Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 36-China(Beijing)(AS): Szechauan Sauteed Chicken, Cheng-Tu Style,Stir Fried Beef with Vegetable, Wangfujing Leng Mian Noodles

Sauteed chicken

China is the first country I have cooked in thus far for which I used one of my own cookbooks rather than web-found recipes. And, if this book could talk, what stories it would tell! I've owned it since the early 1980's when I shared an apartment in Inman Square (on the Cambridge/Somerville line) with a group of awesome women, most notably,  my beautiful sister Anna, and treasured friends,  Marylou, Lucy and Merri. This meal is dedicated to you, girlfriends.

Many a spectacular Chinese dinner was shared using this book, along with countless bottles of cheap wine and Budweiser from Johnny's Food Master, our corner grocery store. We fell in love, broke up, made up and broke up again. We got jobs, lost jobs, went to school and quit school. We danced (a lot), stayed up all night talking, partied all night, and forged life-long friendships that continue today, grounded in joy, experience, loyalty and deep, unshakable love.

While we all enjoyed cooking and eating from this book, Lucy had spent a year living and working in Beijing, was actively involved with a Chinese organization in Boston, and spoke the language with impressive fluency. She could whip up an incredible meal without aide of a cookbook, simultaneously entertaining us  (where the DEVIL is that egg timer?) with extremely lengthy and detailed stories - so what if we ate at 11 p.m.? To this day, I contend that she made the best kick ass pot stickers known to womankind.

The recipes prepared for this meal come from the book (pictured above): Chinese Cuisine - Wei-Chuan's Cook Book, Huan Su-Huei ...or,  味全的庫克書,還粟輝, except for the Cold Noodle recipe:

About the Country of China
The Chinese nation has a civilized history of 5,000 years. Cooking has occupied an important position in Chinese culture throughout its history. Chinese culture considers cooking an art and a science. As early as the 7th century B.C. Chinese cuisine began to be separated as Southern and Northern cuisines. In general, the southern dishes emphasize freshness and tenderness. Northern dishes, due to its colder climate, have more fat and garlic which is offset with vinegar. During the period of the Tang (618-907 A.D.) and the Song(960-1279 A.D.) dynasties, the medical value of different plants was recognized fungus (mushrooms), herbs, vegetables. To this day "medicinal food" for prevention and cure of diseases, remains central to the Chinese culture and has gained a huge following in the US as an alternative to traditional medicine.

I started the day at my neighborhood Mudville Market, where I bought cabbage and garlic at the Hopestill
Bobby Blair, the Mayor of Mudville and community organizer/Activist extraordinaire
Working off two lists: stationary courtesy of my friend Randi Sargent, owner of:
GOT IT! Finally found Hot Bean Paste at Whole Foods- My local Asian Market didn't have it....
Slicin' the scallions
I brought in the Big Dog to julienne the carrots
A lovely sesame peanut sauce for the noodles
Cooking up fresh Chinese Noodles
Beautiful carrots, celery and garlic for the beef dish
Sauces and vegetables for beef dish
Scallions, ginger and garlic for chicken dish - the fresh garlic was UNBELIEVABLE!
Chicken dish and sauces
Adding peanut sauce to noodle cucumber dish
The Meal!
The Recipes

Wangfujing Leng Mian (Wangfujing Cold Noodles) - 王府井嶺眠

  • 1 lb fresh or dried Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb cucumbers
  • 6 oz fresh bean sprouts 
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sesame paste or peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp white rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chilli oil
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar to sprinkle on top to counter spiciness of dish

Chinese cold noodles

Boil noodles according to instructions, drain, rinse in cold water and toss immediately in sesame oil.
Peel and slice cucumbers in half lengthways, and remove the seeds using a teaspoon. Cut into fine long shreds. Rinse bean sprouts and drain.
Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl or in a blender
When you are ready to serve, toss the noodles with the sauce, cucumber and bean sprouts. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and serve immediately.

Sauteed Chicken, Cheng-Tu Style (Szechuan) - 炒雞肉,成圖式(四川)

  • 2/3 chicken meat  
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. rice wine
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp.cornstarch
  • Oil for sauteing
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped ginger root
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. hot bean paste (la do ban jiang)
  • 2/3 lb. pre-cooked spinach
  • 1 tsp. rice wine
  • 1Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorn power 
Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch long matchstick sized pieces, mix with soy sauce, rice wine, water and cornstarch. Let marinate for 20 minutes.

Heat oil and sautee chicken pieces over medium heat until changed in color - remove and drain.
Remove all but 3 Tbsp. oil from pan and reheat.
Stir fry onion, ginger root, garlic, bean paste until fragrant.
Add chicken pieces.
Add 1 Tbsp. oil, mix and remove.
Arrange chicken in middle of platter with spinach on either side

Stir Fried Beef with Vegetables-蔬菜炒牛肉

1 1/3 lbs. flank steak
1 C shredded carrot
1 C 1-inch sections celery
1/4 C chopped garlic

Sauce 1
2 Tbsp hot bean paste (la do ban jian)
1 tsp chopped green onion
1 tsp chopped ginger root
1 tsp rice wine
1 Tbsp sou sauce
1 tsp sugar

Sauce 2
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorn powder

Cut flank steak into shreds.
Heat 3 Tbsp. oil and stir fry steak of high heat.
Remove and set aside
Heat pan and add 3 Tbsp oil and hot bean paste/green onion mixture until fragrant
Add carrots, celery and garlic (I added snow peas too)
Add sesame oil/worcestershire sauce.
Toss through and serve.

Final Assessment: As with most Asian cooking, most the time goes into the prep, because the cooking goes very quickly. The meal was wonderful. Loaded with the taste of fresh ginger, garlic, bean paste and sesame. My family says they could eat like this every night!

1 comment:

Young Werther said...

The way you're twirling those chopsticks, like a pro!

It's fantastic you didn't pick the standard sweet and sour, the beef looks scrumptious!