• 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.

itch22

Lu Shui, Chinese Master Sauce

52 posts in this topic

Ben-

My MIL still has a bottle of the traditional Kanjang (you can call it Korean soy sauce, but it's very different from commercial varieties) that she made over 30 years ago when she first immigrated to the States. She saves it for very special occassions. I think that is the oldest homemade sauce I have ever tried.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just the other day while I was cleaning the freezer, I came across the master stock that I have used a couple of times about 2 years back, it has been in the freezer all this time, I was wondering if it is still alright to use, may be give it a good boiling over a few minutes, or just throw the whole thing out and start a new batch, any suggestion ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... I was wondering if it is still alright to use, may be give it a good boiling over a few minutes, or just throw the whole thing out and start a new batch, any suggestion ?

just try it.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... I was wondering if it is still alright to use, may be give it a good boiling over a few minutes, or just throw the whole thing out and start a new batch, any suggestion ?

just try it.

it smells and tastes alright, does it mean it is okay to use ? I don't want to get food poisoning :shock:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
it smells and tastes alright, does it mean it is okay to use ? I don't want to get food poisoning  :shock:

It should be okay. But if there is any lingering doubt in your mind, don't use it. Nothing is worth the psychological burden.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mother's master braising sauce has been around the family for more than 20 years.

The key to keeping it for that long is to make sure you don't contaminate it. She only uses her master sauce for beef, eggs and other meats. Never for seafood.

And like hzrt8w said, strain out all the ingredients and put the stock in clean, dry container. And as Dejah said, do not remove the layer of fat and you can store it in the regular fridge side of your fridgerator.

The taste of an old aged master sauce is a lot more complex and flavorful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is fascinating. I would always figure that reboiling a stock would muddy up the flavors and break down whatever compounds are in the water into something unrecognizable. This practice always seemed quite unhygenic to me, keeping stock for decades at a time, but it seems it's as cherished as high quality aged wine

Does anyone have any pictures of their master stock?


Edited by takadi (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have any pictures of their master stock?

Just picture deep rich mahogany coloured water glistening with small pools of oil. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will try and remember to take some pictures of mine tonight... but compared to some it is just a baby master stock - only about 5 months old. It is dark and murky and ugly, but has a real depth of flavour that is hard to describe.


Edited by infernooo (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was reading one of Anne Perry's murder mysteries set in Victorian England. The heroine, who is a nurse, doesn't have time to cook fancy dinners for her husband the detective. (She's not much of a cook anyway.) So, she keeps a pot of stew constantly on low heat at the back of the stove--for weeks at a time. Every few days she replenishes it with more meat and veggies. Sounds like a kind of Lushui Zhi to me.

Given the many authentic details in Anne Perry's Victorian England books, it wouldn't surprise me if the author came across this cooking method in her research. It makes sense for a working class dinner, don't you think?

BTW, this murder mystery is about a psychopathic serial killer on the loose and hiding in the sewers along the Thames River. But what piques my curiosity? That stew cooking for weeks at the back of the stove. How do you know when you're a foodie...


Edited by djyee100 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Made a master sauce using the Tropp recipe as a base and with a few tweaks:

gallery_19804_437_39635.jpg

No chicken or soy sauce pictured.

It's fantastic. What do people use their sauces for? Braising, I know, but anything else?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seared off some beef short ribs and braised them in the master sauce; toward the end of the braise I added some halved fresh water chestnuts, quartered fresh black mushrooms, and 2" pieces of presoaked tofu sticks. It's resting in a vacuum-sealed package in the fridge overnight for a dinner party on Friday, so I haven't dug in, but, man, it's good.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mum's had her Lu Shui for over 15 yrs. She used to store it in the fridge with the fat seal, but is now freezing it between uses after she had a jar of it go bad once. My favourite is braised duck, eggs, and dried pressed tofu. For years I've been begging for a jar of her Magic Lu Shui, but she'll only pass it on to us kids when we get married. Now that I'm getting married this yr, I'm holding her to that. Only a foodie gets excited over the prospect of a jar of old braising liquid as a wedding present!! :wub:

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's fantastic. What do people use their sauces for? Braising, I know, but anything else?

Chris you can use the master sauce as a marinade to prepare Cantonese BBQ pork or spareribs. Just use a small amount, along with some pressed garlic. Marinate overnight or something, then bake/roast the meat/ribs.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

years ago I had a looo (spelling from The Wok by Gary Lee) and I kept it going for more than a year. it simmered all the time. I added water and more spices as needed. it definitely becomes more tasty with more use. use it for all meats except livers and seafood which require their own looos!


The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris you can use the master sauce as a marinade to prepare Cantonese BBQ pork or spareribs.  Just use a small amount, along with some pressed garlic.  Marinate overnight or something, then bake/roast the meat/ribs.

Would that work for the grill? Seems like it would. I have a couple of chickens in the fridge that I need to do something with....


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't posted in a while but the lu shui is part of our regular dinner repertoire, particularly now that the weather is cold. Perk up the lu with new aromatics if needed, choose your protein (chicken, pork, or beef), add some tofu sticks, mushrooms, onions, water chestnuts, and any other good braising elements, and cook it low & slow in the clay pot. Making it this week for Christmas, in fact.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Braised beef tendons in my lu shui this week. Great with a bowl of shrimp noodles, yu choi, and chili oil.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cook using a chinese master stock quite regularly and I'm very interested in the food saftey aspect of re-using this stock and for how long it's possible.

Most online recomendations are for 3 days refregerated and 1 month frozen. I keep mine for much longer than that in both states. My stocks contain soy sauce (salt), sugar (honey, yellow rock, castor, palm etc) and alcohol (shao hsing) so I'm pretty confidant that they can keep for more than the recommended times. My fridge runs at 1 degree celcius. My freezer runs at -25 degrees celcius.

I'd love to hear your views or comments on the safety aspect of keeping these stocks and for how long you think they can be kept for.


Edited by Craig Bayliss (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AS you are boiling the master stock intensively each time you use it, it would seem that the question would be more one of spoilage of taste rather than bacterial. Given the components that are used it may not be much of a problem, particularly as the master stock is typically reconstituted with ingredients as you go along.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've kept mine for a month or two in the fridge -- but I always make sure there's a cap of solidified fat across the top from whatever meat I cooked in it. That fat makes for a great cooking medium, and it seems to keep the lu just fine. As Nick said, a firm boil is necessary too.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments all. I've also read that it keeps indefinitely but every now and then I get a bit paranoid and ditch it, starting again. I've thrown away some good one's because of my uncertainty.

I too keep it with a good covering of solidified fat on the surface which should keep it from oxidising, the one I have at the moment is pretty much solid due to the gelatin content too :) I should post a picture.

Anyway, thanks again. I'll trust my instincts more in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Soul_Venom
      The best Chinese food restaurant I have ever been to is a place called the Imperial Buffet in Aberdeen SD. Their General Tso's is unlike the Tso's anywhere else. The closes comparison I could make is the Orange Chicken at the Panda Garden only 3x better. Their Lo-Mein Noodles are done with the skill of a master Italian pasta chef & perfectly seasoned. They also used to do a mean fried squid. I say used to because they had it when I lived in Aberdeen from 02-04 but didn't when I visited in 15'. One of their other discontinued specialties was a dish advertised as 'Golden Fried Cauliflower'. Note, this was NOT a breaded product. The cauliflower was cooked as though it had been boiled perfectly. It was not greasy as I recall but was a golden orange color as was the sauce it was evidently cooked in. I never could identify the flavors in that sauce. I wish I could describe it better but it has been well over a decade since I had it. Is anyone familiar with it or something similar? I can't seem to find anything like it online & all my searches just bring up links to breaded deep-fried crap.
    • 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.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.