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Feb 29, 2008 10:31 PM


MARCH COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH (Trumpets sound) Both Fuchsia Dunlop Books

Start hoarding black vinegar and salted chilis....Cookbooks of the Month for March are REVOLUTIONARY CHINESE and LAND OF PLENTY by Fuchsia Dunlop.

I hope that MMRuth or anyone else who's got the time and interest, will post some internet threads. I know there are several recipes if you search for "UKFood and Dunlop". She also works for the BBC and they probably have recipes.

I've decided that, rather than have a huge number of separate threads, and since both books have almost identical chapter names, I'm only going to post a combo thread for each chapter The title will just be (for example) Fuchsia Dunlop - March Cookbook of the Month Appetizers. So folks will post for either book in the chapter threads.

Noodles, Dumplings and Other Street Treats





Vegetables and Bean Curd

Stocks and Soup

Sweet Dishes

Hot Pot

Revolutionary Chinese has an extra chapter, Preserves and Stocks, and I'm making a separate thread for that.

Let's get going!!!

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  1. Thank you, oakjoan, I think this is going to be so fun. Here are the links to the chapter threads oakjoan has set up:

    Noodles, Dumplings and Other Street Treats



    Poultry (and eggs)


    Vegetables and Bean Curd

    Stocks and Soup

    Sweet Dishes

    Hot Pot -

    Preserves and Stocks (Revolutionary Chinese only)

    Post-mortem discussion


    1 Reply
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      We've added a link to The Dairy Queen's post to include the Post-Mortem Discussion thread , which you can find here:

      Thank you!

    2. Here are the links Gio sent me yesterday:

      "Following is the list of Fuchsia Dunlop's recipes I have garnered from various web sites. On a few of the pages you will have to scroll down a bit to find what you want. There are multiple recipes on some pages, however all the recipes I found are listed here. I have included an online conversion chart since many measurements are in metric."

      Spring Rolls
      Spring Rolls with Three Silken Threads (San Si Chun Juan)

      Bean Curd
      Pock-marked Mother Chen's Bean Curd
      Peng's Home-Style Bean Curd

      Sichuanese Dan Dan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian

      Eight Treasure Black Rice Porridge

      Slow-Braised Pork (Babi Pongtay
      Chairman Mao's Red-Braised Pork (Mao Shi Hong Shao Rou
      Mind Blowing Fish-Fragrant Pork Slivers (Yu Xiang Rou Si
      Flowering Chives with Smoky Bacon
      Stir-fried Bacon with Bamboo Shoot

      Beef with Cumin
      Fried Beef Slivers

      Lamb Pilaf (Polo

      Kung Pao Chicken
      General Tso's Chicken (Dunlop'sTaiwanese version
      Dong'an Chicken (Dong An Zi Ji

      Fragrant and Hot Tiger Prawns
      Kung Pao Shrimp
      Fisherman's Shrimp with Chinese Chives (Yu Jia Chao Xia Qiu

      Dry-Fried Green Beans (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou)
      Fried Cucumber with Purple Perilla (zi su jian huang gua

      Eight Treasure Wok Pudding - Ba Bao Guo Zheng

      On Line Conversion Chart:

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth

        The following Conversion Chart may be better than one above:

      2. I think I have most, if not all of the links available from the net. I hope people will feel free to add others if found. Thank you MM for posting the list!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          FYI - I substituted the two tinyurls for the actual ones - since I'd read somewhere that those don't work after awhile?

          1. re: MMRuth

            Thanks MM.. I didn't know that.

          2. re: Gio

            And to add even more thanks: Thanks for Gio and MMR for the links.

            As I have previously posted, the link for Lamb Polo (pilaf) contains an actual video of Fuchsia withstanding the bland stupidity of the host of the program on which she is a guest. And I cannot praise the Polo dish enough - fab.

          3. Hunan Beef With Cumin (US) -

            Red Cooked Beef with Turnips -

            Tofu and Eggs -

            Home Made Hunan Salted Chilis -

            Velveted Fish -

            Smacked Cucumbers -

            Sounding Radish Slivers (Xiang Luo Bu Si) -

            Pan Fried Cucumbers -

            Authentic Black Bean Chicken -

            Xiao Sun Zi Chao Rou Mo (Slender Bamboo Shoots With Ground Pork) -

            1 Reply
            1. I picked up my "Land of Plenty" from the library yesterdy and have to say I am a bit overwhelmed. There is a ton of background material, but I am still a bit confused about ingredients.

              First - dark soy sauce. Anyone know how this compares to Thai dark soy sauce (very sweet molasses flavor). I am allergic to wheat, so can't use the Pearl River brand.

              Peppers - I think I figured this one out, but when she refers to whole sichuan pepper that means whole peppercorns, but when it is Sichuan chilis than it is a hot chili. I have a bunch of arbol chilis and Indian hot red chilis - OK to sub?

              That is all for now. I am excited to try the recipes, since I can never eat Chinese out.

              22 Replies
              1. re: jsaimd

                jsaimd, Chinese typically use the dark soy sauce for color, and the light soy sauce for flavor. It is no big whoop to substitute regular soy sauce (or Kikkoman or Kikkoman Light etc) if you can't find the Chinese light/dark ones.

                OK to substitute one chili for another in my book.

                Think of her wonderful recipes as a general guide - if you like it more sweet, then add more sugar. If you don't like to use too much salt, then add less of it. I cooked in an authentic Chinese restaurant for 4 years and the first thing I learned from Lao Li was, "there are no recipes." Everything is done to taste, smell and sight.

                1. re: scoopG

                  scoopG, thank you for that insight.

                  Another question: When she doesn't specify "dark" or "light" soy sauce, and just says "soy sauce" (I think I noticed a recipe in there where she didn't specify, though, I'm not now sure which one) what is the default?

                  Also, I've noticed in some of the BBC recipes she refers to "groundnut oil"--I think that's peanut oil, right?

                  Finally, is it okay to use cornstarch instead of potato flour?

                  Thank you!


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Ah, I've answered part of my own question--on pg 64 of LOP, Dunlop says that you can use cornstarch instead of potato flour, but that you need about 50% more cornstarch.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      TDQ, Just regular old soy sauce or you can experiment with a variation of the light and regular if you like! Potato flour is also called potato starch. Is it available there in one those Chinese markets around 28th and Nicollet? Of course there are more around the TC metro area I'm sure. I find it is better than cornstarch - lighter. (Or maybe I've been using too much cornstarch all these years!)

                      Not sure what she means by groundnut flour. I always use peanut oil anyways.

                      1. re: scoopG

                        Okay, yes, I went back to Shuang Hur today and got the potato starch. Oddly enough, I wasn't able to find any mushrooms there except fresh oyster mushrooms. We asked three different people where they were and they just referred us to someone else. I think it helps if you call it fungus, but, still, in the end, I concluded they just don't have a lot of mushrooms. Perhaps Southeast Asian cuisine (which forms the base of the Twin Cities Asian Community) doesn't use a lot of mushrooms? We ended up buying Wood Ear mushrooms (at Lunds, a local high-end grocer) instead of "Cloud Ear" mushrooms, but now I see the warning on page 58 of LOP that you should avoid buying these mushrooms as they don't have a lot of flavor. :(. So, I'm still on the search for "cloud ear."

                        Anyway, thank you and Caitlin for the additional insights on the soy sauce and "groundnut oil" aka peanut oil.


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Your'e welcome TDQ. Lunds! What a store. Love their potato salad BTW. :) Cloud Ear is black - bought dry and when re-constituted in water it softens up. Very light, almost rubbery in texture. I would not worry about the mushrooms myself. I made her "Steamed Bacon with Mushrooms" from her Hunan book and found that the use of 4-5 exotic mushrooms was a bit too much - remade it with regular white and cremini mushrooms and it was more tasty. Oyster mushrooms almost look like bean sprouts - thin with a a bit of a head on their tip.

                          I am gone for the next week with no access (I think) so I hope I don't miss much!

                          1. re: scoopG

                            I bought Chinese mushrooms in Chinatown today - couldn't figure it out myself, ended up with the following, with the help of an employee:

                            Cloud Ears - Auricula - I bought "compressed auricula" (Yu Yee Brand)

                            Silver Ear Fungus - "White Jello" - dried (no brand name in English, packed for Golden Gate Supply company)

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              I wonder if this might help:

                              "Cloud Ears (Auricularia Polytricha) are ruffle-edged, thin, Black Mushrooms. Cloud Ears are similar in appearance to Wood Ear except Wood Ear are black with a brownish - tan inner color, whereas Cloud Ear Mushrooms are black with a slightly lighter shade of black as their inner color. Cloud Ears have a more delicate, mild flavor and are much smaller in size than Wood Ear. Cloud Ear Mushrooms reconstitute to a puffy like, soft, firm, smooth texture and delicate flavor."

                              ETA: I think scoopG is right in saying not to worry too much about the difference between cloud ears and wood ears. My copies of Dunlop are still in transit, but I have a couple of Szechuan cookbooks that say they can be used interchangeably. I'd never even heard of cloud ear mushrooms before and always used wood ear. Perhaps I didn't know what I was missing, but recipes using wood ears always seemed just fine to me.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                Thanks - wasn't worried about it - just wanted to pass on what they were called at the store! Learning more everyday here. Now, if I could figure out what to substitute for Chinese Chives - for the shrimp dish I want to make tonight!!...

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  I know this is very late for your dinner tonight, but Chinese chives are similar, if not exactly like, garlic chives. I've had them growing in my garden for years. They have a flat leaf rather than round like the chives most people are familiar with.... and bloom with a white flower head in August. They are milder in flavor than garlic and regular chives. Gosh I wish I could send you some....But they're dormant now here in the northeast.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Thanks - I ended up making a noodle recipe with the shrimp, which called for bok choy, which I had. I'll save the other recipe for when I find some of the garlic chives.

                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                    Yesterday I saw bundles of Chinese flat chives *and* garlic chives (with the buds) at most of those green grocer carts around Canal St. Everybody with bok choy had them, and they are at every Asian grocery store I went to that had fresh greens.
                                    It must be the season somewhere! I'd never noticed them before, but since I was looking at the Dunlop book . . .

                                    1. re: pitu

                                      Thanks - will check it out next weekend then. I didn't do any exploring beyond stocking up on the pantry items.

                                  3. re: JoanN

                                    Clouds ear is rubbery, sort of. Nice crunch to them. You'd recognize them in Hot and Sour soup if done the way I was taught...and yes earthy flavor, but wonderful not overpowering at all.

                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                      Yes, I have a couple of recipes in regular rotation that use this fungus and have been buying it for years. I've just never seen it sold as "cloud ears" before, only as wood ears. Maybe I just wasn't paying careful enough attention to the package.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        OMG so easy to confuse the two! Really not enough of a difference in them to search one out over the other, IMO. I would miss it though (either one) if it were not in my Hot and Sour soup!

                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Those wood ears provide a nice textural element in Vietnamese Spring reconstitute them and slice up before use

                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Groundnut oil=peanut oil. Groundnut is the British tem, hence the usage on the BBC site.

                            3. re: scoopG

                              Really helpful info about the soy sauce (and the rest). And thanks to everyone for all the links. You're all so helpful and kind!

                            4. re: jsaimd

                              I posted a topic on the General Chowhounding Topics board requesting recommendations for online sources for Chinese spices and ingredients since I, and probably others, do not live in a major city.
                              In the Sichuan book, Fuchsia offers 4 online sources, two of which are inactive, one she says has limited selection of Chinese, and the other is

                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                I have no experience with any of the online sellers, but googling one of the very specific ingredients led to a few places that look promising
                                and the Asia Society's

                                even has some chinese ingredients

                                1. re: pitu

                                  MM Ruth, I posted on general chowhound topics for sources as you suggested and there are NO responses.