Wheat Gluten/Fu 麩

“It is a little lower in calories and a little higher in protein content than wheat germ, inexpensive and rather good tasting.” — Joan Itoh

 

cooking with wheat gluten

Kao Fu, Chinese Canned Wheat Gluten

Wheat Gluten, called Fu 麩   in Japanese and Mian Jin     in Chinese, is a protein made from wheat germ that is used a lot in several Asian cuisines. It often appears in vegetarian dishes. [1]

Fu is eaten commonly in Japan, often as a garnish in soups. Sometimes it looks like a white flower, floating on the top of the soup. When you bite into it, it has a rather bland taste and a chewy texture Continue reading

Electric Rice Cookers 炊飯器

The Film Critic and the Rice Pot
Fifteen Minutes More Under the Futon

Japanese Electric Rice Cooker

Electric Rice Cooker,
Ebert’s Magic Pot

Is it better to cook rice in an automatic electric rice cooker or by one of the traditional methods?

Film critic Roger Ebert had a Continue reading

Baked Alaska

The Emperor of Ice Cream
Celestial Chefs’ Invention

Baked Alaska frozen dessert

Baked Alaska

Did ancient Chinese chefs invent Baked Alaska? Trader Joe thinks so. [1]

In promoting a new peppermint Baked Alaska for the Christmas season, Continue reading

Ng Ka Py 五加皮

Steinbeck’s Tipple
Fu Manchu’s Magenta Martini

What kind of word consists of “Ng”? This is the Cantonese rendering of Northern Chinese “wu” the word for the numeral ‘5’. The Mandarin name of this drink is Wu Jya Pi, 五加皮  literally “Bark of Five Additions.” [1]

So  Ng Ka Py is the Cantonese name for a Chinese spirit or liqueur that might be an infusion of five kinds of fruit peel.  A sort of alcoholic Five-Spice Powder, perhaps? [2]

Continue reading

Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋

Hard Boiled But Soft Inside
Mottled Like Ancient Porcelain

“Tea eggs are one of those ways of hard-boiling eggs so long that they are soft inside.” — Buwei Yang Chao [1]

Making Chinese dim sum snack, Tea Eggs, Cha Ye Dan

Tea Eggs

Tea Eggs, as Dr. Chao says, are a Chinese way of hard boiling eggs for a long time so that eventually they become soft again. Not soft-runny, but soft and dry-tender, as far as the yolks, and soft and firm but not leathery for the whites.

The Eggs are boiled with tea leaves and the shells are crackled but not removed.  As a result, when you shell them, the Eggs are a mottled color like ancient porcelain.

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Fuchsia Dunlop — British Sichuan Expert

Christmas Mincemeat in Chengdu
Culinary DNA

“Opponents of Fusion cooking are so wrong. Culinary impressions leave tracks, like DNA.” — Fucshia Dunlop

 

Cooking purple perilla using Chinese cooking technique jian

Pan Fried Cucumber with Purple Perilla
A Recipe from Fucsha Dunlop

Fuchsia Dunlopis a British expert on Sichuan cuisine.  The Cambridge graduate is a fluent Mandarin speaker. She studied at a Chinese university in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province. [1]

That experience led Dunlop to a lifelong fascination with Chinese cuisine and Continue reading

Ovaltine

A Swiss Kids’ Drink and the Silk Road
Fusion Food in a Bento Box

Ovaltine

Ovaltine

One of the desserts at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market in Manhattan is Ovaltine Kulfi in a Bento Box.  So what does a kids’ drink have to do with Pacific Rim chefs?  Was Marco Polo peddling Ovaltine at the court of Kublai Khan?

Tell the truth, Ovaltine had not yet been invented in Marco’s day.  It came a while later. But if you were a foreign kid in Shanghai’s Foreign Settlement before the Second World War, you probably knew Ovaltine, along with Wheaties, Continue reading

Kulfi

Himalayan Ancestor of Ice Cream
Fusion Food in a Bento Box

Ovaltine

Ovaltine

According to some accounts, Kublai Khan, the Mongol emperor of China, enjoyed ice cream.  Marco Polo is said to have brought the recipe back to Italy. [1]

Others believe that frozen desserts may have their origin in the Himalayan Mountain area where ancient Indians learned how to combine the ice and snow with milk and other ingredients to make delicious frozen treats. Continue reading