Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Chinese Cookbook

I have made a few recipes from a book of supposedly Chinese foods for years. We picked it up for $1 at a tent sale.  My sons grew up having these foisted on them when their father got adventurous.  Yet I always wondered why I never saw Lion's Head Meatballs, Abalone Stir-Fry, or Ginger Crab on restaurant menus.  The wording of recipes and description of ingredients also seemed just a touch strange.  "Corn flour," I learned after several failures, meant "corn starch." There is no Beef Teriyaki, no General Gau's, no Crab Rangoon.

Thirty years later, I looked at the introductory pages.  It's from Australia.   Makes sense.  Plenty of Chinese in Australia. Of course it would take a different route there.

BTW, the hoisin-peanut paste is a common item and I like it, with or without added spiciness. I have found it doesn't work with chicken, fish, or beef - only pork.  If you have a recipe using this sauce with something else, let me know.  Love the stuff.


james said...

Have you seen Rosin's The Flavor Principle ?

Grim said...

I had a good friend from Australia when I lived in China. He was a lot older than me, and I expect he's not still around. Our friendship was founded when I was the only English speaker he could find to go out and get him some painkillers one night when he was having some kind of gout issue with his leg. He threatened me with a cleaver, but I could tell he didn't mean it. He was just in the habit of threatening people to seem like a crazy Westerner to the Chinese, as a way of cutting out an exception for himself to the usual Chinese rules about things. I would have gotten him the medicine without him needing to threaten me, and he knew right away that he wasn't any threat to me anyway, cleaver or no cleaver. We ended up being great friends. John Ryan was his name, from Fremantle.

The rare Chinese burger joint that I came across did something that I later learned was Australian fashion: they'd put a fried egg on top of their burgers. Same thing in the southern Philippines. It's a great addition if you've never tried it. So there's crossover in both directions.

RichardJohnson said...

I had always associated Chinese restaurants with good food. I had purchased, at full price, An Encyclopedia of Chinese Cooking.Then one time in the '70s I had a dish at a forgotten restaurant in Boston's Chinatown. Some broccoli with meat dish. I had developed enough knowledge of Chinese food to call it poorly prepared. My first bad Chinese meal.

Good suggestion about Elisabeth Rozin's cookbooks, which unfortunately are not in digital form. I used to abhor digital cookbooks- not a good idea to risk them getting slopped on in the kitchen- but as I mostly use cookbooks these days for reading, digital is fine.

Karen Page's The Flavor Bible would appear to be a more recent take on what Elizabeth Rozin was doing 40 years ago.

Texan99 said...

I imagine hoisin sauce would be good on duck. Duck and pork often can be interchanged.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, duck would work, though I seldom have it. I like the idea of having duck better than the actuality. That is even more true for goose. The idea of goose - the Anglophilic tradition especially - is thoroughly charming. Eating goose is considerably less charming.

Texan99 said...

I've never had a good goose; I may only have had wild goose. But a domestic duck, yum.