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The Great Chinese Recipe Thread!


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#1 of 165 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted November 05 2003 - 05:29 AM

I bet you thought I had great recipes for chinese food. Well I don't. I started this thread to learn some recipes so I don't have to spend all my money the the local chinese restaurant.

Anybody have good recipes for Won Ton soup? Or maybe pork dumplings? How about moo goo gai pan?

And just to educate my "raised in the boondocks" mind, What is Dim Sum? I've heard it means appetizer and dumpling (usually pork & shrimp), any informed dim-sum eaters here?
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#2 of 165 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 05 2003 - 06:02 AM

I’m not sure of the translation of Dim Sum (although I think it is Cantonese), but it is usually available during lunch or brunch. Not all restaurants will serve Dim Sum all day long or even every day. It is enormously popular on weekends, especially Sunday.

Most places serve small portions of numerous dishes. Many of these are steamed dumplings of various types. Different fillings and different types of the dumpling itself. There are many, many other choices of food available. Fried carrot or radish cake (sort of a Chinese version of scrapple), sticky rice, chicken or duck’s feet, various noodle dishes, and on and on and on. One of my big favorites is barbequed pork filling in a small triangular flaky pasty case. Outstanding.

It is best to go for Dim Sum with a lot of people. Six to 12 are very good numbers. Everyone sits around a table with a Lazy Susan in the center where the dishes are placed and you just help yourself to whatever appeals to you. With a lot of people you get to try several dishes and no one is constrained from ordering what they like, as you might be with only two or three people, where you need to share all of the ordered dishes.

The proper drink is tea (and a lot of it), though I have been with Westerners who insisted on ordering wine or beer (or Coke). In fact in some areas Dim Sum is termed Yum Cha, meaning (more or less) ‘drink tea’.

Some dishes are ubiquitous and always available, such as a thick, fluffy white steamed dumpling filled with barbequed pork that is often eaten with your hands. Some dishes are representative of the restaurant and not widely available.

There are two main ways that Dim Sum is ordered: in some restaurants, you are handed a printed menu and a pencil and you just check how many plates of which dishes you want and in other places all of the available food is on carts that tour the dinning room. You just select what you want from the carts as they go by your table.

In many places you can sort of get desert style dishes (if you can find the right cart at the end) such as mango pudding or an almond flavored bean curd.

Some restaurants may have only 20 or so dishes on any given day. Others may have a hundred or so. I have never heard of anyone trying to do this at home. It is strictly a restaurant meal.

Perhaps we will get some members from Singapore or Hong Kong to chime in.

In the Dallas area the best places I know for Dim Sum are in Richardson, though I’m sure that there are some other places as well.
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#3 of 165 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 05 2003 - 06:31 AM

As to your first question, we don’t often do straight Chinese. But we do often create recipes with Chinese influence. For example salmon steamed (perhaps in the oven) with soy sauce and ginger. Or a fish severed with a fruit and fresh chili salsa.
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#4 of 165 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted November 05 2003 - 08:55 AM

Quote:
Everyone sits around a table with a Lazy Susan in the center where the dishes are placed and you just help yourself to whatever appeals to you.


So, that's dim sum, Texas-style! Posted Image

My experiences (in NY, Boston and Toronto) have been limited to the carts, but if I'm ever in Dallas I will have to see the Lazy Susan approach firsthand.

Lew's explanation is spot-on. May I add that it was at a dim sum meal that I first experienced something that would change my life: vietnamese chili sauce. Well, perhaps it wasn't vietnamese, but the closest approximation I have ever found is a vietnamese red chili sauce sold at the grocery. Dunk your red bean bun (yummy!) into this stuff and you're in heaven.

And, we like to finish our dim sum with either red bean or green tea ice cream.


#5 of 165 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 05 2003 - 09:40 AM

What a surprise to see you in a food thread Angelo. Posted Image

Quote:
So, that's dim sum, Texas-style!


Not at all, that’s Dim Sum pretty much anywhere, when you have a large group. The carts come by, you select and put the dishes on the Lazy Susan. My best experiences are all in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, KL, and (strangely) Sydney.

I’ve never had a ‘great’ Dim Sum experience in Dallas.
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#6 of 165 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 05 2003 - 09:43 AM

I forgot to mention the chili sauce. Other variants are sliced, small red chilies that you put in a small dish and to which can be added s bit of soy sauce. Just add a slice of chili or two to an occasional bite—a great addition, which really sparks up the meal.
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#7 of 165 OFFLINE   Todd H

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Posted November 05 2003 - 09:54 AM

My favorite recipe is for General Tso Chicken. Whenever my family hears I'm making a batch I end up with a houseful of relatives. Let me know if you want the recipe.

#8 of 165 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted November 05 2003 - 11:36 AM

Yes! Gimme gimme gimme!Posted Image
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#9 of 165 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted November 05 2003 - 12:57 PM

It is best to go for Dim Sum with a lot of people. Six to 12 are very good numbers.


Eh, not really. There is no minimum number needed, especailly since it is very reasonably priced.

You'll find the best dim sum at authentic Chinese restaurants (if you've only had Americanized Chinese, authentic can be a shock). They will serve dim sum every day during lunch.

For anyone that's interested, one of the best places for dim sum is Joy Tsin Lau in Philadelphia. Whenever the NY Times writes an article on dim sum, they typically bring this place up despite it being in Philly and always rave about it.
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#10 of 165 OFFLINE   Todd H

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Posted November 05 2003 - 03:05 PM

Quote:
Yes! Gimme gimme gimme!

Here you go...

Ingredients are:

1 egg
1 tb cornstarch
1 lb boned, skinless chicken cut into 2 inch chunks
peanut oil
16 dried hot red peppers
5 scallions cut diagonally into 1" pieces
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 ts fresh grated ginger

The ingredients for the sauce are:

4 ts cornstarch
4 ts sugar
4 ts rice vinegar
6 tb soy sauce
1/4 c water
1/4 c rice wine
1/4 c chicken broth

Mix the egg and the tb cornstarch thoroughly, then add chicken pieces to coat evenly. Then fry the coated pieces in peanut oil heated to around 350 F until they are cooked through and lightly brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Now mix together all the sauce ingredients and set aside. Now in a wok or frying pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil until hot, then add the hot red peppers. Heat the chili peppers until they turn dark red then add the scallions and stir-fry about a minute. Now add the garlic and ginger. Cook very briefly but don't let the garlic brown, as garlic tends to taste pretty nasty when overcooked. Now remove from the heat.

Now reheat the oil you fried the chicken in to 400 F. Fry the chicken pieces again until golden brown. Drain again on paper towels. Now stir the sauce well and add to the frying pan with the peppers and scallions. Cook until thick and bubbly. Now add chicken and cook until the chicken is coated well and heated through. Serve over rice.

#11 of 165 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted November 05 2003 - 04:16 PM

Lew pretty much nailed it. Dim Sum (Cantonese), or Dian Xin (in Mandarin, Hanyu Pinyin) is literally "snack". Also, as pointed out, the Hongkongers often refer to having a meal of Dim Sum as "Yum Cha", literally "drink tea".

My personal favourite is the fluffy steamed dumpling with barbecued pork (cha shao pao).

Also, I concur that Sydney has good Dim Sum, probably because the Australians are blessed with really good fresh ingredients for all their cuisine. Preparation-wise it might not necessarily match top restaurants in more obviously "Chinese" countries (e.g. HK, Singapore), but because the ingredients are so good, it's excellent anyway.

Sorry, all OT. The best I can do in terms of recipes would be Hong-Kong style steamed fish, steam it with sliced ginger, when done get rid of any liquid that's accumulated, sprinkle chopped spring onions on top, take about a tablespoon each of sesame oil and peanut oil (or any other vegetable oil really), heat in pan until smoking, pour all over the fish. Also pour a tablespoon each of dark and light soya sauce over the fish. Done!

Measurements aren't hard and fast, big fish needs more oil/sauce obviously and vice versa. And adjust to taste as you get the hang of it.

Too bad my wife isn't an HTF member nor is she interested, the above was my contribution to our Sunday meal a few weeks back, prepared by yours truly but under her direction and supervision.

#12 of 165 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted November 05 2003 - 04:21 PM

Dim Sum kicks ass, end of story.

And do drink the tea.

I think my favorites are Sui Mai and Har Gow or however it's spelled. I love the Sao Bao as well, grew up with it as a kid.

Don't look at me, I'm only quarter Chinese by way of Hong Kong. Posted Image

My dream is to find a way to infuse Thai cooking with Southern recipes.

#13 of 165 OFFLINE   Philip_G

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Posted November 05 2003 - 05:22 PM

Todd,


I LOVE YOU

#14 of 165 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted November 06 2003 - 12:06 AM

As my parents have a strong HK influence, I've still got a bunch of uncles in HK, we've always refered to it as "Yum Cha" and there is not always a "lazy susan" in the middle, it depends on the size of the table and the restaurant. In authentic Chinese restaurants, don't expect to find Gen Tso's chicken or Moo Goo Gai Pan, etc. and don't be too surprised if you're put with another party at a table. That's fairly customary for small partys in very busy places like NYC's Chinatown. Might not be so common now though.

You are given a ticket with usually 4 different "sizes" sometimes in Chinese or sometimes with letters like S (Small), M (Medium), L (large), and usually a Special order colume. You can actually order regular dishes with your Dim Sum meal that the MC will write in so it can be tabulated. Then when you're meal is over, you either have to flag down an MC or sometimes just bring the ticket to the cashier.

Most chinese restaurants outside of the major Chinatowns will import their Dim Sum frozen and simply reheat. Usually you can tell the difference so it is best to experience Dim Sum in a major city at least once. Plus, there are specialized Dim Sum chefs that all they do is make "Dim Sum" so that is why your average Chinese rest. outside the cities either do not do it or simply get stuff frozen from the city. It's expensive to hire a person just to make Dim Sum and just on the weekends unless you live in Chinatown.

One other thing about Dim Sum, is that it is very very cheap, when my parents and my sisters go out for lunch, our total bill for 5 can be as low as about $35-$40 and you are not at all hungry afterwards. Compare that to your $5/meal lunch at a FF joint. And because the dishes come to you, it isn't that much slower unless you special order stuff.

Dim Sum places will also sometimes have a cash bar where they may have various fresh seafood where you can go up to and order it and they'll cook it right on the spot. Or the MC will bring around special dishes around.

One of my favorite dishes to get at a Dim Sum is for lack of a good Cantonese name, Chinese turnip fried into square blocks and usually water chestnuts added to it. I think the English name for it would be "Chinese turnip cake" which doesn't sound that appetizing to me, but if you ever see a cart with a deep fryer (usually with a splash screen) and square whitish translucent "food" try one, it's great. The problem with this is that you have to eat it once it's fried and its not good to let it sit, which is why you'll be hard pressed to find them outside the city's Chinatown as it doesn't freeze well. Yes, you can get it outside Chinatown but it will not be half as good as you can get in Chinatown. Anyway, it forms a box like cake and is kind of has the consistency of hard Jello but is very sweet with the added water chestnuts, it's a nice treat.

And of course, don't forget the desserts, the "Don Tots" or Egg Custards and "Cha Shu Bow" or Roast Pork Bun.. Very yummy....

Damm, now I'm hungry!!!

Philip G: Isn't this a family forum? Posted Image

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#15 of 165 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted November 06 2003 - 01:18 AM

Lew: I was teasing. Haven't seen the lazy susan approach, but I've never had dim sum in a group larger than 3 or 4.

I hope to post my wife's recipe for bulgogi (sp?; a Korean beef dish) later today.


#16 of 165 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 06 2003 - 02:53 AM

Jay’s post on keeping track of the tab reminds me of how many restaurants used to work in Hong Kong (60s and early 70s). The plates on the carts were different shapes—round, square, hexagonal, etc. Each shape corresponded to a different price. At the end of the meal the plates are your table (size and number) were used to total the bill.

I don’t recall that I’ve seen that recently, but it may be just the restaurants I chose.
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#17 of 165 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted November 06 2003 - 02:59 AM

So, if you could hide the plates, the lunch would be cheaper? Posted Image I've always thought of stealing a blank ticket and switching them, but then I'm always thinking evil thoughts.

These days, the hosts come and take the empty plates away too fast for that method.

There is a really good system for Dim Sum too, you must get a good seat either your food will be cold by the time the waiters get to you or you'll be stuck in some corner with no aisle access.

Getting hungrier....

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#18 of 165 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted November 06 2003 - 03:11 AM

all my uncles and aunts live in the alhambra / monterey park area of los angeles. for those who know ... those areas have some of the best chinese restaurants in the city ... very high concentration of asians running around. Posted Image

so, i've been lucky enough to eat at some really great restaurants. you know ... the big ass banquet rooms, areas that can seat hundreds, etc. i do truly miss it now that i'm in sac.

anyway, lew and jay nailed it. my family has always called it 'yum cha' too. also, i'll just say that i'm a huge sew-mai fan ... i can literally eat 10 of those in one sitting. don't forget 'gai bow' - they're the same as cha-sew bow, but with chicken instead. however, you can leave the duck-feet (my grandmother's fave) off - yuck! (tbh, i've never tried it...just can't get over the idea... Posted Image )

i also agree that the more people the merrier. if you've never been, try to go with someone who knows what the heck all that stuff is. otherwise, it can be intimidating.

dang...didn't the orignial post ask for recipes...? Posted Image well, here's one for
sweet and sour soup. Posted Image
 

#19 of 165 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted November 06 2003 - 03:34 AM

Thanks Todd & Ted. Now If I can find a good BBQ Pork dumpling recipe...I'm all set to make dinner (And gain 50 pounds over the next month).Posted Image
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#20 of 165 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted November 06 2003 - 04:01 AM

not sure what you mean by bbq por dumpling garrett.

i know i've had cha-sew by itself (on many occasions), but never in a dumpling form. i assume you mean the meat is surrounded by some sort of flour dough or something? kinda like a chicken dumpling...???
 





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