HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


*August 2010 COTM - COMPLETE ASIAN: China

Our cookbook for August is The Complete Asian Cookbook, by Charmaine Solomon.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the chapter CHINA

There are a variety of editions and publishers of The Complete Asian Cookbook, although it appears that the recipes for the most part are unchanged between them. Please mention the edition you are using along with the page number when you report on recipes.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I did jump the gun a bit on this as I was looking for a recipe last week with beef and snow peas and the recipe on p408 (1992 ed.) leapt out, called appropriately Beef with Snow Peas. So quick and easy and such great flavor. I think it must have been the mushrooms that added the great flavor as there wasn't much else apart from soy sauce. I'd run out of dried Chinese mushrooms so used dried shiitakes. This is definitely added to my "quick dinner for family" repertoire.

    1. Shiu Ng Heung Gai (Oven Roasted Spiced Chicken). p. 394, 1992 ed.

      I jumped the gun too. I had stocked the freezer when whole chickens went on sale for 67 cents a pound last month, and so have a bunch of marinades/recipes for roasted and grilled chicken marked in the book. She suggests using drumsticks/thighs/wings, but I used the roasting chicken variation (didn't bother turning). I marinated overnight in garlic, Pearl River Bridge light soy, Chinese rice wine, peanut oil, garlic, salt, grated ginger, and Penzey's Five Spice powder.

      I chose this recipe because we had family staying over with three picky kids under the age of 10, and this had less exotic ingredients than some others, though the youngest wanted to know "what smells like cinnamon" when it was roasting ; ) Well, it was a hit! I just served it with plain steamed rice and amazingly they each had seconds.

      Recipe link:

      6 Replies
      1. re: Rubee

        Rubee that looks marvelous. I think I can smell the cinnamon from here. Those children are getting a great introduction into world cuisine. We made a combination Philipine and Chinese dinner tonight... relating to the Chinese influence on Philipine food. I have to get cracking and get my reports up..

          1. re: Rubee

            Shiu Ng Heung Gai (Oven Roasted Spiced Chicken) Pg. 394

            This was the second of our mixed Asian New Year's Eve meal and we absolutely loved it. Curiously, I too used the whole chicken variation and Pearl River light soy sauce plus all the other ingredients Rubee described. We didn't turn the chicken over either. It took about 90 minutes for the chicken to get that wonderful brown and crisp skin. Because we had one more dish to cook we turned down the heat to 170F from the roasting temp of 375F and let the chicken rest there for about 20 minutes or so. And yes, the aroma in the kitchen was magnificent.

            1. re: Gio

              Must try that on my next chicken. Thanks for reminding me!

              1. re: Gio

                Thanks for the reminder on this Gio, It's on the menu for this week.

            2. Junju Shun Ho Lan Dau Changgwa (Young Corn Cobs and Snow Peas with Cucumber), Pg. 412, 1992 Edition

              My final dish was not authentic but delicious nontheless. I substituted fresh off the cob kernels for the baby corn and green beans for the snow peas. Seasonings remained the same though: peanut oil, sesame oil, crushed garlic and fresh ginger. This was one of the few times that I used sesame oil to cook with and the aroma was wonderful. It was a typical procedure where peanut oil is heated in a wok, sesame oil is added, chopped garlic and grated ginger are stirred once. The corn and peas are added and cooked for 1 minute then peeled and sliced cucumber is added and cooked for 2 minutes. That's it. We didn't add any salt. Very nice. Served with Philipine chicken and rice.

              1. Gai Choy Chow Har Kau (pg. 384)
                Stir Fried Prawns with Mustard Cabbage

                This delicious was delicious. However, if you are going to make it, I wouldn't use the method in the book. I think the technique on cooking the shrimp was off and it will lead to overcooked shrimp.

                So, slight changes - I used a lb of shrimp (v. half) and I didn't know what mustard cabbage was. But, I had a lovely head of mustard greens so I used that instead. Since I thought I had more then called for, I doubled the amounts of the ginger/garlic and sauce ingredients.

                What the recipe wants you to do: The recipe has you stir fry garlic, ginger, the shrimp and greens for about two minutes. Then you add the sauce (water, soy, wine and five spice powder). Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then add cornstarch and water mixture and boil for another minute. I thought that 8 minutes for the shrimp was too long. I did have large shrimp and they looked to be the same size as the one in the picture. Oddly enough, the shrimps in the picture were shell on while the recipe does have you shell and devein (which I did).

                What I did: I stir fried the garlic and ginger first to bring out the flavor. Then I added the mustard greens and stir fried until wilted. Then, I added the shrimp. I did cover the pan but for a shorter time than 5 minutes - probably in between 3 and 4. Even that, I could have shortened some. I also used potato starch instead of corn starch.

                What I should have done: I should have used Dunlop's method of cooking shrimp from RCC. If memory serves, she marinates the shrimp with wine, egg white and potato starch. Then, you first fry quickly until the outside is light pink, then you remove the shrimp from the pan. At this point, I would have then stir fried the garlic/ginger and greens. Added the sauce and shrimp and cooked for a shorter period of time.

                But, the sauce was lovely. So many different flavors and the mustard greens were just delicious in the sauce.

                1 Reply
                1. re: beetlebug

                  8 minutes seems like a long time for shrimp, but the sauce seems like a keeper!


                2. Choy Yuen Har Kau Chow Mi Fun (Rice Vermicelli with Prawns and Chinese Cabbage), Pg.378, 1992 Edition

                  Where to begin...The ingredients:
                  Rice vermicelli, a few leaves of Chinese cabbage, raw prawns (I used Maine shrimp), peanut oil, garlic, ginger, dry sherry, salt, light soy sauce, chicken stock.

                  The directions:
                  Soak vermicelli in hot water for 10 minutes. Prep cabbage and prawns, mix garlic/ginger/wine/salt/soy/stock. In the recipe the prawns are cooked first in hot oil in a wok, removed, then added at the end. Because Maine shrimp are small I elected to wait till the last to add them so started with stir frying the sliced cabbage. The garlic/ginger et al are added and cooked for a couple of minutes. Next comes the drained vermicelli...toss to coat with the cabbage and seasonings. That's when disaster struck. As soon as the vermicelli hit the wok the whole thing congealed into an impenetrable mass. DH did throw in the shrimp in an attempt to finish the recipe but the resulting dish was laughable. Served it looked like a plate of wallpaper paste with little pink thingies popping out. As for taste...it was a non-issue. There was none. Although I thought it was weirdly enticing. I picked out the shrimp and they tasted their own sweet selves, but nothing else was discernible. Unless you were one of the kiddies who liked white school glue. He kept muttering under his breath but I couldn't tell what he was saying. I did hear "disgusting" once or twice. In the end we tossed it all out. We're still laughing about it this morning.

                  The vermicelli I used was Vietnamese Asian Boy (E.B.Q.) brand.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    So sorry to hear about this. It's so disappointing when a recipe goes so miserably wrong.

                    Hmmm...I haven't personally cooked from this book yet, so, it's a little rude of me to opine on the book when I haven't really tried it, but when I compare Solomon's recipes (just on the surface) to, say, Dunlop's or Nguyen's, they are so much more simple. Dunlop and Nguyen take you step by step in excruciating detail.

                    I wonder if Solomon was groundbreaking in her day, but if she's been surpassed. I don't mean that to denigrate Solomon's work--but, maybe it was a key foundation for people like Dunlop. There are a lot of cuisines in Solomon's book, though. So maybe she's been surpassed for some cuisines by Dunlop, Pham/Nguyen, Oseland, Jafrrey/Sahni, but not others. Odd.


                    1. re: Gio

                      That is so wonderful that you two can laugh about these things! Thats a great marriage. But I'm very sorry (and a little surprised) to hear that this was such a disaster.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        We really can't tell what went wrong or why. The package of vermicelli has the exact same instructions for preparing it. The Napa cabbage I used came from the farm in the morning so was Very fresh. Nothing really unusual with anything we used, except of course the Maine shrimp...but they didn't hit the pan till the very end.

                        TDQ does make a point about the early Solomon writings. Perhaps in her early days she was the only one writing these recipes for the home cook. And, that Australian person who posted in the main TCAC thread indicated that Ms. Solomon was adored in her adopted country... Who knows? Onward and upward. But for tonight we're making a tried and true roast chicken of our own. LOL

                      2. re: Gio

                        I am just laughing out loud here. Poor DH. Poor Gio. I can only imagine the panic as the noodles transformed themselves into an inedible paste, and the quick thinking, what do i do? Only to be followed by tossing in the shrimp in a desperate attempt to salvage the dish. Gosh.... just hysterical!

                        Though sad at the same time.
                        What did you eat for dinner?

                        1. re: smtucker

                          First we had really delicious gin martini. Boy, was that good. Then we had a few bruschetta, very simple: heirloom tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto, and fresh mozz. Oh, and an extra drizzle of EVOO...and another martini.

                        2. re: Gio

                          "Plate of wallpaper paste with little pink thingies popping out" -- tragically hysterical! I suspect you'll be laughing over this recipe for years to come.

                          I did look this recipe up and noticed that several pages before where she talks about the different types of noodles, she specifically says that mi fun (rice vermicelli) should only be cooked for 2-3 minutes in the boiling water. Mistake in this recipe? 10 minutes and then fried seems like a recipe for wallpaper paste indeed. As regards flavorlessness, my only thought is that adding the shrimp at the end might have taken away a layer of depth from not having the residual flavor mixing with the cabbage and other ingredients. That said, I don't think I''m going to be rushing to do this dish and I hope you and DH enjoy your roast chicken tonight!

                          1. re: mebby

                            Mebby... the package directions for these vermicelli said to soak for 10 minutes in the boiling water... So, I don't know. Looking forward to roast cicken!

                            1. re: Gio

                              Did you soak the noodles in hot water or boiling water? Your first instructions say hot then above you say boiling - those would be very different. Generally rice noodles are soaked in hot water off the heat so if you did boil them that may explain the resulting glue. I checked my pack of rice vermicelli (Erawan brand) and that says soak for 3-4 mins then run under cold water. That would have resulted in a much less soggy noodle (though wouldn't have improved the flavor any). Think this is a recipe I'll avoid - thanks for being the guinea pig Gio!

                              1. re: JaneEYB

                                Hi Jane... didn't boil the the vermicelli. Heated up the water to boiling in the water kettle, Plopped the noodles into a bowl, poured the, by that time, hot water on top of the noodles. Let them sit for 10 minutes. Drained, then added them to the wok. There were no instructions for running cold water on them....IIRC.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Gio - It's so frustrating, been there. But I've finally found the solution to perfect dried rice noodles. They're all so different so IGNORE recipe directions and even IGNORE directions on the package. 90% of the time I would end up with overcooked pasty noodles. Grrr.

                                  Now I soak in boiling water for wide rice noodles, hot water for vermicelli. And then use your own timing - you want them so they're soft enough to bend but still a bit hard so that you can finish them in the pan. It's better to have them underdone than overdone, since you can just stir-fry them longer if you need to.

                                  Made red-curry chicken rice noodles this weekend and ignored the directions in the book which said to boil for 4-5 minutes. Instead soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained, and stir-fried.

                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    That sounds like very practical advice, Rubee. How did the recipe turn out otherwise?

                                    1. re: mebby

                                      Great! Easy and delicious, will be making it again. It's based on a recipe from "The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles" and perfect for leftover roast chicken. Make a sauce of 1 TB red curry paste (I used Maesri), 2 Tb fish sauce, 1 Tb soy, and 1 Tb sugar. In a wok, heat oil, cook four minced cloves of garlic for a few seconds, add sauce, and then combine with soaked noodles and chicken. Toss with scallions and cilantro, serve with lime wedges.

                                      Tonight I'm making a meal from the Complete Asian book: Ayam Panggang Pedis (spicy grilled chicken - Indonesia), Coconut Rice, and one of the cucumber salads.

                                      1. re: Rubee

                                        Thanks, Rubee. Can't wait to hear about your Indonesian spicy grilled chicken -- I had totally overlooked that one and it sounds great.

                                    2. re: Rubee

                                      Thank you Rubee! That's what I needed to hear, I guess. Having had the disaster from now on I will definitely heed your advice in future.

                            2. re: Gio

                              rice vermicelli are a tough ingredient and they easily get oversoaked. Ive wound up with glue, too at times and I suspect experience makes perfect. but I wonder about the sauce - why in the world would you mix the ginger and garlic into the wet ingredients rather than sauteeing the g&g dry, maybe splashing in the sherry as the greens/shrimp cook and letting it evaporate? the whole process seems like a roadmap for a poorly seasoned, flaccid dish

                              There are bound to be weak cuisines in a pan-asian book like this. I think chinese cooking is one of the trickiest

                            3. Got on Chow yesterday and saw this was book of the month AND I had it! Went through it last night and earmarked several (many) recipes. Can't wait to try some and to cook some of the recipes listed here.

                              1. Sai Lan Far Gai Pin To Yan (Chicken with Walnuts and Broccoli p. 397)

                                This didn't read like something I'd normally be all that interested in, but I do try to branch out occasionally, so I figured I'd try it. It was pleasant enough - not madly in love with it, but I did like the crunchy element that the fried walnuts gave it, and it had a nice flavor. I think a few hot peppers would have livened it up some, but then I probably think that about a lot of things. You fry a cup of walnuts in oil, remove to dry; then fry 4 oz (I used probably double that) broccoli and remove; next ginger and garlic (I doubled the garlic) are quickly fried, then the chicken bits tossed in until cooked, then chinese wine or dry sherry, light soy sauce, sugar and cornflour (I used potato starch as that was all I had, and I know it always worked well in Dunlop dishes). Boil this until it cooks down and thickens a bit. Add back in the walnuts and broccoli. Again, pleasant but not earth-shattering.

                                This recipe is very goofily written. In the list of ingredients she has "oil for deep frying" (actually mine says for deep drying, but that's obviously a typo) and then a few lines down says "4 tablespoons extra oil" - if she's not giving you a set amount the first time, why give this here? It could easily just show up in the instructions. She also has the cornflour on there twice - once in the marinade for the chicken (oops, forgot to mention that above), and then later; however, the ingredients aren't divided into marinade/chicken. She never tells you to cut the broccoli. Now of course, we all know to do that, but just saying 4 oz. tender broccoli might throw a beginner into a tizzy. Sorry if I'm not making sense - still have that nasty cold. Anyway, it was a badly written recipe, and not as intuitive as the recipes in Italian Easy that were also poorly written. Still and all, I didn't have any problems and it was perfectly nice.

                                1. Bean Curd with Crab Sauce Hai Yook Par Dau Fu pg 414

                                  This is basically fresh tofu in a white broth based sauce. The sauce is thickened with corn starch and filled with flakes of crab. I used a small jar of fresh crab claw meat. I followed Solomon's sauce recipe exactly, using Swanson's chicken broth as the base, plus a dash of fish sauce for extra depth of flavor. The aromatics in the dish are ginger and green onions, no garlic. I felt the dish needed to be heartier as I was serving it for a family dinner. I added in Chinese dried black mushrooms, asparagus, and imitation crab pieces to bulk up the dish. I loved the dish. It was very fresh and light. The crab laced sauce gave the dish a nice seafood undertone, but it wasn't too fishy. My family enjoyed this dish and there wasn't a bite left in the serving dish by the end of the meal. One thing in particular that I liked about this dish is that the tofu chunks are not fried. I just added them at the end of preparation and let them heat through and lose any raw taste. The fresh and healthy tofu taste stood out in this dish.

                                  I served the dish with chile blackbean fish and steamed Jasmine rice.

                                  1. Adapted from Quick Fried Lobster in Hot Bean Sauce, See Jiu Chow Loong Har pg 387

                                    Okay...what I prepared was inspired by but not actually the lobster dish. To start off, I used pangasius fish chunks, not lobster. Big price difference. So it was really fish in black bean sauce that I made. Second, I didn't have any chile blackbean sauce (Solomon calls it hot bean sauce) so I mixed 2 tbs or so of Lee Kum Kee Garlic Bean Sauce with 1 tbs of Korean red chile paste. I also did not used bell pepper. Instead, I de-seeded 2 jalapenos and stirred them in at the finish of the dish. I also added green onions and cilantro. The last adaptation was this: the recipe specified stirring one beaten egg into the sauce at the end of the dish. I felt that would be too "weird" for my family, and the dish would look too similar to the crab tofu dish I made, since the crab flakes resembled an egg folded into the sauce. So, I left that out. I used sweetened rice vinegar, just a tbs, instead of wine, too. But I was inspired to make the dish by Solomon's recipe. So, it still counts, right?

                                    I very lightly sprinkled the fish with cornstarch and pan fried, then set them aside. They stayed nice and crispy in the dish later. I do love the flavorless white pangasius fish!
                                    I friend the garlic ginger, then fried the blackbean chile paste for a few minutes, then added in chicken broth and a dash of sweet vinegar. I also added a dash of soy sauce. I added in the cornstarch, allowed the sauce to thicken a bit, then tossed in the fish, the jalapeno, cilantro, and green onion. This is actually my typical black bean sauce recipe, (but Solomon inspired the addition of chile) except at Solomon's suggestion, I drizzled a dash of sesame oil into the sauce at the end of the cooking.

                                    This dish was so very flavorful. I will definitely be making this again.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: luckyfatima

                                      Even with your variations, you've still inspired me to make it! Just added it to the list, and I think I'll make it using fish and jalapenos too.

                                    2. Rice vermicelli with beef and long beans p.377

                                      All this chat about the rice vermicelli inspired me to try this dish where the noodles were treated very differently. They soaked in cold water for 10 mins before being added to the stir-fry which gave a much firmer noodle.

                                      Quick and easy stir-fry (as a lot of my cooking from this book seems to be when it's just me and the 17 yo son). Fry green beans for 2 mins (couldn't get long beans), then fry thinly sliced beef steak with minced ginger and garlic. Add beef stock and soy then toss in drained noodles. I added some sliced spring onions at the end as I felt there wasn't a huge amount of flavor here.

                                      It was OK, son liked it but I don't think I'll repeat it.

                                      1. Gwoo Lo Yook (Crisp Fried Pork with Sweet Sour Sauce), p. 403

                                        I used a boneless loin for this and ended up marinating overnight (light soy, Chinese rice wine, s&p, Penzey's 5 spice powder) and really liked the flavor of the marinade.

                                        The batter is made with flour, water, oil, and beaten egg white. I left out the bell peppers, peas, and water chestnuts. Otherwise, I followed the recipe - ginger, garlic, onion, and a sauce made with light soy, rice wine, tomato sauce, vinegar (I used rice vinegar), sugar, water and cornstarch. I did add a little pineapple juice and pineapple chunks as that's what mom does. This calls for a double fry. I left some pieces out of the sauce for lunch the next day so ended up triple frying those. I actually liked those best as they were the crispest and didn't get soggy as quick when tossed with the sauce, so it's nice to know this dish could be done ahead of time - just heat up the sauce and do the final fry.

                                        I've made Dunlop's version of sweet and sour pork, which is delicious (link below). If I had to compare, I prefer her sauce, but this marinade with the five-spice. Both good though, and worth making.

                                        First fry, and finished dish:

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          Wow, triple fried, sounds yummy crispy. Maybe I will try this with shrimp. I like the addition of pineapple. I know my family would love a sweet and sour dish.

                                        2. Woo Dip Har (Butterfly Prawns), p. 242

                                          As I was making this, I was thinking how much easier it is just to buy frozen butterflied breaded shrimp, but the 15-minute marinade beforehand really does add nice flavor. I used Pearl River Bridge light soy (would use a bit less next time), shaoxing rice wine, garlic, ginger, and salt. The shrimp are dredged in cornstarch, then beaten egg, and I finished with panko instead of bread crumbs.

                                          Served with simple steamed white rice and dipping sauces - a sweet chili sauce for E and for me spicy nuoc cham mixed with soy sauce - these were addictive.

                                          1. Jahp Wui Chow Min (Combination Chow Mein), Pg. 377, 1992 Edition

                                            Taking the chef's leader notes as a guide I used "what {I} had on hand" for this very tasty chow mein. The combination of vegetables I used were: mushrooms, white onion, spring onions, garlic, green bell pepper, Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots. The meat component was left-over pork strips. I was going to include some cooked chicken as well but DH ate it for lunch...! Everything was stir-fried in peanut oil. For the noodles I used fettuccine. When the veggies are all cooked chicken stock and soy sauce are added to the wok and brought to the boil. Then a slurry of water and cornflour is added and everything is mixed together. The vegetables are served over the noodles... I didn't bother to fry them, they were just cooked as usual and drained. We had a dessert of peach crisp. And that was dinner. This as a great way to use up veggies lingering in the fridge, and of course left-over meat and/or fish.

                                            1. Ngau Yook Ju Yook Yin (Beef and Pork Balls with Rice or Porcupine Balls) (1973 ed. p. 405)

                                              These were good and with a few tweaks could be really good. You soak short grain rice (I used sushi rice) for 2 hours then drain and dry on paper towels. Mix ground beef (she says lean topside, I used 93% ground beef), ground pork, minced rehydrated dried Chinese mushrooms, minced water chestnuts, scallions, garlic, ginger, salt and egg. Form into small meatballs and roll in the rice until fully coated. Steam for about 30 minutes.

                                              The recipe calls for 2 tsp salt for 1 pound meat. I cut that in half but was surprised to find that they did need more salt, presumably because the rice was somehow pulling the salt out of the meat. The recipe only called for ½ tsp grated ginger – I put in a bit more but would prefer quite a bit more – maybe as much as triple that. I’d also up the amount of mushroom and water chestnut and not mince it so finely, especially the water chestnut, which gave nice textural contrast when there was a larger piece here and there. A recipe worth repeating with those changes. I think best served with something saucy such as:

                                              Chow Sahng Choy (Braised Lettuce) (1973 ed. p. 412)

                                              I had yu toy (similar to bok choy) from the farmers market that I needed to use up and figured it would work and that this recipe may have called for lettuce only because back in the 70’s there weren’t many Chinese vegetables widely available. I separated the leaves from the stalks and gave the stalks a head start. Stir fry, add aromatics, add chicken stock, soy, salt and sugar, add cornstarch dissolved in water and you’re done. Easy and delicious and perfect with the meatballs. Might double up on the sauce if serving with the meatballs again.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                True about the Chinese vegs (outside of places with big Chinatowns) but lettuce is a common cooked veg in Cantonese food. It's auspicious because the name is a homophone for "make riches".

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Oh, interesting, thanks for telling me. I've been grilling romaine this summer so I certainly could see braising it too.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    are american lettuces suitable as subs for the chinese varieties? can you suggest what lettuce forms here would have the correct result? I see lettuce like greens in chinese greengrocers but some are more like mustard greens in taste than what i would think of as lettuce flavor.

                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                      The one I remember from Taiwan markets was a green leaf lettuce, with fairly firm leaves (not soft like butter or red leaf lettuce). You see it here. And then there's celtuce, the lettuce stem veg (looks like a lettuce plant that's bolted). This would be the green leaf one I'm quite sure.

                                                  2. re: GretchenS

                                                    I had half the meatball mix left over uncooked. I added more ginger and water chestnut and also some soy sauce and a tiny bit of sesame oil after looking at a recipe I had for lion's head meatballs. Then I followed that recipe: simmered the meatballs in chicken broth with some soy and some whole dried Chiese mushrooms, added chopped bok choy after while and finally added some cornstarch slurry. I must say, not nearly as cute as the porcupine balls, but the meatballs were both more flavorful and quite a bit more tender and I enjoyed this incarnation more than the previous night's. So into my "Tried and True" file goes an amalgamation of the two recipes.

                                                  3. Red-Cooked Chicken (See Yo Gai) - p.396

                                                    It was a pretty hot day today to be making this, but I'm glad I did.

                                                    Wash a whole chicken and place breast down in pot with a mix of soy sauce, water, rice wine, ginger, garlic, star anise and sugar. Bring to boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Halfway during the process, flip chicken over and begin basting every 5 min. Remove from heat, but leave covered until cool.

                                                    Serve at room temperature with sauce and save the rest for other dishes.

                                                    The directions say to put the chicken in first and then pour the sauce on top, but I found that it left a spot in the middle of the breast not coated with the sauce. And then trying to flip it without tearing and skin was a bit difficult. Especially since it says to put it in a sauce pan that will just fit the chicken.

                                                    It also says to brush the chicken with sesame oil afterwards to 'give the chicken a glistening appearance', but after seeing all the oil left in braising liquid, I just couldn't see adding any more oil.

                                                    It was pretty delicious, not too sweet or salty, which is what I always worry about when braising chicken on the stovetop. The wings were especially delicious because the skin is so thin there, but the flabby skin on the thighs and breast weren't my cup of tea.

                                                    I think I'd like to do a roasted version of this because I really loved the flavor and would would definitely enjoy it with crispier skin.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: soypower

                                                      That looks fabulous! Adding it to the list, though I may try your suggestion of roasting it.

                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                        I may try it too. There was still tons of cooking liquid leftover. Although I'd like to figure out how to get rid of all that chicken fat on top. Hopefully it will solidify in the fridge.

                                                      2. re: soypower

                                                        OMG...sign me up. That looks fantstic. I'd be tempted to roast it too. Page 396.. OK, I'm there.

                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                          Wow, just like a restaurant. Inspirational!!!

                                                          1. re: luckyfatima

                                                            Thank you, ladies. The star anise really makes it special. And the fact that I got to practice my chicken carving skills was a bonus!

                                                            Also, I forget that Chinese preparations of stewed chicken are greatly improved when they are fully cooled. The skin doesn't seem so floppy then. This happened with the Hainanese Chicken Rice from the Gourmet COTM and proved to be true with this recipe as well. But that could also be due to my partiality to cold chicken in general.

                                                            1. re: soypower

                                                              Could you take it out a little early and crisp it up in the oven for say 15 mins?

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                That sounds like a great idea. I'm planning on picking up some chicken quarters later and will try that out with the remaining sauce I have in the fridge. But I keep using it as a dipping sauce for virtually everything - eggs, rice, veggies, dumplings, that I don't know if there will be any left. Guess I'll have to fire up a new batch.

                                                                1. re: soypower

                                                                  Fire it up and add to any remaining of the last batch, it gets better and better. Just make sure it boils for a few mins each time and freeze it if it's more than a few days between chickens.

                                                        2. Hung Shiu Doong Gwoo (Braised Mushrooms), Pg. 411, 1992 ed.

                                                          This is the recipe that encouraged me to buy this book back in 1992. These appeared at a cocktail party I attended -- I wasn't even sure what the glossy black rounds on the large platter were. They were served cold and were unexpectedly delicious ... meaty, a little sweet, redolent of soy and sesame oil, and brimming with umami. Simple to make, and inexpensive using dried Chinese mushrooms, this thread reminded me it's been a while and high time to make them again.

                                                          (The dried mushrooms are soaked, squeezed, quickly browned in oil and then braised for half an hour with the soaking liquid, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil until they absorb all of it, growing plump, shiny and dark.)

                                                          In addition to serving as is, hot or cold, Solomon says these can added to other dishes, whole or sliced. They're very good indeed.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: JP_nyc

                                                            "meaty, a little sweet, redolent of soy and sesame oil, and brimming with umami"

                                                            I love this description here. Sounds like a lovely dish.

                                                            1. re: JP_nyc

                                                              That sounds so good. What kind of dried mushrooms did you use?