechuan salt and pepper shrimps were great! I'm trying to remember who posted the recipe for them. :unsure: They were tossed with rice flour and 5-spice powder. Texture was wonderful - like glass shrimp. I don't care for Sechuan peppercorns, so I just used 4-peppercorn spice and roasted sea salt on top.

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And finally, chicken hot plate with BBQ sauce. When I poured the sauce on top, there was a huge column of smoke - delicious smelling smoke!

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On the lower portion, you can catch a glimpse of the hot'n'sour soup. The round white dish at the top was the pickerel that I didn't get a picture of.

We had Tsingtao beer, Pinot Grigio, and a Placido Chianti throughout the dinner and evening.

Dessert was mango pudding.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Looks and sounds like you "kicked it up another notch!" :laugh:  :laugh:

Dejah: Thanks! (Bam?) But man, looking at your Sunday dinner, I have so much to learn. I love how you mixed complementary and contrasting flavors and textures and cooking methods – papaya with crispy spring rolls and curry puffs, salt and pepper shrimp with shrimp chips, steamed dishes with soups and stir-fries, and oh, that beef with ginger tendrils!

Great additions to the recipe.  My family actually does add chili bean paste and 5 spiced powder (I'm not a big fan of 5 spiced powder so I always forget about that spice in braised dishes) to the recipe sometimes but we never put star anise.  I must try that next time!  Sounds yummy!

XiaoLing: My family and I thank you for taking the time to describe your family’s red braises. I hope you like the star anise as an addition. You can always leave it in for a short time if you don't want the sauce to be too star-anise-y. I have been on a star anise kick lately, so I used two. :smile:

Fried chicken and curry sounds like fun, and your picture is beautiful.

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Did I hear curry?

As promised, my curry turnovers, filled with ground turkey, onions, and S&B curry sauce. The pastry was made following this method using 9 oz AP flour, 3 oz cake flour, 8 oz butter, and 4 oz lard.

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Inside:

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I also made steamed spareribs based on Ah Leung's recipe for steamed spareribs with plum sauce. Instead of plum sauce I used a few spoons of sweet mango chutney. It tasted very good!

gallery_26439_3934_344200.jpg

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sheetz: You are much more ambitious than I! The layers look perfect. Maybe some day, even I can produce that!

If you can get some whole plums in brine, try steaming spareribs with meen see sauce and a few mashed plums on top. Saltyilicious!

Ben Sook: My kitchen is always ready to feed you. :wink:

Bruce: I loved the way you described my food! :laugh: I never gave thought to combinations - I just did. Thanks to you, I'll have to pay attention now.

:shock::angry::laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Did anyone make the dry version of jai? I mean the one with the soybeans, dow see lam, fun see, etc? That's the kind where you'd put a spoonful on a lettuce leaf, wrap it and stuff into your mouth. I have the ingredients, just haven't gotten around to making it.

I cannot visually imagine what this dish is. Is it still called "jai"? "Jai", which simply means a vegetarian dish, is typically a mixed stir-fry like what sheetz had or some wheat gluten or pressed tofu cooked with some sauces.

Yes, it is still called jai, but gon (hard G)=dry jai. There is no sauce. Maybe it's a Toisanese or local dish. :unsure:

Ben: Any ideas?

This dish you're describing is just the mixing of most of the dishes served for the very first meal you eat on CNY. It's called jai because one of the ingredients is the vegetarian shrimp chip type fried jai. The only time we have it is later in the day on CNY, like at lunch or dinner.

The morning meal consists of some these dishes (each one is it's own dish):

lam see - stir fried just by itself and a little sugar

dow see - stir fried just by itself and a little sugar

soybeans - stir fried just by itself

arrowhead corms - boiled in salted water and briefly stir fried but leaving the shoots intact

tofu slices - browned on both sides with a little salt

yau choy - stir fried with a little salt

fun see - cooked with maybe a little celery

fat choy in broth

vegetarian freshly fried jai

A very austere meal to start the year with.

Other than this one meal a year, one never cooks and eats lam see, dow see, or soybeans by themselves. So immediately afterwards, on that same day for lunch, those ingredients are mixed up with the fried jai and soybeans and eaten with lettuce. Oh, it occurred to me that the reason you say "dry jai" is because the jai used in this dish is of the dried type.

Edited by Seitch (log)
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The list of ingredients you posted is the same except for yu choi and arrowhead, Seith. Thanks! However, my Mom doesn't cook each as a dish, but does cook each ingredient separately then tossed together at the end. We may eat this mixture as part of a meal, but we love it more as a snack - forkfulls wrapped in lettuce.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Gastro, did your belly have skin on it? The skin lends a glossy, almost sticky and unctuous texture to the liquid while it braises, and this helps with mouth feel and coating the meat chunks.

The other thing I can think of is that maybe your mum used a different part of the belly then what you got. The thicker part comes from closer to the shoulder and tends to have several layers of meat and fat, while the belly closer to the hind legs tends to have only a few layers and the meat is less marbled. If you're not looking at the whole belly, the best way to get the stuff near the shoulder is to buy the really thick pieces with lots of layers.

regards,

trillium

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