The picture above shows my first attempt at salting fish for preservation. To date, my only experience with salted, dried fish is salt-cod, which I have purchased and used but never prepared for myself. In these of almost universal freezer-ownership, salting and drying fish in order to keep it is not really necessary but the process changes the texture in pleasing ways and intensifies the flavor. I didn’t have cod, which is a bit rare these days, but I had just purchased two large Arctic Char from a guy selling them door to door and I kept back a couple of fillets for this experiment… Continue reading “Salted Char”
Dried Abalone is one of those special ingredients, such as Shark fin, to use another example, that are highly prized, especially in Chinese cuisine. These sorts of delicacies typically just served for special occasions, not only because of the sheer expense, but also, because of the time-consuming preparation required.
For those unfamiliar, the Abalone is an open-shelled marine snail that is cultivated and harvested in many places around the world. The fresh meat is considered a delicacy in many cuisines, and one can also buy it canned, but the dried variety is most particularly associated with Chinese cookery. I have yet to try the fresh article myself, and so cannot compare it to the dried , but my experience is that dried abalone, while very tasty (and with a pleasant texture), owes much of its cachet, like, say, rare wines, or long-aged single malt scotches, to the expense rather than any special quality. That being said, though, it is definitely worth trying at least once… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Dried Abalone”
A while ago, I downloaded a picture of an interesting looking dish which bore the title ‘Salted Duck Egg Yolk Fried Prawns’. There was no recipe, nor even any description, rather, it was just a picture of a dish enjoyed by someone in a restaurant in, I think, Malaysia or Singapore. Now, I have written about Chinese Salted Duck Egg before and I mentioned that you can purchase them in their raw state, or cooked. I do not know what was used in the dish that inspired this experiment, but I only had the latter on hand and so was limited to using that. Anyway, here is what I did… Continue reading “Salted Duck Egg Fried Shrimp”
Today’s offering is inspired by a Sichuan dish that features flash-fried green beans combined with ground pork, plus chilli and other typical Sichuan seasonings. The dish you see above departs from the basic theme by using zucchini, and the ‘three flavoured’ appellation stems from the fact that three different taste components are represented. The dish is spicy hot with homemade Simple Chilli Oil, salty, from Preserved Radish, and rich in the umami flavour of Chinese Dried Shrimp. Anyway, I have to apologize that I managed to lose my notes made whilst making this preparation but I think I can describe the basic idea as follows:
Reconstitute and then finely chop dried shrimp reserving the soaking water. Chop a similar amount of Preserved Radish finely. Fast fry batons of zucchini at very high temperature to sear the surface but leaving the flesh still crisp tender. Fry a little ground pork, separating the meat into ‘crumbs’ then add some minced ginger, white pepper, and garlic salt, followed by the radish, chopped shrimp and the soaking water. Add a little rice wine and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Add the zucchini and sauté until heated through then stir in some chilli oil (including the solid chilli flakes) and serve hot
I think you should be able to get the basic idea from the above. In any event, the result was really delicious…
This omelettes, or egg-cakes, picture here contain Preserved Radish and Conpoy and are thus quite Chinese in character, although I don’t know if this particular combination has actually ever been tried before. I had first thought of serving them with the typical ‘brown sauce’ that was once common on westernized versions of ‘Egg Foo Yung’ but, instead, I went a little Japanese and just drizzled them with a little ‘Eel Sauce’, sweet condiment rather like Chinese Oyster Sauce, that one often encounters topping the Japanese ‘pizza’ known as Okonmiyaki. If this is not something you have on hand, you could substitute a little Oyster Sauce with a little rice wine and sugar added… Continue reading “Omelet with Salted Radish and Conpoy”
Today’s dish illustrates one use of the Preserved Radish that I introduced to you not long ago. In this case, it is a stir-fried dish with the primary ingredient being water-velveted Pork along with some Black Chinese Mushroom … Continue reading “Pork with Preserved Radish”
The radish in this particular case is the large variety most commonly known by the Japanese name Daikon. This very versatile vegetable is preserved by a variety of different techniques all across Asia, especially by lactic acid fermentation, but the most basic method is by salt curing the flesh to dehydrate it and prevent microbial spoilage. The Chinese were probably the first to treat the vegetable this way but the technique is widely used elsewhere, especially in Korea and Thailand. Indeed, the product pictured above is of Thai manufacture… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Preserved Radish”
This particular foodstuff is something I have bought and used in a variety of different forms. The name on the can label, ‘Preserved Vegetable’ is further amplified in the Chinese script as being a Sichuan specialty, and one might be excused for thinking that the contents are any sort of vegetable that has been preserved in the style of Sichuan. In fact, any time you encounter the name ‘Sichuan Preserved Vegetable’, you are almost invariably dealing with a specific plant, sometimes known as a ‘Mustard Tuber’, which is fermented with salt and then quite heavily spiced, chiefly with chili paste or powder… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Sichuan Preserved Vegetable”
Katsuobushi is a preparation of fish, specifically Skipjack Tuna, but also Bonito, that is dried, smoked and then fermented using a mold similar to that used for making soy products like soy sauce and miso. As it is a primary ingredient in the ubiquitous Japanese stock known as Dashi, it is thus one of the cornerstones of Japanese cuisine… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Katsuobushi”
When I featured a commercially produced Chinese Preserved Pork Belly in a ‘Foodstuff’ post some time ago, I made a mental note to do a home-made version for you at some point. Unfortunately, whenever pork belly has appeared in our stores it has, until now, always been sliced and the slices are, as I discovered in a test recipe, just too thin to produce a decent result. A few days ago, however, I saw two one pound slabs of unsliced belly in our local store and I grabbed both of them. It is a shame that the rind has been removed but you can’t, as they say, have everything.
Many recipes for making preserved pork belly are quite complex and employ quite a variety of spices to flavor the meat. Some, especially recipes from Hunan, cold smoke the meat as well as salt-curing. Sichuan pepper is often used, as are Fennel, Cinnamon and Star Anise, but I don’t much care for the sweeter aromatics in this type of preparation and the version I will be making for you here is very straightforward and simple indeed…
Continue reading “Homemade Chinese-Style Preserved Pork Belly (五花臘肉)”