Re: [gardeners] OT: Recipe for the season

penny x stamm (
Fri, 24 Jul 1998 23:17:11 -0400


Oh, dear -- if you're ever near to St.Louis, Chicago, 
Philadelphia or New York, just let me know. The best way
to show you the different Oriental cuisines would be for you
to sample first-class examples of them. 

Dim Sum are what we call 'tasty little morsels' of meat, shrimp, 
veggies, sometimes peanuts, wrapped in several varieties of 
dough, and then either steamed, boiled, baked or fried. My list
covers over 100 varieties! They used to be the Chinese 
equivalent of 4 o'clock tea, often bought from a peddlar with
a hot wagon in the street. The natives to this day will line up
outside a dim sum shop before work in the morning (in the 
larger cities) with their little covered pails, ready to buy some
steaming hot treats for their breakfast, to supplement the
leftover rice they have at home to which they have added boiling 
water to make 'congee' (hmmnn..) I don't think they add 
anything else..  

There are (in the cities) what is called 'jaotze shops' -- they
only prepare these steamed and then fried dumplings and
nothing else. People sit at tables and glomb them, dipped in
a mixture of special vinegar (Chen Kong) with a bit of soy.
Everybody's favorite! Oh, forgot to mention that this is a
northern Chinese dish; would never be found in Canton. OTOH,
dim sum is never found in the north, because it is strictly
Cantonese. Why...?  The north uses wheat flour as a staple, 
while the south uses rice flour. Jaotze are made with wheat 
noodle wrappers; dim sum is made with rice noodle wrappers,
altho I certainly do make some interchanged. 

They stay thin by undereating, by our standards. And by having
almost no desserts to speak of, in their usual life style. What's
also interesting is that they don't eat much rice --  not what we
would expect of them -- and a mother will often say to her teen-
ager after the dinner is finished, "Go help yourself to a bowl of
rice from the sideboard", by way of filling him up. You can see
the working class people standing in their doorways at lunchtime,
using their chopstciks to shovel a small bowl of rice which has 
perhaps 2 whisps of cooked spinach and 4 meatballs the size of
acorns on top of it, right into their mouths. That's lunch.  98% of
the populace (not counting the new millionaires) have no 
refrigeration, you know, so the first person in the family leaving
work will market every single day, and start dinner. Nowadays
they have lots of stores which have prepared raw dinner for one
on a paper plate -- sliced meat, shredded veggie, whatever -- 
so you can save a heap of time at  home. Most kitchens are communal,
so they have to elbow each other out of the way at mealtime. If
you have enough money, you will own 3 woks: one for boiling, one
for deep frying, and one for stir-frying. That way they preserve
the patina of the pot.

Now, as for Korean food -- same thing goes: only fruit for dessert, and
no bread. That leaves room for dozens - and I mean dozens of side
dishes to go along with the meats they prepare. They serve shredded
daikon fixed like a cole slaw (our favorite), sensational pickles, many, 
many bites of cooked fish, very hot cabbage (kim chee), tiny pancakes
with meat or veggies inside, sweet anchovies (delicious!), sweetened
lotus root slices, oh, Lordy, I could go on forever...  I celebrate my
birthday every year by bringing the entire family to the Korean 
restaurant, where they give us a separate room, two waiters, 
4 charcoal braziers, and a feast fit for an Emperor. Oh, dear, I'm
starving................................  A lot of their dishes are made
in soup
style, and are so hot to the tongue that we cannot swallow them. My
son-in-law's favorite is called BeeBimBop, which is different: a huge
bowl of rice topped with shredded meat and veggies, and on top, a
raw egg. My hubby adores the Yuk Hui -- icey cold shredded sirloin
steak mixed with a dollup of sesame oil and some pignoli nuts, plus
some jullienned Asian pears to mix in. Raw, of course. People who 
like tartar steak would like the Yuk Hui.  Their bar-b-q's are hand
cooked at the table, and are then slipped into a romaine lettuce leaf
with or without a bit of rice and/or spicy side dish on the table, rolled
up and eaten with the fingers.  

In both cuisines,  what you need is a good chef. Ain't nothing boring
when done with expertise. 

The time has come, the Walrus said, to think about tomorrow night's
dinner...   We had tandoori chicken tonight. Guess what I'll serve

Penny, NY

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