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Cookbook of the Month March 2013 EVERY GRAIN OF RICE: Soups, Rice, Noodles, Dumplings, Stocks, Preserves and Other Essentials

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 soups, rice, noodles, dumplings, stocks, preserves and other essentials 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:

Soups - p238
Rice - p252
Noodles - p266
Dumplings - p290
Stocks, preserves and other essentials - p316

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. So the Congee recipe on p. 263 calls for 3/4 cup of rice and "2-1/2 cups (2.4 liters) of water." Those measurements are not equivalent. Any idea what the right amount of water is?

    18 Replies
    1. re: lyz2814

      I'm guessing "cups" is a typo for "quarts" (2.5 quarts does seem to work out to ~ 2.4 L).

      Generally, congee will be from at least 6:1 to 12:0 water to rice, so I think 2.5 cups is definitely not correct.

      1. re: will47

        I don't remember which recipe it was in, but I noticed another metric-to-standard mis-conversion/misprint of a liquid amount, so if working from the US edition, it's probably a good idea to go with the metric measure in parentheses to be sure.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Thanks for the advice to stick to metric!

      2. re: lyz2814

        My British edition just specifies 2.4 litres.

        1. re: lyz2814

          On a note other than the question about measurements, I am super curious to hear what you think if you try this dish. I have only had Congee twice, both times in restaurants and both times I found it unpalatable, which was disappointing since I love rice.

          1. re: delys77

            I've never tasted it delys. Does it have a slimy texture?

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              My mother in law is Cantonese and we've been to a Congee restaurant here in Vancouver a few times, and she swears it is the good stuff. My issue was with the texture, just as you suspected bc.
              I must say I love most Chinese dishes I have encountered but every so often I come up against somewhat "slippery" or "mushy" dishes that I find a little off putting. For me congee is just too mushy and a touch slimy. That said, I am speaking for myself and millions of Chinese are likely correct, and I'm the odd man out here.

              1. re: delys77

                Thanks delys, much appreciated. If I do make it I think I'll try it w one of Fuchsia's suggested additions. I likely won't have an issue w the texture but mr bc will.

                1. re: delys77

                  Congee is one of the few Chinese dishes I've run across that I can't stand. The texture is very off putting to me.

                  1. re: emily

                    I'm really intrigued now. I'll have to make it and see.

                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                  To me congee feels like porridge in texture. So I guess it is slimy and mushy. The rice should be very cooked down so you don't see grains anymore. At least that is how we do it in Hong Kong.

                  I love congee but I grew up with it. A lot of things are acquired tastes and what you are used to.

                  1. re: lilham

                    That's a great description liham. I'm now wondering if it's at all similar to rice pablum (which I loved btw and, have been know to enjoy as an adult as well!!).

                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Congee is just rice porridge. It's like soupy oatmeal but with rice. Also, it's savory because it's cooked in stock. Then you add in your flavorings, usually slivered ginger, and whatever else you like. Common flavorings are: roast pork and preserved egg, roast duck and preserved egg, chicken and mushroom. Seafood is nice too, or mixed veg like mushrooms, greens and snow peas. Sampan porridge has scallions, roast peanuts and pork. Etc. as you can see, it's infinitely adaptable. I love it but have never made it at home - I may have to correct that this month.

                    1. re: Westminstress

                      I look forward to hearing what you think of the recipe and variations in the book Westminstress.

                      1. re: Westminstress

                        If it's cooked right, to me the "softness" of how it feels is a bigger take away.

                    2. re: delys77

                      I don't eat meat, but one thing that I think is supposed to add a lot of savory flavors is to cook it with dried scallops.

                      Cantonese often mix some proportion of sticky rice in, I think. Using less sticky rice in the mix, or rinsing the rice a bit more may adjust the texture if you find it too sticky in texture. I do think that nailing the texture at home is a little tricky unless you've tried it before at a restaurant or cooked by someone who knows what they're doing. You need to keep it at a moderate simmer / low boil - not so high that it burns, but high enough that it cooks down quickly enough.

                      Another interesting idea that a friend suggested to me is to add little bits of frozen or dry (and rehydrated) tofu skin, and let it cook down with the porridge.

                      Also, you could also try making xifan, basically, rice soup. Normally for this, you start with cooked rice (regular Asian rice), and the consistency is a little more watery.

                      To the people who don't like it - are you eating it plain, or with toppings? I like mine with green onion, the canned wheat gluten and peanut mixture, and the preserved bamboo strips in chili.

                    3. re: lyz2814

                      definitely the 2.4 liters/quarts if you are making congee. as will points out above even that ratio of water to rice sounds on the low side (unless, of course, there is also a lot of stock called for in the recipe).

                      1. re: lyz2814

                        How did i miss the congee recipe? I've been craving the stuff.

                      2. Fuchsia's Emergency Midnight Noodles, Pg. 288

                        This is the third noodle recipe we've made from EGOR and we liked it just as much as the others: Spicy Buckwheat Noodles With Or Without Chicken (68) and Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles (282). Also, it reminded me of the late night pasta dish my mother made for her friends after coming home from a concert or opera, Aglio Olio.

                        It's a quick and easy prep and execution with a couple of options I didn't use. One being adding a fried egg to the plate of finished noodles and using a condiment I don't have, "olive vegetable". That's not like European olives but something particular to China.

                        Buckwheat noodles were the vehicle for the Very spicy sauce. The sauce consists of tamari, Chianking vinegar, chili oil w sediment... A Lot of chili oil, and sesame oil. I used toasted sesame oil as FD says it has much more flavor. The noodles are cooked according to package directions then tipped into a serving bowl holding the sauce mixture. Everything is tossed together then chopped scallions are strewn over top.

                        The ingredient amounts can be changed up according to your individual taste or craving at the moment. We chose to keep to the originals but in future probably will decrease the chili oil and increase the vinegar. Nevertheless the noodles were full of spicy flavor and we liked the combination and aroma.

                        In the same bowl as the noodles I served the Stir-Fried Romaine Lettuce on page 185 and the garlicky fried tomatoes from Jerusalem.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: Gio

                          I've had my eye on that emergency midnight noodles recipe. I have a lot of midnight noodle emergencies! http://sampan.org/2013/02/every-grain...


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            The olive vegetable is pictured on the egg but is not mentioned in the reprinted recipe. The amount used is "a spoonful."

                            1. re: Gio

                              I wonder if some rinsed and chopped tianjin preserved vegetable would be a good substitute for the olive vegetable?


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                According to EGOR page 334, "olive vegetable" is a specialty of the Cantonese region of the Chaozhou." It's "made from dark preserved mustard greens, vegetable oil and Chinese olives. "

                                I dunno... for some reason it's a relish that doesn't appeal to me. However, If it jumped out at me at the market I'd probably buy it to see what it tasted like. But I think it may be too salty for me and my low sodium restriction.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I've added it to my list so will have it early next wk. I'll report back as to the flavour. I see FD has a photo but a Google search produced photos of a variety of brands, many w English text on the labels so it makes me wonder if it may be more popular than some of the other ingredients.

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    I've had olive vegetable fried rice as it's one of my Singaporean friend's comfort foods. It's not really like Tianjin preserved vegetable.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Oh, whoops, okay thanks for clarifying.


                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Olive Fried Rice … the recipe! Uncle Louis' recipe. In Singapore. With photo of Olive Vegetable. (from Hong Kong, sniff.)


                                        1. re: Gio

                                          That is a nice blog...I don't think I've ever seen olive vegetable in the stores here.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I had a TON of fun (hours actually!) shopping at T&T (Asian) Supermarket and guess what....I unearthed the olive vegetable!! I can't wait to try it and will report back here as soon as I do.

                                            Oh, and I also managed to put a number of really delicious-looking things in my cart without knowing what they were. I couldn't read the labels but they sure looked good!! I'll post pictures for input at some point! I'm behind in my posting and have 5 dishes to report on. Hoping to get at least 1 up tonight!

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Shopping at Asian markets is one of my favourite things to do. I could do it all day long without getting tired!

                                      2. re: Gio

                                        I'd bet tianjin preserved vegetable would work just fine, rinsed and chopped, but that's probably not a good low sodium option because I think salt is what is used to preserve it. Maybe try your sauerkraut?


                                2. re: Gio

                                  I just made these tonight, along with the sweet and sour zucchini which i served on the side. [I just got the book and had no ingredients on hand]. But I made 1/3 of the recipe because I was eating alone tonight. Yes, spicy, but I loved the heat!. I went ahead and added a poorly fried but tasty egg. Except, I just ended up eating it off of the top of the bowl, so I really didn't add any flavour to the dish except for a bit from below- oopsie - too excited about the egg. I'll try to incorporate next time...It's probably a heat-beater....not to mention a decent shot of protein here.

                                  My go-to "stress-noodles" since university have involved hot sauce and soy, but with the addition of mustard and peanuts/peanut butter as opposed to the vinegar and sesame. In fact, I've gotten so incredibly used to my own emergency dish that at first the taste of this bowl seemed "peanut-less." But I found myself enjoying the simplicity and tang of the bowl. In fact, it was a simple-is-better kind of night all around. Still, I wonder how some toasted sesame seeds would do on top... I'd definitely make these again, but I want to try some of the protein laced ones first... Now to get to the asian market!

                                  1. re: roseye

                                    Hello, nice to have you here, Roseye, with your new book and that 'simple & tangy' bowlful! I'll be trying noodles soon, eyeing the noodle soups too.

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    Fuchsia's Emergency Midnight Noodles, p. 288

                                    This recipe made for a quick and delicious dinner tonight. We made these with Chinese wheat noodles and topped them with a fried egg and a dollop of the olive vegetable. Loved the heat from the chili oil (I am addicted to the homemade stuff and find myself looking for ways to use it), tang and savory flavors. Dead simple to make and very satisfying.

                                  3. Made the General Tso's Chicken, pg.122 the American version.
                                    Looked beautiful and very easy to make. I thought it had too much vinegar in it. Also, there was no sweetness. Perhaps I am just used to the Americanized General Tso. Would be interested to hear from other who have tried this recipe.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sharhamm

                                      That does look absolutely sensational sharhamm. I'm interested in your observations about the flavours. mr bc dislikes anything where a vinegar flavour is predominant so I'll be interested to hear what others have to say about this. I would have expected a slight sweetness as well.

                                    2. I made the "Classic Dan Dan Noodles" on page 280. This recipe was pretty good, resulting in a slightly soupy sauce, but I think I like her other Dan Dan Noodle recipes better. Added greens (I used baby bok choy separated into leaves) were a very nice touch.

                                      My thoughts: Fuschia calls for 3/4 of a cup of stock or noodle cooking water to be added to the sauce right before tossing with the noodles. I used homemade Chinese everyday stock (pork and chicken bones), which added a nice richness, but kind of washed everything else out. Cooking water may have added a bit of thickness to the sauce from the starch, but it would probably lead to the same problem: perhaps more so. I'd be curious to hear from anybody else who did this. I would tend to think that boxed stuff, unless very low sodium, would not work well due to lacking richness and adding too much saltiness.

                                      I skimped on the oil a bit, adding only 1 TB at the beginning, and only 2 TB of chili oil: I think that this may have slightly detracted from the outcome, but with all that stock, I'm not sure it would have made that much of a difference.

                                      Also, as opposed to Fuschia's other Dan Dan Noodle recipes, the ya cai is simply added to the sauce bowl, not sizzled in oil: doing this would have probably helped bring out its flavor quite a bit. Finally, this recipe uses no sichuan pepper, unlike her other ones that do.

                                      What I liked about Fuschia's other recipes better is the fact that they have more character. To me, dan dan noodles are defined by a harmonization of the funkiness of ya cai, richness of meat and sesame paste (when present), and umami goodness from soy. "Xie Laoban's" and "Traditional" Dan Dan Noodles from Land of Plenty have all of these things going on; Xie's is a bit richer from sesame paste, Traditional a bit brighter from the addition of black vinegar. "Classic Dan Dan Noodles," even though possessing virtually the same ingredients as "Traditional" was somehow out of balance, probably from all that liquid added.

                                      In sum, not bad, definitely lighter than the other recipes, but I'm not sure I want my dan dan noodles to be light (apart from added greens, which was nice). I would recommend not skimping on the oil, sizzling the ya cai, perhaps adding it to the meat mixture, and adding cooking water very gradually instead of stock, like one would do thickening a pasta sauce.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: ericurus

                                        I enjoyed your comprehensive report Ericurus, and your suggestions are duly noted and welcome. Here's a link to Beetlebug's report of the same recipe with a small discussion following in which you might be interested:


                                        I haven't made this version yet, but it's on my list, and the others were made so long ago I should revisit them.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Thank you, Gio. It looks like Beetlebug and I came to the same conclusion, which is nice to know. Good luck if you decide to make this!

                                          1. re: ericurus

                                            I think I shall stick with her other versions of dan dan noodles, which I absolutely love. Two strikes against this one! Thanks for your detailed report.


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Any one know if the preferred version of Dan Dan Noodles is online anywhere? This is my only FD book.

                                        2. re: ericurus

                                          I usually add some noodle cooking water when making her other dandan mian recipes too. The texture is better that way.

                                          1. re: ericurus

                                            P.S. did you make the everyday stock just for this dish or did you already have some on hand? Either way, I'm impressed.


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I try to have frozen homemade pressure-cooked everyday stock on hand as much as I possibly can. I do a bunch of Chinese cooking (mostly from Fuschia's books!) and find that the homemade stuff adds so much to the finished product: it's so much easier to control saltiness, and the richness you get makes it totally worth it. Mapo tofu with homemade stock and real pixian bean paste is out of this world good!!!

                                              1. re: ericurus

                                                Would you mind sharing your pressure cooker stock method please, ericurus. I recently purchased one, but I'm a bit scared of it!

                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  Sure! I have a 6-quart Fagor Duo, if it's any help.

                                                  Basically, I load the pressure cooker 1/2-2/3 full of meat/bones/vegetables, then add enough cold water to barely cover, being sure that the cooker is no more than 2/3 full. I think this is pretty universal with most pressure cookers (needing the extra space to pressurize properly I think), but check your manual if it needs to be less full.

                                                  Next, I bring the water to a simmer, skimming as I go along. When the scum release slows down, I add herbs/whatever else is needed then cover and bring to pressure on the high setting. I let it go at least an hour, then turn the heat off and let the pressure come down naturally. You could probably let it go longer than that, but I've had great results every time. The stock has always gelled, never completely solid like jello, but mostly there.

                                                  I learned a trick to facilitate the descumming process, which is to quickly blanch the ingredients, letting them release scum, then draining everything in a colander. The pot is then washed and the ingredients rinsed before proceeding to refill the pot and bring it up to pressure. Supposedly you lose very little flavor (if any) from this process, which makes sense considering that the pressure cooker extracts the heck out of everything. I actually tend to do this now because I hate standing over the pot and skimming it before bringing it up to pressure.

                                                  Let me know if you have any questions, and good luck if you try this!

                                                  1. re: ericurus

                                                    Thanks for posting this - will give it a go next time I have bones.

                                          2. Quick question for anyone with experience making Asian stocks, I was going to make the everyday stock with a few leftover roasted chicken carcasses but I'm concerned the previously roasted chicken will be too dark or strong for an Asian stock. Thoughts?

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: delys77

                                              Hi Delys77,

                                              I think it would probably be just fine because in most applications the flavors that it will be mixing with will overpower it anyway, and a little extra richness is always nice when you're having soup. I recently made a batch with a chicken carcass and didn't really notice a difference with the final product. If you're concerned, I would suggest including an equal proportion of pork bones to mix the flavor up, but my read of Fuschia Dunlop's everyday stock is that it's a casual thing, made from what's convenient and on hand.

                                              1. re: ericurus

                                                Thanks ericurus, I'm tacking it right now, will let you know..

                                            2. Spicy Buckwheat Noodles [With] Chicken, (Suan Qiao Mian), Pg. 268

                                              Super easy, super fast--I think 20 minutes from when we dropped the noodles in the boiling water to the table, including photography.

                                              We put a pot of water on for the noodles before we put the dairy prince to bed, read some books, sang some songs, kissed goodnight, then came out and dropped the buckwheat noodles in the boiling water and started on the sauce. We had about 1.5 times the amount of noodles, but didn't adjust the sauce measurements, but mostly because I sort of forgot. Turns out not to have been a problem. There seemed to be the right balance.

                                              Gio described the process well here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8522...

                                              We just dumped all of the sauce ingredients into a small mixing bowl which we eventually whisked together then drizzled over the cooked and drained noodles, then tossed it all together with the shredded chicken using tongs. First we zapped the shredded chicken in the microwave for about a minute because we wanted our dish to be warm.

                                              The sauce ingredients are: tamari soy sauce, chinkiang vinegar (I used sherry+balsamic), caster sugar (I used regular granulated sugar), garlic to taste (I used pre-chopped from a tube), salt, sliced green onions (I used the greens only because I seem to remember that from her other books that she seldom had you use the greens and whites at the same time), chilli oil with sediment (I bought some Sichuan chilli sauce off the shelf at my local market, but when I looked at the ingredients tonight, I noticed it had tomato in it, so I ditched it and used Sriracha+cooking oil instead--I plan on going to the Asian market over the lunch hour tomorrow in order to get the ingredients to make my own chilli oil--I had planned to do that last week, but it was a crazy week and just not meant to be...), cooked shredded chicken meat (we used meat from chicken legs I'd cooked in the crock pot on Friday with some onions and paprika), chopped fresh red chili.

                                              I didn't hold back any of the red chilli for garnish--we're not that fancy here.

                                              Photo of my dish sitting on top of the cookbook such that the photo of her dish appears off to the right.

                                              We'd definitely do this again. I wish it had some element of vegetable in it as I'm a one-pot dish kind of gal lately, but it was delicious and easy. Would have been prettier if I'd garnished with the chilli and used proportionally more green onions but, eh...I can live with myself.

                                              P.S. I think this is my first COTM recipe in about 400 years. Woohoo!


                                              15 Replies
                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                I think you can easily add some bak choy, finely shredded cabbage or edamame beans to the dish. You can make a bit more of the sauce if you prefer your noodles to be saucy.

                                                1. re: lilham

                                                  I missed this until just now. Shredded cabbage sounds like it would be really good in this for some reason, thank you for the suggestion!


                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  Question for you DQ, did you use 100% buckwheat noodles or the ones that contain wheat? I have tried using the 100% noodles and had the hardest time with them. They came out in one big blob. Would love some advice.

                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                    I'm not sure I'm going to be a big help. I used the 100% buckwheat noodles, but I have to admit, they weren't totally clump-free. Not horrible, though. Just a few stuck noodles here or there.

                                                    We did exactly as she suggested, which is drain and shook them free of water, then poured them into a bowl and drizzled some oil over, then stirred that in. My husband really wanted a warm noodle dish or I would have probably rinsed them under cold water, then drizzled oil over them, which is the best way I have found of preventing the sticking in soba noodles. But, it doesn't help when you want warm noodles.

                                                    You could try the traditional method of cooking the noodles described here: http://www.edenfoods.com/store/produc...

                                                    I recently read about this method (not sure where, I don't think it's on the back of the pack of noodles, and why the heck not?), but haven't tried it yet. Sorry I couldn't help more. Maybe someone else can chime in?


                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      No, you were very helpful. I am not sure what happened when I made them. I'll give it another try and report back.

                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                        OK, good luck. Two other thoughts come to mind. One is make sure you boil it in enough water and two is make sure you deal with the noodles immediately, once they are cooked. Don't let them sit after you drain them -- stir in some oil or the sauce right away.

                                                        While you can almost make the sauce while the noodles are boiling, it might be best if you made it in advance while the water is coming to a boil so you can put the sauce on the noodles right away. And you might try making yours a cold dish, rather than hot, so you can rinse your noodles. I think F.D. has you spread the noodles out to cool if you want yours to be a cold dish. I've never tried that method.


                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          I haven't got the recipe to hand. Did you rinse the noodles until it's cold throughout? I usually do it in a colander, tossing with my hands (like a salad), under the cold tap until they are completely cool to the touch. If you want a warm noodle dish, you can toss the noodles with the sauce in a pot on the stove just before serving.

                                                          Another method that I've seen my friend's mums do is to keep pouring cold water into the pot (while cooking) everytime it looks like it's going to boil. I'm not sure what this really achieves though!

                                                          PS. I found asian noodles a lot harder to cook then durum wheat Italian ones. It's a revelation when I first discovered durum wheat pasta. In NZ, most pasta weren't proper Italian ones. It's only until I saw a british cooking show and learned about durum wheat that I started looking out for them.

                                                          1. re: lilham

                                                            Normally I rinse my soba noodles until they are cold, running my fingers through the noodles exactly as you describe.

                                                            But this time we wanted our dish warm, so we drained them into a colander and shook the water out, then pour them into a bowl and stirred some oil into them.

                                                            Either way, it's best to introduce the sauce right away. (If you have the sauce ready, you don't have to drizzle on the oil.)

                                                            I linked (above) to some directions similar to what you're describing about about introducing cold water during boiling. I've never tried that method, but I'm curious about it. But let's get real: odds are, I'm not going to pay that much attention to my noodles. Boiling time is prep time Chez TDQ! I might assign this task to my husband, though.


                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                              I imagine that the technique of adding cold water is to cook the noodles in a gentler way, mayeb to prevent them breaking - this is how FD advises cooking dumplings, which makes a lot of sense as it reduces the likelihood of the dumplings bursting.

                                                              1. re: abby d

                                                                Hmmm...very interesting about the dumplings.I don't know why soba noodles would benefit from more gentle cooking because they seem plenty sturdy to me, but maybe the sticking is caused by small tears in the noodles that are hard to see or something like that.

                                                                I've been doing a little googling and it seems pretty universal that you're supposed to rinse the noodles off in cold water to get rid of excess starch. Maybe I should consider myself lucky that my warm noodles weren't clumpy?


                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  By the way, rinsing noodles in cold water has a very cute name in cantonese. It's called 過冷河, literally means crossing a cold river.

                                                                  1. re: lilham

                                                                    Thanks for all the advice, I am making a note. I won't be trying any of the recipes until next week because of my cleanse (juice cleanse - lost 1.5 lbs the first day).

                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      Spicy Buckwheat Noodles (without chicken) p. 268

                                                      We love buckwheat crepes, so I figured we'd like these noodles -- and of course we did. Mr. blue room especially went crazy for this dish, looked a little lost when his bowl was empty.
                                                      I didn't use chopped red chiles, the chili oil (which I used sparingly-- not four tablespoons as recipe is written!) was quite enough heat. Our tolerance for spice-heat in food is pretty much like an infant's (true statement.)
                                                      These were great, though -- and I absolutely love my newfound find, the Chinese vinegar!
                                                      This dish would go with so much/many other add-ins, and accompanying dishes.

                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                        Looks lovely, and isn't that vinegar fabulous? For me it was one of those where-have-you-been-all-my-life discoveries!

                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        Made the spicy buckwheat noodles with chicken. Had a very busy day (Lulu's first day of spring break, lots of errands, sick husband) so decided to have this ready ahead of time. This made serving it cold a no brainer, which also made the whole problem of the noodles sticking together moot. I doubled the recipe thinking it wouldn't be enough, and in the end we had tons. I doubled the sauce except for the chili oil figuring the adults could add more at the table, but we didnt' need it. I loved these and husband liked them a lot. Lulu wasn't totally taken with them. I think it maybe have been that she's not a huge fan of the vinegar (but maybe they weren't hot enough for her - ha!). I had some leftover roast chicken and tossed that in. A really nice dish, I thought, but again, there was some disagreement.

                                                      3. Sweet Aromatic Soy Sauce Pg 322

                                                        We made this as part of the ingredient list for the Sichuanese Wontons in Chilli Oil. It's not that hard to do and it does give some lovely flavour notes to the wonton sauce.

                                                        Soy, water, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and fennel seeds are put in a pot and bought to a boil. You then simmer for 30mins and add some brown sugar to it. Dead easy and it fills the house with a gorgeous smell while simmering. Our only confusion was whether you are supposed to strain it of the spices after it is made. We checked the photo of the wonton dish and noted that there were no fennel seeds floating about so we opted to strain.

                                                        This recipe makes more than needed for the wonton recipe and Fuchsia says it keeps indefinitely so the remainder is in the fridge ready for a future appearance.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Frizzle

                                                          Sweet Aromatic Soy Sauce (Fu Zhi Zhang You) p. 322

                                                          Fragrant, a little sweet and salty. Like Frizzle, we opted to strain the sauce. This was made to eat with the Sichuanese wontons, but Dunlop also says this sauce would be good with cucumbers and cooked favas. I suspect this sauce would be a delicious addition to many things.

                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                            If this is the same sauce from LOP/SC, my Chinese-Malaysian friend raved about it and said I should sell it! I did point out that it wasn't my recipe....

                                                          2. re: Frizzle

                                                            There are a few differences between Sweet Aromatic Soy Sauce (Fu Zhi Zhang You) p. 322 and the one listed in Land of Plenty. Is there a noticeable difference between the products from the following two techniques?

                                                            LOP: boil 1/3 cup dark soy sauce, 2/3 water, 6 tbs. brown sugar, etc.; then simmered for 20, strain

                                                            EGOR: boil 1/2 cup light soy sauce + 3/4 cup water, add spices, simmer for 30 minutes, dissolve 3 tbs. brown sugar, (she forgets to mention straining)

                                                            Also, she didn't specify whether "brown sugar" is light or dark. I used dark.

                                                          3. Sichuanese Wontons in Chilli Oil Sauce Pg 292

                                                            We loved the sauce for these wontons, beautiful. Sweet, aromatic and spicy with a nice bite of raw garlic. The filling itself seemed dry but I did opt for lean mince at the butchers in Chinatown after watching lots of elderly Chinese ladies choosing the lean over the fatty mince. I can only conclude that they weren't buying the mince to make wonton filling with.

                                                            We made the sweet aromatic soy sauce to go with these. While that was simmering we 'marinated' the pork mince in shaoxing, ginger water, stock and spring onion greens.

                                                            Then the folding commenced. My partner was in charge of this. After reading Fuchsia's instructions and searching out some other youtube videos and a couple of test wontons he decided that Fuchsia's was easier and quickly finished folding the rest.

                                                            The cooking was novel to me. You add them to boiling water, let the water come back to the boil then add some cold water and then bring them to the boil again. By the third boil they should be cooked according to Fuchsia and ours were.

                                                            They're then added to bowls that contain the sauce mix and are given a scattering of spring onion greens and garlic.

                                                            I think we'll make these again but will try fatty mince next time in the filling.

                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: Frizzle

                                                              Sichuanese Wonton in Chili Oil Sauce (Hong you Chao Shou) p. 292

                                                              Like Frizzle, we made these tonight.

                                                              The filling has a fair amount of liquid making it moist and airy resulting in a light and delicate cooked wonton.

                                                              The wontons were light and delicious in the spicy, savory sauce. The two sauces work well together. The chili oil alone would have been overwhelming, but the sweet aromatic soy sauce tempers the oil and adds a nice depth of flavor with a little sweetness.

                                                              We enjoyed these and would make them again.

                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                Oh, such perfectly shaped wontons! How do you do it, BigSal?

                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                  Stunning! Good job Frizzle and Big Sal those wontons are beautiful. I also made thus dish tonight and while I really enjoyed it my dumplings were nowhere near as beautiful as your lot. I'll post the details when I'm home tomorrow.

                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                    Wow, yours are folded so well, lovely work. Interesting that your filling was light.

                                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                                      Frizzle and Big Sal, those pictures couldn't be more inspiring!

                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                        Frizzle & BigSal those look amazing!! All the dumpling recipes have been calling to me but I think these ones will have to go first now....

                                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                                          Color me seriously impressed Big Sal. Can I come for dinner?

                                                                        2. re: Frizzle

                                                                          I have made this with turkey mince. I think it would be leaner than your pork. It's a bit dry, but since the sauce is so nice, we just put on more to compensate! (Mr Lilham doesn't eat red meat. Otherwise I agree you need some fat in the mince). Really lovely dish.

                                                                          1. re: lilham

                                                                            I do not pork either and remember a while back Andrea Nguyen said that chicken thighs are good substitute. I am going to try some dumplings this month with chicken thighs.

                                                                          2. re: Frizzle

                                                                            Sichuanese Wontons in Chilli Oil Sauce Pg. 292

                                                                            These were a big hit, once I managed to assemble them. I don't have the deftest touch so tasks that require a huge amount of dexterity are not my forte. I attempted the water caltrop form a few times, but after failing miserably I simply went with the triangle form she suggests. I'm not sure if it is the size of wrapper I used or it's thinness but they kept on tearing on me.

                                                                            Either way, I finally got enough folded to make dinner for a few people so we were ok. On the positive side, despite their relative ugliness, these were absolutely delicious. I really enjoyed the slight hint of ginger from the ginger water as I often find that ginger in dumplings can be far too strong. I used a regular pork mince that I ground from a shoulder so it was not lean but not overly fatty. The seasoning of the dumplings was great, nice and light but super flavourful.

                                                                            The sauce was a great counterpoint full of flavour from the chilli oil and the garlic. It was a very strong sauce, and I worried that the dumplings would be overpowered, but given the relatively light drizzle it was just the right balance.

                                                                            I loved these!

                                                                            1. re: delys77

                                                                              I'm hoping to love these next week, and triangles they will be!

                                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                                Did you make your own wrappers? I'm thinking of cheating and buying wrappers...


                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  Hi TDQ, no I didn't make my own wrappers. I hit a shop in Chinatown tat had several locally made commercial wrappers. I figured that it wouldn't be as good as homemade but I was hoping that fresh and local would come close. The ones I purchased had only three ingredients, flour, water, salt. I might try my hand at the northern dumplings when my partner is home from a business trip. I'll let you all know even if the wrapper making is a failure, I promise.

                                                                            2. Chili Oil (Hong You) p. 320

                                                                              Peanut oil is heated to 200 C. When the oil cools to 140 C it is poured into a container of ground chiles (first heated in a wok until crisp and darkened), sesame seeds and ginger. When the oil hits the chiles it effervesces slightly.
                                                                              The flavor of the oil is much more intense than the one in my pantry (made with soybean oil) and the vibrant color is impressive. I can’t see myself buying chili oil again after making this.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                Chilli Oil p320

                                                                                I have made chilli oils using Fuschia's recipe for a year or so now. Will never go back to shop bought again. I use Indian ground chillies, which is hotter than the Korean ones.

                                                                                Last week I used the recipe in EGOR the first time, instead of the one in SC. I believe the difference is the extra ginger and sesame seeds. I can't tell if it makes a difference.

                                                                                I used it to make Sichan Chicken and Cucumber salad in Mighty Spice http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8052...
                                                                                The original recipe uses a tarka (spiced oil) with chilli, sichuan pepper, sugar, soy and lemon juice. I took the shortcut of using this chilli oil, sichuan pepper, sugar, soy and lemon juice. The resulting sauce lacks the depth of the original, which I think is because the sichuan peppers aren't sizzled in hot oil. But it is still very tasty, and makes the dish even faster for a busy weeknight.

                                                                                1. re: lilham

                                                                                  Bigsal and lilham, are you purchasing crushed chilis (like the chili flakes used on/in Italian dishes) or are you crushing your own?

                                                                                  I've only noticed Indian and Italian chili flakes at the stores before.

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    I bought crushed. It's from a chinese shop, but an Indian brand.

                                                                                  2. re: BigSal

                                                                                    BigSal, what kind of chilies did you use? The book suggests Korean chilies used in kimchi and I do not have a clue what are these.

                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                      I used heaven facing chiles. The Korean chiles she refers to are called gochugaru (sometimes spelled kochukaru). http://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/ho...

                                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                                        Thanks for the link! I should just go to T&T (large Asian store) and see if there is something similar. I have Indian chilies and Kashmiri chili powder but these probably will have different - not in a good way - taste.

                                                                                  3. When doing a recipe that calls for wheat noodles, (not buckwheat) is it okay to just use spaghetti, etc.? The addition of egg -- is it a problem, or a very slight flavor difference?

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                      I've actually started using higher end brands of spaghetti for Chinese recipes. I like the toothsomeness better than what I can buy dried in the Asian markets and I don't always want to drive to the store to get fresh noodles.

                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                        Most spaghetti is eggless, however, I do think that the Chinese noodles are a little different from spaghetti (maybe because most dried spaghetti is made with semolina flour?).

                                                                                        I usually use fresh noodles since they're readily available here, but there are dried Chinese noodles as well.

                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                          It will taste different. However I think it's a case of different but not in a bad way.

                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                            I've always used whole wheat pasta in my Dunlop dishes (dan dan noodles, etc.). The result is always delicious (to us), but I never think the texture is as nice. Still, whole wheat noodles fit into my diet a little better, so I'm willing to compromise.


                                                                                          2. Zhajiang Noodles pg.276

                                                                                            Another winner in noodle format, this one slightly more time-consuming than the others, but mighty tasty and a meal-in-a-bowl to boot, which always gets bonus points in my books.

                                                                                            A dark and glossy pork sauce hinting of star anise and ginger is made with minced pork belly, sichuan pepper, shaoxing wine, and plenty of sweet fermented paste. This is essentially a sweet fermented sauce with a few extra flavourings added. I used a fatty ground pork in place of the belly. The meat sauce is covered with water and then cooked down to a thick consistency to give the anise time to bloom and allow the tastes to mingle.
                                                                                            Meanwhile, various veggies are blanched and wheat noodles are cooked. I used most of the veg called for in the recipe, tho it can be varied to taste. The noodles are divided out to bowls, the veggies are placed atop, and the pork sauce is ladled over the whole thing.

                                                                                            I liked this quite a bit, welcoming the fresh crunch the vegetables provided, not to mention the extra kick of nutrients. The sauce is salty and slightly sweet with a deep umami from the pork and the fermented beans and it all looked very lovely and colourful in the bowl. The sauce can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated, which sounds like a splendid idea; as good as this was, I don't think I'd want the leftovers right away. That being said, it was very good and certainly different than any noodle recipe I've ever had.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                              Thank you, Allegra_K !

                                                                                              I've never used the glossary so much in a cookbook ! --
                                                                                              The very dark middle of your picture -- is it fermented black bean sauce? (page 336 Laoganma ?)

                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                That's the pork sauce portion of the recipe, where the main ingredient is sweet fermented paste (aka sweet wheaten paste, sweet bean sauce, tian mian jiang, #5 on page 336, not to be confused with hoisin, haha!).

                                                                                              2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                Zhajiang Noodles Pg. 276

                                                                                                We really enjoyed these little noodles. It made a nice filling meal for 3 with plenty of veggies and a nice hit of noodle goodness. Unlike Allegra I tossed them in the wok took make plating and consumption easier and I thought it worked well but the presentation was much less striking.

                                                                                                The tian mian jiang was a lovely sweet addition that was well balanced by the spicy anise/peppercorn oil. Overall I would definitely say this was a winner at our house.

                                                                                                The only thing I would definitely do differently is I would make sure to have some pepper or carrot in there to modify the colours as I went with mostly green components and it was less striking.

                                                                                              3. Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles p.282

                                                                                                The chile oil-spattered page of this recipe in my book can attest to its popularity around here. Its extreme simplicity combined with enticing tongue-tingling flavours has quickly turned this one into a lunchtime staple.
                                                                                                The sauce consists of sesame paste, light & dark soy, chinkiang vinegar, minced garlic, sichuan peppercorns, roasted and ground, and chile oil. This is all mixed into a bowl of wheat or buckwheat (I'm in love with the former and so have only made it with that) noodles, topped with optional blanched greens and green onion slices.
                                                                                                I found that the first time I made the recipe as written, the sauce amount was too little and the noodles soaked it up before it could be properly distributed. I've since taken to doubling the sauce, less the chile oil, and saving just a splash of noodle cooking water to get it all nicely blended. I've made this with a few different varieties of greens, and prefer the juicier crunch of chopped choy sum to the more delicate pea shoots.
                                                                                                This is spicy, oily, nutty, and salty....positively addictive; a must-try for noodle junkies! It also makes a pretty awesome midnight snack, cold, straight from the fridge.

                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                  That sounds amazing! Can't wait for my kitchen to be back in action (hopefully after tomorrow) to start trying some of these recipes.

                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                    That must be so frustrating! I hope you like it when you do get around to trying it...

                                                                                                  2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                    Made the Hong You Su Mian last August... as I said then, "Crazy easy. Wildly delicious". Must cook it again! I like either pak choy or bok choy and just about double the sauce.


                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                      Wildly delicious. I like that; sums it up beautifully!

                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                        CHEF CHEN DAILU’S SPICY SESAME NOODLES – p. 282

                                                                                                        Yum! Big thanks to Allegra for loving these so much we just had to try them. Unlike many noodle dishes, I’d describe this as a dry noodle dish in that it’s not saucy. That said, don’t let the lack of sauce fool you because what these lack in wet, they more than make up for in flavour. There aren’t many ingredients in this sauce but each on brings more than its worth to the party and in the end, this recipe produces a super-delicious dish. I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds atop and mr bc had some chicken w his. I think they’d be great w a runny fried egg too. Dee-lish!

                                                                                                        ETA: I should have mentioned, I added some of the tiniest pak choy I've ever seen and some pea shoots to the pan to wilt a little just prior to serving.

                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                          Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles

                                                                                                          I think Allegra, Gio and BC have already summed this one up pretty well. Such payoff for so little effort!! Let me just add that I thought the blanched greens were a must to balance out the flavor-packed noodles. I also think I preferred it cold out of the fridge rather than hot when first made. Another lunch box winner!

                                                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                          Addictive! I followed Allegra's advice and doubled the sauce except for the oil and added a little of the noodle water. I used sugar snap peas for the veg. We had it for lunch. It was ready in maybe 15 minutes and inhaled in about 2 minutes.

                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                            Mine came out really bland. I am wondering whereI might have gone wrong. I used a combination of oyster and chestnut mushrooms from my farmer's market. I used corn oil and scallions, but otherwise followed the recipe. I ended up adding a lot more sauce because there didn't seem to be enough. Hmmm maybe I cooked more noodles than the recipe called for? I can't remember now. I would like to try it again but need to take a different approach.

                                                                                                            1. re: eatlikeobelix

                                                                                                              On the recommendation of the mushroom stand at my local farmer's market, I made this dish again with only oyster mushrooms for the fresh mushroom part. And I used a little more oil this time, include a little sprinkling of sesame oil on the noodles after initially cooking, to keep them separate. And I changed my dark soy sauce brand to Pearl River. The brand I was using before was something called Golden Boat. It was 42% sugar and really unpleasant to taste. (I am new to Chinese cooking so probably making a lot of rookie errors, but it is a good way to learn!)

                                                                                                              It was really yummy the second time. I will definitely be making this again.

                                                                                                            2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                              CHEF CHEN DAILU’S SPICY SESAME NOODLES 陳師傅紅油素麵

                                                                                                              This sample vegetarian noodle takes about 5 minutes to make. I prepared the sauce while cooking the noodle. The sauce is a mixture of sesame paste, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, Sichuan pepper and chili oil. Great flavor.


                                                                                                            3. Sour-and-Hot Mushroom Soup p. 242

                                                                                                              I didn't have an array of mushrooms for this, just dried shiitake, fresh shiitake, and the regular white/button 'shrooms that are most familiar to me.
                                                                                                              This soup is full of mushrooms, and tofu, and flavor. Soy sauce and ginger, vinegar, green onions and pepper. Lily flowers are optional, I'd like to try them.
                                                                                                              This isn't a soup that gets simmered for a long time, you just stir-fry the mushrooms with the vegetables and add stock (your choice) and the tofu, the seasonings, and a little sesame oil. Sprinkle with chopped green onion.
                                                                                                              Oh I liked this, and it was yet another happy happy use of my dreaded tofu.
                                                                                                              Two notes -- I used black rather than white pepper, and I was shocked at how little flavor the fresh shiitakes had compared to the dried.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                I'm not a huge fan of tofu either - what kind did you use?

                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                  Just a supermarket brand, marked "soft". I had drained it, (it comes sitting in water) so it was probably a little firmer than soft.

                                                                                                                2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                  Ooh, another on the 'must try' list, thanks for this one!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                    Hah! Me too... This Saturday if I'm lucky.

                                                                                                                3. Vegetarian Stock (Black Bean Varation), p. 319

                                                                                                                  Veggie stock is something I rarely have prepared, and I loathe the boxed versions. I usually just use water, but in cases where stock is truly desired, I like to whip something up quickly with whatever scraps I have lying around. I was thrilled to see that FD has a number of suggestions for super quick veggie stocks that can be made on the fly and don't cost an arm and a leg. In this case, I made the black bean stock, which is just fermented black beans simmered in water for about 20 minutes. This makes a rich liquid, just bursting with umami. This stock would work wonderfully in any dish in which the flavor of fermented black beans is welcome. the other variations (hot water with soy sauce and sesame oil, simmered soy bean sprouts) sound good too and I'm sure I'll try them.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                    Vegetable stock (that I like) is almost always a happy accident. I know not to include too many carrot or onions because it gets sweet, but I sure don't have a surefire recipe yet.
                                                                                                                    I do have a mushroom stock recipe that I'll try someday!

                                                                                                                  2. Ho Fun Rice Noodles with Mushrooms, Pg. 272

                                                                                                                    We loved this dish. It had lots of meaty flavor from the combination of mushrooms, both button and shiitake. For the rice noodles I used Banh Pho that I had in the pantry not Ho Fun. To me they looked exactly alike and I'd use then again. Thinnish, white, long, dry. Because I had thin leeks to use up I subbed one for the three scallions called for.

                                                                                                                    Soak the dry mushrooms, prepare the noodles, slice the scallions. Into a hot wok with peanut oil go sliced garlic and shiitake. A minute or two later add the other mushrooms and season with both light and dark soy sauces, and a little salt. Remove all from wok, return to heat, add a bit more oil and stir-fry beansprouts and when heated through take them out. Back on the heat goes the wok, with yet again a bit more oil and and the scallion whites. When these are fragrant add the noodles, more of both soy sauces, white pepper, and stir-fry till hot. Finally, return the mushrooms and beansprouts, stir-fry to combine and everything "smells delicious."

                                                                                                                    I had intended to serve the Pipa Tofu along side but while cooking the noodles we decided to just have the noodles, they were so full of wonderful looking ingredients. The Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots I made a few days ago were the only accompaniment needed.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      How could I have missed this lovely review?! I'm so glad to see this was a hit, as rice noodles are one of my favourites and I've had the recipe bookmarked since day one.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                        Ho Fun Rice Noodles with (Beef and) Mushrooms, Pg. 272

                                                                                                                        The version I made of this recipe was an amalgamation of the original and the variation, but one I would certainly do again.

                                                                                                                        Since I didn't have any button mushrooms but a few other types I thought this would work well. I used a small chunk of steak and marinated it in the sugar, starch & soy sauce blend at the bottom of the page. Had 3 large fresh shiitakes, and increased the dried shiitakes by a couple. Still used the same amount of soy sauces for the noodle/mushroom favouring. Since I didn't have any bean sprouts, I threw in a large handful of enoki mushrooms near the end, replacing the green onions with suan miao (garlic leaves?) in order to use them up.
                                                                                                                        The fresh rice noodles I used were of pretty awful quality and I should have opted to use dry ones instead, so they fell apart into tiny pieces nearly immediately upon hitting the wok. No matter, I was able to blacken them in places without them sticking too terribly, and they were still mighty satisfying.
                                                                                                                        Beef and mushrooms, how can you go wrong? This was really delicious. My husband loved the "burny" flavour that permeated the dish, and I was pretty pleased with it myself. I will definitely be making this again.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                          Sounds yummy Allegra and like you, I'll be using wild mushrooms in this dish. Thanks too for pointing out the beef variation, I completely missed that and it definitely ups the appeal for mr bc!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                            Ho Fun Rice Noodles with Mushrooms and Beef

                                                                                                                            We made a similar modification to this recipe using beef, dried shiitakes, broccoli and no bean sprouts. I stir fried the broccoli to start with some garlic and a bit of chicken stock. Rice noodles were a bit of a hassle - I bought fresh rice noodle sheets which needed to be refreshed in hot water, then sliced into noodles and each strand separated and unfolded. Was afraid they'd stick together in the wok, but everything worked out. This was deemed the best rice noodle dish we've had.

                                                                                                                        2. Mrs Yu's Sweet & Spicy Cold Noodles pg.270

                                                                                                                          More noodles for a quick and satisfying lunch, and another must-repeat.

                                                                                                                          This recipe is just as quick to prepare as the others, except the author has one spread the cold noodles out to air-dry for an hour or two before dressing with the sauce. I meant to do that, but as soon as I lay my drained noodles out on the cutting board, I promptly knocked the bowl of prepared sauce over the entire thing! Luckily it landed nicely just over the starch, so all I had to do was sweep it all into a bowl and blend.
                                                                                                                          The sauce is another nutty, sweet and spicy version that has soy sauce or tamari, chinkiang vinegar, sesame paste (optional, but I included it), sugar, garlic, sichuan pepper, chile & sesame oil, topped with green onion slices and toasted sesame seeds (with optional chicken slivers-I omitted). The main difference in this recipe is the blanched and cooled bean sprouts that get mixed into the noodles, a variation that I may have to add to the other recipes, as the similar shape and the crisp, refreshing crunch of the sprouts was a welcome textural change from the norm. In fact, I might even be tempted to double the bean sprouts for next time.
                                                                                                                          Because the noodles weren't dry enough, there was perhaps too much creamy sauce left in the bottom of my bowl , so I'm curious to see how it would come together if done correctly. I loved this either way and would gladly make it again.

                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                            Mrs. Yu's Sweet and Spicy Cold Noodles p. 270

                                                                                                                            This I made without the chicken, just noodles and goodies.
                                                                                                                            The drying out I completely skipped, they seemed dry enough after draining -- I don't get the reason for the drying -- noodles are nicest when slippery, yes?
                                                                                                                            Sprouts are always a welcome crunch. I did blanch them just for seconds. (F. Dunlop said in a celery recipe that the blanching is to "break its rawness".)
                                                                                                                            Also included in this was my usual shy dose of heat from chili oil, fresh garlic (I wish I could get it chopped as finely as grains of sand haha), sugar, soy sauce, Chinese vinegar, sesame oil, sesame paste*, sliced green onions.
                                                                                                                            The sweetness was not too much (I was worried) and I'd certainly have this again. It was hard to mix (and would have been harder if I had dried the noodles I think) but lack of chili oil was the reason -- a little noodle cooking water fixed that.
                                                                                                                            (I used plain old "angel hair" Barilla spaghetti noodles for this.)

                                                                                                                            * I thought sesame paste was tahini -- and it sort of is, except tahini is raw and the sesame paste I should have used would be toasted. I've never had the toasted kind, but I read that it is a different taste. So these noodles had that variation also.
                                                                                                                            Camera not working -- fixing soon.

                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                              Hi Blue Room (and others). This past weekend there was an article by Andrea Nguyen in the WSJ about Sichuan Peppercorns. She gave a couple of recipes, and substitutions for things people might have a hard time finding. One of them was Chinese sesame paste. She suggested that if people couldn't find that they substitute 4 teaspoons tahini plus 1 teaspoon of sesame oil for 1 1/2 tablespoons of Chinese sesame paste. She also said regular spaghetti was a fine stand in for Chinese noodles. And, most surprisingly of all (to me), she suggested chopped dill pickles for ya cai (equal amount).

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                I have suggested the very same pickle thing on CH before :)
                                                                                                                                I also find that the best substitute for Zhenjiang/Chinkiang vinegar is slightly diluted malt vinegar, not balsamic, which is way too sweet (in addition to being made from grapes as opposed to grain, as are both malt and Zhenjiang vinegars).

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Sorry! Somehow never saw your pickle advice.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                    I think it was on a WFD a while back. I'm just amused :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                      Yep, never read WFD. And I have to admit, the dill pickle thing surprised the heck out of me on Saturday morning.

                                                                                                                                      When I went to my local Asian store this past weekend the guy tried to tell me that ya cai was a brand name, no such thing otherwise. I looked at him sceptically, but since he's my "dealer" I let it go.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                        hahaha -- use spicy garlic dills and you're most of the way there.

                                                                                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                  Thank you, LulusMom -- I kind of figured that the tahini would be OK (since it is sesame paste) The dill pickle switch is news, however!

                                                                                                                              2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                Mrs. Yu's Sweet and Spicy Cold Noodles p. 270

                                                                                                                                This made for a quick dinner tonight. We went whole hog and made this with sesame paste and poached chicken. Like Allegra, we really enjoyed the addition of the bean sprouts which added a welcome texture to the dish. We skipped the long drying process and chose to drain the noodles in the colander thoroughly and then pat dry before putting it into the serving bowl.

                                                                                                                                The sauce was delicious and reminded me of Banbanji chicken (a recipe from fellow hound Yukari Sakamoto http://tokyostation-yukari.blogspot.c...). Before I was able to find sesame paste, I used smooth peanut butter as a substitute with good results (this was Yukari's suggestion).

                                                                                                                                This was a hit for both of us.

                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                  Banbanji is the Japanese name for bang bang ji, sauce is essentially the same. "ji" is chicken in Chinese.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    I love the wealth of knowledge I gain from chowhound. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                  Have made Mrs. Yu's Sweet and Spicy Cold Noodles a few times now. Delectable. There's something about these noodles that incites a feeding frenzy. I noticed that the recipe is quite similar to the Spicy Cold Noodles with Chicken Slivers in LOP, but I like this version better, which doesn't use dark soy. We've tweaked the recipe a bit to our liking: 3 v. 2 teaspoons Chinkiang vinegar, 1 v. 2 T. sesame paste, 3 T. chili oil, and 1 v. 1/2 t. sesame oil. We also add the the optional shredded chicken meat (usually from a Costco rotisserie chicken).

                                                                                                                                3. Xi’an Pot-Sticker Dumplings (Xi’an Guo Tie) p. 308

                                                                                                                                  I’ve made the Japanese version of guo tie (gyoza) many times, but this was my second attempt at making the wrappers. The first try was Andrea Nugyen’s recipe from Asian Dumplings. Dunlop’s version calls for plain and strong wheat flour (I used bread flour), includes the addition of a small amount of oil and uses both boiling hot water and cold water.

                                                                                                                                  I used a pastry roller- it is easier for me to handle than my gyoza rolling pin- and a 3” biscuit cutter to make the wrappers look less ragged. This dough was easy to knead and very soft. The recipe made 32 wrappers. Although I did prefer Dunlop’s dough to Nguyen’s, Nguyen’s detailed instructions are hard to beat for a novice like me.

                                                                                                                                  The filling was made of ground beef, green onions, garlic chives (nira), ginger, sesame oil, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and stock. Like the wontons I made earlier, the addition of stock makes the filling very moist and easy to spread. I wonder if it helps create a juicier pot-sticker. The filling was nice, but I prefer our typical gyoza filing.

                                                                                                                                  Dunlop’s suggested method of wrapping (pinch the edges together leaving the ends open) is much easier and quicker than the typical crescent shape. I appreciated the shortcut today.

                                                                                                                                  The dumplings are pan-fried until the bottom browns, then add boiling water and cover and steam until done.

                                                                                                                                  Serve with a sauce of Chinkiang vinegar, minced garlic and ginger. We tried this, but prefer our typical gyoza sauce.

                                                                                                                                  This makes for a juicy pot-sticker with a crisp bottom and pleasantly chewy top.

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                    Wow bigsal, you've got some serious dumpling making chops.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                      Those look seriously spectacular, BigSal! I wish I had a big plate of those right now!

                                                                                                                                      I agree with you about Nguyen' dumpling making instructions--they're so well-detailed.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                          Yes, they look wonderful! I noticed that the filling for her "Northern style" dumplings is very plain -- and now I see you prefer your own filling for these too. I'll stick to A. Nguyen for dumplings, I think.
                                                                                                                                          But I want a pastry roller!

                                                                                                                                        2. EGG-FRIED RICE – p. 257

                                                                                                                                          This makes for a quick and tasty fried rice. Prep is simple, especially if you already have cooked rice on hand, which we did. Oil is placed in a hot wok and beaten eggs are swirled in to cover the bottom of the pan. When the bottom of the eggs have cooked and the tops are still runny, rice is added and incorporated. Once the rice is piping hot, light soy and or salt are added to taste. Sliced spring onion and a tsp of sesame oil are added just prior to plating. As it happened, I had a handful of the mushroom dish left over from another meal so I tossed those in here as well.

                                                                                                                                          Rice is nice!! - with a nod to my Godson whose face used to light up whenever I made him rice for dinner. His Mom never cooked it so the first time I served it to him, I said “mmmm, rice is nice” - he agreed and to this day, he’ll still say that if I make rice w dinner!

                                                                                                                                          1. Xie laoban's dan dan noodles (Niu rou dan dan mian) - pg. 278

                                                                                                                                            My husband travels to Chengdu for work a few times a year, and the first thing he said when he saw this cookbook was "Are you going to make me Dan Dan Mian?!?" I, on the other hand, know next to nothing about Sichuan food, so this was definitely an experiment.

                                                                                                                                            In this version, you first toast dried Sichuan chills and Sichuan peppercorns in oil, then add ya can, then ground beef and soy sauce. The sauce is made from chili oil, sesame paste, and both light and dark soy sauce (mixed in the bottom of your serving bowl). When you're ready to eat, boil the noodles, add to the sauce, then top with the beef mixture.

                                                                                                                                            The end result was spicy! Right at the edge of what I can tolerate. At first, I thought the soy sauce overwhelmed all the other flavors (besides the spicy), but I acclimated to it after a few bites. I found most of the ingredients at Ranch 99 in Daly City (SF Bay Area), but not the Sichuan chiles or the ya cai. I should have bought the Tianjin preserved vegetable as a substitute, but I had a memory lapse and bought Sichuan preserved vegetable instead, which is just salted mustard greens. I'm curious to make it again with either the ya can or the Tianjin, since she says this is the ingredient that gives the noodles their distinctive taste. For the sichuan chiles, I used the author's suggestion to substitute chiles de arbol.

                                                                                                                                            The good news is, hubby liked it, but he said this was nothing like Dan Dan Noodles he's ever had in Chengdu, which usually come swimming in a red broth, like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandan_n...

                                                                                                                                            Are any of Fuchsia Dunlops other Dan Dan Mian recipes this brothy?

                                                                                                                                            1. [Soupy] Rice with Pork and Greens, Pg. 262

                                                                                                                                              A tremendous amount of leeway is allowed with this recipe regarding quantity of ingredients. It's meant to a soup but I wanted a drier dish so reduced the amount of stock. and used cooked rice as directed, not raw. It then became, more or less, a very tasty fried rice. I did substitute some napa cabbage for the pak choy which I'm saving for another recipe, used peanut oil, added a couple of chopped garlic cloves, and scattered chopped scallions over top the finished dish.

                                                                                                                                              Shiitake mushrooms are soaked then sliced, bacon is slivered, vegetables are prepped then sliced. In a hot wok, fry the bacon, add ginger (and garlic), add the mushrooms, stir everything together. Next the rice and stock are added and brought to the boil. This simmers a few minutes than seasoned with salt, which I omitted, and white pepper.

                                                                                                                                              I'd probably make this again as a soup since it was fragrant and soothing even though it was not as wet as it was supposed to be. Served with Tofu with Black Bean and Chili on page 86. There's just a bit of rice left that I think will be very nice heated in more stock.

                                                                                                                                              1. BUCKWHEAT NOODLES WITH RED BRAISED BEEF – p. 286

                                                                                                                                                I made the Red Braised Beef early on this month then reserved and froze enough to make this dish. As a result, this dinner came together very quickly. I had the buckwheat noodles required and they cook in 5 mins. While the noodles cooked I warmed some stock (that I made and froze earlier in the month after poaching chicken for the various cold chx dishes at the front of the book). Warmed stock is placed in a bowl along w light soy sauce and some chili oil. Cooked noodles are placed atop. Note that Fuchsia suggests you rinse the noodles. I did not and also didn’t notice any issue w skipping this step. The warmed red braised beef is then plated atop the noodles and the dish is garnished w chopped Chinese celery.

                                                                                                                                                We loved this dish. The nutty flavoured noodles were slippery and slurpy. The combination of the broth and the red braised beef sauce was wonderfully fragrant and flavourful, and the Chinese celery was a delightful surprise. We’ve never had this celery before and we loved its fresh, bright flavours. This was a perfectly balanced delicious dish.

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                  I'd love to find some Chinese celery someday -- I read that it is more strongly flavored than "our" celery -- and hollow. Which makes me think it's oniony?
                                                                                                                                                  Anyway, looks good, can't beat red braised meat (I've only done pork.)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                    It's not oniony, just... kind of sharp, I guess - a stronger celery flavor, or like a milder cilantro stem. The stalks are a little smaller / thinner, which I find makes it a little easier to chop into even matchsticks for certain types of Chinese dishes.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                      I agree w will in terms of the sharpness. I started nibbling on a piece after reading your post to give you my impression.

                                                                                                                                                      The celery itself is more delicate looking, as will says, very thin stems and the leaves are more feathery, lighter in texture than regular celery. The flavour is more intense but fresher and greener-tasting if that makes any sense. I also found there was a a peppery flavour that lingered on my palate.

                                                                                                                                                      I'm allergic to cilantro and didn't pick up any cilantro aroma or flavour in mine.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                        Thank you both, I think it's nigh impossible to describe a new flavor, but now I have an impression.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Basic noodle soup 清湯麵

                                                                                                                                                    It took less than 10 minutes to have this simple yet delicious noodle soup on the table. How good it tastes will depend on how good the chicken stock is. The stock is simply seasoned with salt, white pepper and sesame oil. Easy, fast and good. I'll be cooking this a lot when the weather gets colder.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: eileen216

                                                                                                                                                      Eileen, you are very inspiring. I had some leftover stir-fried bok choy from last night's meal so I decided to make Dunlop's basic noodle soup. I also added a little dollop of chili bean paste. Perfect afternoon fare. (Mine didn't look as gorgeous as yours though...)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pistachio peas

                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for the kind words, pistachio! :-)
                                                                                                                                                        This book is very inspiring!
                                                                                                                                                        My photos don't look as good as the book's.
                                                                                                                                                        But who cares about how it looks because it tastes so good that food usually only stay on the plate for a few minutes then it's gone.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Red-braised pork noodles.

                                                                                                                                                      Top basic noodle soup with a spoonful of reheated, leftover red-braised pork. And I did had leftover red-braised pork in the fridge. Nice!

                                                                                                                                                      I added a few pieces of the tender pork belly and a spoonful of the braise sauce to the basic noodle soup. OMG it brought the basic noodle soup to another level of yumminess! It was 82 degrees. I slurped the noodle and down the hot broth with sweat dripping down my forehead, and I don’t care because it was that good!

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: eileen216

                                                                                                                                                          That looks divine! Oh my goodness. I need this book.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eileen216

                                                                                                                                                            OMG, your photo so makes me want to go back to China. Beautiful Eileen.