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GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Growing up Asian in the Silicon Valley during the dot-com era, I was exposed to a lot of really good Chinese food. Be it at a local joint with the family after church, at a family friend's banquet wedding, or at a friends house for dinner, by the time I moved away from home, I had some very high standards for Chinese food, and really wanted to be able to reproduce it myself.



Recipes and guides in this thread (so far):
Beef with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce
Dan dan mian (spicy and numbing cold noodles)
Dat Tat (Hong Kong Egg Custard Tarts)
Di San Xian, stir fried potatoes, aubergine, and pepper
Gailan and Preserved Ham
La Rou Fan (Chinese bacon and rice bowl)
Lo Bak Go, Cantonese turnip cake dim sum
Ma po tofu, Gravity's guide
Ma po tofu, Sjurygg's guide
Numbing and Hot Cold Meats
Red Braised Pork, (aka Mao's Red Braised Pork, Hunan Braised Pork)
Roast Pork Belly (Siew Yuk) version 1
Roast Pork Belly (Siew Yuk) version 2
Salt and Pepper *stuff*
Shu mai, Pork and Shrimp Dim Sum Steamed Dumplings
Shredded pork with Sichuan Garlic Sauce (Yu Xiang Rou Si)
Spicy Fish and Bean Curd Stick in Claypot
Westlake Beef Soup
Zha Jiang Mian (Fried Sauce Noodles)

Blog links from Kritzkreig Kop:
Spicy Cold Noodles
Red-Cooked Spareribs (紅燒排骨 Hong Shao Pai Gu)
Green Onion Pancakes
Cumin Pork
Spicy eggplant
Tang Yuan 汤圆 (Glutinous Rice Balls)



The Pantry:

Light soy sauce
Most soy you buy in grocery stores is sort of halfway between a light and dark soy based more closely on a Japanese variety, a sort of jack of all trades master of none, soy. There really is a noticeable difference between light and dark soys. Light soys are thinner and are used mostly for adding salt and “umami” without adding color, great for light gravies, chicken or seafood dishes, or for dipping. It is a younger soy and the best quality ones (Touchōu) will come from a first pressing, very similar to extra virgin oils. Swirling a bottle will not result in heavy coating of the glass.

Dark soy sauce
Dark soy is an older, thicker soy. It usually has molasses added. Swirling a bottle will result in coloration and coating of the glass walls. It is usually added to beef and pork dishes due to its richer flavor and darker coloring.

for both light and dark soy I like Pearl River Bridge brand

Oyster sauce

A dark, viscous, savory sauce made from oysters. Used a lot in stir frys.

Toasted sesame oil
An aromatic flavoring oil usually used to finish a dish.

Chili sesame oil
Sesame oil infused with chilies.

XO sauce
A relative newcomer to Chinese cuisine. XO sauce is indicative of the Hong Kong style cooking. It is comprised of dried seafood such as abalone, scallops, and shrimp, cooked with chilies and aromatics in oil. It can be made at home, as well as bought in a jar. I have not made it myself, but plan to in the future. Due to the price of raw ingredients, most people may be better served buying it premade. Taste is salty, spicy, seafood-y.

Fermented black beans
Not to be confused with Latin American black beans, these are salted, fermented soy beans. Often comes in a jar or a can. Taste is sharp, salty, a bit pungent. You can also buy premixed “black bean sauce” but the flavor of these isn’t as good.

Garlic chili paste

Or chili garlic sauce, it is a fairly spicy fresh chili paste with garlic (hence the name). Used a lot in Sichuan food, as well as a table condiment. It is very similar to Sambal Oelek and can be used interchangeably.

Shaoxing rice wine
Chinese cooking wine, usually added to marinades as it tames rough gamy or fishy flavors. Oft substituted with dry sherry, I find that it is worth hunting for.

Sichuan flower pepper, prickly ash
Contrary to the name, flower peppers are not related to peppercorns or capsicum in any way. They are a member of the ash family and are “hot” in a different manner than both peppercorns and capsicum. They are tongue numbing. Flavor notes are like rounded citrus tones.

Star Anise
A star shaped spice that is very similar to anise in flavor (go figure).

“Five spice blend”
A blend of cloves, star anise, flower pepper, fennel seeds, and cinnamon. Can be bought as a preground blend, but is much better if you use whole spices and grind fresh each time you need it.

MSG
Monosodium Glutamate. Makes Stuff Good. Contrary to what your crazy health nut aunt told you, MSG is no worse for you than salt. Also contrary to what she told you, they have also never conclusively shown that there is such thing as an MSG sensitivity.

Wikipedia posted:

While many people believe that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the cause of these symptoms, an association has never been demonstrated under rigorously controlled conditions, even in studies with people who were convinced that they were sensitive to the compound.
Not to mention glutamates are naturally found in things like mushrooms, meat, and seaweed, but “MSG sensitive” people don’t avoid those, do they? You can usually find MSG in little bottles or in plastic pouches at asian markets

Yuxiang
Like the French mirepoix, or the Spanish sofrito, the Chinese have an aromatic gastronomic trinity as well. Yuxiang consists of the blend of garlic, ginger, and scallions. In Sichuan food, the trinity is garlic, ginger, and chilies.

The Wok
The large, thin, carbon steel or cast iron cooking vessel of choice in much of Chinese cooking. Proper use of a wok implies face rippingly hot heat, therefore WOKS SHOULD NOT BE TEFLON COATED. Look for a wok that is thin and has a metal or wood handle, often welded or bolted to the wok body. Do not get a wok with a plastic handle. Woks are authentically round bottomed, however if you cannot use a wok ring, or must use an electric range, get a flat bottomed wok. Spergers will rant at you for it, but it's better than nothing, and certainly better than nonstick "woks". Like cast iron cookware, woks need to be seasoned. Watch this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SesaUVFZ-M.
The surface chemistry of proper wok seasoning requires oil to plasticize on the surface. Some methods tell you to just swirl oil around in the wok, dump excess, and heat to high temp for long periods of time, but this method results in an uneven seasoning (it will eventually even out over time, though). The oils will bead and harden into droplet like structures on the surface of the pan. With the paper towel method, you are constantly redistributing the oil across the surface of the pan in a thin layer, preventing the droplets from forming. You aren't actually baking the paper into the wok. A properly seasoned wok, used correctly, will be moderately nonstick. Things wont slide around like an ice rink as on Teflon, but you should have some nonstick properties. Use the highest intensity heat source you can. Many gas ranges have a “quick boil” burner, use that. Those with electric ranges, you may want to consider buying an outdoor setup. One way to get around lack of power is to cook in smaller batches and in steps, being sure to fully heat up the wok between batches/steps.

The Wok Spatula
It is useful to have a proper wok spatula. They have longer handles and are made out of wood or metal. I like using wood ones. The bottom edge is curved like the bottom of a wok, and the surface area of the spoon section is large, allowing for efficient stirring.

Bamboo Steamers
You can also use your wok to steam. In order to do this you will need to pick up a bamboo steamer. They are pretty cheap at Asian markets. Unless you can get profuse amounts of steam, you really shouldn't stack these any higher than 2 or 3, as the temperature of the air/steam will drop the higher you go in the stack. Relatively recently, food celebrities warn against the use of bamboo steamers, worrying about cross contamination. I say they are just being dumb. Bamboo steamers in use are constantly full of 212F steam, and you should be washing them afterwards. Just spray down with a star san solution after, wipe it down, and let it dry.

Techniques

Slicing meat thin
When I was learning how to cook Chinese food, one of the first things I had to figure out was how to get meat sliced thinly. My favorite Chinese places growing up had meat that was nearly ribbon thin. As I started figuring out techniques and recipes, one thing that escaped me was how to get the meat as succulent as the best restaurants I’ve been to. One part of this succulence is cooking the meat as quickly as you can, achieved not only with infernal heat but with thinly slicing the meat as well (there are other tricks, too). In order to slice meat thin, place it in the freezer for half an hour to 45 min. The meat should be slushy and hard, but still pliable, and not frozen through. Then use a cleaver and slice against the grain.

The usual marinade
Many stir fried meat dishes start out the same way. Slice meat thinly then marinate in a mixture of shaoxing wine, light (or dark) soy, sesame oil, cornstarch, a bit of baking soda (optional), and minced garlic and ginger. Baking soda is optional. It helps to tenderize the meat. I only use it with tougher cuts of beef and pork, I don't bother with tender cuts or chicken and seafood. The meat should not be swimming in marinade, actually, it should be quite dry. I never measure this step, but if I had to just estimate right now, for about a half pound of meat I’d say: 1 tsp cornstarch, a pinch of baking soda (if used), a small splash of soy, small splash of sesame, small splash of shaoxing, 1 minced clove garlic and an equal size piece of ginger, minced. If you are cooking chicken or seafood, use light soy. Use dark for beef and pork. Mix through. Marinate for 15-30 min.

Mise en place
A French term meaning “everything in place,” I would say that it is one of the most important things to making good Chinese food. Mise en place in this context means to have all of the ingredients for a certain dish prepped and chopped and ready to be cooked, all easily accessible and within reach before you even start heating the wok. Many stir fried dishes should take less than 3 minutes to make once you start cooking. Stopping to chop something or find a bottle of sauce could prove to be detrimental to your attempt. I go so far as to take all the lids off the bottles and jars and put spoons in the jars before I start cooking, so I don’t have to leave the wok at all.

Ready…set…go! The usual method
Fire it up! Turn on your hood vent. Put a dry wok on a burner set to its highest setting. Let it heat up. It will smoke. It may even start to glow red. That is fine. When ready to cook add a neutral oil like grapeseed, canola, or peanut. Do not be shy. Swirl in wok. It, too, will begin to ripple and smoke almost instantly. Place meat into wok, distributing across the bottom into a small layer and let sear for a little bit. Scrape your wooden or metal spatula across the bottom to dislodge all the meat. With your other hand, toss the meat with the wok using flick of the wrist. Repeat until meat is mid rare. Depending on heat source intensity, you may want to pause in between tossing to get some char. You may also want to reserve the meat and let the wok get hot again before moving on. Add fleshy vegetables like onions, bell peppers, etc. Repeat tossing motion. Veg should be cooked through, but should still be very toothsome. If you reserved meat, reserve veg, too and bring the wok back up to smoking temperature. Replace both meat and veg. Add sauces. Toss. Add leafy veg like cilantro, scallions, or chives. Toss. Serve.

Keep trying and eventually you should look like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYAew58LXkU#t=138s


Cleaning the wok
Cleaning a wok is easy. Put it on the heat, bring to excessive smoke point. Pour in about a cup of water. Swirl, scrape with spatula or use a bamboo brush:
http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Rim-G...02021006&sr=1-1
This one is kind of pricey, I'm just posting it here so people know what it looks like. Go to Chinatown/Asian market, they're like 3bux. The bristles are rigid and will dislodge food, are soft enough to not damage the seasoning, and will not melt like plastic. Once the surface is smooth, dump water, put back on burner to dry thoroughly. Pour a bit of oil in pan and wipe entire surface with paper towel to distribute evenly. It is not important to cook in the oil, as with seasoning, but you just want to put a thin layer across the surface to prevent rust from forming in scratches that may have formed. Let the wok cool, and store. Like other cast iron cookware, never use soap on a wok, and for the love of all that is holy NEVER PUT A WOK IN THE DISHWASHER.


I'll keep updating this thread with some recipes and ingredients as we move along, but this should be a good starting point. I'm by no means an expert, I just really love Chinese food, and love to cook, and like to think I've got a good grasp on a lot of the techniques. I would love to see your recipes and techniques here, too.

GrAviTy84 fucked around with this message at Aug 10, 2013 around 05:05

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King Bahamut
Nov 12, 2003
internet internet lama sabacthani

Nice OP! If you're going into recipes, are you taking requests? Anything regarding sichuan green beans or Chinese stock/soupmaking would be welcome

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



King Bahamut posted:

Nice OP! If you're going into recipes, are you taking requests? Anything regarding sichuan green beans or Chinese stock/soupmaking would be welcome

Thanks! Yes, I've done dry fried yardlong beans before, and I can post it.

PRADA SLUT
Mar 14, 2006

Got a big STEM up my asshole.

Can I get a Wok recommendation? I had one years ago but I didn't really know how to use it and hosed it all up.

Edit: or two so I can wok hand in hand

PRADA SLUT fucked around with this message at Apr 3, 2011 around 02:58

branedotorg
Jun 19, 2009


There was another good chinese foos thread a few months ago, has anyone seen it?
Great OP though, what region would you say most of your food is based on? I'd guess cantonese from the ingredients.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Gai lan and preserved ham


Ingredients:
Gai lan
Chinese bacon, ham, or sausage
1/4 cup chicken stock or water with 1 tsp brown sugar or palm sugar dissolved in and 1 tsp light soy

Slice about a cup of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) into 3 inch long pieces at an angle. Thinly slice some Chinese bacon or Chinese ham (even Chinese sausage will work in a pinch). In a hot wok, add a small amount of oil, swirl, and add ham. Brown and add gai lan. Toss a few times and add the stock/water solution. Cover and cook until gai lan is cooked but still toothsome. Remove cover and let a bit of the liquid evaporate. Serve.

Kung Fu Jesus
Jun 20, 2002

lol jews gonna get fucked.

If I buy one of those outdoor gas setups, will that give me that smokey flavor I can't seem to get at home?

CARL MARK FORCE IV
Sep 2, 2007

I took a walk. And threw up in an English garden.

Kung Fu Jesus posted:

If I buy one of those outdoor gas setups, will that give me that smokey flavor I can't seem to get at home?

Yes. That smokey flavor comes from insanely hot metal hitting things that are not insanely hot metal(they are usually food). Commercial Chinese places have these obscene, beautiful jets of embodied heat that poo poo out 150,000 BTUs and treat the wok like a Ronson JetFlame lighter treats a thin spoon with a bead of sticky tar slowly evaporating in its concavity. Tom Cruise-style jump on-the-couch-and-in-to-your-palate flavor action ensues. Dr. Mailliard cackles, glances at his instruments, displays unmitigated joy. Chicken wobbles back, forth in volcanic stir-fry-heat, simultaneously browns and causes singularity.

CARL MARK FORCE IV fucked around with this message at Apr 3, 2011 around 08:42

bongwizzard
May 19, 2005

Then one day I meet a man,
He came to me and said,
"Hard work good and hard work fine,
but first take care of head"

Grimey Drawer

That last post was pretty great.


This thread is very exciting, as I just bought my first proper wok and have been loving around with it for weeks without any guidance. What I have learned is that one cannot (or I cannot at least) cook porgies in a wok.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



PRADA SLUT posted:

Can I get a Wok recommendation? I had one years ago but I didn't really know how to use it and hosed it all up.

Edit: or two so I can wok hand in hand

I usually get mine at Asian markets. They're pretty good quality, though not the best. Sometimes, construction can be iffy. I gotta stress again to double check that it is not teflon coated, and that it should not have plastic handles. The handles should be either wood or metal or metal loops, and be welded or riveted on.

branedotorg posted:

Great OP though, what region would you say most of your food is based on? I'd guess cantonese from the ingredients.

I'd say, yes, mostly Cantonese, though I've cooked a few "standards" from other regions, especially from Sichuan province, and most recently (relatively), Taiwanese. I hope to attack dim sum in this thread, too, as it is one of my biggest comfort foods. mmmm...chicken feet.

GrAviTy84 fucked around with this message at Apr 3, 2011 around 15:48

Casu Marzu
Oct 20, 2008



A Rambling Vagrant posted:

Yes. That smokey flavor comes from insanely hot metal hitting things that are not insanely hot metal(they are usually food). Commercial Chinese places have these obscene, beautiful jets of embodied heat that poo poo out 150,000 BTUs and treat the wok like a Ronson JetFlame lighter treats a thin spoon with a bead of sticky tar slowly evaporating in its concavity. Tom Cruise-style jump on-the-couch-and-in-to-your-palate flavor action ensues. Dr. Mailliard cackles, glances at his instruments, displays unmitigated joy. Chicken wobbles back, forth in volcanic stir-fry-heat, simultaneously browns and causes singularity.

Dear A Rambling Vagrant,

This paragraph brought a tear to my eye. Carry on.

Signed,

Casu

Bertrand Hustle
Apr 29, 2007

Ah, music to my ears.


Is there an affordable solution for someone with an electric range to be able to wok properly at home?

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by FactsAreUseless


Bertrand Hustle posted:

Is there an affordable solution for someone with an electric range to be able to wok properly at home?

no, not really. the difference in flavor between a rip roaring hot wok and a just sort-of-hot wok is astounding. in fact, you're probably doing yourself a huge disservice by even trying to cook with a wok on an electric range, it just doesn't make sense. instead, get a cast iron pan the size of your largest "burner", and use that. the fact that its flat and contacting all the heat source might begin to make up for the electric bit.






op - was ready to troll the heck out of this thread becuase "chinese" "food" is such a broad and elusive topic, but great OP, I learned a few things. (baking soda?)

can you talk about 'sauces' (end of your post) a bit? I have many books about regional chinese foods, but I feel like this is one thing I just haven't managed a firm grasp on. I usually mix some chicken stock with some black bean, oyster, maybe a little sambal, soy, sometimes rice vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, ginger and hope for the best, but this sucks and my stir-fryish dishes usually taste way too much the same.

Bertrand Hustle
Apr 29, 2007

Ah, music to my ears.


mindphlux posted:

no, not really. the difference in flavor between a rip roaring hot wok and a just sort-of-hot wok is astounding. in fact, you're probably doing yourself a huge disservice by even trying to cook with a wok on an electric range, it just doesn't make sense. instead, get a cast iron pan the size of your largest "burner", and use that. the fact that its flat and contacting all the heat source might begin to make up for the electric bit.

I'm not talking about using the electric range, I'm talking about some sort of reasonably-priced gas stove. Preferably portable.

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

by FactsAreUseless


Bertrand Hustle posted:

I'm not talking about using the electric range, I'm talking about some sort of reasonably-priced gas stove. Preferably portable.

Sorry, didn't realize. I think turkey fryers are the go-to portable wok burners. The gas is pretty reasonably priced, and you can usually pick one up for about 40-50 either online or at target or something. Pretty sound investment, they're also great for frying a bunch of stuff without stinking up your kitchen.

branedotorg
Jun 19, 2009


For the record I'm a white australian who manages a bar with a very authentic thai kitchen & i've done about 5-6 days of 'foodie tourism' level chinese cooking classes in china in the ghangzhou, shenzhen & haikou provinces. I've also been cooking sichaun food at home for about 7-8 years with a little help from books & some people i've met through authentic local joints.
Happy to throw out some advice too if/when required.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



mindphlux posted:

op - was ready to troll the heck out of this thread becuase "chinese" "food" is such a broad and elusive topic, but great OP, I learned a few things. (baking soda?)
same.

Yeah, I realize it's kind of a broad term, but I kind of want it to be a broad thread. I would love to learn how to cook other styles as well, and I don't have the desire to be the only contributor, let's call this a Chinese multi-provincial collaboration thread, managed by a dude who cooks Cantonese food pretty well.

I'll add a little bit about why baking soda to the op.

branedotorg posted:

For the record I'm a white australian who manages a bar with a very authentic thai kitchen & i've done about 5-6 days of 'foodie tourism' level chinese cooking classes in china in the ghangzhou, shenzhen & haikou provinces. I've also been cooking sichaun food at home for about 7-8 years with a little help from books & some people i've met through authentic local joints.
Happy to throw out some advice too if/when required.

Awesome, I'd love to try some of your recipes and tricks.

Bertrand Hustle
Apr 29, 2007

Ah, music to my ears.


mindphlux posted:

Sorry, didn't realize. I think turkey fryers are the go-to portable wok burners. The gas is pretty reasonably priced, and you can usually pick one up for about 40-50 either online or at target or something. Pretty sound investment, they're also great for frying a bunch of stuff without stinking up your kitchen.

So I'd have to use it outside? I mean, I guess I could do all my prep inside and lug everything outside to cook, but it seems like a bit of a hassle.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Shredded pork with garlic sauce


I think it's also called "yuxiang rousi," or fish fragrant pork (though it has no fish in it). One of my favorite dishes. I used to order this all the time at a cafe near my school during lunch back in high school. Spicy, savory, sour, and a tad sweet for balance, this Sichuan dish, also popular in Shanghai restaurants, takes a few times to get the balance "just right", but it is totally worth trying.

Ingredients
1/2 lb pork cut thin, then into matchsticks, prepped in the usual marinade.
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, sliced thin
equal amount of wood ear fungus, sliced into ribbons
equal amount of bamboo shoots, cut into matchsticks
equal amount of peppers, cut into matchsticks, use a variety you are comfortable with the heat level of, I like using jalepenos
minced ginger, garlic, thinly sliced scallions
chili or sesame oil for finishing

Sauce:
2 tbsp light soy
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar, or red wine or white vinegar if you don't have black vinegar, use dark brown sugar if you substitute.
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tsp cornstarch
dash white pepper
1 tbsp or to taste, garlic chili paste
pinch MSG

Prep ingredients. In a bowl or cup, mix sauce ingredients. Heat wok, add pork, cook till mid rare. If underpowered, reserve, and bring wok back to high temp. Cook vegetables except scallions. Replace pork if reserved. Add sauce. Heat till thickened, add scallions and a drizzle of chili or sesame oil. Toss through. Serve.

Variations:
The veg I use here is my favorite combination for this dish, but I've seen places use water chestnuts, baby corn, sliced mushrooms, and even celery in addition to or instead of certain ingredients. I don't care for celery versions. The biggest thing in getting this dish down is learning the proper balance of vinegar to sugar to heat to salt. You can also use this sauce with eggplant and/or deep fried tofu.

Edit:
I like a lot of sauce when I make this as I really like it on steamed rice. This recipe may be a bit heavy on the sauce for some, so you may want to start with about 3/4's as much sauce.

mich posted:

I made the fish fragrant pork yesterday and it was delicious! The amount of sauce was a bit much for my taste so in my second batch I used half as much sauce and then mixed the two batches together and it was perfect. Thanks so much for the recipe.

GrAviTy84 fucked around with this message at Apr 15, 2011 around 01:31

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



mindphlux posted:

Sorry, didn't realize. I think turkey fryers are the go-to portable wok burners. The gas is pretty reasonably priced, and you can usually pick one up for about 40-50 either online or at target or something. Pretty sound investment, they're also great for frying a bunch of stuff without stinking up your kitchen.

Yeah, turkey fryers are a pretty good way to go. You can also use them for homebrewing beer.

Bertrand Hustle posted:

So I'd have to use it outside? I mean, I guess I could do all my prep inside and lug everything outside to cook, but it seems like a bit of a hassle.

Get a tray, put prepped stuff on tray. It's no more of a hassle than grilling.

Frosted Ambassador
Dec 25, 2009

Surfing on the network
Part of me is dead


Great OP, I'm excited for this thread! I recently went to the local Asian grocery store in search of a wok, and they were all Teflon coated! Can anyone recommend a good online dealer?

I'm planning to buy a couple books on Sichuan cooking. Has anyone had experience with Land of Plenty or Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook?

Bob_McBob
Mar 24, 2007


Frosted Ambassador posted:

Has anyone had experience with Land of Plenty

Buy this.

feelz good man
Jan 21, 2007

deal with it


Bertrand Hustle posted:

Is there an affordable solution for someone with an electric range to be able to wok properly at home?
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic...d=1GYU5MXZ3VIO1

$35 and free shipping with Prime. This one is rated at 185,000BTU, so it should be good in theory for wok cookery.

indoflaven
Dec 10, 2009


feelz good man posted:

http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic...d=1GYU5MXZ3VIO1

$35 and free shipping with Prime. This one is rated at 185,000BTU, so it should be good in theory for wok cookery.

That's assuming there's a backyard or large garage to work in. Large cast iron would be safer and easier.

nm
Jan 28, 2008

"I saw Minos the Space Judge holding a golden sceptre and passing sentence upon the Martians. There he presided, and around him the noble Space Prosecutors sought the firm justice of space law."

Oh god, I need $4200.
http://www.imperialrange.com/downloads/Specialty.pdf

toxicitysquared
Nov 12, 2007


Jiggled Again


so if I cook using op's methods would I get takeout style chinese food? ive tried making some before but I could never get it right.

Lrrr
Jan 17, 2010


I started wondering how big the difference was between gas and electrical so I tried to find out.

The biggest range on my stove top (9 inches) delivers 2100 watt (or joules/s) which I think is pretty standard. 2100 joules is 2 BTU (1.99 really but shush)I think gas ranges are normally measured in BTU/H so multiply that with 3600 and you get 7200 BTU/H from my electrical range. A quick google search suggested that a high output burner for gas ranges delivers around 15000 BTU/H I must say I was surprised that the difference was that big.

I'm sticking my hopes to better efficiency on electrical ranges so that the difference in actual heat delivered is smaller than those numbers suggest...

Anyway, I can't say I have ever seen lack of heat as a problem. Off course I can't use a wok because of the shape, but I'm certain my cast iron on full heat delivers enough wok hai for a stir fry for two. But I may just be defensive now after the above results on energy consumption...


Nice thread anyway, I'll follow this for sure. Hope to see information on even more ingredients and also some non-stir fry recipes

branedotorg
Jun 19, 2009


Frosted Ambassador posted:

Great OP, I'm excited for this thread! I recently went to the local Asian grocery store in search of a wok, and they were all Teflon coated! Can anyone recommend a good online dealer?

I'm planning to buy a couple books on Sichuan cooking. Has anyone had experience with Land of Plenty or Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook?

I prefer Fuchsia Dunlop's Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China (but it's a memoir with recipes rather than a cook book, great for background) to Land Of Plenty but either are excellent.

branedotorg
Jun 19, 2009


There's an excellent series of pictorial recipes put together by a guy named Ah Leung who used to post on egullet. Warning though the recipes are in old style windows help format, for vista or 7 you'll need to download a .chm/.hlp viewer from microsoft.
Point being his recipes are fantastic home style chinese cooked almost entirely in a flat frypan.

http://www.freewebs.com/hzrt8w/LeungPictorials.htm

kuskus
Oct 20, 2007



branedotorg posted:

There's an excellent series of pictorial recipes put together by a guy named Ah Leung who used to post on egullet. Warning though the recipes are in old style windows help format, for vista or 7 you'll need to download a .chm/.hlp viewer from microsoft.
Point being his recipes are fantastic home style chinese cooked almost entirely in a flat frypan.

http://www.freewebs.com/hzrt8w/LeungPictorials.htm

Here's a PDF converted from iChm on OS X.

Hollis Brown
Oct 17, 2004

It's like people only do things because they get paid, and that's just really sad


GrAviTy84/anyone else-

I'm new to trying to cook chinese and was wondering what cut of pork to get for the shredded pork with garlic sauce? I'm guessing tenderloin?

My roommate has one of those gas fryers for home brewing and I have a wok so I'm hoping to really get some serious heat going.

ForkPat
Aug 5, 2003

All the food is poison


When I was looking for the best cookbook I found this: http://www.amazon.com/Stir-Frying-S.../dp/1416580573/ in a Saveur article. "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories" came out last year and it's the only stir fry book you need.

I got so amped I got this massive wok and outdoor burner: http://www.amazon.com/18-Carbon-Ste.../dp/B000NCVD6U/ 65,000 BTU will incinerate anything in minutes if you're not careful and I've been using the same tank once a week for the past year. You just prep everything and keep the meat, veg and sauce separate. I can't imagine ever using 185,000 BTUs posted a ways up unless you're loving Chen Kinichi. I make way better Chinese food than the lovely places around here.

I then picked up an $8 "ping ping pan" from the Korean Market which is a wok in some coating you have to burn off. I had to get a smaller wok because the one that came with the burner is large enough to bathe three small children. The handle on the ping ping pan was hollow so I stuck a spare bit of dowel in there to extend it out.

A couple things to keep in mind: Pearl River Bridge light soy sauce is king. Japanese soy sauce is poo poo as it has alcohol in it. Korean soy sauce is pretty much the lowest you can get before you hit La Choy territory. Don't season your wok with a paper towel. Just stir fry an onion until it's cinder. Would you rather have your food taste like food or burnt paper?

One thing I haven't "mastered" is keeping the wok from charring excess meat marinade prior to removing it to cook the vegetables. It turns to concrete at the bottom and takes a handful of course salt and a bit of elbow grease to scrub that poo poo out of there.

Maybe I can incinerate it off like a self-cleaning oven prior to cooking the veg?

ForkPat fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2011 around 05:19

Blots of Ink
Mar 3, 2011


Hollis Brown posted:

GrAviTy84/anyone else-

I'm new to trying to cook chinese and was wondering what cut of pork to get for the shredded pork with garlic sauce? I'm guessing tenderloin?

My roommate has one of those gas fryers for home brewing and I have a wok so I'm hoping to really get some serious heat going.

Tenderloin is great for stir fry. It doesn't have much fat in it either so it is relatively healthy (If that's what you're into).

Also @ OP, you should look at getting some XO Sauce into your pantry. Its made with dried scallops, shrimp, chili, garlic, peppers, and oil. Add a bit of this when stir frying green beans or any type of vegetable gives it quite a unique taste. However, it is a bit pricy compared to soy sauce.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



I am aware of and have XO sauce in my pantry. I mentioned it in the OP:

GrAviTy84 posted:

XO sauce
A relative newcomer to Chinese cuisine. XO sauce is indicative of the Hong Kong style cooking. It is comprised of dried seafood such as abalone, scallops, and shrimp, cooked with chilies and aromatics in oil. It can be made at home, as well as bought in a jar. I have not made it myself, but plan to in the future. Due to the price of raw ingredients, most people may be better served buying it premade. Taste is salty, spicy, seafood-y.




Hollis Brown posted:

GrAviTy84/anyone else-

I'm new to trying to cook chinese and was wondering what cut of pork to get for the shredded pork with garlic sauce? I'm guessing tenderloin?

My roommate has one of those gas fryers for home brewing and I have a wok so I'm hoping to really get some serious heat going.

You can use tenderloin, loin, or even shoulder. Just make sure you slice thin, no big chunks.

GrAviTy84 fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2011 around 06:21

branedotorg
Jun 19, 2009


PorkFat posted:


A couple things to keep in mind: Pearl River Bridge light soy sauce is king. Japanese soy sauce is poo poo as it has alcohol in it. Korean soy sauce is pretty much the lowest you can get before you hit La Choy territory. Don't season your wok with a paper towel. Just stir fry an onion until it's cinder. Would you rather have your food taste like food or burnt paper?


My local korean shop (there's three within 300m of my place) has about 30 types of soy from fresh to aged gangjang stuff.

Most japanese soy doesn't actually have alcohol in it either btw.

ForkPat
Aug 5, 2003

All the food is poison


branedotorg posted:

My local korean shop (there's three within 300m of my place) has about 30 types of soy from fresh to aged gangjang stuff.

Your experience is very rare, even in Korea when I lived there in 2006:

wikipedia posted:

Wide scale use of Joseon ganjang has been somewhat superseded by cheaper factory-made Japanese style soy sauce, called waeganjang (hangul: 왜간장/和: 간장). According to the 2001 national food consumption survey in Korea, traditional fermented ganjang comprised only 1.4% of soy sauce purchases
The majority is made crap with caramel color, hydrolyzed, guanylated this and that and comes in plastic containers.

branedotorg posted:

Most japanese soy doesn't actually have alcohol in it either btw.

You're right, it just tastes like it does which is displeasing to me. But some do add alcohol. I find Chinese soy sauces to be of the best quality and taste. Just look out for counterfeit products! Yes, there is a black market for counterfeit Chinese sauces. Some manufacturers have even gone to lengths to put holograms on their labels.

ForkPat fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2011 around 13:32

The Macaroni
Dec 20, 2002
...it does nothing.

PorkFat, is there a particular brand of Chinese soy sauce that you like? I know I'm weird, but I've always preferred the taste of Japanese thin/light soy sauce and Thai thick/dark soy sauce. Doesn't mean I'm not open to change if I meet the right soy sauce. OP likes Pearl River brand--I've never tried their thin soy, but I definitely prefer Thai Healthy Boy thick soy.

GrAviTy84 posted:

Shaoxing rice wine
Chinese cooking wine, usually added to marinades as it tames rough gamy or fishy flavors. Oft substituted with dry sherry, I find that it is worth hunting for.
Is it worth trying to find Shaoxing without salt added? (Drinking shaoxing as opposed to "cooking" shaoxing, in other words.) I don't live near a significant Chinese population, so I'd probably have a hell of a time finding it anyway. My bottle of cooking shaoxing is just about gone and I need to get some more.

ForkPat
Aug 5, 2003

All the food is poison


The Macaroni posted:

PorkFat, is there a particular brand of Chinese soy sauce that you like? I know I'm weird, but I've always preferred the taste of Japanese thin/light soy sauce and Thai thick/dark soy sauce. Doesn't mean I'm not open to change if I meet the right soy sauce. OP likes Pearl River brand--I've never tried their thin soy, but I definitely prefer Thai Healthy Boy thick soy.
Is it worth trying to find Shaoxing without salt added? (Drinking shaoxing as opposed to "cooking" shaoxing, in other words.) I don't live near a significant Chinese population, so I'd probably have a hell of a time finding it anyway. My bottle of cooking shaoxing is just about gone and I need to get some more.

Yeah, I think Pearl River brand is the best. As for cooking wine, I also find myself in the pit of despair with few choices in good ingredients unless I drive an hour into the city. Don't use the cooking rice wine with salt and crap in it. I mix things up by using vodka or tequila. A good tequila like 1800 gold will add a peppery note which is great in Szechuan style. Even if you have the real Shaoxing available, I recommend you try it a few times with other booze. And the OP said, sherry is a decent substitute.

ForkPat fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2011 around 15:10

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



PorkFat posted:

Would you rather have your food taste like food or burnt paper?

One thing I haven't "mastered" is keeping the wok from charring excess meat marinade prior to removing it to cook the vegetables. It turns to concrete at the bottom and takes a handful of course salt and a bit of elbow grease to scrub that poo poo out of there.

Maybe I can incinerate it off like a self-cleaning oven prior to cooking the veg?

You can use paper or onion or whatever, it's not really that big of a deal, you're burning the poo poo out of the stuff either way, you wont be able to tell what was in there before. The most important thing is the use of oil. Don't just put an onion in there. The surface chemistry of proper wok seasoning requires oil to plasticize on the surface. Some methods tell you to just swirl oil around in the wok, dump excess, and heat to high temp for long periods of time, but this method results in an uneven seasoning (it will eventually even out over time, though). The oils will bead and harden into droplet like structures on the surface of the pan. With the paper towel method, you are constantly redistributing the oil across the surface of the pan in a thin layer, preventing the droplets from forming. You aren't actually baking the paper into the wok.

I think you're using too much marinade. It should be quite dry. You should only be using enough to coat the amount of meat you are using. There should not be any excess.

Cleaning a wok is easy. You might know some of this, but I'll post a whole shpeal for those that don't. Put it on the heat, bring to excessive smoke point. Pour in about a cup of water. Swirl, scrape with spatula or use a bamboo brush:
http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Rim-G...02021006&sr=1-1
This one is kind of pricey. Go to Chinatown, they're like 3bux. The bristles are rigid and will dislodge food, are soft enough to not damage the seasoning, and will not melt like plastic. Once the surface is smooth, dump water, put back on burner to dry thoroughly. Pour a bit of oil in pan and wipe entire surface with paper towel to distribute evenly. It is not important to cook in the oil, as with seasoning, but you just want to put a thin layer across the surface to prevent rust from forming in scratches that may have formed. Let the wok cool, and store.

Edit: I'm going to add some of this stuff to the OP.

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ForkPat
Aug 5, 2003

All the food is poison


GrAviTy84 posted:


I think you're using too much marinade. It should be quite dry.

use a bamboo brush

Thanks, I'll look harder for a bamboo brush the next time I go to the city. I can't find one around here and I'm not going to spend $10 on Amazon. I had one before with another wok, which is the wok I used the oil-only method of seasoning. And yeah, it did bead up and have little blobs on it like you said. I should have kept it but my drat room mate put it in the dishwasher when I was out of town. Did the same thing with my Lodge skillet because "it was greasy looking."

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