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Cookbook of the Month March 2013 EVERY GRAIN OF RICE: Beans and vegetables of all kinds

Welcome to Cookbook of the Month for March 2013, which is Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for beans and vegetables here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

This thread is for the following chapters - please note I am using the British version of the book for the purposes of this thread:

Beans and peas - p148
Leafy greens - p166
Garlic and chives - p198
Aubergines, peppers and squashes - p208
Root vegetables - p224
Mushrooms - p230

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Happy wokking!

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  1. Vegetarian 'Gong Bao Chicken' pg 236 (UK edition)

    What an excellent introduction to this book. After making this as a slightly time-consuming yet immensely satisfying lunch, I am eagerly looking forward exploring more recipes within the pages.

    To start, portobellos are cubed, blanched, and marinated in a starch/salt mixture for the duration of the prep. Since the large brown mushrooms are rather pricey in my area, I opted to use the biggest creminis I could get my hands on instead. I was rather happy with the results and wouldn't hesitate to do that again. Ginger, garlic, and green onion whites, seeded chiles and sichuan peppercorn make an appearance in this dish, and a lovely sweet/tart blend of sugar, dark & light soy, chinkiang vinegar, starch & salt (I omitted the latter-not really necessary) get tossed together for the sauce.
    The mushrooms are briefly stir-fried in a (un)healthy amount of oil until glossy and set aside. Most of the oil is poured off and the rest comes together very quickly, adding the chiles/peppercorns, the aromatics, the mushrooms, and the sauce to the wok in succession. A large handful of roasted peanuts get mixed in as the final flourish, and it's done.

    I found that there was perhaps a bit too much starch in the 'marinade', as the mushrooms were heartily clumping together during the first stir-fry session. I may reduce that for next time to see if that helps at all. As a personal preference, I may also slightly cut down on the peanut amount; there was almost too much crunch going on. I reserved the beautiful rich brown liquid leftover from the blanching for the base of a nice vegetarian stock.

    This was surprisingly wonderful. As one who likes but doesn't love mushrooms, this took the fungi to a whole new level of addictive deliciousness for me. The glossy dark sauce was every bit as tantalizing as the photo in the book, and it clung beautifully to the cubes. It was slightly sweet, tangy and bright-tasting with a hearty chew from the mushrooms and the crunch of the nuts, and although it didn't contain the sesame oil as in the other gong bao recipes, it wasn't missed. I enjoyed this very, very much and would be delighted to serve this to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Allegra_K

      Sounds great -- and I wouldn't ditch the mushrooms even if I added chicken.

      1. re: Allegra_K

        My mother-in-law (who's never read this book) sometimes makes it with cubed king oyster mushrooms, which works pretty well.

        I like a combination of cubed wheat gluten and cubed (fresh) water-chestnuts.

        1. re: will47

          I love king oyster mushrooms will, what a great idea.

        2. re: Allegra_K

          Allegra that looks and sounds lovely. Your plate is stunning too!

        3. Hangzhou Aubergines pg 212

          I am a huge fan of Dunlop's version of Fish-Fragrant Eggplant on the previous page and will never tire of it, but thought it might be nice to try something different. Enter this new way to prepare the most stunning of vegetables.

          The eggplants are sliced into thick-ish batons, salted and set aside to drain. After blotting they are deep fried until slightly golden. In a hot wok, a minuscule amount of minced pork is tossed to cook, and in goes ginger, sweet fermented sauce, a bit of stock, shaoxing wine, light & dark soy, and a touch of sugar. The aubergines return to the wok, all is thickened with a bit of potato starch, sprinkled with sliced green onion tops, and served.

          The sauce is thick with a deep sweet flavour from the hoisin (in fact 'sweet fermented sauce' is a perfect translation) with a light refreshment of onions. I have mixed feeling about the pork in the recipe, finding its texture competing too much with the silkiness of the eggplant, but welcoming the flavour. I may cook with a bit of lard for next time and omit the meat; the best of both worlds! If having this as the lone dish with rice, I would add a touch extra liquid to get it a bit saucier. While I did enjoy this recipe very much, it will not be replacing my old favourite. Still and all very good, and it will be repeated.

          27 Replies
          1. re: Allegra_K

            You sure do make everything wanted *now*! I appreciate these posts.
            I'm trying my first from the book tonight, a chicken dish, we'll see how it goes.

            1. re: Allegra_K

              I see you are going gangbusters straight out of the gate!

              Looks great. Meanwhile, just curious does FD call Hosin "sweet fermented sauce"? Hoisin in Chinese is "海鲜酱" which is literally "seafood sauce". There's another condiment called "甜麵酱" tian mian jiang, literally "sweet wheat paste", that I think of as "sweet fermented sauce"....they are pretty similar, but somehow I always thought they were two different sauces.

              1. re: qianning

                Page 336 (in the glossary) she says:
                "Sweet fermented sauce
                (tian mian jiang)
                Also sold, confusingly, as 'sweet bean sauce' and 'hoisin sauce,' this smooth, dark, glossy paste is made from fermented wheat and salt, sometimes with soy."
                So -- if I buy hoisin in an American grocery, I think I'm getting the right thing?

                1. re: blue room

                  I think she's actually saying it's not the same as the regular hoisin sauce and you should check that you are buying tian misn jiang rather than hoisin. I've seen the exact same packet in the picture in my Chinese supermarket. I agree that it's a little confusingly written.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Hmm -- I read it as Sweet Fermented Sauce is "also sold" as hoisin -- so it *is* the same..

                  2. re: blue room

                    These discussions and ingredients fascinate me. Makes me want to learn to read all the labels.

                    I don't know if anyone noticed this but in the UK edition the photo on p. 337 shows a pkg beneath the bowl of the sweet fermented sauce and it says "Hoisin Sauce".

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      But it's been mislabelled, I think that's the point. If you look at the Chinese characters they say tian mian jiang and not hoisin.

                      In one of her other books she specifies the brand that she buys, and it's labelled as sweet bean sauce not hoisin, which is a slightly different thing.

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        I see what you're saying gg. I just think it's odd to include a mis-labled item in a photo intended to aid readers in selecting appropriate ingredients.

                        Perhaps she included it to essentially say...don't buy Hoisin sauce unless it's this brand/packaging?

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          I think it's just that it's one of the few brands you can find here. The other one she mentions in her other books is actually Korean, I think the brand is Koon Chun.

                          Afaik until recently, hoisin was substituted because tian mian jiang was hard to find outside China and that's where the confusion has come from.

                          I also don't think Fuchsia would specify sweet fermented sauce if it was the same as hoisin - why would she?

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            I'm very confused about the hoisin sauce now, too. I also thought she was saying that sweet fermented sauce was the same as hoisin sauce, just that what was packaged is her preferred brand. It seems that a lot of hoisin sauces I can find, though are just soy, sugar and yam. I guess the sugar+yam=sweet and the soy=fermented bean, but I don't really know if that's the right way to look at it or not. Dunlop doesn't mention yam as an ingredient... I have the feeling the hoisin sauce we can find in bottles is going to be runnier than what's in that packet, which I imagine to be more of a paste...


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              It's not the same thing. In the glossary, she's just saying that one brand mislabels it as 'hoisin sauce'. Hoisin sauce is '海鲜' sauce, and has different ingredients.

                              What you want is tiánmiànjiàng (甜面酱 / 甜麵醬). If the Chinese characters on the package look the same as the one in her book, you're good to go. Mine says 'sweet flour sauce' on it in English.

                                1. re: will47

                                  will47, are we talking about the difference between
                                  Brand X Mayonnaise and Brand Z Mayonnaise (slight)--
                                  or the difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip (different but can be compared on many points)-
                                  or the difference between mayonnaise and turkey gravy -- (not the same thing) ?
                                  I mainly care about flavor, not authenticity, but I want it to be recognizable as a certain dish.
                                  I get the impression that hoison will work with recipes calling for Sweet Fermented because they are quite similar.
                                  What are the ingredients in one that aren't found in the other?

                          2. re: greedygirl

                            Tian mian jiang (sweet flour sauce) doesn't have the same flavourings added to it that hai xian jiang (hoisin, literal meaning seafood sauce) does. It's really better to get the TMJ if possible, hoisin sauce is a Cantonese thing...

                      2. re: qianning

                        Funny you mention that....I was sure that hoisin was something different as well (tho you would know much better than I) from reading her other books, and also from Mrs Chiang's Szechuan cookbook...but in this book she does indeed write they are the same. I did use sweet fermented sauce (well, my jar says sweet bean sauce) and thought it tasted different than hoisin. Hmm.

                        1. re: Allegra_K

                          Glad to hear you used "sweet bean sauce"....if you had used a "real" hoisin I'm pretty sure the results would have been indelibly sweet.

                          Fwiw here's my understanding of the difference between these two condiments:

                          Hoisin (海鲜酱), primary ingredient is sugar, it is usually used in small quantities on food that has been cooked, i.e. not added during cooking or over heat. Common uses are a light drizzle over blanched green vegetables like Jielan (芥藍) chinese broccoli and etc., or as a light spread in something rolled up like a viet-namese fresh roll.

                          Sweet Fermented Sauce (甜麵酱), which really has no "fixed" name in English and can show up on labels with lots of different English names, is a salty fermented product, only very slightly sweet. The primary ingredient traditionally was wheat, but now a days some brands are all or primarily made from soy.

                          Here are some pictures:
                          The two bottles in the right-hand picture are both different versions of Hoisin.

                          The yellow labeled bottle in to the right in the left-hand picture is a true tian mian jiang (甜麵酱) made with wheat, the blue labeled bottle to the left of the left-hand picture is a similar product, but made with soy (I didn't have on hand a bottle of soy based tian mian jiang, 'cause I don't use it).

                          1. re: qianning

                            Clearer it gets..
                            thank you, quianning. Because of the name "Sweet Fermented" I figured sugar was important in the flavor, but maybe not so much.

                            1. re: blue room

                              It is really confusing.

                              This Wikipedia artilcle on it is actually pretty good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianmian... --although I'd quibble over the similarity to hoisin (see above!) Also, since EGOR is focused on southern Chinese food, and my home-cooking background leans toward north China, there are lots of regional applications that I don't know, and don't want to lead folks astray.

                            2. re: qianning

                              It is pretty confusing in the glossary, though....I obviously totally misunderstood. Thanks for clearing it up! I wish I could go back and change my review so I don't seem so blatantly wrong, hah! Luckily I prefer sweet fermented paste anyway (I think I have the same brand as the one on the right in photo #1), so it made its way into the dish.

                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                I think this hoisin vs. tianmianjiang confusion happens every time we do an FD book....there must be some brand for sale in the UK that inverts the translation, and of course that's the brand FD recommends.

                                Sorry to have you feeling badly about your review, no need to the writing is excellent, and the dish looks gorgeous.

                                1. re: qianning

                                  Not at all, I appreciate the help! It's good that this has been cleared up so early in the game, it seems I wasn't the only one mislead by the wording.
                                  And thanks for the kind words.

                                  1. re: qianning

                                    Not sure this is the case - in Sichuan cookery/LOP, she says the closest thing to tian mian jiang is a Taiwanese sweet bean sauce made by a company called Mong Lee Shang, which is the only one I could find until recently. She nalso says hoisin can be used as an alternative dipping sauce, but specifies it is much sweeter.

                                    In the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook there is no mention of hoisin at all, but another reference to the Mong Lee brand of sweet bean sauce.

                                    The one pictures in the book has appeared in my Chinese supermarket fairly recently, and is tian mian jiang wrongly labelled in English as hoisin sauce.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      The local Asian market has sweet bean sauce in a can exactly like this one (of hot bean sauce). It is a Taiwanese brand. Do you or anyone know if this a good brand--or have a guess as to whether the sweet version might be tian mian jiang?

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        If it says 'tianmianjiang' in Chinese, it's the thing you want. Is it the same brand pictured?

                                        This is the right thing:

                                        However, if the packaging is exactly the same, I am pretty sure this is a mainland Chinese brand (tianfupai) from Sichuan, and not a Taiwanese brand.

                                        I will suggest, though, that if you can get a smaller package, or a re-sealable jar, this would probably be better. See if you can find Lian How or Union Food brand.

                                        1. re: will47

                                          Thank you! Yes, that's it, and I can get a small can (6 oz). It does say "Made in Taiwan" on the back of the can.

                                          I also have a jar of what I think is the right thing from Posharp on order (I don't remember who recommended that site, but many thanks!), but it hasn't come yet.

                                2. re: qianning

                                  As usual, spot on, Elegant and Peaceful.

                            3. re: Allegra_K

                              Hangzhou Eggplant, p. 212

                              We really loved this--as much, I'd say, as the fish-fragrant. This time I followed the instructions faithfully and salted the eggplant. I made the variation with ground pork, using peanut oil for the initial eggplant frying, discarding it, and adding a T or so of grapeseed for the stir-fry.

                              Saisfying and delicious: two mouths, no leftovers.

                            4. Chinese Cabbage with Vinegar Pg. 184

                              This was my first dish from the book, not because it jumped out at me as a must make, but simply because I had some bok choy that needed using up and I wanted a quick side to the Hot Pepper Shrimp from the Essential New York Times Book.

                              Overall this was pretty good but a bit ho hum. The recipe is very simple as she simply has you blanch sliced cabbage, then briefly stir fry and dress with a touch of chinkiang vinegar, salt and sugar. I did use a touch of cornstarch to thicken the very scant and elemental sauce, but I do agree that it is optional since there is very little sauce to speak of.

                              Again not bad, just ok. That being said, if I was preparing a veritable feast and wanted a very simply green accompaniment that didn't compete with the other dishes then this might be a way to go. I am relatively new to Fuschia but I am undaunted as I expect great things from this book.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: delys77

                                We've made this cabbage dish , Delys, and thought as you did... my words, "Not terribly vinegary but tender and mild. A great foil for spicy dishes."

                                1. re: delys77

                                  Chinese Cabbage with Vinegar Pg. 184

                                  I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this dish. At first bite I was surprised at how prevalent the vinegar was-though of course it's really the only thing in there besides salt-and found that its tartness was an unwelcome taste compared the the other dishes at the dinner table. The more I chewed, however, the more I found it to be a very agreeable, albeit simple, dish. After tasting other items and then coming back to the cabbage, I had the same reaction, mild bewilderment followed by pleasant acceptance. I think in order to really enjoy this it would need to be served with another similarly seasoned dish, or even on its own with a bit of rice.
                                  Oh, and I've all but given up on the seemingly unnecessary step of blanching my veggies, opting instead to save myself a pot to wash and stir frying to a gentle sear. The cabbage benefited greatly from that delightful wok hei. I think I would make this again.

                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                    I like cabbage a bit browned too. This is a real homestyle dish, you could get cabbage when you couldn't get anything else much in the winter since it stores well.

                                  2. re: delys77

                                    I don't have my books handy but I do have a cabbage that needs using ... what is the difference between this cabbage dish and the hand torn cabbage with vinegar from RCC? And, which dish is better?

                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                      The EGOR recipe I thought had very subtle flavors, whereas the cabbage w vinegar had more spicy heat therefore a bit more oomph. However, I think they are both simple side dishes to expand the menu. Frankly, I think one isn't "better" than the other. Here's my report of the RCC cabbage. I made this past January for the first time...


                                    2. re: delys77

                                      Chinese Cabbage With Vinegar, Pg. 184

                                      I've made this recipe so many times I've stopped counting. I'm reporting on it again only because I augmented the ingredients with chopped celery, chopped carrot rounds, finely shredded green and Napa cabbages, 2 baby pak choy, and used balsamic vinegar since, horror of horrors, we were all out of the Chinkiang. Also I didn't blanch the cabbage but went straight to the stir-fry... And, didn't add the slurry at the end.

                                      In spite of all that we liked the finished dish which had extra texture and herbaceous flavors. It was a perfect side dish for the Firm Tofu and Peppers, and steamed brown basmati rice.

                                      1. re: delys77

                                        CHINESE CABBAGE WITH VINEGAR 醋溜白菜

                                        The thicker part of the cabbage was still slightly crunchy, while the leafy part was soft. The contrasting texture of the vegetable was nice. We also enjoyed the slightly vinegary flavor. It made me want to just keep on eating more and more of it.

                                      2. Chinese Broccoli in Ginger Sauce, pg. 182

                                        This little dish is a winner! This is a very easy prep for Chinese broccoli which has already been repeated with variations in my house. Basically to blanch the broccoli and then stir fry some ginger, add Shaoxing wine and 1/2 tsp sugar and then stir fry the broccoli. There is the option to thicken the sauce with a potato flour/water slurry, although I must admit there's never been much sauce left in the pan for me. I have made this with both Chinese broccoli and baby american broccoli with the long stems. We like it both ways, although I find I have to be careful to squeeze out the water from the leaves of the CHinese Broccoli before the stir fry.

                                        17 Replies
                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                            CHINESE BROCCOLI IN GINGER SAUCE – p. 182

                                            Big thanks to greeneggsandham for her enticing review; hearing that she’d made it several times moved it right up my list. We really enjoyed this and mr bc even had seconds…unheard of when it comes to leafy greens!

                                            It’s amazing how a little bit of sugar can go such a long way in lifting the flavours of the greens. The leaves had all been kissed w a hint of sweetness and the punch of the ginger really enhanced the fresh flavours.

                                            I found the recipe online here:


                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                              +1 for this recipe. Easy to make, simple flavors, really enjoyed it.

                                              I also didn't have much liquid left in the pan, but scraped the ginger plus whatever liquid was clinging to it out of the pan and over the broccoli to serve without thickening with potato flour.

                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                Chinese Broccoli in Ginger Sauce Pg. 182

                                                I must preface my review by saying I am not a huge fan of Gai Lan. I usually find it a touch too bitter, but my partner just loves it so I do prepare it every so often. At my local Asian grocer I found lovely little Gai Lan that were labeled as Gai Lan Junior (very cute) so I thought I would give this recipe a try.

                                                I did use the potato flour slurry and I think it added something to the dish. Essentially there is very little liquid, but the slurry is just enough to make that small amount of liquid cling to the vegetables. Overall the dish was nice, and my partner really liked it, but I still found the Gai Lan a bit bitter for my taste.

                                                1. re: delys77

                                                  You're such a wonderful partner! I hope you are paid back by being allowed to have some of your favorites that are not universally loved sometimes.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Lol, thanks LLM. Honestly, lots of the pleasure I get from food is the enjoyment others take from what I make. That said, there are lots of things the partner doesn't love that are in regular rotation at our place because I love them. One that comes to mind is a French Canadian candy made with potatoes that he positively hates but that I grew up with.

                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                      Oh honey, I have forced tofu, brussels sprouts, cod and chick peas on LulusDad. At this point he actually admits to loving my b. sprouts and tofu, and he'll do ok with most of the cod (tomorrow night we'll be testing that theory) but chick peas he's still very ixnay on. I think the fact that we feed with love makes it more palatable -and more ok that we force ; )

                                                      LulusDad grew up in Quebec and has no idea what this candy is and is totally fascinated. Can you tell me what it is called?

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        You are definitely correct there, a little love makes all recipes better!
                                                        In terms of the guilty pleasure, you can tell Lulusdad that the name is the same in French as in English (potato candy or bonbon patate).
                                                        He may not have come accross it as it isn't something most people would admit to making or eating but it is pretty darned good. It's simply a boiled potato put through a ricer or a food mill so it is extremely smooth and then whipped with copious amounts of icing sugar to make a sweet paste that is nothing like sweet mashed potatoes. You then dust your worksurface with more powdered sugar and and roll out the potato dough. Finally top with peanut butter and roll up into a log. Slice you logs into candies and pop into the fridge for a few hours to firm up. Sinfully sweet, crazy tacky, but oh so good.

                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                          Your post nudged my memory, delys77; this has been discussed on CH (years ago): http://www.chow.com/food-news/2952/po...

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            Ha ha somehow I should have known I wasn't the first chow hound to bring this little treat up.

                                                          2. re: delys77

                                                            Man, this I have to try! He's currently googling it and says "yep, it is obviously a real thing" but he has never tasted it. Time for a trip back north.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              If you decided to give it a try be prepared for sweet. French Canadians typically have a very sweet tooth when it comes to dessert (think Sugar Pie).

                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                Eeek - like your teeth are about to fall out? The inclusion of peanut butter really surprises me.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  It is a bit odd, but I had to guess I would assume it stems from thrift by necessity.

                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                    Savais pas que tu etais de la belle province :)

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Mes parents sont québécois mais moi je suis né en Colombie-Britannique.

                                                2. Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans (Vegetarian Version), Pg, 150

                                                  A tidy little side dish, this. Nothing too memorable but pleasant beside pan fried haddock fillets and steamed brown basmati. I've made it twice now so I suppose I'll keep it in rotation till another comes along.

                                                  Prep the haricot verts and set aside. I used frozen haricot verts from TJ's which were already prepped so step one was dismissed. Also, I didn't have to blanch the beans. Sliced red chilies and Szechuan peppercorns are sizzled briefly in hot oil (peanut) then sliced scallion, garlic, ginger are stir-fried for a few. Now add tianjin preserved vegetable and toss them around a few times. Toss in the beans, stir-fry coating them with the fragrant oil. Salt is added to taste but I didn't. Finally drizzle with toasted sesame oil and serve. The finished dish looked exactly like the photo opposite. Yay me...

                                                  18 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans

                                                    This was another surprising side that I didn't expect to be thrilled with but ended up loving. I didn't blanch the (regular green) beans but instead sprinkled in a handful of water to steam a moment, then cranked the heat to sear. I really dislike the tedium of topping & tailing the beans, so next time I'll definitely go for snake beans, which are perfect for this application anyway.
                                                    I think I'm in love with ya cai. Every item it goes into is magically transformed into an intensely savoury and addictive dish with a flavour that I can't seem to put into words. It's salty, a bit briny with a fantastic crunch and I can hardly keep myself from tossing it into everything.
                                                    I had this with a side of spicy sesame noodles, which worked as a perfect partner in crime for hoovering up all the rogue pieces of ya cai, garlic and ginger that escaped the grip of my chopsticks.
                                                    This was yet another stellar vegetarian dish to add to the rotation.

                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                      I'm so happy you liked the green beans, Allegra. I always worry about how others will fare when making something we liked. So, you think the long beans would be better? I hope I can find them at the Asian market we shop at.

                                                      Love your dish and table runner!

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Thanks! I am constantly fretting whether someone will like a dish as well as I do, so I know about that feeling of relief when they concur.

                                                        I like texture of the long beans a bit better for lengthier cooking such as dry-frying, as they seem to hold their form instead of getting too mushy. Plus (and it's a huge plus!) you don't need as many beans to equal the weight and its oh so much easier to line them up and cut them into lengths when you're working with 18" at a time.
                                                        I grew some last summer and was amazed at how long some of them got, nearly two feet!

                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                          I also really dislike having to snap the tails off of string beans. some brilliant HC hound recommended that I line the string beans up and cut off all the tails. It's a huge time saver and especially useful in the summer when I get a lot of string beans from the farm.

                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                            I do just the opposite. If the beans are really fresh,"especially from the farm", instead of the tails it's the stem end I lop off in a row of several beans at once.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Actually, I meant both ends. It's one of those endless, mind numbing childhood chores that I can't not do (like deveining both sides of the shrimp. I don't like doing it, but I don't like eating it if it's not done). The only thing I've been able to stop is to de-tail the stupid bean sprouts. That's too mind numbing but it does bug me when I eat them. I think I may need some help. ;-)

                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                Ha -- reminds me -- I was astounded with the idea of trimming bean sprouts!


                                                                One person said:
                                                                "..that's where most of the nutrients are - the root and the seed head."
                                                                I wonder if that's true.

                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  Goodness, I've never even heard of anyone de-tailing bean sprouts. Is there a reason for this?

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    That was my reaction too, I figure it must be just for looks and refinement!

                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                      Looks and refinement are not worth the time! Yikes.

                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                      The texture feels kind of gross. I think it's worth the effort.

                                                                      1. re: will47

                                                                        But I've never had any problem with the texture. Probably if I'd always had them de-tailed i would notice the difference, but not having it done before, it seems sort of silly to start.

                                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Did this when I was a child. My mother still does it. It's semi-standard where we come from (Singapore) and you can get pre-tailed ones at the market.

                                                                    3. re: beetlebug

                                                                      I usually pull the tails off both mung and soy bean sprouts when making them for eating (not when just making stock though, obviously).

                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                            If you make these the traditional way, deepfrying them prior to stirfrying them, try tossing them with a bit of oil and roasting them until wrinkled and browned instead. Fewer boring old calories and they work just as well in the dish.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              Roasting would be great! Thanks so much for the tip, BT. There's more than half a bag left, it was a 2 lb. bag, so I'll roast the beans the next time.

                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                              Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans

                                                              I made these as a side last night. They were good but didn't necessarily wow me. Still, very easy and I loved the crispness of the beans, which I did blanch. I gave my partner the job of de-stemming the beans while I dealt with the rest of dinner. :) If I were serving a larger Chinese meal to more than 2 people, I think these would deserve a spot on the table. We just had them cold for lunch and they are excellent that way too.

                                                            3. Stir-Fried Greens with Dried Shrimp Pg 172

                                                              Our execution of this dish did it no justice I think. Basically it's greens (we used Chinese cabbage) and spring onion with some dried shrimp and soy sauce mixed through. We didn't have the heat in our pan high enough and the cabbage wilted rather than being 'barely cooked and still a little crisp' as Fuchsia advises. The flavours were good, perhaps a little salty. It worked well as a side to a spicy dish - we had the Sichuanese wontons in chilli oil.

                                                              The recipe goes like this. Quickly fry your shrimps in oil and then set aside. Here we went through two batches as we burnt our first ones. Our shrimps were very small and only needed a feew moments in the oil. We ended up placing them on a slotted spoon and dipping that in a small pot of oil so we could remove them quickly. That technique worked for us. The house still reeks of the burnt batch. I think if you get larger shrimps this may not be such an issue.

                                                              Then you put your greens in the hot pan. Or not-really-hot-at-all-pan in our case and give them a very quick cook. Add the shrimps back in, 2 tbsp of light soy. She says salt to taste if needed, we didn't and finally some sliced spring onion greens.

                                                              1. Shanghai Home-Style Aubergine, Pg. 214

                                                                This was truly a homey, comfort food kind of dish and I could have eaten the entire thing all by myself. At first I didn't think I was going to like it at all but after a few bites I found that the soft texture of the eggplant was very appealing and although the sauce flavor was subtle it was perfect for what it brought to the eggplant. I think I goofed on the slicing prep, though. The pieces should have looked like Allegra's upthread but mine were more chunky than hers. All the more reason to cook the recipe again.

                                                                Because the eggplant I used was almost a pound, much more than called for, I increased all the amounts of the sauce ingredients accordingly. The slices of eggplant are salted, set to drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Meanwhile combing the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. This includes Stock, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, caster sugar, a few slices peeled ginger. Before cooking the eggplant I lightly rinsed and blotted the slices.

                                                                When the eggplant is ready deep fry in hot oil. We elected to shallow fry in about 3T peanut oil. G did this in several batches so the pieces wouldn't steam but come to a crisp golden brown. Drain the slices of eggplant on paper towel.

                                                                In the hot wok make sure there's a bit of oil then quickly fry the ginger, pour in the sauce, return eggplant and stir briskly till the sauce has just about completely evaporated. Strew the scallion slices over top and serve.

                                                                The remainder of the meal was the amazing Char Siu from Andea Nguyen's "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" and a slap-dash bean sprout stir-fry. Not wanting another rice dish G grilled slices of crusty bread so we could mop up all the delicious juices. A luscious Sunday night's dinner.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  I'm so glad to hear this one works out, Gio. It sounds just as wonderful as all the other eggplant dishes, and now I can't wait to try it.
                                                                  Do you notice a difference with the salting of the eggplants? I can't honestly tell if they absorbed any less oil than usual with this method...

                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                    I did notice a difference with the salting of this eggplant, Allegra. This time there was not a lot of liquid to drain. The salt seemed to be on the surface of the slices. That's why I felt I needed to briefly rinse and blot. I don't like very salty food. I usually don't salt eggplant, ever, but somehow I thought it was right to do it here.

                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                    Shanghai Home-Style Aubergine, Pg. 214

                                                                    Rereading the minimal ingredient list in this recipe, I became skeptical thinking about how it would turn out. It seemed far too simple to amount to much. What do I know...this turned out to be delicious in its own way, just like all the other better-than-the-sum-of-its-parts dishes in this book.
                                                                    I was pretty hungry when I selected this recipe, so opted out of the salting, and I did indeed notice the that final result was oilier than the previous eggplant dish that I made, following that step. I used (shhh!) better than bouillon for the chx stock, deciding that a bit of flavour was better than using plain ole' water. Eyeballed the rest of the ingredients, though I definitely used more than 'a few' slices of ginger. Probably about a 1'' piece cut into half-moons.
                                                                    All in all, a pretty darned tasty dish. I lapped up the whole recipe by myself, sans rice, and it was lovely. I may attempt to dry-fry the eggplant for next time, getting it nice and smoky and saving myself some deep-frying. Hopefully it works out with that method...

                                                                  3. Stir-Fried Beansprouts with Chinese Chives p.164

                                                                    What a surprisingly delicious and simple little stir-fry this turned out to be. For a recipe with so few ingredients, I really wasn't expecting much more than just a vegetable filler, but it was really wonderful, and I will be making this again.
                                                                    Prep is minimal, blanch some beansprouts, sliver some red pepper, cut chives into lengths to match the size of the other veggies, separating whitish stalks from leafier tops. I think the blanching is a step I could do without in the future; 30 seconds additional wok time would be sufficient. Fry the chive whites with the pepper over high, and toss in the leaves, then the beansprouts with a touch of salt to taste, and add a splash of chinkiang vinegar, serve.
                                                                    The delicate garlicky chives give it all a lovely flavour, and I had a nice sear going on so the wok hay was just right. The vibrant colours and the symmetrical slivers added eye appeal. I really enjoyed this and would gladly add it to the repertoire.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                      I've made the Chili and Sichuan Pepper variation of this recipe and I think the original sounds much much more satisfying than the variation was. I'll have to do this one next...


                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                        This sounds wonderful. Unfortunately I'm going to have to wait until the decorators have finished in my kitchen/basement area before cooking it. With a kitchen out of action for a few days, these reports are driving me mad!

                                                                      2. Sweet and Sour Zucchini 218

                                                                        I just got my cookbook in the mail today (birthday present!) and this is my first ever COTM attempt and post. Of course, we had absolutely nothing in the house to cook with, and the rest of the family was out at an event, so I went with two of the most basic, even possibly boring sounding simple dishes. This zucchini number (218) and Fuschia's Emergency Midnight Noodles (288) I post that result over on the other board, I guess.

                                                                        The zucchini recipe is quite easy. You simply slice the zuccs into matchstick fries (or my lazy "organic" looking version), salt for a while and then drain. [I was surprised as to how much liquid drew from my extremely dry/easily sliced zuccs by the time it came to drain them] Then, you fry up some sliced garlic in oil in a wok (i don't even have a wok yet, so I used a pan) before adding the zuccs into the mix. Add bit of sugar and dark Chinese vinegar and you're all set. I drained mine slightly before I plated it up for myself.

                                                                        On my first bite..I found the dish a bit oily (I was only using canola oil -perhaps a better type?) but what astounded me was the way that the garlic infused right into the zucchini. Tonight, I think my urge/the necessity to start out simply paid off. And despite the initial taste of oil (this faded over time), this dish tasted like a bit of a "spa dish" in actuality....The kind of simple and basic flavour you usually have to pay big money for in order to enjoy these days. I'd definitely make it again for myself as a sort of secret cure. I am trying to refrain from adding chill flakes to everything...but a little heat would be welcome here, too. Once I pick up a wok and get organized, I will definitely want a redo to see if the zuccs come out crispier or less immediately oily. A great way to dress up a household staple though...especially in summer when we'll have plenty more of these...

                                                                        Would love a suggestion as to the best kind of general/all purpose frying oil for this stuff. Mine was cheapo no name canola and I think it brought down the flavour of what was really a lovely dish.

                                                                        Happy to begin right here,

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: roseye

                                                                          Welcome! You're off to a great start. I think peanut oil is a good way to go with these recipes. I personally use organic, expeller-pressed Canola for health reasons.


                                                                          1. re: roseye

                                                                            Also, in general I find her recipes to be a little heavy on the oil. If you're finding them oily, you might try cutting back a little. Maybe 25% at first, then 50% until you find a level that is comfortable for you.


                                                                            1. re: roseye

                                                                              Welcome, Rosey! Thanks for the great report. I do think canola sometimes gives things an off/oily flavor. I agree with TDQ about peanut oil, although I must admit I often use canola oil myself b/c that's so easy to come by.

                                                                              1. re: roseye

                                                                                I like the Lion & Globe brand peanut oil.

                                                                                1. re: emily

                                                                                  That's the brand I like as well. It can be hard to find! I went to what seemed like a million stores in NYC Chinatown looking for it recently. But it's worth the search bc it really tastes like fresh roasted peanuts. I've heard Knife brand recommended too, but I've never tried it.

                                                                              2. Blanched Choy Sum with Sizzling Oil Pg. 168

                                                                                We loved this one. So simple and quick yet so satisfying. I have often had perfectly cooked greens at a cantonese place we frequent and I believe this must be how they do it.

                                                                                Essentially you blanch the vegetables in water, then garnish with ginger, red pepper, and green onions and bathe the lot in a few tablespoons of super hot oil. Finally you dress the greens by pouring over a little light soy which has been further diluted by a bit of hot water.

                                                                                Nothing could be easier really, but the results are definitely more than the sum of the parts. In our case we used Yu Choy, which I believe is similar to Choi sum (just a bit smaller) which has a lovely taste on its own, but it paired especially well with the garnish. The oil was hot enough to quickly cook off the raw flavour of the ginger and onion and the veggies beneath are ever so slightly enfused with the flavour of the oil and aromatics. The soy element is very light, but just enough to give a savoury element.

                                                                                Very well balanced dish.

                                                                                Unfortunately my lovely pile of greens fell apart a bit on the way to the table, but the effect was still nice if not as tidy.

                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                    Yu choi (you cai) is in season and is auspicious and appropriate to the New Year's holiday as well, since the name is a homonym for "have riches".

                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                      Thanks butter tart I didn't know that

                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                      I did this with chard -- ye gods is it good -- !
                                                                                      The green onion and ginger and red chili or pepper should be sliced very very ridiculously thin, as in the book picture. After the greens are cooked briefly, they are topped with these vegetable threads and "cooked" by pouring some really hot oil on them. They sizzle, soften slightly, and release both smell and taste to the greens -- I was so impressed by this, what a wonderful thing to do to leafy greens, it works so well!
                                                                                      My own slicing was thickish, next time I'll know better.
                                                                                      The 2:1 diluted soy sauce/water is perfect, better than just using 1/2 the soy sauce. Great recipe!

                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                        There is a really nice recipe for chard in EGOR called twice cooked chard. We made it last week and they were gone too fast. I am going to get more chard this week.

                                                                                        PS still need to write that one up since I think no one has yet.

                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                          FWIW, it is mentioned twice in the older EGOR thread. One of my favorites. I knew as soon as I saw the recipe that I would have to try it, but even so, I was surprised at how well it came out. Prepping the chard is a little labor intensive, but worth it.


                                                                                      2. re: delys77

                                                                                        Blanched Choy Sum with Sizzling Oil, p. 168

                                                                                        Made this tonight to accompany the bears paw tofu and, like others, really enjoyed it! I also used Yu Choy which looked just like the picture in the book and is a lovely, tender vegetable. The hardest part of the recipe was cutting the tiny slivers of ginger and scallion. That part was a bit fiddly but worth it. I skipped the red pepper and didn't miss it.

                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                          (油淋菜心, p168), this time with mustard greens. My second or third time making the dish, and probably the least successful - I was worried about how thick and tough the mustard stem was, so I cooked it a bit too long, and I think I put a tad too much baking soda in the water, so the texture was all wrong.

                                                                                          Also, had thought we had green onion at home, so didn't get any, and just used slivers of green garlic along with the chili and ginger, plus, maybe didn't quite get the oil hot enough.

                                                                                          That said, this dish isn't hard to do right, and normally it's amazing. Also, it looks nice.

                                                                                          Couple older renditions, one by me with baby bok choy, one by my wife with xuecai / xuelihong.


                                                                                      3. Sichuanese "Send the Rice Down" Chopped Celery with Ground Beef p. 194

                                                                                        I was surprised to find this in the "leafy greens" section until I saw that it has 3 times as much celery as beef. No matter -- it seemed just as hearty as a burger! It's done before you know it, (celery chopping goes faster than say, onion chopping.)
                                                                                        The diced celery gets blanched for 1/2 minute in boiling water, then drained.
                                                                                        Fry up the ground beef, add chili bean paste and chopped ginger (I grated the ginger.) Add the celery and cook (stir-fry method) until the celery is nice and hot. Done! Send the rice down! Very tasty dish!
                                                                                        By the way, I used Lee Kum Kee, a brand specified by F. Dunlop in the glossary under "Sichuan chili bean paste". After all the discussion I thought I'd better clarify!

                                                                                        20 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                          Interesting idea, blanching celery! Sounds delicious!


                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            The recipe says the blanching is done to "break its rawness".

                                                                                            I know that when I need just a handful of chopped celery I often have to buy the whole head. So I learned how to freeze the stuff, to be used later in any cooked dish. I chop, then blanch it for two to three minutes, then into cold water to cool it down immediately. The texture after freezing is of course only good for cooked dishes, but the taste and color is retained pretty well.
                                                                                            Of course a bowl of potato or macaroni salad usually uses up some of that fresh and crisp celery too, before I get to blanching.

                                                                                          2. re: blue room

                                                                                            Good to read this, BR. It's on my To Cook list. Actually, as I go throough the book this month it looks like I'll eventually cook Every recipe. Some I've already repeated...

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              I know what you mean! the list of items I want to make far surpasses the ones that I don't.

                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Yes! I'm thinking it's all good too. I thought I hated tofu, not so anymore! Maybe icky eggplant next?

                                                                                                I wonder why the only shrimp recipes are for dried shrimp ?

                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                  Definitely try the icky eggplant. You will be a convert with the fish-fragrant preparation!

                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                    @ Allegra & Blue Room... I started last year and cooked a fair share. Now though I want to cook from EGOR every night but in deference to G I have to space the all-EGOR menus out because he likes a variety of cuisines. Tonight is back to EGOR night. Yay!!

                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                      Too funny; I could cook and eat like this every day but have to space it out for my own spouse's palate as well.

                                                                                                2. re: blue room

                                                                                                  Sichuanese "Send the Rice Down" Chopped Celery with Ground Beef p. 194

                                                                                                  Another hit from this book! There were so many excellent dishes at the dinner table tonight that I had a really hard time picking a favourite, but this was one of the front runners.

                                                                                                  This reminds me of a less soupy version of 'beef slices in a fiery broth' from Land of Plenty. Though there is a heaping pile of celery, blue room is right: the dish has a really hearty beefiness to it anyway. I would eat this as a quick lunch with some rice any day of the week.

                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                    I HATE MY COMPUTER!!! I had a whole post written about this dish and it decided to do an update before I could hit reply. It was thisclose to being pitched across the room.
                                                                                                    In any case, I made this last night, did not blanch the celery and doubled the beef (it was our only main dish) and we loved it.

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      Don't toss your computer we need your input!

                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                        :) and it was a good post too waaaaahhh

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          Go bake a batch of (pure) vanilla biscotti ;)
                                                                                                          It will comfort you.

                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                            :) By the way, the vinegar here is from Sichuan...if you see it, pounce!

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              Wow. Baoning vinegar is one of the few Chinese ingredients that I have a hard time getting here in the San Gabriel Valley area of LA.

                                                                                                              1. re: will47

                                                                                                                I was surprised as heck to see it. I think you have more Taiwan immigrants and we more PRC, no?

                                                                                                    2. re: blue room

                                                                                                      Just wanted to report that I made this with ground pork and it was truly excellent! Can't wait to try it with ground beef next time. It was so ridiculously easy that I think it will be a fall weeknight staple at my house.

                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                        Send the Rice Down Chopped Celery with Ground Beef

                                                                                                        I just made this for the first time last night as part of my campaign to use up a truly giant head of celery along with a pound of beef. I made two batches, each doubling the beef. The kids version had just a dab of chili bean paste and significantly less celery, and the adults version was made as written except for doubling the beef. We aren't huge celery fans so extra beef (and rice) was needed to "send the celery down"! I liked this dish pretty well but it didn't get a lot of love from my family. I do however like the strategy of making two batches, a kid batch and an adult batch. Gets some spice back in my life!

                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                          lol, that "send the celery down" comment gave me cause for a good chuckle.

                                                                                                      2. Pak Choy with Fresh Shiitake, Pg. 180

                                                                                                        Loved this! I used the larger bok choy and a combination of button mushrooms and dried shiitakes which I hydrated before using. Wanting to approximate the flavors of fresh shiitakes I used some of the soaking water as well and after simmering with a little Shaozing wine, ginger and scallion they steep for a few minutes. This direction is in the left hand side bar.

                                                                                                        The recipe calls for blanching the pak choy, which I used to do but now but I skip this step. The usual stir-fry method of sizzling the garlic and ginger, then adding the pak choy and mushrooms is employed. When the choy has wilted add a mixture of potato flour, water, sugar , and salt, stir and serve.

                                                                                                        Quick and easy, a bit of crunchy sweetness from the sliced bok choy stems and the woodsy flavor of the mushrooms was delicious. This complimented the Everyday Stir-Fried Chicken on page 120 very nicely.

                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          This sounds wonderful Gio, it's on my list too. Thanks for drawing our attn to the note in the sidebar, I've hi-lighted it in my book now!

                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                            PAK CHOY WITH FRESH SHTIAKE – p. 180

                                                                                                            Big thanks to Gio for drawing our attention to this dish. We enjoyed it very much. I used baby pak choy and fresh shitake. Since my time was tight this evening, I quick steamed the pak choy in the microwave while I stir-fried the mushrooms (which I didn’t pre-cook at all), garlic and ginger. This is full of fresh flavours and once again, the potato flour slurry makes for a satiny sauce. I did drizzle a very light touch of soy over the plated dish. This was a nice accompaniment to our roasted salmon and the egg-fried rice from this book.

                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                              Made this for dinner tonight along with the black bean chicken. I made as written, including blanching the pak choy and shitakes. Easy, nutritious and delicious - we were very happy with our meal tonight. I can't remember the last time I had Chinese takeway - who needs it when you've got Fuchsia?

                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                I agree gg, no need for take-away w food like this!

                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                  In fact, I hate Chinese take away because the quality of ingredients are usually so poor. So thank you to FD! We get to eat Chinese food much more often now that I can cook it myself.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                    We also really enjoyed this one. The SO isn't a huge fan of mushrooms in Chinese dishes because he prefers a more roasted caramelized onion, but he thought this was good and ate around them a bit. For me they were a great little burst of umami.

                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                Pak Choy with Fresh Shiitake, Pg. 180

                                                                                                                Revisited this recipe last night to serve with the Dried-Braised Fish and it was just as delicious this time as the first. I did use fresh shiitakes and baby pak choy. A quick, easy and tasty side dish!

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  Gio the dish sounds great & I was looking forward to seeing how you'd be showing us your Irish...love it!! Is that a Baileys on ice in your hand?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                    Thanks BC. Jameson on the rocks. Sláinte mhaith!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      Beannachtam na Feile Padraig Gio!! I'm too wimpy to join you in that drink so I'll toast you w a shandy!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                        I'm not too wimpy. Happy to pour one myself and join you!

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            As much as I've enjoyed the Chinese flavors, it's nice to take a break with some corned beef and cabbage.

                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                              Shall we pass along the Jameson's bottle?

                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                Hah.... and we're making Dublin Coddle.

                                                                                                                                May you taste the sweetest pleasures that fortune ere bestowed,
                                                                                                                                and may all your friends remember all the favors you are owed... Sláinte!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  I had to look up that Irish dish! (Even though I'm blue room née Malone.)
                                                                                                                                  I guess it tends to be "scalloped potatoes with ham" on our table.
                                                                                                                                  And thanks to you and LulusMom for offers of comfort!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                    I'm serving spinach with dinner tonight - green! That is kind of the extent of my holiday spirit (aside from my holiday spirits).

                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    Bok Choy w/Fresh Shitake, p. 180
                                                                                                                    [I guess US edition uses different spelling]

                                                                                                                    This was simple and delicious. I followed the instructions to a tee on this first try, but I'll skip the blanching next time. Also my bok choy heads were pretty small; quartering them resulted in narrower pieces than I would have liked so blanching made for slight overcooking. But I loved the simple combination of the bok choy and fresh shitakes, jazzed up with ginger and garlic. And I took the liberty of drizzling some of the chilli oil I made (but haven't had a chance to use yet) over the top.

                                                                                                                    I liked this better than DH did, but he's just not a bok choy fan. I can see using this super easy prep with plain old broccoli and asparagus, as well as Chinese broccoli.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      Bok choy with fresh shiitake 香菇小白菜

                                                                                                                      The recipe turned out to be excellent. Blanching the vegetable first, so it just took seconds to cook in the wok. And the bok choy remain crisp and crunchy. I was skeptical with adding sugar. Will the dish turn out to be sweet? But we couldn’t taste the sugar at all. I guess it brings out the flavor of the vegetable?

                                                                                                                    2. BABY PAK CHOY (Pea Shoots) IN SUPERIOR STOCK – p. 176

                                                                                                                      Beautiful dish! I was delighted to find pea shoots at our local Asian market and in looking through the book, I selected this recipe because it seemed like the other flavours in the dish would work well w the delicate flavour of pea shoots.

                                                                                                                      I made some chicken stock the same day and I’d added a couple of star anise to the pot so the broth has some lovely anis undertones that seemed to scream “springtime” when combined w the fresh flavour of peas. This is the first occasion I’ve had to use pea shoots and I’ll now be seeking them out at every opportunity, as I loved their flavour and hearty texture.

                                                                                                                      Prep is straightforward. FD suggests you blanch your vegetable of choice in advance however I skipped this step and simply allowed my greens to cook in the broth. The dish is topped w ground white pepper. If folks don’t have the book the recipe calls for 300g of veggies (pak choy, pea shoots, asparagus, Chinese cabbage, fresh mustard greens or purple sprouting broccoli – per the side bar) and 450ml of stock.

                                                                                                                      We served this as a side dish along w the Beef w Black Beans and Chili and it was a nice contrast of flavours and textures along w our steamed brown jasmine rice. This dish will only be as good as the stock you use. Yummy!

                                                                                                                      1. Stir Fried Yellow Chives with Venison (Beef Flank) Slivers Pg. 202

                                                                                                                        As you can see from the title I substituted a flank steak for the venison. I'm sure I lost something in authenticity but the pairing was quite good. My yellow chives were extremely potent, so they were able to stand up to the assertive flavour of the sauce and the beef. So pungent were these yellow chives that I moved them a day up in my rotation as they were leaving a lingering smell in my kitchen every time I opened the fridge. It might just have been this batch as I have cooked with this ingredient before and it wasn't so pungent.

                                                                                                                        I served this with simple steamed rice as a small meal as it was just me for dinner. Essentially you marinate the protein with a bit of starch, soy, and shoaxing wine and let it sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients (ginger, chives, chilies, and a simple sauce of chinkiang vinegar and dark soy). Briefly stir fry the protein then remove, and add the vegetables and stir fry till fragrant and warmed through, then toss in the sauce and the reserved beef. The total cooking time is all of about 5 minutes and the prep exceedingly simple.

                                                                                                                        I definitely liked this dish, although I did slightly overcook the chives, next time I will have to be more careful. Overall the flavour profile is simply but flavourful. The dish is less complex in terms of layering of flavours than many of the authors other concoctions, but it is nonetheless very satisfying. Might not be company worthy, but nice as a simple lunch or dinner for a couple.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                          They are a bit on the smelly side.

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            Raw they have a fairly pungent smell, but I think the yellow chives are by far the mildest.

                                                                                                                            I love them scrambled with eggs, or cooked up with sliced tofu skin.

                                                                                                                            1. re: will47

                                                                                                                              For sure, they were very tasty and not stinky at all once they were cooked.

                                                                                                                          2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                            Made the Stir Fried Yellow Chives (But) With Beef Flank the other day. We thought this was quite good, but prefer some of her other beef recipes (like cumin beef), so I'm not sure how often it will be repeated. Not to mention that yellow chives require a special trip to the 99 Ranch Market.

                                                                                                                          3. Stir-Fried Broccoli with Chilli and Sichuan Pepper, p. 174

                                                                                                                            I made this a couple of weeks ago but am reporting on it now. Broccoli florets are blanched and drained. Heat oil and toast dried chilis and sichuan peppercorns, then add the broccoli and stir fry to coat with the seasoned oil. Season to taste with salt and a bit of sesame oil. This dish could not be easier and is quite tasty. It's a good veggie side as the prep is minimal - great for weeknights or in a meal with a lot of other things going on where you need something you don't have to worry about. Will do again, I'm sure.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                              Stir Fried Broccoli with Chilli and Sichuan Pepper Pg. 174

                                                                                                                              I am not in a good position to judge this one as I did precisely what FD says to watch out for, I burnt my chillies. The result was still pretty good, but the flavoured oil had an off taste that I'm sure came from my error. Otherwise I think it would have been good, especially with finishing salt.

                                                                                                                            2. Stir Fried Oyster Mushrooms with Chicken, p. 234

                                                                                                                              I had intended to make the mushroom dish on the previous page, but I didn't have enough mushrooms, so I made this instead. Prep is simple. Shredded chicken (I used leftover roast chicken) is marinated in water, shaoxing wine (sherry), salt and potato flour (cornstarch). Meanwhile, slice a spring onion into horse ears, slice some ginger and garlic, slice your mushrooms (I used a combo of shiitake and oyster). Stiffly the mushrooms and remove. Stir fry the chicken, then add the aromatics, then the cooked mushrooms, then lastly the spring onion greens. Season with s&p. This was a very nice dish, more subtle than other dishes I've tried from this book, yet very flavorful despite the lack of magic ingredients. It was also a successful transformation of my leftover chicken. If doing it again with precooked chicken, I would simply do the mushrooms, then the aromatics, then the cooked chicken, for an even more streamlined prep and less mess in the skillet. Recommended!

                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                Stir-Fried Oyster Mushrooms with Chicken p.234

                                                                                                                                Another success from this gem of a book. Do I sound like a broken record yet?

                                                                                                                                I used chicken thighs and solely oyster mushrooms (which were really pricey, but put to good use!), and the meat and the mushroom pieces looked so alike that it was difficult to tell what one was eating. I cooked this with about half/half ratio of freshly rendered lard & peanut oil, and the lard did indeed give the dish a luxurious feel on the tongue.
                                                                                                                                Although, as Westminstress points out, it's a subtle recipe, it's also a really good one, and we welcomed it at the dinner table as a nice foil to more assertively flavoured dishes. Mr Allegro, who usually picks around the mushrooms on his plate, avidly dug into this and even went for seconds! Needless to say, a big hit around here and I would be happy to make this anytime.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                  All right you two... On my list to make on the weekend it goes...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                    I have some king oyster mushrooms in the fridge that I've earmarked for this dish and I agree w you Allegra, sometimes it's nice to have a tame dish at the table if the rest of the meal is bold and flavourful. Can't wait to try this!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                    Curses, I just noticed the autocorrect on my phone got me again! That would be "stirfry" and not "stiffly" the mushrooms.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                      Stir-Fried Oyster Mushrooms with Chicken p.234

                                                                                                                                      We made this as written, but only used 1.5 T lard. I was surprised how much we enjoyed this. As Allegra indicates, the lard does give the dish a very luxurious feel and taste. I wasn't sure about the chicken breast (since I prefer thighs), but it was silky and delicious.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                        I made this as well, but with uncooked chicken breast. The chicken stayed tender and moist, and I stir-fried everything in a bit of leftover beef fat I have in the fridge instead of oil (lower smoking point on the beef fat, though). Delish! My husband prefers some of the other dishes in the book as he likes powerful flavors, but I like simple and clean but good flavors, and this fit the bill. Very easy prep!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jen223

                                                                                                                                          Similar experience with this dish. Used chicken breast and leaf lard. Tasty, though doesn't pack the flavor punch that many of her other recipes do.

                                                                                                                                      2. Spinach with Red Fermented Tofu and Ginger p. 170

                                                                                                                                        The vegetable I used was Swiss chard. Here's the wikipedia information about the tofu condiment, it's worth reading if you're interested:
                                                                                                                                        I took a picture of the little cubes of tofu from the jar. It's soft -- mashes and mixes into the sauce easily-- and tastes salty, *somewhat* cheeselike, not a flavor I've had before. Not unpleasant, but pungent! and unfamiliar in a way that *might* be unpleasant to some people. (I love blue cheeses, feta, but some people do not!)
                                                                                                                                        The leafy greens recipe is simple: wilt in boiling water, shake dry, then cook in pan containing oil, frizzled finely chopped ginger, and a nice spoonful of mashed-with-its-sauce red fermented tofu. It doesn't take the place of greens with butter/salt/pepper for me, but if one were weaned on it...
                                                                                                                                        (Mr. blue room was not impressed.
                                                                                                                                        )Sorry the chard pic is washed out -- should be darker green of course.

                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                          That was a timely post blue room. I'm debating whether to make this tonight. mr bc, is not a lover of pungent blue cheese so I'm a bit on the fence. I might go w the spinach w ginger tonight and do this one on a week night. Based on your description, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like this though. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                            This is one of my favourite vegetable dishes growing up. I've made the version in EGOR using british spinach from the farmers market. (We can't get chinese water spinach here even at the chinese grocer). It really reminds me of home.

                                                                                                                                            Mr lilham isn't chinese and he has no problem with the fermented tofu. He doesn't like blue cheese but love feta.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                              Thanks so much for sharing that lilham, mr bc love feta as well so I'm crossing my fingers that this will be a hit when I make it. I think it's a great idea to use supermarket spinach as he does like that.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                If you can get the water spinach / hollow heart vegetable where you are, though, definitely try subbing that for spinach (ong choy / kong xin cai).

                                                                                                                                            2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                              Spinach w/ Red Tofu and ginger pg. 170

                                                                                                                                              My library copy of EGOR finally showed up, and I had on hand some lovely long stemmed flat leafed Asian spinach to use, so this recipe it was. I diverge from it a little, in that I didn't blanch my spinach, instead I separated leaves from stems, and added ingredients to the wok in this order: oil, stems, ginger, leaves, red tofu mash; worked perfectly.

                                                                                                                                              I absolutely loved this dish, and thought the sauce brought out all the sweetness of the veg. Would say I can't imagine why I haven't cooked spinach this way before ( I sometimes make a very similar green bean dish), except that Mr. QN was a lot less enthusiastic. He thought the sauce brought out all the bitterness of the greens.

                                                                                                                                              Always a bit flummoxing when we have polar opposite reactions to the same flavors.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                That is interesting. Would also flummox me.

                                                                                                                                            3. Runner Beans with Black Bean and Chile p.154

                                                                                                                                              I am loving these super easy and surprisingly delicious vegetable sides, and this one was no exception.

                                                                                                                                              Since I had a humongous bag of snap peas, I used them in this preparation instead of runner beans, and they were a treat. I opted not to blanch the peas and instead just stir-fried them straight away. Garlic, ginger, and sliced red chile (red pepper slivers for me) are fried briefly until fragrant, rinsed black beans and ground chiles get tossed in, and then the beans until hot and 'sizzlingly delicious', or in my case until they were cooked (with some delectable blackened bits), and a touch of soy sauce gets splashed into the mix. Serve.

                                                                                                                                              I really liked this as a tasty side dish. I used less than a teaspoon of chile flakes, so the dish had a pleasing kick of heat but nothing overpowering, and the crisp peas were a refreshing addition to the dinner table. I may make sure to mash the beans coarsely next time; I'm not a big fan of large bits of the black beans. Still, definitely something I'd make again, and I'm looking forward to trying it with runner beans.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                Allegra, It's good to know that the snap peas worked well in this preparation. We won't see runner beans here till mid-Summer. The peas are a Spring vegetable for us so this recipe is very doable. Thanks for your report.

                                                                                                                                              2. Rustic Steamed Squash with Spicy Black Bean Sauce, Pg. 222

                                                                                                                                                Loved this! Lovely soft half rounds of sweet butternut squash smothered with a salty spicy slightly chewy sauce. The sauce is made first then steamed on top of the sliced squash. Fry chili bean paste in hot oil for a few minutes then add chopped garlic and ginger along with fermented black beans. Remember to rinse the beans first. Remove from wok and set aside.

                                                                                                                                                I used just the "neck" of a large butternut squash that had been living in the cool pantry for a few months. It was the perfect size. Slice the squash in half the long way then into thinnish half rounds. These go onto a plate that will be set into the steamer. Place the slices in a single layer and spoon the cooked sauce over. Steam 15 minutes or till the squash is tender. This took a little more than the time stated. Half way through G took the squash off the plate and put the slices directly on the steamer basket. (I have a large flat steamer basket). He thought the slices were taking too long to get soft. In the end they were just right. Top with chopped scallions.

                                                                                                                                                This dish was delightful and certainly deserves a remake. Served with Deviled Chicken Thighs from "Basic To Brilliant, Y'All" by Virginia Willis. Delicioso, y'all.

                                                                                                                                                1. Snow Peas with Chinese Wind Dried Sausage Pg. 156

                                                                                                                                                  This was very different from what I expected, but in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                  We have a very large Cantonese community here in Vancouver so my market had Lap Cheong, which I believe according to FD is essentially the same. The sausage itself however has more of a red colour than the photo of the sausage in the book, which look a little grayish brown. I would assume the difference in colour has an impact on the flavour, but never having had anything but Lap Cheong, I couldn't say.

                                                                                                                                                  The dish has but a few ingredients, but they all come together very nicely. The sausage adds a bit of spicy richness to the grassy peas, and the large pieces of ginger give it a little bite as well. The drizzle of shaoxing and sugar give it just a slight note of sweetness, which actually mirrors the sausage which are themselves a tiny bit sweet. Overall a very nice little dish, that would make a great side or a nice lunch with some rice.

                                                                                                                                                  I would repeat this one for sure as it brings a note of green to the table, but is quite different than the other flavour profiles in the book (no chilli or black bean).

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                    Snow Peas with Chinese Wind Dried Sausage Pg. 156

                                                                                                                                                    A great way to add some greenery to the table with plenty of flavour. Like delys77, I was surprised by the outcome of this dish; it was far sweeter and more robust than I was expecting, but a welcome surprise.
                                                                                                                                                    I didn't blanch the (snap) peas, but otherwise followed the recipe. I did find this to be too oily and would probably omit it for the sausage frying as they released plenty of their own fat.

                                                                                                                                                    Very fast and easy, very good results, a do-over for sure.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                      Hi AK
                                                                                                                                                      Mine was edging on a bit too oily but I used the half chicken half pork Lap Cheong so they were a bit leaner.

                                                                                                                                                  2. STIR-FRIED OYSTER AND SHITAKE MUSHROOMS WITH GARLIC – p. 232

                                                                                                                                                    So few ingredients, so much flavour. This was a hit my friends, we loved it!

                                                                                                                                                    Gio covers the prep perfectly in the pre-COTM thread. Here’s a link to her post to save me from going through this again:


                                                                                                                                                    Hugs to you Gio for saving me some time. I used King Oyster mushrooms and Shitake for this dish and it was truly scrumptious. I made my own stock because I’d seen a few chicken recipes at the front of the book that called for cooked chicken. I added a star anise to the pot of water w my chx and we loved the flavour it brought.

                                                                                                                                                    I thought the combination of mushrooms w spring onions was brilliant and something I’d never thought to do before. It was a surprisingly rich and hearty dish for pure veggies…especially w those meaty King Oysters. I could eat this morning noon and night. Tonight I added some of my leftovers to the red braised beef and it was sensational. Highly recommend this one!

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                      The chicken stock you made for this book, did you include "Chinese" ingredients? Or just make your regular poultry stock?
                                                                                                                                                      There's no way I wouldn't like a bowlful of umami mushrooms!
                                                                                                                                                      I don't think I've ever had oyster mushrooms (I see Gio used white buttons) I'd like to try some of each.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                        I just did my own thing blue room. I tossed in the star anise, a couple of cloves of garlic, half an onion, and a handful of Italian parsley. This is what I had on hand but it turned out great. The star anise made it for us.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                        Just an update on this dish. I had a very small amount of these leftover so tonight I tossed them into the Egg-Fried Rice (p.257). They were a very nice addition indeed.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                          Stir-fried Oyster and Shitake Mushrooms with Garlic, p. 232

                                                                                                                                                          With shitakes, oyster, and king oysters to use up, I made this easy and delicious dish as a side for our duck legs last night. As Breadcrumbs and Gio have covered this, I'll just add that I used 1 T ea. of grapeseed oil and duck fat in my wok, regular chicken stock (with no Asian flavorings), and a handful of sliced scallions to finish. Excelllent!

                                                                                                                                                          I love how versatile this is, equally great as part of non-Chinese meals or as a vegetarian main.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                            Stir-Fried Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms with Garlic, p. 232

                                                                                                                                                            I also made this dish last night and absolutely loved it. One of my favorites from the book so far. I used 1/2 pound each of oysters and shiitakes bought from the farmer's market, and the mushrooms truly shone in this preparation. For my chicken stock I used better than bouillion (hanging my head in shame) and you know what? It was fine. Which makes this dish very easy to prepare at a moment's notice, as you don't absolutely have to have homemade stock on hand. I also noted the extreme versatility of the recipe. I think it would go very well with non-asian meals, for example as a side to a grilled steak or roast chicken or even a pasta dish. If serving in a western context I would use butter or olive oil instead of the peanut oil I used last night.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                              Love the juicy and meaty stir-fried mushrooms. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are such great combination. Very easy and fast dish to prepare and cook. Simply delicious.


                                                                                                                                                          2. Twice Cooked Swiss Chard, Pg. 186

                                                                                                                                                            This is a tasty way to prepare Swiss chard. A bit of a bother in the beginning with the chard stems having to be removed and de-strung then slicing the leaves. but it goes along quickly They are supposed to be blanched but I omitted this step. (good fodder for the chore I detest thread).

                                                                                                                                                            To cook add chile bean paste to hot peanut oil and stir-fry for a few minutes, then add chopped ginger, chopped garlic and well rinsed fermented black beans. Next add some stock, bring to the boil and add the chard. Toss and cook another few minutes, add chopped celery, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions. Mix all together and serve.

                                                                                                                                                            The brilliant combination of chili bean paste and black beans augmented by the cilantro gave the chard a unique flavor that hinted at spicy, salty, and savory. Beetlebug first made this dish and said it had a complex flavor and I certainly agree with her. Delicious!

                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                              This sounds great Gio, glad it was a hit.

                                                                                                                                                              For anyone without the book, this is one of the dishes that Serious Eats featured in its recent Cook the Book feature. Here's the recipe:


                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                I made this over the the weekend, served as a side with Xie Laoban's Dan Dan Noodles. Really enjoyed the flavors here, I think fermented black beans are my new favorite secret ingredient!

                                                                                                                                                                Question for the group: in both this dish and in the Mapo Tofu (Pock-Marked Old Woman's Tofu), I was surprised the chili paste and oil didn't want to combine. I just had globs of chili sauce in oil. Did others have the same experience? (I'm using Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce.) Everything looked more uniform once I added the stock, and I enjoyed the end result, so maybe I'm all worked up over nothing?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Abby0105

                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, as long as you like the end result, I wouldn't sweat it.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Smothered Rainbow Chard [Yu Choy] with Garlic, p. 188

                                                                                                                                                                I had intended to make the Yu Choy Sauteed with Ginger and Garlic only to discover that I was out of ginger! A quick flip through the leafy greens chapter led me to this dish, which involves garlic but no ginger. Prep could not be simpler. Wash your greens and slice 2-3 garlic cloves. Heat oil, stirfry the garlic just until fragrant, add the greens and stirfry a few minutes, then add salt to taste, cover, and cook a few more minutes until the greens are done. The water clinging to the leaves will combine with the garlic and oil to make a light sauce. Very easy, very good. This is actually my default method of cooking greens (using peanut oil for Asian dishes, olive oil for italian), and it is a good one.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                  My default method for greens of all types, too. I add about 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Stir-Fried Celery with Lily Bulbs and Macadamia Nuts p.196

                                                                                                                                                                  Another simple vegetable side, this one bringing a note of elegance and refinement to the table.

                                                                                                                                                                  The celery and the lliy 'petals' are blanched briefy. Halved garlic cloves are tossed in oil in a wok, then the celery and lily to heat, and a water/sugar/salt mix is swirled in, then the nuts. Serve.

                                                                                                                                                                  This is the one time where I felt that I should have followed the blanching step. I just stir-fried it instead but I think the unmarred natural colour of the vegetables would be ideal here; I got a bit too much browning in.
                                                                                                                                                                  This is my first time trying lily bulb, and I'm hooked! The petals have a moist, crisp quality to them with a delicately sweet and floral flavour. Care needs to be taken not to overcook, as they appear to become a bit chalky. I bought some macadamia nuts for this recipe, but their own addictive crunch (which would have matched perfectly with the other ingredients) made them far too desirable to last very long in my household, and by the time I got to this recipe, I had to rustle about for a substitution. Whole blanched almonds made the cut.

                                                                                                                                                                  This was a lovely looking (and tasting!) recipe, one that will be sure to make an appearance again whenever I come across lily bulbs. I'll just make sure to hide the nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                    I love lily bulbs, but can rarely find them fresh enough around here. And the holy grail is the fresh lily bud (not the dried), which show up in the markets in Beijing in the early summer, truly delectable. Did you use "western" celery or chinese celery?

                                                                                                                                                                    disappearing macadamia nuts....my sympathy, I think it is a widespread phenomenon.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                      I was very pleased with the lovely flavour of the bulb...though you are correct about the freshness: the ones I had were in a vacuum-sealed package and though there were three bulbs in there, only about half of what I reaped was usable.
                                                                                                                                                                      I used regular supermarket celery, some odd bits and pieces near the heart, accounting for the lack of uniformity in the cut-up sections. Ahem, at least that's my story....

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                        You can usually get quite good lily bulbs in season in NYC. They're also very good with asparagus.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          When's the season, spring? Knowing me, I was probably buying them at the wrong time of year.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                            Seems to be early spring-early summer.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Stir Fried Chopped Choy Sum Pg. 178

                                                                                                                                                                    I am really enjoying all the greens in this book.

                                                                                                                                                                    In this case I used Yu Choi again as it is what the market had and it looked very fresh. You simply blanch, squeeze dry, and chop the greens, and then dry fry them along with some fresh chillies, then reserve. Next you add ginger and garlic to the skillet with a bit of oil and stir fry briefly. Finally toss the greens and chillies back in the wok and salt to taste. Finally take off the heat and drizzle with chilli oil and sesame oil.

                                                                                                                                                                    The chopped greens are very easy to manage, and I found it much easier to prevent overcooking as I was able to really get them moving around the pan. The dish is hot, but not overly so, and the flavour of the sesame is a nice counterpoint to the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                    Overall a very good dish, but I would say I still preferred the Cantonese oil blanched choi sum.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Fish-Fragrant Eggplant, p. 210

                                                                                                                                                                      (I may be losing my mind as I could swear I've read much discussion of this dish, but I cannot find a report!)

                                                                                                                                                                      I know this wasn't the best accompaniment to our main, General Tso's Chicken, but I didn't want my eggplant to sit any longer so I sallied forth. So glad I did. Two thumbs (as big as eggplants) up!

                                                                                                                                                                      My photo looks nothing like the one facing the recipe in the book, not solely because of my lousy photography skills but also because I overcooked my eggplant batons, and the resulting dish was rather mushy. I didn't care at all.

                                                                                                                                                                      I skipped the recommended salting (and wonder if this would have helped retain the batons' texture--anyone know?) and just tossed, in three batches, the eggplant into (about a cup of ) hot peanut oil in the wok. Once they were nicely browned, I set them aside to drain and added about 2 T oil to a separate skillet (wok had to be used for another dish), heated it, then added Sichuanese chilli bean paste (1 1/2 T, Lee Kum Kee brand), stir-fried it for a minute or so, then added 1 T ea chopped garlic and ginger, cooked it quickly, then added 2/3c chicken stock mixed with 2 tsp sugar. The eggplant went in and everything simmered for a few minutes before I stirred in the slurry (3/4 tsp potato flour, 1 T water). Just before serving I added 2 T Chinkiang vinegar and a handful of of sliced scallions.

                                                                                                                                                                      I love eggplant. Any eggplant. I really love Sichuan eggplant preps, and I particularly *loved* this one.

                                                                                                                                                                      Another happy addition to my eggplant repertoire.

                                                                                                                                                                      Question: if anyone has made this, did your sauce look red, as in the book photo? Mine didn't although the chilli bean paste was red.

                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                        The discussion maybe have been on the initial EGOR thread? Or maybe one of those old Dunlop threads? I remember making Fish-Fragrant Eggplant from one of the previous books and absolutely loving it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                          Here's a bad photo in the pan from when we made it before the month started. It looks similar to yours - perhaps a bit more red in it. We used pixian brand chilli bean paste.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Frizzle

                                                                                                                                                                            Yours looks a lot better than mine, in color and texture. I haven't been able to locate the Pixian brand paste : (
                                                                                                                                                                            But I still loved the dish.
                                                                                                                                                                            Did you salt the eggplant first?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                              I think we did salt them but my memory is a bit fuzzy. It was a while back that we made it.
                                                                                                                                                                              It took me months to find pixian brand and several trips to different stores. I didn't buy the LKK brand so I can't comment on the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. STIR-FRIED CHINESE CHIVES (FLOWERING CHIVES) WITH PORK (BEEF) SLIVERS – p. 200

                                                                                                                                                                          I could have sworn I saw a review for this dish but if it’s here, I can’t seem to find it now. This was an absolutely lovely, simple dish that does a beautiful job of letting each of the key ingredients shine. I made FD’s “Variation” as I managed to find some incredibly aromatic flowering chives. I also picked up some slivered sirloin so beef it was.

                                                                                                                                                                          The dish is simple to prepare. Meat is marinated in salt, Shaoxing wine, potato flour and water. Chives are cut into 6-7cm lengths and red pepper is slivered (to add colour to the dish per FD). Oil is drizzled into a hot wok and meat is seared then removed from the pan while still a little pinkish. Veggies go into the hot wok next and are cooked until fragrant then the meat is re-introduced to the pan, stir-fried again before adding a splash of soy and salt to taste. We didn’t need the salt.

                                                                                                                                                                          The fresh flavours of the garlicky chives really accented the deep earthy flavours of the meat. The slivers of meat literally melted in our mouths and somehow the flavour reminded us of grilled steak. Not sure if the marinade may have played a role in this. In any event, this was a delicious and light dish. We served it along w some steamed brown rice and some sautéed bok choy. We have another hit on our hands folks!

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                            Stir-fried Chinese [Flowering] Chives with [Beef] Slivers, p. 200

                                                                                                                                                                            Following Breadcrumbs' s lead, I made this with beef sirloin--and what I think were "flowering chives" (delicous, very garlicky, but the label read "he bong"--not sure this was exactly what FD was describing).

                                                                                                                                                                            At any rate, we enjoyed this stir-fry, with a generous amount of red bell pepper and a splash of soy, very much. And it was so easy!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman


                                                                                                                                                                                Definitely the veg you pictured is the garlic chive flower; "he bong" is the Vietnamese name.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you qianning--that makes sense as I'm pretty sure the proprietors of our big Asian market are Vietnamese.
                                                                                                                                                                                  You are always such a great help!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                              Stir Fried [Chives] with Pork Slivers, p. 200

                                                                                                                                                                              Made this dish the other night with a bunch of greenmarket chives and slivered pork cutlets. My chives were the regular western variety -- but I hardly think it matters. Any kind of green allium would work in this recipe. Concur that this was a light and delicious dish, and very quick and easy to prepare.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Stir Fried Green Peppers with Pork Pg. 215

                                                                                                                                                                              This dish was only ok for us. I like green peppers, and I love the idea of combining them with little bits of seasoned pork, I just found that the green pepper was far too dominant. It isn't a bad dish, and I think someone who was having a love affair with green peppers might think it fabulous, but for us it was a little one note.

                                                                                                                                                                              Essentially it is just sauteed green peppers with a bit of soy and some slivered pork with sweet fermented sauce. The result is flavourful once you get passed the green peppers, but you still have to get passed that dominant flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Hangzhou Fava Beans with Ham, p. 158

                                                                                                                                                                                Fava beans are making their first peeks at the FM so I bought a pint, which yielded maybe four ounces of beans once shelled and peeled. I prepared the simplest iteration of this recipe: to a bit of hot (grapeseed) oil, I added the favas and a bit of chopped serrano ham and stir-fried for a minute before adding about 2 T water with a bit of sugar and salt. I brought this to a boil, then lowered to a simmer for a minute.

                                                                                                                                                                                What a revelation--talk about the whole being more than the sum of its parts. Delicious. This simple dish could be matched with almost anything. (It won't happen often as I don't have the patience for anything but the smallest amount of favas, at their very earliest.)

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                  You could do this with edamame too...fresh soybeans are very much a staple in Shanghainese food....no one needs to know you used frozen :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                    Great idea, buttertart--thanks. I always have edamame (in the freezer); this wouldn't have occurred to me as substitution, but it sounds perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Stir-fried Choy Sum (Spinach) with ginger and garlic (p. 177)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Couldn't find choy sum this week in our grocery store (was a little surprised) so went with spinach (an FD suggested sub). Very simple stir fry - sliced garlic and ginger are put into hot oil in a wok until fragrant and then you add the spinach. When this is just about done add a little water and sugar and salt. Simple and good, not the most exciting thing in the world but we love spinach so it was a hit.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                    I made this last night but with blanched pak choy instead of choy sum and we also enjoyed it as a side dish to gong bao chicken. Yummy dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                      I did this last night as well with pak choy, as a side dish for Mapo do fou with brown rice. Wonderful! I loved how refreshing this tasted.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Stir Fried Broad Beans [Edamame] with Pickled Vegetable, p. 15_

                                                                                                                                                                                    (I mistakenly posted this in the pre-COTM thread, so I am reposting here)

                                                                                                                                                                                    This is a simple dish in which fava beans, for which I substituted frozen edamame, are briefly blanched in salted water and then stir-fried with a bit of minced garlic and a bit more finely chopped pickled vegetable (I used ya cai). A dab of sesame oil finishes the dish, and is absolutely essential to the flavor. I was a bit put off by the smell of the ya cai before cooking, but it mellowed considerably in the pan and I liked it in the finished version of the dish. This was a very tasty and easy vegetable side which can be made at a moment's notice, any time of year, so long as you have edamame in the freezer and some kind of pickled chinese veg in the cupboard/fridge. A great dish to have in your back pocket for those times when you think there's nothing in the house to eat. Served with rice and FD's stir-fried chives with slivered pork, reviewed upthread.

                                                                                                                                                                                    [p.s. I am at work and don't have my book with me. I don't remember the exact name of this recipe or the page number, but you'll find it very close to the other fava bean recipe on p. 158, reviewed by allegra just above.]

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Stir-Fried Romaine Lettuce (page 185)

                                                                                                                                                                                      Gio reported on this in the adjunct thread ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8522... ). Exactly what the title says it is: hearts of Romaine cut into strips, stir-fried, until hot, with a small amount of salt added at the end. I, too, liked that it was only a bit wilted with a good amount of crunch remaining. And although I did not serve it that way, I think she’s absolutely right that it would be a wonderful accompaniment to a spicy dish. Great way to use up the last of the Romaine that had been languishing in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm glad you enjoyed the dish, Joan. Yesterday in our CSA basket we got the biggest Romaine I have ever seen. (the farm uses the IPM method of farming so I know it's not Ninja) Each leaf is perfect: outer leaves bright dark green and the inner heart is pale and perfect. We've had a lot of rain here so that probably contributed to the size, that and the variety they planted. I intend to use most of this beauty in stir-fries such as this one saving the inner leaves for salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Stir-Fried Greens with Dried Shrimp, Pg. 172

                                                                                                                                                                                        Another recipe for most types of green leafy vegetables from the bok and pak choys, to various cabbages. For a dinner a few days ago I used a large head of bok choy. Tonight, because I want to use it up and want something simple, I'll be using Chinese cabbage.

                                                                                                                                                                                        What really makes this a standout different vegetable dish is dried shrimp. An ingredient I love using. It imparts a wonderful savory background note that I think would make shredded cardboard taste terrific. The recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of dried shrimp but since I had made the shrimp powder recipe from Duguid's "Burma", I used 4 T of the powder. I'm not sure that was the correct alteration but the end result was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's an atypical stir-fry in that there's no garlic or ginger just green part of 4 scallions. I used the entire scallion. Shred the bok choy from top to bottom. Heat oil (peanut), add the greens and sir-fry till just crisp tender. I sprinkled the greens with shrimp powder at this point and stir-fried a few seconds. Next the scallions go in, then a drizzle of sesame oil, and I included a pinch of hot red pepper flakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                        So simple but very tasty. The contrast between the white stems of the bok choy and the deep green of the leaves both in flavor and texture always fills me with surprise. Juicy white stems with a clean fresh taste contrasts with the vegetative earthy flavor of the greens. The addition of the shrimp powder seemed to enhance that sensation. Served this with grilled pork chops, steamed brown basmati rice and, for the umpteenth time, the stir-fried bean sprouts on page 164.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                          Gio, thanks for flagging this one! I have scallions and shrimp powder that need using ... This one is going on the menu for this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm a little late to the report back, but I did end up making this dish exactly as Gio described. I had about a pound of baby bok choy that I slivered, and I used 4T of shrimp powder. Let's just say that my dish was VERY shrimpy. It was good though! (Those who prefer caution with the shrimp powder may wish to use a bit less). I loved the slivered bok choy. I often have textural issues with bok choy but not when prepared in this manner.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I guess I had more than a pound of the bok choy and wasn't sure that 4 Ts were too much, but at the time I remember that the shrimp flavor came through quite well and didn't seem to be too much. I'm glad you liked it, WM!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Chinese chives with smoked tofu (p. 201, US edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a simple dish that requires minimal preparation. Smoked or spiced tofu (I used smoked) is stir-fried. Chopped chinese chives are added and cooked "until piping hot." Salt is added to taste and it's tossed in sesame oil and plated.

                                                                                                                                                                                            It took a few minutes to get the tofu golden brown, but it really brought out its flavor. The chives took a lot decent amount of time to heat up too, and this gave ample time to taste for salt, something that can be a challenge with more quickly cooked dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                            One tip-- she says to "trim" the chives, but doesn't get more specific. I think she means to keep only the flat parts--- I cooked the entire chives, and found the root ends to be very woody.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                                                                                              CHINESE CHIVES WITH SMOKED TOFU 韭菜炒香乾

                                                                                                                                                                                              Very easy recipe with just a few ingredients. This dish only uses salt and sesame oil as seasoning. But the tofu and chives already have strong flavors. You really don’t need much seasoning at all. A simple and tasty dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                              P.S. I trimmed the root of the Chinese chives. I just cut off about 1 inch off the root end.


                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Oh my, that looks wonderful eileen. Such an appetizing photograph and description.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Spectacular photo, eileen. Just stunning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope you don't mind my mentioning this, but since you're new(ish) to COTM and we hope you'll be sticking around, we try when we can to keep all reviews of the same recipe together in one place. You'll see upthread that Gio posted the first review of this one and a number of people posted their reviews as a response to hers. These threads get added to all the time, and it's so much easier to find reviews of a specific dish if they're all grouped together. On a long thread such as this one, it's usually easiest to find the first mention of a recipe or to discover that no one has posted about it yet by doing a ctrl > F search for the recipe title.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the tip! Sorry for the newbie mistake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'll re-post all my EGOR post later today. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eileen216

                                                                                                                                                                                                    No need to apologise, it's always great to have new people, especially someone as prolific as you have been thus far.