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hzrt8w

Pictorial: Stir-fried Snowpeas with Oyster Sauce

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Stir-fried Snowpeas with Oyster Sauce (炒双冬)

Have you ever been to Cantonese style Chinese restaurants where they offer stir-fried dishes in "a special brown sauce"? They don't quite elaborate what a "brown sauce" is. It's not a big mystery. A "brown sauce" is, typically, simply a mixture of chicken broth, oyster sauce (maybe), dark soy sauce with a little of sugar and corn starch. This flavoral dish is very easy to make, especially for beginners in Chinese cooking.

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Main ingredients.

I bought some fresh snowpeas. (Sorry for the white-powder looking thing on them. It was just frost from the refrigerator.) Stir-frying only snowpeas is too boring. I typically use something else along with it. It's common to use reconstituted black mushrooms and bamboo shoots in the restaurants. You may use straw mushrooms, sliced carrots, sliced water chestnuts or other vegetables that you like. The main seasoning is from salt, garlic, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, [not shown] white vinegar, sugar, and a little bit of chicken broth.

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Use about 1 lb of snowpeas. Trim the ends and peel the edges (they are tough).

Soak about 10 black mushrooms in warm water for about 2 hours. Drain and cut them up if they are too big. Mince about 3-4 cloves of garlic. Open one 16-oz can of bamboo shoot (sliced).

In a small bowl, mix 2-3 tsp of oyster sauce, 2 tsp of dark soy sauce, 2 tsp of sugar, 2 tsp of corn starch. Then add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth and 1/4 cup of water.

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Mix the sauces together.

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Heat up a pan/wok over high heat. Add 2 tblsp of cooking oil. Wait until oil is very hot. Add minced garlic. Add a pinch of salt (to taste). Sautee for about 20 seconds.

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First add the black mushrooms. Cook for a minute or so until the fragrant is extracted from the black mushrooms. Dash in 1-2 tsp of white vinegar.

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Add the remaining vegetables: snowpeas and bamboo shoots in this case. Stir.

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Add the sauce mixture. Keep stirring. Put the lid on and cook for about 5-8 minutes. Snowpeas cook very quickly. Canned bamboo shoots and black mushrooms do require much cooking. Stir occassionally and check to adjust. Do not overcook the snowpeas. Since corn starch is already in the mixture, the sauce should thicken once boiled.

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The finised dish.

Note: This dish can also be cooked with meats. BBQ pork slices is a popular choice. You may also use beef slices (just marinate with white ground pepper, sesame oil, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, ShaoHsing cooking wine and corn starch), or diced chicken breast (just marinate with white ground pepper, sesame oil, ShaoHsing cooking wine and corn starch). In either case, velvet the meats first until slightly under-cooked. Remove from pan. When the vegetables are 80% done, re-add the meats to stir-fry with the vegetables.


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

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

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could it get any easier? :biggrin:

My kids are going to love this one.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I never thought about it, but I don't know what makes dark soy sauce dark, though I can see and taste the difference.

Excellent pictorial again!


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Just thought that I would mention that one of the oldest dishes served in the New York City Chinese Restaurants [1930's] was called "Moo Goo Gai Pan" a Boneless Sliced White Meat Chicken dish mostly served with Black Mushrooms and Snow Pea Pods Sautéed with a Thickened Chicken Broth with small amount of Soy Sauce. I don't think there was any Restaurant that didn't serve this item. Most New Yorkers were introduced to "Snow Peas" thru this dish. Chinese Restaurants ordered these Peas as "Dutch Peas" or "Mangetouts" from suppliers for many years.

It was right up there with Chicken Chow Mein, Subgum Chicken, Roast Pork, Barbecued Spareribs, Egg Rolls and Lobster Cantonese or Shrimp with Lobster Sauce as a family favorite.

Curious if it's still popular in NYC. It was a best seller at New Yorks first Chinese Restaurant "Schmulka Bernstein's" so it still may be offered. [without Oyster Sauce]

Irwin


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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[...]Curious if it's still popular in NYC. It was a best seller at New Yorks first Chinese Restaurant "Schmulka Bernstein's" so it still may be offered. [without Oyster Sauce]

It's funny that I used to work with some senior waiters in Chinese restaurants. Their English vocabulary was limited. When customers asked about some of the dishes in the menu, all they could say was "cooked with a brown sauce" (with oyster sauce) or "cooked with a white sauce" (without oyster sauce). LOL!

:laugh:


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

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I can't remember the last time I saw Moo Goo Gai Pan on a New York Chinese menu, though I'm sure it's for sale at the places that are so old, they're retro now. Is that actually a Toisanese dish, in some other version or something?

(P.S. Irwin meant that Schmulka Bernstein's was the first kosher Chinese restaurant in New York, not the first Chinese restaurant.)


Michael aka "Pan

 

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That looks to be a very tasty way to cook snow peas. Around here they are usually found on menus stir-fried with water chestnuts. This comes in a sauce that appears to be just lightly thickened chicken broth. I don't order it because it is rather boring.

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Have you ever been to Cantonese style Chinese restaurants where they offer stir-fried dishes in "a special brown sauce"?  They don't quite elaborate what a "brown sauce" is.  It's not a big myth.  A "brown sauce" is, typically, simply a mixture of oyster sauce and dark soy sauce with a little of sugar and corn starch.  This flavoral dish is very easy to make, especially for beginners in Chinese cooking.

Aha! Yes, I had sometimes wondered about that "special brown sauce" thang, whether it bore any relation to authentic Chinese cooking or was an invention for restaurants catering to Caucasians, etc. So, thanks for enlightening me! (And for giving me another way to play with the dark soy sauce, which I love even when I don't quite know what I'm doing with it. :smile: )

I'm beginning to get the impression that a whole lot of everyday Chinese cooking takes off from combining various bottled condiments into a sauce. Would you call that an accurate impression?

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I'm beginning to get the impression that a whole lot of everyday Chinese cooking takes off from combining various bottled condiments into a sauce. Would you call that an accurate impression?

I think not quite on the "bottled condiments". But many different Chinese sauces are mixed from the basics. Some of these basic sauces you would not put on a dinner table as condiments (e.g. chili bean sauce, brown bean paste, cooking wine).

You will see the following sauces used ijn Chinese cooking over and over again, perhaps in different proportions or added at a different stage during the cooking process:

Dark soy sauce

Light soy sauce

Oyster sauce

White and red vinegar

Chili bean sauce

Brown bean paste

ShaoHsing cooking wine


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

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Now I know what vegetable to use with my fish next week.

The 双冬 in the title threw me off until I saw the ingredients. Good color combos!

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I love "har kow" with snowpeas. That adds another colour and texture to the dish.

Fish slices are also very good. Cook the fish separately and lay on top. Add a touch of cilantro and voila!

hrzt: Why do you add the vinegar? I have never heard of that... :hmmm:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I can't remember the last time I saw Moo Goo Gai Pan on a New York Chinese menu, though I'm sure it's for sale at the places that are so old, they're retro now. Is that actually a Toisanese dish, in some other version or something?

(P.S. Irwin meant that Schmulka Bernstein's was the first kosher Chinese restaurant in New York, not the first Chinese restaurant.)

Thank you Michael, even though "Schmulka Bernstein's" had enough longevity on the lower east side to have originally opened as a Sausage Maker before evolving into a Deli and then into NYC original Kosher Chinese Restaurant still selling the Deli items. It certainly was unusual wearing so many hats.

Where else were you able to order a Pastrami Sandwich together with Moo Goo Gai Pan, Egg Foo Yung, Mushroom & Barley Soup and Potato Latkas.

Another of NYC's favorite was "Egg Foo Yung" in all it various guises always came with a tasty gloopy brown gravy.

There were special heavier cast iron "Woks" made for cooking this omelet with several sections to hold Egg Foo Yung that I'm sure were never sold anywhere else as I never enjoyed anything similar in Hong Kong.

It was once very popular in New York and all over the East Coast. In Seattle I have only found one place that prepares Egg Foo Yung similar to the NYC taste. Students everywhere ordered it as it was the cheapest most filling dish on most menus that came with Egg Drop Soup, Rice and Ice Cream or Jello often less expensive then a Burger.

Irwin :biggrin:


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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:hmmm: Now I know what I have to make for supper next week when I am back in my own kitchen:Cantonese egg foo young with the brown gloopy gravy.

We just made the omlettes in the big wok. The trick eas to form each one on the SIDES of the wok, moving it around so that it would cool properly, without any "hot spots". Bean sprouts, char siu, tiny shrimps, green onions and eggs. These were not the firm patties like the "ordinary" egg foo young. These were fluffy patties".

My gravy was made with :shock: some oil (lard) from the deep fryer. I made a rue with this and flour, then added hot chicken stock...Best gravy ever! :laugh::laugh:

When my kids were small, they loved the "egg foo young" my Mom made: diced lap cheung, peas, onions, and eggs scrambled together into clumps.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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My gravy was made with  :shock: some oil (lard) from the deep fryer. I made a rue with this and flour, then added hot chicken stock...Best gravy ever! :laugh:  :laugh:

You stole the French techniques to make Chinese food?!! :angry::laugh::laugh::laugh:


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

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The 双冬 in the title threw me off until I saw the ingredients.  Good color combos!

I am trying to match my cooking with those done in the restaurants.

In the restaurants, they do make this dish labelled as 炒双冬.

炒 [chao3; Mandarin] means stir-fry

双 or 雙 [shuang1; Mandarin] means two, or double

冬 [dong1; Mandarin] means winter

In this context, 冬 [dong1; Mandarin] "winter" is referring to:

1) 冬菇 - Black mushrooms

2) 冬筍 - Bamboo shoots

Together, they form the "double winter" (双冬).

I know, I know. Chinese menus are kind of cryptic sometimes. Or else there's no fun! :wink: Take a look at some of the Chinese banquet menus. They are notorious of being cryptic. It is fun trying to decipher them. Yeah, even for us. :raz:


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

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This looks so wonderful and so easy hzrt8w. I don't have a wok right now. Can this be made in a regular frying pan? I know, I know I need to get a good wok. BTW, what is your wok made of exactly? Is it the traditional Chinese hammered stainless steel?


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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This looks so wonderful and so easy hzrt8w.  I don't have a wok right now.  Can this be made in a regular frying pan?  I know, I know I need to get a good wok.  BTW, what is your wok made of exactly?  Is it the traditional Chinese hammered stainless steel?

Diva Las Vegas: I am glad you like this recipe. As you can see from my pictures, I only use a frying pan to make Chinese food. :raz::raz: I don't even own a wok.

For explanations...

see this post.


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

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I know, I know.  Chinese menus are kind of cryptic sometimes.  Or else there's no fun!  :wink:    Take a look at some of the Chinese banquet menus.  They are notorious of being cryptic.  It is fun trying to decipher them.  Yeah, even for us.  :raz:

双 (or 雙) 冬 I'm familiar with, and I love that sort of crypticness. (such a word?)

"Chinese Gastronomy) has two dishes, from a Qing Dynasty banquet, that I can only imagine: Cassia Flowers on a Moonlit Boat, and Imperfect Pearls.

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This looks so wonderful and so easy hzrt8w.  I don't have a wok right now.  Can this be made in a regular frying pan?  I know, I know I need to get a good wok.  BTW, what is your wok made of exactly?  Is it the traditional Chinese hammered stainless steel?

Diva Las Vegas: I am glad you like this recipe. As you can see from my pictures, I only use a frying pan to make Chinese food. :raz::raz: I don't even own a wok.

For explanations...

see this post.

OMG. I'm amazed by two things: 1) the fact that I got so wrapped up in your pictures, the recipe and your explanations of the cooking techniques, and what ingredients you used, I completely missed the fact that you were using a frying pan, :blink: and 2) after clicking on the link you included how you said that the first thing a lot of people do before they attempt to prepare Chinese food is to go out and get a wok! LOL That's was exactly my thinking. I happily stand corrected.


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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hrzt: Why do you add the vinegar? I have never heard of that...  :hmmm:

Adding vinegar in stir-fried dishes amplifies the taste of your sauce. Vinegar or cooking wine is often added shortly after the aromatics (garlic, ginger, onion, scallion, etc.). If the wok/pan is hot enough, this act typically induce a big flame (desirable).


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

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I always thought that every recipe required ginger & garlic, but now I see some recipes do & some don't. Are there rules for when to use garlic & ginger or just 1 or the other?

I love these recipes as I consider them to be a great resource form a very knowledgeable cook & written so well in English.

Thank you for this great work. :smile:

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