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liuzhou
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That's an interesting way to cut lamb. Is it half a vertical cross-section, including a couple of ribs?

How are the kelp knots used in a dish: garnish or major element?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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That's an interesting way to cut lamb. Is it half a vertical cross-section, including a couple of ribs?

How are the kelp knots used in a dish: garnish or major element?

Ha! As I have mentioned elsewhere, many Chinese butchers cut meat more or less at random. It is a fairly old photo but as I remember it did include a couple of ribs. Once you select your cut, the meat is going to be chopped again into bite sized cubes (bone on) to be used in hot pots or stews. In fact, I have problems getting the butchers to leave it in one piece. They look at me most suspiciously.

 

The kelp (not always knotted) is used as a major ingredient in many dishes and often added to hot pots or soup.The dish in the aquatic section calls for 

 

300g kelp

50g lotus root

30g mixed green and red chillies

garlic, salt, MSG, sesame oil, sugar, rice vinegar, 

 

so pretty much a main ingredient.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Thanks for that information.  Next question: what is kelp like as a food?  I think of it as this wavy buoyant tangly sea vegetable that terrified me as a child. (Now I can appreciate its value in the ecosystem, as long as I don't try to swim near it.)  Does it taste and feel like any land vegetable we could identify in North America? Salty?  Firm and crunchy, like celery?  Slimy, like okra? Rubbery?  Your photo suggests, say, onion necks.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Thanks for that information.  Next question: what is kelp like as a food?  I think of it as this wavy buoyant tangly sea vegetable that terrified me as a child. (Now I can appreciate its value in the ecosystem, as long as I don't try to swim near it.)  Does it taste and feel like any land vegetable we could identify in North America? Salty?  Firm and crunchy, like celery?  Slimy, like okra? Rubbery?  Your photo suggests, say, onion necks.

 

I can't think of any land vegetable it compares to. It is firm to the bite, but not rubbery or slimy. Nor is it particularly salty. It does have a slight, not-unpleasant hint of iodine. I haven't had in any a while. I'll pick some up later in the week, remind my taste buds and get back to you.

I understand that it is usually sold dried in North America. Is that correct? Here we usually get it fresh. I've never had it dried. So, I don't know how that might affect the flavour or texture.

 

I like it, but it isn't my favourite sea weed. That would be nori/laver.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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  • 2 months later...

 

I picked this up with the express intent of comparing it with Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuan food classic, Land of Plenty/Sichuan Cookery (US/UK titles).

 

 

 

Hi liuzhou,

 

Do you know this one ?

 

Sichuan(China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English   中国川菜(中英文标准对照版)

ISBN-10: 7536469640

 

 

《中国川菜(中英文标准对照版)》重点介绍了180道经典四川菜点的制作方法,全书采用中英文对照的编排方式,是目前国内第一本大型的中英文标准版的地方风味精美图文集。《中国川菜(中英文标准对照版)》的制作团队囊括了国内外饮食文化研究领域的一流专家、川菜烹饪大师、摄影名师等,由此确保了《中国川菜(中英文标准对照版)》内容的权威性。《中国川菜(中英文标准对照版)》文字简洁明了,图片美观精致,翻译标准规范,特别是180道经典四川菜点的制作方法,可供感兴趣的中外读者亲自操作实践,《中国川菜(中英文标准对照版)》具有很高的可读性、观赏性、实用性和指导性。

 

Content:

封面

扉页

版权页

目录

第一篇 开胃菜 Appetizer

    五香牦牛肉 Five-Spice-Flavored Yak Beef

    四味鲍鱼 Four-Flavor Abalone

    葱酥鱼 Crispy Scallion-Flavored Fish

    怪味鸡丝 Multi-Flavored Chicken Slivers

    椒麻鸡 Jiaoma-Flavor Chicken

    白宰鸡 Baizai Chicken

    花椒鸡丁 Sichuan-Pepper-Flavored Chicken

    泡椒凤爪 Pickled-Chili-Flavored Chicken Feet

    钵钵鸡 Bobo Chicken

    腊味拼盘 Cured Meat Platter

    卤水拼盘 Assorted Meat Stewed in Sichuan-Style Broth

    太白酱肉 Taibai Flour-Paste-Flavored Pork

    蒜泥白肉 Pork in Garlic Sauce

    酱猪手 Flour-Paste-Flavored Pork Feet

    糖醋排骨 Sweet-and-Sour Spareribs

    烟熏排骨 Smoked Spareribs

    芥末肚丝 Tripe Slivers in Mustard Sauce

    红油耳片 Pork Ear Slices in Chili Oil

    陈皮兔丁 Tangerine Peel-Flavored Rabbit Dices

    夫妻肺片 Fuqi Feipian (Sliced Beef & Offal in Chili Sauce)

    麻辣牛肉干 Mala Dried Beef Strips

    灯影牛肉 Translucent Beef Slices

    双味蘸水兔 Rabbit with Double-Flavor Dipping Sauces

    四川泡菜 Sichuan Pickles

    老妈兔头 Laoma Rabbit Heads

    侧耳根拌蚕豆 Sichuan-Style Heartleaf and Broad Bean Salad

    灯影苕片 Translucent Sweet Potato Chips

    口口脆 Crunchy Auparagus Lettuce

    酸辣蕨粉 Hot-and-Sour Fern Root Noodles

    怪味花仁 Multi-Flavored Peanuts

    姜汁豇豆 Asparagus Beans in Ginger Sauce

    泡椒双耳 Black and White Chili-Pickle-Flavored Funguses

    椒麻桃仁 Jiaoma-Flavor Walnuts

    荞面鸡丝 Buckwheat Noodles with Shredded Chicken

    麻酱凤尾 Asparagus Lettuce with Sesame Paste

    鱼香豌豆 Peas in Fish-Flavor Sauce

第二篇 热菜 Hot Dishes

    海鲜类 Seafood

        红烧鲍鱼 Red-Braised Abalone

        宫保龙虾球 Gongbao Lobster Balls

        鱼香龙虾 Lobster in Fish-Flavor Sauce

        干烧大虾 Dry-Braised Prawns

        翡翠虾仁 Shrimps with Jade-Colored Broad Beans

        盆盆虾 Penpen Prawns (Spicy Prawns in a Basin)

        干烧辽参 Dry-Braised Liaoning Sea Cucumber

        家常海参 Home-Style Sea Cucumber

        酸辣海参 Hot-and-Sour Sea Cucumber

        白汁鱼肚卷 Fish Maw Rolls in Milky Sauce

        椒汁多宝鱼 Turbot in Pepper-Flavored Sauce

        菠饺鱼肚 Spinach-Flavored Dumplings with Fish Maw

        家常鱿鱼 Home-style Squid

        家常鱼唇 Home-style Fish Snouts

        干煸鱿鱼丝 Dry-Fried Squid Slivers

        泡椒墨鱼仔 Pickled-Chili-Flavored Tiny Cuttlefish

        荔枝鱿鱼卷 Lichi-Flavor Squid Rolls

        香辣蟹 Hot-and-Spicy Crabs

        煳辣鲜贝 Hula-Flavor Scallops

        竹烤银鳕鱼 Roasted Cod on a Bamboo Platter

        藿香鲈鱼 Ageratum-Flavored Perch

        双椒石斑鱼 Speckled Hind Fish with Green and Red Peppers

    山珍类 Mountain Delicacies

        冰糖燕窝 Bird's Nest with Rock Sugar

        清汤燕菜 Bird's Nest in Consomme

        一品牦牛掌 Deluxe Yak Paws

        竹荪鸽蛋 Pigeon Eggs with Veiled Lady Mushrooms

    河鲜类 River Delicacies

        清蒸百花江团 Steamed Longsnout Catfish Surrounded by Flowers

        红烧裙边 Red-Braised Shell Rims of Chinese Turtle

        土豆烧甲鱼 Braised Chinese Turtle with Potatoes

        川式烤鳗鱼 Sichuan-Style Barbecued Eel

        豆瓣鱼 Fish in Chili Bean Sauce

        砂锅雅鱼 Ya Fish Casserole

        香辣黄蜡丁 Hot-and-Spicy Yellow Catfish

        麻辣小龙虾 Mala Crayfish

        泡椒牛蛙 Pickled-Chili-Flavored Bullfrog

        开门红 Good-Luck Fish Head

        石锅牛蛙 Bullfrog in a Stone Pot

        川味烤鱼 Sichuan-Flavor Barbecued Fish

        干烧鱼 Dry-Braised Fish

        糖醋脆皮鱼 Crispy Sweet-and-Sour Fish

        芹黄熘鱼丝 Stir-Fried Fish Slivers with Celery

        酸菜鱼 Fish with Pickled Mustard

        软烧仔鲶 Braised Catfish

        香辣沸腾鱼 Hot-and-Spicy Sizzling Fish

        鳝段粉丝 Paddy Eels with Pea Vermicelli

        干煸鳝丝 Dry-Fried Paddy Eel Slivers

        大蒜烧鳝鱼 Braised Paddy Eels with Garlic

        香辣泥鳅 Hot-and-Spicy Loach

    禽肉类 Poultry

        宫保鸡丁 Gongbao Diced Chicken

        太白鸡 Taibai Chicken

        鸡米杂粮配窝窝头 Chopped Chicken with Steamed Corn Buns

        野生菌煨乌鸡 Stewed Silkie Chicken with Wild Mushrooms

        松茸炖土鸡 Stewed Free-range Chicken with Matsutake

        芙蓉鸡片 Hibiscus-like Chicken

        辣子鸡丁 Diced Chicken with Pickled Chilies

        鸡豆花 Chicken Curd

        鸡蒙葵菜 Cluster Mallow Coated with Chicken Mince

        白果炖鸡 Stewed Chicken with Gingko Nuts

        黄焖鸡 Golden Chicken Stew

        鱼香八块鸡 Chicken Chunks in Fish-Flavor Sauce

        雪花鸡淖 Snowy Chicken

        香辣掌中宝 Hot-and-Spicy Chicken Feet Pad

        青椒鸡杂 Chicken Hotchpotch with Green Peppers

        虫草鸭子 Steamed Duck with Caterpillar Fungus

        樟茶鸭 Tea-Smoked Duck

        甜皮鸭 Crispy Sweet-Skinned Duck

        姜爆鸭丝 Quick-Fried Duck Slivers with Ginger

        酱爆鸭舌 Quick-Fried Duck Tongues with Fermented Flour Paste

        香辣鸭唇 Hot-and-Spicy Duck Jaws

        香酥鸭子 Crispy Duck

        鸡烩鸭腰 Braised Duck Kidneys with Collybia Mushrooms

        天麻乳鸽 Pigeon Stew with Gastrodia Tuber

        鱼香虎皮鸽蛋 Tiger-skin Pigeon Eggs in Fish-Flavor Sauce

    畜肉类 Meat

        回锅肉 Twice-Cooked Pork

        盐煎肉 Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks

        东坡肘子 Dongpo Pork Knuckle

        红烧肉 Red-Braised Pork Belly

        坛子肉 Stewed Meat in an Earthen Pot

        鱼香肉丝 Pork Slivers in Fish-Flavor Sauce

        酱肉丝 Stir-Fried Pork Slivers with Fermented Flour Paste

        青椒肉丝 Pork Slivers with Green Peppers

        锅巴肉片 Sliced Pork with Sizzling Rice Crust

        粉蒸肉 Steamed Pork Belly with Rice Flour

        糖醋里脊 Sweet-and-Sour Pork Tenderloin

        咸烧白 Steamed Pork with Salty Stuffing

        甜烧白 Steamed Pork with Sweet Stuffing

        火爆双脆 Crispy Quick-Fried Pork Tripe and Chicken Gizzards

        火爆腰花 Quick-Fried Pork Kidneys

        萝卜连锅汤 Pork Soup with Radish

        香辣猪蹄 Hot-and-Spicy Pork Feet

        雪豆蹄花 Pork Feet Stew with White Haricot Beans

        葱烧蹄筋 Braised Pork Tendon with Scallion

        川椒牛仔骨 Sichuan-Style Pepper-Flavored Beef Spareribs

        红烧牛头方 Red-Braised Water Buffalo Scalp

        干煸牛肉丝 Dry-Fried Beef Slivers

        水煮牛肉 Boiled Beef in Chili Sauce

        小笼蒸牛肉 Steamed Beef in a Small Bamboo Steamer

        竹笋烧牛肉 Braised Beef with Bamboo Shoots

        香辣肥牛 Hot-and-Spicy Beef

        藤椒肥牛 Beef with Green Sichuan Pepper

        鲜椒仔兔 Rabbits with Chili Peppers

    素菜类 Vegetables

        麻婆豆腐 Mapo Tofu

        家常豆腐 Home-Style Tofu

        口袋豆腐 Pocket Tofu

        过江豆花 Silken Tofu with Dipping Sauce

        砂锅豆腐 Tofu Casserole

        毛血旺 Duck Blood Curd in Chili Sauce

        开水白菜 Napa Cabbage in Consomme

        鱼香茄饼 Eggplant Fritters in Fish-Flavor Sauce

        臊子蒸蛋 Steamed Egg with Topping

        白油苦笋 Stir-Fried Bitter Bamboo Shoots

        酱烧冬笋 Braised Winter Bamboo Shoots with Fermented Flour Paste

        干锅茶树菇 Black Poplar Mushrooms in a Small Wok

        干贝菜心 Napa Cabbage with Dried Scallops

        干煸四季豆 Dry-Fried French Beans

        蚕豆泥 Mashed Broad Beans

        川贝酿雪梨 Pear Stuffed with Fritillaria Cirrhosa

        金沙玉米 Golden-Sand Corn (Fried Corn with Egg Yolk)

        番茄蛋花汤 Tomato and Egg Soup

        绿豆南瓜汤 Pumpkin Soup with Mung Beans

第三篇 火锅 Hot Pot

    毛肚火锅 Beef Tripe Hot Pot

    鸳鸯火锅 Double-Flavor Hot Pot

    羊肉汤锅 Mutton Soup Hot Pot

    串串香 Chuan Chuan Xiang Hot Pot

    冷锅鱼 Fish in Cold Pot

    干锅鸡 Sauteed Chicken in a Small Wok

第四篇 面点小吃 Snacks

    担担面 Dandan Noodles

    钟水饺 Zhongs Dumplings

    川北凉粉 Northern-Sichuan-Style Pea Jelly

    龙抄手 Long Wonton

    牛肉焦饼 Crispy Pancakes with Beef Stuffing

    小笼包子 Steamed Buns in Small Bamboo Steamers

    叶儿粑 Leave-Wrapped Rice Dumplings

    珍珠圆子 Pearly Tangyuan

    蛋烘糕 Dan Hong Gao (Sichuan-Style Stuffed Pancakes)

    黄粑 Brown Rice Cake Wrapped in Leaves

    鸡丝凉面 Cold Noodles with Shredded Chicken

    军屯锅盔 Juntun Pancakes

    三大炮 Three Cannonshots (Sweet Rice Buns)

    赖汤圆 Lais Tangyuan (Sweet Rice Dumplings)

    铺盖面 Sheet Pasta with Topping

    红烧牛肉面 Noodles with Red-Braised Beef Topping

    酸辣粉 Hot-and-Sour Sweet Potato Noodles

    一品锅贴 Deluxe Fried Dumplings

附录 Appendix

    川菜特色调味品 Featured Seasonings

川菜烹饪术语 Terms

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No. They don't sell many bilingual books in mainland China.

Some awful translations there, by the way.

 

Chinese-English translations are always good for a laugh.  :smile: Chinese is such a very complex language, and many dish names are flowery, romantic and beautiful, but don't really do much to describe what's actually in the dish.

 

I was interested in something I found out about on eG the other day, and couldn't find anything in English on it. So I ran a Portuguese language page through the translator, and to my complete amazement, it came through almost perfectly in English. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie. The translator doesn't work nearly as well with Chinese, but I'm sure they'll get there. That is one upside to a world that is moving far too fast for this old-fashioned lady.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Chinese-English translations are always good for a laugh. :smile: Chinese is such a very complex language, and many dish names are flowery, romantic and beautiful, but don't really do much to describe what's actually in the dish.

I was interested in something I found out about on eG the other day, and couldn't find anything in English on it. So I ran a Portuguese language page through the translator, and to my complete amazement, it came through almost perfectly in English. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie. The translator doesn't work nearly as well with Chinese, but I'm sure they'll get there. That is one upside to a world that is moving far too fast for this old-fashioned lady.

The problem with this translation isn't just the flowery language used in menus. Parts of it are just plain wrong. And parts haven't even been translated - it seems the 'translator' didn't know how to, so just transliterated the Chinese.

I don't think computer translators will ever work. I spent years in London working in a team working on just getting a computer to understand English grammar. The best we got was 75%. That is with one language. With two? Perhaps with European languages it can get close. English Chinese-English? I can't see it.

Anyway, I'm working on translating a new Hunan cookbook. Will post the contents list, ASAP.

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

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Almost 20 years ago, I moved to a small town in remote (still) western Hunan. I had already been in China for a year, studying their language in Xi’an. There, I was kind of mollycoddled. I lived on campus. The move to Hunan was eye and mind opening. 

 

First of all, I was the only foreigner in a hundred mile radius and Moly wasn't there to coddle me. It was deep end territory. In fact, the town was officially closed to foreigners and I believe still is. It is bang in the centre of some of China's largest nuclear weapon storage. I probably glow in the dark. I had some sort of special dispensation.

 

The nearest other foreigners were a three hour train journey away. All the Chinese I had painfully learned in Xi’an proved next to useless. Everyone spoke one of a hundred local dialects. 

 

It is a mountainous area and each valley was isolated from the next until Mao forced railway lines through in the late 1950s. So, their linguistic diversity was enormous. Also, a large part of the population were from ethnic minorities whose languages are more closely related to Thai than to Chinese. They couldn't understand each other. What chance did I have? Somehow I survived.  

 

I stayed two years and loved it. The scenery and the people were beautiful and I still go back regularly to visit lifelong friends I made there. 

 

What I loved most was the food! I had never known anything like this. It didn’t resemble anything I knew as ‘Chinese food’. 

The smoky, spicy flavours were intense, yet subtle too. The salty smoked cured meats will be giving the WHO and IARC palpitations. 

 

There was a street of Mom and Pop restaurants near my home who served the best food I have probably eaten anywhere. I gave them all names. Gate Restaurant, Police Restaurant, Claudia’s Restaurant, Sleeping Restaurant, Chili Restaurant. There is a story behind each name. I was delighted to learn recently that Claudia’s Restaurant is still there and is known to the few English speaking locals as Claudia’s to this day. There was never a Claudia there! A long story for another time.

 

Despite one restaurant being called Chili Restaurant (at least in my lexicon), they were all chili restaurants. Xiangxi (as west Hunan is commonly known) food is often (usually) hotter than Sichuan food which has the reputation. 

 

It finally came time to move on, which I did with many regrets, and arrived in Guangxi. I was so disappointed with the food at first. It seemed so bland, at first. Still I soon learned to find what I like. I never had to do that in Hunan. And there are some Hunan restaurants in town – a couple of which are very good. 

 

So, to get to the point, a few days ago I came across this Hunan cookbook in the local bookstore and had to buy it. It sort of presents itself as a high-end gourmet Hunan tome, but has many of the dishes I enjoyed in the Mom and Pop places. It also has dishes which aren’t Hunanese at all, especially in the first section, which I cover here. 

 

hunan.jpg

 

The book is called 芙蓉厨王20年厨萃 which means Lotus Kitchen King 20 Year Collection, and is compiled by Qi Guangming (齊光明).

 

page2.jpg

Sample pages - Western Hunan Bandits' Duck

 

Here are the first section’s contents.

 

As ever, some I have translated rather directly, for amusement value. Others are more explanation than translation. All errors are mine. If anyone wants clarification of anything, please ask. I may not know, but I will try. And I have a huge backup team of Hunan friends to consult. Please quote the page number with any question.

 

Section 1 - 金牌特色 Gold Medal Specials

 

10 潇湘甲鱼               Xiaoxang Soft Shelled Turtle

11 洞庭臭鳜鱼           Dongting Scent Mandarin Fish

12 金牛踏海               Golden Beef Steps on the Sea

 

This is sea cucumber served with beef ribs. Hunan is a land-locked province far from the sea, so I am surprised how many recipes feature this so-called delicacy. I never encountered it in Hunan.

 

13 石锅野生鲶鱼        Stone Pot Wild Catfish

14 本鸡炖鱼翅           Chicken Stewed w Shark's Fin

15 土家羊排               Family Style Lamb Chop

16 农家叫公鸡           Peasant Family Rooster

18 龙眼扣黑猪肉        Dragon’s Eyes Black Pork Bowl

龙眼 also means the fruit Longan, but here the dragon’s eyes are lotus seeds.

 

19 金米炖海参            Golden Grain Sea Cucumber 

The golden grain is millet

 

20 鮰鱼狮子头             Bullhead Catfish Meatballs 

Language note. I have given the first character here in Traditional Chinese, although the book (and Hunan) use Simplified Chinese Characters. Neither of my word processors (or Google etc) have the character in simplified form although the book does. It seems to be an unofficial simplification, of which there are many.

 

20 粉皮羊肉                Bean Jelly Goat

羊肉 can mean sheep or goat but the ingredients list specifies 山羊肉 which is goat.

 

21 葱烧关东参            Onion Stewed Guandong Sea Cucumber 

Guandong is an area of north-eastern China, roughly equivalent to Manchuria ( a name most Chinese hate, it having been coined by the occupying Japanese in the 1930s and 40s.) Anyway, a long way from Hunan.

 

21 花开富贵               Blossom's Riches

Ha! These are little flowers made from broccoli, shrimp and ox penis!

 

22 酸辣梅花海参        Hot and Sour Peach Blossom Sea Cucumber

23 老火佛跳墙            Buddha Jumps Over The Wall

Again not a Hunan dish.

 

24 土锅炖甲鱼            Dry Pot Stewed Soft Shelled Turtle

25 松茸扣辽参            Matsutake Mushroom Sea Cucumber Bowl

26 清汤辽参               Sea Cucumber in Clear Soup

27 酱椒鱼头               Fish Head in Spicy Sauce

28 老坛鱼翅四宝       Old Jug Shark’s Fin Four Treasures

29 木瓜炖雪燕           Stewed Snow Bird’s Nest in Papaya

30 太极鸳鸯燕           Taiji Yin-Yang Bird’s Nest

This is one of a number of Chinese dishes which are plated to resemble the Taoist Yin-Yang symbol, known in CHinese as Taijitu.

466px-Yin_yang.svg.png

In this case the dish is made of white and red bird's nests laid in the bowl to emulate the symbol. Red bird's nest is very rare, so it is often faked using food dyes etc.

 

31 薏米辽参               Job’s Tears Sea Cucumber

32 红烧木瓜鱼翅        Red Cooked Shark’s Fin in Papaya

 

I'll be back soon with the meat section which strays less from Hunan.

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Not that I'm likely to have access to sea cucumbers, but what is the treatment involved in "Job's Tears Sea Cucumber"?

There's an advertising campaign here for a chain of chicken-sandwich restaurants in which cows scrawl awkwardly on billboards, writing things like 'eat mor chickun'. When I told my darling about the "Blossom's Riches" content, he said that dish would provide further incentive.

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Not that I'm likely to have access to sea cucumbers, but what is the treatment involved in "Job's Tears Sea Cucumber"?

There's an advertising campaign here for a chain of chicken-sandwich restaurants in which cows scrawl awkwardly on billboards, writing things like 'eat mor chickun'. When I told my darling about the "Blossom's Riches" content, he said that dish would provide further incentive.

 

Ha! Those semi-literate bovines. What is the world coming to?
 
Job's Tears Sea Cucumber ingredients are one live sea cucumber (approx 200 grams), 100 grams Job's Tears, 100 grams Sweetcorn Kernels, 5 grams each of salt and chicken powder. 
 
Although they don't actually mention killing the beast, they go into startling detail on how to 'clean' the remains. It should be opened through the belly and eviscerated then thoroughly cleaned. I'll spare you the details. It is then pressure cooked for 15 minutes before being beheaded and de-tailed (Which end is which?) then scraped clean again.
 
The Job's tears are made into a kind of porridge to which the sea cucumber is added and simmered for about 5 minutes. Then the sweetcorn is added and left to cook for a few minutes. Season with the salt and chicken powder and throw on the compost heap.

OK. They don't actually say the last part, but it's my recommendation. Sea cucumbers are foul things.

There is a picture of the finished dish here.

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Section 2 - 畜肉类 Farmed Meat

 

hr2.jpgHunan Cured Pork

 

More Hunanese this time.

 

As is normal in China, if the animal in question is not specified when talking about meat then it is pork. Many of the recipes here specify 黑猪肉 which is 'Black Pork'. What it means is the meat of a black skinned porker much valued in Hunan for its quality and fat/flesh proportions. It is similar to Berkshire pigs. It also attracts a premium price. After the first couple of mentions, I have omitted 'black' from the translations. If you see  黑, it's black. There are also black goats which are also preferred.

 

I have also abandoned attempting to format this into columns - the software doesn't want to play.

 

34 盐干菜虎皮扣黑猪肉 Salt Dried Vegetable Tiger Skin Black Pork Bowl

36 黄焖黑山羊 Braised Black Goat

37 红椒酿牛肉 Red Pepper Beef

38 干豆角蒸黑猪肉 Dried Long Bean Pork Bowl

39 白辣椒蒸腊肠 White Chili Steamed Sausage

40 铁锅花猪肉 Iron Plate Pork Belly

41 酸菜牛肉丸 Pickled Cabbage Beef Balls

42 砂锅芸豆黑猪尾 Sandpot White Kidney Bean Pig’s Tail

43 回锅黑猪肉 Twice Cooked Pork

44 黄豆黑猪蹄 Soy Bean w Pig’s Trotter

45 常德牛腱钵 ChangDe Ox Tendon Bowl

Changde is a city in NW Hunan

 

46 紫苏牛排 Purple Perilla Beef Steak

47 开煲肥肠 Boiled Pig’s Intestines

48 风吹肉青菜火锅 Wind Dried Pork and Cabbage Hotpot

49 小炒黑猪脚 Stir Fried Pig’s Trotter

50 小炒黑山羊 Stir Fried Goat

51 湘西小炒黑猪肉 West Hunan Stir Fried Pork

52 寒菌炒黄牛肉 Mushroom Fried Beef

53 火爆猪耳朵 Quick Fried Pig’s Ear

54 酸辣珍珠丸子 Hot and Sour Pearl Balls

Belly Pork and Water Chestnut Balls

55口味肥肠 Tasty Pig Intestines

56 生爆肚丝 Quick Fried Tripe

57 一品黑猪肉 First Class Pork

Steamed Pork Belly with Salt Dried Vegetables

 

58 毛氏红烧肉 Mao’s Red Cooked Pork

Supposedly Chairman Mao’s favourite food. He was from Hunan.

 

58 清蒸柴火腊肉 Steamed Smoked Bacon

59 小笼粉蒸牛肉 Steamed Pork with Ground Rice

59 香炸羊腿 Deep Fried Leg of Lamb

60 红焖带皮驴肉 Red Cooked Skin-On Donkey Meat

61 金瓜蒸肉排 Steamed Yellow Squash w Pork Ribs

62 青椒炒仔排骨 Green Chili Ribs

63 铁锅带皮黄牛肉 Iron Plate Skin-On Beef

64 湘西长寿黑猪肉 West Hunan Longevity Pork

65 黑椒糊辣牛肉 Black Pepper Paste Spicy Beef

66 竹筒粉蒸黑猪肉 Bamboo Tube Steamed Glutinous and Pork

i.e the rice and pork are steamed in a bamboo tube. Like this.

 

67 糯香杂粮黑猪排 Mixed Glutinous Rice Pork Ribs

This uses white and purple glutinous rice to coat the pork ribs as you might use breadcrumbs

 

68 香烹羊排 Boiled Lamb/Mutton Chops

69 白豆角柴火腊肉 String Beans w Smoked Bacon

70 白辣椒蒸腊猪嘴 Chili Pepper Steamed Pig’s Snout

71 豆豉辣椒蒸腊驴肉 Cured Donkey Meat w Black Fermented Beans and Chili

71 干锅带皮驴肉 Dry Pot Skin-On Donkey Meat

72 功夫羊肉 KungFu Mutton

72 香酥肘子 Crispy Pork Elbow

73 罐焖花猪肉 Pork Casserole

74 寒菌炖排骨 Stewed Ribs and Mushrooms

75 辣炒黑猪肉 Spicy Stir Fried Pork

76 盐菜扣猪尾 Salt Preserved Vegetables with Pig’s Tail 

77 过桥牛百叶 Across the Bridge Tripe

78 白辣椒蒸腊猪脸 Steamed Pig’s Face w Chili

79 烟笋腊肉 Smoked Bamboo Cured Pork

80 干锅寒菌腊肉 Dry Pot Cured Pork w Mushroom

81 藠头炒腊肉  Chinese Onion Cured Pork

82 砂锅毛肚 Sand Pot Tripe

83 菜薹炒腊肉 Fried Cured Pork with Vegetable Shoots

84 鲜肉小笼包 Pork Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

not Hunanese

 

85 腊肉蒸河虾 Cured Pork Steamed with River Shrimp

86 韭菜双脆 Tripe and Bamboo Shoots Chinese Chives

 

Coming next - birds.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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liuzhou,

 

Thanks for your typically intriguing contribution. 

 

Blossom's Riches: a bit taken aback for the poor ox, but you know, it might be good if we overcame our cultural aversion.

 

Sea Cucumber dishes: for ignoramuses like me, heads up, this is an animal with a tentacled mouth like this sometimes:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holoturia.004_-_Aquarium_Finisterrae.JPG

 

There are many variations, species?

 

Wow! It seems that Chinese culinary, culture which is ancient and beloved worldwide, may also have seen mass deprivation to make some of these things popular food items. I can't imagine being the first to eat either one of these items. That is also said of oysters, which I adore. 

 

Quick Fried Pig's Ear: A few soul food restaurants in the Southern US still serve pig's ears, but they are braised and then crisp-fried. After Sherman came through after the official end of the civil war, many things that didn't seem edible before came on the menu and some stuck to this day. Some eat pig's feet here too. Interestingly, at least to me, one of the few crops Sherman's troops did not take out was okra. They did not recognize it as human or animal food.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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liuzhou,

Wow! It seems that Chinese culinary, culture which is ancient and beloved worldwide, may also have seen mass deprivation to make some of these things popular food items. I can't imagine being the first to eat either one of these items. That is also said of oysters, which I adore.

China has certainly seen mass deprivation - even within living memory. It is believed by many historians that at least 45 million died between 1958-1962 partly (mainly) as a result of Mao's policies. More natural disasters have also taken their toll in the past.

This has certainly had an influence on what is deemed edible.

I loathe sea cucumbers, but love pig's feet/trotters. They are not unusual in the UK. I'll chew on some pig's ears, too.

"Give me a pig foot and a bottle of beer" - Bessie Smith

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Section 3 - 禽肉– Birds (and Eggs)

 

89 土鸡肚条钵子 Chicken and Pork Tripe Bowl

90 鹅肝酱炒软骨 Fried Chicken Cartilage with Goose Liver Sauce

92 腊昧合蒸 Steamed Cured Meats

Cured Fish, Pork, and Chicken

 

93 鱼籽香椿蛋 Fish Roe, Chinese Toon, Egg

94 湘西土匪鸭 Western Hunan Bandits’ Duck

96 啤酒鸭火锅 Beer Duck Hotpot

This was the ultimate dish I ate in Hunan. Utterly wonderful. I’m drooling as I type this.

 

97 小秋耳炒土鸡 Organic Chicken with Wood Ear Fungus

98 卜辣椒蒸腊鸡 Cured Chicken w Chili

99 田园禾谷鸭 Countryside Duck

100 本鸡汤 Chicken Soup

101 姜葱油淋鸡 Ginger and Onion Oil-Drenched Chicken

102 瓦缸熏鸡 Clay Crock Steamed Chicken

103 嫩玉米煲土鸡 Boiled Corn w Organic Chicken

104 砂锅板鸭 Sand Pot Pressed Salted Duck

105 生炸乳鸽 Deep Fried Pigeon Breast

105 粉条鸡翅煲 Chicken Wings w Bean Starch Noodles

106 脆皮童子鸡 Crisp Skin Broiler Chicken

106 味口蒸板鸭 Tasty Pressed Salted Duck

107 青椒乳鸽火锅 Green Chili Pigeon Breast Hot Pot

108 泼辣鸡 Pungent Chicken

109 贡椒蒸乌骨鸡 Black Bone Chicken (Silkie) w Chili

110 卜豆角干锅鸡 Dry Pot Chicken with Chili

111 豆豉辣椒铜钱蛋 Black Fermented Beans and Chili Copper Coin Eggs

111 湘西山珍鹅 Western Hunan Mountain Treasured Goose

 

Next: Aquatic Products

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I was interested in something I found out about on eG the other day, and couldn't find anything in English on it. So I ran a Portuguese language page through the translator, and to my complete amazement, it came through almost perfectly in English. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.
 
Here is a salutary, food-related warning on why not to rely on computer translations.

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Section 4 - 水产类 Aquatic Products

 

gts.jpg

 

Given that Hunan is a landlocked province, it may be surprising to learn that this section is by far the longest in the book. Despite the lack of sea, the province has more than its fair share of water.  It is bounded to the north by the Yangtse and China's second largest freshwater lake, Dongting Lake. Indeed Hunan means' south of the lake. It also has an extensive network of rivers.

 

Most of the fish here is river or lake fish; some farmed, some wild. There are also, however, recipes which call for sea fish or seafood. In a fresh form these are a new addition to the cuisine, although dried seafood and fish has been making its way inland for a long time.

 

113 金毛狮子鱼 Golden Mane Lion Fish

114 外婆家鱼头 Grandmother’s Family Fish Head

116 油泼酸汤鳜鱼 Oil Sprinkled Sour Soup Mandarin Fish

117 气锅海参 Gas Pot Sea Cucumber

118 干煸金鳅 Dry Fried Golden Loach

119 蒜烧鱼 Garlic Fried Catfish

120 三湘鱼 Hunan Bullhead Catfish

121 焦熘虾 Char-Fried Shrimp

121 香辣小鲫鱼 Spicy Baby Crucian Carp

122 双味牛蛙 Two Flavour Bullfrog

122 灌汤鱼丸 Fish Balls for Soup

123 开屏武昌鱼 Tail Spreading Blunt Nose Bream

The fish is cut to resemble (vaguely) a peacock displaying its tail.

 

124 金牌水煮鱼 Gold Medal Water Boiled Fish

This may sound boring, but in fact the fish (Grass Carp) is cooked in a fiery, flavorful broth. One for chili lovers. Not exclusive to Hunan. It also features in Sichuan cooking.

 

125 鱼杂钵子 Mixed Fish Alms Bowl

126 农家蒸酢鱼 Peasant Family Steamed Vinegar Fish

127 麻辣香脆虾 Hot and Numbing Crisp Shrimp

128 白椒蒸火焙鱼 White Pepper Steamed Baked Fish

129 茶香河虾 Tea Flavour River Shrimp

129 腊肉蒸河蟹 Steamed River Crab w Cured Pork

130 擂辣椒炒火焙鱼 Crushed Chili Fried Baked Fish

130 上汤焗龙虾 Steam Baked Lobster
The lobster is steamed over a clear stock.

 

131 霸王牛蛙 Ba Wang Bullfrog

Bawang is but one name given to the Qin Dynasty Emperor Xiang Yu (232–202 BC). It means ‘overlord’ or ‘conqueror’. Maybe he had a penchant for frogs?

 

132 铁板鱿鱼 Iron Plate Squid

133 鱼杂黄鸭叫 Yellow Catfish with Fish Mix

134 石烹醉河虾 Drunken River Shrimp

135 面包基围虾 Breadcrumb Shrimp

136 干锅扇贝肉 Dry Pot Scallops

138 香辣多宝鱼 Spicy Turbot

139 船娘小炒 Boat Mother’s Stir Fry

140 韭菜辣炒河蚌 Spicy River Mussels w Garlic Chives

142 鱼米之乡 Land of Plenty

Carp, Peas and Sweetcorn Kernels

 

143 白辣椒烧鳜鱼 Stewed Mandarin Fish with Chili

144 鸿运当头 Swan Goose Bearing Promises
Actually, fish head with chilies

 

145 豆腐炖河鳗 Stewed River Eel with Tofu

146 汤浸江团 Poached River Fish

147 风吹肉炖泥鳅 Stewed Loach with Wind Dried Pork

148 平锅鱼头 Flat Pan Fish Head

Unusually for China, this is cooked in a frying pan or skillet instead of a wok.

 

149 葱香黄焖鳜鱼 Onion Flavour Boiled Mandarin Fish

150 海鲜串串香 Sea Food Skewers

Grilled river clams and razor clams. Served with a pickled red chili sauce

 

151 干锅鱼嘴 Dry Pot Fish Mouth
The front half of the head

 

152 青椒炒鱼头 Green Pepper Fried Fish Head

153 香酥金丝虾 Crisp Golden Thread Shrimp

154 回锅黄玉参 Twice Cooked Sea Cucumber

155 簸箕鱼 Dustpan Fish

This is a simple, but tasty dish of small river fish with wind-dried pork.

 

155 酱椒口味田螺肉 River Snail Meat in a Chili Sauce.

156 绿茶鱼米 Chopped Fish with Green Tea

157 鳝鱼牛蛙煲 Eel and Bullfrog Pot

158 口味牛蛙 Tasty Bullfrog

159 吊锅腊味鳝鱼 Hanging Pot Cured Eel

160 石锅泡菜牛蛙 Stone Pot Bullfrog with Pickles

161 宫保牛蛙腿 Kung Po Bullfrog Legs

162 竹筒蒸田螺肉 Bamboo Tube Steamed River Snails

163 黄焖野生龟 Boiled Wild Turtle

164 肥牛千岛虾 Thousand Island Shrimp with Fatty Beef

Not that foul salad dressing in a bottle. It is little cakes which, on the plate, look like islands.

 

164 鲜捞鲍脯 Dredged Abalone Meat

165 浏阳腊鱼蒸腊肉 Liuyang Steamed Cured Pork and Cured Fish

165 咸鱼蒸肉饼Steamed Salt Fish Cakes

166 五彩蛇丝 Five Colour Snake Strips

167 野芹菜炒鳝鱼 Countryside Eel with Celery

168 干锅腊牛蛙 Dry Pot Cured Bullfrog

169 酸辣金丝绣球 Hot and Sour Golden Thread Embroidered Balls

170 鳜鱼肉丸火锅 Mandarin Fish and Meatball Hot Pot

171 鱼羊一锅鲜 Fish and Goat Hot Pot

172 鲜鲍煨寒菌 Stewed Abalone and Mushrooms

173 芸豆墨鱼炖肚 Tripe with Beans and Cuttlefish

174 土锅龟羊汤 擦 Clay Pot Turtle with Goat Meat

 

Next up is the final and shortest section. I may even finish it today. Vegetables

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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and finally

 

Section 5 - 蔬菜类 Vegetable Dishes

 

176 雪菜炒春笋 Snow Vegetable Fried Bamboo Shoots

177 干锅云雾脆笋 Dry Pot Cloud and Mist Crisp Bamboo

178 骨头汤煮香干丝 Bone Soup Boiled Smoked Tofu

Irrelevant aside: The first two characters literally say “Bone Head”, but together just mean bones. Bonehead doesn’t carry the same meaning in Chinese as in English. Well, it amused me.

 

179 作坊芙蓉豆腐 Workshop Lotus Tofu

180 银耳湘莲 Hunan Lotus with Silver Ear Fungus 

181 豆豉鲮鱼蒸尖椒 Steamed Dace with Black Fermented Beans and Chili

182 砂锅浏阳粉 Sand Pot Liuyang Noodles

183 外婆菜 Grandmother’s Vegetables

This Grandmother seems to prefer bamboo and cabbage.

 

183 老抽萝卜 Daikon Radish

184 花肉白菜 Chinese Cabbage with Pork Belly

185 腊味鸡婆笋 Cured Meats and Chicken with Bamboo

186 头炒下饭菜  Chinese Onion Fried Vegetables w Rice

188 干锅芽白 Dry Pot Vegetable Sprouts

189 黄剁椒炒蕨菜 Stir Fried Brake with Chili

 

The End.

 

I'd be interested to know how this compares to the menu in your local Hunan restaurant if you have one. When I left London to come to China, the city had no Hunan restaurants, at all. 

 

It did have (and still has) one bizarre restaurant called Hunan, but it is actually Taiwanese.

 

Note: No General Tso! 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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liuzhou-

I am curious...

    What is the recipe for green tea shrimp?

    Can you suggest a simple/basic :shock::unsure:  :unsure:   fish-head recipe, something with 15 or less ingredients ?

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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liuzhou-

I am curious...

    What is the recipe for green tea shrimp?   

 

The tea shrimp recipe in the book is rather odd. It is different from any tea shrimp I have eaten in Hunan and uses Shacha sauce, which is not normally a feature of Hunan cuisine, instead being from eastern China.

 

129 茶香河虾 Tea Flavour River Shrimp

 

Ingredients

 

400 grams Fresh Small River Shrimp, 10g Oolong Tea, 10g Shacha Sauce, 50g Onion Ginger Wine (see below), 10g Salt, 1000g Salad OIl

 

Summary of Method

 

1. Make tea with the oolong and hot water. Reserve the leaves and tea.

 

2. Clean shrimp and marinate for a short time in the onion ginger wine along with the salt.

 

3. When the shrimp are almost cooked, add the shacha sauce, enough tea to make a sauce and add the tea leaves.

 

Onion Ginger Wine

 

30g each ginger and the white part of scallions. Chop finely and pound with a mortar and pestle to make a paste.  Add paste to 150ml Chinese rice wine (白酒) and leave to infuse. Strain through muslin and discard ginger and onion.

 

Tea shrimp is common in Hunan. The picture I posted was taken in my local Hunan restaurant and I have eaten the same in other Hunanese places. I also make it fairly regularly at home. Here is how I do it.

 

Hunan Tea Shrimp

 

500 g shell-on shrimp, 2-3 tsp Shaoxing wine, 1 egg white, 2 tsp cornstarch (separated), 1Tsp vegetable oil (not olive oil). 2 tsp green tea. 1 cup hot water,  salt, sugar.

 

Make tea. Strain. Reserve leaves and 60 ml of the drink. Allow to cool.

 

Mix shrimp with the Shaoxing wine, egg, 1 tsp of the cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Marinate for around 15 minutes.

 

Heat oil and stir fry shrimp for about two minutes.

 

Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar plus the remaining tsp starch to the tea and mix well.

 

Add to the shrimp and stir for a further two minutes or until the shrimp are fully cooked. Add the tea leaves and serve.

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liuzhou-

I am curious...

    

    Can you suggest a simple/basic :shock::unsure:  :unsure:   fish-head recipe, something with 15 or less ingredients ?

 

One of the more common ways to gross out newly arrived visitors (especially vegetarians) to China is to take them to the nearest market and show them the fish heads standing up staring at them, often with their mouths still opening and closing as if gasping for breath. This is, of course, mere post-mortem muscle spasms but it is astonishing how many people think the fish are somehow still alive despite having been decapitated.

 

BigheadCarp1.jpg

 

The fish of choice for fish head dishes is Bighead Carp, for obvious reasons. It goes under a few different names, but the one I see most is 大头鱼 which translates as 'Big Head Carp'! This chap in the pictures weighs 1.6kg and is 9 inches from nose to cut line, and around 3 inches across the neck. Big head indeed.

 

I've looked through the book and although the fish head recipes all have fewer than 15 ingredients, some of those ingredients may be difficult to source.  The simplest is that on page 152 for which the ingredients are:

  1. Fish Head (approx 1.5kg)
  2. Tofu Skin
  3. Pickled Chili
  4. Ginger
  5. Garlic
  6. Green Onion
  7. Camelia Oil
  8. Salt
  9. Onion Ginger Wine
  10. Sesame Oil
  11. Salted Black Beans
  12. Soy Sauce

    If you are OK with let me know and I'll be more specific

BigheadCarp2.jpg

 

By far the most common fish head dish is Fish Head and Tofu Soup. There are several recipes on the interweb. This one isn't bad, although olive oil would never be used in China. She also discusses using a salmon head if the carp isn't available, Cod head can be used, too.

 

BigheadCarp3.jpg

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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    • By liuzhou
      Big Plate Chicken - 大盘鸡 (dà pán jī)
       

       
      This very filling dish of chicken and potato stew is from Xinjiang province in China's far west, although it is said to have been invented by a visitor from Sichuan. In recent years, it has become popular in cities across China, where it is made using a whole chicken which is chopped, with skin and on the bone, into small pieces suitable for easy chopstick handling. If you want to go that way, any Asian market should be able to chop the bird for you. Otherwise you may use boneless chicken thighs instead.

      Ingredients

      Chicken chopped on the bone or Boneless skinless chicken thighs  6

      Light soy sauce

      Dark soy sauce

      Shaoxing wine

      Cornstarch or similar. I use potato starch.

      Vegetable oil (not olive oil)

      Star anise, 4

      Cinnamon, 1 stick

      Bay leaves, 5 or 6

      Fresh ginger, 6 coin sized slices

      Garlic.  5 cloves, roughly chopped

      Sichuan peppercorns,  1 tablespoon

      Whole dried red chillies,   6 -10  (optional). If you can source the Sichuan chiles known as Facing Heaven Chiles, so much the better.

      Potatoes 2 or 3 medium sized. peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

      Carrot. 1,  thinly sliced

      Dried wheat noodles.  8 oz. Traditionally, these would be a long, flat thick variety. I've use Italian tagliatelle successfully.    

      Red bell pepper. 1 cut into chunks

      Green bell pepper, 1 cut into chunks

      Salt

      Scallion, 2 sliced.
         
      Method

      First, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in 1½ teaspoons light soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of Shaoxing and 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch. Set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

      Heat the wok and add three tablespoons cooking oil. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and chilies. Fry on a low heat for a  minute or so. If they look about to burn, splash a little water into your wok. This will lower the temperature slightly. Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Continue frying until the meat is nicely seared, then add the potatoes and carrots. Stir fry a minute more then add 2 teaspoons of the dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the Shaoxing wine along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cover and cook for around 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are done.

      While the main dish is cooking, cook the noodles separately according to the packet instructions.  Reserve  some of the noodle cooking water and drain.

      When the chicken and potatoes are done, you may add a little of the noodle water if the dish appears on the dry side. It should be saucy, but not soupy. Add the bell peppers and cook for three to four minutes more. Add scallions. Check seasoning and add some salt if it needs it. It may not due to the soy sauce and, if in the USA, Shaoxing wine.

      Serve on a large plate for everyone to help themselves from. Plate the noodles first, then cover with the meat and potato. Enjoy.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Way back in the 1990’s, I was living in west Hunan, a truly beautiful part of China. One day, some colleagues suggested we all go for lunch the next day, a Saturday. Seemed reasonable to me. I like a bit of lunch.
       
      “OK. We’ll pick you up at 7 am.”
       
      “Excuse me? 7 am for lunch?
       
      “Yes. We have to go by car.”
       
      Well, of course, they finally picked me up at 8.30, drove in circles for an hour trying to find the guy who knew the way, then headed off into the wilds of Hunan. We drove for hours, but the scenery was beautiful, and the thousand foot drops at the side of the crash barrier free road as we headed up the mountains certainly kept me awake.
       
      After an eternity of bad driving along hair-raising roads which had this old atheist praying, we stopped at a run down shack in the middle of nowhere. I assumed that this was a temporary stop because the driver needed to cop a urination or something, but no. This was our lunch venue.
       
      We shuffled into one of the two rooms the shack consisted of and I distinctly remember that one of my hosts took charge of the lunch ordering process.
       
      “We want lunch for eight.” There was no menu.
       
      The waitress, who was also the cook, scuttled away to the other room of the shack which was apparently a kitchen.
       
      We sat there for a while discussing the shocking rise in bean sprout prices and other matters of national importance, then the first dish turned up. A pile of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies. It was delicious.
       
      “What is this meat?” I asked.
       
      About half of the party spoke some English, but my Chinese was even worse than it is now, so communications weren’t all they could be. There was a brief (by Chinese standards) meeting and they announced:
       
      “It’s wild animal.”
       
      Over the next hour or so, several other dishes arrived. They were all piles of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies, but the sauces and vegetable accompaniments varied. And all were very, very good indeed.
       
      “What’s this one?” I ventured.
       
      “A different wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “Another wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “A wild animal which is not the wild animal in the other dishes”
       
      I wandered off to the kitchen, as you can do in rural Chinese restaurants, and inspected the contents of their larder, fridge, etc. No clues.
       
      I returned to the table with a bit of an idea.
       
      “Please write down the Chinese names of all these animals we have eaten. I will look in my dictionary when I get home.”
       
      They looked at each other, consulted, argued and finally announced:
       
      “Sorry! We don’t know in Chinese either. “
       
      Whether that was true or just a way to get out of telling me what I had eaten, I’ll never know. I certainly wouldn’t be able to find the restaurant again.
       
      This all took place way back in the days before digital cameras, so I have no illustrations from that particular meal. But I’m guessing one of the dishes was bamboo rat.
       
      No pandas or tigers were injured in the making of this post
       
    • By ojisan
      Does anyone have any thoughts about Alice Waters' new "40 Years of Chez Panisse"? Not a recipe cookbook - more of a memoir/history/picture book.
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • 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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