The February 2018 Challenge is 'Chinese'.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by morning glory, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. butzy

    butzy

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    So, I am all ready to go and make Char Siu, only to find out that I didn't have any hoisin sauce. I was sure I had it....
    Note to self: Don't think, Check!
    But....
    I did find a bottle of Char Siu sauce, so we are back on track.
    It's all in the marinade now
     
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  2. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Some time ago I made some char siu using a packaged mix. I normally don't eat stuff that glows in the dark.

    char3.jpg
     
  3. morning glory

    morning glory

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    This looks fabulous! Such a gorgeous colour on those crayfish (crawfish).
     
  4. morning glory

    morning glory

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    This is such an adventure. I'd not come across Clay Pot cooking before and I'm delighted to see your experiments. Lovely results!
     
  5. butzy

    butzy

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    Here's the Char Siu, luckily not nearly the colour of teamfat's ones:

    I used belly pork as I had some offcuts from my bacon attempts.
    As said, I didn't have hoisin sauce, but I found some char siu sauce, added extra garlic and rice vinegar and marinated it.
    I had another piece of belly pork and that got marinated in an Indonesian marinade.

    I used my little 14.5" WSM without waterpan
    07 the wsm.jpg

    We are good to go...
    04 on braai.jpg

    About an hour in
    06 1 hour in.jpg
    And done.
    It only took about 2 hours as the pieces were quite thin.
    They are quite dark, but they did not burn.
    11 done.jpg

    And all the meat is resting
    (and I keep stealing pieces of it. Very tasty, although even with the added rice wine, still a bit sweet for me. But sprinkling with some fresh lime sorts that out....)
    12 all meat resting.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
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  6. butzy

    butzy

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    So now I have Char siu. I was going to eat it with rice and a cucumber salad, but I changed my mind.
    I had some though in the fridge from my "Artisan bread in 5 minues" experiment and decided to use that.
    Some of the pictures didn't come out very well, as they were taken by cellphone with a flash. Normally not a problem, but one of my lightbulbs decided to stop working, so it was a bit too dark for my phone. So be it....

    I took 2 pieces of dough out of the fridge and let them rest.
    Meanwhile, I set up the bamboo steamer
    13 steamer.jpg
    Unfortunately, you can't really see the wok, but it's another one than I used for my first post.

    I chopped the meat and sprinkled with lime juice
    15 chopped meat.jpg

    Put the meat on some rolled out dough and formed back in a ball
    17 meat on rolled out dough.jpg

    And in the steamer:
    18 in steamer.jpg
    Meanwhile it was time for the smashed cucumber salad:
    I halved the cucumber, smashed them and cut in pieces before putting in a colander with some salt
    19 smashed and cut cucumber.jpg

    The other ingredients for the salad at the ready...
    Sesame oil, rice vinegar and garlic
    21 sesame oil and rice vinegar.jpg 20 garlic.jpg

    The buns are almost ready and the cucumber salad as well
    24 buns in steamer.jpg
    23 cucumber in bowl.jpg
    And then I was told that I reached the limit of the pictures......
     

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  7. butzy

    butzy

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    Plated
    25 plated.jpg
    I wanted to post a picture of the opened up bun, but it is a pretty terrible one, so I left it out.

    And then it was time for the non-Chinese part:
    Zambian beer in a Thai beer cooler :cool:

    22 its hard work.jpg

    [edit 20 feb]
    I forgot to mention the name: the buns are bah pao or bak pao and credit where credit is due: the cucumber recipe came from the serious eats website
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  8. morning glory

    morning glory

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    Wow! I'm literally salivating after scrolling through your photos. Re the colour - I have a friend in Thailand who makes Char Siu using a spice mix. I asked him how he got the red colour. It turned out there was red colouring added to the spice mix.

    I am wondering if achiote paste could be used to get a similar result. I've recently been experimenting with achiote (which to me in the UK is an exotic, hard to find ingredient). On the other hand I suppose one could simply add some red food colouring (the sort sold to colour icing etc.)
     
  9. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    I make char siu from scratch; no powder packet, no jar sauce. The red comes from red fermented tofu.
     
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  10. morning glory

    morning glory

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    Ah! Not sure where I can obtain that. We are not as well off in the UK for Chinese ingredients I think.

    I do have a jar of Rose bean curd - here is a quote from website where I bought it which mentions char siu:

    So - your red bean curd isn't in a jar?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  11. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    @butzy you had me a char siu bao and beer, well I do love the cucumbers too! You ROCKED IT GIRL!!!
     
  12. butzy

    butzy

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    I am all for making things from scratch, but in this case it didn't work as I didn't have the ingredients. Most of the recipes I saw use Hoisin sauce and whereas I was convince I had it, I didn't :(
    @millionsknives : Can you give me your from scratch recipe?

    As for the red colour: I don't miss it at all, You can't see it on the pictures, bit there is a reddish hue to it (and pinkish inside).
    @morning glory : maybe you can get red food colouring from the Indian shops. They use it for tandoori chicken and chicken tikka.
    Alternatively you could use paprika powder/maybe red pepper juice or beetroot juice, although I think they will all change the flavour
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  13. hank

    hank

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    We had a couple over this weekend and made dim sum. Trish and I drove the effort, Mrs Hank was invaluable with prep, constant clean up behind us, and photos. Tom, aka Mr Trish, couldn't come until about half way through and served as recipe reader and conversationalist. We made everything from scratch (well not in the Sagan sense https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/32952-if-you-wish-to-make-an-apple-pie-from-scratch) except the wonton wrappers for the shu mai. Trish is a phenominal cook who cooks a lot of asian dishes regularly. We have made dumpling together a couple times before.

    First some char siu. For 24 hours I marinated 2" pieces of pork shoulder in five spice, white pepper, shaoxing wine, sesame oil, hosin sauce, molasses, garlic, salt, and sugar.

    Char Siu.JPG

    We are making bbq pork buns (char sir bao) but cut some pork for snacking.

    IMG_5139.jpg

    I made a sauce of shallots, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, chicken stock, and sugar. Off the heat I added chopped pork.

    PIMG_5027.jpg

    Then we made steamed and baked buns. Unfortunately we don't have photos of the steamed buns.

    PIMG_5079.jpg IMG_5083.jpg

    Next up is Garlic Chive Buns with shrimp, Chinese chives, ginger, white pepper, light soy, rice wine, sesame oil and salt.

    Chive Buns2.JPG Chive Buns.JPG

    Shu Mai. Pork, shrimp, Chinese chives, white pepper, Shaoxing wine, light soy, sesame oil. We need to work on our dumpling stuffing.

    SHU MAI.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
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  14. hank

    hank

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    Lettuce Wraps. Filling in the background of the picture. Chicken thighs, carrots, zucchini, mung bean starch noodles, and other stuff. I'm not sure. Trish made then and I don't have the recipe.

    WIMG_5064.JPG

    WIMG_5132.JPG
    And finally, Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf (Lo May Gai) Sticky rice, sweet chinese sausage, chicken thighs, shitake mushrooms, garlic chive, ginger, garlic, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce. We didn't par cook the rice. It's better to steam raw rice for about 90 minutes.

    LIMG_5052.JPG LIMG_5102.JPG LIMG_5109.JPG
    Credit for the recipes goes to woksoflife.com and Dim Sum by Ellen Leong Blonder.

    We ate our selves senseless all afternoon and evening.

    Thanks Trish!

    trish.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  15. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Great entry.
     
  16. morning glory

    morning glory

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    I'm getting overwhelmed by everyones' entries, For some reason (could just be subjective) the photos are looking better than ever - its something about the detail: the ball of string pictured in the Lettuce wraps posted by @hank and the edge of the book in the Dim Sum post. The Char Sui which makes me salivate... I could go on. Its the details in the photos which make the dishes seem tangible.

    This Challenge is truly going to be a tough call to judge!
     
  17. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Okay, another favorite of mine from a place that longer exists up the street from me is deep fried tofu in black bean garlic sauce. And it also used
    to be available at the place down in Midvale, before it changed owners. Oh well.

    The Players


    What we have here is tofu, obviously, salted black beans, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sherry, dried chilies, ginger, garlic and scallions. Not appearing are chicken broth, cornstarch, peanut oil and such.

    20180216_182605.jpg

    The Procedure


    First off, the firm tofu is pressed to drain some water out. A plate, a folded paper towel, the tofu, another paper towel, another plate and weighted down with a hard cover edition of The Joy of Cooking.

    20180216_182855.jpg

    The somewhat drier tofu is then cubed and tossed in cornstarch.

    20180204_225852.jpg

    Meanwhile, the black beans are rinsed, drained and go into the mortar with the minced garlic, ginger and some of the chilies, ground into a coarse paste.

    20180219_191453.jpg

    So no pictures of a few steps here. The dusted tofu was deep fried for about 6 - 7 minutes, pulled out and drained on paper towels. Most of the oil got poured out, maybe a tablespoon or so left to fry the bean paste for a couple of minutes. The larger white ends of the scallions go in for about another minute. About a cup of the broth, soy, rice wine and sherry mix goes in, brought to a boil, stirring constantly. Then add the tofu and the rest of the scallions, along with a cornstarch slurry.

    20180219_195436.jpg

    The Product


    I've attempted deep fried tofu before, this was my best effort yet. The sauce was pretty thin, could have used more cornstarch. And I would have liked a bit more garlic in it, only used 2 big cloves in the paste, I think a couple more cloves thinly sliced and added in later would have been nice. Love the funky earthiness of the real deal black beans, though.

    20180219_195721.jpg

    mjb.
     
  18. teamfat

    teamfat

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    And on a side note, you can't really tell from this photo that I have a new wok:

    20180219_195436.jpg

    Carbon steel, 15 bucks, worked well for the tofu dish. I seasoned it over rocket hot charcoal in my Weber Kettle. The neighbor gave me an odd look when he saw I had an empty wok on the fire. And I'm hoping to get one more dish in before the end of the month, a classic Cantonese fried rice. We shall see.

    mjb.
     
  19. hank

    hank

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    Thanks morning glory. The pictures are the fun part for Mrs. Hank, besides the eating of course.
     
  20. morning glory

    morning glory

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    Sorry - the ball of string was in the Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf (Lo May Gai) - not Dim Sum. If only I could get some lotus leaves...