From My Wok to Yours - Taking the Mystery Out of Everyday Dining and Meals!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Celebrate a 38th!!!

Recently, Nancy, my lifelong friend and fellow blogger celebrated her 38th anniversary with her husband, Tom. I was contemplating what kind of advice I could possibly offer her for a celebration, but seeing how successful she has been, creating and raising a wonderful family, I figured that she didn’t need my advice.

So I am just going to gift her a favorite recipe of mine, hopefully one that she and her family will like. (There is even an element in it that her resident Muscovy Duck, Cruzer, will enjoy.)

38th Anniversary… hmm… In keeping with the Chinese/Asian Theme of my most recent posts, I was tempted to suggest a visit to the 38th Parallel. However, I remembered that a successful marriage, especially after 38 years, has very few lines of demarcation.

Other notable 38’s include Gerald Ford, 38th President of our great country… The only person to become both the unelected Vice-President and President of the United States.

The 38th Element in the periodic table should be renamed Luvenhim, although in truth, it is Strontium. It is a very important element used for maintaining proper chemical balances in a salt water reef tank.

The 38th Ryder Cup was just played and won by Europe, as the US team, captained by Corey Pavin, fell flat at the end. (This is a golf reference, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the game.)

If your 38th is a benchmark for the 38th year of hell that you may have had to endure, (clearly not the case for Nancy & Tom) I might recommend a .38 Special. One heckuva gun, designed by Smith & Wesson.

In the event you decide to utilize the legal remedies for such hell, the 38th Judicial District of Texas is located in Uvalde County. Call me for more details. (I know who I had darned well better not be hearing from… ahem… Nancy…)

So here is to Nancy and Tom; Congratulations on 38 years, with many more to come. You two have done well, with 2 awesome kids whom I have had the pleasure of knowing & going to school with. Clearly, we should all strive to follow in your footsteps.

I offer you, as my gift, my recipe for Pine Nut & Chicken Lettuce Wraps. From my wok to yours, from my heart to yours.

Good Eating, Friends…

Pine Nut & Chicken Lettuce Wraps


o 1/4 cup soy sauce

o 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

o 2 teaspoons cornstarch

o 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, finely diced

o 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

o 1 red pepper, finely diced

o 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

o 3 scallions, thinly sliced

o 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

o 1 head Bibb lettuce, (leaves separated, washed and dried)

o 1/3 cup hoisin sauce


Gather these tools: cutting board; chef's knife; measuring spoons; dry measuring cups; small mixing bowl; spoon; large saute pan or wok; wooden spoon

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a large saute pan or wok over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and saute diced chicken breast and saute for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon oil and saute water chestnuts, peppers, and scallions until soft.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the toasted pine nuts. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir-fry until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.

Arrange lettuce leaves on a large platter. Top lettuce leaves with a heaping spoonfuls of the chicken mixture. Dollop with hoisin sauce and serve immediately.

about this recipe

The inspiration for this dish comes the traditional Chinese "Chicken Soong." Made with finely diced chicken, water chestnuts, peppers, and pine nuts, this recipe can be served as a first or main course. Top spoonfuls of this light saute with sweet hoisin sauce and serve in Bibb lettuce cups.

Good Eating, Friends…

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Tofu For You!!

I discovered, over the weekend, that  a food sensitivity that I had as a child has reared its ugly head again...: Suddenly, my body's ability to digest and process eggs has gone to the gods.  Oh, recipes that do not FEATURE the egg seem to be okay, but if an egg is the main ingredient, consider the fat lady singing.  This sensitivity brings to mind a milk allergy (or lactose intolerance) that I also had to suffer through as a child.  I was relegated to dried powered milk (which actually wasn't all that bad) and soy milk.  The latter, not so much.  Turns out that the enzyme that exists in cow's milk just doesn't get broken down well in my system.  Too bad, as I do like whole milk, avocados, bananas, and latex gloves.  (The gloves, not for consumption, of course...)

While I am a firm proponent of healthy eating and plenty of vegetables, I would fail miserably at trying to transition to a strictly vegetarian diet.  The options of a meatless meal are plentiful, but I will shameless promote the benefits (and myriad of options available) of tofu and soybean.  What is Tofu? It's made from the Soya bean; it's a very high protein food but it is not from an animal source. That makes it ideal for vegetarians, but can be enjoyed by anybody obviously who wants to know how to cook with Tofu.

And a big plus: Tofu has zero cholesterol. That's unusual for protein. Meat, eggs, cheese, milk - they are laden with cholesterol.

Better still, Tofu is loaded with "cholesterol-like" substances called Phytosterols. They compete directly with cholesterol at absorption sites in the small intestine, inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol from other foods that you have eaten at the same sitting. Eating only two grams of phytosterols a day will reduce the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, called LDL, by a massive 10%. That's a lot. For many it means the difference between having to take those nasty cholesterol lowering meds, and not taking them.

Thousands of years ago the soybean was used as a grain or staple food. It was probably cooked as one would a cereal, congee style, and was one of the main food items in early China. Few doubt that the soybean was a principal part of many meals. Later, the use of this legume changed and changed even more when there were ways to grind it. That process followed by heating it, then filtering the resultant liquid made a milk. When the soy bean was ground fine, it could then be used as a flour. The soybean left whole could also be sprouted, or made into various pastes and sauces. Later still, the Chinese learned to coagulate the milk and make the curds into what we now call bean curd or dofu.
Some think that coagulated soybean milk began in Japan, but that is not the case. Rather, it was in the Sung Dynasty (960 - 1280 CE) that dofu was taken from China to Japan. Records show that it made the journey thanks to Buddhist monks. Once in Japan, however, they made it softer, whiter, and more delicately flavored. In Japan they called it tofu. There is little doubt that dofu’s original homeland was in China.

Dofu probably made its way westward from China in the 1600's. One gentleman, a friar from Europe, wrote about it saying: the Chinese turn the milk into great cakes like cheese. He also said that this food item is white as snow, eaten raw, also boiled and dressed with herbs, fish, and other things, and he said that it could be dried and/or smoked.

Long before that, when soy beans were made into milk, they had to be soaked, ground with water, then heated, filtered, and finally cooled. The Chinese drank the liquid made in this process and they drink it made in other ways. Some say they consume more soy milk now than ever before. They give it to the elderly. They give it to mothers that do not nurse. And, they give it to their babies, even to some of their older children.

When heating soy or any milk, if you let it stay a few minutes, the exposed surface gets a film on the top. This, the Chinese take off, usually with a stick, and hang it up to dry. These dried sticks are called dofu pi. When they cool the milk slightly, then add a coagulant, the milk curdles and the curd is called tohua. The coagulated milk is pressed into large or small blocks called soy bean cakes or dofu. Should the milk be cooked between layers of cloth, these white sheets of soy milk are very soft. They are called chien chang; you may have seen this spelled in various ways.

The pressed cakes of tofu can be frozen. Frozen, it is called tung tofu. When defrosted and used, these once frozen cakes are known as brainy tofu because the texture gets spongy and it looks a little like brains. Mostly unfrozen, the tofu cakes, called bean curd in English, can be purchased as is or they can be bought deep-fried (tofu phao). They can also be dried (tofu kan) or smoked (tofu hsun), or they can be fermented and known ad fuyu. Some people are concerned that these fermented squares are strong tasting, others adore the taste and deem it mild. Once, Irvin Berlin’s family served fuyu to Westerners, namely two chaps in the military; those fellows loved it!
In markets, bean curd has many names, and in homes it has many uses. Dofu or tofu, can be purchased somewhat akin to the way it developed in Japan as silken tofu. The coagulant is different than that used for Chinese beancurd; the Japanese use nigiri and the Chinese use calcium or magnesium chloride, or they use one or another sea salt. Chinese dofu is more firm than silken bean curd, and it is the least pressed of Chinese coagulated soy milk. Most bean curd including silken tofu can be found loose or packaged in plastic containers sealed with a thin film of plastic. Keeping out air in this manner helps the bean curd stay fresher longer. Some is found pressed a lot, its edges a lot thinner than the center part; this is usually called firm or hard tofu. Silken bean curd is best used in soups or steamed; and it is commonly used with a minced shrimp and egg white mixture placed in the center of the top, then steamed. It can also be had with half a hundred year old egg on the top.

Soft dofu or tofu is used in soups and in braised dishes. The firm varieties are most often stir-fried or stuffed and then braised, or shallow or deep-fried. Fried bean curd is most often found in bags of ten or more one-inch squares. They are light brown on the outside and light colored on the inside. Using them, one cuts them up and puts the pieces in soups and in braised dishes. These cubes can be cut in half and stuffed; they are often turned inside out before frying, and they can be braised when stuffed.

Extra-firm bean curd can be found after it was boiled with soy sauce and/or five spice flavorings. Called brown bean curd or five flavored bean curd or even spicy bean curd, it is primarily used in stir-fried dishes. It is found plain or boiled with soy sauce and seasonings, and there are markets that call it 'hard' bean curd. When you cook with this variety, cut it into thin slices or noodle-like strips. Actually, some manufacturers are now making this hard variety into noodles; and some call it ‘striped’ tofu. There is another common kind, called fuyu, or fermented tofu. Some call this type 'smelly;' it is found bottled, cut in one-inch squares in a solution of brine that may be clear or red, or another oolor, with or without chili peppers and/or other seasonings.

There is list of ten uses of soy milk. They are but a handful of the ways you might find soy milk in an Asian market, and are: pressed bean curd, soft beancurd, wrapped beancurd, deep-fried beancurd, beancurd sheet, beancurd puff, dried beancurd, beancrd skin, beancurd sticks, seweet beancuird sheet, and five-spiced beancurd. These items can be on the shelves, in refrigerator cases, and in store freezers. Lest you think these are all that are a available, a group of college students in New York were challenged to see how many kinds they could find in a Chinese supermarket in Flushing, Queens. The winner located forty-three different varieties and won three Chinese cookbooks for her efforts. Can you find these and others in a market near you?

Belowis a recipe that use bean curd. You might want to try it, and you should make up some others with any of the many other kinds your find when exploring a Chinese or Asian market.

Lamb with Bean Curd Chips


1/4 pound beancurd sticks

4 Tablespoons corn oil

1 pound lamb loin, thinly sliced

6 slices fresh ginger

2 scallions, cut into two-inch pieces

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 teaspoon each of sugar and salt

1 teaspoon mushroom soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon thin soy sauce

1/4 cup canned water chestnuts, sliced

1/4 cup straw mushrooms, cut in half the long way

3 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a like amount of cold water


1. Deep fry beancurd sticks in oil until crispy, then drain them and soak in cold water for one hour. Reserve two tablespoons of the oil and set it aside, Cut the beancurd into two-inch lengths, and set it aside.

2. Blanch the lamb in boiling water, then drain, and set the meat aside and discard the water.

3. Heat the reserved oil and stir-fry the ginger, scallions, and garlic for half a minute. Then add the sugar, salt, all three say sauces, and 1/4 cup water and bring to the boil. Immediately thereafter, add the meat, beancurd pieces, water chestnuts, and mushrooms. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for half an hour.

4. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to the boil and stir until thickened and clear, then serve.

Or... Try the

Tofu Fries!!

1 package Extra Firm Tofu packed in water

Oil for frying

Seasoning Salt : (use all , any or mix your own personal blend)

1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon of dried parsely /oregano/marjoram /thyme

1 teaspoon of garlic salt (for you salt lovers!)

1. Remove tofu from package. Cut into 1/8″ – 1/4 ” slices. Blot dry with paper towel. Slice lengthwise again into 1/8″ -1/4″ strips.

2. Mix seasoning salt ingredients together in a small bowl.

3. In large pot or fryer, heat about 3-4 inches of oil to about 350 degrees. Carefully lay tofu strips into hot oil. Work in small batches, do not allow tofu strips to touch each other in hot oil. They will stick to one another while frying. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and blot on paper towel to remove excess oil.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Chop Suey - DeMystified

Questions about chop suey abound (as do those about chow mein, but that is another subject). Newspapers and magazines, authors and editors, materials on the web, and folk in many countries, the United States no exception, ask or tell tales about this dish. Some are way off base, others adding tidbits to what is known. It is what one of my previous posts calls “the best known of the Chinese dishes among foreigners.” After having done a little more research, I can now on to say that chop suey “is widely supposed to be an American invention.”

Really, what is this best known dish; and who and where was it invented? To answer the what: its basic recipe is chicken livers and gizzards fried with sliced fungi, bamboo shoots, pig’s tripe, and bean sprouts. In our youth, or since then,  it has gone the way of all good things. We never had nor did we ever see a dish with all of these ingredients. If not that, then what is chop suey? As to where it came from, it did not spring virgin from anyone’s brain in America. So then where did it come from?

Many variations of one or another person’s tale, factual or not, invented or expanded, with identification of location or not, can be found; and clearly all of them cannot be correct. Does anyone know what is? Here are some sources, gathered to put myth and misconception together, telling which are documented and which may come from the mouths of a dingo. Not wanting to be one of them, we sought out original sources, and a few early recipes.

Generalists begin by searching encyclopedic sources, so I checked in several. Alan Davidson’s The Oxford Companion To Food, published in 1999 by Oxford University Press, says that chop suey “may be the prime example of CULINARY MYTHOLOGY invented in San Francisco towards the end of the 19th century...and spreading out from there to become a standard item in the American repertoire, and indeed all over the world.’ Davidson refers to Anderson’s Food of China, published in 1988 (Yale University Press), who speaks of Li Shu-fan’s 1964 volume titled Hong Kong Surgeon. But that is getting ahead of the tale to be told.

Because one source can be a dud, I checked another encyclopedia. Chop suey, in Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas’ World History of Food, strangely has no entry for chop suey. However, it did appear in conjunction with Chrysanthemum coronarium. There we found 'chop suey greens;' and they were also called 'Japanese greens' and 'garland chrysanthemum.'

Leaving that tome, I tried looking up Chinese histories, as they might provide something of value. There are only five in English that I could find. Several did discuss food in China or Chinese food in general, and four of these did not even mention chop suey. But before diving into them, I looked at early Chinese cookbooks published in the United States. There I found many recipe variations, even variations in spelling including 'chop suey, chop sooey,' and 'chop sooy,' to name but three.

The earliest source for this dish was found in the third earliest Chinese English-language cookbook ever located. It is a volume published in 1911 and housed at the New York Academy of Medicine. The book, written by a westerner, Jesse Louise Nolton, is titled Chinese Cookery in the Home Kitchen. This book was published by the Chino-American Publishing Company in Detroit, Michigan. About its Chinese Chop Sooy recipe, it says that “in its various forms, (it) is the foundation of all dishes served in the Chinese restaurants.” It goes on to say that “with any one of the many forms of Chop Sooy, combined with other appetizing ingredients and flavorings, the most delectable dishes can be evolved. Success in these combinations depends largely upon the ingenuity of the cook.” This book has ten different recipes to make this dish, not one with gizzards or tripe.

The earliest cookbook to use the term chop suey in its title was published in 1928; the Mandarin & Chop Suey Cook Book. Like the first, it was not published on the east or west coasts where most Chinese lived at that time. This book was done in Chicago by the Pacific Trading Company. Another book with this dish in its title is the Girnau Chop Suey Chow Mein Cookbook. That volume was published 1931 by the Fredic H. Girnau Publishing Company in Los Angeles. These books were written by both Chinese and non-Chinese authors. The Nolton book, not paginated, has seventy-one leaves printed on one side, and thirty six recipes; Nolton was not Chinese.

The second book, no author given, is ninety-six pages and has seventy-seven recipes and a chapter titled Chop Suey. In it and elsewhere in its pages are a literal handful of recipes to make chop suey. The third book mentioned above is a forty-eight-page thirty-five recipe pamphlet. Its author identifies himself as a Chinese chef who has been practicing for fourteen years. In 1940, another book, simply titled Chop Suey, was published in Boston by the John Worley Company. 'Chop Suey' in a title next appeared in 1953. Then it was used in a thirty-four-page eighty-recipe pamphlet that had very few for chop suey. This booklet says it is published by Chop Suey and written by Ling Mei Mei.

Au Man Sing, who compiled and edited many booklets, is a certified chef. His publications which have many different titles have many chop suey recipes. We located ten of them published from 1932 through 1974. The first is titled Chinese Cookery and printed in Honolulu by Creart Press. It was republished as the Chinese Cookbook and then The Chinese Cook Book in 1936, and then redone many times thereafter. The last was called The Chinese Cookbook of Many Delights and was published across the country in Reading, Pennsylvania (by Culinary Arts Press).

Every one of Chef Au’s booklets have a chop suey section with a dozen different recipes and others elsewhere in his pages. One unusual one in the so-labeled section is for Winkle Chop Suey (winkles are snails). Other interesting titles are for Chop Suey Soup, Chop Suey Tofu, and Beef Heart Chop Suey. A few of these appear at the end of this article; but none include tripe or chicken livers.

Sonya Richmond in The Art of Chinese Cookery, a 1964 London hardbound published by W. & G. Foyle Ltd. includes an interesting four-page chapter titled: Chop Suey. She says, “Chop suey, though appearing in every Chinese cookery book and served in every Western Chinese restaurant, is not a creation of the Chinese.” Hers is the first cookbook to make such a statement; the others say nothing of its origin.

Richmond recounts a tale about an American restauranteur who invented this dish and why. About it she says: “that is the story. No doubt there are others equally improbable, but one fact remains...Chop Suey is a tasty and succulent dish and whatever the facts of its dubious origin, it...will remain a firm favourite with all lovers of Chinese style cooking.” She goes on to say “Chinese people do not spurn it, that it is eaten and enjoyed by Chinese both in their own country and in Western Chinese restaurants.” Oops, does she mean the Chinese brought this non-Chinese dish back with them to China? In her book, she offers four chop suey recipes including one for Fruit and Vegetable Chop Suey.

Now to some facts that hopefully make some sense. Chop Suey, as a dish in the United States and elsewhere, was known long before and after Nolton wrote about it. Henry Low, in a 1938 volume published by Macmillan in New York titled: Cook at Home in Chinese, includes a chapter titled: Chop Suey. It is twice as long as Richmond’s and includes twenty-two Chop Suey recipes. Some are a variation of one or another basic recipe already provided in his book. Most are ordinary. Not so the last one in the book called Sweet and Pungent Chop Suey.

E.N. and M.L. Anderson edited a chapter in K.C. Chang’s 1977 book called Food in Chinese Culture. In that chapter, titled: Modern China: South, readers learn that Chop Suey is not a made up American dish, but rather a distinctive regional variation from Toisan, an area south of Canton. They say it came to America with about half of all the early Chinese immigrants. Furthermore, they say that Toisan’s claim to fame is that it gave the world chop suey. In that chapter, they advise that the Cantonese words, tsap sui, mean miscellaneous things, or at worst, miscellaneous slops. They refer to it as a sort of hash of leftovers warmed up with bean sprouts and a very folk-like dish.

In that chapter, they tell a widely known myth that says: “One night, after hours, a Cantonese restaurant in San Francisco was importuned, by persons he could not refuse (drunken minors in one version, Li Hung-chang or other famed Chinese visitors in others) to serve food. However, he had no food left. So he stir-fried the day’s slops and created the dish. Its origin in old Toisan was traced down by the indefatigable hunter (of big game and food) Li Shu-fan (1964).” The author of Sons of the Yellow Emperor, on page 333, agrees saying “there is no doubt the dish (chop suey) had been an offer in restaurants in New York long before the story got about that is had its origin in America.

Chop suey has a long history in America and a longer one in China. It is a dish still made in western and Chinese restaurants and still found in Western cookbooks. I located what may be the newest one, a recipe for Chicken Chop Suey in a 2003 volume titled Favorite Chinese Dishes. That book was sold in the United States but published by Parragon Publishing of Bath U.K., no author cited. Perhaps chop suey needs further exploration.
The Li volume reads as follows: “Westerners, and many Chinese, believe that the popular dish called ‘chop suey’ is an American invention merely imitating Chinese cookery. Let me set the record straight: chop suey is actually a familiar Chinese dish originating in Toishan, where I spent by boyhood. The word ‘chop’I first tasted chop suey in Toishan in 1894, but the preparation had been familiar in that city long before my time. The recipe was probably taken by Toishan(ese) people, who, as I have said, are great travelers. Chinese from places as near to Toishan as Canton and Hong Kong are unaware that chop suey is truly a Chinese dish, and not an American adaptation. In 1923, when I passed through New York while campaigning for funds for the Kung Yee Medical College in Canton, I was shown a list of more than one thousand ‘chop suey’ restaurants in Greater New York alone. The owners, I was told, were invariably from Toishan or onef the neighboring districts where the dialect is slightly different from the Cantonese. These emigrants has originally come fr of the neighboring districts where the dialect is slightly different from Cantonese. These emigrants had originally gone to America during the early days of the Gold Rush in California (even today, San Francisco is still called ‘The Golden Hill’ around Toishan. When the Gold Rush was over they turned to operating laundries, and then chop suey houses.”

As to the taste of chop suey, Emily Hahn in The Cooking of China by Emily Hahn and the Editors of the Time Life Books (1968) says, “there is little we can say in favor of chop suey, a dish unknown in China. One explanation of its origin is that the dish was born when the famous 19th Century Diplomat, Li Hung Chang, traveling in the West as the Chinese emperor’s emissary, got indigestion from rich foreign food at banquets he had to attend. He had so agonizing an attack of biliousness following a hard week’s banqueting in the United States that his aide Lo Feng-luh suggested a bland diet. Between them the gentlemen thought up the plainest possible dish–a concoction of celery and other vegetables sauteed with a little park. Thus was chop suey born.”

Ms. Hahn goes on and says that ”According to another theory we can blame chop suey on America’s first transcontinental railways. To work on the building of them, indentured laborers were brought in by the thousands from southern China. Their American contractors learned that the coolies would toil patiently all day long, but had to have the rice they were used to. The American knew nothing about Chinese food, so they drafted cooks from the of the coolies themselves–self-made cooks whose highest talents could achieve nothing better than a sloppy stew ladled over rice. When the railways were finished and the workers were shipped home, some of the Chinese elected to stay in the United States. Among those who stayed were cooks from the old railway gangs, and they now set up in business for themselves, catering to other Chinese in humble sheds that were the first chop suey joints. When westerners found that the food was cheap they too became customers, always asking for chop suey because that’s all there was.” She and others are still telling that tale; is it out of ignorance?

Frederick J. Simoons, in Food in China says, there has been “controversy among Americans as to whether chop suey, still standard fare in many Chinese restaurants catering to the general public in the United States, is a true Cantonese dish or whether it developed in America. Suffice it to say that one is unlikely to find chop suey on the menus of better restaurants in Canton; that is seems to have originated in the Toisan area south of Canton.”

No doubt there are more tales about the story of Chop Suey.  In the meantime, enjoy reading these recipes, printed in their original format-- spelling and other errors included. The source of each recipe appears after its title. Nutrient analysis has not been done; the purpose is not to cook but to understand chop suey recipes.

Fruit and Vegetable Chop Suey

This recipe is as printed in, and is taken from Richmond’s: The Art of Chinese Cookery:

4 tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons heavy soy sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 large onions, diced

1/2 pint stock

1/2 lb. chopped mushrooms

2 ounces dried fruit

1 teaspoon Ve-Tsin (this is MSG)

2 teaspoons salt

1 large tin peach caps, drained

1 lb. diced vegetables

2 tablespoons fruit syrup (from peaches)

1 small tin bean sprouts

4 and a 1/2 tablespoons cornflour

2 oz. Toasted almonds

1 lb. Plain boiled rice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the mushrooms for two minutes. Add the diced vegetables, also the onions, and all seasonings. Cook for three minutes, stirring all the time, then add the heated stock and fruit syrup. Bring to the boil and cook for a further two minutes with the lid on then add the diced peaches, bean sprouts, and the dried fruit (cut up small where necessary). Stir and then add the cornflour mixed with a little cold water. Cook slowly until sauce thickens then serve on a bed of plain boiled rice, garnished with the roasted almonds.

There are many variations of the above recipe. For instance, try a large tin of pineapple instead of the peaches, or two tins of mandarin oranges. For added texture add one cup chopped raw apples just before adding the cornflour.

Chop Suey Soup

This recipe is as printed in and is taken from Au Man Sing’s Chinese Cookbook

Cut about a dozen Chinese dried and soaked black mushrooms into thin pieces, together with one-half can bamboo shoots and one-half dozen water chestnuts.

Boil all together in prepared soup stock about 10 minutes, then add two beaten eggs, and very finely chopped chicken, using white meat only; season to taste. Serve when eggs are done.

Sweet and Pungent Chop Suey

This recipe is as printed in and is taken from Lo’s Cook at Home in Chinese

1/2 cup sliced raw lean pork

1/2 cup sliced green pepper

1/2 cup canned pineapple, sliced diagonally

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup slice onion

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black sauce (gee yeou)

1/2 cup sugar

a dash of pepper

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup stock or water

Put pork and vegetables in a hot greased skillet, and sauté 2 minutes. Add stock or water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper; cover and cook 8 minutes. Add pineapple, black sauce and cornstarch which has been made into a thin paste. Mix well and cook 2 minutes more.

Chicken Chop Suey

This recipe is printed in and is taken from: Favorite Chinese Dishes published by Parragon



4 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp light brn sugar

1 lb 2 oz/500g skinless, boneless chicken breasts

3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 oniions, cut in fourths

2 garlic clves, crushed

10 oz/350 g bean sprouts

3 tsp sesame oil

3 tbsp water

scant 1¾ cups chicken stock

shredded leek, to garnish

1 Mix the soy sauce and sugar together, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

2 Trim any fat from the chicken and cut into thin strips. Place the meat in a shallow dish and spoon the soy mixture over them, turning to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

3 Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Add the onions and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the bean sprouts and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the sesame oil.

4 Mix the cornstarch and water to form a smooth paste. Pour the stock into the wok, then add the cornstarch paste and bring to the boil, stirring until the sauce is thickened and clear. Serve, garnished with shredded leek.

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