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Cooking from Fuchsia Dunlop's new book, "Every Grain of Rice"

So now that it's FINALLY out, let's get cooking...
Had guests who were pining for spicy food last night, so I made the gong bao chicken recipe (which she says was first in Land of Plenty, I didn't compare the two to see if it was reprinted verbatim or not) -- delicious as always.
But the star of the dinner for me was the tofu appetizer with avocado, from a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan --
1 block silken firm tofu (I used the tetrapak stuff), 1/2 perfectly ripe avo (I used all of one), 2 tb light soy (can use Kikkoman, I use Kimlan), 1 tb water, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, bit of wasabi (I use the squeezy tube stuff, about 1/4 tsp).
Slice tofu about 1/4 in thin across the block, put on plate, fanning out slightly (I cut it on a piece of paper towel and used it to transfer the tofu to the plate as a sort of sling). Top w dressing. Top w avo, similarly sliced across and fanned slightly. Eat. Blissfully. The 2 textures are almost identical.
Dead easy and just simply wonderful.
Looking forward to more explorations of this lovely new treat of a book.

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  1. that sounds scrumptious, BT. bet it was pretty, too. thanks for sharing.

    6 Replies
        1. re: mariacarmen

          Definitely. The Chinese name for avocado used in the book is "eel pear", I presume because of the fattiness. (The usual name for them is "butter fruit".)

          1. re: buttertart

            I made silken tofu with avocado and I see what you mean about it being sexy-looking Texturally it was sensuous too. Rich, silky, very enjoyable to eat.

              1. re: buttertart

                yum - I am so making this NOW after reading all 317 posts. thanks :D

    1. We're hoping to cook some dishes from this cookbook over the next week or so. Tonight's dinner, I take no credit for -- it's my wife's [Pandanexpress on here] night to cook.

      From the book (forgive any typos in the names):
      Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce (Suan Ni Pai Huang Gua 蒜泥拍黄瓜) (p34)
      Silken Tofu with Soy Sauce (Xiao Cong Ban Dou Fu 小葱拌豆腐) (p41)

      Also (not from the book), some lotus root cooked with serrano and habanero peppers from our yard, a little soy sauce and mirin, and chayote shoots (long xu cai (龙须菜); lit. dragon whiskers vegetable), stir-fried with shaoxing wine, garlic, and salt.

       
      5 Replies
      1. re: will47

        Looks terrific. Had never heard of chayote shoots, how interesting! Ever tried the Suzhou lotus root appetizer, thinly sliced, blanched 1 min and marinated in tangerine juice overnight? I love it. Love all things lotus.

        1. re: buttertart

          Haven't tried it yet.

          There's a local place that does a pretty nice cold (but cooked) "salad" of them, so when we saw them at the market, we grabbed them right away. The taste (especially raw) has some slight resemblance to asparagus / fiddlehead ferns. They do have a bit of a "dry" texture, even when there's oil or water in them. I think if I were making them, I'd probably blanch them in salted water first, before stir-frying them, but they did cook Ok just in the wok.

          1. re: will47

            I love the texture, so bitey. Flavor is nice too.

            1. re: buttertart

              I was talking about the chayote shoots, not lotus root.

      2. The avocado tofu salad sounds amazing.

        And I'm sticking my toe in this thread so I can easily follow along!

        1 Reply
        1. HiHo Buttertart...
          don't forget to add this soon to be burgeoning thread to the Non (or Pre) COTM archived thread...

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842251

          As soon as my book arrives the tofu and avocado salad will be the first recipe I'll make...

          1 Reply
          1. I don't expect to receive my copy until tomorrow, just after I leave for Atlanta. :-(

            My primary eater is SO thrilled that we will be cooking Chinese food again. Every time we concentrate on Chinese food for a period of time, we both drop a few pounds and generally just feel good. We feel very lucky to have some good Chinese markets so close to our house.

            4 Replies
              1. re: smtucker

                No sooner have you found a "zen" place where the book will come when it comes, and either you will be here to receive it or you won't when the universe surprises you with delivery THREE DAYS EARLY!

                Have barely cracked it, but I am loving the pictures. I also like the cover. I think it is pretty clever and will be easy to find on the shelf.

                I will curl up in a chair, post it notes by my side, and starting reading tonight.

                1. re: smtucker

                  Yay!!! I was sorry to hear about the likelihood of it showing up after you'd left town, so this gives me a happy little tingle. Jealous of the quiet time with it in your lap.

                  1. re: smtucker

                    Hurray! I like the cover too. I like the fuchsia accents and ribbon!

                2. This is thread is killing me. I am now lying on the floor, green with jealousy...

                  Looking forward to the reports.

                  1. I'm excited to make my first dish but I'm having a hard time making a selection with so many dishes that appeal.

                    I do have a queston. I've seen a couple of recipes calling for a very small quantity of preserved vegetables and I was wondering how best to store the remaining portion from the tin? Does anyone know how long this would keep in the fridge? Should/could I freeze it?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      Mine have sat on the shelf, being used over months and months of time. I only remove what I need for that evening's dinner to soak. I twist the interior plastic bag to close it tightly, before replacing the cork top and put it back into the pantry.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Depends which type of preserved veg/pickle & how it was originally packaged. The clay jar w/ plastic inner-lining Tianjin Cai (Tianjin Preserved Vegetable) that I believe smt is referring to can be stored at cupboard room temp for ages. For types that come in Plastic or that shining Tetra-pak containers (like the many Sichuan pickled peppers, mustard root/Sichuan preserved Zhacai, Tiancaipu/turnip pickle, & fermented black beans, I usually store those in the fridge as it helps keep the crisp texture, sometimes moving them into a glass jar, depending on how well the original pack is holding up. These all have a very high salt content and usually last for ages in the fridge.

                        For tinned cans of Chinese pickle/preserved veg/bamboo shoot & etc, I always move them to a glass jar and the fridge, they don't tend to keep as well or for as long as the previous two types, so try to use them up fairly soon. And finally if it is an oil packed Chinese veg pickle, these MUST be refrigerated and even then they only last a few weeks after opening.

                        1. re: qianning

                          Q, your information is always so wonderful! Thank you very much.

                      2. My book is nowhere close but I must make this tofu recipe, BT! The beauty of it is that it does not have to be a part of Chinese meal, could be simply yummy appertiser and we seem to go though a lot of these as oppose to main dishes - must be the summer mood though the recent weather in NY is anything but!

                        This is completely off the subject but I just have to tell - I was driving in NYC today and got a ticket because my car windows are tinted!!!! As if I can change the windows before leaving Canada and half the cars in the city have tinted windows, anyway, including taxis - I was paying attention as he was writing the ticket... So abset - so unfair:(

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: herby

                          Oh shoot, herby, hope it wasn't too $$$!!!
                          Yes, that tofu is a wonderful thing.

                        2. Tonight's dinner...

                          Tofu "Bamboo" with Spring Onion-Flavored Oil (Cong You Fu Zhu / 葱油腐竹) (p46)
                          Stir-Fried Garlic Stems with Smoked Mushrooms (vegetarian variation of Stir-Fried Garlic Stems with Bacon - La Rou Chao Suan Tai - 腊肉炒蒜薹) (p206).
                          Pipa Doufu - 琵琶豆腐 (p78)
                          (last 3 pictures in order)

                          The tofu skin sticks (fuzhu) with scallion oil came out Ok. I made a quick stock with soybean sprouts and carrots; despite using unsalted broth and what I thought was a smallish pinch of salt, it came out a tiny bit salty, so I'll probably use even less salt next time. I'm not sure if they're supposed to retain their chewy texture (which I love in braised dishes), or if I needed to simmer it a bit more slowly. It did seem to take forever to cook down the stock. Good, but not mind-blowing. However, it's really pretty.

                          Got fresh garlic scapes, so decided to try this stir-fry. My first time working with this type of garlic scape( though I've used green garlic stalks before). Maybe I didn't trim enough of the base on some, or else they didn't cook perfectly evenly, because some of them were more tender than others. I decided to make some tea-smoked shitakes and marinate them, rather than use button mushrooms, which was her suggested vegetarian variation. I thought it worked pretty well - captured some of the flavor of bacon, though not the saltiness.

                          Then the Pipa Doufu (so-named because the little tofu puffs are supposed to roughly resemble the pipa, a Chinese lute) -- I really enjoyed this one - I've been talking about it ever since I saw the picture. Actually came out pretty well! I had thought about making it eggless, but decided to use a duck egg white since I had some around. The dish is kind of what I expected taste-wise, and mine came out looking fairly close to the picture in the book (at least considering that I don't have a professional food stylist either). Conforting, kind of like HK café food, with a typical gloopy Cantonese style brown sauce. I added a little vegetarian oyster sauce to the base, but otherwise pretty much used her recipe. Accidentally got silken tofu instead of regular tofu, but it worked fine (I pressed it for a bit longer than I would have otherwise). The puffs are slightly crispy after deep-frying, but become soft when simmered in the sauce. Great flavor and texture.

                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                          5 Replies
                          1. re: will47

                            Those dishes look wonderful, will47. I'm intrigued by your half rack. Is it to drain and keep warm the food that you've cooked?

                            1. re: Gio

                              It's a wok draining rack / tempura rack. I sometimes use it when deep-frying foods.

                              1. re: will47

                                Ah... thank you. What a handy device...

                          2. Two more tonight; my wife's turn again.

                            Blanched Choy Sum with Sizzling Oil (You Lin Cai Xin - 油淋菜心, p168), but using xuelihong (雪里红) instead.
                            Firm Tofu with Green Bell Pepper (Qing Jiao Dou Fu Gan - 青椒豆腐干,p84), but making use of leftover shishito peppers and carrots instead of the bell pepper.

                             
                             
                            16 Replies
                            1. re: will47

                              Interesting that FD uses carrots in some of these dishes just as Grace Young does in Breath of a Wok and Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. Some who cooked from GY's books complained about the use of carrots...

                              1. re: Gio

                                Just to be clear, the author does not call for carrots in either recipe directly above. The doufu gan stir-fry is just tofu and green pepper, and the garnish for the greens is just supposed to be red pepper or red chili and ginger. Just making use of leftover carrots from the pipa doufu (which did call for carrot, both in the fritters and in the finished dish).

                                While broccoli, tomato, carrot (and chilis, for that matter) are not indigenous to China, the book tries to describe home cooking, and all of these things are certainly used in many areas of China today. The book itself actually has a note about carrots at the beginning of the "Root Vegetables" section -- "Carrots are sometimes eaten, but almost invariably to add a little color to other ingredients rather than as the main event".

                                Not being wasteful is also very Chinese, so, I think adjusting the recipes to make creative use of leftovers is also in keeping with the ethos of the book.

                                1. re: will47

                                  Very much so, in home cooking.

                                  Carrots are still called "foreign turnips" in Chinese, by the way. Foreign in the barbarian sense. Tomatoes are "foreign (different word for it) eggplants".

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    PS to will47: I know you know that.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Yeah, she makes a note of the etymology as well right after the bit I quoted above. she also says that potatoes are also sometimes still known as yang yu (yu as in yutou / taro), which I didn't know before.

                                      Were tomatoes called fanqie first, or xihongshi (red persimmon) first?

                                      1. re: will47

                                        Not sure about that re tomatoes!
                                        Have only ever heard potatoes called tudou (field beans) or malingshu (horse's hooves). (Yang in that sense means Western, of course.)

                                        Re foreign/Columbian vegetables in Chinese food: the theory is that they took especially strong hold in Sichuan because the area was laid waste by homicidal maniac warlords around the time of their introduction (seriously), destroying preexisting food traditions, and the resettlers were receptive to the new types of produce which also happened to flourish in the climate.

                                    2. re: will47

                                      Wow, so interesting. I think of the Chinese food I ate (here in the US) growing up, and so much of it had carrots and/or broccoli in it. Not really a fan of tomato in Asian cuisines, so kind of neat to find out it wasn't originally there. Thanks for the info.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Have you ever eaten tomato and egg (fanqie chao dan; *very* common Chinese home-cooking dish, which most restaurants will also make, though more of a home style dish)? It can be made a lot of different ways, but the recipe in Every Grain of Rice looks pretty standard (it includes a pinch of sugar, which is important). The dish doesn't even require that you use good tomatoes. I really think this might change your mind about tomato in Asian cusines. This pairing is also sometimes used for noodle soup instead of a stir-fry.

                                        1. re: will47

                                          Tomatoes are very common in hong kong home style cooking. I grew up eating tomato and egg stir fry, steamed fish with tomatoes, and soup with both tomatoes and carrots.

                                          I was told that ketchup is romanized Cantonese for tomato sauce. They certainly sound similar!

                                          1. re: lilham

                                            This article suggests that "ketchup" actually came from the Min Nam (Hokkien; South Fujianese dialect) word for fish sauce.

                                            http://www.slate.com/articles/life/fo...

                                            Wikipedia mentions a number of different theories, including the one you mention.

                                            1. re: will47

                                              I would trust Wikipedia over what I was told growing up :)

                                              Edit: the Wikipedia article is very interesting. So it sounds like tomato sauce in many southern dialects.

                                              1. re: lilham

                                                I don't think the Hokkien word refers to something with tomatoes in it at all - it just refers to regular fish sauce. According to the Slate article, "It wasn’t until the 19th century that people first began to add tomato to ketchups".

                                          2. re: will47

                                            Given that I'm not really big on eggs either, I doubt this will be the dish to change my mind.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              You know I'm not a big egg person either, but when I was working in Beijing egg&tomato became a favorite lunch dish for me. I still crave it/make it every so often Don't ask me why, but it is one of those whacky dished where the sum doesn't seem to have much to do with the parts.

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                That is really interesting! You've sold me on at least giving it a shot. I should have the book by early next week, but I'm leaving on Thursday so won't get to try it until I get home.

                                                Weirdly, I love raw eggs (on, say, sushi) or very very runny eggs.

                                        2. re: will47

                                          Well, I guess you can tell I haven't had time to read through all the recipes in EGOR yet, or indeed the introduction, but I have cooked enough recipes in "Land of Plenty" and "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook" to know carrots aren't featured. I saw the carrots in your photos and thought they were in the recipes... When I cook Grace Young's recipes from the two books I reference upthread I include them because, as you imply, "waste not, want not..."

                                    3. Radishes in Chilli Oil Sauce - p68

                                      We have Grace Young's Spicy Orange Chicken for dinner tonight. I have a lot of radishes left over from yesterday, and flicking through EGOR, I noticed Dunlop has a cold dish that uses radishes. I have to confess I've never had small red radishes in a Chinese dish before.

                                      Dunlop instructs you to smack the radishes a little with a cleaver or rolling pin. This turns out to be the most difficult part of the dish. I haven't got a cleaver, and my rolling pin is HUGE. So I used my pestle. The radishes kept flying off the chopping board when I tried to smack them. One of them even went underneath the fridge. Other times, I smacked too hard and crushed the poor radish into pieces.

                                      The smacked radishes are salted to draw out their moisture for 30min. You make a dressing with caster sugar, soy sauce, chilli oil and sesame oil. Dunlop said in her chilli oil recipe that shop bought chilli oil are a lot hotter than the Sichuanese one. I know mine is very very hot so I went 50:50 with chilli oil and sunflower oil.

                                      The resulting dish is well balanced with salty and hot flavours. It's also very very easy for weeknight dinners. Definitely a keeper.

                                      28 Replies
                                      1. re: lilham

                                        That is so funny. I can just imagine you bashing those poor radishes into submission!

                                        1. re: lilham

                                          Yeah, I don't think a cleaver is at all essential for making Chinese food, but, I find that it helps somehow, if only psychological.

                                          I have a CCK 1303 (thin, carbon steel, though the blade comes mostly lacquered, comfortable in the hand, available reasonably cheaply, probably $25-35 range if there's somewhere that has them locally). I have some knives that cost quite a bit more, but this is the one I reach for more times than not. It's much easier to put an edge on than many knives, and it's very thin (i.e., for delicate work only, not for chopping bones).

                                          Not only is the large, flat blade useful for smacking stuff, but it's really good for scooping ingredients up.

                                          1. re: lilham

                                            Radishes in Chili Oil Sauce, (Qiang Luo Bo), Pg. 68

                                            Well the avocado and tofu dish I had planned to make for the first Every Grain of Rice meal is on hold till the avocado ripens, however since I did have radishes I made this to go along with Spicy Buckwheat Noodles With Or Without Chicken on page 268.

                                            The chili oil I have is not terribly hot so I used the full 2 Tablespoons. The radishes were enormous so they were quartered before smashing... I used the flat side of a meat mallet for this, very carefully. When I drained the radishes after the 30 minute salting I blotted them so they wouldn't be too salty when I added the dressing. The result was a crunchy, spicy, delightful radish salad. We both liked the dish and feel it deserves to be on the menu again.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              This sounds SO good, and like a nice easy side dish.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Radishes - yes. Silken tofu and avocados, not so much. I don't really care for the texture of either (slimy!).

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      Have you tried okra? Woosh, talk about slimy. But I love it.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        I will eat okra (and avocado in small quantities) but am just not that keen. Firm tofu is fine too. But suffice it to say, I won't be making this dish.

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          My goodness! A kinswoman. Not much of a fan of avocado myself. Something I rarely admit in pubic.Don't care if it's "good fat." It's still high fat, mushy texture, not a whole lot of flavor. There. I've said it. Now I'll go hide until the storm passes.

                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                            I think a lot of people who don't like avocados are people who live in places that rarely get good avocados. I know that I definitely didn't appreciate them as much when I lived on the east coast. However, a good avocado, especially a nice ripe Fuerte, Bacon, or Pinkerton has a great flavor and texture.

                                                            Just as olive tapenade is a good gateway drug for olives, guacamole is a good gateway drug for avocados.

                                                            1. re: will47

                                                              You may be right. But I spend a few months a year in Central America where you have your choice of myriad varieties of avocados and can barely move without being served guacamole. Just never took to it. What can I say? I choose not to look at it as a personal failing.

                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                I'm so glad you outed yourself as a fellow avocado dodger, Joan. I will eat guacamole in small quantities, but then I will eat almost anything if it comes on a tortilla chip!

                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                        Thankfully G does, or at least will, eat tofu but draws the line at avocado. I, OTOH do not draw any lines. When I make the T & A, tofu appetizer with avocado I mean, I'll serve them apart from each other, fanned out ever so prettily on a pristine white platter. How will he be able to resist I ask you...

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          To me, getting to eat avocado feels like such a special treat.

                                                          Don't know how Mr. Gio will be able to resist!

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            They're among the foods I could live on.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Me three:) Love both - made tofu on Fri for lunch, grilled on Sat for dinner and again for Sun lunch. Now I am tofued-out for a week but usually have avocado everyday for breakfast.

                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                  Berkeley breakfast of happy memory: Buttered whole wheat toast, 1/2 avocado, center filled with lemon juice and a drop of Tabasco. Salt. Bliss.

                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                Me three. My husband gets a sack at the Restaurant Depot, and we put them in the fridge when they ripen. They stay perfectly ripe for more than a week. Maybe two.

                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                  They ripen in the fridge too, just much more slowly. Try putting part straight in rather than ripening them all and chucking them in there all at once.

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    Roxlet, do you shop at Costco too? How do these two store compare?

                                                      3. re: lilham

                                                        If you have one of those hand-held lemon squeezers, you can cut a radish in half, put the radish in the squeezer and smash them that way. I find it works best if you put the cut side down, facing the holes.

                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                          Radishes in Chilli Oil Sauce - p68

                                                          I was intrigued by the recipe since it looked good and simple, and we don't really eat radishes at our house. I got some at the farmers market. It turned out just okay, but that was probably because of my cheap chili oil with no sediment in it. It just didn't have that much flavor, and I should have blotted or rinsed the radishes because they were a bit too salty. I think in my head I was imagining something pickle-like even though there isn't any vinegar in it. I served this with Grace Young's Chiu Chow–Style Pork Spring Moon which I really loved.

                                                          1. re: sarahcooks

                                                            Have you looked at the chilli oil recipe in the book? I finally took the plunge making my own. Can't believe how easy it is. I followed the one in Sichuan Cookery, which is just crushed chilli and oil. You simply measure out the crushed chilli into a preserving jar, heat the oil to 200C, let it cool down to 130C, then pour over the chillies. I don't know why I've put off making my own for so long!

                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                              lilham, if you happen to see this, I'm wondering whether you crushed your own chillies or, purchased ground chillies. I'm debating between making the oil or, purchasing a Sichuan variety since I've heard I'l be able to get that at the Asian supermarket I'm heading to.

                                                        2. Was going to make the vegetarian mapo in this book last night but, having had a vegetarian entree the night before, M wanted meat (it's the midwest in him). So it was the LOP version (but with pork) instead.

                                                          1. Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans - p150

                                                            This is a vegetarian version of the famous dish. There is also a vegetarian version in Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery book. From a quick comparison of the two versions, this new version have you blanching the beans. It also adds 2 tbsp of Tianjing preserved vegetables, though it's an optional ingredient.

                                                            I made this with mangetout. I didn't blanch them because I think they stir fried much quicker than green beans. Also I like them a bit on the crunchy side. I used the optional preserved vegetables. The crunchiness of fried preserved vegetables provides a nice contrasting texture to the soft beans. Very nice.

                                                            1. Spicy Buckwheat Noodles With Or Without Chicken, (Suan Qiao Mian), Pg. 68

                                                              We made this With Chicken... there was one lonely small boneless poached chicken breast waiting for this recipe, I just know it. I'm glad I used it too, because it helped alleviate the spiciness of the sauce the noodles are ultimately tossed in. Since I wanted the noodles to be served warm instead of cold/room temp I made the sauce first. The bundle of buckwheat noodles I had weighed 12 ounces instead of 5.6 oz. so I doubled the recipe.

                                                              The sauce ingredients are: light or tamari soy sauce (I used low sodium tamari), chinkiang vinegar, caster sugar, garlic to taste (I used 1 T), Spring onion greens, cooked shredded chicken meat, chopped red chili. The noodles are cooked, drained and placed into a bowl. One by one the sauce ingredients are added except the chicken and chilli slices. Mix well. Toss noodles in sauce then tip onto a serving plate. Scatter the chicken and chili over top.

                                                              I wasn't prepared for the spicy heat of the sauce. No tears but plenty of Wows. We do like spicy hot food but... as G said, "this is over the top." On the other hand, it was absolutely delicious. And look Ma... no oil. I can see adding sliced quickly stir-fried mangetout, mushrooms or other suitable vegetables to the sauce. Definitely making this again. Served with the Radishes in Chili Oil on page 68. There's not a drop left of anything.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                That sounds like a terrific meal.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  It does sound great - presumably your chilli was super-hot!

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Sounds wonderful! And I have an opened package of soba noodles sitting on my counter looking for a use. Could anyone pretty please provide proportions since I don't have the book!

                                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                      GNG... if no one beats me to it I'll give you the ingredient amounts tomorrow early AM... (I can only go downstairs once a day now...)

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        Thanks gio! No rush. Won't be home for dinner tonight anyway!

                                                                      2. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                        Just gave you a cold radish salad... the page number should be 268!

                                                                        160g buckwheat noodles
                                                                        a little cooking oil
                                                                        1 tbsp light or tamari soy sauce
                                                                        2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
                                                                        1/2 tsp caster sugar
                                                                        salt, to taste

                                                                        4 tbsp chilli oil (with its sediment, if desired)
                                                                        1-2 tsp chopped garlic, to taste
                                                                        3 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens
                                                                        a little cold, cooked chicken meat, torn into shreds (optional)
                                                                        2 tsp finely chipped fresh red chilli, plus a few chilli slices to serve

                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                          Thanks SMT. And, for the page correction...

                                                                      3. re: Gio

                                                                        We loved this too and also found it spicy hot. I used 2 T of chili oil with sediment, and 3 bird's eye chillies. I'd only use 2 next time and I'd double the noodles because the leftovers would make a terrific work lunch. For the chicken I roasted a lonely quarter which had been languishing in the freezer, which was plenty. Did you deliberately miss the oil out of your version, Gio?

                                                                        I served this with the sweet and sour variation of the smacked cucumber salad and stir-fried broccoli with chili and Sichuan pepper (p174). Great dinner.

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          Re the oil: I neglected to list the chili oil in my report, GG. Because my chili oil is store bought and not too terribly hot I used 5 Ts instead of 4... plus the dried chilies. Yes. It was Hot but delicious.

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            Aha. I used homemade and cut it to 2T with no problems (with sediment). The real heat came from the bird's eyes I think.

                                                                      4. Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce, Pg. 34
                                                                        (Suan Ni Pai Huang Gua)

                                                                        Made this as one part of a meal that included a stir-fried tofu dish and the stir-fried romaine on page 185. Each was terrific in its own right. Rice ought to have been include but wasn't... next time it will be. This cucumber recipe has two variations and I chose the first one: A Sweet and Sour Sauce for Smacked Cucumber.

                                                                        To begin, a 10.5 oz cucumber is placed on a cutting board and smacked hard with a heavy object. I used the flat side of a meat mallet for this. Next slice the cucumber length-wise in 4 equal sections. Place the pieces cut side down and make thin bias cuts. Place cucumber pieces in a bowl, sprinkle a pinch of salt over and set aside for 10 minutes while you make the sauce..

                                                                        Combine garlic, castor sugar, light soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, chili oil, roasted & ground Sichuan pepper. Drain cucumber (I blotted it too), add the dressing, toss and serve. Fab. Salty, slightly sweet, spicy 1 - 2 teaspoons are recommended and I used 1 t remembering the heat of the radishes and noodles a few nights before. This is a tasty relishy dish that's easy to make and satisfyingly piquant.

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          Gio, what an interesting technique of "smacking" the cucumber. I assume this is intended to enhance the dish somehow. Did you finish the dish thinking "i should smack all my cucumbers when making salad"? I'm interested to hear how this impacts the dish.

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            Hi Breadcrumbs... the cucumber is smashed to "loosen the flesh and help absorb the spicy sauce." I couldn't get the cucumber too smashed because , as FD advises, I didn't want to smash it to "smihereens." However, this pungent and tasty dish was wonderful. And, the sauce can be used for other vegetables and meats as well.

                                                                            ETA: I don't think I'll be smacking cucumbers for other dishes because in Western salads, for instance, the cucumber lends it's own flavor rather than being a vehicle for the spicy sauce.

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              That totally makes sense Gio, thanks. I like this idea as it would seem to hasten the water displacement in the cucumber. I do a quick pickle w cucumbers when they're in season and I may try this technique vs a protracted salt and drain. Your entire meal sounds delicious btw and I love that its quick to pull together as well. We have a fresh tofu vendor at a popular Toronto market and I'll have to make a trip there as their product is fabulous and they do have a smoked version.

                                                                              http://yingyingsoyfood.ca/index.html

                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                            I've marked this one down for dinner next week. Glad it's a success for you. The sauce sounds so tasty already just reading it!

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              I made the original version last week and we loved it. Am I right in thinking this is in one of her other books as well?

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                RCC has two versions of "Smacked Cucumber" , neither are the same as this one (I don't have the new book, but can tell based on the ingredients list from Gio).

                                                                                There must be at least as many versions of "Smacked Cucumber" in China as there are versions of cole slaw or potato salad in the US, probably more, and it is just as ubiquitous, both in restaurants and on home dinner tables.

                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                If you can get Persian or Japanese cucumber, that will probably be best for this one.

                                                                                1. re: will47

                                                                                  Well, you know I thought of that, Will, but referring to the photo on the opposite page those chunks looked like "regular" cucumbers...

                                                                                2. Stir-Fried Romaine Lettuce, Pg. 185
                                                                                  (Qing Chao Sheng Cai)

                                                                                  Romaine lettuce, who would have thought. Apparently the leaves of Romaine are reminiscent of the stem lettuce tips used in Chinese cuisines. I've cooked several western lettuces by this method in the past and a stir-fry brings out the sweetness of the leaves one wouldn't expect. It's a very straight forward recipe. Only the heart of the Romaine is used. Remove the outer tough leaves. Wash the lettuce, drain/spin dry, slice crosswise in 1 inch segments. Pour 2 Ts cooking oil into a hot wok. FTR I'm using peanut oil for these recipes. Throw in the lettuce and stir-fry till "hot and fragrant" adding a little salt near the end. G used 1/4 t salt. That's all there is to it. Fresh tasting, a little wilted, and a pleasant compliment to a spicy dish.

                                                                                  1. Spicy Firm Tofu with Garlic Stems, Pg. 82
                                                                                    (Suan Tai Chao Xiang Gan)

                                                                                    Looks like I've chosen really easy recipes so far, and this one is the same: another delicious and satisfying dish. The only thing with this recipe is that I had to substitute regular ole garlic for the garlic stems. Our local Farmers' Market opens tomorrow and I cannot Wait to see what is on offer.

                                                                                    The ingredients are: garlic stems, firm tofu either spiced or smoked (I used plain), Sichuan chili bean paste, fermented black beans rinsed and drained, a small amount castor sugar. I don't remember the use of sugar in her other books but it may just be a case of CRS...

                                                                                    Heat oil in a wok, add chili bean paste and black beans. Stir-for a few then add garlic and tofu. Stir-fry this till cooked through, golden, and fragrant. Sprinkle in the sugar, toss and serve. YUM.

                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      RCC recipes don't use much sugar, but the recipes in LOP do include a fair amount of sugar (to balance the chili heat & saltiness of typical Chengdu food. and I suspect because the Chengdu-nese have a bit of a sweet tooth). Having the Beijing taste for these dishes less sweet and a tad salty, I usually reduce the sugar drastically or use a little stevia with "good" results; but "good" here means to my/our taste, not necessarily what others would want.

                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                        Thanks for that Qianing. The sugar measurements in the recipes seem to be scant, a mere 1/4 teaspoon or so, but you're correct. It does temper the effect of chili oils, etc...

                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                          Sugar is a real marker of regional food styles in China; some areas use it often in the quantities we would use salt, and some emphatically do not. I once spent a very long week at a conference in Suzhou w/ colleagues from Beijing/Tianjin, they complained incessantly at every meal about the food being too sweet. I doubt any dish included more than a teaspoon of sugar.

                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                            Suzhou food is wonderful :) sweet or no, the only really sweet thing I had there was the lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice and stewed in sugar syrup. Quite close to a marron glacé in taste.
                                                                                            They were just mad because they were in SZ, which until the rise of Shanghai was THE cultural center of China.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              Totally agree on SZ food, the rest of the crowd may have been cranky, but I was lapping it up (all too literally).

                                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                                        Question: What's the difference among garlic stems, garlic sprouts, and garlic scapes? I bought a bag of garlic sprouts a month or so ago in Chinatown and this sounds like the perfect recipe for it. Although my local farmer's market is selling fresh garlic and I guess I could use those stems. Curious, though, about the garlic sprouts. Now, all I have to do is wait for my copy of the book to arrive. Last-kid-on-the-block syndrome. :-(

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          Looking forward to seeing an answer on the garlic stems/scapes/sprouts & etc disambiguation. This has been an open question for me for a long, long time.
                                                                                          If there is an answer in the Dunlop book, I might have to cave and order the UK edition....

                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                            This post on her blog (free, and with lots of good comments) actually is maybe a bit more comprehensive than the text in the book. I think I linked to this from the other thread, but just in case:
                                                                                            http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/the-joys...

                                                                                            A few things to keep in mind:
                                                                                            1) There are regional variations in nomenclature, so what are "suan miao" in one area may be "qing suan" in another.
                                                                                            2) Garlic chives (Chinese chives / jiu cai / gow choy) are in the same general family, but are not garlic. Usually, the leaves are flatter than with actual garlic. Sometimes they're called leeks or Chinese leeks (they're not leeks either, though).
                                                                                            3) In most Western countries, if you can get them at all, they're likely to be seasonal
                                                                                            4) Also, different types of garlic may produce different types of sprouts, though I'm not sure how different. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic#O... gives a general idea of how many different types of "garlic" there are.

                                                                                            As someone points out in the comments page above, you can make small garlic sprouts at home, but putting some garlic that's started to sprout in water (changing it occasionally). They will grow into tall sprouts within a week or so, and you can use them as a delicious garnish, kind of like chives

                                                                                            1. re: will47

                                                                                              Super link, thanks. I'd read FD's original post before, but had completely ignored the comments section, which had some great content.

                                                                                              "Suan miao" or "Qing Suan", i.e. the young green garlic with the root attached are increasingly easy to find around here, greater Boston, both in the Asian groceries and better produce suppliers. Garlic Scapes (which until today I somehow never realized were the same thing as "suan tai" 蒜苔) are seasonally available in the late spring, sometimes with sometimes without the flower bud attached.

                                                                                              But I've never tried/seen is the garlic sprouts. Question, are they deep green or a blanched yellow? In the spring near Shanghai we used to get a vegetable called "suan huang" (蒜黄) which I loved, but haven't had since. In appearance it was very close to the blanched garlic chive (jiu cai huang, 韮菜黄) but the flavor and texture were different and far superior.

                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                Yeah, the green garlic was available here in Southern California throughout the winter at one or two of the Chinese markets (labelled in English as "Taiwan Leek"). I think this, not 蒜薹, is what you should ideally use for Sichuan dishes like mapo doufu (where leek is often used as a substitute).

                                                                                                The ones I've sprouted at home are a light green. If you've ever had garlic start to sprout, it comes out a kind of bright green? When it sprouts taller, it becomes a little bit more pale, but not really yellow-ish. I love 韮黄, but haven't ever had 蒜黄 here in the US. I think the color has to do with shading the plant during growing, right (same as with white bitter melon)?

                                                                                                The great thing about the sprouts is that you can grow them yourself, very quickly, at home, at any time of the year, and it's also a way to avoid wasting garlic that has already started to sprout more than you would prefer. But they're not really a substitute for any of the other things. I've used them to top off dishes, even on top of rice porridge.

                                                                                              2. re: will47

                                                                                                I live within reasonable driving distance of Gilroy CA - and I have never seen garlic sprouts, scapes, etc. in any retail venue, including my nearby Farmer's Market ... Is it more common to find these ingredients in an Asian market?

                                                                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                  I don't know. I am more apt to find them off-season at Asian markets, but I have seen both scapes and green garlic at LA area farmers markets -- some in areas that have high Asian populations (like the Alhambra one), but also at, say, the Hollywood or Santa Monica markets, which are more mixed.

                                                                                                  But I think the Gilroy area tends to be a bit more about large scale farming. I was really disappointed to go to the "garlic festival" one year - there were not really many small local farms selling garlic. Mostly seemed all about big outfits like Christopher Ranch.

                                                                                                  1. re: will47

                                                                                                    Thanks for the feedback. I suspect you are correct about Gilroy being more about big outfits. I too went to the festival in recent years and was disappointed. It was not at all what I was expecting. I'm trying a much bigger Farmer's Market this week - and will keep a lookout for these forms of garlic.

                                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                                              Frankly, My dears, I believe they are more or less the same thing. Depending on the variety and the growth rate each is either milder or stronger than the others.

                                                                                              garlic stems are the green growing centers that produce the stems and scapes

                                                                                              garlic greens = garlic sprouts Substitutes: greens onions + minced garlic
                                                                                              http://www.foodsubs.com/Garlic.html

                                                                                              garlic scapes are the thin, curly green stems that look like grass and have a little point at the tip. They are Very tender. Growers cut them off to focus the plant into being more productive.

                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Garlic scapes are stocks on which garlic flower will grow and eventuslly will produce garlic seeds if left on the plant. The enegy then will go into development of seeds and not the bulb. This is why the growers remove scapes as they start to grow.

                                                                                            3. re: Gio

                                                                                              Gah! I knew I had seen this one.

                                                                                              But it's not in the index under garlic, nor is it in the garlic / chives section... it's in the tofu section instead, so when I went to make it, I couldn't find it. I will try this one soon.

                                                                                            4. Quietly attaching myself to this thread, now that I have a copy of the book in hand. I'm so excited to cook from this book!

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                              1. I made three dishes from the book tonight. (page numbers are from my American copy so may not match the British version) Pics here: http://www.runawaysquirrels.com/2012/...

                                                                                                Radishes in chili oil - pg 68
                                                                                                The mustardy spicy of the radish goes surprisingly well with the heat spicy of the chili oil. Easy to make ahead of time. I’d add more salt when salting the radish next time. The amount the book says to add is too little. Pro-tip: to smash the radish, cut in half, then use a hand-held lemon squeezer to smash it. Put the half radish in cut side facing the squeezer’s holes.

                                                                                                Chive with smoked tofu - pg 201
                                                                                                I used spiced baked tofu instead, which I think is what she means when Fucshia Dunlop says “smoked tofu.” The main recipe on the page uses regular Chinese chive with a variation for flowering chive. I like flowering chive better because they’re more tender so all they need is a couple of flips in a hot wok before they’re ready to eat.

                                                                                                Fava bean and snow vegetable soup - pg 244
                                                                                                I used the pre-salted and chopped snow cabbage that comes in plastic tubs from the Chinese market. Not sure if that’s what she means about snow cabbage, but that’s what we usually call snow cabbage at home. The fava beans were frozen, but came out pretty well in the soup. I also added a salted duck egg (adapted from another recipe a few pages back) and bamboo shoots instead of a tomato. Instead of chicken stock, I made a quick, plain stock using water and bean sprouts. I liked the soup the best. It was hearty but simple and pretty easy to make.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: PandanExpress

                                                                                                  According to the glossary, smoked tofu has actually been smoked. Spiced tofu has been simmered in an aromatic stock.

                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                    I had a salad made by a chinese friend who brought the smoked tofu in Queens and then brought it up to us in CT.
                                                                                                    She made the most fabulous cold dish with it - so simple. The tofu was thinly sliced on the diagonal, then cut again into fine julienne strips, tossed with sesame oil, lots of chinese cilantro and some soy sauce. It was so addicting, I kept going to the fridge for more and more. I tried to duplicate with the spiced baked tofu but it was not the same delicate texture, more granular and heavy. The smoked tofu was delicious but I have never seen it anywhere to purchase.

                                                                                                2. Pock-Marked Old Woman Tofu (vegetarian version) - p76

                                                                                                  I've made the non-vegetarian version from Sichuan Cookery a few times. But we always substitute minced pork with minced turkey.

                                                                                                  First, cut a 600g block of tofu into cubes and put into a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and cover with hot water. (I'm not sure what this achieves, and I don't think it's in the SC version). Stir fry the chilli bean paste briefly, then add the black beans and ground red chillies. (I used 1tsp instead of the 2tsp of chilli flakes recommended. I also don't remember the SC version has chilli flakes). Then the ginger and garlic is added.

                                                                                                  Dunlop instructs you to drain the tofu with a slotted spoon, but since I don't have any, I used a colander instead. This is added to the wok, with 100ml stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few minutes. Thicken with potato flour/water mixture. Add spring onions and crushed sichuan peppers and serve.

                                                                                                  I think this is tastier than the version with SC made with minced turkey. We served it with the Spinach with chilli and fermented tofu from the same book. The 600g block is just enough for the 2 of us with leftovers for my lunch today. We wished we had more rice to lick up more of the sauce. It's that good.

                                                                                                  42 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: lilham

                                                                                                    Mapo Dou Fu (Pock-Marked Old Woman Tofu) vegetarian version p. 76

                                                                                                    We made this tonight with soft tofu (400 g that's the amount in the House brand tofu I had), 3 T oil instead of 4T and used 2t of ground red chiles. I ate this with Japanese short-grain rice. I usually make the pork version, but this was just as satifying. I am still revelling in the tasty goodness, pleasantly numbs lips and spicy heat in my mouth.

                                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                                      Pock Marked Old Woman's Tofu - pg. 76

                                                                                                      Excellent version of this dish and it may be even better then the one in LOP. I did use some ground pork because I had some defrosted, but I don't think the pork was necessary in this dish.

                                                                                                      There are some slight differences between this version and the one in LOP. If memory serves me correctly, it's the amount of stock/water added to the dish. This version is less then LOP and it somehow made the difference. I think all other ingredients and cooking steps are the same.

                                                                                                      Note: I skipped the blanching of the tofu (I skip it for the LOP version as well) and never noticed a difference from when I did it to when I didn't do it. I also used fresh, really soft tofu since that's my preference.

                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                        I'm planning a multi-course Chinese dinner for friends and am looking for do-ahead dishes. I know I've reheated leftovers of the LOP version and been quite happy with them. Do you think I could do the same here? Would it work served at room temp?

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          You didn't ask for any advice, but I'll throw this your way anyway - the cilantro salad (I believe in RCC) is great and refreshing and can be made hours ahead.

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                            I would love any advice anyone chooses to offer. I'm having an unbelievably difficult time trying to plan a menu since one of the guests not only has Celiac disease, but is, at least temporarily, medically restricted from eating anything with vinegar (or eggplant, potatoes, corn, mushrooms, peanuts). Not even sure she can have tofu, but I think other guests would like this dish and I know I would.

                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              Hi JoanN,
                                                                                                              My mom and sister both have Celiac, so I sympathize with you - the cooking restrictions can be daunting. Neither of them can really tolerate meat or dairy either. When I'm cooking for them, I just make a few very, very simple foods they can eat that won't make them sick - such as a simple sweet potato dish, fresh salad and steamed veggies or steamed fish ( in small quantities). Since many Celiac sufferers have a very limited range of options, It can be helpful to just ask your friend what she usually DOES eat. She likely won't mind and it will save you the anxiety and guess work. Good luck with your dinner - I'm looking forward to hearing the report :-)
                                                                                                              P.S
                                                                                                              Of course, I don't know your friend, but my mom and sister both love and tolerate avocado very well.

                                                                                                              1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                What she does eat wasn't helping me very much in trying to plan a Chinese dinner, which was specifically what she asked for. When I said yes, I thought it was just going to be a question of using gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce and that would have been easy enough. But once I got the full list of restrictions (and I just found out that tofu is a no-no, too), it pretty much eliminated nearly everything I had originally planned.

                                                                                                                What I've decided to do is to scan a few recipes I'm thinking of and ask her to review the ingredients and make sure there's nothing there she can't have. It will eliminate the surprise aspect of the dinner, but at least it will ensure against any nasty surprises.

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  Have you considered the steamed egg recipe? Though it can't be cooked ahead, you could certainly have the ingredients already mixed and ready to go onto a steamer. obviously, omit the mushrooms and perhaps add some greens?

                                                                                                                  Gosh, everything else I have considered has one of the "forbidden" foods. This is quite the challenge!

                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                    Honestly, with that laundry list of restrictions, it seems bad enough to expect people to cook for you at all, let alone specify the type of food. Making Chinese food without some of these foods would be possible, but without any of them is really starting to push some limits.

                                                                                                                    That said, the blanched greens with aromatics and oil (p168 I think) would probably be a good choice.

                                                                                                                    FWIW, tamari is a type of soy sauce, not something different from soy sauce.

                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                      JoanN,
                                                                                                                      It is very sweet of you to do this. Social events mainly revolve around food - and this can be so difficult when a person has these kinds of limitations.

                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                    I made the broad beans with ham last night - really tasty and seasonal and would be good at room temp. Also the chicken with black bean sauce doesn't have vinegar and it was also lovely. I will report properly when I have the book in front of me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                      Making note of both, gg. Especially since I'm so very fond of broadbeans.

                                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                      Coming back to report on the dinner last night and to thank you all so much for your help and encouragement. I had planned the dinner for five, but the second couple had a last-minute emergency and bailed. I decided to go ahead and make the whole menu as planned anyway and it's a damned good thing I did. It was just three of us at table and there are barely enough leftovers for lunch today.

                                                                                                                      Menu: Soybeans in Their Pods (LOP; I knew my friend wouldn't be able to eat these, but wanted to have something on the coffee table with drinks before we sat down for dinner), Bang Bang Chicken (LOP; they adored this, and it was a great way to start off the meal), Fragrant-and-Hot Tiger Prawns (RCC ), Dry-Fried Green Beans (LOP), Beef with Cumin (RCC), and Flowering Chives with Smoky Bacon (LOP).

                                                                                                                      I only had to make the most minor adjustments to these recipes, leaving out a teaspoon or two of sugar here, a teaspoon of vinegar or dark soy sauce there. I noticed the difference in one or two of the dishes, but it was very subtle and I wouldn't hesitate to make those changes again under similar circumstances. The dishes were still outstanding.

                                                                                                                      And my guests were so appreciative it was almost embarrassing. They just couldn't, didn't, stop talking about how good the food was, how much they were enjoying things they hadn't eaten in months and months, how good of me it was to do this for them. Made me feel almost guilty that I'd gotten so cranky during the planning stages.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                        What a lovely report! I think, if one needs to be cranky, during the planning stage as opposed to the eating/entertaining stage, is the time to do it.

                                                                                                                        Somehow you managed to feed them some of my favorite items in spite of the challenges. So nice that they appreciated your efforts.

                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                          Suh a lovely menu, Joan! Reading your report I once again wish to buy all Fuchsia's books. But I will start with the latest one that I finally received.

                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                              Brava! Sounds lovely. (Whoops! I see I am in a time warp from this past summer. WHere was I when all of this conversation was happening "live"?) Interesting that all of the dishes you served were from RCC or LOP and not from EGOR!

                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                          I've reheated the mapo dofu before, and the fish-fragrant aubergines. Also the cold poached chicken with various dipping sauces works well and there's a version in EGOR.

                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                            Oooh. That Cold Chicken with a Spicy Sichuanese Sauce looks really good! Not for my menu since it has vinegar and sugar, but for me. And if you hadn't mentioned the recipe, I wouldn't have realized there was a chapter on cold dishes in the book. I guess I got sidetracked and never looked through it very carefully. Thanks.

                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                              The cold dishes are some of the best parts of the book. Does that sauce have sesame paste in it too? There's a dish of thinly-sliced pork with a garlicky sesame sauce that's delicious.

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                I'm not finding the pork dish. Is it in the Cold Dishes chapter?

                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                  Do the dishes have to be from EGoR? LOP has a version of the thinly sliced pork dish that BT references. Also, totally agree w/ BBug about the cold chicken dishes in LOP. And in RCC any of the "Aromatic" salads (pg56) , they are vinegar-less, can be prepped in advance and just tossed together at the last minute. Dry Fried Green Beans can be left on low flame for a long long time with good results. And of course some of the simpler stir fried veg dishes in either RCC or LOP while not make in advance are super quick to cook if the prep is already done.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                    You guys are great! All of you. I thought I'd done a lot of cooking from both LOP and RCC, but obviously I paid little attention to the cold dishes. Not sure why. I will definitely check out the cold chicken recipes in LOP, bb, and am surprised to hear there are vinegar-less salads in RCC. Actually, q, Dry Fried Green Beans was on my "maybe" list just because I like them so much. Had no idea they could be left on a low flame for a while. That's really good to know.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                      Also, in LOP, the red braised beef with white radish. That can be made in advance (and tastes better that way, I think). You can leave out the radish and throw in napa cabbage instead. (pg 232 in LOP)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                        I make that a lot, simplest thing in the world. We like it with chestnuts in it, but you could use potatoes or whatever, really.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                          This whole megillah started because I offered to make Beef with Cumin from RCC with gluten-free Tamari. So that's the ONE dish that is by definition on the menu (even though it pains me not to be able to use dark soy sauce, something to which I've become addicted), pretty much excluding anything else with beef.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                            Or, you can make the lamb with cumin from Mighty Spice. I don't think there is any dark soy in that recipe.

                                                                                                                                            Meat with cumin. Yum.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                              Haven't succumbed to Mighty Spice yet. Had it in various shopping carts often, thanks to you and LLM, but for some reason have been able to resist the Buy button. Are you telling me that the lamb with cumin in Mighty Spice is better than the Beef with Cumin in RCC? Hard to believe that could be possible, but if true I'm hitting the Mighty Spice buy button immediately.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                Truth be told, I haven't succumbed either. Mostly because I have a library copy.

                                                                                                                                                In restaurants, I prefer lamb with cumin. Home, beef. But for you, lamb was catching up to beef.

                                                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8052...

                                                                                                                                                ;-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                  Jeezus! You can't get away with anything around here!

                                                                                                                                                  Had totally forgotten. But now that you've reminded me, I find a scanned, printed copy of the Might Spice recipe tucked into the Beef with Cumin page in RCC. No longer recall why I gravitated to the RCC, which I make at least once a month.

                                                                                                                                                  Totally agree with you that it's lamb out, beef in. Why is that?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                    There's a lamb with cumin recipe in EGOR which she's tweaked to avoid deep-frying.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I saw that. I'll remain skeptical until I try it. I used to make the Beef with Cumin with far less oil, as beetlebug describes below. Then one evening, I no longer recall why, I made the recipe as written. Although it does use a lot of oil, the beef doesn't really "fry" since it cooks for such a short period of time. And I don't have to cut the beef as thin. The slices don't char, but the texture of the meat, as she says in EGOR, is positively "silky" and I've come to be addicted to the texture almost as much as I have to the flavor. Finally, since the beef is in the oil such a short period of time and the oil is then thrown out, it just didn't seem to me (maybe I'm just kidding myself because I want to) as though the beef was absorbing much of the oil at all. Maybe I'll try the thicker slices/more oil with lamb (I've gotten into the habit of making this with flank steak) and see how it compares.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                        I know what you mean about the silkiness. I tried the original recipe as-is and then with less oil and it didn't have that same silky mouthfeel.

                                                                                                                                                        By the way, are most people dumpling the extra oil when she has you deep fry something or does anyone save it for other deep fry recipes?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                          I keep the frying oil around in a measuring cup and use it for general cooking.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                      For home cooking, I try and slice the beef and lamb into extremely thin pieces. These thin slices sear and char nicely. I know if I have thicker slices, my results don't taste as good.

                                                                                                                                                      Now in restaurants, the lamb pieces are thicker, giving it a different texture. and, it's more intense. The lamb tastes better thicker, whereas the beef tastes better with thinner slices. Also, restaurants tend to have lamb with cumin and not beef, for some reason.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                          LOP. Also re the green beans, I toss them in a bit of oil and roast them as first prep.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                      Have you also looked at the cold dishes in LOP? There are really great cold chicken recipes in there as well.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                    I know it won't work for your guest with the eggplant restriction, but the smoky eggplant dish (as with many of the appetizers / cold plates) is meant to serve at room temperature, and is easy to prepare ahead of time.

                                                                                                                                    I do think it's best to cook the hot stuff as close to serving as possible. What I usually do is prep everything in little dishes / bowls. Then, the actual cooking time for most stir-fried dishes is on the order of 2-5 minutes. This has the added benefit of getting ingredients drier with less fuss.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                      Yes, I must say the past few years of Chinese cooking has turned me from a lackadaisical into a habitual mis en placer--for everything, not just for Asian food.

                                                                                                                                2. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                  Pock-Marked Old Woman Tofu (page 76)

                                                                                                                                  Finally. Didn't make it for the dinner party, but for myself. Used my salted chiles for the ground chiles only because that is what I use in the RCC recipe. Other than that, made this as directed.

                                                                                                                                  I liked it quite a bit, but unlike others I didn't find it comparable to the recipes with meat. At least, not the recipe in RCC which I prefer to the recipe in LoP. And I also like the firmer bean curd called for in the RCC recipe.

                                                                                                                                  I'm curious now to try the RCC recipe without the meat and see whether or not I still prefer it to this one.

                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                    How beautiful! Such vibrant colors.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                      I'm going to have to re-visit the RCC version of ma po tofu. I may sub out the firm tofu for soft since that's my preference. The last few times I've used the EGoR version and have loved it. But, since I have salted chiles come out of my ears, it's time to break out of my rut.

                                                                                                                                      I suspect the RCC version will need the meat though since Dunlop has you flavor the pork ahead of time. Although, maybe you can add more mushrooms to make up the umami if you omit the pork.

                                                                                                                                  2. Spinach with Chilli and Fermented Tofu - p170

                                                                                                                                    I really looked forward to making this because it's a very popular dish in Hong Kong. I ate this a lot when growing up. It's always made with water spinach back home, but the Chinese markets only have normal spinach. So I used that instead. I also used fermented tofu in chilli instead of plain white fermented tofu for the sauce.

                                                                                                                                    Mix the fermented tofu with caster sugar and some liquid from the tofu, aiming for the consistency of double cream. Chop, wash and blanch the spinach until the leaves are wilted. Heat some oil in a saucepan and add the chopped garlic and chillies. Then quickly add the fermented tofu paste. When the sauce/paste boils, add drained spinach. Stir the whole lot together. I don't need to add the optional salt as my tofu paste tastes just right.

                                                                                                                                    This is a quick and easy dish, and incredibly tasty too. (But I'm probably biased). It tastes just like how I remember it should. Served with the ma po tofu from the same book. We had a lovely dinner last night. Really looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch today.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                      Spinach with chili and fermented tofu - p. 170
                                                                                                                                      I really wanted to like this - but found the flavor of the fermented tofu unpleasant in the extreme .It had an aroma and taste which reminded me of dirty feet and spoiled milk. It completely overwhelmed the spinach, and I was unable to eat it. Maybe fermented tofu is an acquired taste ? - or maybe it was the brand I bought (it was the only one available at ranch 99, and it was on sale at the end of the aisle) .Too bad, because the finished dish looked incredible.

                                                                                                                                    2. Stir-Fried Peas with Chili and Sichuan Pepper, Pg. 152
                                                                                                                                      (Qiang Qing Wan Dou)

                                                                                                                                      Just a couple of side dishes that were served with last night's pork roast: I used sugar snap peas with this recipe first then repeated the same recipe with asparagus. Both vegetables needed to be used before today's shopping at the Farmers' Market. Each vegetable brought it's own unique flavor to this simple preparation. Steamed basmati rice was served as well. If using fresh shelled peas blanch them before preceding with the recipe, I didn't.

                                                                                                                                      After heating the wok add oil (peanut for me), 6 dried chilies w/o seeds (Thai bird), and a few whole Sichuan peppercorns. Stir-fry for a few seconds then add the peas. Continue to stir-fry till cooked through. Add a pinch of salt at the end, toss and serve hot or room temp.

                                                                                                                                      I loved the sugar snaps cooked this way. They were crunchy, a little charred, and slightly salty. It's amazing how Sichuan peppercorns taste after being fried: soft and sweet-ish. The asparagus did not benefit from this method, I thought. Their unique flavor got in of way of the seasonings,,, or something. I don't know... I liked the sugar snap peas more.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                        Like Gio, I used sugar snap peas. Like Gio, I didn't blanch the snow peas. Unlike Gio, I found them a touch too crunchy. The chili oil smell was making me cough before the peas got to the crispy, but cooked stage and I feared that they would burn, not cook.

                                                                                                                                        I will blanch the snow peas in the future so that I can reduce the amount of oil I use. The oil was the only liquid in the wok so we found the results to be too oily. There will be a next time though. The flavors were really good, and it doesn't get much easier!

                                                                                                                                      2. Fuschia Dunlop will be answering questions on the Guardian newspaper website tomorrow:
                                                                                                                                        http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                                                                                                        1. Stir-fried broccoli with chilli and Sichuan pepper (p174)

                                                                                                                                          A very easy dish this one. Blanch your prepared broccoli in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Stir-fry some dried chillis and Szechuan peppercorns briefly in oil then add the drained broccoli and toss in the flavoured oil. Finish with salt and a little sesame oil (which I just realised I forgot). Simples, and very tasty.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                            Stir-Fried Broccoli With chilli and Sichuan Pepper, Pg. 174
                                                                                                                                            (Qiang Xi Nan Hua Cai)

                                                                                                                                            We cooked this last night. Used a small cauliflower instead of broccoli and made the garlic variation.
                                                                                                                                            The procedure is the same with the exception of adding 2 - 3 finely chopped garlic cloves instead of chilies and pepper; I used 3 cloves. However, because I think cauliflower does not have the robust flavor that broccoli does I did use both chilies and pepper. We both thought the cauliflower tasted better than most other methods of cooking we've done. G, who is not a cauliflower lover, scarfed it right down.

                                                                                                                                            This was served with Chinese Cabbage With Vinegar, page 184, steamed basmati, and broiled bluefish from Fish Without A Doubt. 4 thumbs up for this dinner...

                                                                                                                                          2. Chinese Cabbage With Vinegar, Pg. 184
                                                                                                                                            (Cu Liu Bai Cai)

                                                                                                                                            As i said somewhere upthread, I'm finding these recipes incredibly quick, easy, and delicious. This cabbage dish is no exception.

                                                                                                                                            Quick: Slice the cabbage, measure out oil/caster sugar/Chinkiang vinegar.
                                                                                                                                            Easy: Blanch cabbage leaves, heat oil, add cabbage, stir-fry, add other ingredients plus salt one by one, stir-fry, serve.
                                                                                                                                            Delicious: Not terribly vinegary but tender and mild. A great foil for spicy dishes

                                                                                                                                            1. The radish salad was v good but how anybody can smash a radish is beyond me, I just cut the big ones in half. Looked pretty with the multicolored radishes from the Greenmarket, too.

                                                                                                                                              Inspired by last week's visit to Biang! in Flushing, i tried to wing their fabulous lamb "burgers" to go with the salad. They were really, really good. I fried up a chopped onion, 4 cloves of garlic, put in 1 lb of ground lamb in sort of clumps, cooked it until the fat came out (this was very fatty meat), took off the fat, put in 1 1/2 tsp cumin + 1 1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper + 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, ground together, plus about 1/2 tsp cayenne and a bit of salt, a couple of tsp of dark soy. Let it all get crisp-ish, stirred in a tb or so of Shanxi vinegar (like Zhenjiang but a bit less sweet) then served it on the breads (6 about 2-oz lumps of the Tajik naan from "Beyond the Great Wall" by Alford and Duguid, rolled out and cooked on the griddle that came with my stove and I hadn't used until last night).

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                Sounds very good! I'd love to go to Biang!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  Buttertart (or others), have you cooked much out of "Beyond the Great Wall"? I was thumbing through it this morning and found many inspiring recipes; now have a lengthy mental list (which I'm sure will soon be forgotten). I can't find much info about it through CH or elsewhere, hoping you can enlighten me a bit.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                    I haven't, but I think it was a COTM?
                                                                                                                                                    I have a "thing" about the Alford/Duguid books (I find them precious, Burma being an exception), but the concepts are all very interesting.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    Damn those breads look spot on perfect.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks! We bought a couple of the real ones at the restaurant today, and they do look very similar. Me happy!

                                                                                                                                                  2. Planning tonight's dinner was just a long run on sentence. I start with I will make the crushed radishes, steamed eggs, stir-fried peas, and steam some dumplings. But then the crushed radishes turned into quick pickles. The steamed eggs turned into steamed eggs with spinach, the stir-fried peas became pea pods, the dumplings were dropped, and instead we got Diced Chicken in Chilis from our local [and wonderful] Chinese restaurant. And since one of us was going there, let them make the rice.

                                                                                                                                                    The quick pickles were from Martin Yan's CHINA. I included carrots, cucumber, daikon, radishes, and cabbage. Very good and VERY hot. I love pickles with a meal. Since some of these dishes have been reviewed below, I will create separate reviews below.

                                                                                                                                                    Overall, there is just too much oil in the recipes that I made tonight. I had forgotten that I generally only use about 25% of her quantities. My other problem was so many of these recipes seem to have great potential that narrowing the choices was really hard.

                                                                                                                                                    Is it my imagination, or is these recipes less complicated than Land of Plenty, i.e. more like home dishes?

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                      They are intended to be home cooking, yes. I always cut the oil in her recipes a lot too.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                        I didn't plan it this way, but last night's dinner turned into the most delicious fried rice I have ever eaten. I put the peas into the heated wok [lower than usual] with about a tablespoon of water and covered until I heard the *psst psst* of the oil still clinging to the peas. I broke the rice over the peas and recovered for about 30 seconds. I sliced the leftover egg and put up the side of the wok so they would firm up a bit, and threw the leftover chicken over the whole thing. Covered one last time. And then stirred until everything was hot.

                                                                                                                                                        The amount of oil remaining on the peas was enough for the whole dish. Served with the pickles and some ginger soy sauce. One of my best lunches ever!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the inspiration for tomorrow night's dinner, SMT: Have the rice, have peas, have L/O turkey. This is a good opportunity to make the steamed eggs. I was going to do a stir-fry of baby iceberg lettuce for a side dish sometime in the very near future... or perhaps pak choy, tomorrow sounds about right. Finally, I can make another radish salad to finish up the huge bunch I got last week. Yes, thanks very much...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                            A restaurant we loved that closed this year (their building was bought, damnit) always used to put slivered iceberg head lettuce in their fried tice, st the very end before serving (coleslaw-thin strips). Try it, delicious! (Lettuce is sheng cai in Chinese, means raw veg but is homonymic for get riches, it's auspicious to use it).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              What a good idea, BT... I think I'll try that suggestion, it will save some time too...

                                                                                                                                                              Didn't Grace Young have a translation meaning "growing money"? IIRC, it was one of her recipes for lettuce that I used in the past.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                Sheng can mean raw, to give birth, to raise, and to grow, among other things.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Steamed Eggs, page 130

                                                                                                                                                        Something about this dish and the picture drew me in. It was simple to prepare. Soak two shitake mushrooms in hot water for half and hour and then mince. Whip the eggs in a bowl, add some stock or water, salt, Shaoxing wine, and optional pork [cooked previously.] I didn't use the pork. I didn't want to use chicken stock either, so used the mushroom water. Since I had some lovely baby spinach, I chopped some very dry spinach and add that as well.

                                                                                                                                                        The egg mixture is transferred to a shallow bowl [I used a pasta bowl], covered with plastic wrap, and placed into a steamer over boiling water. I use a large corn steamer since it has handles which would make getting it off the stove while hot much easier.

                                                                                                                                                        Steam for 8-10 minutes, but mine took 14 minutes due to the extra water from the spinach. After removing the plastic, spread spring onions over the top and pour hot oil over the whole thing. [There was quite the sizzle.] Then pour soy sauce on top and serve.

                                                                                                                                                        This was silky loveliness. I have never had anything quite like it before. The spring onions loved their oil bath. The smell just rose from the dish. But-- way too much oil and soy sauce for me. I think the amount could be reduced by at least half with the same effect.

                                                                                                                                                        Served with Martin Yan's pickles, Stir-Fried Peas with Chili and Sichuan Pepper [page 152], and take out Diced Chicken with Chili and rice.

                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                          The eggs sound great (especially how you describe their texture- silky loveliness), but what really caught my attention was the pickles (...VERY good and VERY hot). I, too, love pickles. Which Martin Yan recipe was it? Spicy pickled cucumbers?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                            Yes. The Spicy Pickled Cucumbers [page 62], but I included carrots, cucumbers, daikon, cabbage, and radishes. Loved the rainbow of colors. I didn't deseed my Thai Peppers.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks! Spicy pickles are a summer-time favorite (especially cucumber kimchi). I will give this one a try.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                Oh! I bet my Korean hot peppers would be great in a pickle. Great idea!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                            The steamed eggs from RCC is one of my favorite comfort foods. I like it much better then the steamed eggs with pork (in the same cookbook).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                              I know she recommends soaking dried mushrooms in hot water, and I have seen some people argue that that's the correct way to do it. I did a (admitted limited) straw poll on this a while back (for the egullet thread about Chinese mushrooms), and most Chinese people I know, including my in-laws, tend to soak dried foods in cold water for a longer period of time (overnight if you're using it in the morning, or all day if you're using it in the evening). Personally, I think the taste and texture might be a little better this way. Worth a try, at least if you plan in advance.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                Steamed Eggs, Pg. 130
                                                                                                                                                                (Zheng Shui Dan)

                                                                                                                                                                Made this last night and we Loved it. Like SMT we thought it was nothing like anything we've had before. Creamy, smoooooth, silken.... luscious. I didn't use the optional pork component, used peanut oil, finely chopped garlic scapes instead of the scallions, chicken stock, and 4 large eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                I have a large non-collapsible steamer that fits on the inside rim of a saucepan so used that with the egg mixture in a rimmed ironstone bowl. I covered the pan with it's cover which is an option to plastic wrap or greaseproof paper. This took longer than the 8 - 10 minutes, more like 15 and I think it was because of the thick ironstone bowl. That didn't affect the final dish, though. Sizzling peanut oil was poured over then the final drizzle of light soy sauce. We didn't think there was too much oil, but that perhaps was because of the density of the scapes which benefited from the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                This is a lovely dish. Everything went along quickly and easily quickly. I served Grace Young's Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sichuan Pepper and Salt on page 189 of Stir-Frying To the Sky's Edge, a recipe we've made several times, and steamed rice.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Tonight we made dinner for my in-laws, including several dishes that are from (or in) Every Grain of Rice.

                                                                                                                                                                First up was Smoky Eggplant with Garlic (火烧茄子, p63). I've been intrigued by this one since I first saw the recipe, since it's so different from the usual ways (deepfried, boiled, 'xiao chao', etc.) you usually have Chinese eggplant. My in-laws say that they make a similar dish in Shanghai, but just seasoned with soy sauce and sugar, instead of the Sichuanese version in the book. I think this is actually one of my favorite recipes I've made so far (charring the eggplants is a bit time-consuming, though). It is also a good "make-ahead" kind of recipe, which is one reason I picked it. The eggplant has that same great smoky flavor you get from baba ganouj. I wasn't sure the seasoning would be balanced, but the flavors worked well together.

                                                                                                                                                                Second dish was fresh "dong sun" ("winter" bamboo shoot). Since I think it's a bit past the season, this was a bit tough. I was trying to copy the recipe from a local restaurant - I stewed it in rice-rinsing water with ginger slices, jalapenos (intact, with their seeds), and a little salt / sugar. Came out with more spice than I expected.

                                                                                                                                                                Also, I made a salted duck-egg / white bittermelon dish that I copied off of a TV cooking show. You cook the (cooked) duck-egg yolks for a bit in oil, add green onion whites and the egg-whites, then add blanched bitter melon (preferably white) and cook together; then add some water or stock. After the water cooks down, you add some cooking wine (salt, if any more is needed, and MSG if you want), and finish with some sesame oil.

                                                                                                                                                                Then, the famous "Silken Tofu with Avocado" (鳄梨豆腐; p42). I was a bit skeptical of this one, even with all the praise, but it was pretty good. I'm just sad we didn't have any wasabi (fresh or otherwise), because I do think it would have gone well with it. I got some great Fuerte avocados at the farmers market, and it was one of those times where you ask the vendor to pick you out some good ones and they actually do!

                                                                                                                                                                Pictured also in the wide shot:
                                                                                                                                                                Fava Bean and Snow Vegetable Soup (豆瓣雪菜汤, p244) -- second time making this, but a little closer to the actual recipe this time. I thought it was pretty good. Instead of chicken stock, we used a kelp / soybean sprout broth, along with a little shitake soaking liquid. These fava beans were frozen.

                                                                                                                                                                I also found fresh "king" fava beans at the farmers market. I think these are the kind you find as dry Chinese snacks (with garlic) - they're larger than the normal ones, and a more brown-red color. My wife cooked them with scallion slices, scallion greens, and some soy sauce. This is very similar to "Fava Beans with Spring Onion" (p161, first variation).

                                                                                                                                                                And, reprised Pipa Doufu - 琵琶豆腐 (p78). I think the first batch came out slightly better, but it was well received this time around too.

                                                                                                                                                                Farmers market had garlic shoots (青蒜), so hoping to make "Bear's Paw Tofu" and "Mapo Tofu" soon.

                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. Stir-Fried Chinese Chives with Pork Slivers (page 200)

                                                                                                                                                                  Had chives in the fridge and a piece of pork loin in the freezer so decided this would be my toe-in to the new book. Only change to recipe is that she suggests adding optional red pepper for color and I added a few slices of red chile, with seeds. Would do the same again. Simple and tasty. And so fast. Seems to be a recurring theme here.

                                                                                                                                                                  Question: What are peoples’ experiences with quantities? I see that she says lunch for one might be two dishes plus rice. I made one dish, no rice, and it was a modest, if satisfying and sufficient, dinner. Are the quantities in this book significantly smaller than in her other books? I’m used to making one dish plus rice and having plenty of leftovers. Not a problem if that’s not true with this book, just something I’ll need to adjust to.

                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                    That is lovely. I have this recipe marked just didn't have any chives or pork. Yes. That did slow me down.

                                                                                                                                                                    I am not sure about quantities yet but I will now pay better attention.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                      I think it's more a matter of variety and balance than just quantity.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes. Of course. Nonetheless, one still needs a sense of quantity. She says two dishes plus rice is lunch for one in this new book. In both of her previous books, one dish plus rice was at least two dinners for me. Just asking those with experience with both books if they've noticed how quantities in one compared with quantities in the other.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                          Right. I understood what you meant. I haven't done any direct comparisons, but my feeling is that the dishes are about the same size (other than some of the cold plates / appetizers).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            Curiously I never follow the serve X suggestions in books. I found they are seldom right for me. I usually pick an amount of meat, veg or carbs I want, then scale the other ingredients up or down as needed.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                              As a side note, I find that a lot of her dishes make excellent leftovers and I'm generally not a fan of leftovers. Even cold out of the fridge, the Gong Bao Chicken and Cumin Beef are still delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                That's what I do as well (for quantities).

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Bear's Paw Tofu (熊掌豆腐 / xióngzhǎng dòufǔ, p80)

                                                                                                                                                                          After an embarrassing mishap, involving adding a crapload of oil to the aromatics, thinking it was broth, I kind of had to wing it a bit, and I think I over-did it when adding more doubanjiang. Also, I don't have the benefit of a professional photographer or food stylist, so it doesn't look quite as gorgeous as the photo in the book. That's Ok - it's a good excuse for a redo. Basically, this is a Sichuanese rendition of home style tofu (jiachang doufu), just with bigger pieces of puckered looking tofu. I was lucky enough to get some green garlic at the farmers market, so I didn't have to substitute leeks or green onions, which is what she has in the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                          I've been using one type of Pixian doubanjiang that comes in a pouch - it seems better than most of the jarred ones, but it is a bit more "rustic", with lots of large pieces of fairly dry chili pepper in it.

                                                                                                                                                                          Also made some bitter gourd / bitter melon shoots, in the style of a dish that a local restaurant makes with chayote shoots. Even as someone who has acquired a taste for bitter gourd, this is a very bitter and "green" tasting green.

                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                            Can I ask where you acquired the Pixian doubanjiang, and does it have a brand name?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nonaggie

                                                                                                                                                                              I believe it's 鹃城牌 (Juancheng brand). I can get it at various local Asian markets - there appear to be two grades - one is a red bag, and one is a white bag (red is supposed to be better grade). The brand is the one pictured here (not my picture):
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/97249369...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks; I'll keep an eye out for this next time I'm at an Asian market.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nonaggie

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think to look for it in the pouches, must do so too.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                              Bear's Paw Tofu, p. 80

                                                                                                                                                                              A pretty straightforward bean curd dish. Because I was making another dish that required frying, I opted to do the frying for both dishes in a separate pot on the stove, instead of in the wok. So I fried the tofu for this dish indoors, then brought it outside and finished the dish in my wok. That just made for a better workflow the these two dishes. Once the tofu is fried, this is a very quick dish. Some chili bean paste goes into the wok, followed by the aromatics, then some stock and the tofu. The tofu simmers for a bit, and gets seasoned with sugar and soy sauce. Then scallion greens are stirred in and the sauce is thickened with potato starch.

                                                                                                                                                                              An easy and solid dish. Nothing earth-shattering here, but good. I served this with "Mrs. Xu's Prawns with Longjing Tea" from Kylie Kwong's book My China, which was fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                Bear's Paw Tofu, p80

                                                                                                                                                                                I've also made this a while back. It's delicious, but I found the deep frying quite labour intensive. I suspect it's one of the steps that you can't skip as the deep frying is what gives the bear paw texture for this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                  You could cheat and use the ready-fried ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                recently acquired the book, and decided to try this one first. i think it would have been more successful if i used a different tofu. i used an unfamiliar brand and it was too firm for my taste. i think a lot of the supermarket tofu in the US really firm and dense, while i'm used to and prefer softer tofu. I was expecting the interior of the fried tofu to be supple, to contrast with the crisp (or chewy after braising in the sauce for a few minutes) skin.

                                                                                                                                                                                that said, the sauce was delicious and i wouldn't hesitate to make this again with a softer tofu, and maybe a little bit of pork.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. I'm off to the Fuchsia Dunlop cookery demo shortly. I'll have my ipad with me - if anyone has any questions they want me to ask, post them up here. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  How exciting for you! Can't wait to hear your report.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                    Lucky You...! Have fun... Are you going to tell her how delirious we are about her?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                      If I feel brave enough! I'm in the presence of greatness right now! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                      Can you see how green I am?

                                                                                                                                                                                      I do have a question if you get the opportunity. I'm curious what brand of sesame oil is pictured in EGoR and whether that is her preferred brand or can she recommend others.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi Joan. I can tell you now that the one pictured in the book is from a large supermarket chain called Sainsburys. Will ask if she has a preferred brand.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          Sainsburys. Of course. And no wonder I can't find it here.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                            And the answer is... No preferred brand. Just make sure it's not a blended oil and is toasted. She uses a supermarket version - either the aforementioned Sainsburys or Waitrose.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks so much, gg. I've been curious about this for a while since I've tried a few different sesame oils and find some far better than others. Wonder if there's some way to find out where Sainsbury and Waitrose get theirs. Must be that they're putting their name on some other commercially available product. Would be interesting to know what it might be. I see spending some time on Google in the near future.

                                                                                                                                                                                              In the meantime, will you be posting a synopsis of the event so we call all live vicariously and try not to hate you?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                I just started typing one but lost it! Will try again tomorrow but suffice it to say Fuchsia was both charming and inspiring! And from December we'll be working in the same building for some of the time - how cool is that?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, and she is already working on her next book which is top secret. But it will be regional and she did recently spend a couple of months in Yunnan so who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Why am I not surprised. About the charming and inspiring, that is. And how great to hear she's already working on a new book. Buttertart will have agita.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Eager to read your report. Whenever you get around to it. Wherever you decide to post it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I told her about her namesake - buttertart's cat. She was amused but a bit bemused (or perhaps bemewsed) I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, buttertart will be thrilled that she and the kitty were mentioned to La Dunlop!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yippee!!! I'll tell Fuchsia. Who will be elaborately unfazed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh boy! That IS interesting. Yunnan food is really something, Chinese/SE Asian...or maybe it'll be the Huaiyang book I've been wishing and hoping for ever since she mentioned interest in the cuisine in her memoir. And then I will be completely over the moon. Here we go again, can.not.wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Absolutely, can't wait to hear about the class.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ack! Type it into Word, first, then cut and paste into CH. I only do that for my most important posts!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yunnan! Oh my god.....that would be so incredibly exciting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You're just reaping one early birthday present after another, aren't you... Good for You. Thanks for the information about the sesame oil question. It's good to get the clarification. Also, it's nice to hear Ms Dunlop is "both charming and inspiring". I think that pretty much comes through in her writing. And now you've given us something to look forward to just when we're trying to settle into Every Grain of Rice. By the time the new book appears we'll all be exhausted from chomping at the bit and bating our breath.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In terms of food safety, you may want to spend some time considering the country of origin, though (for many sauces / condiments; toasted sesame oil is no exception).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                will, I know this is an old post, but may I ask to elaborate on country of origin and food safety? Are there certain places you're avoiding buying certain items from in terms of the EGOR pantry ingredients?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Speaking for myself, I buy either Taiwanese (sentimental favorite) or PRC products, depending. The FDA is all over food imports these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    PRC = People's Republic of China?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BT, what do you buy for other Asian cuisines? Say Thai, Vietnamese, or Korean?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PRC = People's Republic of China, as opposed to ROC, Republic of China, aka Taiwan, fka Formosa (in living memory ;-))
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It depends, I buy from the country of origin as much as possible. I don't cook a whole lot of Korean or Vietnamese food, for one thing M is not that fond of Korean food, and for another, so much good stuff is available here in restaurants. For Thai, I like Tiparos fish sauces and Maesri curry pastes (when I can't be arsed to make my own), and coconut milk in aseptic packaging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks much, BT! It makes sense to "buy from the country of origin".

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Also quietly adding myself to this thread to keep on top of it all. Oh to have the time to cook everything!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I think the tofu / avocado appetizer is from a restaurant in Southern Taiwan, not a monastery (and the original dish featured uni?). She does mention that the owner was dressed like a monk, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I actually liked the monastery story better, since it seems like a good way to replace pidan on tofu - a dish that's very popular in Taiwan, and Buddhist monks don't eat eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Silken tofu with avocado (pg. 42)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not much to add other than I love this. I've made it three times already. I need to pick up some better wasabi. I have powdered wasabi and it doesn't taste like anything. My version isn't nearly as pretty as the one in the book or pictures here. Instead, I cut the tofu and avocado into cubes to make it easier to dish into my bowl. I used soft or silken tofu for this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          An added bonus, I've been cooking for a sick friend. It's been a challenge since she has no appetite and she has problems swallowing. Short of feeding her only dessert, I've been trying to come up with dishes that she'll eat. Up until recently, it was rice porridge with chicken stock and shredded chicken and brownies. But, this dish worked well for her since it was soft and easy to swallow. She did look at the tofu very suspiciously and wondered if it was mushrooms. I told her that she would like the sauce and she loves avocados (bonus fat for her to eat!). Then I had to fess up that it was tofu but I swore to her that it would only taste like sauce and avocado. Since I cut it into cubes and used soft tofu, even if she fished out the avocado, there would still be pieces of tofu on it to give her the protein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beetlebug, I was cooking for a sick friend last year and what seem to work the best were purred soups - home made chicken stock base for some substance. I would make a bunch of different ones and freeze in one-cup canning jars. When she was alone, she had a choice and manageable quantity to heat up. Hope your friend gets well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Silken Tofu with Avocado

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was going to wait until COTM threads come up to post recipe reports from this book (this thread is getting so unwieldy!) but I couldn't resist popping in to say that we absolutely loved this dish. I used firm silken tofu and an entire avocado, and I cut the tofu and avocado into cubes instead of slices to make it easier for my kids to eat. I also left out the wasabi entirely because of the kiddies, but the dish was still totally delicious without it. The textural similarities between the tofu and avocado are uncanny and delightful, and the soy-sesame sauce is a perfect accompaniment. I know I will be making this dish again and again. It takes but a minute to prepare and is very kid friendly, yet the adults in the household loved it too. Also from the cook's/mom's perspective, it's a great accompaniment to a veggie stirfry because it's a fast protein dish that does not have to be prepared at the last minute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Gong Bao Chicken with Peanuts (pg. 118)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This recipe is identical to the one in LOP. Winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Note and peeve: in LOP, when Fuchsia lists the marinade ingredients, she lists all of them. When I first compared the recipes, I noticed that this marinade lacked the 1T of H20 in it. I mixed up the marinade and sauce for this recipe and another and added the proteins into the respective bowls. Then I put the protein bowls in to the fridge and continued my prep. When I started to cook, I skimmed the instructions. This is when I noticed, in the prepping part of the instructions, that you are supposed to add 1T of H20 into the marinade! Why is the water not in with the rest of the marinade ingredients? The same was for the other recipe. I suspect it may be like that throughout the book. But, now I know and will look for the additional ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Twice Cooked Swiss Chard (pg. 186)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A great way to use up summer chard. This is a little labor intensive in a really tedious way. At least for me it is. But, once the prep is done, the dish is fast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Separate the ribs from the leaves. De-string the stems and chop into bite size pieces. Blanch the stems for 3 minutes and then add the leaves and blanch for one minute more. Drain and squeeze the water from the chard. I'm not a fan of the last 4 steps, especially since my chard is from the farm and it takes awhile to just clean and de-stem the chard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, add chile bean paste (1 1/2T) to hot oil and stir fry briefly until you smell it. Add 2t chopped ginger, 2t chopped garlic and 1 1/2T rinsed fermented black beans. Stir fry briefly until fragrant. Add 100 ml of water or stock (I used water) and bring this to a boil. Add the chard and toss. Lastly add 3T chopped celery (I left this out since I didn't have any), 2 T chopped cilantro (I had about 1/4 cup), and 2T sliced scallion greens. Toss and eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was an incredibly complex tasting dish. I'm not a fan of chard stems but these tasted really good. Chili bean paste and black beans work well together but I thought it was the cilantro that brought this dish to a different level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Firm Tofu with Green Pepper p84

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is a very simple dish that you won't need the recipe once you've read it once. Dry fry a green pepper until nearly cooked, then remove from wok. Add oil, then stir fry the firm tofu until golden. Return the peppers to wok, season with soy sauce. (I omitted the salt here).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dunlop suggests you can use either plain or spiced firm tofu. I've never cooked with spiced firm tofu. So when I saw the exact spiced tofu on p327 (number 5, middle of the page) at the chinese market, I bought it, together with a block of plain firm ones. I make the dish with a mix of both. I don't like the spiced ones at all. It tastes rather strong and chewy. But my mr lilham loves it. If I were to make these again, I'll stick with just plain firm ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I served this with the tiger salad from the same book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Tiger Salad p66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cucumbers are in season and this is a very simple method of serving it in chinese meals. The dressing is made up of coriander, green chillies, caster sugar, chinkiang vinegar, sesame oil and ground pepper. The result is a refreshing and mildly pickled dish, perfect for summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, those pickles sounds wonderful. Can't wait to make those when I get home again! Do you think other vegetables could be added to the cucumbers for a mixed pickle?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds like her Tiger Salad is a variation on the popular Manchurian dish, which is all about the cilantro, scallions, chilies, vinegar etc. but no cucumbers. Photo is attached. Chinese pickle all manor of vegetables - personally I would not want to clutter my Tiger Salad with too much otherness!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/din...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mine is cilantro, green chili, scallions, drops of rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy, end of story. Was surprised to see cucumbers in hers. Damn, now i want that slivered beef with cilantro and chilis Hunanese dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it is one of these dishes where everyone's version is different. Also, for obvious copyright reasons she would have to change an ingredient or two from already published recipes. In Manchuria they pickle everything!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ms. Dunlop includes a recipe for "spicy coriander salad," with no cucumbers, on page 59 of Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of my favorites that spicy coriander salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            rereading this thread in the hope that EGOR becomes the next COTM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mighty Spice has a version of Tiger Salad using peppers and baby leeks. The dressing is soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and chilli flakes. I much prefer Dunlop's cucumbers as I don't fancy the thought of a salad made solely of peppers and leeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          {Tiger Salad} Pg. 66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Using this recipe as inspiration all the ingredients for Tiger Salad dressing were combined to make a Chinese cabbage slaw last night: Cilantro, green chili, caster sugar, Chinkiang vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and ground white pepper. Omitted the cucumber. It was delicious. Now I'll have to make the original using cucumbers. Served with Chinese Roasted Chicken from the Rasa Malaysia blog and Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts from EGOR on page 164. Great meal...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tiger Salad, Pg. 66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Made the Real tiger salad last night and what a revelation it was. Unlike the version I made last week with Chinese cabbage which became more like a slaw this salad was refreshing and very tasty in a relishy kind of way. Definitely something to keep in mind when one wants to highlight fresh cucumbers straight from the garden. Served with Pork Chops with Spring Greens and Anchovies from "Cook This Now" and steamed rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made this last night to accompany Martin Yan's Five-Spice Braised Pork from BOAW. Very nice. I love all these pickled cucumber dishes. I've always been a cucumber fan - apparently it was my favourite snack as a baby!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Classic Dan Dan Noodles (pg. 280)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was good but the two versions of dan dan noodles from LOP are better. One version from LOP is also in this book the Xie Lao Ban's dan dan noodles but I haven't had a chance to compare the two recipes. This version is very different then the version in LOP. The meat is stir fried with sweet bean paste, the addition of pasta water (or stock) and the lack of sichuan pepper. The lack of sichuan pepper worked in my favor since I haven't had a chance to toast and grind another batch. This version does have potential though but I would add less pasta water to the sauce (recipe calls for 200 ml). With all that pasta water to the sauce, the sauce didn't really adhere to the noodles as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stir fry the ground pork with shao xing wine, sweet bean paste and light soy sauce. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together 2 t soy, 1 t chinkiang vinegar, 2-4 T chili oil, 4 T sliced scallions and 5 T ya cai (I used tian jin preserved vegetables and I stir fried them at the end of the pork stir fry to warm it up). Also, boil noodles and save 200 ml of the noodle water. I also blanched some green vegetables. Mix the noodle water in with the sauce, add drained noodles and pork. Stir and eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I had meant to ask her about adding pasta cooking water or not, so it's interesting that the recipe specified it this time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most of the Sichuan restaurants around here which have dandan mian do prepare it in a bit more "soupy" style. I have found that undercooking fresh, Chinese style, plain (non-egg) noodles slightly, and adding a bit of the pasta cooking water to the finished product gives me the best texture for my taste, but I typically make the style with sesame paste (and without meat).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have noticed the discrepancy before between the version of Xie Laoban's dandan mian in "Shark Fin..." and the Sichuan cookbook. I'm curious to compare all 3 versions, but haven't done it yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think a bit of pasta water added to the two version in LOP would be a welcome addition. But, 200 ml for this version is a bit too much. I would maybe use half that amount. I use non egg noodles as well but the sauce didn't quite adhere to the noodles in the way that I like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I usually use tongs to pull the noodles out, so they get some water that way; I've usually done about a half-ladle of water in each bowl of noodles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I see that a lot too - soupy, chili oil versions of Dan Dan Noodles which I am not that fond of. I am curious, about how many recipes is she recycling from LOP and the Hunan cook book?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Kohlrabi Salad with sesame oil (pg. 62)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Love this. I love kohlrabi and this is a great way to highlight it. It's pretty basic in prep which is also a plus. Slice the kohlrabi into thin slivers. Salt it for about 10 minutes and then drain. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together 1 t soy sauce, 1 t finely chopped garlic, 1 t chinkiang vinegar, 1/4 t superfine sugar and 1 t sesame oil. Add the kohlrabi and top with slice scallion greens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bright and refreshing. I think some slivered carrots and cabbage would also go well with this dressing. There are two variations, a hot and sour dressing as well as a daikon radish salad. I think both would be as tasty as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is an excellent salad with lots of possible modifications. It's great with daikon radishes, as Ms. Dunlop suggests. Also try paper-thin mandolin slices instead of slivers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Version of Book - Dumb Question

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you all cooking from the released Brit version of the book? Looking at her blog and at Amazon seems to indicate that the American version wont be out until Feb, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Any idiosyncrasies in the Brit version to keep in mind? And from where did you order your books? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MyBaliThai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I ordered from Amazon.UK, and that's what I'm cooking from. I signed up for the pre-sale and received the book about 2 weeks ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No real discrepancies for me since I cook from a great number of British books, but keep in mind the ingredient amounts have to be converted to US, plus it's good to know that there are a few British terms for certain foodstuffs. For example, courgette for zucchini, aubergine for eggplant, etc. If you have a problem with anything just ask and one of us will gladly help you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MyBaliThai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If by idiosyncrasies you mean metric, then yes, you'll have to deal with that. But it really isn't that hard once you've got used to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the feedback! Metrics are fine, so are differently named ingredients, etc. I just didn't know if there was anything in particular to look out for! Thanks everyone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No only is it not hard to make the conversions, there are actually very few recipes in this book for which you need to make more than just one or two conversions per recipe. So many of the ingredients are in quantities (3 garlic cloves, 2 scallions) and tablespoon/teaspoon measurements that converting mils and grams takes far less time than writing down the shopping list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Chinese Chives, Pg. 164
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Jiu Cai Yin Ya)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made the variation of this recipe which uses Chili and Sichuan Pepper instead of chives. (The garden was too soggy after a rip-roaring thunder storm swept through the area.) The ingredients include bean sprouts, deseeded Sichuanese dried chili, toasted then ground Sichuan pepper. I substituted shredded carrot for the strips of red pepper that is used for a bit of color and used peanut oil for the "cooking oil". The rest is a very basic stir-fry with the result being a very nice extra dish to round out a meal. Salt to taste at the end but next time I'll omit it. The other dishes were a Sichuan roast chicken, cabbage slaw, steamed rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BTW: That roast chicken was spicy and delicious... it's a keeper.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://rasamalaysia.com/szechuan-sich...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gio, may I ask where you're getting your Sichuanese dried chili? Some family members kindly sourced some for me in Paris, but I haven't found any in my searches online and in 99 Ranch stores, and now I'm out. Also checked Chinatown in NYC 2 weeks ago to no avail. London mail order sources appear to be out of stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hi emily.. I'm surprised you had to go so far afield. DH bought a bag of them last year at the HK market (formerly Super 88) in Malden on Commercial St. I just used the last of them unfortunately... DH usually does the shopping there and I'll ask him to look for them the next time he's there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I don't have any of the Sichuanese I generally use Thai bird...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              According to Fuchsia, Thai bird chillies are much too hot for Sichuan dishes. She said to substitute to milder, bigger ones if Sichuanese dried chili isn't available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have tried substituting birds eye when the only chinese grocer in my town ran out of sichuanese chillies. The resulting dish was far far too hot for me. I couldn't taste anything other than my swollen tongue and lips. On the other hand, my DH have no problem with the substitution. But he also eats extra hot in Nandos without any sweats, declaring them as gorgeous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Curiously, the only time we found a dish to be hotter than usual was the spicy buckwheat noodle with chicken we made on the 10th. Other than that we haven't found the Thai birds to be more than too hot for us. I may only use one or two small ones, at best. I don't remember Fuchsia's statement. I better go back and review those ingredient pages. Thanks GG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She said it in the flesh the other night! But there is something in her first book about Thai pickled peppers not being an appropriate sub for the Sichuan ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah... Pickled peppers. I used dried chilies...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you read the red chilli oil recipe in both Sichuan Cookery and Every Grain of Rice, it's implied that bird's eyes are a lot hotter. I'm sure it said somewhere in SC as well. I've never met Ms Dunlop, but I remember reading the comment on this, and went on the hunt of these Sichuanese chillies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've been using something labelled "Tian Jin Chile Peppers" and although I don't think they're from Sichuan, the heat factor seems about right for me. Anyone know how these dried chiles compare with the ones called for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            FWIW, I find "Tianjin" chilies (for you Penzey fans they label theirs "Tientsin" peppers) about the same heat quotient as most "Chaotian" chilies. At the margin Chaotian are a bit hotter and Tianjins are a bit more paparika-ry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Chaotian" are the most common type of Sichuan dried chili. When I don't have/can't find Chaotian dried chilies my preferred substitute are the Swad brand of dried chilies available at just about any Indian grocer. But then that's because I usually have the Swad chilies on hand. I do find the type of Thai dried chili that I buy substantially hotter than Chaotian, Tianjin, or Swad (swad being a brand not a type of chili, no variety listed on the package!) and I don't usually sub the Thai chilies for any of the above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Very interesting. Thank you. Have a huge bagful of the tianjin chiles so it will be a while before I need to replenish, but am adding Chaotian chiles to my ever-growing list of Asian foods and brands to look out for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the Penzey's reference, Q. That's where I'll get mine. That will save DH the trouble. No sense having the PTB, one who has actually been in the presence and breathed the same air as La Dunlop, get upset at my substitution. (~_^)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You've got me giggling Gio, thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, "Chaotian", literally "facing the sun", and I've seen these chilies labelled that way someplace, but I can't remember where. Maybe Penzey's??? Anyway, Tientsin's they definitely carry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    PTB?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pernickety, tiresome Brit?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well... here in the US, it's "persnickety".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tiresome Brit, You? Nevah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've never seen them labeled as such (chaotian) in Chinese groceries, have you? I tend to buy the Fishwell brand, both the long ones and the cascabel-ish types that I thought were the chaotian type.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Thai ones are hotter and have a floral note that's not usual in Chinese food (a Grand Sichuan in NYC -- 53rd and 3rd -- uses them in a steamed fish with black soy and bird peppers, however).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FWIW here's a pic of lazi ji ding in a Sichuan restaurant in Beijing, for pepper illustrative purposes. And a duo jiao turbot (see RCC) at the Hengshan Café in Shanghai (both pics from a trip in 2007, GOD I want to go back so badly).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      gorgeous pictures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i have seen peppers labeled as 朝天, but thinking about not sure if i've seen them labeled "chaotian". i used to be able to get them at the boston branch of kam man, but recently when looked i for them there, no luck. according to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facing_h... there are import restrictions on them...wish i'd know i would have stocked up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can get peppers labeled as 朝天椒 here in LA. They are similar to normal Chinese dried chilis, or Arbols - a little darker / waxier, and a bit squatter / wider at the base, but not as much so as some of the pictures I've seen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You can see pictures of the packaging in this thread:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/690987

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The company is Fu Chuan (chinafuchuan.com), based in Chengdu. I've seen crushed chaotianjiao at another market, but not sure if they still have them. I don't have a picture of the packaging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If I understand correctly, the name can refer to a number of different types of pepper. I have some growing in the back yard (seeds from http://www.agrohaitai.com/fruit&g...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I haven't heard anything about the export restrictions - maybe someone is mixing up Sichuan peppercorns (which did have some restrictions at one point) vs. Sichuan chili peppers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not at all sure about how accurate the restrictions mentioned in the article are, after all Wikipedia has its uses, but not exactly info to bet the farm on. That said, i really haven't been able to find any dried peppers labelled chaotian (or 朝天) recently, whereas they used to be readily available (different brand/packaging than in your picture, but the company/packager was also based in Chengdu). Ever since the new tighter regulations on food imports went into effect a year or so ago, I've noticed many items, and especially many specific smaller regional brands, have disappeared off shelves in the Chinese groceries around here, greater Boston area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            just got my dwindling supply of chaotian peppers out to use in something tonight, and after all this discussion was paying more attention to the packaging than i ever have before, turns out they are packed by a company in Chongqing, Ivy International, and imported by an agent on the states, Tiffany Food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just ordered some chiles from a place that was posted about on the General Topics Board:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.posharpstore.com/en-us/fis...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hoping they are the real deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It applies to dried ones too. A lot hotter than Sichuanese ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oddly enough I was shopping at Kam Man in Quincy, Mass over the weekend, and the one item on my shopping list I couldn't get was Sichuan (chaotian) dried chilies. Never had trouble getting them before. Hope this isn't a trend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Sichuanese Spiced Cucumber Salad p 36

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't make this far enough in advance for it to cool to room temp, but that was fine by me - I was able to make it before my other stir fry and not worry about keeping it hot, but it was pleasantly warm still. I like cooked cucumber and prefer warm food for dinner. This was mild and tasty, and very very simple. It wasn't spicy. You just fry sichuan pepper and dry chilies in oil, then add the cucumber and cook very briefly. It had been a bad day and I decided not to make this to go along with the beef with cumin as I had planned, but at the last minute decided to do it anyway. So I didn't salt the cucumber in advance, or even scrape the seeds out since they were small beautiful ones from the farmers market. And it was fine. I'd probably follow those instructions if I had a big watery one though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah - smaller ones are probably best. While the recipes in the book seem to be written for standard Western style cucumbers, I would definitely try to use Persian or Japanese cucumbers for most of the cucumber preparations in the book if they're available in your area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Beef with Cumin p 106

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We liked this. I was a bit concerned it would be too much cumin, but it wasn't. Nice and flavorful and easy. I like that it has the peppers in it too, and next time would probably just use two whole peppers rather than halves because I like to get as many veggies in as I can. I followed Grace Young's technique of letting the meat sear without stirring for a minute and I think that works really well. I cut way back on the chili so my 2 year old could eat it and I think it was definitely to the detriment of the dish, but he ate it, so it was worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How surprising...have never heard of cumin in Chinese food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Chinese have used cumin for centuries! One theory is that it arrived via the Silk Road and became one of the few spices to travel eastward into China. Another is that it came from India or perhaps Iran or that it may have even originated in China itself. Some culinary historians believe cumin is indigenous to Egypt, China, India, Turkestan and some places in South America. Certainly the Chinese were using cumin by the second century CE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              China is a very large country. I certainly haven't seen it in Cantonese cooking. But I believe it's fairly common in the north west.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Certainly cumin is widely used in the northwest Muslim region of Xinjiang but can also be found in Hunan and Manchuria and more. Dunlop presents a Hunanese Beef with Cumin dish in her RCC cookbook and says street vendors sprinkle it over barbecued foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It seems with Mexican and Chinese cuisine, that one really does not see the full range of a cuisine from dining in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Depends on where you live, what restaurants you go to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Truer words were never spoken, if I were limited to the Chinese restaurant in my building in the small town in Bergen Cty where I work, I'd never touch the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm south of San Francisco. Have eaten many a meal in Chinatown and not really encountered authentic Chinese ( apparently!). I'm learning quite a bit following these threads :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think anyone's saying that you haven't encountered authentic Chinese food, however, the clientele in a particular area are going to affect the Chinese cuisines that are most common there. SF Chinatown historically has mostly been folks from the far south of China (Guangdong, especially a lot of folks from Taishan / Toisan), with some immigration from Hong Kong as well (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatow...). It also has a lot of tourists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think as far as food from regions likely to have cumin spiced food (Southwestern, Northwestern, Beijing, maybe parts of the Northeast), you'll find a bit more diversity in restaurants in the South Bay (Milpitas, etc.) area, and maybe around Richmond. I don't live up there, so can't give you any specific recommendations. Just doing a quick web search, it looks like Taste Good Beijing in Milpitas has cumin-seasoned lamb skewers (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/539216 has some other places mentioned which might be of interest); you can probably find more information on the local board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In SF, there are some Northern and Northwestern Chinese restaurants in the Sunset (which is the major neighborhood for regional Chinese), and cumin lamb can be had at Old Mandarin Islamic and Beijing restaurants, for example. (I haven't had, not being a red meat eater.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        took me years to learn how to order a Chinese meal....it is an oddly difficult art to master, at least for some of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Would love to hear how you order, Qianning. I am not very good orderer even in more familiar restaurants!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gosh, I sympathize, even now I'm not that good at it. I do try to keep the "harmonious contrast" idea in mind, balancing/contrasting ingredients, textures, cooking methods. To the extent there is a trick it's keeping the whole meal in mind and being willing to forgo/add dishes so that sum makes sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, that means mixing up the proteins and not ordering all pork dishes or all chicken dishes etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also cooking techniques -- not all stirfries, steamed, deep-fried, pan-fried, a variety.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Beef with Cumin, p. 106

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Made this last night. My first dish from the new book. I used skirt steak, and one "red" bell pepper that was still green on one side (seemed better than having two halves left over). I made the recipe exactly as written, except for the bell pepper modification. I used both the fresh and dried chilis. The cumin was freshly ground in my mortar and pestle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was good, but didn't wow me. If I were to make it again, I would increase both the cumin and the chili. I might like this better with lamb. I think my main problem with this recipe (no fault of the recipe) is that I already have a go-to stir fry for beef and bell pepper, done in a sichuan style, that is more to my taste. I realize that's a different animal and not a valid comparison, but the fact remains that if I have some beef and some peppers I want to stir-fry, I'm going to turn to the recipe and style of cooking that best suites my own taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps try it again with another vegetable like slivered onions? Then you have another dish to go with your Sichuan Beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you mind sharing your beef and bell pepper stir fry recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's based on the Dry-Fried Sichuan Beef from Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking. But I've taken a lot of liberties with it. The original does not call for any bell pepper. I started adding it one summer when my CSA kept sending out lots of green bell pepper, which I'm not a fan of. I found this was a good way to use it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 X 300 g. beef fillets (I use skirt steak)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I use about 3 Tbs)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbs vegetable oil (extra)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 large red chiles, sliced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 green bell pepper, cut into slivers (not in original recipe)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbs finely diced ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 garlic cloves, finely diced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Tbs hoisin sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 tsp Sichuan pepper and salt (1 part Sichuan peppercorns to 3 parts salt, dry roasted and ground)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 cup finely sliced scallions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pinch Sichuan pepper and salt, extra
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup finely shredded iceberg lettuce leaves (I omit this in my variation)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The beef is cut into very thin strips. She has you partially freeze the meat to make the cutting easier. She then has you heat the 1 1/2 cups of oil in a wok, and fry the beef in two batches, then remove from wok and drain. I adapt the recipe in the same way Dunlop has adapted the beef with cumin one, and just stir-fry the beef in a few Tbs of oil, then remove to a plate. You then add the extra oil, if needed, chiles, ginger and garlic to the wok and stir-fry for about 30 sec. I add the bell pepper at this point, and stir-fry a few seconds more. Return the beef to the wok along with the hoisin sauce, and stir-fry 30 seconds more. Add the sichuan pepper and salt, and stir-fry a bit more. Then stir in the scallions. Turn onto a platter, and sprinkle with extra sichuan pepper and salt. She has you top with the shredded iceberg lettuce, which makes a nice contrast of temperature and texture. I don't do this when I make my version with the bell peppers added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Stir-Fried Eggs with Tomatoes, pg. 128
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Fan Qie Chao Dan)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      All the talk about eggs and tomatoes had me thinking about the recipe in Land of Plenty I made during that COTM.. I Think it was LOP. Anyway, I was glad to find this recipe and as soon as I read it I knew I Had to cook it. The recipe as written uses 2 eggs and 2 tomatoes but Ms Dunlop allows for increasing those amounts. I have some very fresh extra large eggs and fresh Maine tomatoes so used 3 of each. I omitted the optional slurry. The end dish was a thing of beauty... red, yellow and scrumptious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The beaten eggs are scrambled in a hot oiled wok. They are removed to a plate when cooked. Thin quarters of tomatoes are tipped into the wok and stir-fried till cooked through then a bit of sugar and salt is added. The eggs are turned to toss and stir-fry with the eggs for a few more seconds. If using the slurry add now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What a nice dish this is. Comfort food and satisfying too. Mild flavors lets the fresh ingredients come through. I can see this being served over noodles too. The other dishes were stir-fried asparagus page 67 and a baby spinach salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <"The beaten eggs are scrambled in a hot oiled wok."> etc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That paragraph was scrambled like the eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After the eggs have been cooked they're removed to a plate. Thinly sliced tomatoes are added to wok and stir-fried. The eggs are returned and tossed with the tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        {I wish we were able to edit at will for typos & scrambled thoughts. My brain and typing ability are not on the same wave length...}

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stir-Fried Eggs with Tomatoes, p. 128

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was my breakfast this morning. I was too lazy to set up the wok outside before breakfast, so I made it in a skillet, which worked just fine. I am lucky to have tomatoes coming out of my garden right now, which makes a big difference in a simple dish like this one. I used the potato starch slurry, which at the moment seemed unnecessary, but keep in mind that the tomatoes will continue to give off liquid even after you move them to your plate, and the slurry will help keep that liquid contained in a sauce. Worth doing. If you have good ingredients available, this is a delicious way to showcase them in a very simple preparation. The sweetness of the tomato is accented by the sugar in this dish. Delicious, and very much greater than the sum of its parts, as Dunlop states.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I want to try that with the Jersey toms I'm getting at the farmer's market. Her dishes are often more than the sum of their parts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Spinach in Ginger Sauce, Pg. 64
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Jiang Zhi Bo Cai)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When first thumbing through the book I came across this recipe and thought I would be able to make it using the huge bag of baby spinach sitting in the fridge. It was not to be however because this recipe requires the bunched spinach which has a more mature flavor and texture. FD states that the dressing can be used for most any other vegetables and had even been served it over asparagus. So... that's what I did. The result was a dish full of the wonderful flavor of ginger, vinegar and sesame oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          After prepping the asparagus, blanch the stalks for 30 seconds in boiling water to which a bit of oil is added. Because my asparagus were pencil thin this timing was perfect. It produced asparagus that were definitely al dente but not entirely raw. Drain , refresh under cold water, drain well again. I blotted the stalks as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The dressing consists of a combination of very finely chopped ginger, Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, stock or water (I used stock), salt, sesame oil. Pile the asparagus on a platter , pour dressing over, serve. Very, very nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What happened to the spinach you ask? It became a salad with the dressing used for the Smacked Cucumber Salad on page 34. Thank you, Fuchsia Dunlop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds wonderful. I'll try it with asparagus too. It's in season at the momnet. On the other hand, bunched spinach is fairly hard to get and I have to drive 20min to the chinese grocer to get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. From tonight's dinner:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stir-Fried Tofu with Black Bean and Chilli (香辣豆腐干; xiāng là dòufǔ gān, p86). This is kind of similar to 素炒三鲜. The main seasoning is laoganma (老干妈) sauce, a fairly popular spicy "black bean" and chili oil sauce from Guizhou (which has a ton of MSG in it). I am wondering if you couldn't just combine the jarred douchi with some chili oil with sediment and get pretty much the same effect. This was pretty good -- the prep was a bit of a hassle, though, because there are so many ingredients, and it's annoying that it uses 1/4 of a red bell pepper, 1/4 of a green bell pepper, and 1/4 of a red onion, esp. since these ingredients aren't widely used in her other recipes. And of course, if you really want the pieces the same size / shape, there will probably end up being some amount of waste involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Twice-cooked Swiss chard (回锅牛皮菜; huí guō niú pí cài, p186). Apparently Swiss chard has been consumed in Sichuan for a long time, but generally only out of desparation. The book says that some of these "earstwhile poverty dishes" are now appearing on higher end restaurant menus. I have been curious to try this one since I first saw it (I've done vegetarian "twice-cooked pork" before, but it's usually kind of a stretch without the pork) -- but I wasn't sure whether it would actually be that delicious. We both ended up really enjoying it - the flavor is great (a little smokey, somewhat spicy without being overpowering), and you don't seem to get that "squeaky" texture that you can sometimes get with chard / spinach. As someone else mentioned, prepping and blanching the chard is a little bit time-consuming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, not from the book, 卤苦瓜 (stewed bitter melon); sadly, didn't come out that well today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This online recipe, similar, but made without the fermented black beans, and with pickled ginger, pickled chili, and sichuan peppercorn oil looks pretty good too:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://bbs.vaecn.com/thread-1006395-1...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. OK, uncle. You all have convinced me that I must have this book. Now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I finally got a message from Amazon.ca that my book was shipped today as promissed!!! I am leaving on Sat for a week at a cottage and keep my fingers crossed that it will arive tomorow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm a bit late to the Dunlop party, having only recently acquired Land of Plenty. Have a question about ingredients and was hoping someone on this thread could help since many of you have experience with Chinese ingredients. I Cannot find Chianking vinegar anywhere and am a bit reluctant to order a $27.00 bottle off Amazon. I found another, less expensive website but am wondering if the hassle is worth it. Is there a good substitute? Any advice appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No, no, no! That's extortion! Who are those people charging that much for a bottle of Gold Plum? I just bought some a few weeks ago and paid less than $3 a bottle. I don't remember, Maybe it was closer to $2. You could substitute balsamic vinegar, since this is probably the only instance ever where you can buy balsamic vinegar for less than Chianking. Weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JoanN, thanks! I had no idea it could be had that inexpensively. I'll probably have to just bite the bullet and take the train up to SF Chinatown area one of these days. For some reason, the Asian grocers near me do