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The Chinese ‘Velveting’ Technique

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One of the secrets of Chinese Restaurant cookery is a process known as ‘velveting’ which gives meat or fish a silky, tender quality that many people find hard to reproduce at home. Basically, the idea is that the chosen ingredient, say, beef, or chicken, is first marinated in a mixture of egg-white, cornstarch, and some liquid (often rice wine or rice vinegar), and then briefly blanched in deep-fry oil, or sometimes water, before being cooked with the other ingredients of a (usually stir-fried) dish.

Quite honestly, I often don’t bother with a strictly proper velveting when making Chinese dishes as I usually wish to avoid trying to find a use of the leftover egg-yolks, but I frequently do a modified version where the egg-white, and sometimes the other liquid, is omitted. Indeed, you can find many, many any recipes here on my blog where I have done just that (Beef with Leek, for instance), but the effect is not quite the same as with the true technique. Accordingly, I am going to take a look at using the process (both oil-fried and water-blanched) here in this post today… Read more

Red Bell Pepper Sauce(s)

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A little while ago, I had half a roasted red pepper left over from another recipe and I decided to use it in a simple vinaigrette. It turned out very nicely and so I decided to make a basic Red Bell Pepper Sauce that could be extended with additional ingredients as needed and thus used in a variety of different ways (hence the use of the word ‘sauces’ in the title). Today, I am going to show you the general method and illustrate its versatility with some pictures of a few of ways I employed the batch I made… [ Read more

Twice Cooked Lamb with Onion

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This post is a follow up to my last and, again, uses lamb leftover from my Christmas dinner. Although it looks vaguely Chinese, it is pretty western in character and could easily be served with potato, or even as a filling for Naan or Pita breads… Read more

Ginger-Mint Lamb with Scallion and Jalapeño

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Today’s recipe is the first of a couple I created as ways to use up the leftover meat from my Christmas dinner lamb roast (although either could be prepared using the fresh, raw article). This one cannot really be called a Chinese dish, insofar as mint is not commonly used by the Chinese, but the cooking techniques, and the use of ginger, are very Chinese in spirit. Also, I will also say, at the outset, that this dish turned out to be one of the nicest I have created in quite a while… Read more

Foodstuff: Lamb Sausage

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In the last few months, the availability and variety of lamb products has expanded tremendously up here on Baffin Island. Lamb has never traditionally been a widely popular meat in Canada and I attribute the new increased demand to signal a shift in the demographic. There has been a Mosque here in Iqaluit for about a year now and, since I haven’t noticed any sudden influx of Australians or Greeks of late, I rather think that the noticeably increased numbers of immigrants from the Middle East has brought about this welcome change.

Anyway, in addition to some other lamb products, there is a new line of packaged items produced under the name LÄM, a registered trademark of the ‘Canadian Lamb Producers Co-operative’. The website for the cooperative lists their products as being Burgers, Sausages, Kabobs and Meatballs, and, thus far, I have seen the first three of these available locally. I mean to try the Burgers and Kabobs in due course but, today, I am going to try out the Sausage… Read more

Basic Tomato Sauce

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Today’s recipe is for a very Basic sort of tomato sauce. Obviously, the most basic version of a tomato sauce would consist only of tomatoes simmered down to a sauce (and this can be terrific with tomatoes fresh from the vine) but although we are getting a bit more complex here, the result is a plain sauce that contains no strong seasonings (such as oregano, for instance) which might limit its uses to certain types of dishes. Rather, the Basic Sauce that results here can be used standalone, or as a base for more complex preparations. Read more

XO Dragon and Phoenix

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In Chinese cuisine, the name ‘Dragon and Phoenix’ means that a dish combines Shrimp and Chicken in some way. Today, I have put together a simple illustration of the idea using cucumber, for its pleasing color and texture, and a rich XO Sauce for depth of flavor… Read more

Chinese Cold Spiced Beef

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Today’s (very simple) post illustrates just one of the many variations on a common theme in Chinese cookery. Cold plates frequently commence a Chinese banquet and combinations may include dressed jelly-fish shreds, cold roast pork with crackling, or marbled tea-eggs (to name just a few). One perennial favorite is thinly sliced braised beef shank, especially where the meat has been prepared as in my ‘Red-Cooked Beef Shank ‘  recipe posted not long ago… Read more

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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My Christmas Eve Dinner this year was the humongous affair you see pictured above. Fish, and nowadays shellfish as well, has long been traditional Christmas Eve fare among the Italians but this is the first time I have given it a try. The melange you see above is Lobster, King Crab, Mussels, Shrimp and Scallops all steamed together with a broth made from Wakame Seaweed and White Wine. On the side I had fresh bread and garlic butter with just a dash of lemon. The ingredients were all of the frozen variety, sadly, but I think I may make this a new tradition for the holiday season.

Christmas Dinner is waiting to go into the oven at present. My wife and I are each cooking a leg of lamb at the same time; She on Long Island in Nova Scotia, and me on my my much larger island here in the Arctic. We’ll need to be on the phone from time to time to co-ordinate, but I am expecting the results to be delicious.

Here’s wishing you all equally wonderful holiday noshing….

 

 

Shrimp and Vegetable Korma

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In Indian cuisine, a Korma (which can be spelled many different ways, including Qorma, Khorma, Kurma, etc.), is a braised dish to which either yoghurt, cream, or coconut milk is added, to yield a smooth and rich finished dish. There are all sorts of variations on the basic theme, and, though the end-result can be quite fiery, in restaurant versions they are typically very mild. Today’s rendition, using shrimp, cauliflower and carrot, falls into that category… Read more

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