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January 2011 Cookbook of the Month: STIR-FRYING TO THE SKY'S EDGE

Welcome to our January COTM: STIR-FRYING TO THE SKY'S EDGE

Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from STIR-FRYING TO THE SKY'S EDGE. Please give us the name of the recipe along with the page number. Photos are welcomed.

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  1. Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake (Cremini) Mushrooms (page 209)

    Since I had made the stir-fried shiitakes from Breath of a Wok, I decided to make this dish with creminis, one of her suggested substitutions. You stir-fry minced ginger for a few seconds, add quarterd mushroom caps and stir-fry for about half a minute, then swirl in a mixture of chicken broth (again I used Dunlop’s Everyday Stock), Shao Hsing wine, and soy sauce, cover and cook until almost all the sauce is absorbed. Add more oil (not sure why and probably won’t next time), dump in the sugar snaps, sprinkle with salt, and stir-fry for about a minute, swirl in more broth mixture, and stir-fry one minute more.

    I adore sugar snap peas and will eat them whenever I can find them, but as Young says, they are best in late spring. Mine looked beautiful, but were, as she said they would be, somewhat “tough and fibrous.” Still, the dish was lovely, subtly flavored, quick and easy to make, pretty much an all-around perfect side dish

     
    6 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      The beans look SO fresh and good! But if they are more tender in spring, is there a substitute vegetable for winter? And maybe this is a bad stir-fry question, but would further cooking make them less "tough and fibrous", or just worsen the situation?

      1. re: blue room

        I saw some pea pods in the market the other day and thought they'd be perfect in this dish. I really don't think it's a question of cooking the beans more. They weren't what I'd consider undercooked. I just think it's that at this time of year they're simply not at their best. I wouldn't hesitate to make this again during the winter, I just think perhaps it will be even better come late April/early May.

      2. re: JoanN

        Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas (Broccoli) with Shiitake Mushrooms (page 209)

        Well, unlike Joan, I did have shiitakes. However, what I did not have was peas, so I subbed in some broccoli. (Really, it went like this: What shally we have for a vegetable? Well, I have broccoli in the garden that I need to harvest because it's gigantic. And look, I have some nice fresh shiitakes. What can I make? Okay, sure, that looks close enough.) In any case, it came out great!

        I put the sliced broccoli stems in shortly after the mushrooms (which I sliced rather than quartered, because they were rather large), then I added the broccoli florets and gave it a bit longer than one would peas.

        Also, I didn't have chicken broth, so I added a generous dollop of oyster sauce plus some water. Yeah, I know, but it made for a nice side dish. I really like oyster sauce with mushrooms.

        I made this one first, put it on a plate and stuck it in the oven with the wok cover over it. Then I made Martin Yan's Genghis Khan beef, which was done in a snap. Great dinner!

        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

          I made this last night using shitakes and mange tout rather than sugar snaps. It was a really nice vegetable accomaniment to the chicken with sichuan pepper from BOAW. Mr GG loved the shitakes - I used around twice as many as stated in the recipe.

        2. re: JoanN

          Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Shiitake Mushrooms, Pg 209

          Here it is late April and indeed the sugar snap peas are fabulous... bright green, sweet, crisp, perfect. I hydrated dry shiitakes, 10 of them, and used the soaking water instead of broth, a tad more Shao Hsing wine than called for, and increased the soy sauce to 1 Tablespoon. The peas maintained their fresh qualities and were absolutely delightful. I tossed the peas and mushrooms with soba noodles. There was just enough sauce to cover. Delicious. Side dish was the Garlic Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad on page 66, from Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite.

          1. re: JoanN

            Not exactly late spring around here, but saw beautiful sugar snaps at the farmers market and made this again, this time with shiitakes. Such a great, easy side dish. Served it with another favorite, Steamed Fish Heaped with Scallions and Ginger from "Seductions of Rice."

             
          2. Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (page 70)

            This was the first dish I made from these two books and I was not yet attuned to less aggressive flavors so this dish wasn’t as spicy as I had hoped it would be.

            Stir-fry julienned carrots and celery along with 3 small dried chilies (I used Thai chilies; next time I’ll at least double the number) for a minute and set aside. Stir-fry flank steak cut into matchsticks until wok is almost dry. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry a few seconds before adding sesame oil, shredded scallions, and salt and pepper.

            This was good but, because of the title, it didn’t meet my initial expectations. The beef was perfectly cooked and delicious, but the whole dish was just too subtle.. It could be that my failed attempt to julienne the carrots in the food processor had something to do with it, but I doubt it. Even though it will probably be just the excuse I use to buy both the Kinpira Peeler and the Negi Cutter. How have I managed to live so long without knowing about those?

            Now that I have more experience with these recipes, I’m eager to try this again to see if it is the dish itself that disappointed or just that it wasn’t what I had expected it to be.

             
            24 Replies
            1. re: JoanN

              You may have been disappointed with the dish, but it looks gorgeous. When I have ordered Chinese take out, and the heat doesn't meet with my expectations, I usually sprinkle on a few drops of Siracha, which seems to meld perfectly with Chinese food. It may not be authentic, but it really works well in getting the heat level up and not interfering with the taste...

              1. re: roxlet

                I'm never far from a bottle of Sriracha myself. Even have them parked at the homes of friends where I hang out and cook. But this wasn't just wanting to up the heat factor. There's no question that going into this I had in mind the steak equivalent of Dunlop's Dry-Fried Chicken, one of my favorite recipes of all time. Well, with expectations like that, no surprise I was somewhat disappointed. That's the reason I really am eager to try this again. Now that I have more experience with GY's recipes, I believe I'll appreciate it for what it is rather than be disappointed because of what it's not.

              2. re: JoanN

                I can't wait to try this dish so I can try my Kinpira Peeler and the Negi Cutter!

                ~TDQ

                1. re: JoanN

                  Yes, gorgeous picture of dinner piled high!
                  I'm happier *without* heat, so this book might be very nice for me.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (page 70)

                    This is one of my favorite recipes! I've made it a couple times. It really isn't spicy, but I've always thought it had a lot of flavor. My favorite thing is the texture - I love the chewy texture the beef gets. The first time I made it I undercooked the vegetables, but since then I've gotten it right. The first time I made it I was so scared by how much liquid the beef gave off, and cooking it so long. It's such a different way to treat beef. But the liquid does evaporate just like she says it will and the beef is amazing. I think it's pretty important to do the beef as thin as possible to get the right texture.

                    You can see in the picture how awful my wok is looking, but that will be the subject of another post....

                     
                    1. re: sarahcooks

                      I only realize now that I'm reading your report and looking at your photo that I left the flank steak in thin slices rather than completing the instructions and cutting those slices into matchsticks. I wonder if that's why I wouldn't have called the texture of the steak "chewy" at all; mine was very definitely tender. Will have to try it as written and see what the difference is. Will also have to do something about those julienned vegetables. Yours look great.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Personally, the tender beef sounds a lot more appealing to me (no offense to either sarah or the author!).

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          It doesn't *sound* appealing, but it is so good! It reminds me of the crispy beef that is popular at chinese restaurants in England and I see once in a while here. Or this Ethiopian dish I've had a few times that I now realize must be dry fried also (or deep fried maybe). I think it's called tibs, but I could be wrong.

                        2. re: JoanN

                          I noticed those generous flank steak matchsticks too! Figured you'd done it on purpose.
                          It would change the cooking time for the meat-- haha I'm thinking to myself "this looks easy, just pay attention" I'll be humbled!

                        3. re: sarahcooks

                          Sarah, your vegetables look terrific. Do you julienne those by hand or do you use one of the tools?

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            By hand, I don't have the tools and am a bit afraid of them. I got a japanese mandoline after getting the book and during my first attempt at using it (knowing full well how dangerous they are and being very careful) I managed to slice a hunk of skin off my knuckle. It was very traumatic.

                            1. re: sarahcooks

                              Oh no! That sounds very traumatic. I can relate. I have a nice mandoline (called a V-Slicer, I think) that I'm frankly afraid to use. (My husband bought it as a bachelor because he like to make his own french fries.) It has all of these nesting attachments and I've always been terrified that I'm going to slice a finger off just trying to take it apart or put it back together for storage, let alone use it. About 6 months ago I hung a nail in my kitchen to make it "more accessible" thinking I would use it more but, frankly, I'm still afraid of it.

                              I recently bought one of these http://www.chefn.com/Product.aspx?id=117 at Target and have been pretty happy with it. It's just simpler and more intuitive than the V-slicer. Dishwasher-safe, too. The only thing is I don't think mine has the folding handle.

                              I also bought one of those steel mesh gloves to use with it.

                              That's weird that the wok chuan is damaging to your wok. My wok came with the wooden paddle and, so far, I've just used the metal one. But, I don't have a patina to ruin yet, either. I wonder if the metal utensils are harder on the carbon steel woks?

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: sarahcooks

                                The tools are great. I bought them when I was at a Grace Young booksigning for Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge and they are not dangerous.

                                1. re: dimsumgirl

                                  Mine arrived in the mail Thursday. I agree that they do not appear to be dangerous, each has it's own cover to be used when storing. They are sharp, however, and simple caution is all that's needed, I would say. They'll get their initial use tonight when I shred some scallions and carrots for Banh Mi and quick pickled vegetables I'm making. There's some description and instruction in the book...page 45. I think.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I bought a scallion cutter yesterday at Kam Man in Manhattan - I don't read Japanese but the Chinese characters I can read advise extreme caution when using it. The cover for the cutter itself has a big "be careful" sticker on it. The back of the package has very detailed instructions I wish I could read!

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I've used each cutter twice so far, and I say just keep your fingers behind and away from the direction in which you are pulling the cutters. I Love them...!

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        It does look very useful - especially for concocting a fast Tiger Salad (cilantro, shredded green onions, green chili peppers, all in 2 -3 in lengths, sesame oil, salt, black vinegar) which is what I wanted it for.

                            2. re: sarahcooks

                              By "...awful...wok..." do you mean the splotched look of the coating, the seasoned surface?
                              I've seasoned a deep carbon steel fry pan only to have it come undone-- but I expect results too soon probably. Weeks, not months or maybe even years.

                              1. re: blue room

                                Yes, the splotchiness. I've been using it for a while and parts of the inside never get any darker, and I only use wooden tools. I briefly tried using a metal wok chuan as recommended, but it was way too hard on my wok.

                              2. re: sarahcooks

                                My turn! I bought beef marked "Bulgogi" from the Korean market which I think is flap steak. It was already sliced thinly so turning it into matchsticks was easy. I think my carrot juliennes were a bit too large, and I increased the number of carrots since I really dislike celery.

                                I used three Sanaam peppers from India and never would have known they were there. I was disappointed at the lack of ooomph. However, I love the method of cooking and want to explore this method more with some other spice combinations.

                                And finally, in the future, I will use less oil. I just didn't need the full amount specified and the flavor was too prominent for my tastes.

                                What peppers are people using? I need a little more pizzazz!

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  I used three dried Thai chiles and I, too, would have like more pizzazz. Made a note to double that number next time although I think that cutting them in half so the seeds are released instead of just snipping off the end might also do the trick.

                              3. re: JoanN

                                I made this dish on Sunday (with venison) and absolutely loved it. I definitely agree that there was much (any?) heat to it, though. I couldn't find any peppers that fit the bill except a bag of Badia red chili peppers; I thought that was the root of my problem. But if you used Thai chilis and didn't get anything, guess it wasn't just me!

                                I loved the way the meat turned out, especially. The browning process gives it such a delicious flavor compared to the other stir-fries I've done.

                                I was a little hesitant about using celery in a stir-fry, but was pleasantly surprised.

                                (I saw several posts that were a year and a half after this was COTM, so I thought it would be okay to join in.... Sorry if this wasn't supposed to be revived! :/ )

                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                  <"(I saw several posts that were a year and a half after this was COTM, so I thought it would be okay to join in.... Sorry if this wasn't supposed to be revived! :/ )">

                                  Hi Kontxesi,,, It's perfectly fine for you or anyone to report on past COTMs. In fact we expect folks to and love it when it happens. For the past several weeks I too have been cooking from a book that was a COTM in March 2008, "Revolutionary Chinese Cooking" by Fuchsia Dunlop. I loved the book then and I'm loving it now. So post away and Happy Cooking!

                                  Here's the list of archived COTMs if you're interested in seeing other cookbooks we've cooked from...

                                  http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                2. re: JoanN

                                  Spicy Dry-Fried Beef, p. 70

                                  This is a recipe that, when I browse through the book, I am convinced I have already made. But I guess that is just because I have made other versions from other books. I really do lose track of what I have made, and what I have not.

                                  The recipe has already been described. I'll just say that I used skirt steak instead of flank (although this particular skirt was not as good as what I am accustomed to), and I added more chiles than called for to up the spice. It was a solid version, as is usual for this book.

                                   
                                3. Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach (page 202)

                                  I was reading the introductory material and came across the comment that this recipe was an easy one to start learning how to stir-fry. Purely coincidentally, dinner was going to be grilled fish with stir-fried spinach. No reason not to do it her way.

                                  She uses smashed, not minced garlic, and adds ½ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon sugar. My smashed garlic began to brown, but that was okay with me. The sugar wasn’t discernable, but I’m sure contributed to the lack of bitterness in the spinach. I thought the dish too salty and next time I’ll cut the salt by half. But I’ve cut way back on the amount of salt I consume and suspect I find even a small amount more assertive than most.

                                   
                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach

                                    I found this on the salty side too, but it meant my husband enjoyed it, so I better keep making it that way! I think he also liked the addition of sugar because he thinks spinach is usually bitter, but this wasn't. I've never noticed spinach being bitter, so I guess we have very different taste buds (okay, I knew that already!)

                                     
                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach, Pg. 202

                                      Echoing JoanN's and Saracooks' report I too found this finished dish too salty even though the salt was reduced by half. G, however thought it was perfect.

                                      I don't think spinach is bitter and new spinach tastes sweet to me, especially the stems. The other two dishes were the Stir Fried Tofu with Pickled Ginger, on the next page, and a gingered rice from Donna Hay's Off the Shelf cookbook.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach, Pg. 202

                                        Made this spinach to serve with a recipe called Pacific Lime Chicken from Diana Henry's book titled Pure Simple Cooking in which the author calls for simple stir-fried greens and rice. I omitted the salt all together. Apart from being one of the easiest dishes I've ever made the spinach was a perfect compliment to the chicken. Will keep this in mind for other occasions too...

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Stir-Fried Garlic [Spinach], Pg. 202

                                          Popping in here again to say we made the recipe yet again but this time used Swiss chard. Omitted the salt but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Delicious. The chard was from our CSA and the white stems were sweet, the leaves that pleasant vegetal flavor that makes chard so tasty. This is such a versatile recipe!

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Stir-Fried Garlic [Spinach], Pg. 202

                                            Escarole sliced in thin ribbons is Delicious using this recipe!

                                      2. Stir-Fried Garlic Shanghai Bok Choy, Pg. 220

                                        Happy 2011 Everyone...!
                                        We Love bok choy and this Shanghai variety is simply delicous, even raw. Bought in the morning at our local Asian market, it was fresh and perfect for this dish.

                                        Combine chicken broth, rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. Rinse, sepaate leaves and slice bok choy leaves. Heat wok, swirl in peanut oil, add 3 smashed garlic cloves, and stir-fry. Add bok choy, sugar and salt... next time I'll omit the salt. Stir-fry the bok choy about a minute. Add broth mixture and stir-fry another minute or so.

                                        This was so easy! And beautiful. And delicious. It tasted like Chinese comfort food.
                                        The dish was a component of a 4 dish menu for New Year's Eve one of which was steamed basmati rice.
                                        Qing yong.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Happy New Year Gio (and everyone!) I'm interested in hearing how the pacing of your meal worked.

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Hiho TDQ.

                                            G put 3 gallons of salted water on first so we could par cook a 6 pound lobster. I had asked for one 2 pounder per the recipe, but in his infinite wisdom he brought home Mr Giant. More is better, right? He cooked the lobster and drained it in a colander in a bowl to be used later.

                                            While rice was cooking, we made the Shanghai bok choy. When that was finished it went in a 175F oven, tented on a plate. The eggplant was next then Singapore-Style Stir-Fried Lobster. The whole procedure went along smoothly and without the usual angst of "OMG what do I do with these 2 smashed garlics? I thought you said...". Of course a hefty pitcher of mighty gin martinis helped. There's not a drop of anything left except rice.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Oh, wow. That just sounds lovely! Did you choose your dishes for their symbolism or because they just sounded delicious?

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Honestly, I didn't give the symbolisim a thought, though I originally thought that would be cool. I just chose foods I knew we like to eat, recipes that seemed relatively easy to accompolish and dishes that would hold up well while other recipes were being prepared. I was going to make the lamb with scallions as well, but the three we did make went together very well. Another dish would have been overkill. Another menu I have planned is the lamb, stir-fried cauliflower, and Sichuan dry-fried beans...

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Sounds like a fabulous way to ring in the new year to me!

                                                  ~TDQ

                                          2. re: Gio

                                            Wonder if we were at the store at the same time? The produce at the northern market was SO much better than in Allston. The difference was absolutely huge. This is one of the recipes I have chosen for my wok initiation, so I will head back up early in the week to find all the refrigerated ingredients. I did look for lotus root, but didn't find it. For all I know, it simply isn't in season.

                                            1. re: smtucker

                                              Oh gosh wouldn't that have been terrific..if we were there. You'd know me, I need a wheelchair when I go shopping and G is tall with white hair.. But yesterday G went by himself since it's a bit of a pain to hoist the wheelie in and out of the car. He said the produce was 10 times better than the old Super 88. I can't wait to see for myself. He was able to find everything except the Tianjin, but that was probably because he didn't look in the right place.

                                              Happy New Year, SMT.

                                            2. re: Gio

                                              Stir Fried Garlic Shanghai Bok Choy (pg. 220)

                                              This was very tasty and basic. A quick green for the table. I added leftover bamboo shoots which was an excellent addition because there was a nice textural contrast with the crisper stems of the bok choy.

                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                Yep, enjoyed this too last night as a side dish for the Vinegar-glazed chicken.

                                            3. Stir-fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork, Pg. 228

                                              Stir-fry a mixture of a bit of pork, minced scallions, water, soy sauce and ginger about 30 seconds then remove to a plate. Add a bit more peanut oil and when hot add a tablespoon minced garlic, stir-fry for a few seconds then add almost a pound of Asian eggplants that have been halved lengthwise then sliced in 1/2" pieces. These are stir-fried till the oil is absorbed. After adding rice wine to the wok, the pan is covered and cooked for 30 seconds on medium heat. Uncover the pan, add some sugar and a mixture of soy sauce and water, turn heat to high. Stir-fry 1 min. Add the pork back, cover again and cook till eggplant is tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover again and stir-fry 15 seconds, add 2 smashed garlic cloves Cover and remove from heat. Sprinkle with more minced scallions.

                                              Whew! sounds complicted but it's not. What it is - is a nice tasty dish that brings out the lovely texture of the eggplants and their sweet flavor. Definitely a make-again dish.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Stir Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork (pg. 228)

                                                Another pretty good dish. Unfortunately, I can't really tell how much flavor it had because I served it with Dunlop's Shrimp with Garlic Chives from RCC. That dish has so much going on that any dish accompanying it is dull in comparison. So, any assessment I make would be unfair to the dish. I think it had a lot of flavor but it's really hard to say.

                                                In a small bowl combine ground pork with water, scallions, soy and ginger. Stir fry the pork briefly and then remove it from the wok. Stir fry garlic and eggplant for a few minutes until the eggplant softens. Then add rice wine and briefly cover the wok. Mix in sugar and a mix of soy sauce and combined with water into the wok. Re- add the pork and then there are a bunch of directions to cover and stir fry and recover, etc. until done.

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Stir-fried garlic eggplant with pork

                                                  Loved this! I had a ton of very small japanese eggplants in my garden I needed to pick before they froze and since my husband was out of town (he hates eggplant) I thought I'd try this. I had 1/4 cup ground pork frozen in little baggies from making dry fried green beans so it was very convenient. It was very flavorful (how could anything with that much soy sauce not be?) My eggplants ended up being kind of between tender and chewy. My parents (eggplant newbies) really enjoyed this. I'd say if you like dry fried green beans, give this a try. I might even try it out on my husband.

                                                2. Singapore-Style Stir-Fried Lobster, Pg. 172

                                                  Well, this was a bit of a do but in the end quite satisfactory, if a bit salty. (Note to self: Reduce or omit salt when using soy sauce.) The recipe calls for one 2 pound live lobster (in shell) but we had one 3 times bigger. No problem, after boiling the mammoth beast I simply used the 2 claws and the tail. As everyone knows there's no such thing as too much lobster. Anyway, it takes about 4 1/2 lbs hard shell lobster to get 1 lb of meat.

                                                  After boilng the lobster it's drained in a colander. (I saved this liquid to add to stock I'll make later with the shells) The lobster is then sliced and chopped into pieces that will be stir-fried. Ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 t salt are combined in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the wok, swirl in peanut oil, add garlic/ginger/shallots, stir-fry till "mixture is golden brown." Add ketchup mixture and stir-fry till fragrant. Add cut up lobster, Thai chili w/seeds, chicken broth, and another 1/4 t salt. This is stir-fried for a bit, A lightly beaten egg white goes in next and all is stir-fried till the egg white is combined with the other ingredients. Near the end rice wine is incorporated.

                                                  We liked this. I guess the word of the month is going to be "subtle" but I'd make it again, and of course, there's not a bit left. The lobster was That delicious.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    How in the world do you cut up the claws of a 6-pound lobster? I had a 2 pounder for dinner last night (my traditional NYE dinner) and had to haul the hammer out of the tool box to crack those babies. Wow! Six pounds! I don't think I've ever even seen one that size.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      You can't imagine how surprised I was to see that monster. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Did neither. Hauled out my heavy meat hammer/pounder thingy... used the flat side and one whack in the middle of a claw allowed my scissors to slip through. Not surprisingly the claws were easily removed from the body with a simple twist. Same with detaching the tail from the body. The legs were saved with the body for later use. Those babies are like drumsticks!

                                                      I have inexpensive Kuhn Rikon kitchen shears that are better than any other shears I've bought, including Henckels. And, the KR has a cover for the scissor tips. BTW: I bought those 2 peelers for vegetables from Amazon after reading your post.
                                                      Cheers!

                                                  2. Kung Pao Chicken, pg 113

                                                    I seasoned my brand new 14'', flat bottomed carbon steel wok (purchased from Amazon) using the "scallions and ginger" method described in the book, then I proceeded to cook my first dish, Kung Pao Chicken, using the 14'' wok yuan spatula I purchased from the Wok Shop (really nice, solid tool. )

                                                    Basically you cube chicken thigh or breast (I used breast because I couldn't find thighs I liked at my market) and marinate it in ginger, garlic, cornstarch, soy sauce, Shao Xing wine, sugar, salt, and water. (She doesn't specify any length of time.)

                                                    Heat up your wok, then add in a TBSP of oil, then dump in your chilies and toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns and cook for 15 seconds, then "push chilies aside" and add in chicken, let it sit for 1 minute, then stir fry for another minute. She never really says when to incorporate the chilies, but I assume it was at the point that you started to "stir fry" the chicken.

                                                    Add another TBSP of oil, then add bell peppers, stir fry, then a broth/vinegar/dark soy sauce/sesame oil/Shao Xing mixture, then peanuts and scallions then a mixture of sugar and salt.

                                                    As I described in the thread announcing the Young books as the winners for this month, my wok never reached the point where a droplet of water would vaporize in 1-2 seconds. It would just bead up and hang around for about 6-8 seconds. I decided my wok was never going to reach the vaporize point, so I just turned off the heat and added my first TBSP of oil (Canola).

                                                    The oil smoked, which (I now know) meant my wok was too hot. I should have stopped, but I didn't, I added my chilies and peppercorn, which immediately blackened, and turned the heat back on, but at a much lower heat.

                                                    Things did seem to settle down, but I realize now (after consulting with all of you in the other thread) that my wok was too hot.

                                                    Surprisingly, the dish wasn't as awful as it probably should have been. I wished I'd diced my chicken smaller (I hate handling chicken). Compared to Kung Pao chicken I'm used to, it was more gingery and less sugary and, sadly, wasn't as caramelized. I think the latter was due to my wok heat management issues and that I can correct as I learn the properties of my wok better.

                                                    Also, after I cooked this dish, I noticed somewhere in the book she mentions the importance of "swirling" in subsequent oil and sauces down the sides of the wok, instead of just dumping it in the bottom. She says it's to prevent the newer (colder) additions from dragging down the temp. I honestly don't know how well I did at this. I did "swirl" it in, but not sure if I was really swirling it down the sides or not. Something to pay attention to next time.

                                                    This morning, we made bacon in the wok (Young wants you to use your wok for all kinds of oily cooking when it's new). It was kind of interesting because it was easy to push your bacon up the side, farther from the direct heat, when it was nearing done. Later I'm going to try popcorn!

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      Good suggestions and recipes - Once I got rid of my cook-top stove/oven - and replaced it with a high btu gas (Jenn-Air - downdraft pro style) range - my carbon steel woks were taken up to a different level. Water beads in seconds now... Sichuan peppercorns are the ticket for anything Kung Pao. I'm really enjoying the different types of soy sauce as well. Thai peppers (fresh or dried) are a staple in most dishes. Sichuan blackened green beans (Thai peppers - garlic - ginger - light soy - peanut oil and peanuts) is a great snack. Breath of a Wok is my go to Chinese cookbook.

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        Yeah, you have to pay attention to the time frame of heating, oiling, adding ingredients...

                                                        G is waiting to make this Kung Pao. It's his favorite Chinese take away dish. Usually I don't have any because it's deep fried and is too sweet for my liking. So this recipe seems as if it would be a good one for me to try. Fuchsia Dunlop has you add the chiles and Sichuan pepper when the oil is hot but not yet smoking, then stir-fry briefly til crisp. I actually like FD's Kung Pao, though it's not like take away either, so I'll have to make GY's version too.

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          Kung Pao Chicken, p. 113

                                                          Not much to add to TDQ's comprehensive report. We both liked this, nice balance of flavors and I would definitely make it again. I used 6 Penzey's Tien Tsin chilis and the 1/2 teaspoon of Sichuan ground pepper. If I was making this for just me, I would have increased both, although the heat level was perfect for E. I sprinkled more ground Sichuan pepper and drizzled chili oil on mine before serving. I followed the recipe as written (including Shao Hsing rice wine, Chinkiang black vinegar, boneless chicken thighs), with the only change to use what I had - a half of a green pepper.

                                                          Dried chili peppers:
                                                          http://www.chow.com/photos/177021

                                                          Recipe link:
                                                          http://www.asianwisconzine.com/0810Gr...

                                                           
                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                            Penzey has a chili pepper that I don't own? How did this happen? Must remedy immediately! This is wonderful to know. Maybe pizzazz is around the corner.

                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                              Too funny... I just went to Penzey to look for the chili Rubee mentioned. My pantry has a huge basket with bags of so many chili peppers I wondered the same thing. I do have about a 1/4 lb of dried Thai bird chilis from the old Super 88...plus frozen Thai bird as well. Do I really need Tien Tsin?

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Don't know. Are you getting the flavor that you want when using the dried Thai bird chiis? If so, why buy something new. If you aren't, well, a trip to Arlington could be in your future. Most of my chili peppers are for Mexican cooking, since I am addicted to fresh Thai peppers for many of the Asian dishes I make regularly. For me, this is a missing element in my pantry.

                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                  I agree with smtucker - if you already have some good dried ones, you could always try the Penzey's when you run out to compare. I do find these more consistently spicier, though, than some of the dried ones I find in the Asian market.

                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                    Thank for the advice, both of you...! I'm taking it.

                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            Kung Pao Chicken - p 113

                                                            I made this twice, so obviously I liked it quite a bit the first time.

                                                            First time I made this, I used my iron wok over the Big Kahuna burner outdoors. I made it exactly as written, with the one exception of substituting whisky for the rice wine. I used 8 Tien Tsin chiles. This recipe was just great. Easy to make and delicious - a win/win. One thing I love about this book is that so many of the recipes call for things I tend to have on hand anyway, and are quick enough to make great weeknight cooking, even if that means I'm stir frying outdoors in the dark.

                                                            The second time I made this, my patio was covered in a sheet of ice, so I moved the operation indoors to the stove and used a saute pan, as I don't have a flat-bottomed wok. This recipe is not one where the authors says you need a wok, and the instructions even say it can be done in a skillet. And I have stir-fried successfully on the stove before. In this case, however, I must say the wok works much better. The problem comes when you want to push the chiles up the side of the wok before you add the chicken. That doesn't work so well in a flat pan, and my spices scorched a bit. The final dish was still good, just not as perfect as when I did it in the wok.

                                                            Overall, this is a great recipe that I will use again, but I'll stick to the wok when I make it.

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              Kung Pao Chicken, Pg. 113

                                                              Not much to add to TDQ's, Rubee's, and Mel's reports except to say I Loved This Dish! In the pantry we had all the necessary ingredients save the red bell pepper, so we simply left it out. The chicken was tender, juicy and perfectly cooked. There was lots of wonderful spicy sauce, heat from the Thai bird chili, that pleasant spice from ground Sichuan pepper, and the nutty crunch from roasted peanuts. I really enjoyed this and so did G.

                                                              G made steamed jasmine rice and that was perfect to absorb the sauce. No time for stir-fried spinach I had anticipated. That was OK though, because I ate more than I probably should have of the chicken. I need to make this again.

                                                            2. Stir Fried Chilli Scallops with Baby Bok Choy, p154

                                                              This was a big hit in our house tonight. In fact, Mr GG is now very excited about this month's COTM and I am going to be pestered for Chinese food every night, I can tell! (Especially since he has discovered frozen dim sum dumplings, but that's another story).

                                                              I had some frozen scallops which I used for this dish, having first defrosted and removed the corals. I cut them horizontally in half, as per the instructions, and patted dry with paper towels. I started off by mincing ginger and garlic, and stir-frying them briefly in hot oil. Add the scallops, allow to sit for a minute to sear, then stir-fry until almost cooked but not quite, and remove to a plate.

                                                              Add more oil, then add quartered bok choy and a sliced red bell pepper. Stir-fry until the greens are slightly wilted, then return the scallop mixture to the pan, and add a mixture of chicken broth, chilli bean paste, soy sauce and cornflour. Stir-fry briefly until the scallops are just cooked, then add sliced spring onion.

                                                              In truth, I think I overcooked some of the scallops, but only very slightly. The whole dish was delicious, with a nice kick from the chlli bean paste (I used the same one I used for Dunlop) and the sweetness of the shellfish really came through. Pretty healthy too, and do we ever need that at the moment! Highly recommended.

                                                              BTW, having read some of the blurb to this book --and I still think there's too much -- I think my preferred wok (the one I've had for at least ten years) is actually Chinese-made cast iron. It's round bottomed and heavier and thicker than the newer, carbon steel one. It has a wooden handle, though, not the metal ear handles which Young talks about on p15. I bought it in a shop in Chinatown in London which only sold cooking utensils (sadly, it appears to have closed down). I much prefer it, but maybe that's because it's so well seasoned now.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                Oh, don't make me want a new wok already! Is it flat-bottomed? I'm really happy with that feature of my wok...

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  It's round bottomed but the big brner on my range has a metal cradle type thing which the wok can balance on so it's not really a problem.

                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                  Stir Fried Chilli Scallops with Baby Bok Choy, Pg. 154

                                                                  This was our main dish last night with a side dish of Nigel Slater's Roasted Potato Salad from his cookbook, "Tender". The two dishes went together very well. Kale was substituted for bok choy, however, but didn't seem to alter the flavor of the dish noticeably. It was a very mild tasting kale and seemed to be enhanced by the broth, chilli bean paste, soy sauce and cornflour slurry. I used thawed frozen scallops that were very sweet. We both liked the flavor of the seasoning and will make it again, perhaps omitting the greens. I can imagine shrimp would be tasty with that sauce as well...

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Stir Fried Chilli Scallops with Baby Bok Choy, Pg. 154

                                                                    We cooked this recipe again last night using baby bok choy which our local Asian market calls "small bok choy" but to my eye they look just like the babies.

                                                                    This is really a delicious scallop dish. This time we used fresh sea scallops, sweet and briny, a little over a pound. GY asks for 12 scallops sliced in half horizontally but I didn't count them. Also, she has 8 BBCs for 4 people but since we're only 2 here I used 4. These are sliced in half as well. There's nothing left it was so good. Jasmine rice was the only other dish and it was quite enough to satisfy.

                                                                3. Hong-Kong Style Chinese Broccoli p. 190

                                                                  I found this recipe seeking a way to use up some of the Chinese broccoli I had in my fridge. Glad I did. Stir-fry ginger until fragrant, add Chinese bacon until it releases fat, add broccoli stalks until green and then add broccoli leaves until limp. Swirl in Shao Hsing and soy mixture and finish by sprinkling salt and sugar over the broccoli and stir-fry until crisp-tender. My husband preferred this Chinese broccoli recipe to the other we made. I’m sure the addition of smoky bacon in this one helped the cause.

                                                                  We served this with Stir-Fried Chicken and Shallots from BoaW. I am reticent to even mention it, as I only marinated the chicken in cornstarch without the seasonings (even though I had them all measured out- aargh!), but even with that omission, the results were good and will try the recipe again and then report back. For now I’ll say that the chicken was surprisingly tender and am excited to use fermented black beans in more recipes – what a great flavor enhancer.

                                                                  1. Last week I broke down a whole chicken and used the breast for chicken in black bean sauce, the legs for jerk chicken fried rice, and the rest for chicken broth.

                                                                    Homemade Chicken Broth (p.284)
                                                                    The recipe calls for chicken backs. I used a 4-1/2 pound cut-up chicken carcass with wings and neck, along with slices of smashed ginger, simmered for about 4 hours.

                                                                    Stir-Fried Chicken with Black Bean Sauce (p. 137)
                                                                    We thought this was delicious especially since the chicken was so tender and juicy. Cubed chicken is marinated in cornstarch, rice wine, soy, salt and oil. The sauce is made with mashed fermented black beans with garlic, ginger, dark soy, broth , and rice wine. I left out the carrots (which would have made the dish more colorful) but used the red onion and scallions. I also doubled the red pepper flakes. E liked his as is, but I drizzled mine with some chili oil.

                                                                    Chinese Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice (p 262)
                                                                    Lefovers made great lunches this week. Next time I'll make a double batch. Chicken legs are marinated in a jerk marinade of scallions (didn't have enough so supplemented with shallots), garlic, ketchup, lime, vinegar, soy, thyme, allspice, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, cayenne, pepper flakes) and then roasted. Since I knew I was going to be removing the skin before stir-frying (recipe does not call for this), I made sure to get the marinade under the skin. Cut up and stir-fry with rice, onions and carrots, scallions (didn't have so I used cilantro) and regular soy with dark soy. She also suggests using the pan drippings and I think that was key as it contributed a lot of flavor (and heat). I roasted the chicken a day ahead although Grace Young kindly offered me some good advice on Twitter, saying "the rice is even better if it's made the day the chicken is roasted because the chicken is juicier and more succulent", so I will be sure to keep that in mind next time! To make it spicier I added a bit of chili oil to mine, and doubled the chili flakes in the marinade. Also, I removed the chicken skin and crisped it up in the oven to use as a garnish for the rice.

                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                      Chinese Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice (p 262)

                                                                      Except, since I'm not a fan of fried rice, I wanted to make just the jerk chicken to eat on its own. The result was that the chicken was pleasant enough, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped.

                                                                      I used drumsticks and removed the skin before marinating, as well as making slits, in the hopes there would be good flavor penetration. They marinated for 3-4 hours, but the marinade only affected the very surface, not even getting into the slits. Now, had I followed her recipe and pulled the meat off the bones and mixed it with the pan drippings, the marinade flavor would have been more evenly distributed than it was with the whole drumsticks. (Though I must admit, the chicken was quite moist.)

                                                                      The marinade, btw, made closer to a cup than the half-cup she says. Hmm, now what am I going to use the rest of the marinade on? Maybe for something that I cut up into cubes before marinating, so there is lots of surface area to get flavored. Also, the marinade didn't really say 'jerk' to me. It was nice enough, but not what my mouth was hoping for. Silly me, if I wanted jerk chicken, I should have followed a real jerk chicken recipe, right?!

                                                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                        Oh well. Sometimes you just gotta try!

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          Oh yeah, I don't regret the experiment. But I want to emphasize that it was my adaptation that failed, not the recipe itself. When I cut the leftover chicken into pieces and mixed it with the pan juices, that was great, and that is, of course, what the recipe says to do. So really, my only problem was trying to make the recipe do something it wasn't meant to.

                                                                        2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                          Sorry to hear that, and oops! I forgot to say that I marinated the chicken overnight. We liked the flavor of the jerk, but it was not spicy enough for me which is why I doubled the chili flakes (recipes calls for 1/2 to 1 teaspoon; I used 2 teaspoons), and added homemade Dunlop's chili oil. As I mentioned, I thought the drippings were key for flavor and I added them in the last step of the recipe when I tossed with the scallions and cut-up chicken.

                                                                          I had a little over half a cup of marinade, so will be interested in others who make this recipe. I used a combination of chopped scallions and shallots, wonder if that made a difference.

                                                                          Well, at least you tried a fried recipe even if you're not a fan! I made the Fried Sweet Rice this week too, will have to post on it.

                                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                                            Chinese Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice – p. 262

                                                                            Not much to add to Rubee’s great summary above. I too removed the chicken skin and marinated the legs overnight (in a ziplock bag) then roasted the following day. The marinade ingredients yield more than is required for the chicken so I reserved the remainder in case I wanted to boost the flavors in the rice later on.

                                                                            Once the chicken had cooled I chopped it and froze it, along with any drippings. I actually did this on Saturday to make tonight’s prep much simpler. I also steam and freeze rice so I just need to give it a quick re-steam the night I need it. Tonight I prepared the dish as Young suggests and, after tasting the rice, decided to add some of the marinade I’d reserved to give the dish a little bolder flavor. This especially brought out the fresh flavor of the lime and spiced it up a bit.

                                                                            We really enjoyed this dish for its Caribbean-influenced flavors. I even used the allspice and pepper flakes that I picked up on my last trip to Jamaica! Since this is a super-quick and simple weeknight dish if you roast the chicken in advance, I’ll definitely be making this again.

                                                                            Stir Fried Napa Cabbage w Prosciutto – p. 199

                                                                            So the market didn’t have Napa but I already had my Prosciutto so I picked up Savoy cabbage instead and carried on.

                                                                            This is a real quickie. Prosciutto is julienned, ginger is grated (I do this in large batches and freeze it in a bit of canola oil so I just break off what I need when I need it), rice wine is mixed w chicken broth and a bit of cornstarch.

                                                                            Oil is heated then ginger is tossed in until fragrant then the chopped cabbage is added and stir-fried until it wilts then the sauce is mixed in to finish at which point the Prosciutto is stirred in. I tasted the dish at this point and found it to be . . . meh! I ended up drizzling in a bit of that black vinegar and, voila, a much perkier dish suited to our tastes. With that modification, I’ll make this again.

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                      2. Popcorn, pg. 25

                                                                        My popper of 20 years broke right before the holidays. Probably from over use since the twirly handle snapped off the lid. And, I was really craving popcorn for today. So, I gave this a shot.

                                                                        I was a little skeptical because my wok is about 10 inches and it's been 20 years since I've made popcorn in a pot. But, I followed the same proportions. I used FD's method of preheating the wok until smoking, adding peanut oil until smoking, swirling and then dumping the oil. Then I added more peanut oil, turned the heat to medium and threw in three kernels.

                                                                        When the kernels popped, I added the 1/3 cup of popcorn. And I started to shake and shake. Nothing. I turned the heat up a bit since I had to lift the pot off the flame to shake. Still nothing. Here's where the doubt started to come in. So, I put the wok on the stove and just let it sit for a few minutes. Finally, some popping started. And, it was slow popping but just about every kernel popped.

                                                                        The flavor was really good, probably because I used more oil to less popcorn then my usual. Covering the lid with foil was key and I got to season my wok a bit more.

                                                                        win, win, win (well, except I had less popcorn then usual, but that's not a bad thing in the new year.)

                                                                        22 Replies
                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                          Also, my smaller wok was only about half filled. When I was shaking the wok, I was convinced that most of the kernels would be unpopped because that's what it sounded like. But, I pulled it off the stove when the popping ceased. And, it was done. But, I think people with a bigger wok can use 2/3 cup of kernels and still have plenty of space. I may up the amount next time if I don't buy a new popper.

                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                            Ha! I just made popcorn in my wok, too (trying to break in the new wok!), only I didn't do the hot wok cold oil thing, I just added the oil right away and heated it with the wok.

                                                                            My assessment was the same as yours, that the popcorn was good because I used more oil than normal. And, no unpopped kernals.

                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              Turns out I do have a 12 inch wok. Next time (meaning next weekend) I'm going tonuse at least 1/2 cup of popcorn with the same amount of oil.

                                                                            2. re: beetlebug

                                                                              I just seasoned my new wok yesterday and christened it with a batch of popcorn to go with movie watching on a rainy night -- thanks for the inspiration.

                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                Made popcorn again today. Still used the FD way of heating and swirling the oil. This time, I used a bit more then 1 teaspoon of oil and a bit over 1/2 cup of popcorn. Less oil, more popcorn is a win win. Still had plenty of popping space in my 12 inch wok. Only a few impolite kernels but I like chewing on those anyway.

                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                  Made popcorn again today. This time, i used about 2t of oil (first using the FD method of preheating, swirling and dumping the oil) and about 2/3 cup of popcorn. It filled the space of the wok beautifully and the lid part gave it ample room for popping.

                                                                                  And, popping corn has quickened the seasoning quite nicely.

                                                                                2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                  I made popcorn in my wok tonight too. What fun! I'll need to play with the heat, because I think it cooled down too much when I put the kernels in. And then I got impatient and a bit nervous about how long it was taking to pop, so I had more unpopped kernels than I'd like. But overall, it was a success, and DH was delighted! I used her original proportions (2 tbsp oil & 1/3 c popcorn kernels). Next time I think I'll scale back to 1 tbsp oil, stay with 1/3 cup of kernels, and keep the heat at med-high after adding the kernels. Must keep experimenting!

                                                                                  I should mention that I'm using a round-bottom wok with wooden spool handles and a stabilizing ring on an electric stove. It may not be optimal, but it seems to be working just fine.

                                                                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                    Ah yes, the heat. I've been using mine on medium to medium high heat because of the temperature drop. I do have a flat bottomed on a gas stove. But, when I shake the wok, I lift the pan off the grate, causing a heat droppage.

                                                                                    I do think you can use less oil with more kernels.

                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                      I haven't made popcorn in ages but all of you are intriguing me. What brand is everyone using? I haven't the faintest idea which to buy.

                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                        Bulk popcorn from the bin at Whole Foods. Nothing fancy. I also like Orville Redenbocker. Actually, I use anything I get my hands on since I eat a fair amount of popcorn. Today is a popcorn popping day (sorry, LLM).

                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                          Please eat some for me vicariously.

                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            Already done. 18 inches of snow. I could either snowshoe or pop corn. Guess what I chose to do? ;-)

                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                              There is truly only one sensible answer. Thank you.

                                                                                              Melbourne is wet and clammy, but gorgeous. Not a kernel of corn to be seen so far. Funnily enough, lots of krispy kreme donuts (which we can walk to from our home).

                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                18 inches? Holy moly make two batches of popcorn.

                                                                                                I love making popcorn in my wok. My husband loves it, too, because pre-wok, he was always in charge of making popcorn. But now, I'm happy to make anything in my wok which accelerates the development of the patina. This means my husband is getting fried bacon for breakfasts on Saturdays and Sundays lately, which is a rarity Chez TDQ!

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  OK, so between you and beetlebug, I've been *craving* popcorn but hadn't seen any on my vacation. Yesterday I saw some in Auckland. It was in a machine. You put in a 2 dollar coin and could opt for butter topping ("non dairy" how is butter non-dairy?). somehow this wasn't going to work for me. But ... tomorrow we finally hit home base for a couple of weeks, and I will be doing a major grocery shop. Fingers crossed that I find popcorn (and a pan that works for popping it).

                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                            I have usually bought good ole Jolly Time, but I tried Bob's Red Mill last time. I've sometimes had problems with off-flavored kernels from bulk or even Jolly Time. I think Bob's is better. Or maybe I've just been lucky so far.

                                                                                            And yellow, I'm definitely a yellow kernel girl. White kernel corn is supposed to have more tender hulls, but yellow pops up larger. Orville Redenbacher's, however, I think pops up TOO large and is a bit dry. And I think the yellow has more flavor, but who knows, I haven't done a blind taste test.

                                                                                            Also, looking at my wok this morning, I'm amazed at the difference in the patina from just that one popping. I have a nice patina in the bottom of the pan already, but it's very splotchy going up the sides. After just one popcorn session, the sides now have a more even bronzy look. I'll tell DH we'll just have to have popcorn on a more regular basis -- we must suffer for our art!

                                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                              OR popcorn may be a bit on the drier side. But, I put butter to keep the salt sticking to the corn. So, I've never noticed it. haha.

                                                                                              The patina is coming all nicely and I think it's from the popcorn and FD's swirling and dumping of oil method.

                                                                                              But, weekly popping corn is something I can always get behind.

                                                                                      2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                        I don't have a top specifically for this wok, but have a ton of tops. Do I want the top I select to sit below the sides of the wok, above, or something else?

                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                          She says if you have a 14'' wok, you want a 13'' lid.

                                                                                          My wok came with a lid. For my wok, the lid sits slightly inside the wok. 3/4'' lower than the rim of the wok. There are two screws, one on top of the other, that hold the long "helper" handles. The lid sits on top of the head of the second (lower) screw so that only head of the upper screw is exposed.

                                                                                          I hope that helps!

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            Turns out that there was only one option. And it fits the top of the wok almost perfectly. This was really fun, and makes a darn good popcorn kernel!

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              I'm really glad I read this, SMT and TDQ. We've been using a flat cover from my canning pot since it was easy to get out of a pantry cabinet. But last night G found the original wok cover so now all I need are the corn kernels...

                                                                                          2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                            So, popcorn lovers, once you've learned how to make popcorn in your wok in January, you can use it to make Sweet-and-salty popcorn with orange blossom honey on page 76-77 of TENYTC in February. I might have to get an early start...

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                          3. Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Rice Wine, Pg. 214

                                                                                            Last night we cooked a simple roast chicken and made two stir-fried vegetable dishes to accompany it. The combination was tasty and went together very well. The cauliflower becomes somewhat crispy and we didn't even notice I eliminated the salt.

                                                                                            To start cauliflower florets are blanched then drained, and rice wine is combined with rice vinegar and set aside. After the wok is heated and oil swirled in ginger slices are stir-fried a very short time. Next the florets are added then the wine and vinegar mixture. This is stir-fried 2 minutes till the cauliflower is slightly brown and crisp tender. Delicious. Next time, though I'll add a bit more ginger.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              We liked this dish as well, which I made to go with the Five-Spice pork chops from BOAW. It meant our plate of food was a bit beige, but tasted delicious! I didn't bother mixing the wine and the vinegar - just added them in quick succession. Very tasty.

                                                                                            2. Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans, Pg. 233

                                                                                              Gosh these were so good. I had to concoct my version of the chopped Sichuan preserved vegetables, though. Here's what I did: In the fridge I had a jar of organic fermented red cabbage. Just cabbage and salt. In the pantry was a jar of shredded hot cherry vinegar peppers. I rinsed 2 tablespoons of cabbage, added 1 tablespoon of the cherry peppers and chopped them together. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of CSPV. Voila!
                                                                                              (I know it's not authentic, but the improvisation was fun)

                                                                                              The beans are stir-fried in a sequence 5 times that makes them, when finished, slightly al dente, browned, decidedly fresh tasting. They're cooked first in the oiled wok then removed to a plate.
                                                                                              Ginger is stir-fried next then 1/4 cup of ground pork is cooked till no longer pink. Return beans to wok, toss in the preserved veggies, sprinkle sugar over, swirl in soy sauce and cook everything for a minute.

                                                                                              We loved these beans! Not one is left. This was the second dish that accompanied roast chicken. I suppose we could have made rice too, but we really didn't miss it, nor need it.

                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Nice improv! Plus, I LOVE that you just happened to have a "jar of organic fermented red cabbage" in the fridge. : ) Those beans are on my to-cook list too.

                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                  "I LOVE that you just happened to have a "jar of organic fermented red cabbage" in the fridge."

                                                                                                  Goodness, doesn't everyone? Seriously, that's one of those "You know you're a chowhound when..." kinds of moments.

                                                                                                  I love that these recipes are flexible.

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    Rubee & TDQ:
                                                                                                    The kraut comes from Thirty Acre Farm in Whitefield, Maine and is absolutely wonderful. I usually buy the Ruby, Sauerkraut (Cabbage and Celtic sea salt) and Sauerkraut w/ caraway seed and juniper berry. I misspoke above when I said the red cabbage only had salt. Onion, garlic, bay leaves and celtic sea salt are included. I just ordered the kimchi and pickles...!

                                                                                                    Here's the link:
                                                                                                    http://www.thirtyacrefarm.com/culture...

                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                      What's so special about celtic sea salt, I wonder.

                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                        Dunno, but according to this site it's the new-old wonder drug:
                                                                                                        "Celtic Sea Salts are a prime condiment that stimulates salivation, helps to balance and replenishes all of the body's electrolytes." More here:

                                                                                                        http://www.healthfree.com/celtic_sea_...

                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          Protects against radiation and atomic fallout? Right. Guess I'll order some instead of building that shelter in my basement...

                                                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                          When it dances, it's arms remain still.

                                                                                                        3. re: Gio

                                                                                                          Gio, did you ever try the kimchi?

                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            Never tried kimchi, TDQ. I guess I'll have to now, though. Another trip to the next town is in order where there's a good Asian market. But... I have sooooo many Asian ingredients in my larder... Yet, I think it has to be done.

                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              Yep. Gathering all of the necessary ingredients is an important part of Dunlop month!

                                                                                                              I need to give my wok a salt-facial, too!

                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                Just about the only ingredient I don't have is chopped Sichuan preserved vegetables.

                                                                                                                I don't know if you really need to give your wok another scrub, TDQ. I've had my wok for more than 25 years and have never done that "facial". The wok is clean, food has never stuck, and there is a nice flavor to the food we cook in it. G even uses it to cook non-Asian food...

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  I've barely used my wok since Grace Young month. :( I'm thinking that, after sitting idle for almost 2 years, it might need a little TLC. You think I should just try it and see how it goes? Maybe I should make a couple of batches of popcorn?

                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    The popcorn is a good idea. Start using it for simple sauteed vegetables, or bacon, if you cook that.

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                      Popcorn in the wok is ALWAYS a good idea. I must do this at least once a week. Such a treat.

                                                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                                                        Wonderful Gio! That is what it is all about.

                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans, Pg. 233

                                                                                                          This is the third time we made the Sichuan green beans and we loved it just as much as ever. The first time I had to concoct my own rendition of the preserved vegetable using organic fermented red cabbage and shredded hot cherry peppers. The second time the Sichuan preserved vegetable was used, and last night we used preserved mustard tubers. Also, I used Pearl River Bridge light soy sauce.

                                                                                                          Organic minced pork and farm fresh vegetables plus the mustard tuber came together to produce a perfectly delicious dish. The kitchen smelled like a Chinese restaurant! Other dishes were another favorite Grace Young recipe: Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach on page 202 subbing escarole for the spinach, steamed broccoli and orange cauliflower with cumin/lime/mayo dressing, and steamed jasmine rice. Fab meal!

                                                                                                        2. Cashew chicken p.123

                                                                                                          I made this with chicken breasts rather than thighs (pandering to kids as usual). I think it would have had a better flavor with thighs as I found it a bit bland, though I enjoyed it. The flavor is coming from ginger, garlic, soy, rice wine so nothing adding heat. Good texture though from celery, carrots, sugar snap peas and roasted cashews.

                                                                                                          1. Stir-Fried Yau Choi with Oyster Sauce p. 196

                                                                                                            Another simple treatment for Chinese greens (I really am getting hooked on them). Cook garlic in oil until fragrant, add yau choi until coated with oil, add white pepper until leaves are limp and finish with oyster and fish sauce and cook until crisp-tender. Sweet, but still delicately flavored sauce and just enough to lightly season the greens.

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                              I've belatedly realised that Yau Choi is the same as Choy Sum. I bought some in Chinatown the other day and I'm thinking of making this tomorrow.

                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                I have had some difficulty identifying some of the greens as it seems that different ingredients appear to have the same names or the same ingredient may have a couple different names. The Yau Choi I used is all green (like the first picture linked). The choy sum I used last night (will post soon) had a white bottom like baby bok choy (like the third picture in the first row linked). http://tinyurl.com/29zay2l

                                                                                                                I hope you like the recipe. It wasn't a knock your socks off kind of dish, just a simply prepared dish with nice seasoning. I really like the flavors of yau choi and gai lan.

                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                  Young says somewhere that yau choi is sometimes known as choy sum. I'd never even heard of yau choi. They are all pretty similar to be honest and can probably be used interchangeably.

                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                    FWIW, in Cantonese "Yau Choi" is used to described two totally different species of veg, see these charts from Evergreen Seeds web site (which is a great place to get pictures/descriptions/name variants on a host of Asian vegetables):

                                                                                                                    Yau choi
                                                                                                                    Botanical Name Brassica rapa var. parachinensis, Brassica chinensis var. oleifera
                                                                                                                    English Chinese Flowering Cabbage, Chinese Soup Green, Yellow Flowering Cabbage, Edible Rape, Mock Pak Choy, Yellow Flower Choy Sum, Green Choy Sum
                                                                                                                    Chinese Choy Sum, Cai Xin, Cai Tsai, You Cai
                                                                                                                    Japanese Saishin, Aburana
                                                                                                                    Vietnamese Cái Ngot
                                                                                                                    Thai Pakauyai (White), Pakaukeo (Green)
                                                                                                                    Korean Yuchaeip
                                                                                                                    Malay Sawi Bunga, Sawi Manis

                                                                                                                    Choy Sum
                                                                                                                    Botanical Name B. chinensis var. Parachinensis
                                                                                                                    English Flowering White Pak Choi, Cantonese Pak Choy
                                                                                                                    Chinese Cai Xin, Pei Choy Sum
                                                                                                                    Japanese Saishin

                                                                                                                    (above is a quick cut/paste as I couldn't get the link to insert properly)

                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                      In Hong Kong, yau choi is not actually a type of vegetable, but simply greens cooked in oyster sauce. The most common vegetables cooked using this technique is choy sum and kai lan. Thought you can sometimes ordered it with lettuce. It's a very simple dish that never appears on the menu. But you can always order it in restuarants. It's however more commonly eaten in cheaper eateries, like noodle stalls.

                                                                                                                      See http://tinyurl.com/3a99mjn

                                                                                                                      (Use your google translator).

                                                                                                                      I think googling let me believe the word yau choi means a specific type of vegetable in other parts of china.

                                                                                                                      1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                        "菜心" (cai xin in Mandarin, choi sum in Cantonese), means literally "heart of the vegetable" and generally refers to the small inner part of chinese cabbage; "油菜" (you cai in Mandarin yau choi in Cantonese) is most often used to describe a specific vegetable ( Brassica chinensis var. oleifera, i.e. edible rape), and when I have bought/ordered it in Hong Kong, Canton, and in Cantonese restaurants in the Boston area, I have received this vegetable. However, in some parts of Canton, as the following note from Evergreen's web site makes clear, the terms are used differently.

                                                                                                                        "Edible Yu Choy is different to the oil seed rape widely grown in the West. Edible Yu Choy is grown mainly for harvesting young leaves and flowering stalks. Plants are picked when bolting and are used in many Chinese stir-fry foods. Yu Choy produces green stalks and tender leaves for cooking uses. The plant grows very fast and vigorously in temperature climates, but may bolt premature in hot summer. Seeds are sown in spring and fall.

                                                                                                                        Special Note: Choy Sum in Chinese means the inner stalks and tips, and thus Yu Choy is also called Green Choy Sum in some regions. Cantonese love to eat the delicious stalks and tips of this vegetable. Choy Sum refers generally to other Chiense cabbage varieties, with white stalks, also called White Choy Sum."

                                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                          Thanks for that. Looks like I definitely have some kind of yu choi or green choy sum. Definitely isn't the white choy sum.

                                                                                                              2. Hoisin Explosion Chicken, p. 114

                                                                                                                Great dish -- DH said, "You can do this again!" And I am totally sold on this velveting (egg white/cornstarch) method with the chicken.

                                                                                                                Cut boneless chicken breast into bite-size pieces. Marinate in egg white, cornstarch, Shao Hsing wine, and salt. After 30 minutes, blanch chicken in simmering water for 1 minutes and set aside. Stir-fry minced garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Add cut up green bell pepper. Add chicken and bamboo shoots, then hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and a little more wine.

                                                                                                                The chicken texture was great. The coating makes the chicken very toothsome, and keeps it from overcooking and getting tough & stringy. The marinating does add time, but really, by the time I was done with the rest of the prep, the chicken had had its 30 minutes of marinating. So it all works out.

                                                                                                                For the vegetables, I actually used broccoli and carrots instead of green pepper and bamboo shoots. Since broccoli stems and carrots are denser vegetables that can take longer to cook (I cut the carrots into coins rather than julienne), I took a trick from another recipe and blanched them for a minute (hey, I had the boiling water ready and waiting), then took them out to drain before blanching the chicken. It worked great.

                                                                                                                This dish was flavorful, but not overwhelming. The dominant flavor is hoisin sauce, which is always a hit at our house. There's 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, but those who like heat would undoubtedly want more (although even that amount had us coughing when it volatilized). There's also 1 tbsp each minced garlic and ginger. I minced 3 cloves of garlic and was shocked that it only came to half a tablespoon. Admittedly, they were small cloves, but still! So I minced some more, and then was surprised that even with a full tablespoon of garlic, the flavor wasn't all that strong. I'm not complaining, because the dish was quite tasty, but it does make me wonder where all the flavor goes.

                                                                                                                I'm sure the final dish was overcooked by her standards, but we were happy. Though if you're not a fan of hoisin sauce, you should probably skip this one. (I'm looking at you, LulusMom -- too sweet, I'm guessing!)

                                                                                                                23 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                  Brava! I'm going to live vicariously through you on the velveting for now (until I get more comfortable with my wok). She says it's one of the most complicated techniques!. I love the texture you describe, though, so I do want to try it.

                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    The velveting as it is done in this recipe is not complicated at all! It's just very, very simple, marinate and blanch (she calls for this to be done in a saucepan on the stove, not in the wok). You could make this recipe without velveting, but then you would have to start by stir-frying the chicken until opaque, removing it from the wok, then doing the rest of the recipe as instructed, adding the chicken back in later. So the velveting, while it might seem like a little trouble, actually saves you a step in the stir-frying portion of the recipe.

                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                      When we cooked from the Dunlop books we made several dishes which required the velveting technique. Not difficult at all.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                    When I announced I was getting a wok, Mr. blue room said "So, that means you'll be undercooking the vegetables?" :)
                                                                                                                    Wok has not arrived yet, maybe today!

                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                      blue room, tell Mr. blue room the operative term is "crisp tender." Emphasis on "tender."
                                                                                                                      Repress a smirk...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                        Me, I'm happy with lots of crunch. But I found a Grace Young interview with some tips on the subject:

                                                                                                                        Grace Young responds:

                                                                                                                        There are several ways to make sure vegetables aren’t too crunchy. When stir-frying “hard” vegetables like carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, you can first blanch them for 1 to 2 minutes, provided they are thickly cut (1/2 inch or more). Then shake out the excess water before stir-frying. By blanching the vegetables first, you reduce the amount of oil necessary to stir-fry them, creating a lighter taste. You also shorten the stir-fry time.

                                                                                                                        If you don’t want the extra step of blanching, cut the vegetables into thin pieces, no more than 1/4 inch thick, to shorten the stir-fry time.

                                                                                                                        A third solution is to swirl in a small amount of broth, water, rice wine or dry sherry after the vegetables have stir-fried for about a minute. Cover the wok and cook 1 to 2 minutes (uncover from time to time to make sure the liquid hasn’t evaporated), then uncover and continue stir-frying until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Also remember that cooking times are influenced by the freshness and maturity of the vegetables. Ultimately it’s your personal taste that will determine how long to stir-fry the vegetables.

                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                          Sometimes I put the hard veggies in the microwave for a minute or two to soften them up.

                                                                                                                          1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                            Yes, good idea. Reading all this wok wisdom was making me nervous, but I hope I'll just cook in the wok without feeling constraints. Flavor comes first, authentic ingredients are important for that, but if I can't get it (or afford it!) I'll make do.
                                                                                                                            After flavor is texture, which comes from technique and that just takes practice.

                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                              It isn't difficult. Organization is the key. Have everything ready before you heat the wok. Put everything in the order it goes into the wok and if necessary label it. If you are like me put large labels you can read without your glasses. Don't forget a serving dish as well. Have the sink clear so you can wash the wok immediately and put it back on a hot burner to evaporate any liquid remaining in it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                "Have the sink clear..." what a good suggestion, and not just in this situation!

                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                  I was really nervous my first couple of attempts. She has that recommendation that you can turn off the heat, add the oil, then turn the heat back on, which is very comforting. After 6-8 uses, I don't feel I need to do that anymore, but it's helpful until you know how hot your wok gets, etc.

                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                    2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                      So funny! Last night we ate at a Chinese restaurant we'd never been to before (we're on vacation) and they had both hot sauce and hoisin on the table. Lulu asked to taste both, so I put about a nickle size portion of each on her plate. She gobbled up the hot sauce and said about the hoisin "it is nice, but just ok" I had to look at my husband and say "thats my girl!"

                                                                                                                      Still and all, I bet it was a nice meal. I think with a bit of extra spice, hoisin and chicken go very nicely together.

                                                                                                                      PS - also a big fan of the velveting technique.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                        Hoisin Explosion Chicken - p. 114

                                                                                                                        Karen did a great job of describing how this dish comes together so I won’t repeat here.

                                                                                                                        We absolutely loved this dish! The velvety texture of the chicken was wonderful and we found the flavour to be superb.

                                                                                                                        We didn’t find that the Hoisin was a distinct flavour in the sauce. Now I did marinate the meat for about an hour and a half so not sure if that made a difference but if you’d have blindfolded me and asked me what went into the sauce, I’m not sure I could have guessed Hoisin . . . though as Karen points out, there is a sweetness to the dish. I also doubled the quantity of chili flakes so that could have impacted our impression of the final flavours.

                                                                                                                        I’ll definitely make this again. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t any of this leftover tonight! This is a real winner and one of our favourites from Young’s books.

                                                                                                                        We served this w Cousin Kathy’s Lion’s Head from p. 175 of BoaW and steamed brown rice. Here's the link to my thoughts and photos of that dish if you're interested:

                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                          Breadcrumbs, your reports this month have all been so detailed and helpful -- and your photos great -- thank you! The demands of my job have unfortunately overwhelmed my desire to join in, but I hope to make a last-minute appearance in the last week or so of the month. Thanks to you and others for helping point me to some winners for my limited time.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                            Thanks so much Mebby, that's very kind of you. Mr bc has been my photographer most of the time this month as most of these dishes come together at light-speed once the prep is done - he's snaps while I stir!

                                                                                                                            I'm really enjoying this COTM. First off, I love Asian food then, I'm always happy to find recipes that can be made quickly during the week because time is so tight at night and its always nice to have a home-made meal. Also, its been ages since I've used a wok and I'm just having tons of fun using it. Finally, I love that Grace Young has been kind enough to read some of the posts and provide tips and feedback.

                                                                                                                            I've now made over 20 recipes from the COTM's and think I have a good feel for the books. I plan to post a bit of a summary towards the end of the month, I thought it might be useful to share our favourites, some tips I've picked up along the way and maybe also post some photos of the sauce/vinegar bottles so they're there for future reference (even my own!!!).

                                                                                                                            Thanks again mebby!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                              Ah yes the pantry shots. I remember that Rubee did that during "Cradle of Flavor" month which was very helpful for me as I delved into trying to source ingredients. Might be good if a few of us undertook this challenge since we may have ended up with different brands.

                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                smtucker, were you the one with the ingredient spreadsheet for CoF? That was most impressive!

                                                                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                I personally love the idea of doing a round-up/post mortem of overall impressions/favorites/failures on the COTMs while it's still fresh in our minds.

                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                  That sounds like a terrific idea, Breadcrumbs. I think the post-mortems and pantry shots might most usefully be posted in the master thread (the one that's stickied), because that is the one with a link in the COTM archive and because these threads for the books are so long, they might be lost.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                    Totally agree..... the master threads are SO much easier to find from the archive page.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                              Hoisin Explosion Chicken - p 114

                                                                                                                              I first made this before this was COTM, and I've made it several times now. So you know I like it. I've only made this in the outdoor wok. One thing that's great about this recipe is that it all the ingredients can be found in any supermarket, and it comes together quickly, so it's a great weeknight option. I usually use a bit more red pepper flakes and a bit more ginger than the recipe calls for. First time I made this, I used the green bell pepper as called for, but since then I have substituted red if that's what I had on hand. Another substitution I made on one occasion was using water chestnuts instead of bamboo shoots. It's good either way. I am not a fan of sweet stir fries, but I really did not think this was too sweet, nor was it too saucy. I've been happy with this every time I've made it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                Hoisin Explosion was our dinner tonight. Tender chicken. I liked the heat of the red pepper coupled with the rich, sweet hoisin. Not too sweet for us, nor to saucy. The green peppers and bamboo add a nice texture.

                                                                                                                                This COTM flew by. We've discovered some quick and tasty dishes...and discovered the joys of wokking.

                                                                                                                              2. Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Pancetta, Pg. 226

                                                                                                                                Well, this was certainly a treat. Can't find Chinese Yunnan ham? Use pancetta instead... The recipe comes from an aunt of a friend of Ms Young who worked in Paris. Napa Cabbage can be used instead of bok choy. I had a bunch of "regular" long bok choy in the fridge and a nice piece of pancetta so this recipe was perfect.

                                                                                                                                The recipe is pretty straight forward, the technique being the same for all the vegetable recipes I've made so far. Heat wok, swirl in oil, this time chopped pancetta is stir-fried first till fat is released then chopped garlic and ginger are added. Add sliced bok choy, sprinkle with a bit of sugar, stir-fry. A mixture of broth, rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch is swirled in. Cover wok and cook a minute. Uncover and stir-fry. Cover and cook, then uncover and stir-fry till bok choy is just crisp tender. Once again I omitted salt.

                                                                                                                                Loved this. Seems like a base recipe for many other vegetables too. Served with L/O black beans & spicy sausages and roasted turkey drumsticks. I better get cracking and buy some chicken and lamb so I can start making a few meat dishes. We've been trying to use up the frozen meats in the freezer but they just didn't seem to lend themselves to recipes in this book, IMO.

                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  I bought Chinese bacon on my Chinatown trip on Monday (I love shopping there, it's so much fun) and might try this recipe with it and the choy sum I also got.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                    I believe there is a recipe utilizing bacon also, GG. Don't have the book in front of me so cannot reference it for you right now, though.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      EYB to the rescue!

                                                                                                                                      Stir-fried lotus root with bacon and vegetables

                                                                                                                                      Chinese American stir-fried cabbage with bacon

                                                                                                                                      Stir-fried bagels with cabbage and bacon

                                                                                                                                      Auntie Lil's stir-fried lotus root with Chinese bacon

                                                                                                                                      Hong Kong–style Chinese broccoli

                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                        Stir-fried bagels with cabbage and bacon! Wow, that's different.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                          I like the back story of this dish. It explains that it was unique to a small group of Chinese living in Beijing, and a Mrs. Wong who used the local bagels in a street food dish as a substitute for "laobing" a type of Chinese bread. Leejen Chen explained it to the author as "like a stir-fried noodle dish, but it tastes ilke a hot bread salad or a drier version of stuffing".

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                              I almost need to try it, except that I'm trying to avoid refined carbs. Still...

                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                            Found a link to a report, pic, and recipe for the the stir-fried bagels with cabbage and bacon:

                                                                                                                                            http://www.foodgal.com/2010/07/new-us...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                              Wow, that actually looks pretty tasty! The bagel bits look like croutons in the photo, but she says they soak up all the juices and remain soft. Yum. Too bad I'm avoiding refined carbs these days. One of you will try it, right?

                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                I'll say! I may have to go out and spurge here. How inventive and creative!

                                                                                                                                      2. Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Chili Bean Sauce – p. 200

                                                                                                                                        Startlingly simple but truly tasty, these were a hot hit! My prep was further simplified by purchasing a bag of pre-washed, julienned carrots at the market so the remainder of the prep consisted of chopping garlic, shredding scallions and mixing a quick sauce of rice wine, chili bean paste and soy sauce. Not sure how widely available chili-bean paste is in other areas but it proved to be a bit of challenge to track down in these parts. None of my local supermarkets stocked it, just lots of garlic-bean sauce. In the end, I made the trip to Chinatown to get a jar. I’ve posted a photo of it just in case its of use to others. Another note about the sauce for this recipe, since I hadn’t worked w the chili-bean sauce in the past, I decided to taste as I added it to the rice wine and soy sauce. This brand is HOT and I ended up adding a smidge more than 1tsp which is half of what the recipe calls for. I love hot food and this was plenty hot enough so I include this info just in case folks buy the same brand. Another note on the sauce, as I was tasting for heat, I did notice the saltiness from the soy sauce and felt it would be more than adequate to season the dish. I should note that I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking however the recipe also calls for the further addition of 3/4 tsp of salt later on. I omitted this step and am confident the dish would have been far too salty for our tastes if I’d included it.

                                                                                                                                        Ok, back to the prep, final step, you have to rinse the bean sprouts as well . . . told you this was simple!

                                                                                                                                        At this point, once your wok is heated, this one comes together in under 2 minutes! Oil is swirled in the hot wok then in goes the garlic. 10 seconds later the carrots and bean sprouts are added for a one-minute stir-fry. Next in are the scallions and the salt (if you choose to use it) and then your sauce is tossed in to coat everything. Ta-da, you’re done!

                                                                                                                                        We just loved the crunchiness of this dish. So few ingredients yet such big flavors. We especially liked the hint of nuttiness that the sesame oil brought to the party and as noted above, the significant heat that the chili bean sauce imparts. I’d definitely make this again for its flavor and, ease of preparation.

                                                                                                                                        I made this dish to accompany Martin Yan’s Genghis Khan Beef from p. 91 of SFttSE. I’ve posted my review and photos of that recipe in the other COTM thread:

                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                          That's the brand that I always use as it's recommended by Fuchsia Dunlop. I always use the full recommended amount - can't say that I've noticed it being really spicy.

                                                                                                                                        2. Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, page 89

                                                                                                                                          With left over beef from last night's dinner and some broccoli, I chose this recipe since it called for so many of the new ingredients I accumulated last week. Beef is marinated in some ginger, soy, Shao Hsing rice wine, cornstarch, salt and pepper. With sesame added.

                                                                                                                                          Blanch the broccoli, and then cooking the dish in the wok didn't take longer than 5 minutes. My garlic burned just a bit as I lay the beef into a single layer, but the end result didn't taste burnt. The end product was very good, with just a bit of thin sauce to drizzle over the the jasmine rice.

                                                                                                                                          Ingredient list also includes chicken broth, oyster sauce, dark soy [I used double black], onions, garlic, and fermented beans.

                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                            Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, page 89

                                                                                                                                            I made this tonight. I've made it before, and I still liked it! Best part is my three year old DD ate some broccoli and noodles, and 10 month old DS ate some noodles and a tiny bit of beef, so no special meals for them. I completely forgot to add the sesame oil, which is one of my favorite ingredients, whoops! You add it after stirring the beef into the marinade.

                                                                                                                                            I really like serving it with noodles - I feel there is more sauce in this recipe than most and stirring the noodles in the wok at the end really helped them soak up the flavor that might otherwise have been left in the wok, because the sauce is on the thin side. I actually boiled the sauce down a little more after taking the first picture because I decided it was too thin.

                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                            1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                              Love the way the noodles look like they soak up the sauce! I'll bet they are delicious!

                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                I am _so_ doing noodles next time! We had an Asian-style noodle soup for lunch so didn't even consider this as an option. Those look like fairly flat noodles... which kind do you use?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                  They are the flat Chinese egg noodles that come in little nests. Three nests was just right, and I have plenty leftover for my lunch tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                Looks yummy. Agree with TDQ on the noodles+sauce. You can also add the sesame oil at the end, just before presentation. Adds a different touch.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                                                  Scoop, I'm so glad you're chiming in here with your tips and helpful comments. Kind of like our Chinese cooking guardian angel.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Gio! I have Young's "The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen" and figured that was enough.

                                                                                                                                              3. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, page 89

                                                                                                                                                While cleaning out my freezer preparing for our lamb I found a package marked "Pork for Stir Fry." And I had some local broccoli. My notes on this recipe say "house stir-fry" and that is what it has become. Doesn't matter what protein and/or veggies I have in the house, this dish just always pleases us.

                                                                                                                                                Just wanted to note that this dish has held up as a favorite for almost two years.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                    Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, page 89

                                                                                                                                                    There was some beautiful broccoli at yesterday's Farmer's market and fabulous Spring onions. One thing led to another... found some Berkshire Tonkatsu-styloe sliced pork in my freezer and this item became tonight's dinner.

                                                                                                                                                    With garden fresh vegetables, this stir fry was even better than I remembered. Tonight's ratio was a lot more vegetable than meat, but this is almost summer. That is the way we prefer it!

                                                                                                                                                1. Amazon.com tracking says my book arrived in my town at 2 this morning. Yay!
                                                                                                                                                  What do I need to stock up on? I probably won't be able to make it to H Mart until next week at the earliest but there's a small Asian market not too far from here that has a small but decent selection.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                    One of the great things about both of these books is that there's a lot you can make without any specialized ingredients at all. Other than soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and scallions, perhaps the most called-for ingredient is Shao Hsing rice wine, but you can substitute dry sherry for that. Many recipes also call for homemade chicken stock, but usually not a lot of it. No reason not to use store bought until you can get around to making your own, and quite a few also call for sesame oil. Other than that, it's really the usual suspects recipe to recipe: Hoisin sauce, Chinkiang (or balsamic) vinegar, dark soy sauce, chili bean paste.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, Joan!
                                                                                                                                                      So I just started to flip through my new copy that arrived from Amazon.com and the pages started to fall out! Looks like a bad binding job. Argh!!! Now I have to send it back (and they neglected to include a return mailing sticker) so who knows when I'll be able to join you guys :(

                                                                                                                                                  2. Peppery Vegetarian Rice – p. 256

                                                                                                                                                    It was the unusual addition of toasted pine nuts that attracted me to this recipe and though I’ve never seen them in a Chinese dish before, they really were a nice addition. Though Mr bc isn’t a fan of ginger, he loved this rice and even had second helpings. We’d definitely make this again and the only change I’d make would be to add some garlic as well next time. Here’s how it all came together:

                                                                                                                                                    A few notes on some changes I made. I didn’t have any brown rice on hand so white rice was used and, I pre-cooked it the night before. Also, since I had some leftover pre-washed, julienned carrots on hand, I chopped those instead of a cup of carrot in ¼” dice. The “peppery” aspect of this dish comes from the addition of ¼ tsp of red pepper flakes. Since our chicken dish wasn’t at all spicy, I decided to boost the heat here and used ½ tsp. of flakes instead. We did taste the dish prior to the addition and neither one of us would describe it as “Peppery” before adding the extra chilies.

                                                                                                                                                    To start off, 2 beaten eggs are cooked (pancake-style) in a hot wok then, removed and cut into bite-sized pieces that are re-incorporated later on. This is another step that could be done in advance if you anticipated being especially tight on time. That technique of cooking egg for fried rice was new to me. In the past I’ve created a well in the wok by pushing the rice mixture to the sides then added the egg in the bottom and, gradually incorporating it into the rice mixture by stirring it as it cooks. I have no idea why I do it that was and I’d be interested to hear what others do.

                                                                                                                                                    Once you’ve cut up your egg, a bit of oil is heated in the wok and ginger and the pepper flakes are stir-fried until the ginger is fragrant then carrots and chopped shitake mushrooms are added to absorb the oil. At that point ½ cup of broth is added and reduced then a tbsp of oil, scallions and rice are stirred in until the rice heats through. Finally pine nuts, soy, and egg is stirred in. The recipe also calls for salt and pepper but I was satisfied the dish was well-seasoned without making this addition.

                                                                                                                                                    We enjoyed this along with Tina Yao Lu’s Chicken with Spinach from BoaW and that review and photos are posted on the other COTM thread here:

                                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                      I love the way you were able to adapt here Breadcrumbs. That is what it is all about. The egg is always cooked first. Either you can start off with cooking the eggs and then add the cooked rice and go from there; or cook the egg and remove it so as to sliver it or shred it etc. Then add it back later...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for posting this, it sounds delicious. Next time I make brown rice, I will be sure to make extra.
                                                                                                                                                        I like your method for incorporating the egg, but I suppose I will give the books method a try. Really need to pick out a wok soon.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks rabaja, funny you say that about the brown rice because I picked up a bag yesterday and decided to cook a bunch and freeze it in portions so I won't be without during the week.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Chinese-American Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon, pg 229

                                                                                                                                                        Easy peasy. Slice four pieces of bacon into 1/2 inch sized bit, add them to a cold wok. Heat for a minute then stir-fry for two. Add minced garlic, then about a pound of shredded cabbage and stir fry 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth, cover and steam for 30 seconds. Add a mixture of soy sauce, salt and pepper and stir fry a minute more.

                                                                                                                                                        We thought this was delicious--to the point where we both were picking it out of the serving bowl while we were getting our main dish ready. The main dish was Martin Yan’s Genghis Khan Beef from BoaW with brown rice, which unfortunately overpowered the cabbage dish a little. But it was still super delicious. I wonder how it will hold up as leftovers tomorrow...

                                                                                                                                                        I wish I'd let the bacon get a little crispier. And it was a heck of a lot of cabbage to manage, even though a 14'' wok is pretty big.

                                                                                                                                                        We'll definitely do this again!

                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                          Chinese-American Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon, p. 229.

                                                                                                                                                          Not much to add to TDQ. I love almost any stir-fried cabbage, and this didn't disappoint. Because it had bacon, E liked this more than others I make (usually Dunlop's with Sichuan pepper).

                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                            Chinese-American Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon

                                                                                                                                                            Forgot about this until I found the pix on my camera this morning. Not that I didn't like it, I just didn't love it. TDQ says she wished she'd let the bacon get a little crisper. Well, mine was good and crispy when I was done stir-frying it, but after adding the chicken broth and steaming for even just 30 seconds, the bacon was flabby again. Loved the flavor but not the texture. I adore stir-fried cabbage, too, but think I might possibly like this dish better with Chinese bacon. Will try to remember to pick some up next time I'm somewhere it's sold.

                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                              My SOP for dishes like this is to pull the bacon out when it's fried and put it back as a garnish at the end. Because I too love crisp bacon and hate to see it get flabby again.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                                That's what I do too, in fact the cabbage and bacon dish is on our dinner menu for one eve this week so I'm glad to read both your and JoanN's posts.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, that definitely would have been the way to do this. Making a note in the book right now. But I still think I might prefer the dish with Chinese bacon. We'll see.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                Chinese-American Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Pg. 229

                                                                                                                                                                We cooked this last night as a side dish for Fuchsia Dunlop's Sweet and Sour Fish from Every Grain of Rice. TDQ has described the process very well so I'll just tell of my few adjustments. I used a red cabbage, increased the garlic, omitted salt, used chicken broth, and peanut oil; included red pepper flakes and Shaoxing wine. When the bacon had crisped I took it out then sprinkled it to garnish at the end. The cabbage was a perfect side dish for the fish.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                  Chinese-American Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon, p 229

                                                                                                                                                                  Made this to go with my dinner last night. I used savoy cabbage, and less than called for (I was using up a leftover 1/2 head I had in the fridge). The headnote says that when ginger and dry sherry became available, Ms. Chan's mother added them to the dish. Based on that, I felt free to add some ginger (same time as the garlic) and replaced some of the water with whisky. Other than that, made as directed.

                                                                                                                                                                  I did not have the problem with soft bacon that some others reported. It crisped up nicely in the wok, releasing plenty of fat which became the grease for the stir-fry. I did not remove the bacon, just left it in there an proceeded as directed. It might be because my outdoor wok is hotter, or because I used less cabbage, or both, that there was less steam in the wok and bacon stayed crisp. Anyway, we loved this. Depending upon what I was serving it with, I would feel free to had some red pepper flakes next time, but it was perfectly delicious as is.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Homemade Chicken Broth, page 284

                                                                                                                                                                  I often make both Asian and Western chicken broths. For an Asian broth, I have been using Cook's Illustrated's version, with about half the chicken wings noted in the recipe. The reason that I choose the Stir-Frying Chicken broth was based totally on cost. Chicken wings are $2.19 a pound if I buy ten pounds, $2.49 if I buy less. The Breath of the Wok calls for a whole chicken, while this version called for 3 lbs of chicken backs. Chicken backs are $.59/lb. As I began making this, I was really hoping that I would like it, and my cost of making broth would drop dramatically.

                                                                                                                                                                  And verdict? Chicken backs all the way! Simple enough recipe. Remove all fat and skin from the backs, put into a pot with water, bring to a simmer and skim the scum. When there is no more scum forming, add some ginger and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, cook for 3-4 hrs.

                                                                                                                                                                  Next time I will use the cleaver to chop the backs into smaller pieces. Does that give the broth more of the bony goodness?

                                                                                                                                                                  So the flavor is quite light but full of chicken. For a soup, I might reduce the broth just a bit before adding other ingredients. I can't really detect the ginger in the flavor, but for the most part, any recipe I would use the broth in will bring its own flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                    Good to know that this makes decent broth. My butcher will often give me chicken backs for free - so free stock!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Hong-Kong Style Chinese Broccoli, p190

                                                                                                                                                                    I used choy sum instead of gai lan but otherwise made the recipe as written. I also picked up cured pork in the Chinese supermarket instead of bacon by mistake, but as I thought it would be pretty similar I used it (It looked a bit like pancetta and was obviously cured slices of pork belly). It serves four as a side dish, but I had it for supper as I was on my own with some steamed brown basmati rice.

                                                                                                                                                                    The method: separate the stalks from the leaves of your vegetable, and chop into 2 inch lengths. Remove the rind from the bacon and slice thinly. Combine shao hsing with soy sauce in a small bowl. Smash three slices of ginger.

                                                                                                                                                                    Swirl the oil into the wok (1 TBSP but I could have cut this in half as my wok is very well seasoned). Add the ginger, and once fragrant, the bacon. When the bacon starts to release its fat, add the veg stalks and stir fry for a minute or so until bright green. Add the leaves and the rice wine/soy mixture, fry for another minute and then sprinkle on sugar and salt and stir fry for another minute or so until crisp tender.

                                                                                                                                                                    I enjoyed this but wasn't convinced by the Chinese bacon - maybe because it wasn't bacon! Will have to get the right product and try that but on this tasting I prefer pancetta or regular bacon. I wasn't blown away but the dish, but I think that was because it's essentially a side dish and not meant to be eaten on its own. Also if you're making this with choy sum, I think it takes a little less time to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Stir-Fried Lettuce with Garlic Chili, Pg. 195

                                                                                                                                                                      According to Grace Young, I grew some money last night. (Wouldn't That be nice) The Chinese word for lettuce is "saang choi" which sounds like the word for "growing money". The lettuce in question is Romaine and technically it's a Summer dish but we had a nice head of Romaine from the farm so this was something different than our basic salad.

                                                                                                                                                                      To start, rice wine, broth and soy sauce are combined and set aside. Garlic and minced jalapeño (I left the seeds in) are stir-fried, then a head of Romaine - sliced crosswise into thin strips - is added and a little salt & white pepper are sprinkled over. This is stir-fried only a minute then the wine mixture is swirled in. Cover the wok and cook a few seconds, uncover and stir-fry till lettuce is crisp tender.

                                                                                                                                                                      What a pleasant flavor this dish has. I loved the sweet fresh taste of the lettuce. As I ate it all I could think was, "this really tastes like Chinese food." The other dishes were decidedly Not Chinese: spicy chipotle meatloaf, and a simple baked potato, but each complimented the other very well.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                        I missed this. I nearly always have romaine on hand and it sounds like it would be a lovely change to my usual stir-fry choices to accompany fish. Making note right now. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                          Stir-Fried Lettuce w Garlic Chili - p. 195

                                                                                                                                                                          Like Gio, we really enjoyed this. Delicious, surprisingly good, refreshing dish that we’d definitely have again.

                                                                                                                                                                          Romaine lettuce is sliced at one inch intervals. A sauce of chicken broth, soy and rice wine is mixed together. Oil is heated then minced garlic and jalapeno are added and stir-fried ‘til fragrant. I upped the ante and used 1tbsp vs 1tsp of jalapeno.

                                                                                                                                                                          Romaine is added and stirred until slightly wilted then the sauce is stirred in. Stirring continues for about a minute longer until lettuce is tender and bright green.

                                                                                                                                                                          Super-simple dish that delivers on taste and texture. Loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                          Served this w the far less spectacular Kung Pao Chicken and Dickson Hee’s Oyster Lo Mein from BoaW. Here are my thoughts and photos on those dishes:

                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Stir Fried Napa Cabbage with Proscuitto (pg. 199)

                                                                                                                                                                        This was pretty good. I usually make napa cabbage with dried shiitake mushrooms so the added hammy flavor was a nice change. It's also very easy and quick.

                                                                                                                                                                        Add ginger to a hot oiled wok, add the cabbage with a bit of salt and sugar and stir fry for about a minute until the leaves get a bit wilty. Add broth and shao xing wine (Young has you combine this in a bowl, but I think you can just add it right into the wok) and stir fry for 15 seconds. Cover for 30 seconds, uncover and stir fry until the cabbage is crisp tender. Lastly, add the shredded proscuitto.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                          Stir Fried Napa Cabbage with Proscuitto, Pg. 199

                                                                                                                                                                          Made this last night as a side dish for a fish stew from the current COTM. Not much to add... except I did include 3 garlic cloves which I minced. It was served at room temperature similar to a warm salad. I liked it. G didn't. However, it did go very well with the stew, I thought.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Classic Dry Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp (pg. 166)

                                                                                                                                                                          This was delicious, but it wasn't that dry since shrimp does leak out liquid. Great flavors and a satisfying shrimp dish. Keep in mind, that I upped most of the flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                          Soak the shrimp in salt water and in a separate, combine salt, ground sichuan pepper (I used a heaping half teaspoon) and sugar. In a hot oiled wok, add chopped garlic, ginger and chile (jalepeno, I used a whole one and left the seeds in). Push the mixture to the side, add the shrimp and cook, undisturbed for a minute. Add a touch more oil and stir fry until the shrimp turns orange. Sprinkle the salt mixture and stir fry until the shrimp are finished.

                                                                                                                                                                          As I stated earlier, there was more liquid from the shrimp and I took it off the heat so as not to overcook. But, there is something so satisfying about the salty sichuan peppercorniness. This one is definitely a keeper.

                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                            Thinking about the extra liquid from the shrimp. She mentions in the headnote that fresh shrimp can really make the difference, and of course it's practically impossible to buy fresh shrimp any more. Perhaps the frozen exude more liquid? Did you have the flame up really high when you added the shrimp to sear? Shouldn't that boil off the liquid quickly enough to sear the shrimp?

                                                                                                                                                                            This was on my to-try list so I'll have a chance to play with it a bit. And I'll try to see if I can find fresh shrimp in Chinatown. I certainly can't find it uptown.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                              The flame was high and the wok was searing hot (haha). When it first sears, the liquid didn't come out as much. It did more so, after the initial sear. Also, I dried the shrimp, numerous times, going through many paper towels. I think this is a really necessary step. Regardless, it was still delicious, just not dry.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                              Classic Dry-Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp - p. 166

                                                                                                                                                                              We loved this dish. beetlebug did a great job of covering the process so I won’t repeat here.

                                                                                                                                                                              This is one of my favourites to eat in Chinatown and I’ve avoided making it at home until now for fear it wouldn’t be as good. Well, if we do say so ourselves, tonight we came pretty darn close to replicating it thanks to Grace Young!

                                                                                                                                                                              Based on the simplicity of ingredients and, cooking method, the only thing I can think of that helped make this dish “restaurant-quality” was the technique of soaking the shrimp in salt water, twice. I’ve definitely never done this before and even considered skipping the process here but since it was two quick soaks (30 seconds each time), I figured I’d give it a shot.

                                                                                                                                                                              The result was succulent shrimp that really “popped” when you bit into them. Superb!! We must have lucked out because our shrimp were quite dry and didn’t yield any liquid at all so, excepting the oil in the pan, we truly did have a dry shrimp dish. Mr bc had seconds and said this was delicious and he’s not normally a fan of shrimp at all! Do give this a try, it’s really yummy!

                                                                                                                                                                              I served this w Cousin Zane’s Sichuan Beef from p. 95 in BoaW. Here's a link to that post if you're interested:

                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry, pics aren't great . . . mr bc's battery was charging so I used my camera : (

                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                So glad you liked it. I'm envious of your dry pan/bowl. Also, I must have read the soaking time wrong. I soaked each time for 30 minutes. I'll have to check the book.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. Stir Fry Chicken with Black Bean Sauce (pg. 137)

                                                                                                                                                                              This was pretty good, but more reminiscent of a dish typically found in american chinese restaurants. It had a nice enough flavor but it lacked that true chinese dish taste. I made a couple of minor changes. I didn't have a red onion so I used a small yellow onion. Also, instead of stir frying the sliced onion with the red pepper flakes, I used a teaspoon of Dunlop's salted chiles instead. I figured, since this is a hunan dish, I might as well stick to those flavors. I also used less shredded carrots then called for.

                                                                                                                                                                              This was very saucy and I'm not sure if I like mashed black beans better than whole ones. In many of the dishes that I've made, I like to keep the beans whole since it seems to have more flavor when you bite into it. Ah, just saw her little headnote about personal preferences with the beans. I may try this again with whole beans instead.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                I didn't mention it in my report above, but I missed the texture of whole beans too. Next time I think I'll mash just half of the beans. We really liked this dish, although I doubled the chili flakes and garnished my serving with a drizzle of chili oil.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Stir-Fried Cilantro Chili Noodles with Egg, p. 266

                                                                                                                                                                                I love this, and have already added it to my lunch repertoire. In fact, I'm making it today for the third time. Easy but flavorful stir-fry with the noodles finished by absorbing the broth so the flavors are infused. I prep the night ahead by making the egg pancake (in a nonstick crepe pan), mincing the ginger, and combining Homemade Chicken Broth http://www.chow.com/photos/543951 soy sauce, and rice vinegar - although you could do all this while the noodles are soaking for 20 minutes. Stir-fry the chiles and ginger in oil, add the broth and noodles, then finish with cilantro, sliced egg, a little sugar, S&P, and sesame oil. I make mine spicy by using 1-2 Thai chiles with seeds.

                                                                                                                                                                                The first time I made it I used bean thread noodles (adding more broth) and garlic instead of ginger and that was delicious too. http://www.chow.com/photos/542194

                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                  Stir-Fried Cilantro Chili Noodles with Egg, p. 266

                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this back in December, but it looks like I forgot to review it here. It's a really simple preparation and the technique works perfectly. I added jalapeños to mine. Yet another winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Totally agree w LlM Mel. Do you think this would work as well w Thai basil instead of Cilantro? Sadly, I'm allergic to cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it would be delicious with basil, BC! Go for it!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Quick question. When you say you added jalapenos to yours is that in addition to the peppers already in the recipe? I'm sold on this one and plan to make it next week.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, in addition. The jalapeños were more finely diced.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm so glad that people are still cooking from this (mostly looking at you, Mel and Gio) so that it keeps coming into my inbox. I came to this book late, having been away when it was COTM and I love getting the kick of seeing new reviews. Mel's photo of this looked so good, and it fit right in to my whole trying to make 2 vegetarian meals each week thing and so I decided it was a must to make. We enjoyed it. I doubled the recipe, added the extra jalapeno and served with an Asian cucumber salad. We liked it a lot, although we all thought a little extra salt was necessary (maybe the doubling somehow didn't get done with the salt?). I think I've fallen hard for stir fried rice noodles over the past month or two. Thanks to Mel for a great inspiration for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                            You'd probably like the Singapore rice noodles as well - you could just substitute the something for the pork (I think duck bacon would be nice. In fact, I think I did sub duck bacon when I adapted it as a fried rice). The three rice noodle recipes I've made have given me a template to work with, so now I would feel free to adapt to whatever is on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I really am loving stir-frying rice noodles the past month.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I wish the flavors were a little more assertive in this book, but as long as I know what to expect I can always ramp them up (as i did with this one with an added jalapeno, as you said you had).

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Chicken Chow Fun, p277

                                                                                                                                                                                        I really need to work on my noodle stir-fry technique, but this turned out pretty well, considering.

                                                                                                                                                                                        In the book, Young mentions that you should buy unrefrigerated rice noodles, as they go solid once cold. That's always been my experience in the past (never seen the unchilled ones) and I've never known how to properly soften them. GY says they need to be steamed again but the ones I found in Chinatown suggested microwaving on high for a minute to separate and this worked perfectly. They separated beautifully - yay!

                                                                                                                                                                                        I used pad thai noodles rather than ho fun ones but otherwise followed the recipe as written. You need to marinate cubed chicken with garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, soy, rice wine, corn starch and pepper. Combine more oyster sauce, soy, corn starch, sesame oil and chicken broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Heat a wok and add 2 tsp of oil, sprinkle on salt and add your noodles. Cook undisturbed for a minute "until slightly crusty" then stir-fry for another minute and remove. I had problems here. In a fit of health and safety I decided to use my wok ring and I don't think the wok was hot enough. The noodles didn't really go crusty and seemed to be sticking together. Undeterred, I removed them and carried on, removing the wok ring. You then stir fry sliced garlic and shredded ginger until fragrant, push to the side and add the chicken in a single layer. Cook undisturbed then add rice wine and stir fry. Transfer to a platter when light brown.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Add remaining oil, bok Choy and fresh shitakes and fry until mushrooms are wilted. Return chicken and add broth mixture. I also decided to return the noodles at this stage as I was worried they were stuck together and in her note GY says you can combine all the ingredients in the wok if you want. I got a bit flustered at this point but it all seemed to work out fine. Not perfect, but fine and the finished dish was very tasty with amazingly tender chicken. I didn't really get any char on my noodles but will try again with the benefit of hindsight. Definitely one to make again.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for posting gg, these sound great! This is a recipe I'd flagged to try as well so its nice to know it's very tasty. I also marked the Beef Chow Fun recipe on p. 269 which uses flank steak and also sounds good with the addition of fermented black beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm hoping to get into Chinatown this week to pick up some noodles, veggies and, some new cooking implements (always at such great prices!).

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            We made this for dinner tonight and it was a satisfying weeknight meal. I was concerned about having a cold, unpliable mass of rice noodles and then remembered reading GG's tip about microwaving the noodles. Thank you- it worked beautifully! Whilst cooking the noodles, we got a little crust on one side of the noodles, but could probably have used more. I also used dried shiitakes because I did not have any fresh and there was no way either of us was going to make a run to the market. We also added the noodles to the mixture to make sure everything had a bit of sauce on it. I'm now curious to try some of the other chow fun recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Hot Pepper Beef, p185

                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.graceyoung.com/recipes/

                                                                                                                                                                                            Made this for dinner last night and we both loved it. Found flank steak at the butchers (yay!) and I will definitely be using it again for stir-fries. Tender, tasty and pretty cheap - triple win!

                                                                                                                                                                                            It's pretty easy to make and uses mainly storecupboard ingredients. The beef was perfectly cooked and the green peppers stayed nice and crunchy. The red pepper flakes (I used double the amount in the recipe, but kept everything else the same) gave the dish a nice amount of heat. Mr GG was very enthusiastic and wants me to make it again (said rather wistfully - he knows he'll have to wait a while as I try out other dishes!).

                                                                                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              Glad to know this is another winner gg! Mr gg's reaction made me laugh, I hear that all the time from Mr bc!!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep, he practically has to beg for spaghetti carbonara, the poor man. Over Xmas when I was too tired to cook one day I offered him a lazy freezer dinner of fishfingers, oven chips and beans (kid's food, basically). He was delighted!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My way around this? LulusDad cooks one night a week, so he gets to choose what he wants to make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tell us about finding the flank steak. Did you just ask for it by that name? Did the butcher know what you were talking about? I wonder if it's popularity here traveled there. Used to be fairly inexpensive here as well. I just paid $6.99/lb, on sale, for supermarket-quality (choice) meat--which, actually, I find is just fine for stir-fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I just asked for flank steak and he happened to have some on the counter. Meat is usually way more expensive over here, but this was about £2.50, I think, for about 10 oz of good quality meat (Scottish, I think).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hot Pepper [Beef] Pork, Pg. 85

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We made this for dinner and absolutely Loved it. As GG says almost everything is in the pantry, so the only thing we had to buy was Pork loin. The pork was an organic lean cut that weighed .98 of a pound so slightly more than the 12 ounces the recipe called for, with delectable flavor. I used halves of a large red bell and green bell pepper. The finished dish was perfectly balanced, the sauce properly spicy, peppers crisp tender. Definitely worth a revisit. Thanks greedygirl for reporting on this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The secondary dish was Summer Pepper Corn on page 219. With freshly picked corn and bell peppers straight from our CSA this was truly a dish that screamed Summer. I had a small amount, about 3/4 cup, of steamed Jasmine rice so added that into the mix. Almost made a meal in itself. Great meal from a book that seems to get better with each turn of the page. Thanks Grace!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That sounds great, Gio. I need to have a look at that corn recipe, as I have some from my CSA right now. I was thinking about doing a Sichuan version from Kylie Kwong, but now I have choice to make. Nice problem to have!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I couldn't agree more that this book just gets better and better for me. It's become a go-to source for less traditional, more off-the-wall stir-fries. It's also really helped me free up my own thinking about cooking "Chinese", to see how these people all over the world have adapted their native cuisine to their new environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Buon Ferragosto, Mel! So, there's a Sichuan corn recipe from Kylie Kwong. What is the title, please? I don't have any of her books but I can always look for an on-line recipe. We're beginning to get wonderful corn from "our" farm and there's only so much corn on the cob I can take, IYKWIM...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do know, so I've been looking for other things to do with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The title is Stir-Fried Corn with Red Onions and Lup Cheong, and it's on p. 189 of My China. And you're in luck! It's available online here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recip...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Note that the cooking instructions are under another tab.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Mel. Actually I did find that so that's one recipe I can make...
                                                                                                                                                                                                            EYB yields:
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Land of Plenty - Sweet Corn Kernels

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Breath of a Wok - Liang Niam Xia's Moon Hill Corn and Beans. That will take care of some of my huge bag of wax beans, my least favorite bean variety.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know what you mean.... ;-) I can eat corn on the cob for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even cold, always plain and sometimes raw. Sometimes C only gets one ear out of six since I just eat it like candy. Corn season (and tomato season) is always too short for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW, Dunlop's LOP has an excellent corn and pepper dish as well. Don't skimp on the salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah... so you're a cornfanatic. I love corn too, don't get me wrong. But It's always nice to have a couple of other cooking methods to enhance the Summer's bounty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As for tomatoes, I can't get my fill and have been making tomato salad in all forms every day. Also my fave: tomato sandwich seasoned with a pinch of Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle & EVOO on Italian bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My farmer used to give us tons of corn in the share, at least 6 ears every week. But, then others complained about too much corn (??!!) so it's been less ears then I would like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, I can always go to your house and relieve you of your corn burden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Your tomato sandwich sounds delicious. I don't have Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle but I do have the Paris Seasoning. Actually, I don't have bread either but I can just eat the filling. I guess that's just a tomato salad. I think I will go grab some tomatoes now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm another cornfanatic. Corn on the cob? heaven. But I also love a freshly picked tomato cut and put on soft bread with mayo. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Summer Pepper Corn, p. 219

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The great thing about these ongoing COTM threads is that someone finds a dish I wouldn't have even noticed, and entices me to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This recipe calls for fresh-off-the-cob corn and red bell peppers. I've been getting both green and red peppers from my CSA, but I always seem to go through the red ones first, and sure enough, when I checked, all I had left was green. So green it was, which makes this dish slightly less sweet and less pretty than it would be, but it still works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This comes together in a flash. Garlic, ginger and either minced jalapeño or red chile flakes go in first. I used the chile flakes, because I already had enough "green" in the dish. Then in go the diced bell pepper and the corn, with a little salt and a little sugar sprinkled over. Stir-fry for a couple minutes and you're done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Easy, delicious summer stir-fry using local ingredients that would be equally at home alongside Chinese or American dishes. We had it with another stir-fry from EGOR.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Chinese Trinidadian Chicken with Mango Chutney, Pg. 116

                                                                                                                                                                                                          A very nice dish, this. Especially since I doubled all the spices, and used an entire Scotch bonnet pepper w/seeds. The salt was omitted. Ah yes, we live dangerously here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Boneless chicken thighs cut in bite sized pieces are marinated in a combination of soy sauce, <salt> and pepper while the rest of the ingredients are prepped. Mango chutney (Major Grey's), dark soy sauce, and minced Scotch bonnet are combined and set aside. In a hot oiled wok minced ginger and garlic and an onion sliced in wedges are stir-fried till onions have wilted then all is pushed to the sides of the wok. The chicken goes in next and is seared undisturbed for a minute then stir-fried till brown. Add the chutney mixture and then a few seconds later add chopped cilantro. That's all there is to it. Not too hot, not sweet, just a lovely full flavored dish, and so easy. Served with Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sichuan Pepper and Salt (Ha), pg. 189, and steamed brown basmati rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds great Gio & good to know about the spices, I know we'd prefer bolder flavours as well. This is one of the recipes I've flagged as well but must get some Major Grey's first . . . . when I pulled my current bottle out of the fridge last week I notice it expired in 2008!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh yeah... this was great. I think just about any meat can be used in this dish. And, in her header notes she says Tabasco or other hot sauce can be used instead of Scotch bonnet, but I had a few in the freezer just biding their time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I like the sound of this a lot, Gio, and I have some homemade mango chutnety at the moment. I also live in an area of South London which is awash with Scotch bonnet chilis (lots of West Indian influence).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Finally got round to making this! It's a true store-cupboard recipe, really, as you don't need many fresh ingredients. I used the wondrous Matouk's Calypso Sauce instead of scotch bonnets (GY says you can substitute a West Indian hot sauce for the chillis if you want). Apart from that, we made as written - it was a very tasty dish with a nice bit of fruity heat from the hot sauce/mango chutney combo and completely satisfying with steamed rice and tenderstem broccoli. And reasonably healthy! Would definitely make again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chinese Trinidadian Chicken with Mango Chutney, p. 116

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We liked this too. I used boneless chicken breasts, two Vietnamese chilis with seeds, Trader Joe's Ginger Mango Chutney, and extra garlic. For my portions I also garnished with sliced chili. Leftovers made nice lunches this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chinese Trinidadian Chicken with Mango Chutney, p. 116

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Made this last night. It was the Wok Wednesday recipe for last week, but I was out of town so got to it a bit late. The recipe has already been described, so I'll just make a note of my adaptations. I used chicken breasts, because Mr. MM couldn't find thighs at the store (?). I used Patak's "Major Grey" chutney. I used a habanero hot sauce instead of fresh habaneros, Matouk's Calypso sauce, same as gg. I went very heavy on the hot sauce, and also on the fresh ginger. Also, because I'm cooking outside on the Big Kahuna burner, I changed the technique a bit to accommodate the higher heat. I put the chicken in first, cooked until just starting to get opaque, then removed to a plate. Then I put the onion, garlic and ginger in, and proceeded with the recipe as written from that point. On my burner, the wok is too hot for pushing aromatics to the side to be effective for keeping them from overcooking or burning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not being a fan of sweet dishes, I was afraid this would be too sweet, but it really wasn't. There was a nice ginger punch, from both the chutney and the fresh ginger, and a bit of heat from the Calypso sauce. It was very good. I might play with this in the future, adding some vegetables to make it more of a one-dish meal. As is, I served some stir-fried brussels sprouts and mushrooms (from a Susanna Foo recipe) on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chinese Trinidadian Chicken with Mango Chutney, Pg. 116

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Made this exact dinner recently for Wok Wednesdays at FB. Loved it the first time around and loved again. The chicken is quite simply a perfect recipe, especially w the Scotch bonnet. We've made the bok choy recipe so many times I've stopped counting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sichuan Pepper and Salt, Pg, 189

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Loved this. Well, I like most Chinese vegetables anyway but these little cuties are delicious. Once again I omitted the salt but used 2 teaspoons soy sauce, increased the Sichuan pepper from 1/4 to 1 teaspoon, and used 3 tablespoons rice wine instead of 2. The recipe calls for 1 cup of thinly sliced carrots but I couldn't resist using my new favorite kitchen tool... the Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler with Blade Protector. I love using this dang thing. The recipe is basic stir-fry procedure and very easy to prep and cook. Roasting the peppercorns definitely makes the flavors pop. (Last year I bought a 5" Lodge skillet and it's my dedicated spice roaster. It's cute too.) And... I think stripping the carrots instead of slicing them seemed to minimize their sweet flavor while adding an individual texture. There's a bit of smashed ginger too and cornstarch mixed with chicken broth at the end to thicken the sauce. We liked it with the Trinidadian chicken and brown basmati. A really nice vegetable stir-fry to use with anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sichuan Pepper and Salt, Pg, 189

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really liked this as well. I also increased the sichuan pepper to 1t. I omitted the carrots but added a bit of celery since I had cut up too much. I had maybe half a cup. Neither added nor detracted from the dish and the color blended right in. Not much to add to Gio's report other than this is a dish worth trying

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sichuan Pepper and Salt (page 189)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Saw a new-to-me kind of bok choy in C-Town the other day, decided to buy it, then searched EYB for what to do with it. How fortuitous that I chose this recipe since the headnote told me I had bought dwarf bok choy, which Young says is the most tender. I made this without adding additional oil or salt and liked it very much. The bok choy was a bit more bitter than my usual Shanghai bok choy, but that may just have been true of the batch I bought. The leaves certainly were tender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Glad you liked the dish Joan. Isn't the tiny bok choy adorable? They seem to make a dish look playful and enticing. I'm having great fun revisiting the Dunlop books this month. I'll have to do the same with Grace Young too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sichuan Pepper and Salt, p. 189

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Made this to go with the Velvet Orange Scallops as that dish had nothing green in it. My bok choy was not really baby, and I really would have loved to have teeny, tender little bok choy, but it was perfectly good with the larger ones at my market. This is really a simple dish, and would go with practically anything. Pretty colors, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            STIR-FRIED BABY BOK CHOY WITH SICHUAN PEPPER AND SALT - p. 189

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At long last, my turn to try this dish and like those who went before me, we quite liked this dish. I omitted the carrots as time was not on my side that evening so after washing the bok choy, it was time to stir-fry! I used water vs chx stock but I think I’d use vegetable stock next time to further add to the flavours of this dish. I served this alongside a dish from FD’s LoP and a Black Bean Chicken dish from Bee Yin Low’s (of Rasa Malaysia fame) Easy Chinese Recipes. The chicken dish (pictured below) was terrific btw and quite reminiscent of the version I recently enjoyed on my last day in Beijing. I’m really liking that book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The dish I made from LoP was the Gong Pao Chx. Here’s a link to my review if anyone is interested:

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Stir-Fried Cilantro chili noodles with egg, page 266

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Served with Stir-Fried Pork and Chilies CCTI, page 90, BoW and Stir-Fried Bok Choy, page 138, BoW. I have reported those dishes in their own threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            After two weeks of Chinese foods, I just didn't want rice again. I chose this recipe since it didn't include lots of protein and veggies. I divded the recipe in half since 8 ounces of noodles is far too much for two people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Soak the noodles in warm water. And then came my greatest challenge of the evening, making the egg pancake, flipping it and then getting it out of the wok. Yea baby! It was perfect! I have seen others do this on tv numerous times, and I just wasn't convinced that I would be able to do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Then the assembly begins... swirl oil, add chilis and ginger [I used a Thai chili]. When fragrent add broth, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, swirl, add noodles reduce the heat and stir fry for 2 minutes or until the sauce is absorbed by the noodles. Add 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, the egg cut into strips, sugar, salt and pepper and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This had quite the kick. I really enjoyed the noodles and would make them again, while my dining companion wasn't so sure though he did eat three servings. Next time, I will try one of the one dish meal noodles dishes for comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups – p. 82

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mr bc isn’t the biggest fan of Chinese food but when we travel to the US he does love to go to PF Changs for their lettuce wraps for an afternoon snack so when I saw this recipe, I figured I should give it a try. We really liked this and would definitely make it again, even serve it to guests, but, and I must note this, in our view, it did need a flavor boost and I served the wraps with a dipping sauce that I make for gyoza that really did the trick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Though Young calls for dried shitakes, I had fresh so I used those. I have also found her recipes to contain more salt than we are accustomed to so I also omit any salt as we find the saltiness from the soy to be adequate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ground pork is seasoned w soy, rice wine, cornstarch, sugar and sesame oil. Once the wok is heated and oiled, pork is spread in a layer, seared then stir-fried ‘til just slightly pink then its removed and set-aside. Garlic, jalapeno, water chestnuts, carrots and mushrooms are stir-fried until well combined then scallions are added and finally, the pork is returned to the pan and cooked through. Pork mixture is then spooned into lettuce leaf wraps. We did try the wraps without adding the sauce and found them to be a little bland. The jalapeno didn’t bring enough heat for our tastes and, I had doubled the quantity. Once we drizzled the wraps w the dipping sauce, they were wonderful. Just enough sauce and heat. We loved them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce – p. 179

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was a totally new one for us. Maybe its because we’re Canadian but we’ve never heard of this dish before. Since there wasn’t a photo in the book, I Googled the dish before preparing it just to see what I was aiming for. In the end, this wasn’t a beautiful dish but it sure was tasty. Another one that we loved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shrimps are peeled and de-veined and then the shells are tossed in a pan w some clam juice and boiled ‘til the shells are orange. The liquid is drained and reserved. Some of the liquid is mixed w cornstarch to ultimately thicken the sauce and the remainder is incorporated later on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shrimps are layered in a hot pan, seared then quickly stir-fried and set aside. Next in, some more oil, garlic, ginger, some ground pork and Thai chilies (which I doubled). Once the pork changes colour, fermented black beans and the reserved shrimp stock are added and then, the shrimp are re-introduced to the pan. The mixture is brought to a boil, cornstarch mixture is added in and once the broth thickens, the egg is stirred in until it is barely set. If I’d tried, I couldn’t have imagined this dish but boy did we enjoy it!! The shrimp were sweet and played beautifully with the heat of the chilies and the silkiness of the egg-infused sauce. I’m so full, but as I type this, I’m craving this dish all over again. If you like shrimp, definitely try this dish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We served these along with the truly scrumptious Spicy Garlic Eggplant (p. 144 BoaW) This is our absolute favorite eggplant dish ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here’s a link to photos and my review of that recipe if you’re interested:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow BC - that all sounds great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What did you put in the gyoza dipping sauce, if you don't mind me asking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sure gg, here's my recipe for the dipping sauce:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  GYOZA DIPPING SAUCE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp sesame oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ¼ tsp chopped fresh ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ½ tsp chopped garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp sambal oelek
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 tbsp honey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tbsp white vinegar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ¼ cup soy sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ¼ cup water

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Heat sesame oil in wok or pan then add ginger and garlic, stirring until fragrant (about 10 seconds). Stir in remaining ingredients until heated through. Serve warm w gyoza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BC, many thanks for sharing your dipping sauce recipe. I passed by the lettuce cup recipe but you've made me want to give it a try. It sounds delicious and I agree with increasing spice and heat amounts. It makes all the difference. Chinese restaurants around where we live serve good food, for the most part, but all is decidedly on the very mild side with one notable Sichuan exception.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gio I hope you enjoy the wraps, the sauce really does make the difference. In general I'm finding Young's dishes under-seasoned for our tastes, except for the salt which I've been omitting if the dishes also include soy. Let me know what you think of the sauce if you do make these. I've been tweaking the recipe for years as our tastes evolve. I do find that heating it really helps blend the flavours though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups, Pg. 82

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Made these last night and absolutely Loved them. Increased all the spices, used a whole jalapeño with seeds, included 2 teaspoons garlic chili paste, omitted the salt as I've been doing right along. The kitchen smelled like a Chinese restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Additionally, I made Breadcrumbs' Gyoza sauce which I recommend to all. I kept the amounts of all ingredients as she wrote them. Wonderful flavor and heat to the sauce..but not overwhelming. Perfect with the lettuce cups. Thank you, BC...!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So glad you enjoyed everything Gio. You're so right about the "Chinese Restaurant" smell. . . .mr bc said the very same thing while I was making these!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also want to thank BC for the dipping sauce. That made a wonderful difference. I liked this dish very much indeed, but I made quite a few changes too. I agree with BC and those who don't add salt. I never add salt when I am using salty condiments in the cooking (soy, black beans, chili bean sauce, etc.). I also agree that these recipes tend to be a bit under-flavored for me in terms of spiciness, aromatics, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I used ground chicken, and added some oyster sauce to the ground meat. I forgot the cornstarch and the sugar. I didn't miss the sugar (since the dipping sauce had a nice sweetness), but the cornstarch might have been nice, as the dish at the end was slightly loose/wet. Some of my changes came from an online recipe called Martin Yan's Lettuce Cups (http://chinese.food.com/recipe/martin...) which is similar to Young's recipe, but uses ground turkey (among other changes). It also has an easier stir-fry order, which does not involve taking the meat out. I started with the mushrooms, since I used fresh, and stir fried for a bit to remove some of the moisture. I added ginger to the mushrooms (about 2 tsp minced--not called for in Young's recipe), put the carrots in before the meat and the rest of the veg after (without removing the meat). I also used one small zucchini (from Yan's recipe) and in future would be happy to use even more vegetables. I really liked the vegetables in this (I didn't feel I had to make a separate veggie dish). I used extra scallions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As I write this, I realize I changed it so much it maybe doesn't even count as the same recipe anymore! I rarely make a recipe as written. I should also note that I don't have a wok or a gas stove. So my dishes always take longer and tend to lack sear. I felt that mattered less in this dish than in many others. My family loved it and I did too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The dipping sauce is key! My daughter, especially, really loved it and she is a bit of a dipping sauce afficionado. I will definitely make this again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chyakla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks so much chyakia, I'm so glad your dish turned out well and that you enjoyed the sauce. I played w a lot of variations before landing on that recipe so I'm glad other folks are enjoying it too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Chili Bean Sauce, Pg. 200

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On Sunday I had planned to include this dish with the Trinidadian chicken and bok choy but decided those two plus rice were more than enough for one meal. Because the bean sprouts had been rinsed and I knew they wouldn't last too long in the fridge, I made this last night, our usual Macaroni Monday, and used it as a sauce over thin spaghetti. I had thought I'd make an aglio e olio and the stir-fry but decided to combine the two so there would be an adequate amount of sauce. Peanut oil was used and 4 large garlic cloves were minced. It worked out very well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  First, a combination of rice wine, chili bean sauce and soy sauce is made and set aside. I added a teaspoon of garlic chili paste as well. Garlic is fried in a hot oiled wok till fragrant then the bean sprouts and matchstick carrots are added and stir-fried a minute. (Once again I used that stripper instead of chopping the carrots). Shredded scallions are incorporated and salt is sprinkled over but, as has become usual, I omitted the salt. The sauce mixture is swirled in and the whole thing is stir-fried till the sprouts are just tender. This really was pretty good. I sprinkled chopped cilantro over each serving. It's too bad I didn't have Chinese noodles of some kind in the pantry but the thin spaghetti was a fine substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Chili Bean Sauce, Pg. 200

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I made this over the weekend and we really liked it as well. I omitted the carrots (superfluous) and the sprouts still had a marvelous crunch and flavor. It was hard not to take the tails off of each sprout (one of my more loathsome childhood chores) and I'm happy to say, there really isn't a taste difference with the tails on, just less aesthetically pleasing. Fine by me when it's just us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love bean sprouts... I sometimes rinse them and eat them raw or toss a handful or two in a salad. Never knew the tails should be taken off. As for the carrots, I suppose they are superfluous but I've been including them because it's another vegetable and expends the dish somewhat. But yes, they really didn't add much flavor to the sprouts, especially since I stripped them rather than slice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know if they have to be taken off. But, it was one of my onerous chores growing up. And, it's tedious. But, the dish is prettier with no rooty tails hanging about. Taste wise, it's the same so it's not worth the effort unless you have a special meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ETA: I really do hate the inclusion of filler vegetables that aren't needed throughout these books. They're fillers to me, and if they don't add anything, why are they there? This is coming from a huge vegetable eater (other Boston CHs have mocked me about my vegetable consumption). Seriously, why purpose does the carrot really serve in this dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ok, rant over. I'm behind on my reports so I better get cracking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really like these bean sprouts, although I do think that chili bean sauce makes everything taste delicious. I love that it is so quick to put together, although I do not trim my sprouts. I also like the color and the texture that the carrots add. I have made this a couple times now and have reduced the oil from 2 T to 1 T so I can justify eating more than a serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Chili Bean Sauce, Pg. 200

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Made this nice recipe as a side dish for the Five-Spice Chicken with Sugar Snaps on page 120, report downthread. Basically I followed the recipe as I did before but this time I subbed bourbon for Chinese wine, and shaved the carrots then sliced them in half lengthwise. Salt was omitted as usual. Still a tasty, crunchy addition to any meal. The two dishes were great together. Steamed jasmine rice was served as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Stir Fried Mongolian Lamb with Scallions (pg.90)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This was pretty good. C really liked it. He kept commenting how the lamb was perfectly cooked. I thought it could have used a bit more flavor especially given all the ingredients that went into both sauces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Marinate cubes of lamb with rice wine, dark soy, ground sichuan pepper (I used 2t, but should have added more, recipe calls for 3/4 t), cornstarch, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, add hoisin, rice vinegar, soy and rice wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Add the lamb to a hot wok and let it sit for a minute (love this technique combined with FD's swirling and dumping of the oil). Then stir fry for another minute. Add the many, many slivered scallions and the hoisin sauce. Stir very briefly and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Because there were so many flavor going on, you barely tasted the sichuan pepper. I think more needs to be added so it can balance out the sauce. The sauce wasn't sweet (despite the hoisin) because there were enough salty components to go with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stir-Fried Mongolian Lamb with Scallions (page 90)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I noted beetlebug’s recommendations (I always note beetlebug’s recommendations!): doubled the garlic and used a tablespoon rather than 3/4 of a teaspoon of ground Szechuan peppercorns. I also let the lamb marinate for a few hours. Even with a tablespoon the Szechuan pepper was barely discernable. And unlike bb, I did think the dish was a touch too sweet. Young says this “has the perfect balance of flavors.” I beg to differ. Perhaps my tweaking unbalanced them. It was good, but not good enough to be on the do-again list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clearly this dish made no real impression on me. After reading your post and my old post, I had no real memory of this dish. I'm sure your tweaking did nothing to unbalance the flavors. But, reading this post makes me crave cumin lamb or cumin beef from Dunlop's book. Must put that on the menu soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Much as I love lamb, I've made the Dunlop recipe with both beef and lamb and have decided I prefer it with beef. In fact, just bought some flank steaks at Costco with that recipe in mind. It will be on my menu soon again as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm going to try the lamb with cumin and cilantro from Mighty Spice soon. But, the thing I really have a hankering for is Dunlop's BBQ lamb chops from RCC (pg. 109).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't have Mighty Spice, but everyone's reports are making me think I'll own it fairly soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have you made the Yueyang chops before? Not finding a report on it. They read as though they could be a big hit casa Joan. And I even have a rack of lamb in the freezer. Are you planning on making them in a grill pan (my only option) or on an outdoor grill?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I could have sworn that we both made them and loved them. But looking at the reports, oakjoan and mirage were the only ones who tried it.

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know the two of us made some sort of lamb chop dish. I thought it was from Dunlop. I wish I could remember which recipe it was. I do think I have made this before and may not have reported it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This recipe is going on the list though and I would do it on a cast iron skillet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If my records are accurate, and they may well not be, the only lamb chop recipes I've made from COTM selections are from Sunday Suppers and Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. I mentioned, but don't think I posted a full review of, the superb Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb from Ad Hoc at Home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stir-Fried Mongolian Lamb with Scallions. Pg. 90

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We made this tasty stir-fry a couple of days ago with the Wok Wednesday cook-along group. I had the boneless leg of lamb and all the other ingredients so didn't have to substitute anything. I did however increase the amount of garlic and Szechuan pepper but nothing too drastic. We loved everything about it! So many flavors, the sauce ingredients suited the lamb perfectly, and the finished dish was delicious. We really like the technique of letting the additions to the wok sit undisturbed for a minute or so before tossing, etc. It sears the food and and imbues it with lovely flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Additionally we made a stir fry of a vegetable combo [corn/peas/carrots/green beans] with a dark sesame oil/tamari/sugar/cornstarch/ginger/chili/Szechuan pepper/scallion sauce, and steamed brown basmati rice. Another great meal that we thoroughly enjoyed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Vinegar Glazed Chicken (pg. 136)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I really liked this dish and there was something very addictive about it. I had a hard time not nibbling after I finished my dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Marinate chunks of chicken thighs with dark soy, soy, rice wine, sugar, cornstarch, ground sichuan pepper (I used 1t) and salt. In another bowl, combine dark soy, soy and rice wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Heat up the wok and add scallions, ginger, garlic and red pepper (I used FD's salted chiles). Push to the side and add the chicken, letting it sear for one minute. Stir fry a bit more and then add the sauce until the chicken is coated and then add 2T of vinegar. Actually, I added a few glugs of vinegar because I thought it said 2t.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Regardless, this had a lot of various flavors and it was just delicious. It was difficult to tell when the chicken was cooked because the marinade is very dark. But, this is a keeper of a dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A question regarding the lamb, BB... did you buy already cubed lamb or did you break down a leg? I ask because the Reading Market Basket has stopped carrying lamb stew or cubed shoulder meat and I really want to make this dish but only have bone-in lamb cubes in the freezer....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, I'm pleased to read your vinegar chicken report as that's on my list to make on Thursday. However, as of last night I'm all out of the dark soy sauce. I hate when something runs out since I usually buy a replacement when an ingredient gets to the half way mark.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Re: the lamb. Neither. I bought some kind of boneless lamb steak like thing. And, then I cut them into cubes. I don't remember the exact cut, but it was on sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hear you about the running out part. It's such a balance between restocking and having it sit in storage, taking up space, for too long of a period of time. Today would be the day to stock up on goods though, if that nor'easter really comes through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I seem to have gotten stuck on BoaW lately. Both these recipes sound right up my alley. Thanks for bringing me back to this book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made the Vinegar Glazed chicken this evening. It was a very good dish. I added veggies (broccoli, red pepper, butternut squash and carrots) so I doubled the sauce. The reason I chose this was my husband had brought some Sichuan Peppercorns from China and we have been enjoying the numbing sensation of fresh peppercorns. I felt that this dish needed more of the peppercorns and a little more spice (instead of using the crushed red pepper I used chili paste with garlic but not enough). I agree with beetlebug that it was hard to tell when the chicken was cooked due to the dark marinade. I will make this again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also made Stir-fried Sugar Snap Peas with Water Chestnuts from TBOAW pg 135. I will review that on the other thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi AGM, thanks for posting this, I like your modifications and wondered how apparent is the vinegar flavour in this dish? I love vinegar but Mr bc isn't as fond of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The vinegar isn't very assertive especially since I used the Chinkiang vinegar. A substitution for that is balsamic vinegar which I don't find very vinegary. If he finds it too acidic have him put a tiny bit of soy sauce on it since salt balances acid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vinegar Glazed Chicken, Pg. 136

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was our main dish last night and we liked it very much. Once again I omitted the salt, used 1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper roasted then ground in the pestle and mortar, used 3 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar, and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes and still G said he'd have liked more spice... I should have used the garlic chili paste I guess. Served with Stir-Fried Ginger Broccoli on pg. 216. I love that these dishes are so suitable for weekday meals with no big deal preparations required.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We loved this chicken dish - next time I would increase the red pepper flakes a little bit too as I would like it to be a little more spicy. Really yummy though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We made this for dinner tonight and I agree, it is akeeper. Thanks to bettlebug and everyone else for posting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made this tonight. We all liked it. I used a bit less chicken (I used one b/s breast) and added some baby bok choy and a bit of broccoli. I stir-fried these first, took them out, followed the recipe, and returned the vegetables to the pan when I put the sauce in. It was lovely with the vegetables, I thought. I didn't have black soy, so I used kecap manis instead, which may have changed the overall flavor (sweetened it perhaps? I'm not sure how sweet black soy sauce is). I used the amount of szechuan peppercorn that was called for, but I think I would use a bit more next time. I would also increase the red pepper flakes (or use chili garlic) to make it a little spicier. Otherwise, I liked the balance of flavors. I didn't find it at all vinegar-y.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vinegar-Glazed Chicken (page 136)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've had a Post-It on page 136 for, hmmm, I see it's two-and-a-half years now, that reads "beetlebug say this is a keeper; use 1 tsp sichuan pepper." So I did. My addition to this note reads, "& she's right, on both counts."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't know what took me so long. I served it with Stir-Fried Water Spinach with Fermented Bean Curd. Not the best pairing; flavors too strong in each dish. But I'd never had fermented bean curd before and didn't have any idea what to expect. Didn't matter. I liked both dishes. Just won't serve them together again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Sichuan Pork w Peppers and Peanuts – p. 95

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was Mr. bc’s fave of the 2 dishes I made tonight. I liked this but thought Liang Nian Xiu’s Snow Peas, Tomatoes, and Chilies from BoaW was the star of the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a quick dish to pull together. Pork is cubed and marinated in a mixture of egg whites, rice wine, cornstarch, minced garlic, sugar, pepper (and salt is intended but I didn’t use).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mis-en-place also includes a sauce of soy, vinegar and rice wine. So here’s my first little rant about this book. . .. I think the recipes would be a lot easier to prep if ingredients were listed by their role in the recipe – eg. “Marinade”, “Sauce”, “Extras”. Ok, I’m done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A little variation on Young’s typical recipe prep pattern in this one. Meat is added “in addition to, but after” the red onion and sliced garlic are sautéed. Then the usual pattern continues, meat sits undisturbed for 1 min. then is quickly stir-fried to sear on all sides but not cook through. In this case, chili bean sauce is added during this process. Meat is then removed from pan to make way for a quick softening of the peppers then is added back in to finish cooking along w the sauce and finally, the peanuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Our pork was tender and flavorful but I would have liked a bit more heat so would increase the chili paste next time around. Mr bc loved this, there’s none left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here’s the link to our thoughts on the Snow Pea dish from SFttSe:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sichuan Pork with Peppers and Peanuts, p. 95

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is the Wok Wednesday dish for this week (tomorrow). I have to admit to a bit of skepticism about this dish. It calls for "lean pork shoulder or butt, cut into 3/4-inch cubes". First off, lean pork shoulder is kind of an oxymoron, and mine was not. Second, 3/4-inch cubes are pretty large, compared to other recipes in the book. Third, I usually choose pork shoulder for long, slow cooking methods, and was unsure it if would work in a stir-fry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The prep has been described above, so I won't repeat. Instead of chile bean sauce, I mashed up some fermented black beans with chile garlic sauce. This might have resulted in a hotter dish, but that is OK by me. I also used orange bell peppers instead of red. Otherwise made as directed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Much to my relief, the pork shoulder came out plenty tender. Not melt-in-your-mouth, but not the gristly mass I feared (I used the cheapest, gnarliest piece of pork you ever saw), and really quite good. The flavor was excellent. In short, another success from this book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mel your photo is sensational! I'm glad to read your post and thankful for the reminder of this dish....we loved it! ...even if mine didn't look nearly as appealing as yours!!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Stir Fried Ginger Tomato Beef (pg. 80)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought this was ok. C really liked it though. The beef was incredibly tender (as are all the proteins I've made in this book). However, I didn't think it tasted all that gingery or all that tomatoey. It's a short cooking time so the flavors never really melded together. I suspect the leftovers will have more flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Marinade cut up flank stead with ginger, soy, rice wine, corn starch, sugar, salt and pepper, and sesame oil. In a separate bowl, mix dark soy, rice wine and sesame oil. Sear the beef for 1 minute, stir fry and additional minute then remove the beef. Add a small can of whole tomatoes (with juice) into the wok, add a bit of sugar and then the dark soy mixture. Put the beef and juices back into the wok and add cut up scallions. Stir fry for a short time until the beef is cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was very saucy, unlike the picture in the book. Also, Young noted somewhere that tomatoes may effect a newer wok. The patina did lighten ever so slightly, but I have a very imperfectly seasoned wok (I rushed it when I first got the wok so there are darker parts then others. These darker parts shouldn't be there but the wok still cooks up fine).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Fried Sweet Rice with Sausage and Mushrooms, p. 260

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm a fan of sticky/sweet rice but have never cooked it any other way than steamed before. This recipe calls for making it on the stove with chicken broth. I did overcook it a bit (left it unattended and it boiled too long instead of immediately reducing it to low) so it was pretty sticky when I was stir-frying and hard to break up the rice evenly to coat with the soy sauce. Other ingredients were soaked dried shiitake mushrooms, ginger, Chinese sausage (lop chong), scallions, peanut oil and white pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love the texture of sticky rice so really liked this. I never thought of using it in a stir-fry before. The night I made it I served it with Stir-Fried Cabbage with Bacon and Kung Pao Chicken. For leftovers, I patted it into an oiled pan, cut into wedges, and had it for lunch, sometimes with a fried egg. There's a Vietnamese dish this reminds me of, so another way I enjoyed it was drizzled with nuoc cham.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Cantonese-Style Stir-Fried Pork with Chines Broccoli pg. 77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Made this last night for dinner. I really enjoyed it, but I took a lot of liberties. Not sure if I can even give a fair review of this dish, as I changed so much. It was good though, so here goes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I used sliced pork loin country style ribs. A boneless cut I got a tremendous deal on at Costco. I reportioned these to use specifically for stir-fires and they worked quite well. I sliced the smallish pieces of pork across the grain before marinating and the meat was very tender.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For a variety of reasons, I still have not picked up a wok and am using a large all-clad skillet instead. This works well enough, but isn't nearly as much fun.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also have not made it to a proper asian market yet, and still do not have dark soy or oyster sauce, both of which this recipe calls for. I subbed fish sauce for the oyster sauce (I know, not really similar at all, but thought it would give me the umami), and used the regular soy called for, didn't worry about the dark soy proportions, and added sambal oelek. Most reports here cite a lack of spice, so I figured it couldn't hurt, and I don't like heavily salted food, thus no extra reg soy added.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had a beautiful head of chinese broccoli that has given me several meals already this week, but I was out of water chestnuts, had no red pepper, and wanted to use some fresh oyster mushrooms I had on hand instead of opening my can of straw mushrooms. Had snap peas, they were little and nice, so used those instead of snow peas that were called for.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipe instructs you to cook the broccoli stalks in water until crisp tender, the final dish is then poured over the stalks, a presentaion I am quite familiar with at Chinese restaurants. I didn't want to fight with the long stalks so I cut my broccoli into one inch lengths and added them raw to the stir fry after browning the meat. The leaves and stalk cooked up nicely this way, small lengths of the stalk being key.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I set up my mise en place before heading to a class and marinated my pork as well. -It got the cornstarch, soy, rice wine, garlic, oil treatment that is used throughout this book. Plus oyster sauce (fish sauce) and sesame oil.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To start the cooking process, heat the oil, add your ginger and garlic, yada yada yada. All went pretty well, except my ginger/garlic mixture stuck a good bit, but resulting fond released nicely once I added the second prepped sauce mixture(chicken broth, (dark and )reg soy and oyster sauce(fish)). Really need to get a wok!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I actually used her timing, which worked well for each addition (ginger/garlic, then meat, then veg, then sauce #2, then sauce #3(chicken broth, sesame oil, cornstarch).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the end I had it over brown rice, very satisfying.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I forgot to add the oyster mushrooms, and by the time I noticed that I knew they'd never cook before overcooking the other veg, so I omitted them. No room in my skillet anyway.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Again, I really need to get a wok.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                All in all, it was delicious and again made me realize how quick and versatile this kind of cooking is.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope to get the appropiate ingredients and a wok soon, but I have enjoyed bringing this cooking style into my home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now I know why we used to have stir-fry every week growing up. It is a perfect way to use up leftover meats and vegetables, doesn't stretch the budget, it's fast, delicious and pleasing to most palates. Is that because these recipes are somewhat dummed down? Not sure, but it's a good jumping board for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this dish earlier in the week and forgot to report on it. We quite liked it served over a made-up "lo mein." I too substituted a fish sauce for the oyster. I used regular broccoli and instead of serving the dish over it, threw it into the stir-fry at the end. No straw mushrooms or fresh peas to be had around here, so I ommitted them. I did however actually pay attention to the dark soy sauce versus the regular....The one thing I messed up here was the cutting of my pork. I had some diced into stew-meat size in the freezer and neglected to notice the grain when I sliced it down to size, so it came out rather tough. Oh well, dinner was still good that night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  From reading the notes to the recipe, I gather this is not a "dummed" down dish as it was created by a restaurant chef, and does contain some rather minute amounts of a myriad of ingredients. Lots of measuring, but well worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cantonese Stir Fried Pork with Chinese Broccoli (pg. 77)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was pretty good. I'm finding that Young's dishes are too saucy for my tastes. So, I blanched two bunches of chinese broccoli because I always find that there aren't enough greens in dishes. When the dish was finished, I only used one bunch but added the second bunch to the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    First, I cut the pork incorrectly. I made 1/2 inch cubes v. slices. But, the flavor ended up being great with the pork cut in this direction. Second, I used fresh criminis, snap peas, and anaheim pepper for my vegetables. I didn't have any fresh water chestnuts although I did see some at the store. I just didn't feel like peeling them. I was surprised that the broccoli wasn't stir fried with the rest of the dish and almost seemed like an afterthought. The dish could stand alone without the broccoli if you don't have any. Third, there are an annoyingly amount of bowls used in this dish, 3 total. Somehow, that 3rd bowl kind of sent me over the edge because I hadn't run the dishwasher and was scrounging for a small bowl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was a nice colorful dish and visually pleasing. It tasted pretty good but it didn't knock my socks off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Hakka-Style Stir-Fried Shrimp and Vegetables pg 175

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Swirl in oil, then add in each of the following ingredients and stir-fry for 20-30 seconds: chopped garlic, sliced (previously soaked in water) carrots, shrimp (which I had soaked in salt water even though the recipe didn't call for it), sliced Napa cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower florets. Then stir in salt, pepper, and carrot-soaking water, cover and cook 30 seconds. Swirl in a cornstarch-carrot-soaking water liquid and stir-fry. Serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We served this over brown rice and with Danny Chan's Steamed Salmon with Lemon from BoaW.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Simple. NIce way to use up a lot of veggies. Not sure the point of the carrot soaking step...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The carrots are puzzling in many of these recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, carrots grow like weeds here in MN, so, I'm grateful for ways to use them, even if I don't fully understand the method... :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think she is using more familiar ingredients (carrots, bell peppers etc.) to appeal to a broader audience. She also is throwing in recipes across a fairly broad range of Chinese cuisines (Cantonese, Sichuan, Fujian etc.) No doubt there was some pressure exerted by Simon and Schuster as well. The market for cookbooks today is extremely difficult. Publishers are quite timid as the genre has been overtaken by celebrity chefs. (Legends in their own lunchtimes?) Slap a photo of Ray or Flay on the cover and they know how many copies they will sell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was in the new H Mart in Edison, New Jersey, yesterday and thought of the comments regarding Young's use of vegetables, especially carrots, when I saw really large bags, probably about one pound, of julienned carrots and celery and shredded scallions. I don't recall seeing those in Asian markets in Chinatown or Flushing. Are these vegetables more traditional, perhaps, in Korean cooking than in Chinese?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Don't know about the H-Mart in Edison, but ours here in the Boston suburbs draws a very wide ranging Asian-American clientele from lots of suburbs, so while Korean focused, there's lots of stuff, especially veg & fruit, for other cuisines, i.e. Cambodian, Viet Namese, Indian, Chinese, Japanese & etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lot's of julienned carrots and scallions are used in Korean panchan, kimcee and some stews. They are also very common and used in quantity in Viet Namese & Cambodian food (pickles, all kinds of spring rolls and filled dumpliings, & etc). The celery, though, is a head scratcher to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Very good to know. Thanks. I was especially interested in what you said about H Mart being more pan-Asian in their produce department. The H Mart replaced an Asian Food Market at the same location and I was disappointed that it did not carry the same same range of pantry staples from other Asian cultures that I could always count on finding at AFM. Their fresh produce, though, really did look outstanding and they had a very impressive selection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The H Mart in Manhattan Koreatown always has those nice Holland red skinny hot peppers which are best for Dunlop's salted chilis and are more like the ones used in Taiwan for flavor as much as heat. Chinatown markets I've been in don't, generally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I saw a package there and picked them up--although I'm well stocked with chilis both fresh and dried. They were so gorgeous I couldn't resist. And that's exactly what I had planned to do with them. So glad my instincts were right on that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They are lovely, I want nail polish that exact red! Taste great too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They're the default chilli in England. A poster who's originally from Singapore and has lived in the US told me that he was really pleased when he moved to London and saw them everywhere, rather than jalapenos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Have never seen julienned carrots and the like in Asian stores. here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They were very hard to find when we moved back from Taipei to Berkeley. They use them dried in dishes there too, add moderate heat and good flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Probably because jalapenos are so ubiquitous in the States. Here it's the long red ones (cayenne?) or Scotch bonnets, to reflect the Caribbean influence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And jalapenos are my least favorite chili (and not appropriate in Asian food), serranos are much nicer, less vegetal taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hmm...maybe it's because we live in the Southwest where chili peppers are rather ubiquitous, but I see them all the time around here, especially at the Asian markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Funny, I just made Tiger skin peppers with peppers from H-Mart a few days ago. They were great (but HOT)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I definitely agree that H-Mart is Korean-centric in the condiments section, which when I think about it is just the opposite of Kam Man, which is Chinese-centric in the produce and meats, but Pan-Asian in the condiments. I guess they've all got their niches figured out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Carrots are one of the New World food items introduced into China after 1500; and were traditionally more valuable in Chinese medicine due to high carotene levels. Like other root vegetables they pack less nutritional punch and because of their fibrous nature and coarse texture, are harder to prepare. Taro actually became much more popular - and it is technically a stem, not a root vegetable.