I have published quite a number of posts featuring the Chinese dumplings commonly known as ‘Jiaozi’, all of which are comprised of fillings of one sort or another wrapped in a dough made simply of flour and water. The similar sounding ‘Baozi’, on the other hand, are formed with a leavened dough and are more ‘bun-like’ generally, although the steamed variety (as opposed to baked), are very like steamed or boiled jiaozi except in the texture of the skin.
I wanted to try using some of my Tienjin Pickled Vegetable in some sort of ‘bao’ after having used it with some pleasing results in jiaozi and I discovered, while doing a little research, that Tientsin is actually famous as the birthplace of a particular class of bao known as ‘Goubuli baozi’ (狗不理). The name has an interesting origin, which you can read at in more depth if you follow the preceding link, but it is commonly translated as ‘Dogs-will-ignore Dumplings’, and typically contains pork. For this experiment, I am not actually trying to reproduce any of the many varieties that exist (chiefly as I have never eaten them anywhere), and so I am simply calling this experiment ‘Tienjin Baozi’… Read more
Larb, or ‘Laab’ as it sometimes spelled, is a cold salad of meat, herbs and other seasonings that is not only reckoned to be the national dish of Laos but also quite common in Thailand as well. The meat is often beef or pork, sometimes raw, sometimes cooked, but fish and poultry version exist as well. As to the seasonings and other ingredients, the variations are endless but fish sauce, lime juice, chili, mint and basil make regular appearances, with some versions adding a host of spices including cumin, cloves, star anise, galangal, and others. Garnishes can be fried onions, peanuts, chopped chili, and various herbs and, in Laos especially roasted ground rice powder is commonly used as a flavoring agent and binder.
After seeing a number of recipes where the salad is served as a wrap in lettuce or other leafy herbs, I thought it might make an interesting appetizer if used as a filling for some endive leaves I happened to have leftover from a previous meal. For this experiment, I decided to use my homemade Sambal Terasi paste as part of the spice flavoring but you could substitute any commercial Thai curry or spice paste of your choosing… Read more
When I featured Chinese Preserved Pork-Belly in a recent ‘Foodstuffs’ post, I said that I planned to use some of it in a very common way by steaming it over rice. This dish, which permits of countless variations, is a very ‘homey’ sort of preparation and many people add the pork, along with other ingredients, to rice in electric steamers to make a quick, simple meal. I am using a clay-pot to steam my rice and I am departing from the more standard method by using pre-cooked rice, thus necessitating a fairly short cooking time. In addition to the pork, I will be adding some greens and other flavorful ingredients… Read more
I was planning to use some of the lamb leftover from our Easter feast to make Shawarma but, unfortunately, the roast in question was not suitable for carving into appropriate slices and so I decided to try something a little different. I had bread dough leftover from making pizza and I thought that I could use some of this to make something along the lines of the stuffed Chinese buns known as Baozi. As a twist, however, I went with a filling that was more middle-eastern, and thus Shawarma-like, in spirit… Read more
For our recent Easter feast, I vacillated between duck, goose or leg of lamb, but the realities of northern living settled the issue for me as I could find none of the above and had to settle for a lamb shoulder instead. Thus far, I have only bought the shoulder so as to cut it up for use in curries or Chinese dishes involving bite size pieces, and I have to confess to never having cooked one whole. When I was bemoaning the fact that I could find neither lamb leg or even chops for our Easter meal, Stefan over at Stefan’s Gourmet Blog suggested that I do the shoulder sous-vide or braise it, but since the former is technically beyond my equipment-wise, and since my wife prefers roast lamb, I decided to go ahead and do it in the oven using a herb-spice combination known as a Gremolata.
A Gremolata is similar to another well-known preparation known as a Persillade, which, in its simplest form is just parsley minced with garlic. The essential difference between the two is that a Gremolata includes lemon zest but, like the persillade, there are many variations on the basic theme. Some versions include sage, thyme, rosemary or mint, and in Milan, I gather, anchovy paste is sometimes used. Oil, chiefly olive oil, may also be added depending on the intended use for the finished preparation. For today’s dish, I am keeping my Gremolata fairly simple… Read more
My wife and I purchased a big box of some lovely frozen scallops over the Christmas holidays. They are very large indeed (and we have only eaten a few so far) so I thought I might use some in a fairly simple but tasty stir-fry dish using snow-peas and a bit of the Chinese Black Fungus I featured in a Foodstuffs post not long ago. The dish I came up with is generally Chinese in spirit but I departed from traditional methods and briefly grilled the scallops before adding them to the wok… Read more
Poaching a whole chicken in the Chinese fashion and then serving the succulent and richly flavored result as a cold appetizer was one of the ideas I had in mind when I began my ‘Master Sauce’ project back on February 26th. The sauce is now a little over a month old and this will be its second use following the Red-Cooked Pork Hocks dish that I cooked back on March 6th and then wrote about a week or so ago.
During the month or so that the sauce has been in existence, I have brought it briefly to the boil on four different occasions to keep it fresh and then, following the pork hock experiment, I replenished some of the liquid (mostly with water, but also a little soy sauce and rice wine) and I also simmered some onion, celery and mushroom trimmings in it to further add to the depth of flavor. I have not felt it necessary to use any further spice ingredients yet as I like the way that the current spice level is mellowing nicely and providing background notes without being too assertive.
If you want to try cooking chicken the same way, you can, if you wish, start from scratch with a batch of fresh Master Sauce as per my original recipe, but I am looking forward to seeing how the accumulated richness of my current sauce works in this simple dish… Read more
I had some fresh Pineapple leftover from my Thai-style Pork with Pineapple dish featured not long ago and I thought I would try and use them in a Chinese shrimp dish I have cooked before that features battered prawns (very large shrimp) coated in a thick sauce using honey and sesame seeds. For this experiment, however, I decided to make things a little lighter by not using batter to fry the shrimp, and to jazz the dish up a little with the pineapple and some of the flavor palate of Indonesia… Read more
This experiment will be the first use of the Chinese ‘Master Sauce’ I posted about a short while ago. I have very much wanted to reproduce the ‘Pig Trotter’ I featured in a ‘Notable Noshings’ article back in December but, since pig’s feet are not generally available in these parts, I have substituted the much more common hocks. As I mentioned in the ‘Pig’s Trotter’ post, the featured dish that I enjoyed at the Harmony Restaurant in Ottawa is a good example of the Chinese culinary technique known as ‘red-cooking’ in which foodstuffs are slowly braised in a soy-sauce based medium (hence giving the requisite ‘red’ color). As the master sauce I prepared essentially fits this criteria, I thought it would be perfect for today’s experiment… Read more
After sampling several Northern Chinese BBQ dishes at the Ju Xiang Yuan Restaurant in Ottawa some time ago, I tried reproducing one of their offerings and posted it as Grilled Squid with Chili and Cumin. The restaurant also does shrimp grilled the same basic way (which I didn’t try, but mean to rectify sometime), and I thought I would give it a try at home first. I am departing from the general method used by the restaurant (they dust with ground dried chili, cumin and sesame seeds), and instead used a chili paste that is first slightly sweetened… Read more