• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

chengb02

Cantonese Cooking & Traditions

127 posts in this topic

[...]I know they used Javin brand curry powder...but always wondered how they made the dish. I experimented with the powder at home but never even came close.  The sauce was dark dark brown, not the typical yellowish stuff you find most places.

I would venture a guess that the dark dark brown color probably came from soy sauce. Being a Chinese cooking non-Chinese originated dishes, we always have to put in our touch... :biggrin:

That's what Leisure Cat told me how people in Hong Kong make spaghetti sauce... ketchup with soy sauce... :laugh:


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^

It may have been soy sauce... but the color of this curry powder is itself a much darker brown than other brands that I've seen next to it on the shelves at the local oriental markets... :smile:

Hope the next pictorial will be of the curry beef or chicken!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In restaurant days, we used large containers of curry powder packaged for the wholesaler: SERCA out of Toronto, Ontario. It's like McCormics if anyone is familiar with that brand. I still use it as I have six 482g. containers of it left! :wacko:

It has a nice aroma and our customers liked it, mostly stir-fried chicken and onion.

It's not really hot, so when a customer wants spicy, we will add crushed pepper flakes or a chopped up habanero pepper.

At home, in quick stir-fry dishes, I use mostly Vindoloo paste made by Patak as we like the heat and flavour. This produces a darker brown colour product. When I do a stew type of curry, I use the Serca powder to stir fry the meat (chicken or beef). Big pieces of celery, onion, carrots and potatoes are thrown in and simmered until tender. I love the celery in chunks, but mash up the potato and carrots into the sauce on my plate.

When I make curry dal soup, I also use the powder to give a lighter colour and flavour.

In the Chinese supermarket, they carry so many different kinds of curry. Two cans I had were labelled Chinese Curry Powder: a hot and a mild one. Don't have the cans anymore, but it seemed to me one was darker than the other.

I keep buying different kinds, and they are still sitting in my cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind! :laugh:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Malaysian Curry that comes in vacuum sealed pouches. A lot of Chinese restaurants make curry in a wok with lots of moisture. I like to make mine stew style in big batches for "day after" tastiness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[...]

Love this forum. Glad I joined. I have many more questions about cantonese cooking to bring back my childhood. :laugh:

Oh yeah? Fire away! :biggrin: I for one am anxiously waiting... :laugh::laugh:

Thanks Ah Leung!

Greatly appreciate. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like eating the Cantonese style "Salt and Pepper" dishes: Salt and Pepper Shrimp, Squid, Fish Filet, Tofo, etc... Basically they deep-fry the slightly battered shrimp/squid/fish or tofu, then stir-fry quickly with a mixture of fried garlic, chopped green onion, chopped chili pepper and salt under intense heat.

Recently, the S&P dishes I had in many of these neighborhood restaurants just seemed to be overdosed with salt. When I bit into the food, it seems extremely salty. The salt actually made my tongue jump! And the taste of the mixture became bitter. It's less enjoyable than it could have been.

So I started telling the waitstaff when I ordered: Salt and Pepper Fish, but HOLD THE SALT! Does it sound strange? I mean... salt is one of the only few ingredients making this dish. After all, it is "SALT" and pepper. But I request to hold the salt... Any way, I would much rather sprinkle the salt on the dish myself using the small salt jar on the table.

May be my taste preference has changed with age? Now that I got older, I can't take as much salt as I used to?

Has anybody done something similar? Do you feel in general that these dishes seem overdosed with salt? Is a lot of salt needed to bring out the taste for this style?


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It could be down to the type of salt these restaurants use. If you or I were cooking this dish at home we would probably use the best salt available to us – either a natural sea salt or rock salt. Personally I use English Maldon sea salt or French Fleur de Sel in making these types of dishes. It’s one of the main ingredients so it’s important that the salt is good quality.

However, I imagine in most Cantonese restaurant kitchens there would be one kind of salt, just ordinary ‘cooking salt’ laden with anti-caking and other chemical agents. To my mind, there’s a big big difference between the ordinary processed salt and natural salts. Especially if you say they are over-salting this dish anyway - no wonder your tongue feels like it’s jumping!!

There’s another point you raise about asking restaurant cooks to change the way they cook a dish specifically for you. I would feel uncomfortable about doing that unless I am a regular respected patron of the establishment. If the manager came around to ask how the meal was I would maybe politely tell him or her that I thought the S&P dish could do with less S, but I wouldn’t order a waiter beforehand to tell the cook to use less salt. If I knew that they usually over-salt then I wouldn’t order that dish. After all there are plenty of other dishes.

As for the getting older and not taking as much salt thing, I don’t presume to know your age Ah Leung Gor but I’ve seen it happen to all my older relatives! It’s mostly a health rather than a taste issue though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for the getting older and not taking as much salt thing, ...[snip]...  It’s mostly a health rather than a taste issue though.

True true. Am I admitting that I am getting rich in years? We try to use less salt at home. Except for roast pork belly. Hubby says put MORE! He insists the salt brings out the flavour of the meat. We use french sea salt.

I wouldn't 'control' what goes on outside either.


Edited by Tepee (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for the getting older and not taking as much salt thing, I don’t presume to know your age Ah Leung Gor but I’ve seen it happen to all my older relatives!  It’s mostly a health rather than a taste issue though.

I am 48, Prawncrackers. As much as my wife groomed me to be a health nuts like she is... this question about the Salt and Pepper dishes is purely that about taste and not health concerns. :raz:

I did order some more salt and pepper dishes from the same restaurant without telling them to hold the salt recently. This time the dish was just right. I guess I was a victim of some inexperience cooks at times. When the taste of tihs dish becomes bitter, it seems obvious that the cook had chimed in a "heavy hand" for using too much salt...


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to hear that it might just have been a kitchen boo-boo, Xiao hzrt. That is one dish I rarely get out as I find it addictive and can't help my self without overdosing. And then I have payback.

When I've made it at home I use kosher salt as it gives a nice balance. But you NEED the salt. After all it IS a Pepper/Salt dish. Some dishes just NEED it. I tried making scallion pancakes without salt. DON'T EVEN TRY! They also NEED salt!

I haven't used salt for years and don't miss it, but maybe that is why I can't stop eating S/P dishes when we are out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm happy to hear that it might just have been a kitchen boo-boo, Xiao hzrt. That is one dish I rarely get out as I find it addictive and can't help my self without overdosing. And then I have payback.

When I've made it at  home I use kosher salt as it gives a nice balance. But you NEED the salt. After all it IS a Pepper/Salt dish.  Some dishes just NEED it. I tried making scallion pancakes without salt. DON'T EVEN TRY! They also NEED salt!

I haven't used salt for years and don't miss it, but maybe that is why I can't stop eating S/P dishes when we are out.

I love the salt, too! But I, too, suffer after.

However, I don't mind! How do you make your salt and pepper? I want some, and I can't get any good s&p in Japan. Sucks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

"Kula Lumpar" - Do you mean KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia?

Hmm, I don't remember a "Jimmy's Kitchen". The Coliseum Cafe, however, was (and still is) a Hainanese-British Colonial place that served steaks on sizzling platters, and where the "tradition" was to hold the edges of the tablecloth (yes, the crisp white linen tablecloth) up in front of you as the server poured the sauce over the steak on the hot platter on the table to give the sizzle (and splatter). That certainly went back into the 1960's, at least, and I think far before that too.

As for "sizzling platter" meals in "Cantonese" cuisine or otherwise, I certainly remember fondly having "Tit Pan Ngow Yook" (鐵板牛肉)(Beef with a special sauce on a very hot metal platter lodged into a wood base) or the equivalent version with big fat prawns in various Cantonese/"Dai Chow" places in Kuala Lumpur as far back as the early 1960's. Somehow I doubt places like Yook Woo Hin of that time derived their inspiration from this place called "Jimmy's Kitchen". (What was this "Jimmy's Kitchen"?)


Edited by huiray (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Have you never had "Gai Kow" (chicken nuggets/pieces) or "Har Kow" (Prawn/shrimp) stir-fried with TOMATO KETCHUP and onions and maybe green peppers? :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like eating the Cantonese style "Salt and Pepper" dishes: Salt and Pepper Shrimp, Squid, Fish Filet, Tofo, etc... Basically they deep-fry the slightly battered shrimp/squid/fish or tofu, then stir-fry quickly with a mixture of fried garlic, chopped green onion, chopped chili pepper and salt under intense heat.

Recently, the S&P dishes I had in many of these neighborhood restaurants just seemed to be overdosed with salt. When I bit into the food, it seems extremely salty. The salt actually made my tongue jump! And the taste of the mixture became bitter. It's less enjoyable than it could have been.

So I started telling the waitstaff when I ordered: Salt and Pepper Fish, but HOLD THE SALT! Does it sound strange? I mean... salt is one of the only few ingredients making this dish. After all, it is "SALT" and pepper. But I request to hold the salt... Any way, I would much rather sprinkle the salt on the dish myself using the small salt jar on the table.

May be my taste preference has changed with age? Now that I got older, I can't take as much salt as I used to?

Has anybody done something similar? Do you feel in general that these dishes seem overdosed with salt? Is a lot of salt needed to bring out the taste for this style?

Depends on the chef.

Some places do it very well, some do not. One avoids ordering such dishes at places that don't do it well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a silkier texture, add acouple tbsp oil along with the cornstarch, then stir the mixture with your chopsticks before adding other ingredients.

I like it with slivers of lap cheung, waterchestnut, rehydrated Chinese mushrooms and ginger. You can lay these on top of mix into the pork before steaming.

With ham yue, I mix up the pork, then lay chunks of the salted fish on top, lay some ginger on these, then a drizzle of oil on the fish and ginger.

Yoo bad I've had my supper of lap may fan...

You can also add in tofu. The dish "Lo Siu Ping On" (老少平安) is one such dish, a variation on the pork patty, where tofu is mixed in with chopped/minced fish with some pork.

https://www.google.c...iw=1176&bih=957

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This seems to agree with what I said earlier about if I grew up in the Carribeans eating nothing but bananas, I may think the food from the rest of the world is no good and only bananas taste the best.

They are good (in fact excellent) but nobody would consider them as "high end". Have you ever tried dining in those places? Have you dined in Cantonese restaurants serving "everyday food" in Portland, Seattle, Monterey Park, San Jose, Los Angeles, Cerritos, Irvine, New York City, Boston, D.C., Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal? These cities, all outside of Guangzhou/HK, have fairly decent "low end" Cantonese restaurants.

First, the bananas point...I am not saying you are wrong about this, but my point is that this will never be settled because it is impossible to find a consensus on this issue, and Chinese are intensely regional.

I have eaten in almost every one of those cities you mentioned and don't disagree that you can find good, everyday Cantonese food. I guess the focus of my post was on Cantonese food in China. In any case, the good Cantonese offerings in these places doesn't translate to me feeling that Cantonese is the best of all Chinese foods, nor does it show it to be the most simple or complex, it just offers me a good cheap meal...

Yet they still have this saying in China:

生在蘇州, 活在杭州, 喫在廣州, 死在柳州

:-D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This seems to agree with what I said earlier about if I grew up in the Carribeans eating nothing but bananas, I may think the food from the rest of the world is no good and only bananas taste the best.

They are good (in fact excellent) but nobody would consider them as "high end". Have you ever tried dining in those places? Have you dined in Cantonese restaurants serving "everyday food" in Portland, Seattle, Monterey Park, San Jose, Los Angeles, Cerritos, Irvine, New York City, Boston, D.C., Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal? These cities, all outside of Guangzhou/HK, have fairly decent "low end" Cantonese restaurants.

First, the bananas point...I am not saying you are wrong about this, but my point is that this will never be settled because it is impossible to find a consensus on this issue, and Chinese are intensely regional.

I have eaten in almost every one of those cities you mentioned and don't disagree that you can find good, everyday Cantonese food. I guess the focus of my post was on Cantonese food in China. In any case, the good Cantonese offerings in these places doesn't translate to me feeling that Cantonese is the best of all Chinese foods, nor does it show it to be the most simple or complex, it just offers me a good cheap meal...

Yet they still have this saying in China:

生在蘇州, 活在杭州, 喫在廣州, 死在柳州

:-D

Translation please? Online translators tend to make mincemeat of anything that involves metaphor/allusion, etc.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet they still have this saying in China:

生在蘇州, 活在杭州, 喫在廣州, 死在柳州

:-D

Translation please? Online translators tend to make mincemeat of anything that involves metaphor/allusion, etc.

I think this says 'be born in Suzhou, live in Hangzhou, eat in Guangzhou, and die in Liuzhou'

http://www.liuzhou.co.uk/liuzhou/coffins.htm explains a bit of the background on why, especially the last bit.


Edited by Will (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, your translation is correct. :-)

[and the Google translator does just fine with this one]

The relevance or accuracy of the sentiments is, of course, subject to personal interpretation. :-D

BTW this article might be of interest: http://asiasociety.o...-all-california

The author does say (at least elsewhere) that if North America were the area in question all the top places would be in Vancouver and Toronto (and most Cantonese at that). Take that for what you will. On a certain other food forum, this author was viciously attacked by (non-Chinese) posters for what they decried as his "bias" especially against NYC, where these posters thought had the most excellent food in their view especially NON-Cantonese food which these same posters much preferred anyway. Heh.


Edited by huiray (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Somehow I doubt places like Yook Woo Hin of that time derived their inspiration from this place called "Jimmy's Kitchen". (What was this "Jimmy's Kitchen"?)

I regret to inform you that the famous Yook Woo Hin restaurant has closed down. I grew up in KL. When I migrated from Malaysia, my farewell party was in that restaurant.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Somehow I doubt places like Yook Woo Hin of that time derived their inspiration from this place called "Jimmy's Kitchen". (What was this "Jimmy's Kitchen"?)

I regret to inform you that the famous Yook Woo Hin restaurant has closed down. I grew up in KL. When I migrated from Malaysia, my farewell party was in that restaurant.

Yes, I'm aware of it. There was quite a "send off" too, I understand, with the place cranking out enormous amounts of their versions of dim-sum (admittedly not exactly the best in town) for the crowds who descended on the place for one last hurrah. It was such a pity, but KL's Chinatown is no longer "Chinatown", as YWH's proprietress said, and to someone who has never been there before (and ignoring the fancy gates on Petaling Street) the place would seem like Little India, not Chinatown, with large populations of Bangladeshis, Nepalis, etc. Still, YWH was no longer the same anyway, compared with previous days. The "old guard" of great chefs had retired /died/left and never passed on their skills to the new generation and many of the dishes they were famed for including those which I remembered fondly from the 60's, 70's were no longer available. Their wonderful version of "Wat Tan Ngow Yook Cheen Heong Mai"[Cantonese pan-fried skinny rice noodles in a sauce of beef stir-fried w/ scallions & giner w/ a raw egg broken into the hot pile just after plating], for example. I have personally not come across elsewhere quite the same scrumptious balanced mix that they turned out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jimmy's Kitchen, not 'What was?', it still is and has provided international cuisine since the 1920's Let Google be your friend and go to 'Jimmy's Kitchen Hong Kong' , or if you are in Hong Kong , book a table and experience the pleasure of it's cuisine ..


Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I'm aware of Jimmy's Kitchen in Hong Kong, thanks. I was asking what this Jimmy's Kitchen was in KUALA LUMPUR. Have a look again at the location references in my post, where I asked about this place by this name in KL which wesza referred to and whose post I quoted in my post which you are referring to. (http://egullet.org/p1901878)


Edited by huiray (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

image.jpg

This is a dish I encountered at at Cantonese restaurant in South Florida, it was called "Pi-Po Tofu"

I've never had this dish before, even in Chinatowns in NYC and SF. They were deep fried dumplings of processed tofu stuffed with Chinese sausage and mushroom, in a black bean oyster sauce.

Is this considered to be more of a home cooking dish? Is it even Cantonese?


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is actually pronounced "pei pa tofu", and yes it is Cantonese. The "pei pa" refers to the shape of the tofu which is supposed to look like a Chinese mandolin, which is why it is sometimes called "violin tofu" or "mandolin tofu".

Is it home cooking ... well I suppose everything can be home cooked if you have the skill! To make this, you mash together tofu, with chinese sausage, mushrooms, flour, and egg yolk - then use a Chinese spoon to drop little "pei pa" shapes into deep fry oil. The last time I attempted this I was left with a broken up mess. I strained all the bits out of the oil, doubled the egg yolk, and it still refused to bind. I ended up steaming the mixture instead :(


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      An old friend from England contacted me yesterday via Facebook with a couple of questions about Five Spice Powder.

      Thought there me be some interest here, too.

      Is there anything more typically Chinese than five spice powder (五香粉 - wǔ xiāng fěn)?
       
      Well, yes. A lot.
       
      Many years ago, I worked in an office overlooking London’s China town. By around 11 am, the restaurants started getting lunch ready and the smell of FSP blanketed the area for the rest of the day. When I moved to China, I didn’t smell that. Only when I first visited Hong Kong, did I find that smell again.
       
      In fact, FSP is relatively uncommon in most of Chinese cuisine. And if I ever see another internet recipe called “Chinese” whatever, which is actually any random food, but the genius behind it has added FSP, supposedly rendering it Chinese, I’ll scream.

      I get all sorts of smells wafting through the neighbourhood. Some mouth-watering; some horrifying. But I don't recall ever that they were FSP.
       
      But what is it anyway? Which five spices?
       
      Today, I bought four samples in four local supermarkets. I would have would have preferred five, but couldn’t find any more. It's not that popular.
       
      First thing to say: none of them had five spices. All had more. That is normal. Numbers in Chinese can often be vague. Every time you hear a number, silently added the word ‘about’ or ‘approximately’. 100 km means “far”, 10,000 means “many”.
       
      Second, while there are some common factors, ingredients can vary quite a bit. Here are my four.

      1.


       
      Ingredients – 7
       
      Star Anise, Fennel Seed, Orange Peel, Cassia Bark, Sand Ginger, Dried Ginger, Sichuan Peppercorns.
       
      2.
       

       
      Ingredients – 6
       
      Cassia Bark, Star Anise, Fennel Seed, Coriander, Sichuan Peppercorn, Licorice Root.

      3.
       

       
      Ingredients – 15
       
      Fennel Seeds, Sichuan Peppercorns, Coriander, Tangerine Peel, Star Anise, Chinese Haw, Cassia Bark, Lesser Galangal, Dahurian Angelica, Nutmeg, Dried Ginger, Black Pepper, Amomum Villosum, Cumin Seeds, Cloves.

      4.
       

       
      Ingredients – 6
       
      Pepper (unspecified – probably black pepper), Sichuan Peppercorns, Star Anise, Fennel Seeds, Nutmeg, Cassia.
       
      So, take your pick. They all taste and smell almost overwhelmingly of the star anise and cassia, although there are subtle differences in taste in the various mixes.
       
      But I don’t expect to find it in many dishes in local restaurants or homes. A quick, unscientific poll of about ten friends today revealed that not one has any at home, nor have they ever used the stuff!
       
       
      I'm not suggesting that FSP shouldn't be used outside of Chinese food. Please just don't call the results Chinese when you sprinkle it on your fish and chips or whatever. They haven't miraculously become Chinese!

      Like my neighbours and friends, I very rarely use it at all.

      In fact, I'd be delighted to hear how it is used in other cultures / cuisines.
    • By liuzhou
      For the last several years Cindy's* job has been to look after me. She takes care of my residence papers, my health insurance, my travel, my housing and associated repairs. She makes sure that I am supplied with sufficient cold beer at official banquets. And she does it all with terrific efficiency and great humour.
       
      This weekend she held her wedding banquet.
       
      Unlike in the west, this isn't held immediately after the marriage is formalised. In fact, she was legally married months ago. But the banquet is the symbolic, public declaration and not the soul-less civil servant stamping of papers that the legal part entails.
      So tonight, along with a few hundred other people, I rolled up to a local hotel at the appointed time. In my pocket was my 'hong bao' or red envelope in which I had deposited a suitable cash gift. That is the Chinese wedding gift protocol. You don't get 12 pop-up toasters here.
       
      I handed it over, then settled down, at a table with colleagues, to a 17 or 18 course dinner.
       
      Before we started, I spotted this red bedecked jar. Shaking, poking and sniffing revealed nothing.
       
       
      A few minutes later, a waitress turned up and opened and emptied the jar into a serving dish. Spicy pickled vegetables. Very vinegary, very hot, and very addictive. Allegedly pickled on the premises, this was just to amuse us as we waited for the real stuff to arrive.
       
       
      Then the serious stuff arrived. When I said 17 courses, I really meant 17 dishes. Chinese cuisine doesn't really do courses. Every thing is served at roughly the same time. But we had:
       
      Quail soup which I neglected to photograph.
       
      Roast duck
       
      Braised turtle
       
      Sticky rice with beef (the beef is lurking underneath)
       
      Steamed chicken
       
      Spicy, crispy shell-on prawns.
       
      Steamed pork belly slices with sliced taro
       
      Spicy squid
       
      Noodles
       
      Chinese Charcuterie (including ducks jaws (left) and duck hearts (right))
       
      Mixed vegetables
       
      Fish
       
      Cakes
       
      Fertility soup! This allegedly increases your fertility and ensures the first born (in China, only born) is a son. Why they are serving to me is anyone's guess. It would make more sense for the happy couple to drink the lot.
       
      Greenery
       
      Jiaozi
       
      There was a final serving of quartered oranges, but I guess you have seen pictures of oranges before.
       
      The happy couple. I wish them well.
       
      *Cindy is the English name she has adopted. Her Chinese name is more than usually difficult to pronounce. Many Chinese friends consider it a real tongue-twister.
    • By liuzhou
      A few days ago, I was given a lovely gift. A big jar of preserved lemons.
       
      I know Moroccan preserved lemons, but had never met Chinese ones. In fact, apart from in the south, in many parts of China it isn't that easy to find lemons, at all.
       
      These are apparently a speciality of the southern Zhuang minority of Wuming County near Nanning. The Zhuang people are the largest ethnic minority in China and most live in Guangxi. These preserved lemons feature in their diet and are usually eaten with congee (rice porridge). Lemon Duck is a local speciality and they are also served with fish. They can be served as a relish, too. They are related to the Vietnamese Chanh muối.
       
      I'm told that these particular lemons have been soaking in salt and lemon juice for eleven years!
       

       

       
      So, of course, you want to know what they taste like. Incredibly lemony. Concentrated lemonness. Sour, but not unpleasantly so. Also a sort of smoky flavour.
       
      The following was provided by my dear friend 马芬洲 (Ma Fen Zhou) who is herself Zhuang. It is posted with her permission.
       
      How to Make Zhuang Preserved Lemons
      By 马芬洲
       
      Zhuang preserved lemons is a kind of common food for the southern Zhuang ethnic minority who live around Nanning Prefecture of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. The Zhuang people like to make it as a relish for eating with congee or congee with corn powder. This relish is a mixture of chopped preserved lemons, red chilli and garlic or ginger slice in soy sauce and peanut oil or sesame oil.
       

       
      Sometimes the Zhuang people use preserved lemons as an ingredient in cooking. The most famous Zhuang food in Guangxi is Lemon Duck, which is a common home cooked dish in Wuming County, which belongs to Nanning Prefecture.
       
      The following steps show you how to make Zhuang preserved lemons.
       
      Step 1 Shopping
      Buy some green lemons.
       
      Step 2 Cleaning
      Wash green lemons.
       
      Step 3 Sunning
      Leave green lemons under the sunshine till it gets dry.
       
      Step 4 Salting
      If you salt 5kg green lemons, mix 0.25kg salt with green lemons. Keep the salted green lemons in a transparent jar. The jar must be well sealed. Leave the jar under the sunshine till the salted green lemons turn yellow. For example, leave it on the balcony. Maybe it will take months to wait for those salted green lemons to turn yellow. Later, get the jar of salted yellow lemons back. Unseal the jar. Then cover 1kg salt over the salted yellow lemons. Seal well the jar again.
       
      Step 5 Preserving
      Keep the sealed jar of salted yellow lemons at least 3 years. And the colour of salted yellow lemons will turn brown day by day. It can be dark brown later. The longer you keep preserved lemons, the better taste it is. If you eat it earlier than 2 years, it will taste bitter. After 3 years, it can be unsealed. Please use clean chopsticks to pick it. Don’t use oily chopsticks, or the oil will make preserved lemons go bad. Remember to seal the jar well after picking preserved lemons every time.
    • By liuzhou
      Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China, where I live, is sugar central for the country. Over two-thirds of China's output of sugar is grown right here, making it one of the largest sugar production areas on the planet. I have a second home in the countryside and it is surrounded by sugar cane fields.

      Much of this is produced by small time farmers, although huge Chinese and international companies have also moved in.
       
      Also, sugar is used extensively in Chinese cooking, not only as a sweetener, but more as a spice. A little added to a savoury dish can bring out otherwise hidden flavours. It also has medicinal attributes according to traditional Chinese medicine.
       
      Supermarkets have what was to me, on first sight, a huge range of sugars, some almost unrecognisable. Here is a brief introduction to some of them. Most sugar is sold loose, although corner shops and mom 'n pop stores may have pre-packed bags. These are often labelled in English as "candy", the Chinese language not differentiating between "sugar" and "candy" - always a source of confusion. Both are 糖 (táng),

      IMPORTANT NOTE: The Chinese names given here and in the images are the names most used locally. They are all Mandarin Chinese, but it is still possible that other names may be used elsewhere in China. Certainly, non-Mandarin speaking areas will be different.

      By the far the simplest way to get your sugar ration is to buy the unprocessed sugar cane. This is not usually available in supermarkets but is a street vendor speciality. In the countryside, you can buy it at the roadside. There are also people in markets etc with portable juice extractors who will sell you a cup of pure sugar cane juice.


       
      I remember being baffled then amused when, soon after I first arrived in China, someone asked me if I wanted some 甘蔗 (gān zhè). It sounded exactly like 'ganja' or cannabis. No such luck! 甘蔗 (gān zhè) is 'sugar cane'.
       
      The most common sugar in the supermarkets seems to be 冰糖 (bīng táng) which literally means 'ice 'sugar' and is what we tend to call 'rock sugar' or 'crystal sugar'. This highly refined sugar comes in various lump sizes although the price remains the same no matter if the pieces are large or small. Around ¥7/500g. That pictured below features the smaller end of the range.


       
      Related to this is what is known as 冰片糖 (bīng piàn táng) which literally means "ice slice sugar". This is usually slightly less processed (although I have seen a white version, but not recently) and is usually a pale brown to yellow colour. This may be from unprocessed cane sugar extract, but is often white sugar coloured and flavoured with added molasses. It is also sometimes called 黄片糖  (huáng piàn táng) or "yellow slice sugar". ¥6.20/500g.
       


      A less refined, much darker version is known as 红片糖 (hóng piàn táng), literally 'red slice sugar'. (Chinese seems to classify colours differently - what we know as 'black tea' is 'red tea' here. ¥7.20/500g.


       
      Of course, what we probably think of as regular sugar, granulated sugar is also available. Known as 白砂糖 (bái shā táng), literally "white sand sugar', it is the cheapest at  ¥3.88/500g.



      A brown powdered sugar is also common, but again, in Chinese, it isn't brown. It's red and simply known as 红糖 (hóng táng). ¥7.70/500g


       
      Enough sweetness and light for now. More to come tomorrow.
    • By Dejah
      [Host's note: This topic forms part of an extended discussion which grew too large for our servers to handle efficiently.  The conversation continues from here.]
       
       
      Supper: Yeem Gok Gai:

      Mock Fried Rice - grated cauliflower

      Baby Shanghai Bok Choy and ginger

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.