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DUNLOP March Cookbooks of Month: Poultry & Eggs

oakjoan Feb 29, 2008 10:40 PM

Land of Plenty only has "Poultry", "Rev. Chinese" has "Poultry and Eggs" - both go here.

  1. The Dairy Queen Mar 1, 2008 07:35 AM

    Woo hoo! My first ever COTM attempt. We tried "Steamed Eggs" from page 149 of "Revolutionary Chinese." Dunlop describes this as an evening, "comfort food" kind of dish, best eaten with plain steamed rice and stir-fried green vegetables and particularly recommended for invalids and infants. Eggs, at our house however, are a breakfast meal, so, this was our breakfast this morning, served with a side of wild rice and sliced papaya. Because I'm following Weight Watchers Core Plan, I made a couple of small modifications (switching from white rice to wild rice was one), which I think, worked out fine. I'm only allowed 2 tsp of oil a day, so, I cut back on the oil in this dish to make room for oil later in the day.

    Modifications:

    ~ Used regular chicken stock (since I haven't had time yet to make a batch of the "everyday" stock)
    ~ Used 1/2 tsp (instead of 1 tsp) of Canola oil
    ~ Used 1/2 tsp (instead of 1 tsp) of sesame oil

    Overall, we liked it. The custard was smooth and delicate (and, yes, perfect for someone who can't chew--maybe after having wisdom teeth pulled or something) and very mild.

    I turned this into 2 servings, but next time, I'd probably use the smaller ramekins and break it into 8 servings as just a little side instead of a main since it really is very gentle.

    A pretty easy first dish, as some of the recipes in this dish go. It probably took me a half hour, start to finish, most of it passive time and clean-up was easy.

    Photos attached (though, not great ones...)

    EDIT: for others of you following the core plan, technically, sesame oil is not a "healthy fat" and in accordance with the WW "Good Health Guidelines" you're supposed to count it, but, my attitiude from a "counting" perspective is oil is oil and I count sesame oil and peanut oil and chili oil the same way I count canola or olive oils--as long as I'm within my 2 tsp a day, I don't "count" it. The flavor difference is huge and my opinion is that they are calorically the same or same'ish and, therefore, shouldn't sabotage my weight loss. I know WW wants to encourage people to use healthy fats and, in general, I think that's great. You may choose to count them differently than I do, but this is just an FYI because I don't want to inadvertantly sabotage anyone's weight loss efforts with my own interpretation of the program. So, I count this meal as 100% core. If you are a core plan purist, you may wish leave out the sesame oil or look up the points for it and count it.

    ~TDQ

     
     
    1 Reply
    1. re: The Dairy Queen
      beetlebug Nov 24, 2010 03:09 AM

      Steamed Eggs (RCC, pg.149)

      Linking my report on the steamed eggs here for continuity.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4946...

    2. The Dairy Queen Mar 2, 2008 10:25 AM

      Yolkless Eggs with Shiitake Mushrooms from Page 150-151 of RC (half recipe)

      So, I think I've topped even my Elvis Cake disaster, though, I'm not really sure you can call it "topping" yourself when you reach a new low... I've "lowed" myself!

      Against my better judgment (being the rather inexperienced and impatient cook I am) I tried the Yolkless Eggs with Shiitake Mushrooms from Page 150-151 of RC. I thought the "yolkless" eggs would be fun to serve at Easter in a "nest" of whole wheat noodles, so, today was going to be my trial run. Of course, I wanted to take it a step further and COLOR the yolkless eggs Easter colors, because I guess this recipe that Dunlop describes as "so challenging that it was actually an examination dish for the highest grade of Hunanese chef" just wasn't complicated enough for me.

      So, I added a small sliver of a blue food coloring tablet to the chicken stock, expecting to dye my "yolkless" eggs to look like robin's eggs.

      It was truly a disaster. The eggs bubbled up and flowed over, almost completely emptying their shells and sometimes even breaking the shells. It looked like robin's egg blue lava and had the texture of a sponge. (at least I achieved the color I was striving for...)

      My sweetie was trying to explain the fundamentals of fluid dynamics to me as I was mopping up my mess saying there were only three factors causing the pressure inside the eggshell to be greater than the pressure outside the eggshell forcing the contents of the inside out...well, only three factors that I had control over and, therefore, I need to adjust next time: temperature, volume, and, maybe the size of the hole I made in the top of the egg shell. We concluded that it probably wasn't the size of the hole. Maybe I tried to steam the eggs at too high a temperature, but, mostly likely, we thought, I overfilled the eggs. And here's how the overfilling came about.

      In one case, as I was draining the white from the eggshell, the jagged "hole" in the top of the eggshell pierced the yolk before I was done draining the white. I feared I lost a little egg white in the case of that egg (though, in hindsight, probably not that much) and, I thought that fear was validated when I went to refill the eggs with the egg white+chicken stock mixture and only had enough for 3 1/2 eggs (not four--remember, I cut the recipe in half from Dunlop's eight).

      So, I actually went ahead and broke open a fifth egg, mixed in more chicken stock and used this mixture to top off my fourth eggshell. I think this was a serious mistake. I don't think the eggshells are supposed to be 100% full. I think they need space in the top for expansion. What I should have done, I think, was fill all four eggs mostly full using only the whites from those four eggs (plus the chicken stock.)

      Some pointers.

      She has you empty the egg whites into a bowl. Then, later, she has you measure the egg whites and add the chicken stock to the whites. Then, after straining the whites, she has you pour them through a funnel into the egg shells. I think it would have been much easier to break the eggs into a bowl, then strain them into a measuring cup with a pointy spout, add the stock to that, then pour the mixture directly into the eggshells through the hole in the top of the shells. Using the funnel (which I bought at Sur La Table for this specific recipe) just resulted in a big mess. Plus, the more times you pour the mixture from container to container, the more air you introducing into the mixture, which is problematic.

      I'm definitely going to try this again--before Easter-- although, I will try without the dye on the off chance the dye caused the robin's egg blue lava flow.

      Photos attached.

      Photo #1--all the stuff--you'll notice I'm using wild rice (instead of white rice) for my core plan diet reasons and pak choy instead of baby bok choy, because, well, it's March in Minnesota and this is what I could get.

      Photo #2--the empty eggshells. Note the jagged holes. :(. Sorry for the fuzzy photo.

      Photo #3--the refilled-eggs with their paper caps, ready to be steamed.

      Photo #4--the robin's egg blue, spongy mess.

      ~TDQ

       
       
       
       
      15 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen
        The Dairy Queen Mar 2, 2008 10:28 AM

        More photos

        Photo #1 Blue egg sponges on a bed of wild rice and surrounded by stir-fried pak choy.

        Photo #2 The works covered with shiitake mushrooms.

        I guess I'm not quite ready for my examination for the highest grade of Hunanese chef, eh?

        ~TDQ

         
         
        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          DanaB Mar 2, 2008 10:42 AM

          Thanks for sharing your efforts! That picture of the eggs with the blue "sponge" oozing out is a doozy :-)

          What did it taste like?

          1. re: DanaB
            The Dairy Queen Mar 2, 2008 10:59 AM

            Dana, it tasted pretty awful. Mostly, it was the spongy texture that was a problem and to be honest, there just wasn't that much egg left as most of it bubbled over and into the steamer tray etc. The pak choy was a little bitter, but the shiitake mushrooms and rice were good!

            ~TDQ

        2. re: The Dairy Queen
          Gio Mar 5, 2008 04:58 PM

          I absolutely love all the effort you are giving to this project and I have nothing but admiration for your persistence in keeping to your diet yet cooking these unusual recipes. Your reports are eagerly awaited by me, and all your insights and suggestions are gratefully acknowledged. Had to LOL at the color of the erupted eggs, however. Too bad the taste was not acceptable... would have made a super Easter presentation.

          1. re: Gio
            The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2008 02:16 AM

            Gio, I'm going to try that yolkless eggs recipes one more time before Easter to see if I can't pull it off, partly because I love a challenge, partly because I want to see if I can learn from some key mistakes I made, and also because I still think it will be fun to serve! Thank you (and others) for all of your support and encouragement!

            ~TDQ

          2. re: The Dairy Queen
            pitu Mar 6, 2008 03:49 AM

            wow - very illuminating!
            fluid dynamics, huh . . . THX TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              The Dairy Queen Mar 15, 2008 09:35 AM

              So, I tried this again (a half recipe again)--one more attempt to see if I'm going to try to do this for Easter. The good news is, it went better than before. The bad news is, I still don't think I'm ready to take the test for Hunanese chef of the highest order. It was a fun recipe to try, but I don't think my family will love it, even if I perfected it, so, I think this is the end of the line for me with this recipe.

              Here's the takeaway. Last time, I thought the problem was that I'd overfilled the eggs (by supplementing the whites from the four eggs I was using with the white from a fifth egg and the equivalent amount of stock). This time, I used only the whites from the four eggs I was using, plus the equivalent amount of stock. Exactly as per the recipe. This resulted in the eggs being about 60% full--I was hoping that the volume would somehow expand to fill the egg 100% full. Instead of "sealing" the eggs with a wet piece of paper as per Dunlop's instructions, I sealed them with a wet piece of paper towel. I think this worked much better. I'm going to spoil the surprise ending and say that the end result is that the final eggs turned out to be about 60% of an egg--there was little, if any, expansion of the egg white/stock mixture. Moral of the story--you need to fill the egg almost completely full, I think, even if that means supplementing with the white from a "spare" egg, plus the equivalent amount of stock of course.

              This time only two of the four eggs bubbled over. I noticed it happening right away. I forgot to mention that I used a stainless steel steamer (Dunlop calls for a bamboo steamer)--somewhere, I can't remember where, not even if it was this recipe--Dunlop says that the stainless steel steamers are much more air-tight than the bamboo ones and that you should crack the lid on your stainless steel steamer a tiny bit to let more air escape. Sadly, I hadn't done that straightaway--if I had, I think all would have been fine. But, I cracked the lid mid-way, and that did prevent any further boil-over.

              When I cooled down the eggs and cracked and peeled them, the texture of the egg was not firm. It was very custard-like, which is exactly how Dunlop describes it. It is extremely delicate and you must take an incredible amount of care. In fact, at some point, you can almost very gently "pour" the egg out of the shell. But you must handle them very carefully so they don't tear and break apart.

              Even the most perfect of my eggs didn't look appealing. They were pocked-marked and I think it would take an incredible amount of experimentation on my part to produce eggs where one's first impression is, "There must have been something seriously wrong with the chicken that laid that egg." Seriously, it just wasn't appetizing at all.

              I think this mixture would have stood up fine to a little food dye, though I didn't try it this time around and, I supposed the dye might add just enough distraction from the pock-markedness of the egg.

              How did it taste? Well, exactly like the stock I used. Second moral of the story--use only your very finest stock in this dish. The texture was very smooth and pudding-like--I liked the texture.

              That's it. Photos attached. The first is of the eggs in the steamer with their paper-towel caps; the second of the final product. The two eggs at the top of the frame are the ones that boiled over; the two on the bottom are the ones that were basically intact.

              I realize I don't have any dishes that aren't white or egg-shell colored. Sorry about that.

              Overall, this was a fun experiment and I'm glad I tried it.

              ~TDQ

               
               
              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                oakjoan Mar 15, 2008 10:11 PM

                I loved reading about all the steps in both your experiments with this dish. Great to see the photos....especially the non-blue ones ;+)

                This sounds as if it's just too complicated and difficult for me to attempt, but I am very glad you did.

              2. re: The Dairy Queen
                buttertart Sep 16, 2010 07:27 AM

                Holy cow, I hadn't remembered you tried this...it's something only a top top level chef would notmally go near. You are a brave one!

                1. re: buttertart
                  The Dairy Queen Sep 16, 2010 07:32 AM

                  Brave is one way to put it...

                  I thought it sounded so neat. How hard could it be? Surely she was exaggerating. And why not add blue food color to a nearly-impossible-to-cook dish, just to add another level of confusion/excitement/disaster...

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    buttertart Sep 16, 2010 07:35 AM

                    Hats off to TDQ! Did you read "The Last Chinese Chef" by Nicole Mones? A view into what the real deal highest level Chinese culinary art is...

                    1. re: buttertart
                      The Dairy Queen Sep 16, 2010 07:38 AM

                      No, but it sounds fascinating. I shall put that on my list. Thank you!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        buttertart Sep 16, 2010 07:42 AM

                        You're welcome! It's an interesting novel in its own right, not just the cookin' part!

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                          Caitlin McGrath Sep 22, 2010 04:39 PM

                          I really enjoyed The Last Chinese Chef, too. As a novel, it's light and enjoyable, if a bit predictable, and the discussion of the theory and symbolism of the haute and historical banquet courses is fascinating

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                            buttertart Sep 22, 2010 04:45 PM

                            That crab tofu...would I love to try that.

                2. DanaB Mar 4, 2008 01:58 PM

                  Has anyone tried either of the General Tso's Chicken recipes that are in Revolutionary Chinese? I seem to recall that there was an article about the recipes when the book was published, but can't find it. I am thinking of making one of the recipes for a dinner party later this month, but wasn't sure which one to go for.

                  Thanks!

                  30 Replies
                  1. re: DanaB
                    oakjoan Mar 4, 2008 06:31 PM

                    Dana:

                    Here's a link to the General Tso's Chicken recipe in the NYT. It's in a very interesting article written by.... you guessed it! ... Fuchsia Dunlop. It goes into the history of the dish and its origins. And it has a recipe. Prob. the same as in her book.

                    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/mag...

                    If the link doesn't work, you can search their website for "style" (along the top it's one of the categories) and then, when you get to the Style page, type in Fuchsia Dunlop or General Tso's Chicken and it'll bring up the article.

                    1. re: oakjoan
                      The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2008 06:37 PM

                      I loved the General Tso's Chicken story in RC. I enjoy most of the background stories, actually. When I'm off this diet, I'm definitely going to try the General Tso's Chicken, though, I hope Dana tries it for us in the meantime!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        z
                        zataar Mar 5, 2008 08:11 AM

                        We tried the Gong Bao Chicken, page 237, Land of Plenty. It was very, very good. We used dried chiles that we purchased at United Noodle several years ago. They look exactly like dried Sichaun chiles, but the package said only, Grown and packaged in China. It was one of the hottest, spiciest dishes I've ever made! We loved it.

                        I followed the recipe exactly, using cornstarch rather than potato starch. The finished dish had the wonderful numbing effect we were looking for.

                        1. re: zataar
                          JoanN Mar 6, 2008 01:25 PM

                          Just made the Gong Bao Chicken. Oh, man! is that ever good. I used arbol chiles and sherry, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It was hot, but not too. And I wasn't even anal about making sure I got rid of all the chile seeds--most, but not all.

                          This is one terrific, quick, easy-to-make dish. There's only one problem with it. Kung Pao [Gong Bao] chicken was always my favorite Chinese takeout dish. No more. This is just world's apart from any Kung Pao chicken I've ever had before. Bye-bye takeout; hello LOP!

                           
                          1. re: JoanN
                            The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2008 01:36 PM

                            Oh, that looks lovely! Kung Pao chicken is one of my favorite take-out dishes, too, but I guess I'll have to be a LOP convert, too, esp. if it's quick and easy! Thanks for sharing!

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              w
                              wew Mar 10, 2008 03:17 PM

                              great dish. I used the Bruce Cost method and fast deep fried the peanuts.

                              1. re: wew
                                JoanN Mar 10, 2008 04:34 PM

                                Please tell us more. Do you deep fry already roasted peanuts? For how long? Any other Bruce Cost hints and tips?

                                1. re: JoanN
                                  pitu Mar 15, 2008 07:48 PM

                                  re: tip
                                  That Bruce Cost book was remaindered at The Strand, as a $5 paperback.

                                  1. re: pitu
                                    JoanN Mar 16, 2008 01:26 AM

                                    I was just thinking perhaps it was time for a trip to The Strand. Thanks for heads up.

                                    1. re: JoanN
                                      oakjoan Mar 19, 2008 12:26 PM

                                      Waaaah! Waaaaah! No fair you guys get to go to The Strand! I once bought about 15 used cookbooks there and had them shipped back to Oakland at great expense. I still have ALL of them and several are among my all-time faves. Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni, Pleasures of the Good Earth by Edward Giobbi, Memories of Gascony by Pierre Koffman, and At Home With The Roux Brothers, but.....the Roux Bros!

                                      When I was there last year, I managed (with a forceful nudge from my husband) to buy NONE!

                                      I am sooooo jealous. Also jealous of that cookbook store on the Upper Upper East Side. Can't remember the name. In any case, this is enough of the off-topic posting.

                                      1. re: oakjoan
                                        MMRuth Mar 19, 2008 12:27 PM

                                        Kitchen Arts & Letters - about a five minute walk from my apartment ;-).

                                        1. re: oakjoan
                                          JoanN Mar 19, 2008 12:45 PM

                                          No need to be too envious. They didn't have any of the Cost books left, and they didn't have either of the Dunlop's either. Yesterday may have been the first time in my life I walked out empty handed. Waaaah! Waaaah!

                                          1. re: JoanN
                                            pitu Mar 19, 2008 02:10 PM

                                            wow! bad luck!
                                            Last time I was there, they had Cost and at least one of the Dunlop books in a stack on the first cookbook table.
                                            oakjoan, I know it's not the same, but the strand has a website now...strandbooks.com

                                            1. re: pitu
                                              oakjoan Mar 20, 2008 02:31 PM

                                              Thanks, pitu, but it'll never replace walking down Broadway...or actually up Broadway from our friend's apt. It is always wonderful, even last April when we had to buy knit caps about 5 steps from his door because of the freezing winds. Hmph! April in Paris may be lovely, but April in Manhattan can certainly be colllllld and cloudy and windy.

                                      2. re: pitu
                                        The Dairy Queen Mar 16, 2008 04:29 AM

                                        Hey, good to know that book has been remaindered--I have a bookstore in my neighborhood that usually gets a lot of remaindered books. If we get a nice sunny day today like we did yesterday, I think I'll walk down there and have a peek!

                                        ~TDQ

                                2. re: JoanN
                                  greedygirl Apr 17, 2008 02:25 AM

                                  Made the Gong Bao chicken last night and loved it. The OH claimed it was too spicy, but I found out at the end of the meal that was because he'd eaten the chillies rather than leaving them behind! Doh.... The only modification I made was to cut the amount of oil slightly, and use less peanuts. I used dried Thai chillies, but the slightly bigger ones, not the tiny super-hot ones.

                                  Served with steamed rice, and kale in oyster sauce (I'm SO sick
                                  of kale now it's nearly Spring!).

                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                    buttertart Mar 21, 2012 05:44 PM

                                    The evidence, first en wok and second en celadonish bowl from SF Chinatown eons ago...
                                    Roll on Fuchsia's new book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     
                                     
                                  2. re: JoanN
                                    buttertart Mar 21, 2012 05:39 PM

                                    I made this for the first time last night and man oh man is it good. Cut back on the sugar by 1 tsp and goosed the vinegar by 1 tsp, and used truly terrible Irish whiskey the better half bought in a fit of parsimoniousness (it's now my cookin' whiskey) instead of Shaoxing, but otherwise followed the recipe slavishly. Used my superduper wonderful Scanpan wok and was amazed to see the sauce at the end coalesce around and coat the pieces of chicken immediately. I think the extra heat even caramelized the sugar a bit. (I can cook over very high heat - the quick boil setting on my stove - in this and other Scanpans without setting off the smoke alarms. My wok which has been patinating since 1982 wreaks havoc with them, I'm sure because of the carbon coating volatilizing.)

                                  3. re: zataar
                                    BigSal Jan 15, 2012 01:53 PM

                                    Gong Bao Chicken, page 237, Land of Plenty

                                    I decided to make this recipe after reading JOAN's review of the Mighty Spice version of Gung Bao chicken indicating that Dunlop's version was better. I used 1 T of oil and 1/3 c of the peanuts, but followed the recipe otherwise. This made for a quick and delicious lunch. Both of us were pleased with this one.

                                    1. re: zataar
                                      Blythe spirit Jul 4, 2012 08:40 PM

                                      Gong Bao chicken, LOP, p.237
                                      Finally found all the necessary ingredients and made this for dinner tonight. Thanks to the nice Chowhounds on the other Dunlop thread - I did indeed locate the elusive 'Chianking vinegar'. And very inexpensively - thanks JoanN :-)
                                      There were a few minor modifications. My chiles were small and very hot - so I only
                                      used 4 and the dish was still very spicy. Cashews are my favorite, so used those instead of peanuts. I made a roasted Sichuan pepper and salt mixture from China Moon cookbook and used that in lieu of using the full amount of Sichuan peppercorns called for - simply a matter of my not liking to bite into whole peppercorn husks. The resulting dish was simply delicious and the flavor nuances produced by the sweet/sour/ spicy/ salty components were what made this dish stand apart. I'd like to add more vegetables next time I try this. A definite 'keeper'.

                                      1. re: zataar
                                        Gio Jan 10, 2013 06:06 AM

                                        Gong Bao Chicken (Kung Pao Chicken), Pg. 237, Land of Plenty, US Edition

                                        This is actually the second time I made this dish and I but I didn't report it then... It's a fine dish and we enjoyed every bit of it.

                                        Last night I used: 2 smallish chicken breasts, 10 arbol chilies with 3 of them opened so we'd get some seeds into the dish and left the others whole, unsalted roasted peanuts which I did not deep fry, Chianking vinegar, I ground the Sichuan peppercorns, and potato starch. Quick, easy, satisfying, delicious. I think I'll just stick with LOP for the time being. I'm loving this revisit...

                                        1. re: Gio
                                          Gio Nov 23, 2013 08:33 AM

                                          Gong Bao Chicken (Kung Pao Chicken), Pg. 237, Variation Pg. 239, Land of Plenty

                                          We made this last night for the third time and I was reminded that we ought to cook this recipe more often. This time we used cubes of a 1 2/3 pound pork loin roast. Followed the recipe exactly omitting the nuts. Verdict: Perfect.

                                          Spicy, succulent, juicy, tender morsels of meat with that unmistakable Sichuan umami. A mix of wok-wilted spinach and Bibb lettuce, and steamed jasmine rice were the additional dishes. Man, was that good!

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            buttertart Nov 29, 2013 08:06 AM

                                            Doing it with pork is a great idea.

                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        i
                                        IanG Mar 9, 2008 08:02 PM

                                        I just found this thread last night! I have been cooking from Dunlop's books for ages now, and love them. I made the Taiwanese version of General Tso's chicken tonight and it came out well. I used 2.6 lbs of chicken breasts (not thigh); half black vinegar, half white; chicken stock instead of water; and added chopped sweet red peppers (fried in advance) to pad it out while cutting the calorie density.

                                        As I live alone, I always have leftovers, so rather than returning all the chicken to the wok at the end, I mixed enough sauce with the chicken I planned to eat tonight, keeping the rest of the chicken separate from the sauce. I think the chicken soaks up too much of the sauce if you mix them together and then let them sit for a day in the fridge.

                                        Incidentally, the sauce tasted spicy-hot, a bit unbalanced, so I ended up adding a little sugar to it to balance it, so maybe it was not a pure Taiwanese version.

                                        As an interesting aside (well, interesting to me!) - the ingredient list for General Tso is extremely close to that for Kung Pao. I was quite surprised when someone at the rec.food.asia newsgroup first pointed this out to me.

                                        Cook on, everybody - this is a great thread!

                                        Cheers,

                                        Ian

                                        1. re: IanG
                                          The Dairy Queen Mar 10, 2008 04:08 AM

                                          Interesting tips, Ian, thank you. I'm glad you found us--welcome!

                                          ~TDQ

                                      3. re: oakjoan
                                        DanaB Mar 5, 2008 11:05 AM

                                        Yes, that was the article. Thanks for the link! I'm still torn as to whether I want to make the version that is "hot and sour" or the "sweeter" version that makes it closer to the Americanized one (see pages 120-122 in Revolutionary Chinese). If I have time, maybe I'll do a comparison of the two dishes!

                                        1. re: DanaB
                                          oakjoan Mar 5, 2008 04:16 PM

                                          Great! I downloaded the recipe when she first wrote the article and your post reminded me I'd never made it. So we'll compare results.

                                          1. re: DanaB
                                            w
                                            wew Mar 5, 2008 04:33 PM

                                            I had a lack of success with the hot and sour version. Hope others get better results

                                            1. re: DanaB
                                              Caitlin McGrath Mar 5, 2008 07:45 PM

                                              Here's a thread with reports from people who made the Gen. Tso's chicken after the recipe was published in the NY Times last year; generally rave reviews all around (for the non-sweet version in the article): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369812

                                          2. re: DanaB
                                            k
                                            Kontxesi Feb 19, 2013 05:16 AM

                                            I made the Taiwan-style General Tso's a few days ago. This might be a duh to all of you, but I rarely work with skin-on chicken unless I'm frying whole pieces.... The skin didn't want to stay on the meat once I was cutting it. I ended up with pieces of fried meat and pieces of fried skin. It wasn't entirely unpleasant, though. ;) I had to shoo my fiance out of the kitchen to keep him from popping the chicken in his mouth as it came out of the oil. The breading definitely had a nice flavour.

                                            When the sauce went into the wok, it smelled very odd and I got pretty nervous. It ended up tasting much better than it smelled, but I wasn't over the moon about it. Not a bad meal at all, but I don't think it was worth the oil burns on my fingers. (I'm a terrible fryer.)

                                            I will try the American version soon and report.

                                          3. The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2008 03:02 AM

                                            Chicken with Chiles, pp 240-241 LOP

                                            Oh my, so many lessons learned.
                                            1. Looks like a simple dish when you scan the ingredients, but, it's not quick. It took me about an hour an a half --all of it active time--and I had help cutting and seeding the chiles. (But, since I had the knife, cutting board, chicken and my "box o' ingredients" out, I also went ahead and cut up the chicken and started the marinade for the dish I'm making tonight--but that only took a couple of minutes.) The time consuming part is step 2. It's just one sentence "Wearing rubber gloves, snip the chiles in half with a pair of scissors and remove and discard as many seeds as possible," but it's a doozy. The first pair of rubber gloves were just too big for me, and I really struggled. Kept cutting the gloves and getting bits of rubber gloves in my chiles. I switched to a smaller, more form-fitting pair of surgical gloves and things went a little faster. So, remember to have your rubber gloves and scissors handy.

                                            But, do you realize how much two ounces of dried chiles is? It's one entire package! Look at photo #1 (these are all of my Dunlop ingredients, i.,e. my "box o' ingredients", not all needed for this dish) and you'll see the pack of chiles I used. It's not the bright red pack of chiles on the left--those are my fresh ones, but the ones to the right of those, in the pack that says "Jack Hua Co Ltd." in small print at the bottom (right behind the earthenware pot of pickled vegetables...)

                                            2. Cutting back the oil. She doesn't say how much to use, just "peanut oil for deep-frying"--you know me, I thought I could get away with skimping (I used 3 generous tsp plus all the non-stick spray the pan would hold) so I could make the dish fit my diet, but, look, you just can't or you'll scald everything. "deep frying" should have been my clue, but, I'm clueless. What I ended up doing is, when I thought things were getting too hot and were about to burn the chiles, I transferred everything to a bowl, heated up another (nonstick) pan, and finished it in the new pan. Not super efficient, but it saved the dish from being completely ruined. If I were to try this again, I'd use more oil, though, I'm not sure how much more...I'd probably use 3 TBSP, but in a similar'ish recipe on pg 129 if RC, she calls for 1 1/4 cups peanut oil "for deep frying," so my guess is that's about how much Dunlop would want you to use in this recipe, too.

                                            3. Heat. She says "it's not particularly hot. The chiles that make the dish look so dramatic are used to give fragrance and a gentle spiciness to the cooking oil AND ARE NOT GENERALLY EATEN. "...you're supposed to pick out and eat only the chicken. Well, that's what I did in the end, but I didn't realize it at first and so I thought this dish was intolerably hot (my husband said, "Hotter than I'd like, but not intolerably so"...I beg to differ, anyway...) but you're not supposed to eat the chiles. Normally I don't eat them when I dine out, but I thought maybe it was okay to in this instance, because they'd been de-seeded. No, no, no!

                                            The chicken, if you eat only it as instructed, is quite tasty.

                                            I had planned to make a vegetable dish, too, but ran out of time and just served it with a side of steamed vegetables. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but I served the chicken over whole wheat penne...not traditional, I'm sure, but it's what we had that we needed to use up.

                                            Tonight I'm planning to make "Numbing-and-Hot Chicken" from pg 129 of RC, since I've already got the chicken marinating. But, I'm worried how it's going to come out since I think it, too, will need more oil than I'll want to use. We'll see, I guess.

                                            Oh, and for dessert, we tried the frozen yogurt on Heidi Swanson's 101cookbooks.com--it's actually David Lebovitz' recipe from The Perfect Scoop. Again, not that traditionally, but the milk and the cooling were nice on the tastebuds after all that heat. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

                                            ~TDQ

                                             
                                             
                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                              MMRuth Mar 6, 2008 03:21 AM

                                              That looks delicious! I'll be sure to get a pepper helper when I make it. BTW - I have disposable surgical gloves that work really well for this sort of thing.

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                DanaB Mar 6, 2008 04:25 AM

                                                You actually seeded all of those little dried red peppers? I admire your spirit!! The dish looks delicious, and am excited to cook from these books, especially given your experiments and successes :-)

                                                1. re: DanaB
                                                  The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2008 04:30 AM

                                                  Surprisingly, they are pretty self-seeding--when you cut them open, the seeds fly right out. I used 3 bowls for this process. First, a bowl of whole dried peppers. Then, I cut the peppers open and dropped them into bowl #2. Then, at the end, I just picked the red pieces out of bowl #2 and dropped them into bowl #3.

                                                  MMRuth, surgical gloves will be perfect.

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                  Rubee Oct 20, 2009 12:48 AM

                                                  Chicken with Chiles (la zi ji), LOP, p. 241.

                                                  Taking cues from TheDairyQueen, to simplify, I used whole chiles and skipped cutting and seeding them (though did think leaving them whole made this dish not as spicy as I would like and so wouldn't do that next time). I also missed where it said 2 ounces, so probably should have used more - I used a large handful.

                                                  Chicken is cut into cubes and marinated in Shaoxing rice wine, light and dark soy, and salt for 30 minutes (I did this earlier a couple of hours earlier in the day). I also should have fried the chicken more as it wasn't golden-brown, but I was afraid it would be too dry. The cooked chicken is mixed with garlic, ginger, chiles, whole Sichuan peppercorns, scallions, sugar, and sesame oi.

                                                  It made a couple of great lunches this week. My favorite chicken dishes are still the Dry-Fried Chicken and Tai Bai Chicken, though this was quicker to put together for weekday lunches.

                                                   
                                                  1. re: Rubee
                                                    The Dairy Queen Oct 20, 2009 02:59 AM

                                                    Rubee, do you cook specifically for weekday lunches? Golly, I can barely squeeze in cooking for dinner and using my dinner leftovers for lunches...

                                                    It might be kind of fun to have a "tried and true" listing of recipes from Dunlop. From all of the COTM's, actually. Kind of like the "recipe so good I've made it at least 3 times" thread, but specifically for COTM, since many of us have these books...

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                      LulusMom Oct 20, 2009 03:59 AM

                                                      If we did, then that dry fried chicken would definitely be on my list. And the shrimp with chinese chives too. Oh, and that cilantro salad.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                        buttertart Oct 20, 2009 06:21 AM

                                                        The cilantro salad is divine. Have made the Mao-style redcooked pork from RCC many times as well.

                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                          The Dairy Queen Oct 20, 2009 08:52 AM

                                                          Cool! I just started a COTM repeat favorites thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/660908

                                                          It's been so long since I've looked at Dunlop that I don't even remember the cilantro salad, but, let me tell you, I was overwhelmed with CSA cilantro this past summer. I kick myself now!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                            buttertart Oct 20, 2009 11:06 AM

                                                            Too bad, this uses a good bit. Love love love cilantro.

                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                        Rubee Oct 20, 2009 11:27 AM

                                                        I do cook for weekday lunches since I work at home. I usually make a few dishes that heat up well (especially Dunlop favorites) on Sunday, or prep dishes the night before. For example, now when I make "Ants on a Tree", I cook the meat and make the broth the night before (sometimes I even freeze this), and soak the noodles. For lunch, all I have to do is heat up the stock and meat and simmer the noodles. Quick and easy. If I didn't plan, I'm afraid I'd be running out for fast food too often! Last night I made a Thai red curry roast chicken, threw the carcass in the crockpot with Shaoxing rice wine, ginger, star anise, and scallions to make stock overnight, and plan on some nice Asian soups the rest of the week.

                                                        Love that idea of COTM favorites! Going to check it out now....

                                                        1. re: Rubee
                                                          The Dairy Queen Oct 20, 2009 11:36 AM

                                                          Rubee, I'm so inspired by your quick, overnight Asian crock pot stock!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                  2. Gio Mar 6, 2008 04:50 PM

                                                    Tonight with the help of DH I made Black Bean Chicken. Internet version

                                                    Surprisingly, the only thing we had to substitute was sherry for Shaoxing wine.
                                                    We followed the recipe to the letter, other than the wine, and it turned out very tasty indeed if slightly salty.... even though I rinsed in many waters those black beans. I must say it's a very easy recipe and a good introduction to this style of cooking. What you don't know is that before I became incapacitated, DH would not even boil water by his own admission. So, to have him in the kitchen, reading and following a recipe is a tremendous accomplishment for both of us. We've worked out a system wherby I prep and he cooks, but I'm there to give him encouragement and direction. Once a teacher always a teacher. LOL

                                                    I love the lingering aroma from the cooking. Not off putting at all. In fact kind of homey. I want to make this again but with the required wine.

                                                    DH made jasmine rice to serve with the chicken and all in all it was a very satisfying dish.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      MMRuth Mar 6, 2008 05:47 PM

                                                      Gio - that sounds wonderful - both the food and the story! Do you know off hand if that recipe is in one of the cookbooks? So glad you didn't have to substitute much (grin!).

                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                        Gio Mar 7, 2008 04:26 AM

                                                        Good Morning MM.... I don't know in which book that recipe is referenced. In fact the correct name of the dish is, "Authentic Black Bean Chicken". It was on the supplimentary list that you posted on the links page. DH is still talking about "how terrific" the dish was. There wasn't a crumb left.

                                                        This week-end we plan to make Velveted Fish and Fisherman's Shrimp with Chinese Chives. He can't wait.

                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                          MMRuth Mar 7, 2008 04:29 AM

                                                          Reminds me that I want to track down some of those chives this weekend too. I'll see if it's in RCC as well - the black bean dish. Thanks Gio.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                                            JoanN Mar 7, 2008 05:19 AM

                                                            I was in Chinatown yesterday and saw Chinese chives at a number of stands. But one of my favorite produce markets, where I also found Chinese leeks for a dish I want to try, is on the south side of Bayard Street between Mulberry and Mott. It's a very narrow storefront with produce piled up outside and more in the back. The owner, I presume, is always toward the front of the store working the scale and the cash register and his English is excellent.

                                                            And just fyi, right down the street, also on the south side of Bayard, near Elizabeth (#57 I think) is a meat market where I buy a lot of Chinese ingredients: whole chickens with head and feet; duck, beautiful chicken legs with thighs) at excellent prices. Yesterday I bought a gorgeous looking pork belly and some ground pork. There's only one young man in the store who speaks English well, but he's always been very good at helping me find what I need.

                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                              MMRuth Mar 7, 2008 06:03 AM

                                                              Thanks - I've been wanting to try some of the pork belly recipes.

                                                      2. re: Gio
                                                        The Dairy Queen Mar 7, 2008 04:14 AM

                                                        Sounds delicious, Gio. Dunlop offers sherry as a completely acceptable substition for the wine, so I don't think you should give that substitution a second thought. My husband and I like to cook together, too, in the way you describe, where I prep and he cooks. Often, in my posts I say, "We tried" or "we did this or that" and really, it's because I often have a helper. I think it makes cooking more fun. Although, I don't think I come across as a teacher like you do, more of a drill sergeant, I'm afraid. I get so panicked in the heat of the moment, I have a tendency to bark orders. Have to work on that!

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                          Gio Mar 7, 2008 04:30 AM

                                                          LOL TDQ!! Most times I'm in Drill Sergeant mode myself. I get so animated it seems like I'm wired for sound. DH has come a long way from boiling water to stir frying in a wok. Never thought it would happen.

                                                      3. The Dairy Queen Mar 7, 2008 04:01 AM

                                                        Numbing and Hot Chicken pg 129, RC

                                                        I prepared this recipe with chicken breast, which is a choice offered by the recipe (and without the skin, which is not,), dried chile flakes (another choice allowed by the recipe), onions without the scallions (accidental subsitution--I thought I had more scallions and in the heat of the battle, I realized I must have used them all the night before), and only 1 tsp of peanut oil (instead of the 1 1/4 cups of the oil that the recipe calls for--and, again, for reasons of sticking to my weight loss program). I had cubed the chicken the previous evening while making another of Dunlop's chicken recipes, so this chicken had marinated overnight.

                                                        All was going well until I got to step 5 that said, "give the sauce a stir and tip it in to the wok..." Wait a minute, sauce? At no point previously was there a discussion of preparing the sauce, although there were clearly ingredients for a sauce shown in the left-hand margin. My sauce was not ready to go in the critical moment. Anyway, I (with help) threw the sauce together in the last moment, using regular white vinegar because in my panic I couldn't find my clear rice vinegar and I figured that was better than the black vinegar, but, I THINK threw in 1 TBSP potato flour (the amount needed for the marinade) instead of the 1/2 tsp needed for the sauce. Way too much, I think. The minute I poured the sauce into the pan, it "seized up" into a lumpy, clear gelatin. I had the feeling this was supposed to be more sauce-y, but think I must have used too much potato flour accidentally.

                                                        So, this recipe, with the error I made, was okay, but neither numbing or spicy. Had the sauce been less of a gelatin and more of a liquid, I think it would have coated the chicken and noodles more evenly and made everything tastier. (And I'm sure leaving the skin on would have made it more delicious, too!)

                                                        Oh well. Live and learn.

                                                        I hope you can see the the gelatinous sauce in the photo--I know it's a little dark.

                                                        We served this with whole wheat penne pasta and with "noodles with shiitake mushrooms and baby greens," which I discussed in the "bean curd" (and vegetables) thread. Don't tell anyone, but scooted the chicken on my plate over into the "mushroom and baby greens" sauce, which improved matters.

                                                        (I'm trying to attached the photo but it doesn't want to attach... So, I'll try to attach the photo later.)

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                          beetlebug Apr 13, 2008 06:11 PM

                                                          Numbing and Hot Chicken (RCC, pg. 127)

                                                          This was a disaster but part of it was my fault. I was using cornstarch and misjudged the substitution. But I also think using less oil didn’t help the recipe. The recipe called for 1 ¼ cups and I only used a couple of tablespoons. 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.

                                                          But, the flavor of the sauce was only ok. Even with my mistake, I thought the flavor would have carried through. There wasn’t a huge spicy ma la flavor that I had thought there would be. This was disappointing.

                                                           
                                                        2. Candy Mar 7, 2008 01:10 PM

                                                          I had to work until 6 PM the other night so DH made the Kung Pao from Land of Plenty. It was delicious. He also made a mixture of baby bok choi and snow peas from Irene Kuo's Key to Chinese Cooking.

                                                          With the snow and wind today meatloaf and a baked potato are going to be cold night comfort food.

                                                           
                                                           
                                                          1. Gio Mar 12, 2008 05:26 PM

                                                            Tonight we made General Gao's Chicken with modifications. This was an internet version
                                                            And, although it was hot and sour it did not have the sweetness of the Americanized counterpart. It was delicious.
                                                            Let me say at the outset, we did not deep fry the chicken. We are becoming concerned with the amount of oil used in every dish so we wanted to modify and adapt the dish to our liking, and I can't help but think that Chinese people may opt to do the same in certain circumstances. Anyway we followed the original recipe with the exception of the frying stage. First of all I cut the boneless, skinless chicken thighs in small chunks instead of 1/4 inch slices. DH used 2 Tblspns of peanut oil to fry the first 2 batches, and then added one more TBLSPN for the third and last batch. (We had 5 thighs in all). I did not substitute anything else in this recipe and proceeded as directed. With the sauce added at the end, this dish was spectacular. I served it with the rest of the baby bok choy I commented on previously which I stir fried with reference to past recipes....and DH made steamed jasmine rice to accompany. The whole dinner was fabulous and I can't wait to make it for other members of my family who have lived in Hong Kong.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                              The Dairy Queen Mar 12, 2008 05:50 PM

                                                              Sounds fantastic and I'm so glad to hear the lower fat version worked for you...because it might work for me, too!

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                Gio Mar 13, 2008 04:44 AM

                                                                DQ, I think it will work for you, especially if you use the oil that's allowed in your diet plan. Gen. Gao's Chicken is DH's very favorite Chinese food and he had his serving and then finished what was left on the platter.

                                                              2. re: Gio
                                                                saltwater Mar 13, 2008 04:48 PM

                                                                I also tried the General Tso's Chicken (the un-sweet version). I had hoped there would be sauce to flavor the rice, but there was none. It completely adhered to the chicken. Also, my chicken didn't stay crispy once I put the sauce on it. I don't know if that is because my chicken was skinless or if it was due to some other cause. Perhaps it is in how I mixed the marinade? When I see ingredients that are set apart with a label of "marinade", I just mix the marinate up near the start of the dish. It didn't occur to me that she would have directions in the recipe saying that you put the cut chicken in the dish and then individually stir the marinade ingredients into the chicken. So by the time I read that, I already had the entire marinade mixed up.

                                                                The dish was noticeably sour, which I'm not sure I liked. Perhaps I would have liked the sweetened version better. I don't like sweet main dishes, but I wonder if I would have found a little sweet to feel more balanced.

                                                                In the picture, you can see that there is no sauce. The colors are wrong. The dish had a slightly red cast.

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: saltwater
                                                                  oakjoan Mar 15, 2008 10:13 PM

                                                                  Well, saltwater, your dish LOOKS gorgeous. Too bad it wasn't quite to your taste.

                                                              3. beetlebug Mar 19, 2008 07:04 AM

                                                                Dry Fried Chicken (LOP, pg. 243)

                                                                This dish was great. Complex flavors with a fairly simple prep. It goes really well with rice. I didn’t fully read the recipe before I started cooking, consequently, it took a little longer to cook than I had planned.

                                                                I used a lot less oil than called for (recipe called for ¼ cup, I used about a tablespoon). Add chunks of chicken thighs and stir fry until it’s lost it’s water content. Then, add dried peppers, Sichuan peppercorn, chile bean paste, shaoxing wine and soy sauce (I usually omit the salt). Then, you continue to stir fry for almost 15 minutes until the chicken has dried out and all the sauce has caked on to the pieces. Lastly, add chopped celery and serve. The celery worked beautifully because it was a cooling factor to the heat of the chicken chunks. This whole dish is just addictive.

                                                                 
                                                                29 Replies
                                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                                  Rubee Mar 19, 2008 10:19 AM

                                                                  Looks wonderful - I'll have to add that one to the list!

                                                                  1. re: Rubee
                                                                    Rubee Jun 12, 2008 01:34 PM

                                                                    Dry Fried Chicken (LOP, p 243)

                                                                    I'm so glad you pointed this recipe out BB. I agree with the others, if not for your pic and report, I would have skipped over it, but it's one of my favorites. Since it's pretty easy too, it's going to be part of my weekly rotation of recipes I make from this book to have leftovers for lunch (dan dan noodles and ma po tofu are a couple of the other ones).

                                                                    Not much to add. I used what chicken I had, which was boneless chicken tenders I cut into chunks. I used 8 chili peppers, and a heaping TB of chili bean paste and thought the heat level was perfect. I'm also glad everybody mentioned how good the celery was in this. I thought about skipping it and doubling the scallions, but due to the comments, followed the recipe as is. I thought the crunchy celery really added to this dish.

                                                                    Pics of dinner last night, and leftovers for lunch today (w/rice and kimchee):

                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: Rubee
                                                                      LulusMom Jun 13, 2008 08:25 AM

                                                                      Looks wonderful - it really is so much better than it reads, doesn't it? Glad you liked it so much. I need to make this again soon (once this month of insane travel is over and I can get back into the kitchen).

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                        Rubee Jun 13, 2008 12:18 PM

                                                                        I loved it. The leftovers are a bit dry with the white meat chicken, but that's to be expeced. Next time I'll use boneless thighs.

                                                                        Thanks too for mentioning how good the celery was in it, I'm so glad I didn't leave it out.

                                                                  2. re: beetlebug
                                                                    LulusMom Mar 19, 2008 11:00 AM

                                                                    Looks and sounds so much better than somehow I'd gotten from the description in the book. I'm going to put it on my Try list.

                                                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                                                      LulusMom Apr 16, 2008 06:11 AM

                                                                      I finally got around to the Dry Fried Chicken and totally agree with beetlebug - very easy and delicious. Actually sort of weirdly easy. I love the slight crunch and clean flavor that the celery gives it adds. Raves from all on this.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                        beetlebug Apr 16, 2008 07:18 AM

                                                                        I've made this twice. The first time, I did it "wrong" and used ground toasted sichuan peppercorn. The second time, I used the whole peppercorn. I like it better with the ground because it just sits on the chicken pieces.

                                                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                                                          LulusMom Apr 16, 2008 09:43 AM

                                                                          I did the same thing (although with me it was because I originally misread it) and used ground.

                                                                      2. re: beetlebug
                                                                        saltwater Apr 16, 2008 10:19 AM

                                                                        WHHAAAA! I tried this and it was a disaster. The dish looked lovely, but now that I re-read your review, my sauce did not cake onto anything but itself and some on the pan. It sort of formed clumps. The dish tasted flavorless and slightly oily. The numbing effect came through nicely, though. I cooked it for less time than stated because it looked like the chicken was dry and the sauce gone. The chicken pieces themselves looked lovely and well browned. I used boneless breast. They ended up a bit dryish inside.

                                                                        I wish I knew why I can't cook these "dry cooked" type of dishes. I tried in the beef chapter, too, and I thought my beef came out rather flavorless as well (I didn't report on the thread, though, since I figured I'd get it right the next time). I did follow the directions to turn the heat down to medium before I added the sauce ingredients. Then I lowered it more, since that seemed necessary.

                                                                        1. re: saltwater
                                                                          LulusMom Apr 16, 2008 10:56 AM

                                                                          Hmmm, I did cook mine for the full time (also used chicken breasts) but it turned out so well. Was a bit dry on the inside, but I think that sort of goes with the territory for dry-fried and chicken breasts. The flavor was so good, and again, that nice zippy crunch from the celery was just right with it. I never would have even looked at this recipe if I hadn't seen beetlebug's pictures, but it ended up being one of our favorites. I'm really sorry it didn't work out for you!

                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                            saltwater Apr 16, 2008 09:10 PM

                                                                            Thanks for reading and replying, LulusMom. :-) Just that someone listened helps it seem better. I liked the crunch of the celery, too. I love how there are so many different ways to cut a vegetable (she has you cut it rather thickly at a steep angle in this one). The cut was a good one for this dish.

                                                                          2. re: saltwater
                                                                            beetlebug Apr 17, 2008 07:24 AM

                                                                            So sorry this dish didn't work for you. I wonder if it's because you used breast meat v. dark meat. I find that the dark meat stays more moist then the white meat. Maybe that, combined with a longer cooking time will get the desired dry cooked result.

                                                                            I do wonder why the dish tasted flavorless. I find that anything with that chile bean paste always pops with flavor. Especially combined with the sichuan pepper (I used ground v. whole). Maybe it just didn't get enough time to adhere to the chicken?

                                                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                                                              saltwater Apr 17, 2008 01:15 PM

                                                                              You know, maybe I needed to use low heat. You are right, it did not adhere at all to the chicken. That is why it had no flavor. I ended up with a clump of sauce in a hard lump that I could push around the pan but not separate, a fair amount of clear oil covering the bottom of the pan, and the chicken cubes (it was after that that I added the veggies). If the sauce had done something different, it would have had flavor. I agree. Dark meat would have been less prone to dry.

                                                                              Maybe heat made the sauce seize into that inseparable clump. If I brave it again, I'll use low heat (after the initial cooking of the chicken).

                                                                            2. re: saltwater
                                                                              JoanN Jan 4, 2009 12:36 PM

                                                                              Finally got around to trying the Dry-Fried Chicken and although mine certainly wasn’t a disaster, I had some of the same problems you did, saltwater.

                                                                              Mine, too, was more oily and less dry than I’d expected and my chili bean paste tended to clump a bit as well. First, I used bone in, skin on chicken breasts because she doesn’t say to use skinless, so even though I used only about 2 tablespoons of oil instead of the quarter cup called for, I suspect the skin was contributing to the excess oil in the wok. The bone-in breast meat wasn’t dry, though. But I still think next time I’ll use thighs instead.( Did you use skinless thighs, beetlebug? And what did you do? Just whack them in half with a cleaver?) Also, my chili bean paste is the “wrong” kind; it’s made with soybeans, not favas. I suspect that may be part of the reason for its clumping.

                                                                              Mine was very, very spicy. Not too much for me, but I wouldn’t want to serve it that way to anyone else. I’m guessing my bean paste may be hotter than many and I probably shouldn’t have broken up the dried chiles to release the seeds when I put them in the pot.

                                                                              Even with these minor problems, it was awfully good. So I’ve made a bunch of notes in the book and will definitely be trying it again. Thanks from me, too, beetlebug, for pointing this one out.

                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: JoanN
                                                                                beetlebug Jan 4, 2009 02:11 PM

                                                                                I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. And, I cut them into one inch chunks. I don't have the book handy, but that's how I've always pictured the dish. Bite size chunks and easy to pick up with chop sticks.

                                                                                Also, I don't break up the dried chiles. And, for all these dishes, I use ground toasted sichuan pepper. I don't like biting into whole sichuan peppercorns.

                                                                                Glad you liked the flavor. It's time for me to toast and grind more peppercorns.

                                                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                  JoanN Jan 11, 2009 06:20 AM

                                                                                  Made the Dry-Fried Chicken again, this time playing (mostly) the beetlebug variations. Used skinless (but not boneless) chicken thighs, used maybe 2 tablespoons of oil, used ground peppercorns, used the right kind of chili bean paste, and didn’t break up the dried chiles. Now I see what everyone was talking about. It was almost as though it was a different dish. Now this (along with most of the other chicken recipes in this book) will be going into regular rotation for me as well. Next time, though, no bones. There were too many little bone shards. And I’d break up one or two of the dried chiles to make it just a bit spicier.

                                                                                   
                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                    j
                                                                                    Jane917 Jan 11, 2009 06:45 AM

                                                                                    I want to try the dry fried chicken soon. What kind of chili bean paste did you decide was the right kind?

                                                                                    1. re: Jane917
                                                                                      JoanN Jan 11, 2009 07:30 AM

                                                                                      The label will say it contains either fava beans or broadbeans, not soy beans. Here's a link with some photos. #2 would be preferable since it contains only favas, no soy beans.

                                                                                      And here is a photo of the one I have, which lists only broadbeans on the label.

                                                                                       
                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        Jane917 Jan 11, 2009 09:44 AM

                                                                                        Darn! The only chili bean paste in my pantry is made with soy beans. I will have to add the broadbean or fava bean paste to my next mail order.

                                                                                        1. re: Jane917
                                                                                          j
                                                                                          Jane917 Jan 14, 2009 07:21 PM

                                                                                          After placing an on-line order for the right kind of chili bean paste (toban dyan), I found it at ......... Safeway. So I made it tonight, being a bit fearful of 1/4 cup peanut oil. We loved it, and I will put it on my list of regulars. I will use less oil next time.

                                                                                          1. re: Jane917
                                                                                            JoanN Jan 15, 2009 03:09 AM

                                                                                            That's really funny. I looked for it all over Chinatown (more than once) and you found it in Safeway.

                                                                                            Beetlebug uses only one tablespoon of olive oil. I think I used maybe two. This is definitely one recipe where you don't need a quarter cup.

                                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                                              j
                                                                                              Jane917 Jan 15, 2009 06:24 AM

                                                                                              If I had paid closer attention to the other posts about the dry fried chicken, I would have decreased the oil. It didn't feel or taste oily, but just knowing how much oil it had was a bit alarming. I will decrease greatly next time. One of my next adventures will be the dry fried beef.

                                                                                              The nearest Chinatown to me is 150 miles away. I live in a small rural area. My Safeway doesn't carry peanut oil.....but does carry toban dyan. Go figure!

                                                                                        2. re: JoanN
                                                                                          Rubee Jan 11, 2009 11:32 AM

                                                                                          I'll add a couple of pics of the chili bean paste I use too:

                                                                                          http://www.chow.com/photos/235142

                                                                                          http://www.chow.com/photos/151497

                                                                                          I'm making a bunch of dishes from LOP today to have for lunch during the week: stir-fried cabbage, mapo tofu, dry-fried beef slivers, and fish-fragrant pork slivers. Today for dinner I'm finally going to make the hot-dry noodles from RCC.

                                                                                          1. re: Rubee
                                                                                            j
                                                                                            Jane917 Jan 11, 2009 12:32 PM

                                                                                            I may have to wait for my next trip to Seattle to pick up the chili bean sauce. Thanks for the pictures.

                                                                              2. re: beetlebug
                                                                                Gio Jan 1, 2009 07:49 AM

                                                                                We made the Dry Fried Chicken last night as a component of our New Year's Eve Asian meal. Traditionally we have Chinese food on NYE and it was wonderful to be able to make our own instead of ordering take-away. The DFC was so delicious and easy. Like beetlebug, we used less oil and no salt. Used the Sechuan peppercorns whole and 9 dried red chilis! Definitely will make this again.

                                                                                FWIW: the other dishes we made came from The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon, a food writer born in Singapore. She covers 15 countries and the recipes are fabulous. The dishes we prepared were:
                                                                                Pot Roasted Rice - Vietnam
                                                                                Stir Fried Vegetables - Vietnam
                                                                                Scallops with Snopeas - China

                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                  LulusMom Jan 1, 2009 01:38 PM

                                                                                  Funny, we made the dry fried chicken last night too. It has become a real staple around here, and my husband always raves.

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    sarahcooks Nov 2, 2010 05:06 PM

                                                                                    Better late than never! Made this tonight for the first time. When I tasted a little bit from the pan shortly before it was done I thought it was awesome. But when I actually sat down for dinner, it was nice but not spectacular. I think the larger pieces had a lower sauce to meat ratio so it wasn't as flavorful, and then with rice too it was just too bland and not spicy at all. The sauce mainly burned onto the bottom of the pan, so I think I need to have the heat even lower than I did and maybe cut the pieces smaller. I served it with stir fried bean sprouts from Breath of a Wok but I think it would be better with a saucy veggie on the side so there is some sauce for the rice. I didn't have the correct chili bean paste either, just Lee Kum Kee. And my poor wok - it's just a teenager and I definitely took off some of the finish :( Does anyone who makes this frequently have any helpful hints?

                                                                                    1. re: sarahcooks
                                                                                      JoanN Nov 2, 2010 05:31 PM

                                                                                      I probably make the Dry-Fried Chicken twice a month. I use skinless, boneless, thighs and cut them into the 1-inch chunks as she recommends. I use 8 dried chiles, and break two or three open for extra spiciness. Instead of whole Sichuan pepper, I keep a container of toasted, ground, Sichuan peppercorns on hand and use that instead. And I use a really good chili bean paste, one from Pixian that's made with fava beans.

                                                                                      I do think the bean paste can make a big difference in the dish. I made it a few times before I found this brand of bean paste and had the same problem you did with the sauce clumping and sticking to the bottom of the pan.

                                                                                      It's not a saucy dish; it's not meant to be. In fact, I often remind myself while cooking the dish that it's supposed to be, as she says, "dry, toasty, and fragrant" and I'll cook mine a little longer before adding the vegetables.

                                                                                      I'll bet that if you could find a better brand of chili bean paste you'd have a much better result. But you're still not going to have a sauce.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                        s
                                                                                        sarahcooks Nov 2, 2010 05:39 PM

                                                                                        Thanks! I realize it isn't supposed to be saucy, and that's fine, it just needed more flavor. Guess I'll have to order some of the good chili sauce! I think grinding the peppercorns will help too as I really love their flavor. I don't mind eating them whole since I love them so much, but ground would probably distribute the flavor better.

                                                                              3. Gio Mar 20, 2008 06:03 AM

                                                                                Last night it was Braised Chicken with Chestnuts, LOP, pg. 247.......

                                                                                With the mind boggling and completely irrational substitution of water chestnuts for... well... chestnuts. This is Chinese cuisine, right? She certainly can't mean Italian chestnuts can she? MInd you, I *had* read the lntro notes before setting out for the market. I *had* read that, "Chestnuts had been cultivated in China since antiquity." At the market I just blanked.

                                                                                So here's what we did - Everthing according to the recipe - except - with that particular odd-ball substitution. And, by jove, it turned out to be quite a satisfying dish. Not very spicy, by any means, but comforting with a pleasant gingery flavor. Very easy prep and execution. DH loved it. Next I want to try that dry-fried chicken dish before the books have to go back to the library. Something tells me Fuchsia is going to have a home on one of my cookbook shelves in the very near future.

                                                                                The chicken was accompanied by a vegetable stir-fry that I knda sorta made up as I went along, basing the ingredients on Ms. Dunlop's previous recipes, the main ingredient was regular cabbage but included other veggies as well. Since it's not a Fuchsia Dunlop recipe I won't be reporting it in the usual thread. The two dishes went very well together.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                  JoanN Jan 24, 2012 06:11 AM

                                                                                  Braised Chicken with Chestnuts (LoP, page 247)

                                                                                  A friend was talking about making a Chinese dish with chestnuts and that reminded me that I had a half-pound box of TJs prepared chestnuts in the pantry. I also had chicken thighs in the freezer, so I made this with skinless, boneless thighs rather than a whole cut up chicken with skin and bones as called for. I made more or less half a recipe, but used the full amount of seasonings except for the sugar.

                                                                                  This was a pleasant enough dish for a cold snowy night, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to make it again and I definitely wouldn’t go to the trouble of peeling raw chestnuts for it.

                                                                                   
                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                    Gio Jan 24, 2012 07:10 AM

                                                                                    Good to read your report, Joan. Seems like the water chestnuts I used were a better choice after all. I had forgotten about this recipe but now I might just have to make using TJ's chestnuts. I've been using them since you mentioned them. Too bad my mother is not still around. Her life's ambition was to make maron glace to perfection. She felt she never did but may have come close enough using those prepared chestnuts...

                                                                                2. LulusMom Mar 29, 2008 06:37 AM

                                                                                  Gong Bao (Kung Pao) Chicken with Peanuts (LOP p. 237). My husband was crazy about this; I thought it was good, but not great. I thought there was waaaay too much peanut (easy enough to fix if made again). I like peanuts a lot, but this seemed like over-doing it. Simple enough to make and without many of the hard to find ingredients, I just think I've liked other dishes more. However, I really want to say that this book has been a revelation for me. There isn't a good Chinese restaurant anywhere around (plenty of good fusion places, and any Chapel Hill hounds that know of something - PLEASE let me know), so getting to eat such high quality chinese food this month has been a treat. Maybe I've spoiled myself with some of the other dishes.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                    JoanN Mar 29, 2008 06:45 AM

                                                                                    I'm surprised to hear you say that (read you write that?). This was one of my favorite recipes from either book and I definitely didn't think there were too many peanuts in it. It seemed very much in balance to me. Oh, well. Chacun à son goût, as they say.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                      LulusMom Mar 29, 2008 09:41 AM

                                                                                      My husband was very much in your camp - he said it was his favorite of the ones I've made so far.

                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom
                                                                                      beetlebug Apr 13, 2008 06:13 PM

                                                                                      Kung Pao Chicken (LOP, pg. 237)

                                                                                      Another excellent recipe. I used thighs instead of breasts and probably a bit more peanuts. I didn’t think there were too many nuts, but I’m fond of nuts in my food. I really liked the sauce and I don’t usually like sweet sauces. I think there was enough spice in it to offset it for me. I used less oil with no discernable effect.

                                                                                       
                                                                                    3. saltwater Apr 6, 2008 10:31 AM

                                                                                      I made Steamed Chicken with Chopped Salted Chiles from RCC p 123 as a topping for a bowl of soupy noodles, as she suggests is possible in the recipe blurb. The broth that formed as the chicken steamed was very good. I wanted to drink it down as soon as I sampled it. I overcooked the chicken, though. Her directions call for placing chicken chunks in boiling water and waiting until it returns to a boil. Then you drain and steam the chunks. I knew her directions at 20-30 minutes of steaming would be too long, so I started sampling before then, but not soon enough before . If you make this, either use large chunks of chicken, or start sampling after 10 minutes, perhaps. I think the problem is that she does not define bite-sized or maybe that she doesn't tell you how much water to use in the saucepan. The volume of water entirely determines how long it will take to return to a boil. I pulled the chicken out of the water before it returned to a boil. Next time, I'd use more water.

                                                                                      This made a good, mild soupy noodle topping. Also, it was nice to have a dish from this book with no added fat. It made me think of TDQ and core plans, etc. :)

                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: saltwater
                                                                                        buttertart Mar 31, 2011 07:38 AM

                                                                                        That is a very good dish - and terrific with scallops (less steaming time of course).

                                                                                        1. re: saltwater
                                                                                          q
                                                                                          qianning Jun 11, 2011 08:53 AM

                                                                                          Steamed Chicken w/ Chopped Chilis

                                                                                          Made this for the first time last night (how is it that there are still so many Dunlop recipes I've yet to try???), and we liked it very well.

                                                                                          Just a few notes to add to saltwater's review above. 1) Looking at sw's notes, I did a very quick blanch of the chicken and drained/rinsed quickly. 2) My chicken chunks were about 1.5"-2" sq. before cooking. 3) 20 minutes steaming was perfect for us, with the bones just cooked and the chicken meat tender, silky and moist. Also, as is usual for me in steamed chicken dishes, I removed the skin before chopping so as to reduce the fat in the final dish, and even so the sauce was plenty rich enough for us.

                                                                                          1. re: qianning
                                                                                            buttertart Jun 14, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                                                            I love how a lot of her recipes are so easy and deliver so much flavor! Can't wait for the new book.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                                                              LulusMom Jun 18, 2011 12:54 PM

                                                                                              How did I miss that there is for sure a new book?! Details? thanks buttertart.

                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                JoanN Jun 18, 2011 01:11 PM

                                                                                                Every Grain of Rice. Scheduled for UK publication in February of 2012.

                                                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Every-Grain-Ric...

                                                                                                No listing yet for US publication. I assume it will be Norton since they published her first three, but there's no listing yet either on their site or on the Amazon US site. I've speculated that the US title might change, since there's another Chinese cookbook, still in print, I think, that was a Beard award winner a few years back with the same title.

                                                                                                I'm quite certain it was greedygirl who first gave us the heads up on this. She had dinner with a good friend of Dunlop's and may even have met Dunlop herself.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                  w
                                                                                                  will47 Jun 18, 2011 02:31 PM

                                                                                                  I think she's been spending a lot of time in the Suzhou / Hangzhou / Yangzhou area (near Shanghai), and I think this may be part of the focus of the new book.

                                                                                                  1. re: will47
                                                                                                    buttertart Jun 20, 2011 06:12 AM

                                                                                                    It was greedygirl who tipped us and I'm going crazy waiting. Preordered the book.
                                                                                                    Jiangzhe food (Suzhou/Shanghai/ Hangzhou) is amazing (subtle and very savory) and not well served by cookbooks.
                                                                                                    Huaiyang food (Yangzhou) is supposed to be the creme de la creme of southeastern Chinese food but I've never been to Yangzhou or seen a restaurant specializing in the cuisine that I remember.
                                                                                                    (Have spent a fair bit of time in Suzhou and Shanghai, and visited Hangzhou once - had the great pleasure of eating West Lake vinegar fish in a hotel overlooking West Lake there.)
                                                                                                    Roll on February 2012!

                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Jun 18, 2011 05:25 PM

                                                                                                    Woohoo! Very exciting!

                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                          2. augustiner Apr 15, 2008 03:49 AM

                                                                                            gong bao chicken (LOP)
                                                                                            i'm a bit late joining in on the dunlop cookbook of the month series, unfortunately. i made this dish tonight, using dried arbol chiles. it was delicious but so painful to eat. dunlop calls for a small handful of "at least ten" dried chiles, with seeds removed. i threw in maybe 16 or so.

                                                                                            ow. i anticipated the burn, but not the lingering fumes in my throat, causing me to cough. i'm not foreign to heat, having a korean background, but this dish was painful. the sauce was delicious, though.

                                                                                            my question is this: do i just cut back on the snipped, de-seeded dried chiles, or leave them whole, so that the seeds don't break open into the dish?

                                                                                            also, i've never experienced arbol chiles being this hot before. i know that the potency of chiles can vary widely, so does it sound like i used a particularly hot bunch?

                                                                                            thanks from a late participant.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: augustiner
                                                                                              JoanN Apr 15, 2008 04:54 AM

                                                                                              I, too, used arbol chiles in the Gong Bao Chicken. I broke off the ends of ten of them, then broke them in half and got rid of most--but not all--of the seeds. I like hot foods and thought that this was a good amount of heat for me, although I did note it might be a bit much for guests. I guess it's entirely possible that your chiles were hotter than mine--or, it could just be that you need to cut back on them a bit.

                                                                                            2. Rubee May 11, 2008 05:06 PM

                                                                                              Gong Bao (Kung Pao) Chicken with Peanuts (LOP, p. 237)

                                                                                              My turn to finally get around to making this dish. Not much to add to the above reports. I made it as is, but threw the chilis in whole since they were small. As a result, the dish wasn't as spicy as the above reviews mention, though the bites with the whole Sichuan peppercorn had nice heat. I like it spicy so next time I would pick out the largest chilis and cut them in half. OTOH, E and his son thought the heat level was perfect.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                Rubee May 11, 2008 05:08 PM

                                                                                                Pics didn't load, so trying again:

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 
                                                                                              2. MMRuth Jul 14, 2008 02:10 PM

                                                                                                Chicken with Ginger, RCC, p. 131

                                                                                                Made this over the weekend, and served with Noodles with Shitake Mushrooms and Baby Greens. I used half thights, half breast, as I prefer white meat. I think I didn't heat the wok up enough again after having stir fried the shitakes/bok choy, so I didn't get the meat "tinged golden", and had to cover it to get the stock to reduce. That said, we enjoyed the flavors - it would have been better with some rice, but since I'd made the noodle dish, we ate it alone and added it into the noodles. Over all, a quick dish that I'd make again.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                  Gio Jan 26, 2013 05:00 AM

                                                                                                  Chicken with Ginger, Variation for Drier Version, Pg. 131, RCC

                                                                                                  In a total lapse of logical thought I posted this report in the wrong report thread so now I'm placing it where it belongs.

                                                                                                  Recently, I bought Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook and don't know why I neglected to do it for so long since I love her other books. This wonderful dish is the third recipe I've made since the beginning of January. Now I'm on a mission to cook a few each week from now on.

                                                                                                  The ingredients are: boned chicken thighs w skin, light soy sauce, 6" fresh ginger w skin, Shaoxing wine, dried chili flakes, scallions, sesame oil, and peanut oil to cook with. This method calls for a teaspoon of dark soy sauce at the end for color. The only items I had to sub due to what was in the larder were boneless thighs w/o skin and canola oil. I omitted the salt.

                                                                                                  Cut the chicken in cubes and mix well with the soy sauce. Heat oil in wok, stir-fry sliced ginger till fragrant. Add chicken, stir-fry till golden. Add wine and chili flakes, continue to fry for a few minutes. Now mix in dark soy sauce and cook just enough for the chicken to cook through. Toss in chopped scallions and stir in the sesame oil.

                                                                                                  This is so very easy and simple but produces a delectably unctuous bite of chicken. Glossy is the word that came to mind. All the flavors came together with the ginger foremost but not strident. I absolutely Loved it and so did G. Served with the Smacked cucumbers on page 65 and leftover barley pilaf from "Jerusalem". Another Great meal thanks to La Dunlop.

                                                                                                2. greedygirl Aug 24, 2008 02:33 AM

                                                                                                  Last night I made Chicken chunks in red-oil sauce (Sichuan Cookery p5 and Fish-fragrant chicken slivers (p7).

                                                                                                  I had a whole free-range chicken which I poached for half an hour as per her instruction. Then I shredded half of it, and mixed in some spring onions. The idea is that you add the sauces at the table, to taste. I also steamed some rice and made some stir-fried broccoli (with szechaun peppercorns and chillies, a la Dunlop).

                                                                                                  We loved this - especially the fish-fragrant sauce which was absolutely delicious. As she says, it's a lovely, intensely flavoured sauce, with a kick from the pickled chilli (I used sambal oelek) and sweet-sour notes from the Chinkiang vinegar and soy sauce. Just lovely. Mr GG practically hoovered it up!

                                                                                                  And now I have some nice chicken stock and half a poached chicken left over. I think I'm going to get ahead of myself and make Vietnamese chicken pho tonight.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                    greedygirl Oct 13, 2008 04:25 AM

                                                                                                    Made this again last night and can I just reiterate how great it is, and how easy. Perfect for a Chinese-themed dinner party as well, as it can all be made in advance, freeing you up for last-minute stir-fried dishes. The fish-fragrant sauce is particularly delicious.

                                                                                                  2. JoanN Jan 5, 2009 03:29 PM

                                                                                                    Tai Bai Chicken (LOP page 245)

                                                                                                    Yet another not-to-be-missed chicken dish from the inimitable Ms. Dunlop.

                                                                                                    You quickly stir-fry a pound of leg or thigh meat, remove it from the oil before it’s fully cooked, and dump most of the oil. Then you quickly stir fry, one after the other, dried chiles, pickled chiles (I used the alternate Thai pickled chiles with a bit of Sambal Olek), and scallion whites. Add back the chicken and some everyday stock; stir in Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, Sichuan pepper, sugar, salt, and white pepper; and simmer over moderate heat for 20 minutes. When the sauce is almost completely reduced, you removed the dried chiles and the scallion whites, add the scallion greens, and stir-fry for 30 seconds before removing from the heat and stirring in some sesame oil.

                                                                                                    I hardly know how to describe it. It was earthy, and unctuous, and spicy and altogether delicious. I didn’t think I could like anything better than her Gong Bao Chicken, but now I’m not so sure. Guess I’ll have to make the Gong Bao again sometime soon to see if I can make a decision. Life is hard.

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                      MMRuth Jan 5, 2009 03:33 PM

                                                                                                      That does sound good - I want to revisit her book - though, which one is this from?

                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                        JoanN Jan 5, 2009 03:50 PM

                                                                                                        Sorry about that. I only have Land of Plenty. Forgot there was another one. I've edited the post to add the title.

                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                        Gio Jan 5, 2009 04:30 PM

                                                                                                        This was the dish I had waffled about for our NYE dinner and chose the Dry Fried Chicken instead. I guess I'm going to have to try this one too..... thanks for the incentive JN!.

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                          Rubee Jan 6, 2009 04:25 PM

                                                                                                          Wow. That looks so good JoanN. I'm going to have to make it this weekend.

                                                                                                          1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                            Rubee Jan 14, 2009 09:43 PM

                                                                                                            Tai Bai Chicken (LOP, p. 245)

                                                                                                            Thanks for reporting on this JoanN and convincing me to make this delicious dish.

                                                                                                            I made it tonight, and it was just as good as you said. It's definitely going into the regular rotation of Dunlop recipes I make for lunch every week. I only had boneless chicken breast, so instead of simmering for 20 minutes, I simmered for a few minutes, removed the chicken and reduced the sauce a bit, and then added it back in for a few more minutes to finish. I loved it, but looking forward to making it with dark meat next time. I served it with steamed rice and ma po do fu (LOP, pg. 313)

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                             
                                                                                                            1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                              JoanN Jan 15, 2009 03:19 AM

                                                                                                              Glad you liked it as much as I did. I made the Gong Bao chicken again the other night just to remind myself of what it was like and decided I definitely like the Tai Bai Chicken better.

                                                                                                              Just curious what you used for pickled chiles.

                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                Rubee Jan 15, 2009 11:15 AM

                                                                                                                I used the same chilis you did - pickled Thai chiles and some sambal oelek.

                                                                                                                Pics of pickled chilis:
                                                                                                                http://www.chow.com/photos/152449
                                                                                                                http://www.chow.com/photos/152456

                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                                  JoanN Jan 15, 2009 12:08 PM

                                                                                                                  Did you chop the chiles? I don't see any whole ones in your photos as there are in mine. If so, it wasn't too spicy?

                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                    Rubee Jan 15, 2009 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                    I cut them in half. It ended up the perfect amount of heat, but I've noticed the more I cook Sichuan, the spicier I like it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                                      JoanN Jan 15, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                      Thanks, Rubee. I like spicy, too. I'll try it that way next time.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                        buttertart Mar 6, 2012 04:44 PM

                                                                                                                        I made this for the first time on Sunday and man is it good. I used breasts and I boiled the sauce off over high heat, actually -- and the chicken was moist when done. PS I used chilis I had salted ages and ages ago.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                            LulusMom Feb 8, 2009 03:55 AM

                                                                                                            Thanks to JoanN for reporting on how great the Tai Bai Chicken is. I had passed this recipe without really giving it a thought. I made it last night and we loved it. I used *only* sambal oelek since I realized at the last minute that I didn't have any pickled chilies. Still absolutely delicious. I had doubled the recipe thinking that way there might be a light lunch for one of us, but my husband loved it so much he ate it all. Served it with dry fried green beans (these are just SO good) and rice. No photo - the last minute nature of this cooking gets me a little frazzled and I just forgot. Oops.

                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                              beetlebug Jun 20, 2009 09:33 AM

                                                                                                              I finally tried this dish (thanks JoanN) and really liked it. It's ridiculous since it's so easy but I love that dry fried chicken dish. But, this will soon join the rotation.

                                                                                                              A few notes: my chicken dish took a lot longer than 20 minutes for the sauce to simmer down. I even turned the heat up a bit because it wasn't making that much progress. Also, next time, I would chop up the pickled peppers so the dish is spicier and picklier.

                                                                                                              But, another winner from one of my favorite cookbooks.

                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                JoanN Jun 20, 2009 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                I just made this again the other night as well. This and the dry-fried chicken are the two dishes, of all the recipes I've tried during three years of COTM, that I've made most often. (Her Gong Bao is right up there on the list, too.) I am now more likely to run out of homemade chicken stock than I am to run out of Dunlop's Everyday Stock.

                                                                                                                You're right about it taking longer than 20 minutes for the sauce to simmer down. I've thought about using less than the full cup called for, but what I usually do is just keep the sauce at a very brisk simmer for 20 minutes, then turn it up to a full rolling boil after that and just keep an eagle eye on it until the stock is almost completely gone.

                                                                                                                The only kind of whole pickled red chiles I've ever been able to find are the Cock brand Thai bird peppers. I leave those whole, but add a teaspoon of either Sambal Olek or a bottled Chinese chili paste. I like foods pretty spicy, and that seems to do it for me.

                                                                                                                One of my very favorite cookbooks as well. Do you own RCC, too? I don't, but I keep looking for it at a bargain price. I vaguely recall that many people who had both said they preferred RCC. I can't imagine liking it better, but almost as well would be more than good enough.

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                  beetlebug Jun 20, 2009 01:47 PM

                                                                                                                  I do have RCC but I don't like it nearly as much as LOP. It's funny, I've only made a few things from it, and I've liked them ok, but the recipes seem more forced v. flowing naturally the way LOP does. I think it's because Dunlop wrote LOP from her heart and soul and RCC was a struggle for her. I think it comes out within the books themselves.

                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                    beetlebug Jun 20, 2009 02:36 PM

                                                                                                                    Another thing for me is that I like Sichuan cooking more than Hunan cooking. And, I just ate my way through ChengDu about a month ago, so I like to try and recreate the flavors as well. ;=)

                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                      LulusMom Jun 20, 2009 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                      I watched Tony Bourdain in Beijing and ChengDu this morning while on my treadmill (isn't DVR the most wonderful invention?) and thought about the fact that you were travelling there. Was it incredible?

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                        beetlebug Jun 20, 2009 07:17 PM

                                                                                                                        The food was unbelievable.

                                                                                                                        Below is my Chengdu report. There are also reports for HangZhou, SuZhou and Shanghai for the China board and one on Cambodia on the Greater Asia board. They are a bit long since we ate a lot.

                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/616339

                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                    LulusMom Jun 20, 2009 01:49 PM

                                                                                                                    I just made the dry fried chicken last week too. That one is such a favorite around here. I think it and the ginger chicken from Pham (and my tofu variation) are probably the things I've made most often from COTM books. Oh, and maybe the grilled 5 spice chicken from Pham too.

                                                                                                                    I started with LoP and got RCC for Christmas. I've cooked maybe 3 things from RCC and like it a lot, but I still think LoP would be the favorite (for me). Maybe once I've cooked more from both that will change.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                      JoanN Jun 20, 2009 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                      So glad you mentioned both those Pham recipes, LLM. I don't have the book, but had copied and filed the ginger chicken recipe and completely forgotten about it. Time to try it again. And I missed the five-spice chicken discussion. Just found that recipe on Epicurious and added it to my Pham file. At this rate, I might not have to buy the book. Then, after what both you and beetlebug have to say about RCC, perhaps it should be Pham that's on my shortlist. Off to see what I can get it for on Amazon.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                        LulusMom Jun 20, 2009 05:22 PM

                                                                                                                        Love both books, but I'd definitely choose Pham over RCC. Remember that the 5 spice chicken is a grilled dish though. That fried rice of hers is also pretty wonderful.

                                                                                                              2. JoanN Jan 14, 2009 03:41 PM

                                                                                                                Chicken with Vinegar (LOP page 241)

                                                                                                                This is very different from most of her other chicken recipes. It’s delicate rather than bold and the flavors are far more subtle than I expected. It’s also a bit (but only a bit) fussier to prepare because the timing is rather unforgiving.

                                                                                                                You marinate small lozenge-shaped pieces of skinless, boneless chicken breasts in Shaoxing wine and salt while preparing the rest of the ingredients. A batter of egg white and potato flour is stirred into the chicken. You bring 1-1/2 cups (!) of oil to 200F, add the chicken and celery, and stir gently just until the chicken turns white, but before it’s cooked through. Remove the chicken and celery and dump nearly all the oil. (!) Quickly stir fry chili paste, add ginger and garlic, return chicken and celery to the wok and, working quickly, add a sauce of sugar, black vinegar, salt, more Shaoxing, more potato flour, and chicken stock (I used everyday stock because it was thawed and the chicken stock wasn’t). Toss a few times, add scallions, toss a few more times, and get it off the heat.

                                                                                                                The chicken is cooked, but just barely, so it’s very tender and juicy. I expected the vinegar to be more assertive; it’s noticeable, but as with all the other flavors, quite subtle. Although I didn’t like this as much as some of the other chicken dishes as a stand-alone dish (and I don’t mean I didn’t like it; it’s just not the knock-your-socks-off wowser that some of the others are), I think it would be marvelous if served along with one or two other bolder dishes. And especially for those who prefer white meat, here’s a way to ensure that it remains succulent.

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                1. Rubee Sep 1, 2009 06:54 PM

                                                                                                                  General Tso's Chicken (Changsha Version), RCC, p. 122

                                                                                                                  I chose this version, thinking that E would like it better since it had sugar, but neither of us found it sweet (a good thing for me, though I think he would have preferred it to be more like the American versions he's had). I thought it was delicious - spicy and maybe just a hint of sweetness to balance the black vinegar. I'm not sure I would like the Taiwanese version on p. 120 better since this was perfect as is.

                                                                                                                  I used slices of boneless and skinless chicken thighs marinated in light soy, dark soy, and egg yolk, and then coated in potato flour. The chicken is deep fried to crisp up the batter, though it doesn't really get crunchy; more like a coating of batter for texture.

                                                                                                                  Dried chiles are stir-fried in oil, add sliced ginger, tomato paste, and then sauce - potato flour, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp Chiankiang vinegar, dark soy, light soy, and chicken stock. Once thickened, add chicken and stir to coat in the sauce/glaze, stir in sliced scallions, and finish with sesame oil. Loved it, and leftovers have been good too heated in the microwave - the chicken stayed moist and tender. Another Dunlop dish to add to the work-week lunch repertoire.

                                                                                                                  Recipe Link:
                                                                                                                  http://www.kitchenlink.com/cookbooks/...

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  1. buttertart Sep 2, 2009 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                    I love the Sichuan book's recipe for yu xiang chicken shreds. The flavor is 100% authentic. For those in NY still cooking from this book, some good news re pickled chilis: there are now a lot of brands available in CN grocery stores here - I usually buy the one in small jars with the very cute little enraged hot chili pepper blowing off steam cartoon on the label. It comes in green, red, mixed, and chili with black bean added.

                                                                                                                    1. buttertart Sep 16, 2010 07:31 AM

                                                                                                                      Finally made the dry-fried chicken so much enjoyed here from "Revolutionary Chinese Cooking" - with 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (calls for 1 lb on the bone but was plumb out - the amounts of ingerdients here were adjusted to the appx 1 1/2 lb weight of chicken I was using), cut in 1" cubes, 3 celery stalks, sliced 1/2 in on the diagonal and salted lightly, 4 scallions, cut similarly to the celery, 1 1/2 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns, 7 whole dried chili peppers, 2 tb chili bean sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tb wine, 2 tsp dark soy. You cook the chicken in 1/4 c oil over high heat until barely done, chuck in the peppercorns and the chilis, stirfry a bit, then the wine - I use Irish whiskey, I think it was Barbara Tropp who suggested Scotch and we're on to Irish these days - the dark soy and the chili paste, stirfry until nice and glazed - FD says to do it for 10-15 mins until dry, but I didn't take it that far, the chicken was pretty mich cooked in the first step - next time I'll not cook it as much initially - put in the veg, get them hot, and serve. It smelled so good being put into the dish I couldn't wait to get sat down and start eating it. The moist crunch of the celery with the dryer chicken and the spices, a party in your mouth! Had leftover Chinese restaurant rice and the sempiternal cucumbers in soy etc dressing with.

                                                                                                                      1. beetlebug Nov 23, 2010 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                        Steamed Eggs (RCC, pg. 149)

                                                                                                                        Whoa, run, don't walk and mark this recipe in your book. This was fabulous and reminiscent of a dish I had in China last year (although mine wasn't as pretty). Simple and delicious.

                                                                                                                        Basically, bring one cup of chicken stock to boil. Once it boils, add it to 1/2 cup of room temperature stock. This way the stock is warm but not super hot. Break four extra large eggs into a bowl and then add the stock, a bit of vegetable oil and a bit of salt to it. Stir/beat it up.

                                                                                                                        At this point, she has you put it into a shallow heatproof bowl. But, since I had problems steaming pork and eggs in my pie plate (logistical issues with getting it out of the pot), I decided to use a deeper bowl. My egg/stock liquid was probably about 3-4 inches high. I used a bowl that I would usually eat noodle soup in. Anyway, it worked beautifully.

                                                                                                                        Place the bowl into the steamer, bring it to boil and then, on medium heat, steam for 10 minutes. Scatter scallion greens, soy sauce and sesame oil and serve asap.

                                                                                                                        The texture on this was great. It was smooth and silky and very comforting. It had a lot of flavor and I only used box stock. I'm sure it would be better with homemade.

                                                                                                                        I've been thinking about it all day, but unfortunately, for me, we ate it all last night.

                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                          buttertart Nov 23, 2010 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                          Why not make yourself some more? ;-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                            beetlebug Nov 23, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                            This weekend. I think I'm going to make it for post turkey trot breakfast.

                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                              buttertart Nov 23, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                              Nice.

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                beetlebug Nov 23, 2010 01:03 PM

                                                                                                                                It's a sign of the day. I also got the best turkey trot number: 888.

                                                                                                                                How auspicious is that?

                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                  buttertart Nov 23, 2010 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                  Extremely! Gotta win something with that!

                                                                                                                          2. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Nov 23, 2010 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                            That was my first-ever COTM recipe! In fact, it's the first post in this thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4946... Isn't it fantastic?

                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                              beetlebug Nov 23, 2010 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                              I can't believe I didn't see your report. I think I was looking too hard. What a great way to start COTM.

                                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen Nov 23, 2010 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                Well, I was timid back then, so, maybe my report wasn't suffiicently glowing. But, it's really simple and delicious. Very light and delicate.

                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                  beetlebug Nov 23, 2010 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                                  It was a great report. I just didn't see it in my haste to post mine. I wish I could move mine to under yours for continuity.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Nov 23, 2010 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                                    Maybe reply to mine with a "permalink" to yours so people will see it?

                                                                                                                                    (You know, I'm looking for something delicious I can eat on Weight Watchers tonight since I'm almost out of points. Maybe I should try those steamed eggs again!)

                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                          3. buttertart Mar 31, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                            Anyone still cooking these dishes? Your favorites?

                                                                                                                            54 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                              LulusMom Mar 31, 2011 07:58 AM

                                                                                                                              I still make the shrimp with chinese chives very often. My husband's favorite shrimp dish. And there are still a bunch on my "to-make" list. Oh, and the dry-fried chicken is also in fairly constant rotation around here. And I need to remake the beef with cumin after falling in love with the lamb with cumin in Sydney's chinatown. Oh, and the cilantro salad.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                buttertart Mar 31, 2011 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                Thanks a lot, LulusMom. Maybe a what's still on your plate from Fuchsia D thread is in order?

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                  LulusMom Mar 31, 2011 08:24 AM

                                                                                                                                  Or a revisit month? Someone else was saying on another thread how that was such a success. Unfortunately I'll be gone most of May and June, so i hope it waits until later in the summer or fall.

                                                                                                                                  But I'll say this, I never let the fact that a book is no longer COTM stop me from cooking from it. There are post-its all over my books with notes on what I still *NEED* to make.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                    buttertart Mar 31, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                                                                                                    Nor do I stop. These books are a signal achievement, I so hope she'll come up with another.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                      LulusMom Mar 31, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                                      Me too. I can't get enough - and she's such a great writer, and makes the recipes clear.

                                                                                                                                      The other book I keep going back to again and again is Gourmet Today.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                        buttertart Mar 31, 2011 08:51 AM

                                                                                                                                        I must break down and get the green one, I got it out ofthe library and loved it.
                                                                                                                                        The fantastic thing about FD is that the tastes you get from the recipes are exactly what they should be, just like you'd get in China or Taiwan. The smell of the finished dishes takes me right back.
                                                                                                                                        I found the Grace Young recipes to be a bit more geared to American tastes.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                          LulusMom Mar 31, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                          I wasn't around for Grace Young month, but at the same time I didn't really mind. I do feel like I get what I need from FD. The one thing I'm looking for (a sudden love of mine) is a recipe for congee, which I didn't see in either book. If anyone out there has one that doesn't require pork, please please email it to me!

                                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                JoanN Mar 31, 2011 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                                I think I have more Dunlop recipes in regular rotation than any other author or book in my library. Here are just some of my favorites, all made at least three times, some perhaps as many as a dozen or more: Dry-Fried Chicken, Tai Bai Chicken, Gong Bao Chicken, Beef (or Lamb) with Cumin, Dry-Fried String Beans (I make this with sugar snap peas and snow peas as well), Xie Laoban's Noodles, Pock-Marked Woman's Bean Curd, Stir-Fried Fava Beans with Minced Pork, Fisherman's Shrimp with Chinese Chives, and Fragrant-and-Hot Tiger Prawns.

                                                                                                                                I LOVE these books. And now, having typed that list, I'm really upset that I'm out of the country (and will be for two months) so no wokking for me until I get back home.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                  buttertart Mar 31, 2011 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                  Thank you for the pointers - they truly are great books. Hope wherever you are has its compensations for the inability to cook these recipes!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                    JoanN Mar 31, 2011 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                                    I'm in Guatemala--land of pork the way it used to be: fatty and full of flavor. Really looking forward to shopping trips to the mercado. I actually brought a cast-iron skillet with me, but figured that carrying a wok was pushing it a little.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                      buttertart Mar 31, 2011 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                      I gave up using mine when the patina was setting off the smoke alarms. No reason you'd have to forswear Chinese recipes if that's what you have to cook in (although the more abstruse ingredients might be hard to get).
                                                                                                                                      Guatemala? I have serious fruit envy.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                        JoanN Mar 31, 2011 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                        Yes, the fruit here is glorious. There are things, pineapple in particular, that I no longer buy at home because they pale in comparison to what I've had here.

                                                                                                                                        Believe it or not, there are two very good Chinese grocery stores in Guatemala City that carry nearly anything, including produce, that one might want. But I'll be living in Antigua and I'm just not going to start stocking a rented kitchen with a full complement of Chinese ingredients.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                          buttertart Mar 31, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                                                                                                          You gotta do what you gotta do, suck it up! ;-)
                                                                                                                                          I can imagine the pineapple, the ones we got in Taiwan were a thousand times better than the ones in NY.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                            LulusMom Mar 31, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                                                                                            Totally understand about not wanting to stock up on ingredients away from home. I faced that dilemma on our trip, and it was just too much to spend. We spent 2 weeks in one place, then went away, then two weeks back in that place (but without keeping the room, so couldn't keep the fridge stocked) and then finally in the third place the promised kitchen wasn't there. It would have been very silly to spend the money and time seeking out ingredients.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                      LulusMom Mar 31, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                      How could I forget those dry fried green beans?!?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                        buttertart Apr 27, 2011 04:43 PM

                                                                                                                                        I finally made the Tai Bai chicken last night - used 2 Frankenchicken boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 1/2 lb, increased the other ingredients accordingly - and we LOVED it. I liked the cooking technique (initial sear, add dried chilis - I used chao tian ones, the round type - and scallion whites etc, then boiling off the broth, fishing out the spent chilis and scallion, and stirfrying the by then dry chicken with the scallion greens) a lot. Given the pickled chilis in it I was surprised to see that the recipe called for more salt, and left it out. Was plenty salty as it was. Real flavor, what a treat. Had it with white rice and cucumbers in black vinegar, etc. Sorry about the usual BlackBerry crime scene pics...

                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                          JoanN Apr 27, 2011 05:12 PM

                                                                                                                                          If, at gunpoint, someone forced me say something negative about these books, I would say the recipes call for too much salt. For reasons of flavor even more so than health, I've cut back considerably on the amount of salt I add to nearly all recipes and no longer add additional salt, beyond the soy sauces called for, to any Dunlop recipe.

                                                                                                                                          P.S. No need to put yellow tape around those pix. They're making my mouth water and you can't ask for more than that.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                            mebby Apr 27, 2011 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                            BT, if that's a crime scene, call me a vampire -- yum!

                                                                                                                                            Still haven't delved into these books, although have been drooling on them for a year. I at least have picked up some ingredients (and was really excited to be able to understand some of the callouts over the loudspeaker in the store -- even if only a little). Can you tell me if these chiles I picked up in a Chinese grocery will stand in well for the pickled chiles called for in this recipe? I know you are the master -- thanks!

                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                            1. re: mebby
                                                                                                                                              JoanN Apr 27, 2011 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                              Most definitely NOT the master; strictly a very enthusiastic amateur here. And afraid I've never seen anything like the product in your photo. Will have to turn this over to someone (BT, BB, are you there?) who can read what's on the can.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mebby
                                                                                                                                                beetlebug Apr 27, 2011 06:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                I don't think this is the pickled peppers called for in the recipe. I think this is a kind of hot sauce. The pickled peppers are whole, red peppers, usually in a glass jar and probably from thailand.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mebby
                                                                                                                                                  buttertart Apr 27, 2011 06:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Oh but there is still so much to learn...so fun that you were catching things on the loudspeaker!
                                                                                                                                                  The characters shown at the top are the maker's name and location, as far as I can see, and the Roman letters just say hot pepper sauce (unless something is hidden by the nutrition label that shows that the FDA made them relabel before passing it for sale in the US, btw), so it looks to me as if it's not just pickled or salted peppers. And it's not the same as chili bean sauce (la dou ban jiang). I've never seen that packaging before, as far as I recall. Have you opened it?
                                                                                                                                                  The first pic here is of the brand of salted chilis that I really like with the adorable mad chili pepper on it (this comes in red, green, mixed, and with black bean, from China), the second of Kimlan (L) and Queen (R) la dou ban jiang - both are from Taiwan, the third (lousy pic) of the delicious Evergreen brand "super sesame oil" (from Taiwan), and the fourth of the special Gold Plum vinegar (from China) that we found good but not $5.00 better than the regular.

                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                  buttertart Apr 27, 2011 06:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                  JoanN - The salt is quite unnecessary with the soy and whatnot. (I say this as a person who always salts the tomatoes on a bacon and tomato sandwich, incidentally.) One of my Tai Da Chinese teachers' mothers was a very good cook (the family was from Beijing originally) - it was she who told me to get Kimlan soy sauce - and said that you were never to put salt in dishes that had soy sauce in them. (I've had that blue and white fish bowl since we got back from Taiwan in 1982, wish they still made them that size, just right for a dish.)

                                                                                                                                                3. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Apr 27, 2011 05:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                  This looks scrumptious bt, I know we'd enjoy this dish! Oh and your photos are terrific, i wish my bb was so talented!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                                    buttertart Apr 27, 2011 06:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Great dish. It's point and shoot city here!

                                                                                                                                                4. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                  buttertart Jan 15, 2012 04:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Dry-fried chicken suited us down to the ground a little while back - chao tian chilis and all.

                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                    JoanN Jan 16, 2012 04:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Did you add an extra ingredient to the chicken, bt? I can't figure out what those dark things are in the dish that look almost like small chestnuts.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                      buttertart Jan 16, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Those are the chao tian peppers. They look like cascabels. Got 2 packages of them at the HK Supermarket today!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                        JoanN Jan 16, 2012 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Oh. That's interesting. When I looked up chao tian chiles I only found photos of small, elongated chilies that looked very much like the tian jin chiles I usually use in these dishes. Are they similar in heat?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                          Rubee Jan 20, 2012 12:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Those are the elusive authentic Sichuan "facing heaven" chilis . I'm jealous buttertart! I have yet to see those anywhere locally.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Jan 20, 2012 03:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Oh, cool! The facing heaven chilis! *jealous*

                                                                                                                                                            buttertart, is that a nonstick skillet or a wok in your photo?

                                                                                                                                                            Hey, would any one be interested in a Lunar New Year COTM Thread? The new year starts on Monday. It would be fun for each of us to pick a dish or two from Dunlop, Nguyen, Pham, Young, Solomon (hmmm, which other relevant books??? and report on them.

                                                                                                                                                            I started a thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/825948

                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                                                                              JoanN Jan 20, 2012 05:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Oh! Is *that* what they are? I think I recall seeing them somewhere this past year but since I seem to have a lifetime supply of the tian jins, I resisted. Perhaps I shouldn't have.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rubee
                                                                                                                                                                buttertart Jan 20, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I'll take a pic of the bag, maybe they're lurking in a store near you. Chao tian = surpasses heaven, I believe this is the Chinese for "facing heaven" which would be "wang tian" if not fancied/poetic-d up. Need to check Fuchsia for the characters.

                                                                                                                                                                CNY thread? sounds like fun - it's a 2-week period so there's plenty of time to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                The pan is my superduper new I love it to death rectangular Scanpan, from Chef's, heats beautifully and evenly and does not SEEM to set off my smoke alarms like the Calphalon nonsticks do (makes you wonder...). My old and beautifully blackened wok has been retired since we moved to the new place, smoke alarms no like.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                  w
                                                                                                                                                                  will47 Jan 20, 2012 10:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  The ones I have don't look that rounded. The shape difference compared to Tianjin chilis is not that big.

                                                                                                                                                                  The ones I get here in LA can be seen in this thread.
                                                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6909...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: will47
                                                                                                                                                                    lilham Jan 24, 2012 07:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    The bag says surpasses/facing heaven on the picture you got.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Jan 24, 2012 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting. Stir-frying isn't an issue in a rectangular pan? I envision things getting stuck in corners? (And, yes, that does make you wonder about Calphalon.)

                                                                                                                                                                    How say that you've had to retire your wok. Can't even use it in summer with all the windows open?

                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                      buttertart Jan 25, 2012 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      The Scanpan heats so beautifully that it works extremely well, you just keep stirring. There's more surface area for things to brown on too. I don't miss my wok, really.

                                                                                                                                                                      Need to make pot-stuck doufu (not a Fuchsia) in it soon, it's really what I bought it for (lots of surface area to lay out slices of doufu on).

                                                                                                                                                                      ETA I think they make a wok...ooh momma!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                          q
                                                                                                                                                          qianning Mar 31, 2011 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                          These books are such a cornacopia of good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                          A quick look through LOP: Spicy Cold noodles w/ Chicken Slivers(pg95); "Long" Wonton Dumplings (105); All the sauces for poached chicken (140-143) + Cold Chicken w/ fragrant Rice Wine, these dishes are my main stand bys during hot weather; Boiled Aromatic Peanuts (189); Fish Fragrant Pork Sliver; Pork Slivers with Preserved Mustard (213); Boiled Beef Slices (226); Gong Bao Chicken (238); Sweet-Sour Crispy Fish (264) Fish Braised in Chili Bean Sauce; Tiger Skin Peppers (288); Flowering Chives with Bacon (291); Zucchini w/ Garlic(303); Homestyle Beancurd; Chicken Soup with Pickled Mustard (325).

                                                                                                                                                          Looking through the book I'm amazed at how many appealing recipes I haven't tried, but just getting back through the "favorites" takes some time....

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                            beetlebug Mar 31, 2011 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I cook from both books at least once a week. At home, I mostly cook chinese food and I've tweaked and re-tweaked many of these recipes. I wasn't that keen on Young's books either. I found the dishes to lack subtlety and really catered to American tastes. My husband confessed, at a CH gathering, that he was really happy when the Young month ended.

                                                                                                                                                            One of the dishes that I love that hasn't been mentioned in these newer posts, is the steamed eggs. The report should be above somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                            Lastly, I can't eat pineapple in this country either. The ones in Taiwan, China and SE Asia are so different and better than the ones hear.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Mar 31, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I must look at the eggs, the only thing is that my husband is not an egg man at all.
                                                                                                                                                              Any tweaks you'd like to share?
                                                                                                                                                              It would be good to have a what Chinese dishes are you cooking thread, not restricted to books necessarily.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                beetlebug Apr 27, 2011 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Sorry, didn't see this until now. So many tweaks, but I can't quite list them all since most are spur of the moment.

                                                                                                                                                                For example, the dan dan noodles, I combine elements of both recipes. I'll stir fry the ground pork with ground sichuan pepper, no dried peppers. Or the sauce will have no pork fat/veg oil but also no sesame paste.

                                                                                                                                                                Or, the pork with chives, I'll add dried tofu to replicate my favorite dish, xiang gan rou si.

                                                                                                                                                                Or, if the recipe calls for water, I'll use stock, or vice versa., I may not follow all of her steps either.

                                                                                                                                                                But, the biggest tweak would be technique. Instead of deep frying the meat into all that oil, I use Young's method of letting the meat sit for a minute, then a quick stir fry and then add all the sauces.

                                                                                                                                                                I love these books and wish that she would come out with a third.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                  greedygirl Apr 28, 2011 03:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I have been promised an introduction to Fuchsia Dunlop by someone who knows her quite well because they work together (he's even been for dinner at her house, the lucky man)! Exciting... My friend thinks she is working on a new book.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                                                                    q
                                                                                                                                                                    qianning Apr 28, 2011 03:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    A new book? Oh please do confirm that the rumor is true.....

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                                                                      JoanN Apr 28, 2011 05:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Exciting, indeed! If you do get to meet her, please grovel at her feet for for me. Um, uh, I mean, please tell her how much many of us here on Chowhound admire her and are in her debt. She's a rock star on my all-time-greatest-hits list, right up there with Hazan, Wolfert, Wells--dare I say, even Child. I've learned at least as much about Chinese cooking from Ms. Dunlop as I did 30 some odd years ago about French cooking from Mrs. Child.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                        buttertart Apr 28, 2011 05:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        JoanN hit the nail on the head for me too on all counts, please give her my best. Great, great accomplishments, both books, and if the new book is on Huaiyang cuisine I might just perish from the thrill.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                          beetlebug Apr 28, 2011 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Also, tell her that I planned my 2009 China trip around her memoir (ChengDu) and New Yorker article (HangZhou). Reports are on the China board somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                          I hope you get to meet her.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Apr 27, 2011 04:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for posting that question buttertart, I just found this thread and will have to read through all the great recommendations folks have made . . . I wish I'd been here for this COTM!! That said, looks like there are a lot of T&T favourites that I can take advantage of!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                                                    buttertart Apr 27, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    These books are essential if you care about Chinese food. The recipes are clear and the food they produce has the real Chinese taste. Dunlop is a goddess!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                      LulusMom Apr 27, 2011 05:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Better than 90 if not 95% of the chinese restaurants I've been in. Truly great results.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                    saltwater Jun 11, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, still using those dishes. In my house the favorite is Ji Si Chao Fen, a slivered chicken and noodle dish. It's that dish that has made me dream of owning a scallion cutter, but I've never seen one that looks right for me. I like that dish, but as with many Chinese dishes, the knife-work does take time.

                                                                                                                                                                    Dunlop's dishes have excellent flavor and balance. I can't recommend her more highly.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: saltwater
                                                                                                                                                                      buttertart Jun 14, 2011 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I recently got a scallion cutter and love it to bits - shredding hot peppers and so forth is a complete breeze with it. Cheap as dirt too.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                        saltwater Jun 14, 2011 01:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Buttertart, was it online somewhere or did you find it at an oriental market? I watched a tv chef use one where he pushed the large end of the scallion into a grate-like mesh (as best as I could make out), and pulled it the rest of the way through by grabbing from the other side, and it emerged in nice shreds, but I've never seen one of these online.

                                                                                                                                                                        Shredding jalapenos and such would be a nice bonus.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: saltwater
                                                                                                                                                                          buttertart Jun 14, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I got mine at Kam Man on Canal St in Manhattan ($2.50 or something) - this one or very like it. http://www.amazon.com/Green-Onion-Neg...
                                                                                                                                                                          The head has 6 or so parallel VERY SHARP blades about an inch long. You hold the scallion or whatever down on the board and drag the cutter through it - and turn it a half turn to get all of it shredded. I do about 3" at a time and cut it off as I go, working up the scallion from the root end. Very easy.
                                                                                                                                                                          The head has a plastic cover that has multiple warnings on it to be careful with it and store it covered, the blades are about as sharp as razor blades.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                            saltwater Jun 14, 2011 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks. I can see how that style would work well, especially now that you mention turning the scallion for a second pass.

                                                                                                                                                                            I'll look for that locally first.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: saltwater
                                                                                                                                                                            greedygirl Jul 23, 2011 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I've got one like that, saltwater - I got it in Vietnam I think, for pennies.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. JoanN Jul 23, 2011 06:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Dongting Stir-Fried Duck Breast (RCC, page 141)

                                                                                                                                                                      I had a Hudson Valley Farms duck breast in my fridge and decided to give this a try. The recipe calls for 2 boneless duck breast halves with skin weighing a total of about 13 ounces. My single duck breast half was a few ounces more than that. I had a Mallard breast; I’m guessing from the weight that she’s using something more the size of a small Pekin duck. And this may have been the root of my problem since this recipe, although it sounded terrific, just didn’t work for me.

                                                                                                                                                                      The recipe calls for the duck breasts to be thinly sliced and marinated in rice wine and light and dark soy sauce while the rest of the ingredients are prepared. The duck slices are stir-fried until almost cooked. Then you add sliced garlic cloves, an equal amount of sliced ginger, and scallion whites. That’s stir-fried for a bit before adding fresh red chiles (the recipe calls for 4 of the long, pointed ones, but that seemed an awful lot so I only used 2). You finish by stirring in the scallion greens and, off heat, the sesame oil.

                                                                                                                                                                      The flavors were fine, but I overcooked the duck trying to render more of the fat. The thick rim of fat around each duck slice was very unappealing and had to be pulled off in order to eat the too-tough duck. Makes me wonder if this would work if you precooked the breast in a skillet over low heat to render the fat and crisp the skin before slicing, marinating, and proceeding with the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                        LulusMom Jul 23, 2011 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        What a shame. Duck is so wonderful, and I've also had a bad experience cooking it once (but also some good experiences), and was SO disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                          Gio Jul 23, 2011 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Reading the list of spices it would seem the finished dish would be full of flavor and after the marinade the duck would be more tender. Absent the Pekin duck, would your duck have benefited by having been sliced in strips instead of "slabs"? J/W

                                                                                                                                                                          It is such a disappointment when a perceived fab recipe goes awry.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                            JoanN Jul 23, 2011 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting thought about the "strips" instead of "slabs." The instructions read, "Holding the knife at an angle to the chopping board, cut the duck breasts into even, fairly thin slices." And that was what I did. It may have been the size of the breast that caused those thin slices to turn into slabs. Maybe if I can pick up some small, inexpensive duck breasts in Chinatown I'll give this another shot before giving up on it. But I doubt I'd try it again with a Mallard breast.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                              q
                                                                                                                                                                              qianning Aug 6, 2011 03:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              A little late to the thread, but looking at your photo of the dish, which btw belies the copy since it looks awfully good, two things pop to mind--a) those duck pieces look very wide/deep compared to any stir fried duck dish i've ever had in china, so looks like you & gio are probably on to something above. b) i've often had stir fried duck or goose dishes in china where the fat was not rendered out (braised or roasted duck it is usually rendered, but not stir fried or for that matter in "pressed" or "salt water" duck, a favorite dish of the lower yangtze).

                                                                                                                                                                        2. JoanN Sep 9, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Duck Egg and Chive Omelet (RCC, page 147)

                                                                                                                                                                          Went on a Chinese chive buying spree, made all the usual dishes, and still had some green chives left over. This was a no brainer. Add chopped chives and a bit of salt to some eggs (I used chicken eggs), mix well, and cook. Dinner. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again under the same circumstances.

                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                            q
                                                                                                                                                                            qianning Apr 9, 2014 05:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Yep, this is the perfect solution for left-over needs to be used up garlic chive. Went very well with the steamed chicken with chopped salted chilies; a nice quick flavorful dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. q
                                                                                                                                                                            qianning Sep 21, 2012 07:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Changde Clay-Bowl Chicken pg. 134 RCC

                                                                                                                                                                            Made this for the first time last night, and we LOVED it. Full disclosure, I am always a sucker for this type of fry, sauce, cook dish w/ a "secret" flavor. They really are among my favorites in all of Chinese cooking, and this is a really good one.

                                                                                                                                                                            It is a bit of a pita, because you have to chop the chicken on the bone (my market used to do this for me, but they won't any more, alas), and then fry it. But if you can get past that the rest is straightforward--stir-fry aromatics (chili bean paste, ginger, cassia bark, dried chilies), then add back chicken, fried garlic cloves & liquid, braise lightly, add a few scallions and pepper strips, serve.

                                                                                                                                                                            The "secret" flavor is the Chinese cassia. It just makes the whole dish. The whole garlic cloves were also a delight, mellow and earthy and totally yum. If you are up for a slightly more involved, and let's face it somewhat rich, yet still very doable dish, try this one, it delivers.

                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Sep 21, 2012 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              That's going on the list. The cassia just the "cinnamon" sticks from China? Ii hate chopping chicken on the bone too, always afraid of chopping something else.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                q
                                                                                                                                                                                qianning Sep 22, 2012 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Agreed about the chopping, my eye hand coordination is lacking.

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes the cassia is the "cinnamon" sticks from China, but the Chinese cassia, although it is closely related to "true" cinnamon, has a different flavor. IMO, you really, really want the Chinese cassia here, not the cinnamon (i.e. the stuff used in western sweets, usually from viet nam or indonesia).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                                                                                  buttertart Sep 22, 2012 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I bought some Thai powdered cinnamon recently that smells quite intriguing but is mmuch paler than the regular one. Wunder what it really is?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                    q
                                                                                                                                                                                    qianning Sep 23, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    no clue here. lots of different closely related cinnamon/cassia species/varieties, and they all taste & look just a little different from each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                      SteveRB Jan 29, 2013 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Here is a youtube video with Fuchsia Dunlop, and at the end is gong bao chicken, I find it interesting to see what it looks like cooked in a Sichuan restaurant. I really like one of my local Chinese restaurant's version of fish-fragrant chicken (they call it shredded chicken with hot garlic sauce)and I make that dish at home, and this video confirms that chicken is indeed used with the fish-fragrant method.

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk_pOf...

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Aravisea Aug 15, 2013 06:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Has anyone tried the SIchuan Roast Duck in LOP? I have a beautiful duck in my fridge and I'm eyeing this recipe for a weekend project.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Aravisea
                                                                                                                                                                                q
                                                                                                                                                                                qianning Aug 15, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                No, but:
                                                                                                                                                                                1) I found her directions for the tea-smoked duck to be excellent.
                                                                                                                                                                                2) A fresh not previously frozen duck is always the best for any Chinese roast duck recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                3) Years ago there was a Sichuanese duck roaster around the corner from my apartment in Taiwan, iirc, their method was very similar to FD's recipe, the duck cooked and served this way was fabulous. To be a bit crude, just thinking of it I'm salivating.
                                                                                                                                                                                4) If you do not happen to have meat hooks, using a turkey roasting rack, or even just a cake rack, to prop the duck while air drying works well.
                                                                                                                                                                                5) If you make this I would really love to hear how it goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                                                                                  Aravisea Aug 15, 2013 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the feedback! This duck is fresh and I don't think it's been frozen. Good point re: compensating for lack of meat hooks, as I definitely don't have those. Will report back.:)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Aravisea Aug 17, 2013 06:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Sichuanese Roast Duck (LOP p. 251)

                                                                                                                                                                                I had mixed success with this recipe. I started with a fresh duckling from D'Artagnan. Last evening I made the stuffing ingredients and stuffed the duck and let it sit overnight. This morning/afternoon I did the scalding, glazing, drying and roasting. I also followed the directions to make the gravy that goes with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm baffled by several things with this recipe. One, the stuffing is supposed to serve as a "marinade" of sorts for the duck. This worked inasmuch as the meat closest to the interior had good flavor, but the meat closer to the skin had very little flavor. It tasted under-seasoned. If this were a chicken or turkey I would have brined the bird first, and sprinkled salt on the outside before roasting. I couldn't help thinking the duck needed either or both of those standard treatments.

                                                                                                                                                                                Two, the skin didn't crisp up on 80% of the duck. We were quite disappointed with this. I used two full pots of boiling water during the scalding stage, which did seem to tighten the skin a bit. I didn't have meat hooks for the drying stage, so I set the scalded & glazed duck on top of some stacking cookie drying racks, which kept it several inches off the counter and allowed (I hoped) for sufficient air flow. I also trained a fan into the kitchen to keep the air moving. After about 3 hours the first layer of glaze seemed dry, so I did a second layer of glaze (which the recipe says you can do for a glossier finish). By the time you're done drying, the skin is supposed to "feel papery." After 7 hours with a fan going in the kitchen, the skin felt a little sticky from the second glaze and not at all papery. I went ahead with the roasting, not knowing if it'd be worthwhile to wait longer or not - and we were hungry!

                                                                                                                                                                                The duck roasted as directed breast side down for the first 30 minutes, then I flipped it, so it was breast up for the last 30 minutes at 350 and the 15 minutes at 400. We noticed that the meat that was on the bottom of the bird after it was flipped was more flavorful than the breast meat (on top after the flipping). Not sure why that was? There was some water in the roasting pan, per the directions, and drippings that had fallen into it. Perhaps that gave the meat more flavor there somehow?

                                                                                                                                                                                Finally, the gravy fell flat. I wouldn't describe it as a gravy, which I envision to have a thick consistency.This was a very thin broth. I let it cook for several hours as directed, but it never got to be "rich-tasting." Even after adding a good bit of salt, there just wasn't much flavor there. We ended up mixing some hoisin and sesame oil to make a substitute sauce (which was quite tasty).

                                                                                                                                                                                So....not really sure what happened. I read the recipe over a dozen times and I'm pretty sure I didn't miss a step. I've had luck with so many of Fuchsia's other recipes that this one was quite disappointing. If anyone has an idea of what went wrong, I'd love to hear it! I've cooked duck breast before very successfully, but this was my first time with whole duck so maybe I made a rookie mistake somewhere. It's also possible that we went in with expectations that were too high, since we live near a fabulous Peking duck restaurant, ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Aravisea
                                                                                                                                                                                  q
                                                                                                                                                                                  qianning Aug 18, 2013 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh dear, that's got to be disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Aravisea
                                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                                    smtucker Aug 18, 2013 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am so impressed that you did this recipe. I had planned to make this for a birthday celebration last year, and read the recipe time and time again. In the end, I made a reservation. It was all too daunting.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry that you were disappointed. So much work!

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