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chengb02

Cantonese Cooking & Traditions

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It shouldn't be paste like;it's the same technique as used to make shrimp balls,and should give the same sensation of eating meat and at the same time eating something ground up, if you see what I mean-it should actually have a lot of texture,as though the fibres are elongated. Just had one for dinner,with salt fish. It really was very good. To try to be more clear, the lean meat is cut into small dice on a large board then hit repeatedly with the back of a heavy cleaver, which is about 1/3 of an inch wide,thus kind of opening up the fibres rather than chopping. Don't really understand the wimpy burger reference, I've never had one.


Edited by muichoi (log)

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Guess you'd have to have had a Wimpy Burger to understand the reference. Sorry about that. I just assumed you're being in the UK will have had one of those. :laugh:

I suppose that smacking the meat with the flat side of your cleaver would achieve the same results as my stiring like crazy with my chopsticks or with the plastic paddles of my mixer.

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I do give the meat about fifty 'grabs' and then throw the ball repeatedly back into the mixing bowl as well-I'm unsure of what actually happens, but I think one's getting rid of air rather than adding it-it feels like the protein chains are getting longer and longer, but I'm certainly scientifically illiterate.

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Hi all,

I just discovered this Chinese cooking thread. Yay!

My parents used to make three versions: ham, haam yee, and gnap gawn (duck liver)—my favorite. Since gnap gawn has been hard to find, they substitute gnap gawn lap cheung. I do remember them adding dried mushrooms sometimes. I was just speaking to my mom about it the other day, and she didn’t mention adding cornstarch. She also stressed chopping the meat by hand. Of course, no proportions, so everything was eyeballed. One ingredient that isn’t mentioned here was that she placed a few slices of ginger on the bottom and top.

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Hi all,

I just discovered this Chinese cooking thread.  Yay!

My parents used to make three versions:  ham, haam yee, and gnap gawn (duck liver)—my favorite. Since gnap gawn has been hard to find, they substitute gnap gawn lap cheung.  I do remember them adding dried mushrooms sometimes.  I was just speaking to my mom about it the other day, and she didn’t mention adding cornstarch.  She also stressed chopping the meat by hand.  Of course, no proportions, so everything was eyeballed.  One ingredient that isn’t mentioned here was that she placed a few slices of ginger on the bottom and top.

Cornstarch is like velveting...makes the meat "waht"...

Thanks to the poster who gave me the spelling for that word! :biggrin:

Welcome to the forum, I_call_the_duck.


Edited by Dejah (log)

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Hi all,

I just discovered this Chinese cooking thread.  Yay!

My parents used to make three versions:  ham, haam yee, and gnap gawn (duck liver)—my favorite. Since gnap gawn has been hard to find, they substitute gnap gawn lap cheung.  I do remember them adding dried mushrooms sometimes.   I was just speaking to my mom about it the other day, and she didn’t mention adding cornstarch.  She also stressed chopping the meat by hand.  Of course, no proportions, so everything was eyeballed.  One ingredient that isn’t mentioned here was that she placed a few slices of ginger on the bottom and top.

Cornstarch is like velveting...makes the meat "waht"...

Thanks to the poster who gave me the spelling for that word! :biggrin:

Welcome to the forum, I_call_the_duck.

Thanks. It's so nice to find people other than my family that speak "Chinglish". :smile: Please don't take offense at that term. My husband, who is a bok gui is still getting used to me throwing in a few words here and there. And my Chinese isn't that good, so when I'm talking to my mom, it's a hybrid of English-Cantonese-Toisanese.

Darn. I was on the phone with my mom today, and forgot to ask her about the cornstarch. She does use cornstarch in her wontons, so it would make sense that she'd use it for the pork patty.


Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

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On another food forum, the subject of "sizzling plate" dishes came up. Many of the Cantonese seafood restaurants in my neighborhood also offer sizzling plate dishes. Examples are beef with green onions, oyster with ginger and green onions, chicken with black bean sauce, etc.. When served, the waiter would bring out a hot iron plate on top of a wooden base and the cooked dish separately. Then in front of the customers, he would pour the beef/oyster/chicken dish on to the hot plate. Instantly some sauce would boil and vaporize, creating a puff of aromatic smoke which radiates out all around.

I am familiar with these sizzling plate dishes, but am puzzled at the origin of the "sizzling plate" style. Though they are served in many Cantonese restaurants, I am not convinced that this was a traditional Cantonese dish. For one thing, I had not seen these sizzling plates during the 20 some years that I lived in Hong Kong. Yes there were sizzling plates but they were only used in Hong Kong style western dishes - steaks with a black pepper sauce. The traditional Cantonese style cooking includes hot pots.

Are the sizzling plate dishes uniquely American-Cantonese? Does anybody know the origin of these dishes? How long ago do they date back?

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These are quite popular in Japan as well but mostly for western foods like steaks and hamburger patties.

I never really thought about where they came from.

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I think the usage of sizzling dish was introduced by the HK style Western restaurant since a lot of those restaurant would serve their main course on those sizzling plates. Maybe a Chinese chef saw it and thought that he could use it in the kicthen, since HK is well known for combining other food cultures into their own.

Talking about HK style Western restaurant, I actually miss them even though a lot of them serve baking soda steak and canned soup :wink: . I miss the dishes like baked ox tongue with tomato sauce and spaghetti, braised oxtail, and the warm and soft bun with butter. I think a lot of HK people got their first taste of "Western" food through those restaurants and kids would brag to their friends about going to such restaurants. :smile:

I have never eaten any sizzing dishes at HK Cantonese restaurant although I think they do exist. Using a clay pot should have similar effects although the temperature might not be as high so there would not be much sizzling.

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When I was involved in our family restaurant in the very early 60s, it was one of the busiest restaurant of any type in New Brunswick. As such my first cousin, the head cook, was really interested in being a trendsetter. He saw or heard about the usage of sizzling platters when serving steaks. Wow! The news of this attractive flourish spread like wildfire and we sold more steaks over the next 6 months than we had ever sold before. (until copycats stole a bit of our thunder). Then my cousin got the bright idea to serve premium Chinese dishes in the sizzling platters...salt&pepper shrimp, beef kow, chicken & black beans, etc. Knocked them dead, he did.

Was he the first to use the sizzling platter for Chinese food (1964)?? Probably not. But he was first in Atlantic Canada.

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The "SIZZLE" from the platters into the Steak originated apparently as 2 so called European Style Restaurants in Asia. Ironically they both has the same names even though I don't think they were related to each other during the 1950's.

The first place was the very well known 'Jimmy's Kitchen" originally located in the Central District in Hong Kong still operated by the Landau Family at 2 different locations in Causeway Bay and Kowloon.

The other Restaurant was in "Kula Lumpar" also called "Jimmy's Kitchen".

Both places started using the Steel Oval Platters to serve Steaks hot as if they came sizzling right off the fire. It was effective merchandising, even though the original rationale was to serve Steaks from Kitchens that needed some way to keep up with the volume of orders by delivering a Steak still hot to the customers.

It eventually traveled all over the world, where it's still being featured in various guises effectively. From "Fajitas" to "Sizzling Rice" all the way to some of the most expensive "Steak House" Steaks. [Ruth Chris?]

Irwin

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Could it have come from the sizzling rice dishes? The rice has to be piping hot from the oil, and maybe rather than heated platters, hot platters were used in an effort to keep the rice really hot until the sauce was poured on top. Then maybe some enterprizing soul got the big idea to------------and the rest is history??

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jo-mel: Congratulations on your 1000th post too! (Tepee, is the cake ready???) :biggrin:

Irwin: Thanks for the history brief. That makes a lot of sense. I grew up hearing the name "Jimmy's Kitchen". I grew up in Tsim Sha Tsui and I often smelled the garlic, melted butter, fried potatoes and curries coming up from the exhausts from whatever restaurants. The sizzling steak with black pepper sauce (western style)dish was quite common in the 60's/70's in Hong Kong. Did it go from there and spread around the world? Wow! What an honor! Fajitas too? It's amazing how one copies from another and morphes into slightly different things.


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

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  The sizzling steak with black pepper sauce (western style)dish was quite common in the 60's/70's in Hong Kong.  Did it go from there and spread around the world?  Wow!  What an honor!  Fajitas too?  It's amazing how one copies from another and morphes into slightly different things.

This was one of our biggest sellers in Soo's. It always set off a domino effect when one customer orders it. The aroma and effect was such that everyone will want one. The BBQ sauce and black bean garlic sauce sizzling plates were always "served" at the customer's table. The curry ones, we'd start them in the kitchen so the aroma doesn't choke up those not so tolerant of spices.

I think I took pictures the last time I served this to company... :hmmm:

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Could it have  come from the sizzling rice dishes?  The rice has to be piping hot from the oil, and maybe rather than heated platters,  hot platters were used in an effort to keep the rice really hot until the sauce was poured on top. Then maybe some enterprizing soul got the big idea to------------and the rest is history??

jo-mei:

In Hong Kong the rice thats browned on the bottom of the "Clay Pot Casseroles" would never get any further then being coveted by everyone waiting to get a chance to scoop some up.

It's offered to the guest of honor or eldest at the table first and the rest is up for grabs. It a treat that escapes politeness.

In the States it's a contrived item since Clay Pots are mostly served in genuine Chinese Restaurants where they are baked to order with a rice base. The majority of places prepare the dishes with rice served seperately.

In the States Hot platters evolved in NYC where they are still used for "Roast Pork" and "Spare Ribs" in many Restaurants. It has been served this way since the 1930's.

Sizziling Rice is mostly yesterdays rice compressed into shape, then deep fried to achive the effect. It's good merchandising that tastes pretty good but I never saw it done in Asia.

Irwin

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While I have nothing of substance to add, this thread reminded me of a funny story. A friend and I went to one of Montreal's Chinese restaurants, an honest Cantonese place that had bowed to popular pressure and added a few Szechuan-style dishes to their menu. When we gave the waiter our order, we stressed that ours were not the typical Canadian palates and that we had a high tolerance for heat. The spiciest dish we ordered was a sizzling platter. When the waiter brought our food, he set the platter on a serving table that was closer to other diners than to us. He caught our eyes, held up a vial, checked one last time by asking "really spicy?" and, on seeing our nods, dumped the entire contents onto the sizzling platter. A veritable mushroom cloud of steam rose from the dish. Within seconds, the waiter was coughing violently. Then the four diners at the table nearest him started coughing. They were soon joined by the diners at the next table. Then the next. And the next. Before long, everyone seated at our end of the restaurant was coughing, blowing their noses and wiping tears from their eyes. Everyone except us, that is; our table was directly under an air-conditioner vent. Still coughing, one of the men in a nearby party stood up, shot us a dirty look and announced "Let's get out of here before they serve something else!" Moral of the story: Cantonese sizzling platter good; Szechuan sizzling platter bad.

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Oh!! My 1000th! Hee Hee -- I think I've been broken in! Tepee -- was that message, on another post, for me? I saw it ant thought that someone had passed a milestone, but I'd never checked to see where I stood! Thanks all!

Wesza -- I'm not too nice. When I've served a clay pot with rice, I don't tell anyone what is on the bottom. They are not usually Chinese, so they don't know about that goody, and I have it all to myself!

In Asia, isn't the rice that is left on the sides and bottom of the pot -- and dried out, the original basis for sizzling rice? (And I assume done here by Chinese families) I've done it that way --- leaving a thick coating in the pan, but then I made it in the oven --- then I ?progressed? into buying the cakes.

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I was one of the respondent on that other forum. I'm curious about this, too, as I had never encountered it in this area.

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Moral of the story: Cantonese sizzling platter good; Szechuan sizzling platter bad.

carswell: Thanks for the funny story! LOL! I could imagine everybody in the restaurant choking on the smell of hot chili except you guys. :laugh::laugh:

The hot sizzling platters do cause a domino effect. One customer orders one, the others all watch. The people who just come in and see it, a lot of them would say: what's that? Smells so good... I gotta have one too!

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I first saw the sizzling platters in the mid-80s, when more and more HK-style restaurants opened in NY. Flushing’s Chinatown was growing rapidly at the time, and since it was closer to our home than Manhattan's Chinatown, we went to Flushing instead. The first time my family ordered a sizzling platter, we didn’t know that “sizzling” meant that a hot platter was brought to our table. It was a pleasant surprise. Our favorite dish was sizzling sable with black beans. :wub:

The hot sizzling platters do cause a domino effect.  One customer orders one, the others all watch. 

I took delight in watching the "round-eyes" look in interest when they heard our dish hit the hot platter, particularly when they were eating some unidentifiable glop.

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This was one of our biggest sellers in Soo's. It always set off a domino effect when one customer orders it. The aroma and effect was such that everyone will want one. The BBQ sauce and black bean garlic sauce sizzling plates were always "served" at the customer's table. The curry ones, we'd start them in the kitchen so the aroma doesn't choke up those not so tolerant of spices.

I don't know about the origin, but I do trust Wesza.

It remains a big seller nowadays at most Cantonese restaurants I've been around, regardless of American Chinese or Chinese Chinese.

The sizzle has always turned heads and caused other people to add it to their order.

Worba for the American Chinese, flank steak or short rib with black pepper sauce for the Chinese Chinese.

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Carwell: Your story made me ROFL!!! Too funny!

On another note, has anyone tried making sizzling dishes at home?

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Carswell --- so how did the dish taste?

I think we've all experienced the 'cough' from fried chilies. It has to wear off. You really can't do anything about those droplets in the air if you are in the middle of them. I had a whole table of students hacking one time. I told them that they REALLY learned a lesson!

I've done the sizzling dishes for both classes and for family. A shrimp one on sizzling rice on a sizzling platter, a steak and onions, and a steak with black pepper sauce.

About the black pepper sauce----- is that Hong Kong innovation for Western tastes or do Chinese like it too? I love it! A place nearby, has oysters on skewers in black pepper sauce on a sizzling platter. So good --- and yes --- it turns eyes. I asked the waiter where the oysters came from. He said he'd ask the chef. The chef told him --- a can!! I couldn't believe it! I still like them and order them whenever I go there. Many black pepper sauces are on scallops or shrimp, but even tho those are fresh, I still prefer those canned oysters.

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I've done the sizzling dishes for both classes and for family. A shrimp one on sizzling rice on a sizzling platter[...]

I remember serving a dish like that when I worked as a waiter in a restaurant in San Diego. We had to move very quickly from the kitchen to the dining table, with both the sizzling plate and the sizzling rice ("War Bar" [Cantonese]) on our trays. Once set on the table, pour the sizzling rice, then pour the shrimp and sauce (made with tomato base) on to the iron plate. The smell was wonderful... always made us waiters hungry too!

I think the Cantonese black pepper sauce is a Hong Konger's twist on the traditional Cantonese "black bean sauce" and combining the ever-so-popular "steak with black pepper sauce on sizzling plate" dish in Hong Kong western restaurants.


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

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hzrt --

On those sizzling rice dishes -- forget the shrimp! I go for the rice with the sauce on it. I'm not one for tomatos in Chinese cooking, and even the tomato sauce dishes are at the bottom of my list ---- but the dish you described does have a flavorable sauce. Hugh Carpenter has a great Tomato Fireworks Shrimp dish that is wonderful over sizzling rice.

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      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
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