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Chinese Eats at Home (Part 2)


peony
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Hiya!

Sure, I don't have an exact recipe, but here is the best I can do :-).

Ingredients:

* Pork Spare Ribs (the ones with no bones but cartilage in them... if you look at this PDF file: http://www.apl.au.com/media/PorkCuts.pdf you can see them on Page 10 labelled "Spare Ribs")

* 400g-500g Chinese yellow rock sugar

* 1 Bottle Chinese rice wine (1 litre)

* Dark soy (250ml)

* Light soy (750ml)

* 1 " slice Ginger

* 3 cloves Garlic smashed

* Bunch of Shallots/green onions

* 2 pieces of Dried orange or mandarin peel

* 2 sticks cinnamon

* 5 star anise

Remove the skin but not the fat from the pork belly ribs.

Bring ingredients to a boil and taste for seasoning... should be sweet, salty and savoury... it should taste nice too, not bland or extremely overpowering.

Reduce heat to below simmering and put in the pork. Cook for 2 hours until the pork is tender (you may like it still with a bit of chew or chew, or you might like it falling apart... cook accordingly - 1-1.5 hours for firm, 2-3 hours for very tender).

Remove the pork and allow it to cool (put in fridge). This will firm it up for cutting.

Meanwhile, remove a few cups of the braising liquid (keep the rest, just boil it before you use it each time and check for seasoning.... may need to add more soy or ginger or garlic or rice wine or aromatics or water etc).. simmer it until reduced by about half. Taste to make sure it would make a kickass sauce.

Cut the pork ribs into big pieces and CAREFULLY remove the cartilage pieces (you don't want the pork to fall apart).

Heat a wok until SMOKING, add enough oil to coat the surface.

Put in the pork and cook until it is browned all over - it will go a lovely dark red all over... just make sure you keep tossing it as it WILL burn.

Add the reduced sauce and cook until boiling and the ribs are well coated (you can either have a runny sauce and thicken it with cornflour, or reduce the sauce heavily and glaze the ribs with it).

Edited by infernooo (log)
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For my wife and i today i cooked Razor clams in Black Bean sauce, Squid and Gai Lan in Oyster sauce, Pork Spring Rolls with dip. Very Cantonese, very full - i need to lie down....

gallery_52657_4505_1465582.jpg

Sorry about the blurry-ass pic, was in in hurry. It's that Chinese thing - have to eat it while it's hot!! :biggrin:

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They look absolutely fantastic, Prawncrackers!!! Now I know where to knock on the door when I fly across the pond. :biggrin: Forget about London China Town...

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Every weeknight I cook, I try to prep, cook and clean within one hour. That way when I sit down to eat, all I have to clean are the dishes I eat from. I tend to be overambitious and try to make 2-3 dishes each night. This is difficult given how small my kitchen is and how many dishes I use to prep and cook. I learned by chance that fried rice, if I have the right ingredients, is a good standby for a weeknight. That's why I've been eating it for the past two weeks!

Having grown up in a Chinese-American carryout, I feel my fried rice is incomplete without bean sprouts and egg. Alas, given that fresh bean sprouts are kinda hard for a singleton to keep (ie, schedules can change at the last minute) I subsitute frozen peas and carrots instead. But I have to have my egg. And Maggi sauce. Oh man. That's good stuff.

Anyone have any suggestions for a quick weeknight meal? I'm tired of spending too much time in the kitchen but I loathe to eat the same thing every day. Ah, well.

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GastroGirl, by the time you cook the rice, and boil some water, you can have a good tasty meal on the table, 25 minutes tops.

Boil some water in a large clean pot, 1)make up beef/pork patty with choong choy and steam, or 2) egg custard with some ground pork 3) steam a fillet of fish with ginger&scallions 4)pork patty with haum yu, etc. After you steamed the dish, lift it out and use the boiling water to blanch gai lan, broccoli, bok choy, etc. top the veggies up with oyster sauce and some hot garlic oil. Lop cheung on top of rice is no work at all. There's also the old standby of scrambled eggs with scallions. Before you go to work, you may want to marinate some pork/beef slices in whatever flavours and when you come home, as the rice is cooking, stir fry the meat slices and thicken with a little corn starch slurry. Tear up some iceberg lettuce leaves, heat up some oil with garlic in your wok/pan and wilt the lettuce, add a bit of soy/oyster sauce and voila, Bob's your uncle!! So many yummy possibilities.

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Tonight I made Sichuan water-boiled beef (shui zhu niu rou) – clickety. Definitely took more than an hour. :raz:

Gastro888: Ben types faster than me, and his suggestions are better, too. :smile: Are raw or boiled/steamed vegetables an option as your second or third dish? What about eating your main meal at lunch, and cooking rice and vegetables with a little pork for dinner? How do you feel about soup and rice for dinner - something like Napa cabbage and shrimp soup?

I ate a lot of quick veggie dinners when I was single. Also, a lot of frozen pizza. :rolleyes:

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Every weeknight I cook, I try to prep, cook and clean within one hour.  That way when I sit down to eat, all I have to clean are the dishes I eat from.  I tend to be overambitious and try to make 2-3 dishes each night.  This is difficult given how small my kitchen is and how many dishes I use to prep and cook.  I learned by chance that fried rice, if I have the right ingredients, is a good standby for a weeknight.  That's why I've been eating it for the past two weeks!

Having grown up in a Chinese-American carryout, I feel my fried rice is incomplete without bean sprouts and egg.  Alas, given that fresh bean sprouts are kinda hard for a singleton to keep (ie, schedules can change at the last minute) I subsitute frozen peas and carrots instead.  But I have to have my egg.  And Maggi sauce.  Oh man.  That's good stuff.

Anyone have any suggestions for a quick weeknight meal?  I'm tired of spending too much time in the kitchen but I loathe to eat the same thing every day.  Ah, well.

HAve you tried keeping you bean sprouts in water. Just change the water ever few days. They will last for at least a week.

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Thank you Ben Sook and C. Sapidus for your ideas! I appreciate it. I have trouble cooking during the weeknights as I can't seem to do things fast enough and without making a "mess". I use too many plates/bowls for my mise en place. Having a small kitchen is no benefit, either. I usually make a choy or I do the standard cucumber salad which is easy to do. I think with time and practice, I'll be better in a few months. I would like to do the steamed egg custard dish but my cholestrol's kinda high so I gotta be on guard.

(PS: I've been MIA on eG due to very strict 'net regulations at work. Long story short, I refer to work as prison now. It's not, "Honey, I'm going to work and I'll see you later." but "I'm off to prison, be free soon.")

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I like those blocks of S&B Curry sauce for a quick curry stir fry. Just marinate your meat the night before and chop up some veggies. Stir fry everything and add the curry blocks along with some broth. Easy and fast.

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Tonight it was Tea-smoked Duck Breast with Egg-Fried Rice.  Deliciously complex flavours make this dish a winner.  Have had several goes at this, tonights' was the best yet!!  Enjoy....  :biggrin:

gallery_52657_4505_194119.jpg

That looks beautiful. Do you mind describing how you cooked your duck (so to speak)?

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From Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, Beef Selivers with Coriander.

This one was a real winner. As always, I took liberties. The inspiration for this dish was cleaning the fridge and the upstairs freezer (we have a side by side) and a pound and a half hunk of elk fell on my big toe. Then, I discovered in the veg bin that I had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR bunches of cilantro in the fridge. Since I had so much elk, I decided to double the recipe, so I'd make sure and have leftovers for breakfast. And, I didn't have any of the longer rec peppers she specifies, so I sub'ed thai birds (2 for 1).

gallery_6263_35_35262.jpg

And on the side, a stir fry (probably very not Chinese) of local asparagus and local ramps. The sweet of the smashed garlic cooked almost to char, the sweet of the aspargus, and the garlicy/onion bite of the ramps was a terrific compliment to this dish.

Oh, and I figued out that my market's bunches of cilantro are only 1/2 of what she calls a bunch, so buy plenty! I actually waitied until I turned off the burner before I added the cilantro, which was a fine move on my part.

I'm loving this book; I only have one gripe -- a very inadequate index.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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From Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, Beef Slivers with Coriander.

. . .

And, I didn't have any of the longer red peppers she specifies, so I sub'ed thai birds (2 for 1).

Susan, that sounds delicious - and I'm guessing pretty spicy, with the Thai bird chiles. The adult members of our household would love it, but unfortunately our boys would shun the cilantro.

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From Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, Beef Selivers with Coriander.

This one was a real winner.  As always, I took liberties.  The inspiration for this dish was cleaning the fridge and the upstairs freezer (we have a side by side) and a pound and a half hunk of elk fell on my big toe.  Then, I discovered in the veg bin that I had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR bunches of cilantro in the fridge.  Since I had so much elk, I decided to double the recipe, so I'd make sure and have leftovers for breakfast.  And, I didn't have any of the longer rec peppers she specifies, so I sub'ed thai birds (2 for 1).

gallery_6263_35_35262.jpg

And on the side, a stir fry (probably very not Chinese) of local asparagus and local ramps.  The sweet of the smashed garlic cooked almost to char, the sweet of the aspargus, and the garlicy/onion bite of the ramps was a terrific compliment to this dish.

Oh, and I figued out that my market's bunches of cilantro are only 1/2 of what she calls a bunch, so buy plenty!  I actually waitied until I turned off the burner before I added the cilantro, which was a fine move on my part.

I'm loving this book; I only have one gripe -- a very inadequate index.

ditto on the book, ouch on the toe Susan.....I'm finding it hard not to use the book every day, luckily I scored a green papaya yesterday so tonight guess what :smile:

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[That looks beautiful. Do you mind describing how you cooked your duck (so to speak)?

Of course i don't mind! I don't know where I got the original idea from but I’ve adapted this dish over a few years now and am happy that it's finally presentable!!

Firstly take two duck breasts and score the fat. I've only ever used English Gressingham duck breasts for this dish as they are much meatier than the Chinese ones. (Though I wouldn't recommend trying to roast Gressingham duck Cantonese style - far too fatty!). I digress already..., take two tbl of Sichuan pepper, two cloves, one quarter of star anise and heat in a dry pan till the pepper starts to pop. Remove the spices from the pan and grind them to a fine powder, discard any hard bits of clove or anise that is left. Mix the spices with a tbl of coarse sea salt and rub all over the duck breasts. Leave to cure overnight on some kitchen paper to soak up the juices.

Next day, take your duck breasts and wipe off as much of the cure as possible, though leave some of the spice in between the scores of the skin. The first complaint I had from my wife/guinea-pig was that it was too salty, so be careful with the salt and wipe as much off from the flesh side. Now it's time to prepare your wok-smoker.

Line your wok with at least two layers of foil (I’m assuming you are using a wok as I’ve never used a dedicated smoker), ensure you have a tight fitting lid and a rack for the meat that will fit inside comfortably. Mix together half a cup each of tea leaves & rice and a quarter cup of sugar and scatter evenly onto the bottom of your wok. What kind of tea leaves you are asking? To keep the Chinese theme, I originally started with Lapsang Soushong as I thought the already smoky flavour would enhance this dish. However, I found that this was far too strong. I now use ordinary English loose tea (PG Tips to be exact - but you can use any old Assam blend I suppose or experiment with flavoured tea). Always, the temptation with smoking is to get as much smoky flavour into the meat as possible but in this dish subtlety is the key. The rice gives the smoke a nutty edge but also acts to regulate the heat in the tea and sugar and prevents them from burning too quickly, nothing worse than the acrid smoke from burnt sugar. Start your wok up on a medium heat and put the lid on. Check, when the mixture starts to smoke gently then turn the heat down, place your duck breasts skin side down so the smoke permeates into the fat first. I smoke the skin side for ten minutes then flip it over to smoke to flesh side for a further five minutes.

When the smoking is done your breasts should be light golden colour. They should still be raw though as this is only a gentle smoking (half way between cold and hot smoking). Set the duck aside, discard all the smoking paraphernalia inside you wok and put it back onto a medium heat. No additional oil is required; fry your duck breasts skin-side down over a medium heat for about 6 minutes till the skin is crispy. Tip off the excess fat then fry the flesh side for further two minutes, then leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes or so… (In this resting time, I did some plain egg fried rice…) rare meat is anathema to most Chinese but this method gives a wonderful moist even pinkness to the meat with no hint of rawness.

Blimey, I’ve just realised how much I’ve written! Though I’m not that surprised as this is a truly wonderful dish with some amazing flavours. I’ve been toying with the idea of sauce but can’t think how one could enhance this dish. A sauce would confuse the balance of the sweet, savoury, spicy flavours and spoil the crispiness of the skin.

Please try this recipe out and let me know what you think. The flavours are pure Chinese but the techniques are a fusion of east and west. It’s really quite straightforward, in fact, it’s a one pot-dish!!

Edited by Prawncrackers (log)
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I made chicken cha-siu and ham fried rice last night. (Very peasant compared to the duck breast! Wow, it looks yummy!) I took boneless, skinless chicken thighs and marinated them in a homemade cha-siu sauce and then while it was cooking in the oven made the fried rice with garlic, shallots, onions, peppers, celery, carrots and ham. No egg this time but lots of white pepper as always.

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From Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, Beef Selivers with Coriander.

And on the side, a stir fry (probably very not Chinese) of local asparagus and local ramps.  The sweet of the smashed garlic cooked almost to char, the sweet of the aspargus, and the garlicy/onion bite of the ramps was a terrific compliment to this dish.

I'm loving this book; I only have one gripe -- a very inadequate index.

I made the home-style tofu (the one with the shitake mushrooms and without the black beans) and added ramps instead of green onions and it really rocked. I think it's very Chinese to use what is local and in season! We've tried many of the bean curd recipes in this book and it's our favorite. The others are good, but for some reason this one is in constant rotation. I use store-bought fried tofu most nights, but it's even better with home-fried. I also use the ground Korean red pepper that Ms. Dunlop recommended on this forum during a discussion of her Sichuan book. I think in this recipe it's listed as optional red pepper flakes, but it's never really an option at our house, 'specially with a SE Asian involved. We've been eating it with stir-fried ong choy with stinky tofu and garlic. It's a nice match.

This week I also made the red-cooked pork belly and went crazy by adding not one but three of the optional add-ins (tofu skin, deep fried water chestnuts and deep fried garlic cloves). I used belly for the first time, last time I used shoulder, and I gotta say, authentic or no, I prefer it with shoulder, which is plenty fatty for me. I also doubled all of the spices and chillies this time, again, I blame a SE Asian influence. We also made the home-style stir-fried pork with peppers. She recommends Italian frying peppers, which you can't get here, but Anaheims worked nicely. I liked this dish, but it wasn't as WOW as some of the other ones, mostly because it tastes like similar to things we make as a matter of course, without a cookbook.

I hadn't noticed the indexing problem, but that's probably because I flip through the sections looking for a recipe instead.

regards,

trillium

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been on a fish kick lately. And of course I have to "Chinafy" the dinner to satisfy the Chinese in me. :smile:

I recently made a stuffed sole with garlic egg fried rice and shitake stir fried with lettuce.

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And then the other day I made buttered cajun talapia with crab fried rice.

gallery_48325_4009_238895.jpg

Both were very good and felt sort healthy. :biggrin:

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That steamed bass looks delicious!

I was given 2 large pickerels last week. Tomorrow may be the night for steamed pickerel with ginger and scallions. :wub:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Dejah: Welcome back – you have been missed!

Tonight we made steamed chicken with chopped salted chiles (duo la jiao zheng ji) and stir-fried green beans with ground pork and preserved mustard greens, both from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. This was the first time we used Hunanese chopped salted chiles (duo la jiao), from a batch we made a couple of weeks ago. The chicken was OK, but probably not worth making again – it tasted of chiles and not much else.

I liked the stir-fried green beans with preserved mustard greens. We messed with the recipe, substituting green beans for green peppers, and chorizo for pork, salt, and chile flakes. Good stuff, and definitely worth making again (perhaps even making properly). :rolleyes:

gallery_42956_2536_48485.jpg

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That steamed bass looks delicious!

I was given 2 large pickerels last week. Tomorrow may be the night for steamed pickerel with ginger and scallions. :wub:

Thanks Dejah, i don't think you can go wrong steaming fish this way. If all the knowledge in the world was lost and the God of Food offered mankind only one way to cook fish, this would be the one way! Of course, you wouldn't need to cook sashimi but you wouldn't tell GoF that... :biggrin:

What's a pickerel btw, is it a cross between a pike and a mackerel? :blink: I thought I knew my fish - is it called something else?

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      1. Sichuan Peppercorns
       
      Sichuan peppercorns are neither pepper nor, thank the heavens, c@rn! Nor are they necessarily from Sichuan. They are actually the seed husks of one of a number of small trees in the genus Zanthoxylum and are related to the citrus family.  The ‘Sichuan’ name in English comes from their copious use in Sichuan cuisine, but not necessarily where they are grown. Known in Chinese as 花椒 (huājiāo), literally ‘flower pepper’’, they are also known as ‘prickly ash’ and, less often, as ‘rattan pepper’.
      The most common variety used in China is 红花椒 (hóng huā jiāo) or red Sichuan peppercorn, but often these are from provinces other than Sichuan, especially Gansu, Sichuan’s northern neighbour. They are sold all over China and, ground, are a key ingredient in “five-spice powder” mixes. They are essential in many Sichuan dishes where they contribute their numbing effect to Sichuan’s 麻辣 (má là), so-called ‘hot and numbing’ flavour. Actually the Chinese is ‘numbing and hot’. I’ve no idea why the order is reversed in translation, but it happens a lot – ‘hot and sour’ is actually ‘sour and hot’ in Chinese!
       
      The peppercorns are essential in dishes such as 麻婆豆腐 (má pó dòu fǔ) mapo tofu, 宫保鸡丁 (gōng bǎo jī dīng) Kung-po chicken, etc. They are also used in other Chinese regional cuisines, such as Hunan and Guizhou cuisines.

      Red Sichuan peppercorns can come from a number of Zanthoxylum varieties including Zanthoxylum simulans, Zanthoxylum bungeanum, Zanthoxylum schinifolium, etc.
       

      Red Sichuan Peppercorns
       
      Another, less common, variety is 青花椒 (qīng huā jiāo) green Sichuan peppercorn, Zanthoxylum armatum. These are also known as 藤椒 (téng jiāo). This grows all over Asia, from Pakistan to Japan and down to the countries of SE Asia. This variety is significantly more floral in taste and, at its freshest, smells strongly of lime peel. These are often used with fish, rabbit, frog etc. Unlike red peppercorns (usually), the green variety are often used in their un-dried state, but not often outside Sichuan.
       

      Green Sichuan Peppercorns
       

      Fresh Green Sichuan Peppercorns

      I strongly recommend NOT buying Sichuan peppercorns in supermarkets outside China. They lose their scent, flavour and numbing quality very rapidly. There are much better examples available on sale online. I have heard good things about The Mala Market in the USA, for example.

      I buy mine in small 30 gram / 1oz bags from a high turnover vendor. And that might last me a week. It’s better for me to restock regularly than to use stale peppercorns.

      Both red and green peppercorns are used in the preparation of flavouring oils, often labelled in English as 'Prickly Ash Oil'. 花椒油 (huā jiāo yóu) or 藤椒油 (téng jiāo yóu).
       

       
      The tree's leaves are also used in some dishes in Sichuan, but I've never seen them out of the provinces where they grow.
       
      A note on my use of ‘Sichuan’ rather than ‘Szechuan’.
       
      If you ever find yourself in Sichuan, don’t refer to the place as ‘Szechuan’. No one will have any idea what you mean!

      ‘Szechuan’ is the almost prehistoric transliteration of 四川, using the long discredited Wade-Giles romanization system. Thomas Wade was a British diplomat who spoke fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. After retiring as a diplomat, he was elected to the post of professor of Chinese at Cambridge University, becoming the first to hold that post. He had, however, no training in theoretical linguistics. Herbert Giles was his replacement. He (also a diplomat rather than an academic) completed a romanization system begun by Wade. This became popular in the late 19th century, mainly, I suggest, because there was no other!

      Unfortunately, both seem to have been a little hard of hearing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked why the Chinese changed the name of their capital from Peking to Beijing. In fact, the name didn’t change at all. It had always been pronounced with /b/ rather than /p/ and /ʤ/ rather than /k/. The only thing which changed was the writing system.

      In 1958, China adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization, not to help dumb foreigners like me, but to help lower China’s historically high illiteracy rate. It worked very well indeed, Today, it is used in primary schools and in some shop or road signs etc., although street signs seldom, if ever, include the necessary tone markers without which it isn't very helpful.
       

      A local shopping mall. The correct pinyin (with tone markers) is 'dōng dū bǎi huò'.
       
      But pinyin's main use today is as the most popular input system for writing Chinese characters on computers and cell-phones. I use it in this way every day, as do most people. It is simpler and more accurate than older romanizations. I learned it in one afternoon.  I doubt anyone could have done that with Wade-Giles.
       
      Pinyin has been recognised for over 30 years as the official romanization by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the United Nations and, believe it or not, The United States of America, along with many others. Despite this recognition, old romanizations linger on, especially in America. Very few people in China know any other than pinyin. 四川 is  'sì chuān' in pinyin.
    • By liuzhou
      An eG member recently asked me by private message about mushrooms in China, so I thought I'd share some information here.

      This is what available in the markets and supermarkets in the winter months - i.e now. I'll update as the year goes by.
       
      FRESH FUNGI
       
      December sees the arrival of what most westerners deem to be the standard mushroom – the button mushroom (小蘑菇 xiǎo mó gū). Unlike in the west where they are available year round, here they only appear when in season, which is now. The season is relatively short, so I get stuck in.
       

       
      The standard mushroom for the locals is the one known in the west by its Japanese name, shiitake. They are available year round in the dried form, but for much of the year as fresh mushrooms. Known in Chinese as 香菇 (xiāng gū), which literally means “tasty mushroom”, these meaty babies are used in many dishes ranging from stir fries to hot pots.
       

       
      Second most common are the many varieties of oyster mushroom. The name comes from the majority of the species’ supposed resemblance to oysters, but as we are about to see the resemblance ain’t necessarily so.
       

       
      The picture above is of the common oyster mushroom, but the local shops aren’t common, so they have a couple of other similar but different varieties.
       
      Pleurotus geesteranus, 秀珍菇 (xiù zhēn gū) (below) are a particularly delicate version of the oyster mushroom family and usually used in soups and hot pots.
       

       
      凤尾菇 (fèng wěi gū), literally “Phoenix tail mushroom”, is a more robust, meaty variety which is more suitable for stir frying.
       

       
      Another member of the pleurotus family bears little resemblance to its cousins and even less to an oyster. This is pleurotus eryngii, known variously as king oyster mushroom, king trumpet mushroom or French horn mushroom or, in Chinese 杏鲍菇 (xìng bào gū). It is considerably larger and has little flavour or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom flavours. This is one for longer cooking in hot pots or stews.
       

       
      One of my favourites, certainly for appearance are the clusters of shimeji mushrooms. Sometimes known in English as “brown beech mushrooms’ and in Chinese as 真姬菇 zhēn jī gū or 玉皇菇 yù huáng gū, these mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they have an unpleasantly bitter taste. This, however, largely disappears when they are cooked. They are used in stir fries and with seafood. Also, they can be used in soups and stews. When cooked alone, shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed whole, including the stem or stalk. There is also a white variety which is sometimes called 白玉 菇 bái yù gū.
       

       

       
      Next up we have the needle mushrooms. Known in Japanese as enoki, these are tiny headed, long stemmed mushrooms which come in two varieties – gold (金針菇 jīn zhēn gū) and silver (银针菇 yín zhēn gū)). They are very delicate, both in appearance and taste, and are usually added to hot pots.
       

       

       
      Then we have these fellows – tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇 chá shù gū). These I like. They take a bit of cooking as the stems are quite tough, so they are mainly used in stews and soups. But their meaty texture and distinct taste is excellent. These are also available dried.
       

       
      Then there are the delightfully named 鸡腿菇 jī tuǐ gū or “chicken leg mushrooms”. These are known in English as "shaggy ink caps". Only the very young, still white mushrooms are eaten, as mature specimens have a tendency to auto-deliquesce very rapidly, turning to black ‘ink’, hence the English name.
       

       
      Not in season now, but while I’m here, let me mention a couple of other mushrooms often found in the supermarkets. First, straw mushrooms (草菇 cǎo gū). Usually only found canned in western countries, they are available here fresh in the summer months. These are another favourite – usually braised with soy sauce – delicious! When out of season, they are also available canned here.
       

       
      Then there are the curiously named Pig Stomach Mushrooms (猪肚菇 zhū dù gū, Infundibulicybe gibba. These are another favourite. They make a lovely mushroom omelette. Also, a summer find.
       

       
      And finally, not a mushroom, but certainly a fungus and available fresh is the wood ear (木耳 mù ěr). It tastes of almost nothing, but is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. More usually sold dried, it is available fresh in the supermarkets now.
       

       
      Please note that where I have given Chinese names, these are the names most commonly around this part of China, but many variations do exist.
       
      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
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