2018 China GP Preview
I am so excited for the Chinese Grand Prix. Beautiful location, beautiful circuit, and even more beautiful food. I will be making three recipes from All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips.
All Under Heaven is a gorgeous tome. As it covers 35 regional cuisines of China, it is indeed extensive. Chinese cooking is new and unfamiliar to me, but it is exciting to learn from an exquisitely researched and written book like this one.
Dry-Fried Chicken Wings
Gānpēng jīchì 乾烹雞翅 _
All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips
6 whole chicken wings
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups (or so) peanut or vegetable oil for frying
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
10 dried Thai chilies, or to taste, broken in half and seeds discarded, and/or smoked paprika
¾ cup pale rice vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon toasted Sichuan peppercorn salt, or to taste (to make peppercorn salt: combine 1/2 cup whole Sichuan peppercorns and 1/2 cup salt in a dry wok, cook over medium heat until salt browns and peppercorns start to pop, let mixture cool. Pulverize in a spice grinder, shake through a fine mesh sieve, and store in a tightly sealed jar.)
2 teaspoons regular soy sauce
1. Start this recipe at least 6 hours before you want to serve it. If you are using whole wings, cut off the tips and use them for stock, and then cut the wings between the first and second joints so that you have 12 pieces. Place the wing pieces in a work bowl and sprinkle the cornstarch over them. Toss the wings in the bowl until each piece is thoroughly coated.
2. Place a cake rack on a large plate or small baking sheet, then arrange the wings, not touching, on the pan. Refrigerate uncovered so the cool air slightly dries out the wings. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
3. Pour the oil into a wok and heat over high heat until a wooden chopstick inserted in the oil is immediately covered with bubbles. Hold a spatter screen in one hand while using the other hand to carefully add half of the wing pieces to the hot oil. Cover with the screen to reduce the possibility of burns and mess. As soon as the wings are golden on one side, turn them over, adjusting the heat as necessary. Remove the wings to a large work bowl once they are nicely browned and cooked through (see Tips). Repeat with the other half of the wings.
4. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the wok (or put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan), place it over medium-high heat, and add the garlic, ginger, onions, and chilies. (Smoked paprika can be used instead of, or in addition to, the chilies.) Toss them in the hot oil to release their fragrance, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the heat to high and quickly boil down the sauce. Just before it turns syrupy and starts to caramelize, taste and adjust the seasoning. Once it is the consistency of maple syrup, remove from the heat. Toss the wings in the sauce to coat them completely. Arrange the wings on a serving platter and eat while hot.
My preference here is for the middle section of the wings, which offers a nice ratio of crispy skin to juicy chicken.
Chicken wings will generally take 10 to 15 minutes to cook through. The wings will be done when they are a lovely golden brown all over. Blood will seep out of the core if they are not completely cooked, so check them in the work bowl before you toss them with the sauce.
Fried Green Onion Noodles
Cong You Ban Mian, 葱油拌面
All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips
12 green onions
1 ½ cups peanut or vegetable oil
¼ cup light soy sauce
¼ cup unsalted chicken stock
2 tablespoons small dried shrimp soaked for 30 minutes in boiling water, optional
4 quarts water
2 tablespoons sea salt
12 ounces thin dried noodles of any kind
1. Clean and trim green onions, pat them dry (this is important as you don’t want to spatter in the oil), and then slice them into either thin rounds or on an angle into long, thin ovals.
2. Line a plate with a paper towel and place it next to the stove along with a slotted spoon. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When the oil just begins to shimmer, add a few pieces of onion. What you want is for the onions to gently bubble, so adjust the heat as needed and then add the rest of the onions. Stir the onions every minute or so and let them slowly cook, giving them a chance to release their fragrance and gradually dry out. Keep an eye on the onions, and as soon as they start to smell toasty and a few begin to brown, stir them almost constantly so they toast evenly.
3. Once almost all of them are brown, remove them from the oil with the slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel. Set the wok with the hot oil aside. If you’re going to continue the recipe immediately simply allow to cool as you continue. Otherwise, let the seasoned oil cool, then our it into a clean glass jar and store in e refrigerator.
4. Pour the soy sauce and stock into a large work bowl and stir in about ¼ cup of the flavored oil. If you are using the dried shrimp, drain them, discard any sandy veins or foreign matter, and chop them into fine pieces.
5. Put the water in a large pot, add the salt, and bring to a boil. About 5 to 10 minutes before you want to serve this dish, stir the noodles into the water and gently swish them often so they don’t stick together. As soon as the water starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the noodles until they are barely done. Place a colander in the sink and drain the pasta into it, but don’t rinse it., as the starch on the noodles will help to thicken the sauce and allow it to evenly coat each strand.
6. Put the cooked noodles into your work bowl with the sauce (and optional minced shrimp) and toss them well. You want the noodles slightly soupy since they’ll absorb some of the sauce, so add more stock if needed. Taste and add a bit of soy sauce or green onion oil, if you want.
7. Divide the noodles and sauce among serving bowls, garnish with all of the fried onions, and serve.
Jīnbiān báicài 金邊白菜
All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips (also on her blog!)
1½ pounds napa cabbage (about ½ large head or 1 small head)
5 dried Thai chilies
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons regular soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1. Rinse the cabbage carefully, removing any damaged leaves. Shake the cabbage dry and then cut out the core. Separate the leaves into stacks of 3 or 4 and place them curved-side down on a cutting board. Use the side of a cleaver to lightly whack the stems; this will serve to gently break them open, and then cut them into pieces approximately 2 x 1 inches in size.
2. Break the chilies open and discard both the seeds and the stem ends. Cut them into smallish pieces. Heat a wok over high heat and then pour in the oil. Immediately add the chilies and fry them quickly until they have crisped up. Toss in the ginger and the cabbage and stir-fry the cabbage over high heat. As soon as the cabbage has wilted, add the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Continue to toss the cabbage until all of the edges are a golden brown. Serve hot.
Hope you'll join me in making a few of these. Let me know how they turn out!!