Help me understand a comment in this recipe.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by phatch, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've been cataloging my home library with an Android app, Book Catalogue. I quite like it, particularly how you scan the ISBN codes with the phone's camera and it looks it up and adds all the details about the book.

    Today, I did my Chinese cookbooks and set a few aside to go through again. One of those is Homestyle Chinese Cooking by Yan-Kit So. I have a few of her books and have found her recipes reliable, insightful and with a subtle touch in recipes.
    Her introductory note about alcohol and ginger interfering with crisp shrimp seems like folklore to me but I thought I'd ask. Texture is very important to the Chinese in their food so maybe there's some basis. I don't cook shrimp very often as there are plenty of allergic members among my family and friends so I'll likely not get to experiment on her comments.

    The marinade is more of a velveting than a battering and the volume of other ingredients and heat in the oil when cooking the shrimp don't really seem to match up to crisping the shrimp nor velveting them There's enough liquid in the finishing glaze to take the crisp out the shrimp coating too.

    I was also interested to see how often she recommends stirring in only one direction in her dishes. I've seen this before where people think that it helps keep things from curdling such as with dairy in Indian dishes. She does it with her eggs a lot and with ground meat.  I can see where you're not agitating the protein strands to tangle them up with this technique so maybe there's something to that too, but I'm a skeptic on this claim as well.
     
  2. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    HMMM , that's very interesting, I had never heard this before when she says

    " then add the salt, cornstarch and egg white and stir in the same direction to coat"

    I know that with adding the eggs to soup it's stir only in one direction, so that the egg will be soft and silky
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    She does a few other interesting things as well.

    With her marinades, she usually stirs in some vegetable oil and sesame oil late in the marinade after things have been sitting for a while already.
     
  4. french fries

    french fries

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    I believe that's to avoid incorporating air bubbles into the mixture, which occurs when you keep switching direction as you're stirring. 
     
  5. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    While I agree with French Fries about that being a possible reason, the other may be so that there is less of a chance of breaking up and damaging the shrimp.  By stirring in one direction there is less chance of really agitating the shrimp and banging them up with your stirring utensil ensuring nice looking shrimp and broken up pieces.
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I can see your point with the egg, but I don't think that's it. She does it with all protiens, such as meat mixtures, dumpling fillings, even with the stir fried milk. But that may be a partial answer to my original question.
    I'll have to look into the curdling power of ginger as that might be what she was thinking of. Alcohol is acidic and could also curdle some proteins.
     
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Ginger can have a wide range pH it turns out, between 3.5 - 6.0. When you use it for curdling, the instructions are to use older ginger, not young which seems to have the lower pH. Interesting stuff.