- Joined Jan 8, 2010
As in Selamat makan? (Bon appetite)?
Going to google it
As in Selamat makan? (Bon appetite)?
Going to google it
To me, this strikes me as a Western approach. In more traditional approaches, the ginger, the garlic, the scallions, the chiles all serve to "correct" a perceived flaw in the flavor of the ingredient. Perhaps the gaminess of the meat, the grassiness of a vegetable and so on. The above approach seems more western in starting with "aromatics" as a flavor base and working through the recipe to the end. For her goals of quick and easy, this would diminish the in and out of the pan thing that can happen in some recipes.Balance the aromatics – the awesome foursome!
I like to use a combination of garlic, ginger and chillies – what I call The Holy Trinity – but now I sometimes add spring onions to the mix too. Holy Trinity was so last year – now it’s all about the Awesome Foursome! I have been accused of adding garlic, ginger and chillies in almost all my dishes, but this is because I try to inject their healthful, anti-bacterial properties into my cooking as much as possible, so that I am getting the maximum healthful nutrients in any one meal. But it is entirely up to you and you can vary what you add to suit your likes and mood, of course.
Compartmentalise your ingredients – group aromatics together, also the vegetables, and seasonings. Think of your protein and treat it separately – what flavours are you trying to achieve? Finally, think of your garnishes and ways to inject some freshness into the dish at the end. So, break the recipe down. Sometimes the dish looks like a long list of ingredients but actually most are store cupboard ingredients, and garnishes. So, the dishes are not as long or as difficult as they may first ‘appear’ – after all – appearances are deceptive!
Again, this strikes me as a naive western approach to more stuff is better I often see among the casusal cooking of my friends. And I admit, that I have a few stand-by recipes in this genre so it's not all bad.Quick homemade sauces and seasonings
From sriracha and oyster to garlic hoisin, you can create sweet, sour and spicy sauces that will complement your dishes, whether you use them as cook-in sauces or dressings on the side. Think of your condiment cupboard like a bar, where you are the mixologist, creating your own sauces.
It sounds good, but its a bit much to put together for a quick dinner or lunch.HOT AND SOUR SOUP
Our version of this soup will taste familiar but new to anyone who has ever tasted Chinese sour-hot or Chinese American hot and sour soup. We use sharp and pungent white vinegar, as well as earthy black vinegar for its rich, deep molasses acidity. The only “hot” quality comes from white pepper for a slow warming heat. Grind the pepper super-finely so that it dissolves into the soup, then give it a few minutes to steep and bloom before you taste. Pepper and vinegar change as they infuse a hot broth. Keep tasting and adjusting until both the “sour” and the “hot” come through. You may need one last tweak with vinegar right before serving. It will all come together as a singular flavor and delicately punch you in the face. Garnish with cilantro and nasturtium leaves and flowers for a special touch.
Active Time — 1 hour
Plan Ahead — You’ll need overnight for soaking, and 2 hours for simmering
Makes 8 servings
Hot and Sour Broth
2½ lb / 1.1kg white-fish bones and heads
1 oz / 30g dried flounder
2 qt / 1.8L water
2 cups / 340g ice cubes
⅓ cup / 30g diced celery
¼ cup / 25g diced fennel
¼ cup / 40g thinly sliced leeks (white parts only)
4 oz / 115g ginger, peeled, sliced, and smashed
1½ tsp ground white pepper
1½ tsp toasted sesame oil
¼ cup / 60ml light soy sauce (生抽, sāng chāu)
½ tsp dark soy sauce (老抽, lóuh chāu)
24 dried lily buds or flowers
2 Tbsp neutral oil
¼ tsp celery seeds
1 cup / 100g trimmed fresh nameko mushrooms
1 cup / 70g fresh wood ear mushrooms
4 oz / 115g firm doufu, cut into ¾-inch cubes
½ cup / 80g cooked, shredded crab meat
¼ cup / 60ml distilled white vinegar
3 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar, plus more as needed
To make the broth: Trim away and discard any guts and large blood vessels from the fish bones and remove and discard the gills from the heads; rinse the bones. Place everything in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 300°F
Place the dried flounder on an oven rack and toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Drain the fish bones and then place them in a 6-quart or larger pot. Add the dried flounder, 2 qt / 1.8L water, and ice cubes and bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming off any foam that floats to the top and never letting it come to a boil. Add the celery, fennel, leeks, and ginger; turn the heat to medium-low; and simmer, skimming occasionally as needed, until intensely flavored, about 2 hours.
Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and then strain the broth and discard the solids. Stir the pepper, sesame oil, and both types of soy sauce into the broth. Taste, season with salt, and let cool. (At this point, you can transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.)
Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
Place the lily buds in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and let soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat, warm the neutral oil for a few seconds. Add the celery seeds and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add all the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Drain the lily buds. Divide the sautéed mushrooms, lily buds, doufu, and crab among serving bowls. Bring the hot and sour broth back to a simmer. Add the white and black vinegars, then taste for balance and re-up the black vinegar as needed. Ladle the hot broth into each bowl (at the table, if you feel inspired) and serve immediately.
ON HOT AND SOUR
In 1945, Buwei Yang Chao wrote How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, a book introducing the diversity of regional Chinese cuisines to American home cooks. In it, she—with help from her daughter and husband—coined the terms “stir-fry” and “pot sticker” and described “sour-hot soup” (酸辣湯) as “a very famous soup that sometimes will help you get rid of leftovers.”
Most readers had never tasted anything such as sour-hot. Spicy Chinese food didn’t enter mainstream American consciousness until after 1965, when a critical mass of people with roots in Sichuan and Hunan, among other provinces, made this country home. In San Francisco, Cecilia Chiang served a version when she opened the Mandarin on the other side of the hill from Chinatown in 1961. Chiang's restaurant was among the first to introduce the crossroads cuisine of Beijing, with its pan-China, Muslim, and Mongolian influences, as well as the regional cuisines of Shandong, Zhejiang, and other northern provinces. “Mandarin” (until then, the term for the language of imperial court officials and a type of orange) became synonymous with northern Chinese cuisine, which essentially came to mean anything other than what the first wave of immigrants had been cooking in Chinatown. New restaurants capitalized on the perception that some cooking was more “authentic” than others.
In 1974, California Living magazine explained that this new regional cuisine tended to have “a dry texture” that required chewing long enough to “taste all the underlying explosions within it.” The primer suggested earning your server’s trust by not trying to order Cantonese-style food and promising not to send back dishes that were too spicy.
Sour-hot was one of the earliest of the so-called authentic, regional Chinese dishes to catch on in this country. At first, cooks made it as close as they could to what they knew, using available ingredients—numbing, lemony, green Sichuan peppercorns were technically banned from import by 1968 for more than four decades. The Sichuan version was a mix of white and red rice vinegars, white peppercorn, and smuggled Sichuan peppercorn, perhaps topped with fermented mustard greens and soft sheets of pork blood. Beijing-style included white pepper and black rice vinegar and bits of ham and seafood, with wontons or noodles. Soon it appeared, mellowed, alongside Cantonese staples in Chinatown—the gateway spicy dish.
As customers developed preferences, chefs edited and found flavor in new sources. But eventually, sour-hot’s American identity converged toward a standard—strips of pork and doufu, egg ribbons, mushrooms (usually mu’er, a black tree fungus), and dried lily buds in a broth of black peppercorn and white vinegar. It became “hot and sour,” not “sour-hot,” rebranded to emphasize what seemed to matter most. In the United States, with a new form and a new name, hot and sour came to represent a cuisine that didn’t exist before in the old country.