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It's a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot World (1963)


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I love hot sauces of all kinds, but mainly the Asian types of hot sauce. I am not used to American types of hot sauce, such as Tobasco and the likes, because they are too sour for me.

This is unusual for a Cantonese, as we typically avoid eating hot food. This habit only started in my college days. Perhaps that's the result of working in a few Sichuan/Beijing (the so-called "Imperial" style) restaurants. :biggrin:

Hot sauces are a little bit like wines, in that there are different types that would go well with different types of food. Some are good with wonton noodle soup, some are good as condiments for stir-fries, some are good with cheung fun, and some are good for cooking only.

A recent trip to the 99 Ranch Market, I walked down the isle that showed all kinds of Chinese hot sauces. I thought I was in heaven! :biggrin:

Here are some of the hot sauces that are interesting:

gallery_19795_2817_31696.jpg

Ning Chi. This is a Taiwanese made. Chili with black bean sauce on the left. Chili with garlic on the right.

gallery_19795_2817_17813.jpg

These are "hot oil" (La You), mostly hot oil with a bit of garlic and chili.

gallery_19795_2817_7442.jpg

These are hot sauce "paste". Typically used as condiments in Vietnamese food (e.g. Pho and Vietnamese BBQ).

gallery_19795_2817_39348.jpg

Similar hot sauce "paste". Popular with Southeast Asian food.

gallery_19795_2817_42090.jpg

Many Chinese hot sauces. Typically these are quite salty and not suitable to be used as condiment. They can be used for cooking.

gallery_19795_2817_22963.jpg

This hot sauce is typically added to "Cheung Fun" (steamed rice noodles).

gallery_19795_2817_14710.jpg

Similar ones but other varieties: sweet chili garlic sauce, sweet chili sauce. They are hot and sweet.

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Sichuan hot sauce... in cans! Good for cooking for sure. I wonder if they are good as condiments.

gallery_19795_2817_27645.jpg

The famous Guilin style hot sauce. In Guilin, most use this to accompany their rice noodle dishes.

gallery_19795_2817_29311.jpg

Out of many hot sauces that I have tried, I have come to this conclusion: my personal most favorite brand is: Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce. Yes they are made by the San Francisco famous Yank Sing dim sum restaurant inside the Rincon Center in downtown San Francisco. But I have known them over 20 years ago when Yank Sing was a small neighborhood restaurant selling wonton noodles and stir-fried entrees at the corner of Broadway and Powell. Their hot sauce has not changed much over the years. Before they distributed their hot sauce via the Asian markets, I used to buy half a dozen of them dropping by their restaurant every time I visited San Francisco! :raz:

I would kill to know how they make their hot sauce. It is full of flavor. Very balanced and not exceptionally hot. (Perhaps that's from MSG? :unsure::laugh::laugh: )

The only thing is: they are a bit expensive. Much higher compared to the counterpart. But, I have not seen even a close second.

And in case you are wondering: yes, I have bought some of these hot sauces. I am going to post some of my evaluations on different brands and different types of hot sauces.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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My all time favorite that I first learned about after sending a Hong Kong Cantonese Chef for a one year contract establishing a Chinese Restaurant in Japan that he brought back with him for everyone to try because he thought it was the best type of "Hot Sauce" he had ever tried.

We are still using it for many dishes including Italian style Pasta Dishes to help perk them up, omelette's, almost all types of Asian Dishes and even Mexican items.

It's called "KIMCHEE NO MOTO" or "KIM CHEE BASE". Momoya Brand packed by Momoya Co. LTD, 16-2. 2-Chome. Kamigara-Cho Nihonbashe, Chuo-Ku, Japan.

Sold everywhere in Japan or Korea and many Japanese, Asian and Korean Groceries in the States. It comes in various sizes but we use the 15.87 Oz or 450 G size.

Ingredients are: Garlic, Salt, Chili, Sugar, Ginger and Vinegar.

It seems to enhance, lift up flavors but compliments without over whelming without being salty or sour as many other sauces often will do to dishes.

After opening I keep it refrigerated, it is quite hot, but its predominantly Garlic, Chili Taste remains fresh and lively.

It really compliments Sui Kow or Won Tons as well as Congee used modestly. Its very popular in Asia as it's designated being a Kimchee Base in Korea but adapts well into a all purpose enhancer.

Irwin

Edited by wesza (log)

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

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gallery_19795_2817_17813.jpg

I call this "old lady sauce" because of the picture of the old lady on the bottle. The type that also includes fermented beans is AMAZING. It has so much flavor. I use as the only thing added when I make super quick stir frys. It covers the sweet, hot, umami, and salty all with one item. I was so happy when I found this in Japan after using it in the states for years. what is its real name?

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Guilin chili sauce is SUPERB - the addition of Shaoxing makes it truly special.

I just sent Ah Leung some pics of my 'straight from Guilin' crock o' sauce, as well as the labels and the sauce itself - I'm not sure how to post them on my own. This is my preferred hot sauce of choice nowadays in Chinese cooking, due to it's depth of flavour. If I was making Szechuan, I'd stick with Tobanjon. For hot chili oil, you can't beat the oil floating atop the Yank Sing Chili XO sauce - like Ah Leung, I think they make the highest-quality product and have used their sauces for years. :)

cheers, JH

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gallery_19795_2817_29311.jpg

Out of many hot sauces that I have tried, I have come to this conclusion:  my personal most favorite brand is: Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce.  Yes they are made by the San Francisco famous Yank Sing dim sum restaurant inside the Rincon Center in downtown San Francisco.  But I have known them over 20 years ago when Yank Sing was a small neighborhood restaurant selling wonton noodles and stir-fried entrees at the corner of Broadway and Powell.  Their hot sauce has not changed much over the years.  Before they distributed their hot sauce via the Asian markets, I used to buy half a dozen of them dropping by their restaurant every time I visited San Francisco!  :raz:

I would kill to know how they make their hot sauce.  It is full of flavor.  Very balanced and not exceptionally hot.  (Perhaps that's from MSG?  :unsure:  :laugh:  :laugh: )

The only thing is: they are a bit expensive.  Much higher compared to the counterpart.  But, I have not seen even a close second.

Yes, Yank Sing is definitely my fave hot sauce. Great flavor without too many hard chili seeds. The bits of radish, black beans and garlic are also nice. The price is a bit higher but not excessively so.

gallery_19795_2817_17813.jpg

These are "hot oil" (La You), mostly hot oil with a bit of garlic and chili.

However, I would not refuse this hot sauce either. It comes a close 2nd to Yank Sing. The flavor of the sichuan peppercorns is prominent. The hard chili seeds can be a bit distracting though.

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John --Just how old are you? The picture of the 'old lady' on the sauce jar looks pretty young to ME!!!! LOL!

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

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John --Just how old are you?  The picture of the 'old lady' on the sauce jar looks pretty young to ME!!!!  LOL!

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

The Lan Chi brand, which was highly recommended to me by my cousin, I've found to be really salty. I think the saltiness overwhelms dominates any other flavors.

I'd also have to agree that the 'old lady' is sorta old looking to me. I'd call her ah-mo. :)

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John --Just how old are you?  The picture of the 'old lady' on the sauce jar looks pretty young to ME!!!!  LOL!

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

Lan Chi has become hard to find in the bay area, for some reason - however, I do like it very much when i can find it. As noted, it is a bit salty, but I use it in specific recipes where that aspect works. In most recipes calling for Chili sauce now, I use Guilin chili paste (still hoping Ah Leung will post the images I mailed him of the brand I prefer) or the Yank Sing variant.

Chiu Chow Chili oil from Lee Kum Kee is also excellent - I use the detritus/solids from the bottom for a potent concentrated kick in certain recipes where I don't want a sauce or oil, but want a powerful chili flavour.

cheers, JH

Edited by jhirshon (log)
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I call this "old lady sauce" because of the picture of the old lady on the bottle. The type that also includes fermented beans is AMAZING. It has so much flavor.

[...]

Actually that's pretty close. I am not sure if this brand has an English name. They probably have but I can't recall what it is.

The Chinese brand name is "lau gan ma" [Mandarin], which means "old honorable mother".

I like this brand too at first, until I could taste it that they put a lot of MSG in it. :sad:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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[...]If I was making Szechuan, I'd stick with Tobanjon.  For hot chili oil, you can't beat the oil floating atop the Yank Sing Chili XO sauce - like Ah Leung, I think they make the highest-quality product and have used their sauces for years. :)

I have a wild guess that the Korean Tobanjon is the same (or very similar) as Chinese Chili Bean Sauce ("Dou Ban Jiang" in Mandarin). IMO Chili Bean Sauce it too salty to be used as a condiment. It is great for cooking.

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

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

I don't think I ever had Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic. Since you brought it up, I should look for it and sample it to give you my eval. :biggrin:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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A recent trip to the 99 Ranch Market, I walked down the isle that showed all kinds of Chinese hot sauces.  I thought I was in heaven!  :biggrin:

Here are some of the hot sauces that are interesting:

gallery_19795_2817_7442.jpg

These are hot sauce "paste".  Typically used as condiments in Vietnamese food (e.g. Pho and Vietnamese BBQ).

gallery_19795_2817_39348.jpg

Similar hot sauce "paste".  Popular with Southeast Asian food.

And in case you are wondering:  yes, I have bought some of these hot sauces.  I am going to post some of my evaluations on different brands and different types of hot sauces.

Thanks for the hot sauce/condiment tour Ah Leung. That aisle sounds like heaven indeed. I look forward to your evaluations of the different brands and the how you use them.

I have a question about the sriracha sauces depicted. I recognize the one with the rooster on the label (the company is Huy Fong?) But I'm intrigued by the other bottles of sriracha you photographed with the different colored caps and different flavors with the duck on the label. I've never seen these before. Do you know the name of the company that makes those?

Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

Anxiously awaiting your next installment. :smile:

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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I have a question about the sriracha sauces depicted.  I recognize the one with the rooster on the label (the company is Huy Fong?)  But I'm intrigued by the other bottles of sriracha you photographed with the different colored caps and different flavors with the duck on the label.  I've never seen these before.  Do you know the name of the company that makes those?

Like they show in some movies... I played Dick Tracy and went back to the original digital and blew it up:

gallery_19795_2817_18300.jpg

The brand name you sought is "Flying Goose Brand" (not duck :biggrin: ).

Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

That's hard for me to tell. Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce is widely available in the Asian markets in both Northern and Southern CA (99 Ranch and others). I have no idea if they made it to the East coast or elsewhere, but I think they probably did.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I call this "old lady sauce" because of the picture of the old lady on the bottle. The type that also includes fermented beans is AMAZING. It has so much flavor.

[...]

Actually that's pretty close. I am not sure if this brand has an English name. They probably have but I can't recall what it is.

The Chinese brand name is "lau gan ma" [Mandarin], which means "old honorable mother".

I like this brand too at first, until I could taste it that they put a lot of MSG in it. :sad:

Now I don't feel so bad for calling it old lady sauce, I think I will continue to call it that. I was 20 years old when I first tried this sauce so I think it is fair to call it old lady sauce. I also noticed the MSG but I am one of those people who doesn't hate MSG. I like the fact that it includes the chili seeds, sichuan peppercorns, and preserved garlic and beans. one of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is cabbage and bacon stir fry, yum yum.

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I have a question about the sriracha sauces depicted.  I recognize the one with the rooster on the label (the company is Huy Fong?)  But I'm intrigued by the other bottles of sriracha you photographed with the different colored caps and different flavors with the duck on the label.  I've never seen these before.  Do you know the name of the company that makes those?

Like they show in some movies... I played Dick Tracy and went back to the original digital and blew it up:

gallery_19795_2817_18300.jpg

The brand name you sought is "Flying Goose Brand" (not duck :biggrin: ).

Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

That's hard for me to tell. Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce is widely available in the Asian markets in both Northern and Southern CA (99 Ranch and others). I have no idea if they made it to the East coast or elsewhere, but I think they probably did.

:laugh::laugh::laugh: Thanks for your detective work Ah Leung. Duck, duck, goose anyone? :biggrin:

Actually I found a link to a company that sells Flying Goose products. Looks yummy:

Flying Goose Products Online

Unfortunately this website is for ordering large quantities of products by stores only and not for individuals. :sad: However, I still found it useful/educational to see the vast array of sauces and other products one might find when shopping for Asian ingredients.

I guess I'll have to do a bit of investigating of my own for those other sauces here on the "left coast."

Thanks again.

Edited for additional comments/clarification.

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

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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Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

I just have an idea: you may want to call Yank Sing and see if they do mail orders. They just might...

Yank Sing's website including phone numbers

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

I just have an idea: you may want to call Yank Sing and see if they do mail orders. They just might...

Yank Sing's website including phone numbers

Thanks so much Det. Tracy, er, Ah Leung for the information. I've emailed their sales and marketing representative. Their website indicates that their products can be found in stores all over the US, but if there aren't any convenient to me at least can place an order, if necessary. As for the prices, if they are as delicious as you describe, I think they'd be worth every penny.

Of course since I was on their website I just had to check out their menu and thanks to you, now I'm starving!!! :biggrin:

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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[...]Of course since I was on their website I just had to check out their menu and thanks to you, now I'm starving!!!  :biggrin:

Well... I gotta warn you. They are a pricey one for dim sum. I have been to their restaurant inside the Rincon center. Not that worths it, IMO. It is a general opinion to some on Chowhound that they are just over-priced. I like them better when they were the small neighborhood restaurant on Broadway... :unsure:

Koi Palace (Daly City) on the other hand has top quality dim sum. While their prices are high too but not not as high as YS and I think it worths it. You can read Koi Palace's menu online too:

http://www.koipalace.com/

Now... only if Koi Palace would package and sell their hot sauce (which is good too, I had tasted it when I had dim sum there) and do mail orders...

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Well... I gotta warn you.  They are a pricey one for dim sum.  I have been to their restaurant inside the Rincon center.  Not that worths it, IMO.  It is a general opinion to some on Chowhound that they are just over-priced.  I like them better when they were the small neighborhood restaurant on Broadway...  :unsure:

I've been to Yank Sing a couple times over the years and have to agree. It's pretty average dim sum at very high prices.

On the other hand, if you are on an expense account and/or taking guests not all that familiar with dim sum, it is a bit more "user friendly" than some of the other restaurants that serve dim sum. In addition, both of their locations are conveniently located near many downtown hotels, which can be a plus as well.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Hot Sauce Evaluation

Pictures:

gallery_19795_2817_11923.jpggallery_19795_2817_13699.jpg

English brand/sauce name: Ning Chi, Chili with garlic

Chinese brand/sauce name: 寧記, 蒜蓉辣椒

Hotness rating: 5 out of 5

Evaluation: This is a Taiwanese make. It is very hot! Not vinegary, not salty. The label claimed it is made of "heaven pointing" chilis. I can see slices of fresh chilis in the sauce. It contains too many seeds. While the hot sauce is extremely hot, I think it lacks other flavors. The taste of garlic seems minimal. It is rather bland. Selling at US$4 a small jar, I expect something better than this.

Usage suggestions: Condiments or cooking. Good with noodle soup and stir-fry entrees. In cooking, use it wherever a hot taste is called for.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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~~~~~~~~~ one of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is cabbage and bacon stir fry, yum yum.

Cabbage and bacon stir/fry? That sounds good to me. Got a recipe?

-3 or 4 strips bacon, or an equal amount of cubed block bacon

-1/4 head cabbage

-1/2tbs each minced garlic and ginger

-(as much as you like) old lady sauce

-a splash of shao hsing wine

-1 pinch salt

cut the cabbage into 1 1/2 inch squares and the bacon in 1 1/2 inch lengths. add the bacon to a very hot wok and allow some of the fat to render. Once about 1/2tbs of bacon fat renders remove the bacon and add the garlic and ginger and then immediately the cabbage. cook the cabbage for about a minute and then splash with the shao hsing and add a pinch of salt. add the bacon back in and cook until the shao hsing has evaporated. add old lady sauce in the last 30 seconds of cooking.

notes: thicker bacon is better. You are not trying to fry the bacon to a crisp, it will still be floppy. cabbage should maintain some firmness. you can substitute red pepper flake for old lady sauce.

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~~~~~~~~~ one of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is cabbage and bacon stir fry, yum yum.

Cabbage and bacon stir/fry? That sounds good to me. Got a recipe?

-3 or 4 strips bacon, or an equal amount of cubed block bacon

-1/4 head cabbage

-1/2tbs each minced garlic and ginger

-(as much as you like) old lady sauce

-a splash of shao hsing wine

-1 pinch salt

cut the cabbage into 1 1/2 inch squares and the bacon in 1 1/2 inch lengths. add the bacon to a very hot wok and allow some of the fat to render. Once about 1/2tbs of bacon fat renders remove the bacon and add the garlic and ginger and then immediately the cabbage. cook the cabbage for about a minute and then splash with the shao hsing and add a pinch of salt. add the bacon back in and cook until the shao hsing has evaporated. add old lady sauce in the last 30 seconds of cooking.

notes: thicker bacon is better. You are not trying to fry the bacon to a crisp, it will still be floppy. cabbage should maintain some firmness. you can substitute red pepper flake for old lady sauce.

Thanks! Sounds easy AND tasty! I understand about the bacon -- like using 5-flower pork 五花肉 - wu hua rou.

Cabbage is probably the most versatile vegetable there is, and this just proves the point.

I can probably use one of the hot sauces I have, but now I want to buy 'young chick' sauce ---- er --- old lady sauce!!

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[...]If I was making Szechuan, I'd stick with Tobanjon.  For hot chili oil, you can't beat the oil floating atop the Yank Sing Chili XO sauce - like Ah Leung, I think they make the highest-quality product and have used their sauces for years. :)

I have a wild guess that the Korean Tobanjon is the same (or very similar) as Chinese Chili Bean Sauce ("Dou Ban Jiang" in Mandarin). IMO Chili Bean Sauce it too salty to be used as a condiment. It is great for cooking.

Well, this makes me feel good, because I think I've been naively using Korean and Chinese chili bean sauces interchangeably in my cooking. :smile:

I am really enjoying this latest pictorial. Whenever I go in an Asian market, I find myself spending ages poring over the labels of all the jars and bottles in the sauce aisle--so many choices, so little time! :biggrin:

I can just imagine some recent immigrant from China being similarly flummoxed by the big aisle of American-style condiments in a typical Vons/Safeway/etc.--only to discover how *boring* all those different brands of ketchup and American-style barbecue sauce are. :laugh:

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I'll second the Lao Gan Ma Old lady sauce.. It is the best bean+chili combo I've ever gone through. It's uses are endless. That company is Guizhou based, so plenty of heat, and they like their flavours as exciting as possible.

I use this in so many different dishes, it is amazing.

I usually have stock of 2 jars of this stuff and another bag of just the black beans for less spicy or cleaner tasting dishes that require a bit more control

I don't have any experience with the La You sauce.. But the La Zi Ji one is equally fantastic.. This is the one with bits of chicken inside. The leftover meat + chili dishes with this stuff makes a fantastic fried rice the next day.

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      Ingredients

      Boneless skinless chicken thighs  6

      Light soy sauce

      Dark soy sauce

      Shaoxing wine

      Cornstarch or similar. I use potato starch.

      Vegetable oil (not olive oil)

      Star anise, 4

      Cinnamon, 1 stick

      Bay leaves, 5 or 6

      Fresh ginger, 6 coin sized slices

      Garlic.  5 cloves, roughly chopped

      Sichuan peppercorns,  1 tablespoon

      Whole dried red chiles,   6 -10  (optional). If you can source the Sichuan chiles known as Facing Heaven Chiles, so much the better.

      Potatoes 2 or 3 medium sized. peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

      Carrot. 1,  thinly sliced

      Dried wheat noodles.  8 oz. Traditionally, these would be a long, flat thick variety. I've use Italian tagliatelle successfully.    

      Red bell pepper. 1 cut into chunks

      Green bell pepper, 1 cut into chunks

      Salt

      Scallion, 2 sliced.
         
      Method

      First, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of Shaoxing and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

      Heat the wok and add three tablespoons cooking oil. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and chiles. Fry on a low heat for a  minute or so. If they look about to burn, splash a little water into your wok. This will lower the temperature slightly. Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Continue frying until the meat is nicely seared, then add the potatoes and carrots. Stir fry a minute more then add 2 teaspoons of the dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the Shaoxing wine along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cover and cook for around 15 minutes until the potatoes are done.

      While the main dish is cooking, cook the noodles separately according to the packet instructions.  Reserve  some of the noodle cooking water and drain.

      When the chicken and potatoes are done, you may add a little of the noodle water if the dish appears on the dry side. It should be saucy, but not soupy. Add the bell peppers and cook for three to four minutes more. Add scallions. Check seasoning and add some salt if it needs it. It may not due to the soy sauce and Shaoxing.

      Serve on a large plate for everyone to help themselves from. Plate the noodles first, then cover with the meat and potato. Enjoy.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Clam Soup with Mustard Greens - 车螺芥菜汤
       

       
      This is a popular, light but peppery soup available in most restaurants here (even if its not listed on the menu). Also, very easy to make at home.

      Ingredients

      Clams. (around 8 to 10 per person. Some restaurants are stingy with the clams, but I like to be more generous). Fresh live clams are always used in China, but if, not available, I suppose frozen clams could be used. Not canned. The most common clams here are relatively small. Littleneck clams may be a good substitute in terms of size.
       
      Stock. Chicken, fish or clam stock are preferable. Stock made from cubes or bouillon powder is acceptable, although fresh is always best.

      Mustard Greens. (There are various types of mustard green. Those used here are  芥菜 , Mandarin: jiè cài; Cantonese: gai choy). Use a good handful per person. Remove the thick stems, to be used in another dish.)

      Garlic. (to taste)

      Chile. (One or two fresh hot red chiles are optional).

      Salt.

      MSG (optional). If you have used a stock cube or bouillon powder for the stock, omit the MSG. The cubes and power already have enough.

      White pepper (freshly ground. I recommend adding what you consider to be slightly too much pepper, then adding half that again. The soup should be peppery, although of course everything is variable to taste.)

      Method

      Bring your stock to a boil. Add salt to taste along with MSG if using.

      Finely chop the garlic and chile if using. Add to stock and simmer for about five minutes.

      Make sure all the clams are tightly closed, discarding any which are open - they are dead and should not be eaten.

      The clams will begin to pop open fairly quickly. Remove the open ones as quickly as possible and keep to one side while the others catch up. One or two clams may never open. These should also be discarded. When you have all the clams fished out of the boiling stock, roughly the tear the mustard leaves in two and drop them into the stock. Simmer for one minute. Put all the clams back into the stock and when it comes back to the boil, take off the heat and serve.
    • By liuzhou
      Beef with Bitter Melon - 牛肉苦瓜
       

       
      The name may be off-putting to many people, but Chinese people do have an appreciation for bitter tastes and anyway, modern cultivars of this gourd are less bitter than in the past. Also, depending on how it's cooked, the bitterness can be mitigated.
       
      I'll admit that I wasn't sure at first, but have grown to love it.

      Note: "Beef with Bitter Melon (牛肉苦瓜 )" or "Bitter Melon with Beef (苦瓜牛肉)"? One Liuzhou restaurant I know has both on its menu! In Chinese, the ingredient listed first is the one there is most of, so, "beef with bitter melon" is mainly beef, whereas "bitter melon with beef" is much more a vegetable dish with just a little beef. This recipe is for the beefier version. To make the other version, just half the amount of beef and double the amount of melon.

      Ingredients

      Beef. One pound. Flank steak works best. Slice thinly against the grain.

      Bitter Melon. Half a melon. You can use the other half in a soup or other dish. Often available in Indian markets or supermarkets.
       

       
      Salted Black Beans. One tablespoon. Available in packets from Asian markets and supermarkets, these are salted, fermented black soy beans. They are used as the basis for 'black bean sauce', but we are going to be making our own sauce!

      Garlic. 6 cloves

      Cooking oil. Any vegetable oil except olive oil

      Shaoxing wine. See method

      Light soy sauce. One tablespoon

      Dark soy sauce. One teaspoon

      White pepper. See method

      Sesame oil. See method

      Method

      Marinate the beef in a 1/2 tablespoon of light soy sauce with a splash of Shaoxing wine along with a teaspoon or so of cornstarch or similar (I use potato starch). Stir well and leave for 15-30 minutes.

      Cut the melon(s) in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon, scrape out all the seeds and pith. The more pith you remove, the less bitter the dish will be. Cut the melon into crescents about 1/8th inch wide.

      Rinse the black beans and drain. Crush them with the blade of your knife, then chop finely. Finely chop the garlic.

      Stir fry the meat in a tablespoon of oil over a high heat until done. This should take less than a minute. Remove and set aside.

      Add another tablespoon of oil and reduce heat to medium. fry the garlic and black beans until fragrant then add the bitter melon. Continue frying until the melon softens. then add a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine and soy sauces. Finally sprinkle on white pepper to taste along with a splash of sesame oil. Return the meat to the pan and mix everything well.

      Note: If you prefer the dish more saucy, you can add a tablespoon or so of water with the soy sauces.

      Serve with plained rice and a stir-fried green vegetable of choice.
       
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