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DUNLOP March Cookbooks of Month: Meat

Both books have "Meat" chapters, so both go here.

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  1. Stir Fried Smoky Bacon with Smoked Bean Curd (Hunan - p. 94)

    Made this tonight - I think I over cooked the bacon and the tofu a bit - both were very crisp, the tofu still a little chewy. Great flavors. I used about 8 dried chiles, since this is the first time I've cooked from the book and wanted to feel it out a bit. Plenty hot for me. Assuming you can get the smoked tofu, this is a dish that doesn't require special ingredients.

    An extra bonus - I steamed the bacon in a vegetable steamer in the sauce pan, and ended up with some pork flavored water underneath. Since I needed "Everyday Stock" for another dish and hadn't made any (and didn't plan to) - I added some water to the sauce pan, a little chicken Better than Bouillion, a couple of scallions and some sliced ginger and simmered for about 45 minutes while I was prepping for other dishes - delectable broth.

     
     
    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      Stir Fried Smoky Bacon with Smoked Bean Curd, RCC p. 94

      I made this dish last night and loved it. I really have to use this book more! I made a few changes to the recipe, which I would make again. Instead of smoked tofu, I used baked tofu from the natural foods store, and I used the entire package, which was just about double the amount called for. Instead of scallions I used the thinly sliced greens of a leek, which I estimated to be about double the amount called for. And for the bacon, I used about two thirds of a package of bacon, less than double the amount called for. I didn't steam the bacon. And for the chiles I used my chopped salted chilies. This was a super quick, very delicious way to use up my leek greens, and I will definitely be making this dish again. I served it with rice and the stir-fried cabbage with salted chiles, another great dish from this book.

    2. Beef with Cumin, RC, page 102

      We liked this dish a lot, although there was a definite imbalance in the ingredients somewhere. I thought the cumin dominated and my husband thought ginger dominated. I suspect I made a measuring mistake along the lines, but, more likely is I think I used the wrong kind of fresh red chiles (Mexican ones instead of the little "Thai" ones), which I think maybe just knocked things out of whack a bit. Still, even though the recipe needs a slight tweaking, or, more accurately, maybe I just need to follow the recipe and use the right chiles, we still liked this one a lot and will try it again.

      edEDITED: We tweak the proportions (to be weight watchers core friendly) we used 1/2 tsp (instead of 1 tsp) of sesame oil and 2 tsp of peanut oil (instead of 1 3/4's cup of peanut oil) and we served it on a bed of wild rice instead of white rice. Very simple dish.

      Photo attached. That unappetizing-looking mess in the red bowl is the glorious ma po tofu that I'll talk about in the bean curd thread.

      EDIT: I meant to also mention that we had the ma po tofu, the beef cumin, wild rice, and a side of steamed broccoil--this was a meal for four with generous servings, I thought, or a meal for two, twice.

      ~TDQ

       
       
      57 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Using Land of Plenty, I made Dry-Fried Beef Slivers (p 228) tonight with great success, although the beef was not exactly in "slivers"....more like chunky slices.

        I used a flank steak that I sliced on the bias. I realized after I'd put the meat into the pan to cook that I'd skipped the last part of the first sentence of the directions (!!??), an oversight I put down to senilty. The missed instruction was to cut the slices into "fine slivers", so instead of slivers, I had dry-fried beef slices.

        I got the wok really hot and put in the oil. When it smoked, I tossed in the beef slices, frying until most of the liquid from the meat had evaporated. Then I added some sherry because I hadn't any Shaoxing rice wine. I then removed the beef and dropped the chili bean paste into the wok, stir frying as directed. Added ginger and scallions (along with some leeks I had left over from my CSA box because I didn't have enough scallions - worked fine). I then noticed that I had no celery. I'd overlooked that as well in my planning. Oh well, I put it down to the fact that I screwed up my knee and have had to walk using a cane most of the time for a couple of weeks. Yes! That's it! I'm injured and shouldn't be held to the standards of others!

        Getting back to the recipe....I then added the soy sauce and, off heat, the sesame oil. I served this dish with a combo of Japanese soba and wheat noodles tossed with the meat, sauce and onions and added a dollop of chili oil.

        This was really delicious. It was also pretty easy to make, and would be even if one followed the directions. Actually, it was probably MORE difficult because I'd look at the recipe and say "Uh Oh! I have no celery!" Then I'd run around the house screaming....well, actually I'd hobble around the house with my cane, screaming.

        It all turned out for the best and, as I said, my husband and I both loved it. We watched Notes From A Scandal while eating, perhaps a mistake as it's not exactly frothy comedy. In any case, the Dry-Fried Beef Slivers held its own through the hystrionics.

        This dish is going into regular rotation. Now I remember that I also failed to photograph my handiwork. Duh.

        1. re: oakjoan

          Forgot to attach my poorly lit photo. The dish looks more greasy than it was. I hope the slices of flank steak are visible.

           
          1. re: oakjoan

            I'm almost vowing to make every Dunlop recipe that I try at least twice. There's so much involved in these recipes between technique and unfamiliar ingredients that it's really hard to get it 100% right the first time through. I've got at least four of the 7 I've tried so far that really want to try again, but correct a mistake I made along the way the first time around.

            I'm glad your beef slivers (or chunks, if you prefer) worked out!

            ~TDQ

          2. re: oakjoan

            I shouldn't be laughing so hard at your post, but I feel like you've entered my world...except, in my world, when I forget a step, it's often when I post about the recipe. Or, if I forgot to cut up an ingredient, it's running around and then crashing into a chair.

            I think the beauty of these recipes is that even if you make substitutions and/or mistakes, it will still taste pretty good. Different than the author's intent, but it will still tasty.

            1. re: beetlebug

              I totally agree about flubs. The thing was that this dish (beef slivers), even with the mistakes/subs, was really great. I just had some leftovers and they hold up served cold next day.

              Often, for some reason, when I make stir-fry it comes out with muddied flavors. I think my problem is that I add every flavoring hoping to achieve some amazing combo. I do this without really thinking (or knowing in some cases) what each ingred. is.

              The beef slivers dish was perfectly seasoned. It may have mostly been that I didn't put in loads of each sauce or paste.

            2. re: oakjoan

              Dry Fried Beef Slivers (LOP, pg. 228)

              When I first tasted this, I thought, ugh, way too salty. I added too much chili bean paste (recipes calls for 2-3T and I added 3 heaping T). But, as dinner went on, this really grew on me and I ended up really liking it. It went really well with the white rice.

              I had some leftover, so today, I mixed this with fresh Chinese noodles and this was absolutely delicious. It’s a Chinese version of pasta and sauce.

              Lastly, this called for 1/3 cup of peanut oil. I used less than that and still thought it was too much. I suspect that 1/6 cups would probably be adequate.

               
              1. re: beetlebug

                Your photo shows you have mastered the art of "slivering". Your beef "slivers" are like thread as opposed to mine, which were rope. Dish was great anyway, though.

            3. re: The Dairy Queen

              I'm thinking about making this tonight, but am unlikely to find red chilis of any kind - wonder what I should try to substitute it with.

              Also - another recipe (maybe a pork one?) that looked interesting called for "Italian Frying Peppers" - are those Cubanelles - or something else?

              1. re: MMRuth

                Which recipe, MMRuth? The Beef with Cumin? Actually, if I recall correctly (don't have my cookbook with me today) the recipe didn't actually call for fresh chiles, but for some kind of dried chile powder or something and said something along the lines of "for chile fiends only"--so, I got the impression you could even omit them. I had read somewhere else that substituting the fresh chiles would give you a milder result, which is why I tried that. (I guess I'm not a chile fiend...)

                Surely one of your many chile products would do! Even just regular red chile flakes might do...

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Yes - the beef w/ cumin. It calls for both fresh and dried red chilis. Just liked the idea of throwing in some fresh ones, but local availability for now is probably jalapenos! Local being defined as the two markets within a one block radius!

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Hmmm..excellent question. This is when we need our experienced Sichuan and Hunanese cooking 'hounds to share their knowledge of chile substitution. It's hard to say which is better--dried or preserved of the right kind of chile vs. fresh of the wrong kind of chile. I used the big fresh kind, maybe 3-4 inches long and the diameter of a nickle at its widest point--probably jalapenos, too? And I thought the dish didn't come out quite right, so I hesitate to recommend that. But, maybe it's just something weird I did with measuring or one of my other substitutions that caused it to go awry.

                    On the other hand, you could just experiment and see what you think. Maybe it will teach you something about the properties of the various chiles... Have you re-read the pantry section at the front of the book to see what it says about the nature of chiles? Maybe it will have something useful in there?

                    Dang! I wish I had my cookbooks with me today (no car, so, I'm traveling light...)

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      "Italian frying peppers" are thin-walled fresh pale green peppers, like cubanellos. Def not in the same category as chiles. Sometimes they have a little bit of heat, but usually a sweet pepper.

                      (I know I'm very late to this -- was just scanning the thread to see which Dunlop book has the cumin lamb in it!)

                2. re: MMRuth

                  I, too, was interested in that recipe (Farmhouse Stir-Fried Pork with Green Peppers, pg 85) but have never heard of Italian Frying Peppers. I looked up the frying peppers and the were described as very sweet and crunchy but Dunlop describes them as mildly hot. She also says you can sub sweet bell peppers but then would you add a bit of heat another way?
                  I was thinking of making it tonight because I have everything, well, except for the Ital peppers. Lots of red & green bell peppers though.
                  Oh, wait, I don't have light soy. Do I need that or can I sub dark?

                  Darn, I still need so many things.

                  1. re: fern

                    The sweet and crunchy is why I thought of the cubanelles. And I no longer have light soy sauce since it leaked all over my bag of supplies - I'll probably just sub in some more dark soy sauce until I can replenish.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Oh, no! Sorry about your spill. Alright, I'll just use all dark and not worry about it. Purists, forgive me. What about some pepper heat, will you add something if you use bell peppers?

                      1. re: fern

                        I'm thinking I'll try to find those cubanelles -- they are lighter green that green bell peppers, and seem to match the color in the photo. Not sure about the heat - don't have the book in front of me!

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          http://www.chileplants.com/search.asp...

                          This is useful in the Italian Frying Pepper category - I think the cubanelle might work.

                      2. re: MMRuth

                        I won't say I know about Chinese cooking, but in Korean cooking we often "lighten" soy sauce by cutting it with water. Depending on how light we cut it any where from 1:4 (water/soy sauce) to a straight 1:1 ratio.

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      Italian frying peppers are definitely Cubanelles. Not within walking distance for you, but I know Fairway has them. And I'd be surprised if one of your local markets didn't have light soy sauce; most of mine do.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Thanks - I'll check. I'd bought the Pearl River brand for the first time and really liked it. I do think my local market has Cubanelles, and thanks for the confirmation.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I really like the Pearl River brand as well. I just bought it by grabbing one of the containers.

                          Re: jalapenos: At this time of the year, they're very bland. They have hardly any flavor at all. That's been my experience anyway. My Spanish teacher said he always asked if the jalapenos were picante o blando.

                          Of course, if there's nobody to ask you can't exactly take a bite of one to check it out.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            P.S., probably too late for MMRuth, but the fresh red peppers I used that I don't think worked super well in the Beef with Cumin dish were habaneros.

                            ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                holy cow. make jerk sauce if you have any left!
                                (I just had the best meal where the roasted jerk lamb was simmered in jerk gravy with a couple slices of raw tomato and a whole sliced up hab. deee.vine.)
                                I also use habs in a shiso miso chile stirfry, but I wouldn't use it in Chinese cooking.

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I made this Beef with Cumin on Friday night for dinner - loved it. The meat (sirloin) was still nice and pink inside and tender. I think, however, that I didn't slice it correctly - my slices weren't thin, but more like 1.5 by 1.25 "cubes"! Oops. Back to remedial instruction reading for me at the front of the book!

                        It was very spicy/hot though - no red chilis, so I used a jalapeno (too strong, and some diced red pepper (for color). I also think that my ginger might be quite strong. I think I used 2 tsp of the pepper flakes.

                        I used my dutch oven for this and had a lot less mess than I did before. Used my candy thermometer to take the temp. One of my favorites so far.

                        Served this with white rice and the stir-fried mixed mushrooms on p. 211.

                        PS - TDQ - did you not use the 1.75 cups of peanut oil to fry the beef - and then the 3 T of oil to stir fry?

                         
                         
                         
                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Wow--how did I get that so incredibly wrong--I think I was trying to summarize too many recipes at one time. According to my notes, I used 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and 2 tsp of peanut oil.. I'll see if I can't have my other post edited so no one gets misled. Thank you for pointing that out!

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I made this last night and it was super-yummy. I used cayenne chillis (the long thin ones you get in every Asian grocer over here but I don't think are that common in the States) and three tsp of chilli flakes. I braved the deep-frying and found it surprisingly easy in the wok. My Chinese-Malaysian friend who came to dinner was very impressed - she said my technique was better than hers (I am so proud - she was also very complimentary about my very well-seasoned and sturdy wok)!

                            This had a nice kick to it and was very economical as I used braising steak, like she suggested. I'd definitely make this again.

                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                            My turn on the Beef with Cumin. I'm reading Dunlop's memoirs of living in China, and was inspired to cook something from her books. I'd gotten this for Christmas and hadn't had a chance to cook from it yet, and since she said this was one of her favorites, I figured I'd go for it. We loved it. I used top sirloin (I know nothing about meat, but she said this was a fine kind to use) and I did find it a little more chewy than I'd have liked, but then again, I rarely eat red meat and tend to always find it chewier than I'd like - so the fault lies with me. The flavors were perfect. I really really loved it (chew aside). Used much, much less oil than called for, no problems. Couldn't find red chiles so used serranos. Served it with her Stir-Fried Peppers with Black Beans and Garlic - also a big hit.

                             
                            1. re: LulusMom

                              ;-)

                              I love when these old threads come up. I'm about to re-read her memoir because I will be in Chengdu for about 4 days and then over to Hangzhou. I want to see where she liked to eat when she lived in SiChuan Province.

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                Haven't been to Chengdu but you will love Hangzhou, what a wonderful city.
                                The food is f abulous (and will make a nice contrast to Chengdu Sichuan food).
                                Nothing quite like eating Xihu cuyu (West Lake vinegar fish) with a view of the lake!

                              2. re: LulusMom

                                @ LulusMom: That photo is making this carnivore drool on my keyboard. I had a lamb with cumin at a Manchurian restaurant in Flushing a couple of weeks ago that I'm still dreaming about. That dish had toasted, whole cumin seeds in it. But I think I'd better try this as written first before I start playing with it.

                                @ beetlebug: Sounds like a wonderful trip. You'll tell us about it, won't you, so we can do the vicarious thing?

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  @ JoanN - reports will start appearing on the China board in about three- four weeks. In about four -five weeks look for reports on the Greater Asia board (will be biking and eating through Cambodia.)

                                  @buttertart - Really looking forward to Hangzhou, esp after Dunlop's description of the food in her memoir and the New Yorker article. I really want the pork belly as well.

                              3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Beef with Cumin (RCC, page 102)

                                This has been on my list since I first read TDQ's report. The stars finally aligned. I now own the book and I had some leftover flank steak. It's not what she recommends, but I thought it would do. And do it did. Only change, other than using way less oil for the initial frying, was what I think may have been a very fortuitous mistake. I usually make up a batch of ground cumin from cumin seeds and have it in a jar on the shelf. Went to add the cumin and discovered I was out of it. Used cumin seed instead. No way to know unless I make it as written, but hard for me to believe that the ground cumin would have been preferable. I loved this. Gonna try it with lamb.

                                 
                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Sounds delicious Joan. Love lamb, love cumin. I also grind cumin seeds instead of buying the powder. Much more flavor. I have LOP but not RCC. Is the following recipe for Spicy Hunan Beef with Cumin anything like Dunlop's? This sounds like something I'd like to make for New Year's Eve...

                                  http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/s...

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I think there's a version in next month's COTM, Gio - the Sky's Edge one which I think have?

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Thanks for that GG. I have Sky's Edge too but haven't had much of a chance to go through it intensively yet. Will do this afternoon.

                                      So sorry you have to work on Christmas Day... (T_T)

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I've been getting a head start on next month's COTM and although I haven't made that particular recipe, I have cooked enough from the two books to say that the flavors are far more subtle than in the Dunlop books. That's not at all surprising considering the origins of the recipes for each of the books. But if you want a dish with some zip and pow to it, I'd choose the Dunlop over the Young.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Thank you, Joan. I found the Dunlop recipe on-line at a blog called Pesky Peppercorns. The recipe I linked above to Appetite for China is an adaption.
                                          Dunlop's is much better.

                                          http://peskypeppercorn.wordpress.com/...

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Gio, even that recipe from peskypeppercorn is an adaptation. Less so than the first one you linked to, but still not exactly as in the book. I've checked a few more online recipes and this one, from AARP of all places, is as written, both ingredients and instructions.

                                            http://recipes.aarp.org/recipes/beef-...

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Good Lord...! Thank you very much for the time you took to find that for me. I'm grateful. It's now bookmarked as well as her other recipes at Cookstr, and I love being able to read Ms Dunlop's introductory notes since I didn't buy RCC. BTW: the Cookstr site is a treasure trove of recipes from cookbook authors. What a find That is. Thanks, Joan.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Cookstr was started a couple of years ago by a former colleague of mine. In it's early incarnation, at least, it seemed as though it was set up mainly to promote authors and to sell their cookbooks at full retail. I had the impression that authors were allowing them use of only a few of their less interesting recipes in exchange for promoting their books. I wasn't impressed. Sounds like they've made great strides since then. I'll have to take another look.

                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                I'm late to the party but thanks for this terrific link...

                                                1. re: RWCFoodie

                                                  The wonderful thing is, this is a party that just keeps going. Please let us know how anything you make turns out.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    And we can have a whole new party soon -- new book on the horizon! Have I mentioned I can't wait?

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      Actually made the salted chilies back during the Summer... Just picked up "Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper..." at the library and am enjoying it very much! Have both cookbooks and must start slicing and dicing again soon!

                                        2. re: Gio

                                          That recipe is so similar to the one in RCC the poster should be ashamed for not giving credit where credit was clearly due. Here are the differences between the two:

                                          Dunlop uses one tablespoon each of dark and light soy rather than just light, and she adds a tablespoon of potato flour to the marinade. She calls for 2 teaspoons of ginger and 1 tablespoon of garlic, although my measurements may well have been closer to what this poster calls for. And Dunlop calls for 2 fresh red chiles, seeds and stems discarded, and 2 to 4 teaspoons dried chili flakes, depending on how hot you want it.

                                          Finally, Dunlop has the initial cooking of the meat done in 1-1/4 cups of oil before removing the meat and discarding all but 3 tablespoons of oil. I used maybe a quarter of a cup of oil and dumped all of it out after removing and draining the meat. There was still plenty of residual oil in the wok to stir-fry the aromatics for the few seconds necessary before tossing the meat back in.

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Yes, I was surprised that no credit was given to Dunlop at Appetite for China. It really bothers me when that happens! I did find Dunlop's recipe (with full credit in the header notes). Thank you for your tips about the oil.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              FWIW, she says that her recipe is not from Dunlop's book. I posted a comment about it and she responded.

                                        3. re: JoanN

                                          Beef (Lamb) with Cumin

                                          So I tried this with lamb. Had a boneless leg in the freezer that I decided to cut down to stir-fry portions. Can't tell you how surprised I am that I didn't like this more than with beef. As much, but not more. Going to try again though because (1) my proportions were off: too much ginger and garlic (on purpose, but probably not necessary) and I used a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon of each of the soy sauces in the marinade (entirely by mistake). I also (2) used ground cumin (freshly toasted and ground) as directed, but I think I liked the dish better with the toasted cumin seeds and will do it that way again.

                                           
                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Having promised that I'd try lamb while down under, I had sort of cheated and had lamb with cumin at a restaurant in Chinatown in Sydney. Oh holy cow, I loved it. So I remembered this thread, and told my husband that I was pretty sure that JoanN hadn't loved the recipe subbing lamb as much as she loved the beef. Had to come back and check. So Joan, have you tried it again, using the proportions called for? Still think the beef is as good, if not better? Because man, I want some lamb with cumin now!

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              I made it last week again with flank steak, this time using the full amount of oil and decided that, rather than searing, is definitely the better method. It allowed me to cook the beef for less time so it was medium-rare and wonderfully juicy. Again I used cumin seeds instead of ground, used more than called for (I've forgotten exactly how much), and ground them coarsely in a mortar. Perfecto! I have some lamb in the freezer already sliced with this recipe's name on it. Will probably try it sometime this week. Will let you know, unless you beat me to it.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                Please do let me know. I am anxious to try it with the lamb, although the beef was very good too.

                                                P.S. I thought of you as I ate the stuff, and insisted on a second trip to have it again, it was so wonderful.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  Sorry, LLM. Had planned to make the cumin beef with lamb earlier this week, but life intervened. Finally got around to it tonight. And it was significantly better than last time.

                                                  I prepared the recipe with the correct amount of soy sauces, and using nearly the full amount of oil. But I used a tablespoon of cumin seeds crushed in the mortar rather than using two teaspoons of ground cumin.

                                                  I think using the greater amount of oil is important here because it allows you to cook the meat for a very short period of time--less than a minute. So this time around, the lamb was medium rare and delightfully juicy.

                                                  I adore lamb. And this was much, much better than my first attempt using it. But I still think I prefer it with the flank steak, although after this go-round it's a more difficult call.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Thanks for the report. Given that this is really the only way I've enjoyed lamb, maybe I should stick with the beef version.

                                          2. re: JoanN

                                            Beef with cumin (RCC, pg. 102)

                                            I can't believe I never made this since it was FABULOUS. So much flavor and they all dance on the tongue. I did make some slight changes, for the better, I think. I used flank steak and instead of deep frying for few seconds, I used a combo of Dunlop's and Young's method of dumping the marinated beef (shao xing wine, slat, light and dark soy, potato flour and water) and letting it sit for a minute in the searing hot wok. After the minute, I did a quick stir fry (maybe 30 seconds) and put the meat in a bowl. It was seared but not cooked. Then, I stir fried the ginger, garlic, fresh chiles, chili flakes and cumin. For the cumin, I did a combo of JoanN's two ways - 1 t of ground, 1 t of whole. This combo worked wonderfully because I would get the occasional bite of whole cumin seed.

                                            Absolutely delicious and a total keeper.

                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                              This, like Dry-Fried Chicken, is one of her dishes I've begun to crave. So glad to hear of your results with the half-and-half cumin. Sounds like the way to go. And love the idea of using the Young searing method. I'm sure the bit of caramelization you get from doing it that way makes it even better. Oh, man. Just had it a couple of days ago and now I want it again.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                I hear you about the craving. Had this last night and almost bought lamb to make this again tonight. But I resisted. Next week though ...

                                        4. LOP pg 105, Beef Slivers with "water bamboo"

                                          We liked this recipe a lot, although, as usual, I made a few modifications. I used regular chicken stock (instead of Dunlop's everyday stock) and only 1 tsp of peanut oil (instead of the 1 cup the recipe called for.) Also, instead of learning from oakjoan's "beef sliver" experience, I think I more or less repeated her mistake. (Let's just say it was a very stressful evening and I was afraid to slice the beef any smaller because I was so distracted --not by the cooking of course, other things going on in life--that I was worried I might slice a finger off if I messed around with the knife a lot more.) I wish there were a photo in LOP somewhere of one of the beef sliver dishes so we could get a perspective on how thin these slivers really are supposed to be.

                                          I will also say that when I cut the peanut oil way way back as I have been doing with these stir fries, things definitely do stick to my pan, which I just deal with. I guess it kind of deglazed when I added the chicken stock--I'm not sure if that changes the flavors from what Dunlop intended, but, the food still tastes great.

                                          Oh, and I wasn't sure I was supposed to, but I noticed the bamboo shoots I bought were brined, so, learning from my way-too-salty dan dan noodle and green bean disasters (where I neglected to rinse the pickled vegetable) I went ahead and rinsed them. Just to be safe.

                                          We liked this recipe, too, though I'm still uncertain as to sure how slivery the beef slivers should be. Not as much as we loved the ma po tofu, still our favorite, but a nice balance of flavors. We served it over buckwheat noodles and with a side dish of "red bell pepper with sesame oil" from page 157 of LOP, which I posted about in the vegetable thread.

                                          Photos:
                                          #1 Ingredients
                                          [edited to remove text describing the photos that didn't post]

                                          ~TDQ

                                           
                                          14 Replies
                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Hmmm...only the first photo posted...Trying again.

                                            #1 The final product (still steaming, ever so slightly)
                                            #2 With the red bell peppers (oh, it's sideways, sorry)

                                            ~TDQ

                                             
                                             
                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I urge everyone to try Pork in Lychee Suace with Crispy Rice, page 198, Land of Plenty. It was terrific! We followed the instructions, using Thai pickled chiles (my new favorite ingredient), fresh bamboo shoots, which are so very different than canned ones, and cornstarch rather than potato starch. I want to acquire some potato starch to see if there is much difference.

                                              The dish had a complexity in flavors and textures we weren't expecting.
                                              We had some simple dumplings to start, fried green beans with preserved vegetables and stir fried water spinach with chile and sichuan pepper. It was a great meal.

                                              1. re: zataar

                                                Wow, does sound like a great meal. I may have to copy you.

                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                  We also had lots of rice The dumplings weren't from Land of Plenty, but from a dim sum book. We made a bunch and put them in freezer. Quite convenient. The rest of the meal was LOP. Water spinach cooks down like any other green. Buy twice as much as you think you need!

                                                2. re: zataar

                                                  Pork in Lychee Sauce with Crispy Rice (p. 198, LOP)

                                                  Thanks to zataar's rec, I made this dish last night. I had planned a similar menu to zataar's - potsticker dumplings to start, and to serve with dry-fried green beans and stir-fried water spinach but ran out of time. The dish itself, however, served over the crispy rice cakes was filling. I'd love to make this with fresh bamboo shoots but used canned (which I blanched and rinsed as she suggests). The combination of flavors was very unique and I loved the texture of the crispy/chewy rice cakes as they soaked up the thick and flavorful sauce.

                                                  Pork is marinated briefly in rice wine, soy and salt. Other ingredients were bamboo shoots, scallions, garlic, ginger, pickled chili, baby bok choy, and reconstituted dried Chinese mushrooms (I used sliced Shitakes). For the sauce - chicken stock, sugar, light soy, salt, potato flour and water, black vinegar, and sesame oil. Lots of ingredients, which was why the flavor profile was so complex. There were many steps too, so try to do as many ahead as you can. For example, I cooked the rice, let it cool, and dried it in the oven a day ahead, and then broke it into chunks and fried it for the recipe.

                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    Rubee, how did you like those sliced shitakes? I've looked at them in the store and wondered. I've only ever used the kind that are whole and then you soak them and slice them up. That usually makes matchstick-like slices, but your photo looks like they are tall slices. Your final dish photo looks yummy, with so much texture and contrast! That's part of what I love about Chinese food, how there is color, crunch, size of pieces, texture, flavor balance, silkiness.

                                                    1. re: saltwater

                                                      I actually really liked the sliced shitakes - my first time using these too. This particular package was very high quality and had no broken pieces because they were packed on a plastic tray within the bag. I'm glad I took the pic so I can remember to buy this brand again.

                                                    2. re: Rubee

                                                      Rubee: I don't think I've seen a better photo of a finished dish! Looks fantastic. Will try.

                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                        Thanks oakjoan! The colorful ingredients really made the dish look good.

                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    TDQ: this is a million years later but the standard sliver is about 2 in long and about 1/8 in or a bit bigger in square cross section. The slivered beef with cilantro in RCC is super btw.

                                                  3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Ooh, Dairy Q, I served my beef "slivers" over buckwheat noodles as well and it was a great combo.

                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                      Yes, you inspired me~ They were lovely, indeed. Although, I'll say, I didn't think the buckwheat noodles held up well for leftovers the next day. But, first time out, they were nice.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      "I wish there were a photo in LOP somewhere of one of the beef sliver dishes so we could get a perspective on how thin these slivers really are supposed to be."

                                                      No pics of beef dishes, but on page 131 in LOP is a picture of a dish with 'slivers' using pork.

                                                      You guys are making me so hungry, I can't wait to hit the Asian market tomorrow and join in the fun. Actually, I didn't want to wait and last night saw that I already had some ingredients in the pantry (Sichuan peppercorns, dried chili peppers, black vinegar, chili oil, bean-thread noodles, sambal oelek). I looked through the book to see what I could make and then realized I didn't have everyday ingredients like soy sauce or ginger - feh.

                                                      Thanks for all the great reports everyone, this is going to be a fun month! Here in Phoenix there is an Asian super-store called Super L Ranch Market at the Chinese Cultural Center - can't wait to check it out for the first time.

                                                    3. Farmhouse Stir-fried Pork with Green Peppers (Hunan, p. 85)

                                                      I made this with cubanelle peppers. Again, I had some difficulty with her slicing instructions, and ended up with pieces much larger than one could nicely eat with chop sticks. I did slice the peppers in half lengthwise first. Other than that - quick and easy. I did do the potato flour/everyday stock bit - and, since I needed some stock for the tofu dish, I again heated up some chicken stock, added some scallions and ginger, as well as some leftover bits of uncooked bacon, and simmered. I did think the dish could have used a little more kick to it - maybe salt, or some dried chilis. I'll probably use the leftovers on top of some Hunanese Soup Noodles tonight - maybe adding some steamed greens. Also, though some of the shine is from the potato flour, I thought this dish could actually have been made with a little less oil.

                                                      I served this with brown rice, roasted peppers with preserved duck eggs, and home style bean curd.

                                                       
                                                       
                                                      1. Fish Fragrant Pork Slivers LOP p196

                                                        I decided that this dish was probably the one I've had at a Hunanese restaurant from time to time, so I wanted to try it. As you can see from the ingredients photo, I used a package of wood ears that had already been cut up. I reconstituted them in the standard way. They needed to be pulled apart a bit before use. They ended up being slightly finer than I would have liked. Their color was felt, but their texture was not quite as crunchy as when I've used them and sliced them by hand.

                                                        I chickened out on the amount of pickled chiles that it called for. Two tablespoons worried me, so I used one and a half T. I should not have done this. It was not too hot. Where all the heat went, I don't know. My sambal oelek is fresh. It vaporized quite a bit when it hit the oil though, and caused some coughing. Can chile heat disappear as it goes up in smoke?

                                                        I had been a bit worried about those pork chops and how tender the meat would be, but it was very tender. I had trouble keeping to the 1/8 inch that she requested. My hands got tired. Perhaps I should have started out wider so that the meat would have been even, instead of progressively widening as I got tired. I tossed the rib bones in the freezer for later use in stock.

                                                        That little dish there contains an ice cube of my own chicken stock. I used that option instead of the water option. I worried about the amount of cornstarch called for by the recipe. The marinade was lighter in color than I am used to. The pork became a cohesive mass by the time I was ready to cook it. I didn't get the browning on the meat that I am used to, but I don't know if that is related. Just how separated is "separated" when she asks you to stop cooking the meat once it starts to separate? I would have cooked it a bit longer before moving it to the side.

                                                        It was a very easy and quick stir fry once the ingredients were in line. In and out in a flash. We enjoyed the dish. It had less richness than the one I've had in the restaurant. It's been too long since I've eaten there to be more specific. Perhaps I under-salted the dish. I very thinly sliced those scallions as requested and so they disappeared into the dish. I had expected them to be more garnish like, but the green disappeared. I can see maybe one piece that I cut poorly in my photo. She had me add them and then toss and then turn out the dish. They would perhaps be visible if I had turned the dish out and then added them, but maybe it was just the residual heat that killed them.

                                                         
                                                         
                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: saltwater

                                                          Dunlop doesn't mention it, as far as I know, but it might be easier to get the thin slices by popping the meat in the freezer for 15 minutes or so before slicing it. Looks great to me though. I know what you mean about "separated" - seems to me that meat separates pretty quickly, so I do cook it a little longer after that.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            You are right. I've seen that advice for slicing a thin slice, but I've found that I can do that just fine without waiting for the freezer. It would have helped here, with the slivers.

                                                          2. re: saltwater

                                                            saltwater, I tried the fish-fragrant pork slivers from pg 197 of LOP tonight and, funnily enough, it looks quite different from yours, mostly because I used celery (Dunlops recommended substitution for bamboo shoots). Like you, I used wood ear mushrooms (which I accidentally bought instead of cloud ear, which I haven't been able to find on subsequent trips anyway). I used 2 tsp of peanut oil (instead of step 4 calls for, which is 1/4 cup). Everything turned out just fine, I thought, and it was lovely over wild rice. I served this with the green beans, which I will talk about in the bean curds and vegetables thread. In these stir fry recipes, I find the pork to fare the best when I've reduced the oil significantly as I have been doing, then beef. Chicken and noodles are the most difficult. Vegetables fare pretty well, too.

                                                            MMRuth, thank you for the suggestion of popping the pork in the freezer for 15 mins before slicing it--I think it did help me to slice it thinner, though, I don't think I have achieved perfection yet in my "slivering."

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                             
                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              Ah, wild rice. That is a good idea. I did not feel that jasmine was the ideal pairing when we ate ours. Your picture has the green that I was missing in mine. I like color in my food.

                                                              1. re: saltwater

                                                                Wild rice is a "core" food on Weight Watchers, which means I don't have to weigh, measure or count it to stay on plan. Whole wheat pasta and brown rice are also "core" but are limited to only one meal per day, which makes it harder to use up my leftovers. I also count 100% buckwheat soba noodles as core (I'm sure they are core, but I don't know if they are "limited" or not--I pretend they are unlimited, which has been working for me.)

                                                                Yes, I thought it was funny how different our dishes looked in the photos--all because I used celery and you did not. I wished I had the bamboo shoots, though, from an authenticity perspective!

                                                                P.S. My poor husband also needs a pre-dinner snack lately. He's an extraordinarily patient person, for which I am especially grateful right now.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  I see, the plan is keeping you high fiber (low glycemic index). I wonder, can you sub out farro or barley or bulgur for the rice? Barley has actual fiber in it and a low glycemic index number. I suppose you like buckwheat, though. I'm glad you found something you can eat happily.

                                                                  It is hard trying to eat as you need to for health and feed other people. I don't manage that at all, even though my husband is patient, like yours. Often he eats a post-dinner snack. :-)

                                                                  1. re: saltwater

                                                                    Farro and barley and bulgar would all be "on plan" for me. I have some farro in the cupboard--do you think that would fit the Dunlop recipes? (I've never made farro before! I've only had it in cheese-y dishes before!)

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      I think that farro looks enough like rice in shape and size that it could work. I'm not sure how sweet tasting it is, though. Barley has the flaw of being noticeably sweet, which often doesn't work with certain things. You see, I eat wheat berries, and farro is a type of wheat. The flavor of wheat berries could plausibly coexist with certain dishes, if it were toned down by being pearled (that box of farro you have is probably pearled). I don't eat farro, though, so I can't give you a for sure answer.

                                                                      I'd give it a try. I mentioned it because you said you had a little trouble using up leftovers. Wheat berries, and the like can all be frozen once you cook them, so you can cook extra if you like it and then pull a serving out of the freezer for an easy meal.

                                                                      What a long winded way to say, I don't know, give it a try!

                                                                      1. re: saltwater

                                                                        Made this with chicken. I used half sambal oelek and half hunan salted chilis with very good results

                                                          3. Twice-Cooked Pork (LOP page194)

                                                            Finally. A recipe I didn’t like at all. And I can’t figure out whether it was me, the recipe, or the instructions—which I followed as written as best I could given the lack of detail—so I have no idea how to “fix” it. I even bought my pork belly in Chinatown, where I also managed to score Chinese leeks (much thinner and longer than what I’m used to). I thought both would work in my favor. Evidently not.

                                                            The “twice-cooked” part is because you simmer the pork belly first, then chill, slice, and stir fry it. Dunlop has you simmer the meat for 25 to 30 minutes. (A recipe I tried a number of years ago—and recall liking—calls for simmering for 3 minutes. Go figure.) Then you stir fry the meat “until the fat is rendered out and they are toasty.” But about how long might that be? And just what does “toasty” mean? Anyway, I think I cooked it too long. The meat was beyond chewy and the bits of skin were hard instead of crisp. The finished dish was also too salty for my taste even though I added no additional salt as she suggests might be necessary.

                                                            I should probably go on the record as saying I have no problem at all eating fried pork fat, or chiccarones for that matter, so that wasn’t the issue here even though I’m sure it might be for many. This just wasn’t well flavored or textured. At least, not the way I made it. A really disappointing waste of calories.

                                                             
                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              JoanN, I , too sometimes find Dunlop's instructions mystifying, the most common of which is "until it smells fragrant" or, "until it smells wonderful" or, in today's recipe, until the pork "separates." Most of the time, it's worked out okay, but I can see why until "toasty" might be confusing. I wish she'd also give an approximate time frame so that you know whether "toasty" is likely to be achieved in just a few minutes or more like ten minutes.

                                                              Brava for hunting down the leeks!

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                I made three dishes tonight. The veg. I posted on the veg. thread. It was the Stir-Fried Peppers with Black Beans and Garlic. MMRuth already made them and discussed, so I just gave a short report.

                                                                I made Yueyang BBQ Lamb Chops, although, since I had some lamb riblets, a cut that used to be really cheap and is now almost as much as regular lamb chops, I decided to marinate them using the marinade for the lamb chops. They were absolutely wonderful. The marinade is soy sauce, sweet bean sauce (I didn't have any and so added a bit of sugar to my bean sauce), Shaoxing wine, a tiny bit of 5-Spice powder. It was optional to add a bit of salt, but I didn't. I marinated them for about an hour.

                                                                Instead of cooking them on top of the stove, I barbecued them outside in honor of daylight savings. It also has been quite warm (high 60's) the past couple of days and I was celebrating the approach of Spring. Furthermore, my stove was being taken up by the pepper stir fry and the noodles.

                                                                I just realized that I forgot to sprinkle the ground cumin on the chops even though I ground it specially. Rats! That sounded wonderful to me. After they're cooked, she says to also sprinkle with a bit of sesame oil and scatter with coriander leaves. I did that. Both of us absolutely loved these ribs, and I'm sure the marinade would also be fantastic on lamb chops. This one is a keeper.

                                                                Next I made Yueyang Hot-Dry Noodles (from the Appetizers and Street Food Section and I'll post that in the appropriate thread.)

                                                                In case you didn't read my post about the stir fried peppers on the Veg thread, I'll post my full plate photo here, too.

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                  Last night we made the Yuyang Barbecued Lamb Chops, Revolutionary Chinese, p. 109

                                                                  Used shoulder chops, cooked them under the broiler and, channeling oakjoan, forgot the cumin!! Unfortunately, I left them lingering in the marinade for almost two hours (recipe asks for "at least 30 minutes") which turned out to be too long as the lamb tasted over-marinated. Despite that, though, it was easy to see how great this will be the next time. And next time will come sooner rather than later.

                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                    Yueyang Barbecued Lamb Chops, (RCC, page. 109)

                                                                    I’m not an OMG kinda gal. But OMG! These are just spectacular!

                                                                    I cut apart a rack (but the recipe would be very easy to adapt for however many rib chops you wanted to make) and cooked the chops in two batches, keeping the first batch warm in the oven while I made the second. She says to brush the chops with oil before putting them in the pan, but they were wet with marinade and that didn’t make sense to me. So I just oiled the grill pan and that worked as well as, if not better than, trying to oil the chops. I cooked them two minutes on the first side and two-and-half on second and the meat was rare and juicy almost beyond belief. I eliminated the cilantro garnish and forgot the sesame oil. (How could I forget my favorite condiment!?! Especially when it was sitting right there on the counter.)

                                                                    Warning: I did them indoors. In an apartment. On the stovetop. And my exhaust fan turns on, but I don’t think it actually exhausts. I had closed the kitchen doors to keep from setting off the smoke alarm and once I sprinkled on the crushed red pepper, I had to run to the living room to stick my head out the window to calm the coughing. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to take a picture through the smoke. That’s going to make this dish very problematic since I’ll only be able to serve it to guests who are willing to suffer if the food warrants it. Luckily, I do have those friends. And this recipe definitely warrants it.

                                                                    I know these should be served immediately. But I had the rack of lamb in the freezer that I’m cleaning out, this recipe has been on my to-make list since I first got the book, and I just said the hell with it. So I’m hoping, praying, that the leftovers have at least half the charm of those right out of the pan.

                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      I would be happy as a clam to suffer for those, they look and sound fabulous.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        Well. Let me tell you about the leftovers. I took two chops out of the fridge, wrapped them in foil, put them directly on the metal shelf-like thingie that covers my pilot light, and came back to them about two hours later. I do that often with leftover rare meat that I want to warm up but don’t want to cook further. They were still rare; they were still juicy; they were warm, and they were still wonderful. One doesn’t think of lamb chops as a dish that could be prepared ahead of time, but I wouldn’t hesitate to serve these leftover, rewarmed lamb chops to company. It’s making me think of this recipe in a whole new way. Baby lamb chops with the bones well trimmed as a finger-food hors d'oeuvre? I have friends who I think might swoon.

                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                          Holy cow...or lamb! (The best work-related cocktail party I ever went to had lamb rib chops as a passed hors d'oeuvre - not spicy, but nice with a drink.)

                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                        Yueyang Barbecued Lamb Chops, (RCC, page. 109)

                                                                        I'm always so lazy about writing up recipes from any COTM that isn't the current issue, but am so glad that Joan N (and others) are more dedicated, because her recent "swoon" comment on these really got my attention, and finally pushed me to make a dish that I've skipped past for years now. So glad I did! Joan is right they are fabulous.

                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                          I have to say, all the raves about these, added to the fact that JoanN was the person who got me to finally like lamb (by way of Lamb with Cumin) and even chitterlins (sp?) makes me think I should try this recipe. I'm thisclose to trying it.

                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                      Joan, when properly prepared, this dish has a lot of unrendered fat in it. It's like eating undercooked bacon. That said, it can be really delicious. It may go against a grain for someone from our culture to eat such large pieces of unrendered fat though. I have not cooked this, but have had it several times at very good sichuan restaurants.

                                                                      1. re: prunefeet

                                                                        Thanks for your description of what this dish should be like. It's difficult to prepare something you've never tasted--or even seen--before and you're going on instructions alone. Especially when those instructions may be somewhat wanting. I've had pork belly in restaurants where I just eat around the fat, and I must say that I really don't have a problem with lots of fat in a dish--as long as it's on rare occasions. But her instructions specifically called for stir-frying “until the fat is rendered out and they are toasty,” and that was what I attempted to do. Perhaps sometime, if I have the opportunity, I'll try it in a restaurant and will have a better idea of what I should be aiming for.

                                                                    3. Boiled Beef Slices in a Fiery Sauce LOP (226-228)

                                                                      Here in the Boston area we have a great Sichuan restaurant called Fuloon. They call this dish simply Steamed Beef. FD quips that this seemingly innocuous sounding dish is anything but.

                                                                      This dish to me is like crack, I refer to it as "face melting hot" and I have been known to eat it for breakfast (OK, usually when I'm hung over because it cuts straight through the fog). What attracts me to this dish is not only the searing heat, but the incredible depth of rich flavor behind the heat. Mix that with very tender beef, and the nice cool crunch of the celery, accompanied with a nice bowl of rice, this could be my "Desert Island Dish".

                                                                      For my first attempt, I'd rate my success as not too shabby.

                                                                      This dish took a long time to prep properly. MMRuth clued me in to the trick of lining up all the ingredients in cooking order and I can't even begin to tell you how helpful that has been, so what if I have to run the dishwasher after every meal ;).

                                                                      As I have referenced in some other threads, I use a smaller than standard wok, and this is starting to bite me in the butt, so eventually I will have to get a standard sized wok, no idea where I'll keep it, hopefully the wife won't get too upset if I stash it in the dryer between uses.

                                                                      Freezing the beef (Flank steak as recommended) for about 45 minutes was helpful to slice on the bias, across the grain, in uniform thickness. This time the beef suffered due to overcrowding which caused a long cooking time and as a result it became tough, but not unbearably so.

                                                                      The final step of this recipe is to heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil until smoking and then pour it over the dish which causes it to sizzle as you bring it to the table. They do this at Fuloon, and it is impressive, but I didn't require the pomp and circumstance for myself. My wife's comment of "What are you eating? Ass?" was all the validation that I needed to know that I came close enough to Fuloon's Steamed Beef.

                                                                      So, where did I come up short between my version and Fuloon's?
                                                                      -Need to suck it up and get a "real" wok
                                                                      -Need to at least double the dried chilis (Facing Heaven) and Sichuan peppercorns
                                                                      -Chili oil, chili oil, chili oil.

                                                                      Pictures below, mine vs. Fuloon's

                                                                      Mine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/food4tho...
                                                                      Fuloon's Steamed Beef: http://fuloon-restaurant.com/images/S...

                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Food4Thought

                                                                        Wow - impressive. Looks delicious; I've had my eye on that recipe too. Haven't had Fuloon's steamed beef but the steamed beef with cabbage at Sichuan Garden is good too.

                                                                        Sichuan Garden (9Lives' pic):
                                                                        http://flickr.com/photos/61246842@N00...

                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                          Indeed SG's Steamed Beef w/ Cabbage is one of my favorites as well, both are very similar in spirit. One of these days I need to do a side by side comparison (what a decadent little adventure that would be).

                                                                        2. re: Food4Thought

                                                                          That looks great - as does everyone's food from last night. My husband is travelling so I'm on cooking hiatus - plus he also said he needed a little break from Chinese food!

                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                            I agree--some really lovely dishes tonight. I've curious about the lamb dishes and that steamed beef looks quite interesting.

                                                                            I needed to take a break from Chinese cooking this past weekend because I had some other things I needed to focus on, so I brought home NY strip, fingerling potatoes, and some gorgeous greens from the grocery store. My husband has never been so happy to see a grocery bag in his life! And he very cheerfully cooked dinner, too.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                          2. re: Food4Thought

                                                                            Boiled Beef Slices in Fiery Sauce (LOP, pg.226)

                                                                            Wow, was this good. It’s not even one of my favorite dishes when I go to a Sichuan restaurant. But, it is one of C’s faves, so I decided to be nice and make this for him.

                                                                            The recipe made this sound more labor intensive then it was. I found that if I prepped the celery and beef ahead of time, it made this dish much more manageable. The recipe called for one head of celery to be trimmed and cut into match stick sized pieces. Mine were a bit bigger since I spent more time cutting the beef into thin slices. Slice the beef into thin slices and add some shaoxing wine and salt to the mix.

                                                                            The dried chilis (break these in half and lose the seeds first) and whole Sichuan peppercorn are stir fried until fragrant and browned. I used a little less oil, but not much since the veggies were going in as well. The peppers are then removed and chopped. I found this step to be the most cumbersome. The dried peppers were extremely crispy and even a light touch with the knife caused the chilis to fly everywhere. Next time, I’m using the mortar and pestle.

                                                                            There is still oil in the wok and I stir fried the celery sticks and scallion pieces. I then poured these into the serving bowl. Next, add chili bean paste and briefly stir fry. Add stock, dark soy and bring this to a boil. Meanwhile, add a corn starch/water mixture to the sliced beef. It’s a 6T corn starch to 6T of water. I think this is a bit high, but the end result did not lead to a gloppy mess. Pour the beef/cornstarch into the broth and slowly separate the pieces.

                                                                            The beef cooked fairly quickly and I like mine slightly red. So, I poured it into the celery bowl and added the chopped pepper to the mix. I did heat up an additional tablespoon of oil the pour to the top and it did sizzle. Kind of neat.

                                                                            The beef was remarkably tender and the broth was tasty. I think napa cabbage would be better than celery but that’s a personal preference. The celery, on its own, was also delicious. The chili and peppercorns had infused the oil so the celery had a nice bit to it.

                                                                            The recipe is a keeper and I also think that it could taste really good with noodles.

                                                                             
                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                              Your post is enough to encourage me to try this one. The problem is I have to return them to the library. Boo hoo! I'm going to see what I can do...

                                                                              1. re: saltwater

                                                                                saltwater: Maybe we could interest some charitable organization to take pity on us, make us a project and buy us ALL copies of both books.

                                                                                I am totally in love with these books and will post a discussion of the books and experience of this month's cooking soon. Chinese food I've prepared in the past has NEVER been this good....except for my seaweed soup.

                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                  LOL! Now all we need is the right kind of name to inspire others to be charitable. Something with "impoverished" in the title would be good.

                                                                                  I completely agree with you about finding this set of Chinese recipes to be particularly delicious. I've had authentic ingredients before, too, so that is not the whole story there. I am quite interested in our summation thread.

                                                                                2. re: saltwater

                                                                                  I finally broke down and bought LOP and am typing into my database as quickly as I can before my books need to be returned all the recipes from RCC that got positive reviews. I think that for this thread, probably more than any other COTM, a summmation of what we loved and what we didn't from each book would be a terrific resourse.

                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                    Be sure in the summation thread to detail why you picked to buy LOP over the other. I'd find that interesting. I've been mulling over which I prefer, and I've leaned towards LOP, but I'm not sure why.

                                                                                    1. re: saltwater

                                                                                      Revolutionary Chinese is an official nominee for a James Beard award.
                                                                                      http://www.jbfawards.com/content/2008...

                                                                                3. re: beetlebug

                                                                                  I made this last night with some changes and had some total space shot moments. It didn't turn out as well because of my fairly major mistakes but I liked my planned changes.

                                                                                  My planned change was the veggie. I wasn't keen on the whole head of celery as the vegetable, although I could see the appeal of the crunch. I used a very small head of napa cabbage instead. This was an excellent change but C said next time, I should use part napa and part celery. I may take that into consideration.

                                                                                  So, my mistakes. I can only use the following as excuses. I had a new friend over for dinner, I made 6 dishes from LOP and we were talking and drinking. I had prepped everything ahead of time, including cutting up the beef and napa as well as stir frying and chopping the hot peppers and sichuan peppercorns.

                                                                                  I decided to be really on the ball and stir fry the napa and this way it would be easier to time the other courses. So, I did that and forgot to throw in the scallions. I didn't realize this until the end of the night when I found my packet of cut up scallions.

                                                                                  Anyway, I started cooking up the other courses (dumplings, salt fried pork, cabbage, dry fried chicken, ma po tofu), saving this one to the end because it's a quick recipe. I had the recipe open and walked away. Came back and read the directions and mild panic. NOTE: Don't do this because it's a mistake but I want to share it. Recipe said to dry fry the beef and it would take 10 minutes for the water to come out. Panic ensues, timing is now off. I throw the beef on and begin to madly stir fry. Then the light bulb goes off. Why does the beef have to be dry? How could I be so off in my timing? I take another look and lo and behold, the page had turned and I was looking at a different recipe. Now, a different panic set in because I had partially cooked the beef already. Swear words come out. I try and salvage it by adding the corn starch mixture to the partially cooked beef. Adding the stock, bringing it to a boil, etc. But, it did come out gloppier than before because of my mistake and the meat was a bit overcooked. I was so mad because of all the prep work going into this dish and to have it come out the way it did.

                                                                                  Don’t get me wrong, the flavors were still delicious. It just wasn’t as good as last time and it should have been better because of the napa cabbage substitution.

                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                    I'm sorry to hear about this, but at the same time, I did have a little laugh - you described what has happend to me too many times so perfectly.

                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      That happened to me several times with Dunlop too, actually, if that's any consolation. One time in particular with the dan dan noodles recipe that are back to back in the book--my husband read something from the start of the second recipe whereas I had intended for him to be reading the second page of the first recipe on the facing page. The problem is, so many of Dunlop's recipes call for many of the same ingredients, just in different proportions or used in different ways, so it's very easy to confuse the recipes. If you somehow get off track, it can take awhile to get back on track.

                                                                                      This is one of those books where I very much agree with MMRuth's approach of photocopying your recipes ahead of time (assuming you own the book.)

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        thanks LM and TDQ. The saddest part was that I had made this before and knew it was a fast recipe to put together. it just took awhile for the light bulb to go off. It just shows when reading takes over thinking.

                                                                                  2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                    Boiled Beef Slices in Fiery Sauce (shui zhu niu rou) - LOP, p 226

                                                                                    Another Dunlop recipe I'll be making a lot. For the beef, I used flap steak, and it turned out nice and tender. Celery and scallions are stir-fried in oil flavored with dried chilis and Szechuan peppercorns and then put in a serving bowl. The meat is cooked in a sauce of chili bean paste, chicken stock, and dark soy, thickened with potato flour and water. The meat and sauce is poured over the vegetables, and then garnished with the chopped fried chilis and peppercorns.

                                                                                    Served over white rice, this was delicious. I thought it was plenty spicy when I tried the meat itself, but over the rice I thought it could use more heat, so I sprinkled on some aleppo pepper and drizzled with chili oil (p. 55).

                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                4. Red-braised Pork

                                                                                  LOP pp. 208-209

                                                                                  With apologies to TDQ, this is not, and never could be, a "core-friendly" dish...

                                                                                  I loves me some fresh pork belly and when I saw this recipe it was straight to the butcher to get some. This is a remarkably simple dish to make and tastes great to boot. Although, if the thought of braising a skin-on pork belly for three hours will cramp your style, I'd skip it. This is a dish that needs time in the pot.

                                                                                  At first glance at the recipe I thought the author's suggestion for cutting the belly into 2-3 inch chunks seemed a little odd. In hindsight, I see why it is she and not me who wrote the book. The belly will render maybe 50% of its original size by the time it's done braising, so starting with something too small will leave you with bits and pieces instead of nice chunks to chew on.

                                                                                  I recommend also keeping the suggestion to blanch the meat first, but I'd suggest a good five minute blanch instead of the "couple of minutes" that are suggested. The blanching softens the skin nicely prior to braising and leads to a more tender finished product.

                                                                                  The recipe itself couldn't be simpler, there are only three steps:

                                                                                  1. Blanch the pork, prepare other ingredients.
                                                                                  2. Briefly stir fry the pork in a very hot dutch oven (briefly meaning 2-4 minutes tops)
                                                                                  3. Pour all other ingredients in your dutch oven, reduce the heat, partially cover, and wait... for about three hours. Give the pot a good stir about every half hour or so.

                                                                                  The book says two hours, but I prefer this dish with about three hours of pot time. In three hours the liquid has reduced to a light syrup, much of the fat under the skin has rendered out, and the meat itself is fully infused with the sauce's flavors.

                                                                                  Absolutely to die for. Sorry for the lack of photo, we ate it all before the idea to post came up. Next time...

                                                                                  HuaGung

                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: HuaGung

                                                                                    Wow--sounds delicious and not "core-able"--that's okay, I wont' be "core" forever...

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                    1. re: HuaGung

                                                                                      You do make that sound good. Since I wasn't particularly please with the way my twice-cooked pork turned out, and I still have some pork belly left, I think I'll give this a try. Thanks for the additional tips.

                                                                                      1. re: HuaGung

                                                                                        You certainly make that dish sound incredible! I looked at the recipe for a few minutes before I decided that all that pork fat would not look good on my hips, because that's exactly where it would end up. On to chicken tonight....

                                                                                        1. re: HuaGung

                                                                                          Thanks - I bought some pork belly over the weekend - will try this. And - don't forget to keep the blanching liquid to convert into broth (grin).

                                                                                          1. re: HuaGung

                                                                                            uhm HuaGung, what a job! MMRuth - where did you get your pork belly and what was the size, weight etc? Schatzie (you know him!) always tells me that he can only get the whole belly which weighs 6-8 lbs.

                                                                                            1. re: scoopG

                                                                                              I do know Schatzie well! I have two one lb slabs - bought at the meat market in Chinatown that JoanN recommended. That place was so inexpensive, and the meat looked v. nice. Also picked up some chicken feet and ground pork. I also liked the fish market next door - these are on Bayard, at Elizabeth. Citarella didn't have pork belly, btw.

                                                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                Actually - if you feel like it - email me (email in profile - put CH in the re: line) - I have great, totally off topic, Schatzie stories.

                                                                                              2. re: HuaGung

                                                                                                I'm glad you posted this - this is what we are having for dinner tonight. I have just finished blanching the pork (and definitely did 5-6 minutes, accidentally - hey sometimes things work out!) I was planning for the two hour braise, so I had better run and get started now!!!

                                                                                                1. re: mirage

                                                                                                  I'm hoping to make this for dinner tomorrow night - assuming that my husband is up for Chinese food again - he was getting a little tired of it, even though he's liked pretty much everything we've cooked so far!

                                                                                                  1. re: mirage

                                                                                                    Wound up braising for just under 3 hours. The first 1 1/2 or so hours with the top only partially on, the remaining time uncovered, and the liquid did not evaporate as much as I had thought it would, but no mind, this was very good.

                                                                                                    1. re: mirage

                                                                                                      I just realized that the recipe I was thinking of is from RCC - Chairman Mao's Red Braised Pork!

                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                        They are similar but LOP's version start's the pork in the oil, has brown sugar, uses dark soy, and cooks longer - RCC's version caramelizes the white sugar, then adds the pork, uses light soy, red chiles and cinnamon/cassia. Will have to try the RCC version next time I buy pork belly, but I think I'll still like the longer cooking time.

                                                                                                        1. re: mirage

                                                                                                          Thanks - I'll report back after I make it tonight.

                                                                                                  2. re: HuaGung

                                                                                                    Do you think this is this recipe? Or something different?

                                                                                                    http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/515562

                                                                                                    The RCC recipe for the Mao's Red Braised Pork only calls for simmering 40 to 50 minutes.

                                                                                                  3. Pork Slivers with Yellow Chives (LOP, p. 216)

                                                                                                    I was running behind for dinner, and instead of putting the pork into the freezer to firm up a bit and slicing into neat slivers as I had planned, I did a thin slices/chunks. The pork is briefly marinated in salt, rice wine (haven't got this yet so used sherry), potato flour and water. It's then stir-fried in peanut oil, the chives are added, and then the sauce (light soy, black vinegar, salt, potato flour/starch, and chicken stock).

                                                                                                    I still haven't seasoned my new wok, and so used a Creuset braiser with sloped slides. Unfortunately, I misjudged the amount of chives. It was too small and when I added the chives, everything kind of 'steamed' so I ended up with a bit of a gloppy mess and overcooked chives. Flavors were nice though, and it's a simple, non-spicy stir-fry to serve with other more fiery dishes. I served this with white rice and the spicy "Fish Fragrant Bean Curd" (p. 316) on the bean curd thread.

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                      Pork Slivers with Yellow Chives (LOP, pg. 216)

                                                                                                      I made this last week. It’s pretty basic, nothing really to add to Rubee’s report. I did substitute flowering chives for the yellow chives. What I especially liked about this recipe is the marinade for the pork. The Shaoxing rice wine flavor completely infused the pork slivers and it balanced well with the chives themselves.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                        Pork Slivers with Yellow Chives (LOP, pg. 216)

                                                                                                        I had some beautiful yellow chives. There was enough to make this dish, as well as the shrimp with chives from RCC.

                                                                                                        But, for this dish, I decided to play with it and to see if I could make one of my favorite chinese dishes (xiang gan rou si) - dried tofu with pork slivers, or soemthing like that in english.

                                                                                                        So, I used a 3/4 lb pork chop, slivered it up and added the seasoning. For the stir fry, I used Young's method of letting the meat sear for a minute before actually stirring the meat. I added the chives and I added 12 oz of slivered dried tofu. Then the rest of the sauce seasonings. Voila, I found one of my favorite dishes to make at home. I love finely slivered dried tofu stir fried with yellow chives. Everything is delicate and tender and flavorful at the same time.

                                                                                                        Young has a variation of this dish in Breath of a Wok. That version has edamame, snow cabbage, dried tofu, pork and green pepper. The flavors of Dunlop's dish were just better. If I were to add the edamame and snow cabbage, I suspect I would have to tweak Dunlop's dish a bit because the sauce proportions would be off. But, I'm happy to have found a base recipe to launch off of.

                                                                                                    2. Chairman Mao's Red-Braised Pork, p. 78, RCC

                                                                                                      In some ways, this is the most disappointing dish for me so far, with some caveats. The aroma of the liquid was wonderful - ginger, star anise, dried chilis and cassia bark. However - the pork belly. First, I think I actually don't like pork belly - just not thrilled with all the gobs of fat. I might like it better with a crispy skin, and have another 1lb of it so will try a different preparation. Second - it just had this nasty grayish hue to it. I'm wondering about the directions. After blanching and cutting up the pork, I heated the sugar and oil. She then says to add the pork and wine, then water and the aromatics. Nothing about stir frying the pork to brown it, and if I were to make it again, which I probably won't, I'd do that. It seemed to take ages to reduce the broth, so I may have given up a bit early. The broth was very good, and I'm sure will be nice leftover today with the rice and snap pea leftovers. My husband, who loves pork belly, thought it was very bland, and kept adding the sauce leftover from the noodles to it. I do think it needed more salt, though no additional sugar. Since I didn't have the "lovely reddish gloss", I threw in some dark soy sauce, as she mentions most people do at home in the notes above. Not sure it did much.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                        Nice rice, MM. J/K. I don't think I could eat all that fat. In fact, I know I couldn't. Even though the two pork belly recipes were on my original list to try, they have been deleted after reading the recent reports. I guess I'm more of a vegetable kind of person, with a bit of chicken or fish on the side.

                                                                                                        I must say, your plated food looks wonderful.

                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          Thanks - I actually said to my husband that I think I'd like this better with beef or chicken.

                                                                                                          P.S. "J/K"?

                                                                                                          Edit - oh, "just kidding"? Yes - v. fancy ;-). Thought it looked pretty in the blue bowl so took a photo!!

                                                                                                        2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                          Very pretty, MMRuth,--but, as you say, not that "red" and glossy looking. Sorry to hear it didn't quite work out for you. Sometimes, I find that the dishes are better the next day than they are the first. I don't know if it's because my expectations have been re-set or because the flavors have melded more or what.

                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            My husband ate all the pork belly - so that gone ;-) Just the broth left ...

                                                                                                          2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                            Great report MMRuth, and the pictures are great, you do an awesome job with the ingredients, and I like how you have you and the others have put so much into this book of incredible recipes.
                                                                                                            I have to comment along with you about pork belly. For me, I find it sooooo rich used as the way in Dunlops recipe.
                                                                                                            I did enjoy it very much prepared at a Filipino BBQ.
                                                                                                            Marinated with star anise, garlic, scallions, ginger root, vinegar, soy sauce overnight, and grilled. DELICIOUS! Still very rich, but it made the fat taste great! A little goes a long way.
                                                                                                            Thanks for all your effort, I'm enjoying this so much!!!

                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                              I think the trick to this dish is to really caramelize the sugar in the oil (until just about smoking) and then toss in your meat, etc. It will be quite brown when cooked. And I use trimmed pork shoulder, not being all that keen on pork belly.

                                                                                                            2. Ants Climbing a Tree (LOP p. 218)

                                                                                                              This has been the only disappointment from this book for me so far. There wasn't anything really wrong with it, it was just sort of dull, and really not at all spicy. Basically it is a little ground meat, soy sauce, chili bean paste in some stock with bean noodles. Made fish-fragrant eggplants with it, which were (thank goodness) wonderful, if very oily.

                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                My experience was different. I found this to be one of the easiest to prepare dishes that I have tackled. One I could easily whip up on a busy weeknight. To your point, I do see how this dish can pale in comparison to other of FD's other recipes from a flavor profile perspective.

                                                                                                                Many of the dishes in this book rely on "everyday stock" and "chili bean paste" the latter of which there are so many varieties of ( I think FD specifically mentions a Lee Kum Kee brand Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Jian)).

                                                                                                                I am by no means an authority on this topic , but from what I understand of Asian brands, "Lee Kum Kee" is kinda like "Kraft" or "General Foods" in a mass produced sense. I added my "secret weapon" (see link below) which I think brought it up a few notches in complexity, depth and flavor.

                                                                                                                I also used ground pork from an Asian market which has a higher fat content (Weight Watcher points be damned) than "typical" supermarket ground pork.
                                                                                                                "Secret weapon"

                                                                                                                http://flickr.com/photos/food4thought...

                                                                                                                1. re: Food4Thought

                                                                                                                  Did you cut back on the oil when you made this dish? I’ve used extra fatty pork from a Chinatown butcher for two dishes. The first was for the Steamed Pork and Pumpkin Dumplings and the filling was so oil-laden I had to drain it before I could fill the dumpling wrappers. For the Pock-Marked Woman’s Bean Curd from RCC, I used 1 teaspoon instead of the three tablespoons of oil the recipe called for. I concluded, rightly or wrongly, that Dunlop tested the recipes using leaner pork and that’s what I’ve used subsequently, in the Dry-Fried Green Beans, for instance, with terrific results.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                    Great question. What I find myself doing lately is preparing the LOP recipes with the recommended amount of oil/ fat for the first time in order to establish a baseline. Like others on this board I'm trying to be mindful of my intake. I do this because I have found that the (what I sometimes consider excessive) oil contributes the "mouth-feel" or less accurate "texture" of the dish. Pock-Marked Woman’s Bean Curd is an excellent example of where I felt the oil was mandatory, based upon trying to simulate excellent versions I've enjoyed at restaurants. In this case however I will most likely cut back on the peanut oil (2 Tblsp to cook the pork in) and rely mostly on the fat from the pork itself.

                                                                                                                    You bring up another great point as well. It seems that most American supermarkets grade ground beef by % lean. Not the case for pork, turkey, veal, etc, so getting the proper fat content for the ground pork becomes a kind of crap shoot.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Food4Thought

                                                                                                                    I have that secret weapon - that's chili oil, right? I think, in part, the liberal use of it by my husband (adding it to things) has led to our temporary moratorium on Dunlop cooking, as the chilis bother his stomache (though it is his own damn fault). Tomorrow I'm going to go through RCC to identify less chili laden recipes that he might like!

                                                                                                                  3. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    Ants Climbing a Tree (LOP, pg. 219)

                                                                                                                    This was ok. I didn't use as much oil when I stir fried the pork. But, I added additional chili oil to give it a bit more depth. I think it needs some Sichuan peppercorn for a bit more flavor as well. But, I love bean thread noodles so I’ll probably play around with this a little.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                      Ants Climbing on a Tree

                                                                                                                      I thought this made a tasty lunch yesterday. I've found that anything I make using the chili bean paste turns out to be one of my favorites. I did, however, take into account everyone's reviews, so I increased the ground beef (6 oz instead of 4) and also increased the amount of chili bean paste. Instead of using everyday stock, I used homemade roasted chicken stock for more flavor. Also, I didn't have any scallion so used thinly sliced basil instead and, surprisingly, I really liked it in this dish.

                                                                                                                      I took a pic but now have the dreaded "memory card error", so will post later if I can access it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                        Ants Climbing a Tree - ma yi shang shu (LOP, p 219)

                                                                                                                        I took a pic since I made this again for lunch this week. I really like this dish with the texture of the the bean thread noodles, and it's easy to put together too. Having read everyone's reports, I find that it's better with extra chili bean paste.

                                                                                                                        BTW, last night I stir-fried up a batch of ground beef for three different recipes - this portion with soy and chili bean paste, some with soy, chili bean paste, and black beans for ma po tofu, and a quadruple batch with soy, sichuan pepper, and dried chiles for dan dan noodles. What a timesaver - I work at home and it makes it so easy now to throw a nice lunch together (or quick dinner). Today I just soaked the bean-thread noodles for 15 minutes in very warm water, reheated the meat over high heat in a wok, and then added the noodles and chicken stock and let it absorb.

                                                                                                                        Pic:

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                          Rubee what a fantastic idea--how many pounds of ground beef did you start with to end up with those proportions?

                                                                                                                          Did you freeze the ground beef or do you just keep it in the fridge or what? We have a lot of ground beef (ground buffalo, actually) in our deep-freeze (long story, we buy direct from the guy who raises it)...so, I'm always looking for ways to use it up.

                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            It was about 3 lbs.

                                                                                                                            I haven't tried freezing it, but will try it this time. I'll be sure to report back.

                                                                                                                            PS - I wanted to add that the ants on a tree didn't heat up well as the noodles got a bit gluey. Still tasted good though!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                              Excellent, thank you so much! And yes, please do report back on how the freezing works out.

                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                (Oops, sorry I just figured it out and it was about 2 lbs)

                                                                                                                        2. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                          This is another quick and easy favorite recipe that I make often for lunches during the week. I make a double batch of the broth mixture (using homemade chicken stock and extra chili broad-bean paste). When I want to prep lunch, I soak the amount of bean thread noodles for an individual serving (or I do a larger batch ahead of time, drain, and store in the refrigerator) while I heat the broth, and then add scallions and simmer the noodles until they are cooked and have soaked up lots of flavor.

                                                                                                                          Today's lunch:

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                    2. Pork Slivers with Preserved Mustard Tuber (LOP, pg. 213)

                                                                                                                      Another basic stir fry recipe. I had opened the package of mustard tubers for the dun dun noodles. So, I decided to finish the package for this dish. I did rinse the tubers because I didn’t want it to interfere with the delicate marinate of the pork slivers ((corn starch, water and Shaoxing wine). But, my package of tubers were spicy flavored and it did bum me out to rinse the spice off. Nevertheless, this is a quick and easy dinner. I served this with stir fried cabbage (LOP pg. 298) and dry fried eggplant (LOP, pg. 300)

                                                                                                                      I probably used less than 1T for the stir fry portion and it was fine. I did incorporate 2 teaspoons of oil in with the meat (per the directions).

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                        I just tried this dish myself, and I don't really have much to say in addition to your report. You followed her directions better on the scallion prep, so it is interesting to see your picture. I, too, was bummed to rinse off the seasonings from the mustard tuber. I found the dish a delicate counterpoint to some of the other dishes that I have been making from Dunlop. It would be easier to serve this dish to some of my friends who don't like so much heat. I also incorporated the 2 t of oil, and I felt it was probably helping to separate the pork slivers.

                                                                                                                        I'd definitely make it again, but I would also like to try a dish that has non-rinsed zha cai.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                          I tried this dish again without rinsing off the mustard. It didn't make much difference, but then, I messed up a different part of the recipe. I was reading along and my eyes skipped to the next page and I put sugar in the sauce, from the next recipe. I didn't figure it out until I had made the dish. So, I'm not sure what would have happened if I had done it correctly all round.

                                                                                                                          Anyway, I am sure the type of zha cai I bought can be used without rinsing. But as you can see from my photos above, I got mine in a package and already slivered.

                                                                                                                        2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                          Pork Slivers with Preserved Mustard Tuber (LOP, p. 213)

                                                                                                                          I know I didn't use the right preserved mustard tuber since she mentions that it's fermented with ground chiles and Sichuan peppers, but the only similar mustard I could find was a package of pickled mustard . Either way, I liked the flavor and texture of the pickled mustard with the pork - sour with a slightly crisp bite to it.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                            I got that pickled mustard as well and used it in the steamed eggplant recipe. I also liked the flavor and texture, but am curious about what the "real" item would taste like.

                                                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                              The real item is almost like preserved kohlrabi, not leafy or stalky at all. I love it. It's soft but has a bit of a crunch, and is salty and a bit chili hot. Entirely different from what you used, which is also really good, and goes very well with pork.

                                                                                                                          2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                            So today I made the Pork Slivers with Preserve Mustard Tuber, which was what I had intended to make instead of http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4946... .

                                                                                                                            I, too, was looking to use up the mustard tuber after making Dan Dan noodles and was also a very unhappy puppy at having to wash off the spice to get rid of the excess salt. I liked it, but I would have liked it a lot better with a bit more heat. I forgot to add oil to the pork before stir-frying. Not sure it made much of a difference.

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                          3. Shredded Beef w/Sweet Peppers - Land of Plenty, p. 234

                                                                                                                            I made this because my daughter does not like any heat. She loved this. I used 3/4 lb of meat instead of 1/2 lb and a whole red pepper, instead of half red, half green. It was a little sweet, but it had a very pleasant flavor which I enjoyed. A nice, quick, mild weeknight dinner choice.

                                                                                                                            On another note - my salted chiles will be ready on Monday - maybe next week I can get my daughter to go out to dinner some night :-)

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: mirage

                                                                                                                              Woohoo! Can't wait to read your salted chiles report!

                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                              1. re: mirage

                                                                                                                                ROTFL, mirage! I have now made the peppers with black beans and garlic twice. I just adore the flavor the wok gives to those seared pepper chunks.

                                                                                                                              2. Spicy Steamed Beef with Rice Meal (LOP, p. 230)

                                                                                                                                This is a great dish, packing a one-two punch of rich, succulent beef and a unique, toothy/spongy “rice meal” (an inadequate term, but I can’t think of a better one) coating whose texture falls somewhere between soft polenta and moist turkey stuffing, and which manages to become so rich and savory in and of itself that even on its own it needs to be accompanied by plain steamed rice.

                                                                                                                                The recipe involves toasting long-grain white rice in a dry pan until the rice brittles and yellows, which I’ve found takes a bit longer than the 10-15 minutes Dunlop estimates. Begin this step first thing, immediately, even before you start cutting the beef or rounding up marinade ingredients, because after the rice is toasted you have to wait for it to cool, which is a big hidden speed bump in the recipe. While you’re cutting the meat, keep an eye on the pan and give it a little shake now and then until the rice is toasted, then spread the hot rice out on a flat plate to speed cooling. My food processor takes a (very noisy) minute or two to reduce the rice to the proper coarse consistency.

                                                                                                                                Ingredients: I generally use just what this recipe calls for. I’ve used both everyday stock and chicken stock, and found little difference. Haven’t tried the fermented rice wine or sherry; I’ve only used Shaoxing. Peanut and vegetable oils yielded similar results. I use a little more Sichuanese chili bean paste than the 2 tbsp called for, only because I like it so much. As for the cut of beef, I’ve used flank, ranchera, and (in the present example) boneless short rib, which last I’ve found to be superior. The ranchera comes in second, a little tougher, and the flank was all right but kind of fragmented to bits upon steaming (maybe I overcooked it, though), while the short rib pleasingly held its shape yet still steamed up nice and tender.

                                                                                                                                The recipe instructs you to cook the prepared dish in a steamer. I haven’t got one, which is dumb considering how many times I’ve made this and other steamed things by now. Instead I put the bowl on a small circular rack in a large dutch oven with a little water in the bottom, cover and go (photo attached). This has worked well every time, although extricating the hot bowl from the pot with two pairs of tongs took some getting used to.

                                                                                                                                I added all the final garnishes as listed with one exception: In the past, I’ve found the garlic/water puree to be unnecessarily strong and harsh tasting, and also difficult to spread evenly among the finished product, resulting in the diner occasionally receiving an unexpected blast of raw garlic. This time I simply crushed a couple cloves of garlic at the beginning, covered them with a little cold water, and let them sit on the counter until the steaming was done. Drizzling on the resulting garlic water (cloves discarded) evenly gave the dish just the right touch of garlicky brightness. Other garnish notes: I use about double the amound of ground roasted Sichuan pepper. If you like cilantro at all, be sure not to eliminate or substitute for it. The way that fresh, herbal zing counterpoints the salty, chili-beany, fragrant rice meal coating…oh man. Fuchsia Dunlop, I love you.

                                                                                                                                Please make this dish. It’s unconventional, and easy to overlook in favor of Boiled Beef Slices in a Fiery Sauce (an absolute classic), but I think you’ll be glad you gave it a chance. Added bonus: although there’s a lot of prep early on, once this is in the steamer and your garnishes are measured out, this becomes one of the very few truly make-ahead dishes in the book, making it a convenient centerpiece for a multiple-dish meal. And the leftovers are fantastic cold. Okay, I’ll give it a rest.

                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: roundfigure

                                                                                                                                  Great report! You've sold me - I'm adding it to the list of dishes I still plan on making.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                    I made this dish when I first got the book a few years ago - roundfigure is not exaggerating - it was excellent.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mirage

                                                                                                                                      Roundfigure: I just loved reading your commentary about the Spicy Steamed Beef with Rice Meal!

                                                                                                                                2. Sweet-and-Sour Pork (LOP, p. 210)

                                                                                                                                  This was delicious, although a lot of work with double-frying the pork and adding the strips one by one so they don't stick. I'm glad I made it, though, and it's one of E's favorites from this book.

                                                                                                                                  The pork is marinated for about half an hour in salt and rice wine. I used pork tenderloin and it turned out really tender. The batter is made with potato flour and egg. This was my only disappointment as I think I added too much egg (directions say to add enough egg "to make a thick batter"). As a result, the pork wasn't as crispy as it should have been with the double fry - first at 300, and then finished at 375 - and I used a thermometer to be accurate. The wonderful slightly sweet and tangy sauce is made with chopped garlic and ginger, salt, sugar, black vinegar, light soy, chicken stock, and potato flour to thicken. It's finished with sliced scallions and sesame oil, and poured over the fried pork. I served this tasty dish with white rice and Spicy Cucumber Salad (p. 185).

                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                  1. Salt Fried Pork (LOP, pg. 212)

                                                                                                                                    Wow, was this good. I saw already sliced pork belly in the grocery store so I snatched it up. It was the exact same cut as required in the recipe (thin slices about 3 x 2). When I began to cook this, I was a bit skeptical. Although the recipe called for 3T of peanut oil, I used less since I was cooking fatty pork. And, the meat threw off a lot of fat. I kept thinking that this was going to be really greasy. But, once the pork is cooked, you push it to the side and add chili bean paste, and fermented black beans until everything smells great. Continue to stir fry and add soy sauce, sugar and lots of scallions. All these additions made a huge difference. The scallions had a great flavor, still slightly crunchy with soaked in pork fat. Plus the soy bean paste and black beans added this complex flavor once it mixed in with the pork. This is a keeper.

                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                      Thanks for saying this was a keeper. It sure was! "The meat was the best part, and that isn't true for most dishes." - that from my bacon disliking husband. The meat was really yummy. I followed your lead and used less oil. This worked out fairly well, but I ended up adding a little back in when I added the bean paste. The pan had looked a little dry to just dump that in.

                                                                                                                                      I used slightly shorter times than Dunlop specified for the cooking, based upon my previous experience with dry-fried beef. Also, I moderated the heat a little from my usual stir-fry. I used regular leeks in this, so I pre-stir-fried them before I did anything else, so that I could add them at the time she called for them and have them come out right.

                                                                                                                                      This "sent the rice down" very well. Don't be afraid of the fatty cut of meat (though I picked a fairly unfatty slab). It doesn't taste like a big glob of fat at all. Oh, I cut the skin off the fresh bacon, because I thought that might not taste good cooked this way. Did anyone else do that differently with the skin?

                                                                                                                                    2. Beef with Cilantro (RCC pg. 104)

                                                                                                                                      Most of these meat recipes call for 1+ cups of oil for a deep stir fry of the meat. I used only about 1T and it isn’t the same. The problem is that the potato starch on the meat begins to congeal on the bottom of the pan. The meat also has to be stir fried longer than the 1 minute the recipe called for.

                                                                                                                                      Overall, though, it was still tasty, although I think it would be better if the full amount of oil was used. The meat is first marinated with shaoxing wine, soy sauce (light and dark), and potato flour. After the meat is cooked, remove the meat and stir fry garlic with a sliced red chili. Add the meat back and chopped cilantro. After the cilantro is barely cooked, add sesame oil and serve.

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                        It's really hard to do with less oil, isn't it? That's one reason I had to bail out of Dunlop about half-way through the month. The only other suggestion I have along those lines is make sure you use a non-stick pan...

                                                                                                                                        Have you found an optimal amount of oil that is "less" than the 1+cups of oil the recipe calls for. 1TBSP is too little, obviously...but have you found that, for instance, 3TBSP might work okay? Just curious!

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for all these reports (and photos)!

                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                          I haven't found an optimal amount of oil that is less than the 1+ cups of oil. I've had more success with LOP (which generally calls for 3T of oil in the recipe). With LOP, in the meats and veggies, I can use less than 1T with no adverse effect. This includes the recipes that call for potato flour to be marinated on the meat. I think there are constant additions to the recipes which prevents the potato start from clumping to the bottom of the pan.

                                                                                                                                          But with RCC, most of the meat recipes call for 1+ cups with potato flour on the meat. The fry times are supposed to be a lot shorter but with less oil, that isn't going to be the case. Also, it seems like the sauces are also heavier which just leads to a less optimal result.

                                                                                                                                          I'm on the fence about purchasing RCC. I've made a couple of things that I've really liked but the meat recipes are troublesome to me. I don't like using and then re-using all that oil. I'm going to try a few more meat recipes and then make a decision.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                            Interesting. Thanks for your thoughts on that!

                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                            I think it would be hard to do with 1 TBSP but I've cut back a LOT on the oil in her recipes and haven't had problems. A cup of oil is just kind of icky on my palette (sp?).

                                                                                                                                        2. Recently made the Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs, Revolutionary Chinese, p. 47. I used about half the sugar, since I just couldn't bring myself to dump in as much as she called for. I'm glad I did. We thought they were sweet enough. Used country ribs (w/bone) and enjoyed this messy finger-food. Another delicious, easy dish.

                                                                                                                                          1. Farmhouse Stir Fried Pork with Green Peppers (RCC pg. 85)

                                                                                                                                            This was delicious. But, how could it not be with sliced pork belly, marinated lean pork, black beans and garlic. Instead of Italian frying peppers, I used Anaheim peppers. I also think longhorn peppers, green peppers or banana peppers would all be adequate substitutes. I especially think that longhorn peppers would be great with this.

                                                                                                                                            First dry fry the peppers, remove and then brown the sliced pork belly. As a personal preference, I would have liked it better if I had remembered to cut the skin off. Add the black beans, garlic and marinated lean pork (light and dark soy, and shaoxing wine). When the lean pork is almost cooked, add the cooked peppers and then a potato flour/water mixture.

                                                                                                                                            I loved the flavors of the two kinds of pork with the black beans and veggies. This is a nice home town dish.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. Fish-Fragrant Pork Slivers (yu xian rou si) - LOP, p. 197

                                                                                                                                              The sweet/sour/spicy "fish fragrant" dishes are some of my favorites in this book. I especially love the eggplant one - it's now my go-to Asian eggplant dish. This was just as delicious. I just love these flavors.

                                                                                                                                              I cut the pork into strips - no patience for slivers - and marinated it in salt, light soy, potato starch, water, and Shaoxing rice wine. The sauce is made with sugar, Chinkiang vinegar, light soy, salt, potato flour, and chicken broth.

                                                                                                                                              Pork is stir-fried, pickled chili paste is added (I threw a couple of Tb of salted pickled chiles - RCC p 283 - into the FP and processed into a paste), ginger and garlic, and finally sliced cloud-ear mushrooms and bamboo shoots. I didn't have scallions so used some chives. I loved this, another favorite from the book that I'll make again and again.

                                                                                                                                              A couple of notes: I love her technique of blanching canned bamboo shoots - it really gets rid of that metallic taste. Also, now that I've finally found Chinkiang vinegar, I like the flavor much better than the regular black Chinese vinegar I had bought in the beginning (Koon Chun brand).

                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                              1. Dry-Fried Beef Slivers (gan bian niu rou si) - LOP, p. 228

                                                                                                                                                I just read through this thread and see that OakJoan and BeetleBug made this months ago, so now it's my turn. And yes, it's another delicious Dunlop recipe.

                                                                                                                                                I took what I thought was flank steak out of the freezer, but it was flap steak that I had bought at a local Mexican market. It was perfect for this recipe - so thin that I just cut it in slices and practically had "slivers" without a lot of work.

                                                                                                                                                The meat is stir-fried in oil until all the moisture is gone and they get nice and crisp (about 10 minutes), chili bean paste is added, next ginger and scallions, and then celery, light soy, and some salt, and the dish finished with a bit of sesame oil. I thought it was excellent as it was, but it was even better with the optional drizzle of chili oil (p 55) and a generous dusting of toasted ground Sichuan pepper (p 74). It made a delicious dinner tonight with steamed rice.

                                                                                                                                                I love this book.

                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                  I make a double batch of this dish almost once a week for lunches (E loves it too - he likes to eat it wrapped up in a burrito!).

                                                                                                                                                  Some tips I've learned:
                                                                                                                                                  Don't skip salting the celery. I did once and didn't like the texture and the added moisture.
                                                                                                                                                  I rushed the last time I made it and didn't allow enough time for the beef to really crisp up, and didn't like it as much.
                                                                                                                                                  Every time I make it, I up the heat and increase the amount of chili sauce, and today I added some hot chili oil to the peanut oil.
                                                                                                                                                  I've been using Lian How broad bean paste (pic below), and don't like as much as Lee Kum Kee or the brand above.
                                                                                                                                                  I like a generous amount of Penzey's Schuan peppercorns but find that the flavor lessens quickly if not freshly ground and toasted, but to save time I do a big batch and store it in a tightly capped glass jar.
                                                                                                                                                  I've been making it with thin ranchera/flap steak, which is perfect for this dish, and on sale this week at the local Mexican market for $2.88 a pound.

                                                                                                                                                  (Lian How Broad Bean Paste):
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/produc...

                                                                                                                                                2. Red Braised Beef with White Radish (LOP, pg. 232)

                                                                                                                                                  Another delicious dish and another winner from LOP. This was one of my Chinese New Year dishes. And, I chose it because I had country style ribs and daikon radish from my CSAs. So, I was looking for dishes that would help clear the fridge and freezer. I'm glad I stumbled on this dish.

                                                                                                                                                  Incredibly easy and tortuous to smell the braising beef, this turned into a beautifully red dish (perfect for a lucky new year). I made half a potion because of my limited meat. And, my big "change" was the called for beef stock. I used half box stock and half leftover short rib braising liquid. And, I think that braising liquid sent this dish over the top.

                                                                                                                                                  Blanch the meat for a couple of minutes and then chop into 1 inch pieces. Crush a chunk of ginger a scallion.

                                                                                                                                                  In the wok, heat oil and then add chili bean paste. Then, after the oil is red and flavorful, add beef stock, beef, shaoxing wine, ginger, scallions, sichuan pepper, star anise and cao guo (I didn't have this and omitted it). Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours.

                                                                                                                                                  Close to serving time, add the daikon radish and then simmer for a few minutes until tender.

                                                                                                                                                  I also added my bones for more flavor. And, if I only had this dish with white rice, it would have been a satisfying meal. The meat, sauce and radish were so flavorful. And, it was a fight with other dishes as to which dish would complement the white rice. The next time I make this dish, it will never taste this great again because of my special braising liquid. But, I still think this dish would be more than worthwhile if you made it as called for.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                    Red Braised Beef w/ White Radish lop pg 232

                                                                                                                                                    A couple of days ago I was looking for a recipe to use up some daikon and saw Beetlebug's review which convinced me to try it. Nothing much to add to her excellent write up except that I used a piece of seven bone chuck, and homemade light beef broth, and did add the cao guo, and it all came out just fine. We just had the last of the left-overs for lunch, and it was just as good as on the first day, maybe even better as the flavors had melded so well.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                      I've made this for my parents several times when I visit them. They then store it in the freezer and carefully portion it out between visits. I usually use chuck roast because it's cheaper then short ribs. Also, I agree with qianning that this tastes better a day later. One of my parents favorite way of eating this is to cook noodles and then to make beef noodle soup with this dish.

                                                                                                                                                      ETA: my parents don't put the daikon radish in until after they pull the container out of the freezer. They also sometimes add some napa cabbage in as well.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                      I made this last Saturday and it's one of my favorite braised dishes ever - so easy and fast to put together and so succulent when done (2 hrs in the oven plus an hr on the stove warming up slowly). Used poultry stock I had enriched with veal bones so the sauce had a nice silky feel. Added chestnuts (the Chinese packaged kind) instead of the daikon. Great dish - and great warmed up over noodles, thinning the broth a bit. These are amazing books, treasures.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Beans and Chiles (RCC pg. 82)

                                                                                                                                                      This was a loser. Flavorless and a waste of beautiful CSA spareribs. It's really surprising in the lack of flavor since the ribs were steamed in soy, shaxing wine, fresh ginger, fermented black beans, chile flakes and lard (I used leftover braised pork belly fat).

                                                                                                                                                      I blanched the ribs, per directions and they steamed for about 40 minutes (longer than the proscribed 30 minutes). I thought the meat would fall off the bone, the way steamed ribs from dim sum tend to. But, these were tough and only tasted of meat and no sauce.

                                                                                                                                                      Oh well. live and learn.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Stir-Fried Pork Slivers with Sweet Fermented Paste (LOP, page 215)

                                                                                                                                                        I was going to be glued to my desk all day, so first thing in the morning I took a quick flip through “Land of Plenty” to see what I might be able to make with ingredients on hand. Found just the thing, stuck a bookmark in the page, pulled some thin-sliced, boneless pork chops out of the freezer, and sat down at my desk and got to work. About 3:30 in the afternoon I was starving, went into the kitchen, opened the book at the bookmark, put the rice on to cook, and started quickly putting together my mise en place. Hadn’t recalled seeing a couple of the ingredients when I’d looked at the recipe early in the morning, but I had them on hand so didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until I’d already taken the photo and started eating that I said to myself, where the hell are the preserved mustard tubers? Did I forget to put them in? Went to check the cookbook and saw that I’d made this recipe (on the right-hand side of the page) when I’d intended to make the Pork Slivers with Preserved Mustard Tuber (on the left). Now, that’s not just a senior moment; that’s about a senior half hour!

                                                                                                                                                        The recipe I made, as opposed to the one I intended to make, calls for slivers of pork marinated for a bit in potato flour, salt, water, and Shaoxing and then stir-fried for just a minute or two. At this point you’re supposed to push the pork to the side of the wok, tip the wok so the oil goes to the opposite side from the pork, and in the middle between the two pour some sweet bean paste thinned with water and stir-fry that mixture for a minute or two. So I’ve got the wok at an angle with one hand and I’m pouring the bean paste mixture with the other hand. But the bean paste mixture is sticking to the bottom of the dish. Where’s my third hand? The hell with it. I set down the wok, scrape out the bean paste mixture, and am now stir-frying it in the oil instead of between the oil and the pork. I mean, really, how much difference can that make? Add a sauce of light soy, sugar, and a bit of chicken stock, stir to blend, and serve sprinkled with scallion slivers.

                                                                                                                                                        Very good, delicately flavored, and not too sweet, but I prefer spicier dishes. It would be wonderful as one of a number of other dishes, but I won’t be repeating it as a stand-alone. I will, however, be trying Pork Slivers with Preserved Mustard Tuber sometime very soon.

                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                          I was just looking at this recipe and I can't figure out what sweet bean paste is. It doesn't seem to be mentioned in the pantry staples part of the book. I'd like to see if I can get it, but I don't even know what to look for and my regular asian grocery store is huge and the employees don't tend to be very helpful.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                            sarah, this is what I interpreted sweet bean paste to be (from Dunlop's website): http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/sichuan-...

                                                                                                                                                            I was able to find the Kim Kum Kee brand at one of the Shuang Hurs (could have been either St. Paul or Minneapolis. I shop at them equally often.) Honestly, this brand is everywhere, at United Noodle, of course, but even at Cooper SuperValu on West 7th. Unfortunately she says (in the link above) that this is not the best brand, but it's what I was able to find...

                                                                                                                                                            http://us.lkk.com/sitecore/content/US...

                                                                                                                                                            I hope that's what sweet bean paste is because that's what I've been using! If you encounter one of the other more authentic brands, please let me know where.

                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                              See, that confuses me, because doesn't she refer to chili bean paste in other recipes? It seems like the sweet bean paste must be something different.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                I did a google search on Sichuan Sweet Bean Paste and came up with this picture
                                                                                                                                                                http://posharpstore.com/en-us/sichuan...

                                                                                                                                                                It's the same chinese as the sweet wheaten paste she mentioned in the Sichuanese book. (I haven't got either of them with me as I'm at work, but I've bought the wheaten one for the Sichuan cookery).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                  Depends on where the bottle came from, this is also the same thing

                                                                                                                                                                  http://posharpstore.com/images/thumbs...

                                                                                                                                                                  This one is in simplified chinese, the other in traditional. HTH.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                    Those that lilham references are of the correct product, 甜面酱 tian-mian-jiang in Mandarin. Dunlop doesn't list it in her LOP pantry staples but it is listed on page 371 of the glossary, where she translates it as "sweet fermented wheat paste". It shows up in a couple of other of her dishes including "salt-cured pork w/ sweet fermented paste" pg. 68.

                                                                                                                                                                    The confusion is that the literal translation of the Chinese would be "Sweet Fermented Wheat Paste", however often the main ingredient in the paste is soy beans, so it is often translated as "Sweet Fermented Bean Paste", they are the same thing more or less (although like say "ketchup" there are lots of variations across brands and regions, relative proportion of wheat to soy is the biggest difference between recipes, hence the confusing name issue).

                                                                                                                                                                    For cooking purposes, "Sweet Fermented Bean Paste" = "Sweet Fermented Wheat Paste"; this is a completely different product from chili bean paste.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, thanks! That's really helpful! I'm thinking that might be hard to find, but at least I know what I'm looking for now!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                        I found mine at United Noodle, but not the brand buttertart mentioned. It is labeled sweet soybean paste in English too. Now, I'll have to see if I can find the one she recommeneded.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                          I love United Noodle, but it's pretty far out of my usual driving range. I've been going to Dragon Star, but am kind of annoyed by them at the moment. No dashi (the reason I didn't participate last month), and the only peanut oil they carry is Planters. I've got a 4 year old and a just turned 2 year old, so just grocery shopping at all can be pretty harrowing :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                            I can't even imagine. Most days I have a hard time keeping track of myself. :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                          any chinese grocery will have at least one brand of tian-mian-jiang, it really is a commonly used ingredient in all kinds of chinese home cooking; most korean focused stores should have it too (but no idea what it is called in korean).

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                      :( Oh oh, maybe I've been using the wrong thing. I'm glad others chimed in so you weren't led astray.

                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                        Can anyone tell me if what I have below is sweet bean paste? The ingredients are soya bean, sugar, and wheat flour but the characters don't look like tian mian jiang. Is this a different product?

                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                            It isn't exactly the same name, but its basically a Cantonese recipe version, and you could use it as a substitute for tian-mian-jiang. Here's a link to the manufacturer's page,
                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.koonchun.com.hk/eng/produc...,
                                                                                                                                                                            they have a pretty good explanation of the product in English.

                                                                                                                                                                            If I remember correctly, the bean sauce in your picture will be a bit more concentrated than most in most tian-mian-jiang's, so you might want to reduce the quantity add to a dish a bit till you get a feel for your taste for the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks -- I'll try looking for the correct product at the 99 Ranch Market.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                          Chilli bean paste and sweet bean paste are two different things. She does say somewhere in the book what brand of sweet bean paste she uses, and I did find it in my local Chinese supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                            Tian mian jiang = sweet flour sauce/paste. It's fermented and the bottle top of mine refers to it having been fermented in the old-fashioned way (on the right). Mine is "Queen" brand, from Taiwan, my heart's home. Available in just about any Chinese market in Manhattan (their chili bean paste is very good too).

                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                              I just checked, and the brand I have is also from Taiwan, and the one she recommends - Mong Lee Shang (but that's probably because we're both from the UK and shopping in the same places!).

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Stir Fried Pig's Liver (LOP, pg. 224)

                                                                                                                                                                      This was a challenging dish, in so many ways. I made it because it was a pantry ready dish - my meat CSA had free pork livers so I thought, why not try it? I like live - love pate and all that. I don't know if I liked this dish though.

                                                                                                                                                                      So, the prep, other than the liver, was fairly easy. Soak cloud mushrooms in hot water (I actually had some!), cut up scallions, ginger, garlic, pickled chiles and/or a red pepper (I used both), and celery sticks and/or baby bok choy (I used both and subbed tatsoi for the baby bok choy).

                                                                                                                                                                      The problem for me, came with the prep of the pork liver. Dunlop says to remove the outer membrane from the liver. This was very difficult on a number of different levels. The membrane was really hard to take off and it was also hard to see where you did take it off. It didn't come off as easily as I thought it would (I thought it would be like skinning a blanched tomato). What made it even harder was the feel of the liver. It was really slippery and super floppy. On top of that, it was leaking blood everywhere. I started to get really skeeved out. Dunlop also gives instructions to slice the pork liver extremely thin. This was also not as easy as I thought because the liver would wiggle around during the slices.

                                                                                                                                                                      By the end of the liver prep, I was done with the whole dish. I have a strong stomach and not that much stuff grosses me out. But this definitely pushed my limits.

                                                                                                                                                                      So, you're supposed to put the liver in a marinade of salt, potato flour, pepper (oops, just realized I forgot this), shaoxing wine, light soy, chicken stock and sesame oil. While this is marinating you first give a quick stir fry of the cloud mushrooms and then you put that in a dish. Heat the pan with oil (she states 10 T but I used about a quarter cup) and quickly add the liver and stir fry for about 15 seconds. Dump all the oil out except for about 2 T, add the garlic, ginger, chiles and scallions and stir fry a bit more. Add the rest of the vegetables (including the mushrooms) and stir for another minute until the liver is cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                      At this point, you're supposed to add the sauce. I was like, what sauce? There is no sauce. This is one of the only poorly written Dunlop recipes that I've seen. There was no indication of a separate sauce and no directions to drain the liver from the marinade (which is what I sort of did but I only shook the marinade off the liver). Regardless, there was only about a T of marinade and I dumped it back in the pot.

                                                                                                                                                                      This was a very strong liver tasting dish. You could really taste the difference between a really thin slice of liver and a thicker slice. It was ok but I won't be repeating it. I did sort of like the thin pieces of liver. But, I really don't know how much the gross prep work effected my taste buds when it came to eating it. C, who doesn't really like liver, said that as far as liver dishes go, it's not bad.

                                                                                                                                                                      Bottom line - the stir fried liver dish is a challenge for all senses.

                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                        Funny story: we were at a big Northeastern Chinese lunch in NYC and the group ordered a tongue and a liver dish (both pork), both prepared the same way. The first one came and everybody remarked on how good the liver was. The second one was the liver! Liver lovers loved it, I have never ever acquired a taste for it (except for fowl livers). Props for attempting this dish, I wouldn't have made it on a bet.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh my gosh...! Weren't you brave to make this. As I recall most of Dunlop's recipes are quite understandable and clearly written. Do you suppose the "sauce" was the marinade? I love calves liver, but that's it. I'm glad the slippery slidey pork liver caused no emergency runs to the hospital.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                            I assume the sauce was the marinade but there really wasn't very much left once I put the liver into the wok.

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think we'll get sick from the slippy liver though. If there were to be any hospital runs, it would only be due to squeamishness and self induced nausea and nothing to do with the quality of liver.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                              I have that problem working with offal. Or gutting partially eviscerated birds. The dish can be delicious, I just don't want to eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                            beetlebug, can you tell me if pork liver is comparable to beef/calf liver?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure. I've only had calf liver in a restaurant and it's been a few years since I've eaten it as a whole dish. I've never cooked it at home. I've only worked with chicken livers at home but don't remember being quite this traumatized.

                                                                                                                                                                              It was very liver tasting though. Nothing subtle about it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                Pork liver is stronger and tougher than calf's liver. We used to have it as kids but I haven't eaten it for years. It was only when we were grown up that my Dad admitted how much he used to hate it when Mum cooked liver for tea! I much prefer calf's/lamb's liver to pork liver.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have to admit, I'm still slightly traumatized with the prep of this dish. shivers.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Steamed Ground Pork with Eggs (RCC pg. 92)

                                                                                                                                                                              Last year, when I was in China, I had a lovely steamed egg dish. It was so simple in it's execution and so subtle in it's taste that I just loved it. The eggs became really silky and light and I was thrilled to see that RCC had a recipe. Of course, it took me a year to get to it, but whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                              So, when I needed another dish to round out dinner (I like to have three chinese dishes with rice), I immediately thought about steamed eggs. When I looked in RCC, there were two versions, one with pork and one without. I decided to try the pork version because the other two dishes were more vegetable based.

                                                                                                                                                                              And, this was nothing like the dish I had in China (btw, the steamed egg version on pg. 149 looks to be it, but I didn't read the descriptions before I made my choice). But, this dish was lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                              So, soak shiitake mushrooms and in a separate bowl, crush a wedge of ginger and soak in water. Meanwhile, place the pork in a bowl. Drain and chop the mushrooms and add 3T of the ginger soaking water, sesame oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Then add chicken stock, mixing as you go. Beware, this gets kind of gross because the meat turns pasty because it is supersaturated with liquid. You get this ooey, gooey mess.

                                                                                                                                                                              Then, you put the paste in a shallow bowl. Break four eggs over the paste and steam for 15 minutes over high heat. When it's finished, the eggs look really neat on top because the whites are spread out and the yolks just sit there. And, the yolks aren't overcooked at all. Everything is just so subtly flavored, quite unlike the other dishes that I've made in RCC. The pork was also pretty delicate and I loved the subtle mushroom flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                              So, a couple of issues:

                                                                                                                                                                              1. underseasoned - I didn't add enough salt in my pork mixture. I had to add salt to my plate. I also should have salted the eggs on top.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. logistics of steaming - This was the biggest pain. since I used a pie plate, I didn't have a pot big enough where the pie plate could fit into it. All my pots are a hair to narrow. So, I decided to use a wide skillet. I put a steamer on the bottom of the skillet and placed the pie plate on top. It was a bit precarious and a near perfect fit. The difficulty came from removing the plate when the dish was finished. It was tight and it was hot. Also, make sure you have enough water. I almost ran out, I had a couple of tablespoons left and that was it. High boiling for 15 minutes uses a lot more water than I thought it would.

                                                                                                                                                                              While I don't have any solutions for my own steaming issues, this dish is going into the rotation. But, I can't wait to try the steamed eggs next.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                If your space allows, and you do a lot of Chinese cooking, suggest you get one of those big thin aluminum 2-tier steamers from a Chinese store - they're cheap and you can steam anything up to a whole duck in them. There are bigger ones than the one in this pic.

                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                  That sounds great BB, will have to try it this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs (LoP page 171)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Shocked to discover no one had reported on this yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I chose it because I had some boneless (not bone-in as specified) pork ribs in the freezer, although thinking of what “sweet-and-sour” means at the corner Chinese take-away made me hesitate. And I’m not deep-fat frying these days. Or eating sugar. But what the hell. Something about the recipe spoke to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Spare ribs, cut into one-inch lengths (how are you supposed to do that? Do you get the butcher to do it?) are simmered in water with ginger and scallions until cooked then deep-fried until browned. Stir-fry more ginger and scallions for a bit before adding the drained ribs, some of the reserved pork broth, dark soy sauce for color, and sugar. That’s simmered until the sauce is thick and syrupy, black vinegar is added and cooked until the sauce is thickened again, then a bit of sesame oil is added and optional toasted sesame seeds (which I didn’t bother with).

                                                                                                                                                                                  This was just outstanding. Not too sweet, not too sour. Although it would be messy as hell, I’d love to serve this, on the bone if I can figure out how to get one-inch pieces of spare rib, as a finger-food hors d’oeurvre. I think people would fall all over themselves for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                  29 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                    Is a cleaver in your future? Those ribs look decadent. I think the ribs are in My future...

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny you should ask. I've actually been doing some research on various kinds of cleavers. I have one, but it's inherited so I don't know much about it. It's okay for most tasks including cutting through thin chicken bones. But cutting through something like a chicken leg, no less a spare rib, would be a real chore. Maybe it's that what I have is meant to be a vegetable cleaver rather than a meat cleaver? Maybe, before I invest in a new cleaver, I should buy a mallet?

                                                                                                                                                                                      How would you go about cutting up spare ribs? Would you be able to do that with your cleaver?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        Well... you're really a cleaver beaver this morning, aren't you.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't have a cleaver, although I've given a passing thought to buying one, but I can barely lift the meat mallet and I'm dead afraid of heavy sharp objects. If I were to make Dunlop's spare ribs I'd flirt with the butcher. Or, most probably use bonless ones. OTOH, I know the market SMT mentioned so I'd buy them already chopped. Good luck with your cleaver quest.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have to get up on a step stool to have any success with the cleaver, and even so, getting through some bones is simply hopeless. Turkey bones are incredibly hard, as are pork bones. I did ask my husband if I could use his band saw for cutting meat, but the look of horror as he asked "and have meat parts on the blade when I am making cello parts?" answered the question quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                            My brother makes guitars. I'm surprised you're still alive to tell that story.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Been doing more Googling on cleavers and see that nearly all of them, no matter how heavy or expensive, specify that they're good for chopping chicken bones. And that led me to believe that, as you say, they're not much good for anything stronger. I'd forgotten, until you mentioned it, what a hard time I had cutting up the turkey carcass after T-giving.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Beginning to think a butcher saw is the true answer to what I want to accomplish. Saw this one at Chef's Depot, at a storable size and fairly reasonable price.

                                                                                                                                                                                            "This is the best meat/bone saw available today. We have used our saw for over 12 years with the same blade. Replacement blades are also available for $6.00 - $10.00 each, with saw purchase, please call us.

                                                                                                                                                                                            16 in. Bone Saw (On Sale $32.95) "

                                                                                                                                                                                            Can't believe I'm seriously considering it. I think I need professional help.

                                                                                                                                                                                            ETA: You have to click in the photo to see it. Proportions were all wrong for posting.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, I am drooling! At the Asian market this weekend, I spotted some packaged ribs that we cut exactly as you describe. Now I can justify buying them! Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah-ha! Maybe when I go to Chinatown to look for a new cleaver I'll look for already cut up ribs instead. Thanks for the heads-up that they're even available.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                            They definitely sell them in Manhattan CT in strips cut across the slab, you just need to cut in between the bones. No butcher's saw necessary, unless you have other dismembering projects in mind. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                              Great to know. Another excuse to get down there later this week. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                I go to the one on Mulberry across from the big fruit stand I like - west side of the street, a few doors down from Canal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'll have to check that one out. My go-to Chinatown butcher is on the south side of Bayard between Mott and Elizabeth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've been by there but haven't been in. Next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some people get their kicks from drugs and liquor and rock and roll. Me? I like shopping in Chinese supermarkets. Today I went to my local to get some shrimp and bean sprouts and came out with a jar of the Pixian chilli bean paste which Dunlop mentions somewhere, and the elusive Chinese pickled chillies (la jiang), which weren't available when she wrote Sichuan Cookery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, me too. I think because so much of it is still new and fascinating. I always bring home way too much stuff. Last week it was this beautiful crock of Tianjin Preserved Vegetable--forgetting that I already had a crock of Tianjin Preserved Vegetable on the shelf. EYB, here I come.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is that true that pickled chiles weren't available when Dunlop was first COTM? I've had some in my fridge for a long time, but perhaps not that long. Also, not sure what the la jiang ones are. Mine are the tiny green mountain chiles, ye shan jiao.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                      They were available in NYC (in small jars with a cute little very ticked-off looking hot red pepper blowing off steam on the label) but the jars were only labeled in Chinese. These are still available and come in green, yellow, and mixed - chili only and with black bean - this last is more Hunanese. Very good they are too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't recall seeing the pickled chiles available in that brand, but I do have a jar of salted chopeed chiles with that cute little pepper on the front. The label says it's chile paste, but there's nothing in it but chiles and salt. It's what I've been using when I run out of my own salted chiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The other jar is the pickled chiles I have. No English on the label except what you see here and on the ingredients label which says it contains baby chiles, water, salt, and a salt preservative. These have seemed fine on the rare occasion I've used them, but then, I have nothing to compare them to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then they're both salted as opposed to vinegar-pickled chilis (the Chinese on the other jar just says small chilis and refers to salting in the characters on the left - where did you get this? I've never seen it before). Greedygirl, are the ones you have vinegar-pickled? The only ones I've seen in vinegar here are from Thailand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, they're preserved in a mixture of salt, water and wine, which is what Dunlop says aren't available in the pantry section of her book. They're pickled chillies as opposed to the salted chillies which I make myself. The label says "tantan xiang", I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I no longer recall where I bought that jar of what I thought were pickled chiles but I guess aren't. Since Dunlop was first COTM, I've shopped in Chinatown, Flushing, and central New Jersey. And in multiple stores at each location. Could have been anywhere. Now, I guess, I'll have to keep my eye out for chiles packed in vinegar. Any idea what to do with the whole, as opposed to the chopped, salted chiles?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think they are pickled in vinegar - it's salt, wine and spices. The vinegar pickled ones are Thai, as buttertart (and Fuchsia) says, and viciously hot. I have some of those as well. I'm sure you can use yours as a substitute - I think FD recommends either Turkish chili paste or sambal oelek in the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm obviously going to have to go back and reread Dunlop's info on ingredients. I read it thoroughly in Land of Plenty, even taking extensive notes, when it was first COTM, but seem to have forgotten a lot of it. I know I was using sambal oelek as a substitute for pickled chiles before I started making my own salted chiles. But now I see that her description of pickled chiles in LoP is different from her description of pickled chiles in the much newer-to-me RCC. Time to hit the books again. And to go back and explore both more thoroughly as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The brand with the red characters is from Hunan (TanTanXiang Brand of Chang Sha, they make a several varieties of Hunan condiments, and are becoming increasingly available in US Chinese markets, as well s out of region markets in China. IMHO it is THE brand to use for anything from RCC, not so much for Land of Plenty).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The jar with the black characters on the green and yellow background is Liu Bi Ju Brand, roughly the "Heinz" of Beijing, they are THE condiment of the Beijing area and the one to use for things to taste like Beijiing food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              For the pickled peppers of Sichuan those two will work, but at lest at my local (Boston) Kam Man & other C-town groceries there are also a couple of brands of pickles from made in Sichuan available, unfortunately they are not labelled in English.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, bear in mind that half of my fridge is taken up with various Asian pickles and condiments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's what she says in the British edition, which I assume was published before the American one. I haven't seen them before but I haven't been looking since I first got into Sichuan cooking a couple of years ago. They had the green ones as well. I think they may be the same brand that buttertart mentions below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Boneless spare ribs... How is that possible?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good question. I have no idea. Never even stopped to think about it. Commonly available here. Not there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think my butcher told me once that belly pork slices are sometimes called spare ribs - maybe that's it. Because you sure as hell couldn't bone out what I call spare ribs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                    i have a heavy wusthof stainless cleaver which i use all the time to cut spareribs, turkey legs, whole crabs (why i bought the thing in the first place--for a crab soup twenty years ago!), beef bones etc, i use a thick plastic cutting board on top of a wooden cutting board with a towel underneath to help with the crash of the whack of the cleaver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    i raise the cleaver about 10-12 inches above the items to chop (i have done these spareribs described above countless times) and then a good solid whack through the meat ans bones--quite clean and neat although my aim has improved over time...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    good luck--no mallet required...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: themadbaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Since my original post nearly two years, I bought a heavy-duty Chinese cleaver and am only upset I waited so long. I've gotten pretty good at chopping up a chicken Asian style, but have yet to try spareribs. Must do that soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. God I cannot wait until the new book comes out!!! It was supposed to be this month :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Only two months to go!! I'm pretty excited, as well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Really? Thought it was this summer. Great!
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ETA: 7 June 2012 per Amazon UK. Roll on the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, blast!! I guess Amazon Canada hasn't updated their information yet. That's unfortunate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. What are the cookbooks everyone is using?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        REVOLUTIONARY CHINESE COOKBOOK and LAND OF PLENTY, both by Fuschia Dunlop and both great, great books. You can find other threads from these two books here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/494660

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Amen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            (And oops about the spelling of her first name.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Stir-Fried Pork w/ Silver Fish, RCC pg 88

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This sort of recipe is just what I love most about Fuchsia, the kind of dish that almost no-one else publishes in English, but that is so typical of small restaurant and home cooking. Unfortunately though, we didn't love this one, it was OK, but just OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pork is cut into slivers and marinated, then lightly deep fried and removed from the pan before fully cooking. most of the oil is poured off, and then the wok is returned to the heat, finely minced ginger (grated mine--wish I had added double what the recipe calls for) is added to the pan, then the re-hydrated silver fish, then a little vinegar, then the pork goes back in, and then shredded scallion, serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        the dried fish didn't give this as deep of an umami flavor as I was expecting, but that could be a reflection of the quality of the fish, don't even remember where I got them, rather than the recipe itself. All in all it was OK, but very atypically for a Dunlop dish I wouldn't repeat it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Sweet-and-Sour Pork (LOP, page 210)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was searching EYB for something to make with 14 ounces of pork loin that had overstayed it’s welcome in the freezer and saw that someone had given this recipe four stars. So although it’s not the type of dish I’d usually make for myself, I was eager to try it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as enthusiastic as the EYB contributor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pork strips are marinated in salt and Shaoxing wine for half an hour then dipped into an egg and potato flour batter. A sauce is made with salt, sugar, Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, and potato flour. The pork strips are deep fried twice, once at a lower and then at a higher temp. Chopped garlic and ginger are sautéed briefly in a clean wok, the sauce ingredients are added along with some chicken stock and cooked until thickened. Just before serving scallion slices and sesame oil are added to the sauce and the sauce is poured over the fried pork strips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don’t know why, since I was carefully monitoring the oil temp and keeping the drained pork strips on a rack in a warm oven while completing the sauce, but the pork didn’t remain as crispy as I expected or as I would have liked. The sauce was good, I just wasn’t wowed by it. I must admit, though, hanging my head and ducking brickbats, that as a kid sweet-and-sour crispy fried whatever was one of my favorite Chinese dishes and maybe I was just expecting flavors more akin to that viscous orange gloop of yore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Farmhouse Stir Fried Pork with Green Peppers (RCC)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second time I've made this - this time without pork belly and it was still delicious. Used Cubanelles and pork tenderloin.