- 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.
MAKES ALMOST 4 CUPS
1 pound mixed red jalapeño peppers, fresh Thai bird peppers, and habanero peppers
6 garlic cloves
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 Red Bull (an 8.4-ounce can)
1 cup water
¼ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup sugar
4 teaspoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 Trim the stems from the peppers. Combine all the ingredients except for the Asian sesame oil in a medium pot and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2 Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and puree until smooth, adding water as needed to create a smooth sauce. Add the sesame oil and blend well. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. The sauce will keep for up to a month.
We drink a ton of Red Bull in my kitchen. It keeps us going through the sluggish afternoon hours. Some days, it seems to be the most prevalent ingredient in the kitchen, which always gets me thinking about ways to use it in a recipe. I used to put ginger ale in this hot sauce, but I like it better with the Red Bull. It’s sugary, citrusy, and loaded with caffeine. What’s not to like? If you are one of those people who are wary of the product, you can substitute ginger ale or Sprite.
This recipe is for traditional Afghan-style breakfast eggs, which are cooked in a sauce of onion, tomato and chilli, absorbing the complementary flavours. As with most Afghan meals, particularly breakfast, fresh naan breads (see here) served on the side are essential. Afghan breakfast spreads also typically include shir chai, a traditional milk tea that, with its dairy base, provides a calorie- and protein-rich start to the day.
My mother recalls having this dish for breakfast during family day trips, such as to Mazar-i-Sharif for the red tulip festival during the spring equinox. It would be made in a beautiful copper karayee, a shallow, heavy-based pan used in Afghan cooking. The karayee would be placed directly over a portable kerosene burner, where the eggs, vegetables and spices would bubble away. The large karayee was then placed in the middle of the breakfast spread, surrounded by naans and various chais, for everyone to help themselves.
This is an easy dish to scale up, to feed as many guests as you need.
AFGHAN BREAKFAST EGGS
250 ml (1 cup) sunflower oil
1 large brown onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 ripe tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
1 fresh long red chilli, thinly sliced
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon chilli powder
Coarsely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until softened and browned. Add the tomato and fresh chilli, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato is softened, but still intact, then stir in 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste, to combine.
Break the eggs into a bowl then pour evenly over the tomato and onion mixture in the saucepan. Break up the yolks gently, if that’s how you prefer them, then cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook the eggs slowly, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid sticking for 5–10 minutes, or 10–15 minutes for medium-soft, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, the chilli powder and coriander to taste, and serve hot – straight from the pan.
KHMER STIR-FRIED GINGER AND BEEF
[saiko cha k’nye—CAMBODIA]
Sao Pheha (see Phnom Penh Nights, page 242) introduced me to several easy dishes from the Khmer home-cooking repertoire. This was perhaps the simplest, and also the most surprising. It’s a stir-fry in which ginger has the role of featured vegetable, warming and full of flavor. The ginger is cut into julienne twigs and then fried with a little beef. The result is a mound of beef slices and tender ginger, all bathed in plenty of gravy, a great companion for rice.
Be sure to buy firm ginger for this dish (ginger with wrinkled skin will be tough and stringy), and, if there’s a choice, young ginger rather than the tan mature ginger. Serve with a sour stew or soup, such as Khmer Fish Stew with Lemongrass (page 181) or Buddhist Sour Soup (page 58), and some simple greens, such as Classic Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry (page 151).
Generous ½ pound boneless sirloin, eye of round, or other lean beef
½ pound ginger, preferably young ginger
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
Thinly slice the beef across the grain and set aside. Peel the ginger, then cut it into fine matchstick-length julienne (this is most easily done by cutting thin slices, then stacking these to cut into matchsticks). You’ll have about 2 cups.
Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil and, when it is hot, add the garlic. Cook until golden, 20 to 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry, using your spatula to separate the slices and to expose them all to the heat, until most of the meat has changed color. Add the fish sauce and sugar, toss in the ginger twigs, and stir-fry until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve hot with rice.
SERVES 4 with rice and another dish