Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Abalone Sauce Shrimp and Dungeness Crab Chow Fun (鮑魚醬蝦蟹炒粉, Baau1 Jyu4 Zoeng3 Haa1 Haai5 Caau2 Fan2)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
This is a luxurious seafood chow fun dish using shrimp and cooked Dungeness crab meat with Gold Coin Shiitake mushrooms. Abalone sauce compliments this dish, but oyster sauce can be substituted if abalone sauce is not available. I happen to live in an area where freshly cooked Dungeness crab can be obtained seasonally (you just have to take the time to remove the meat from the shell), but you can substitute any cooked crab meat, fresh, frozen, or canned.

Gold Coin Shiitake mushrooms are just small Shiitake mushrooms that can be purchased at your local Asian market or Asian herb store. Small mushrooms are used because they can be eaten whole in one bite, but you can substitute regular sized mushrooms cut into strips if the small mushrooms are not available. The small mushrooms are more expensive than the regular sized Shiitake mushrooms, and they vary in price depending upon the quality of the mushroom. You can get the best quality Shiitake mushrooms at an Asian herb store (with the prices to match), but while Asian markets have lower quality mushrooms in comparison, the mushrooms at Asian markets are still very tasty. The main differences between the mushrooms at the herb store and the Asian market are the appearance and “meatiness” of the mushrooms.

Shiitake mushrooms sold in Asian herb stores are whiter in color than black, with a pattern (resembling a flower, as opposed to being a solid black), are prized and priced accordingly. These mushrooms also are more “meaty” than their counterparts, being thicker and having more texture when eaten than the thinner mushrooms normally sold at Asian markets. Some of the best Shiitake mushrooms sold at Asian herb shops come from Japan and are sold for higher prices than the Asian market mushrooms. Asian markets sell higher grade Shiitake mushrooms, but their best mushrooms do not match the quality found at Asian herb shops. If you’re fortunate enough to have an Asian herb shop near you, I would urge you to go in and explore their dried goods offerings (not just mushrooms, but dried fish maw, shrimp, abalone, cloud ear fungus, and the list goes on…).

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Grilled Tea Smoked Chicken (燒烤茶葉熏雞, Siu1 Haau1 Caa4 Jip6 Fan1 Gai1)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong. All rights reserved.
This is my version of tea smoked chicken using a marinated whole chicken and an outdoor barbeque grill. Any fragrant tea can be used for smoking, I happen to use oolong tea leaves. Tea smoking is usually associated with duck and done indoors in a covered wok, but chicken works just as well. In this case I used a whole chicken, but you can just as easily substitute chicken parts for the whole. I use my outdoor barbeque grill to cook the chicken because it’s so much easier (no cleanup) and the house doesn’t end up smelling of smoke (despite a good ventilation system over the stove). The traditional recipe for this dish has the unmarinated chicken (or duck) first steamed, then smoked, and then deep fried. When you eat this dish at a restaurant, that’s probably the way the dish was prepared, since the chicken or duck can be steamed well before being ordered, and then quickly smoked and deep fried before being served. The end result is a crispy tea smoked chicken or duck with succulent flesh.

My grilled version of tea smoked chicken doesn’t have the crispy skin that you find in the restaurant dish, but cooking the chicken is so much easier. The same ingredients used to tea smoke the traditional dish are used in the grilled version, except for the sugar. Sugar is one of the ingredients (amongst others) used in a foil packet to tea smoke the chicken. When a chicken or duck is tea smoked indoors in a wok, sugar can be used because of the short amount of time (maybe 10 minutes) needed to smoke the cooked chicken. Since I cook and tea smoke my chicken in a barbeque grill, the time needed to both cook and smoke the chicken is much longer (30-40 minutes), so the sugar burns and make the smoke acrid. So I leave the sugar out of the tea smoking ingredients when I use the grill.

I used a basic soy sauce marinade to grill the whole chicken. I put the chicken on a “beer can” stand to roast it upright in the barbeque. While I didn’t use a beer can to keep the chicken upright, I have an apparatus that has two rods attached to a pan that keeps the chicken standing while being grilled. The standing chicken is placed in the charcoal grate, without using the grill grate. The barbeque cover can’t be used if the standing chicken is placed on the grill grate in a 22.5 in. (57 cm.) barbeque grill, so that’s why the standing chicken is placed on the charcoal grate with the coals arranged around it in a circle.

You can look at the Poached Chicken (白斬雞, Baak6 Zaam2 Gai1) with Ginger-Scallion Oil (薑蔥油, Goeng1 Cung1 Jau4) recipe for instructions on cutting and arranging a chicken on a platter.

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Chili Black Bean Sauce Chicken and Imitation Lobster Balls (辣椒豆豉龍蝦丸鷄, Laat6 Ziu1 Dau6 Si6 Lung4 Haa1 Jyun4 Gai1)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
Imitation lobster balls are available at your local Asian market either refrigerated or frozen. One of the local markets that I frequent, had some already thawed in the refrigerated section in the fish section. Imitation lobster balls are really fish balls with red bits (to resemble lobster) and lobster flavor added, so any fish or shrimp ball can be substituted if lobster balls are not available. If real lobster were used, this dish would be very luxurious and very expensive to make! The lobster balls are paired with chicken to make a classic seafood and meat flavor combination dish.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Madras Curry Paste Beef Banana Shank and Tendon Stew (马德拉斯咖喱醬燜牛筋牛腱, Maa5 Dak1 Laai1 Si1 Gaa3 Lei1 Zoeng3 Man1 Ngau4 Gan1 Ngau4 Gin3)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
While this recipe would seem to be more appropriate during the winter, it is still tasty when cooked during the summer, especially when you use a slow cooker (i.e. crockpot) to make the dish. Fresh lotus root is probably not in season during the summer, since I couldn’t find it at any of my local Asian markets. So pre-cut frozen lotus root makes a good substitute when fresh is not available (and then even the frozen lotus root slices can sometimes be hard to find). If lotus root cannot be found, daikon makes a good substitute.

Beef banana shank and beef tendon go together to make a classic Chinese stew. This dish is very similar to the Beef Shank and Tendon Stew (燜牛筋牛腱, Man1 Ngau4 Gan1 Ngau4 Gin3) recipe. The difference between the recipes being, of course, the addition of Madras Curry Paste to the dish. Madras Curry Paste can be purchased at your local Asian market, or you can make your own by mixing Madras Curry Powder with a neutral oil to make a slurry. Chee Hou sauce is also an important ingredient to making this dish. Chee Hou sauce is a prepared sauce and is similar in taste to hoisin sauce (which can be substituted if you can’t find it at your local Asian market) and has a slightly spicier taste to it.

Boneless beef banana shank is usually prepared and served as a cold dish appetizer at Chinese banquets, in a very similar preparation as for this stew dish. This cut of meat is usually not available at your local market, but can be found in Asian markets. If you can’t find beef banana shank, beef outside flank makes a good substitute. Beef tendon is another part of the cow available at Asian markets either whole or already cut into pieces. It’s a texture ingredient that produces a great mouth feel when eaten. Uncooked, it’s tough and hard to cut, cooked long and slow, and it becomes soft. There’s really no substitute for this ingredient, so if you can’t find it, it can be omitted, but the stew won’t be the same.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Chili Oil Bean Curd Cloud Ear Long Bean Chicken (紅油腐乳雲耳豆角鷄, Hung4 Jau4 Fu6 Jyu5 Wan4 Ji5 Dau6 Gok3 Gai1)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
Fermented bean curd is the basis for the sauce for this dish. I used a fermented bean curd with chili, but a regular version can be substituted if you prefer the dish without any spiciness. The quantity (i.e. the number of cakes) to use is a personal preference, so feel free to increase or decrease the amount used. Fresh cloud ear fungus is available at your local Asian market. If fresh is not available, dried can be substituted. Just remember that dried cloud ear fungus expands greatly once rehydrated, so use a smaller amount of the dried than fresh.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Doubanjiang Bell Pepper Tripe (郫縣豆瓣酱青椒牛柏葉, Pei4 Jyun6 Dau6 Faan6 Zoeng3 Ceng1 Ziu1 Ngau4 Paak3 Jip6)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong, all rights reserved.
This recipe is very similar to the previously posted beef honeycomb tripe recipe: Doubanjiang Beef Tripe with Bell Peppers (辣豆瓣酱青椒牛柏葉, Laat6 Dau6 Faan6 Zoeng3 Ceng1 Ziu1 Ngau4 Paak3 Jip6). This recipe uses beef book tripe instead, Shiitake mushrooms, and bell peppers cut into strips to match shape of the tripe pieces. Beef book tripe is another of the cow’s stomachs that are readily available at your local Asian market. While the honeycomb tripe has a honeycomb pattern on one side, the book tripe resembles a book with open pages. The book tripe is commonly served as a Chinese Dim Sum dish and has a crunchier texture than the honeycomb.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hard Apple Cider Soy Sauce Chicken (蘋果酒豉油鷄, Ping4 Gwo2 Zau2 Si6 Jau4 Gai1)

Copyright © 2016 Douglas R. Wong. All rights reserved.
If this recipe and the above picture look familiar, then you’ve looked at the Soy Sauce Chicken (豉油鷄, Si6 Jau4 Gai1) recipe. This recipe differs by the use of hard apple cider instead of Shaoxing Rice Wine in the poaching liquid. The chicken takes on a slightly sweeter flavor when hard apple cider is used. The poached chicken’s dark color comes from the use of thick soy sauce, which has molasses in it. Usually soy sauce chicken recipes call for the use of dark soy sauce, which you can use, but I prefer using thick soy sauce because it produces a better overall dark color in the chicken. Poaching chicken is an easy and fast way to cook a chicken. The Poached Chicken (白斬雞, Baak6 Zaam2 Gai1) with Ginger-Scallion Oil (薑蔥油, Goeng1 Cung1 Jau4) recipe has instructions on how to cut and present the chicken. Just be sure you have a good sharp Chinese cleaver and a wood cutting board, and with a little practice, you’ll be able to cut chickens as if you worked in a Chinese delicatessen. The chicken can be served immediately while warm or at room temperature after overnight refrigeration.

Enjoy!
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