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Sauce and Ingredient Finds


haresfur

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Here are my latest purchases from the Asian grocery store. I'm aiming to make Szechuan eggplant and these seemed to be approximately what the recipe called for. Luckily these included English translations, but it is not always clear what to look for. The recipe called for Chinkiang black vinegar and Sichuan chili broad bean paste(Doubanjiang) so I guess I didn't get close to the Doubanjiang but I'll muddle through. There were several types of vinegar so I just went with the darkest, most expensive one. Guess I should have actually written the ingredients down before I went to the store ☺️.

 

Following advice from @liuzhou I avoided Lee Kum Kee.

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Doubanjiang (豆瓣酱) is essential for Sichuan cooking. The sweet soy bean paste is not a substitute. The Zhenjiang vinegar you bought is Chinkiang black vinegar. 'Chinkiang' is the old transliteration which only America uses now!

 

I don't know that brand. I'd try to find some aged more than three years (the minimum). Mine is aged for six years (marked 六年陈).

 

I'm always happy to give names in Chinese, should you want to print them out and take to the store to help find those items not labelled in English.

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This is the brand of doubanjiang I see most often - 丹丹郫县豆酱 (dān dān Pí xiàn dòu bàn jiàng) from Pixian, probably the centre of doubanjiang excellence. I've seen it in England, so I know it is exported - hope you can find it.

 

Douban_jiang.thumb.jpg.877105b390a96f6193fa284faf513751.jpg

 

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

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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  • 4 weeks later...

Somewhere on eGullet a soy sauce called Takesan Kishibori Shoyu was mentioned.  I went to order something from Amazon today and noticed it was on my wish list.  Is anyone familiar with this?  I'm trying to decide whether or not to treat myself to this.

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3 hours ago, ElsieD said:

Somewhere on eGullet a soy sauce called Takesan Kishibori Shoyu was mentioned.  I went to order something from Amazon today and noticed it was on my wish list.  Is anyone familiar with this?  I'm trying to decide whether or not to treat myself to this.

 

I am not familiar with the product (nor could I find an exact match to the name on amazon US), however one possibly similar soy sauce I have is Yamaroku Shoyu B0036TFXY0.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Armed with a printout of @Liuzhou's message (thanks!), I went to Johnny's for Doubanjiang and he recommended this for eggplant so I could adjust the spice upward, rather than the spicy Doubanjiang he had in stock. I have no idea if that was good advice but judging from the wicked Sichuan peppers, I posted above, I think some caution might be a good idea.

20210428_131305.thumb.jpg.016f99d6d6409ff9855c4e18f3415f32.jpg

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Hmmm.

 

That isn't what I call doubanjiang. Although it says 豆瓣酱 (dòu bàn jiàng) in Chinese, it says  "soy bean paste" in English. Real Sichuan doubanjiang is predominantly broad beans and chili. Is it possible to see a picture of the back of the packet where the ingredients are listed?

As to spiciness, some doubanjiang from other parts of China are rather mild, especially those from Guangdong and Taiwan. That sauce is from Shandong in the north of China, far from Sichuan, and an area known for its mild cuisine.

 

The characters to look for are:

 

a) 四川 (sì chuān)

 

b) (là) - meaning hot or spicy.

 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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2 minutes ago, weinoo said:

@liuzhou How do you and your neighbors store a jar or can of hoisin sauce, once it has been opened?  Fridge or not is what I'm wondering.

 

I seldom use the stuff (it's Cantonese, somewhere I rarely venture) and I don't have any but I'd store it in the fridge, mainly because that's where I have room.  Those of my neighbours who use it probably just have it on a shelf.

 

Hoisin comes in cans?

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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1 minute ago, liuzhou said:

 

I seldom use the stuff (it's Cantonese, somewhere I rarely venture) and I don't have any but I'd store it in the fridge, mainly because that's where I have room.  Those of my neighbours who use it probably just have it on a shelf.

 

Hoisin comes in cans?

Some of the brands I've seen here have, yeah.

 

Might've been a while ago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fuchsia Dunlop has an article in the Guardian today on doubanjiang. She has her favourite Pixian brand. which I have used. It is excellent, but I'm not sure how widely available it is internationally.

 

fb03jc239106_1.thumb.jpg.069c8f852e241a7fac077fd795588f6d.jpg

Juancheng Brand Doubanjiang

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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50 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Fuchsia Dunlop has an article in the Guardian today on doubanjiang. She has her favourite Pixian brand. which I have used. It is excellent, but I'm not sure how widely available it is internationally.

 

fb03jc239106_1.thumb.jpg.069c8f852e241a7fac077fd795588f6d.jpg

Juancheng Brand Doubanjiang

I think I have that brand, but it came on a bag rather than a jar. I'd have to check more closely - but the label looks very similar.

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32 minutes ago, KennethT said:

I think I have that brand, but it came on a bag rather than a jar. I'd have to check more closely - but the label looks very similar.

 

It does also come in a bag to refill the jar. That said, China is notorious for companies copying their rivals' packaging design with just minor changes.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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31 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

It does also come in a bag to refill the jar. That said, China is notorious for companies copying their rivals' packaging design with just minor changes.

Yes, unfortunately I'm well aware of thus but that's another story.

 

This is what I have - can you tell me?

 

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2 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Yes, unfortunately I'm well aware of thus but that's another story.

 

This is what I have - can you tell me?

 

20210516_091938_HDR.thumb.jpg.cff4282582835418e171ab9c846843aa.jpg

 

Yes. 鹃城牌 (juān chéng pái) is the stuff! (pái) just means 'brand'.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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Sorry to tease you but here's something you probably aren't going to find - at least not in this form.

 

litsea2.thumb.jpg.e892758da5b1cc497b899dda5843d40b.jpg

 

What we have here are fresh Litsea seeds (Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers. ), (山胡椒 - shān hú jiāo, literally mountain pepper; or 木姜子 - mù jiāng zǐ, literally tree ginger seeds). They are more usually seen dried, but even more often they are used to make 山胡椒油 - shān hú jiāo yóu or 木姜子油 - mù jiāng zǐ yóu, litsea oil.

 

The seeds grow on small trees in Guizhou and Hunan provinces, as well as in Taiwan. The oil is distinctly lemon scented  - like lemongrass - with notes of ginger and a mild pepperiness. The harvest begins in May and lasts all summer.

 

The oil is often used as a condiment. Fuchsia Dunlop notes in The Food of Sichuan that although not Sichuanese, people in the SE of the province like to use it in dips and on the cold dishes that cuisine is famous for. The fresh seeds can be added to summer hoptpots, but they are rare, even here.

 

litsea1.thumb.jpg.8a8cd617d4bd3a1ab0601688b50ed3a5.jpg

The oil is available in the west, but usually in those trendy 'wellness' places where the quacks recommend it is an essential oil.
 

Quote

Litsea Cubeba is delightful for lifting and soothing the spirits. It works wonders in skin care, as well as for the digestive, immune and nervous systems, and more.

 

Grrr!

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Here are a couple of Sichuan related ingredients I picked up today.

 

First up is the oil I referred to in the previous post. This bottle is from western Hunan where I lived 25 years ago. Note it has both alternative Chinese names on the bottle - 山胡椒油 - shān hú jiāo yóu and 木姜子油 - mù jiāng zǐ yóu.

 

1415897359_litseaoil1.thumb.jpg.a8e4fd70073b4a4f6ab2a2b752aab19d.jpg

 

727099265_litseaoil2.thumb.jpg.beb430010e7f4e64be4603f852ab07b6.jpg

 

Secondly, although Zhenjiang vinegar* is the top choice for black vinegar in most of China, Sichuan prefers this local Baoning vinegar. It is rarely seen outside China. Rarely seen outside Sichuan. I had to order it online.

 

i348358183_baoningvinegar.thumb.jpg.338599eaafcc66a1d36e40b8cc33a8f8.jpg

 

* inexplicably called Chinkiang vinegar in the US.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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... and here are the dried litsea seeds. As you can see, the green seeds turn black when dried.

 

20210526_130719.thumb.jpg.66fb738093e97ecfbc918d845cc05b42.jpg

 

I resealed the packaged after using some today. I'll re-open them tomorrow and add a clearer image.

 

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  • 8 months later...

I bought this package of pickled mustard greens the other day and had questions of usage:

 

20220212_115619_HDR.thumb.jpg.15541e19e16ac31063a5d2d3a97fe7d8.jpg

 

Obviously it should be drained before use, but should I also rinse it or even soak it to remove some of the pickling liquid?

 

ps - why would any company use green writing on a clear package that has green just behind it?  Are they trying to make it hard to read?

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2 hours ago, KennethT said:

ps - why would any company use green writing on a clear package that has green just behind it?  Are they trying to make it hard to read?

 

Unlike my recent jar of olives that arrived with no label at all.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

Whatever you crave, there's a dumpling for you. -- Hsiao-Ching Chou

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