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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