Chinatown

Five Steps to Wok Star Status (and One Seriously Good Cookbook)

I have a confession to make. I had all but forgotten my wok skills. I lost my wok in one of many moves. I settled in to married life steps from Chinatown’s Paifang (gate) and it just always seemed easier to go to a restaurant than to get another wok, season it, then chop, prep, clean. It wasn’t until I began guiding tours through Chinatown and launched my own cooking instruction business that I realized I needed to get back to actually cooking with a wok and teaching others to do so as well. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be back at it.  I have Grace Young’s brilliant Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge to thank for it. Click book to buy.

Five Steps to Wok Star Status

Wok cooking can be one of the healthiest, and quickest, ways to bring a weeknight meal together. Yet many people shy away from cooking in a real wok and default to their favorite sauté pan, or worse take-out food. What are the advantages of cooking in a wok? It’s lightweight, naturally non-stick, and efficient. It’s also very healthy, relying on high heat, little oil, lots of vegetables

Step One – How/where to buy a wok. For anyone near a Chinatown, you’re in luck. Many large suburbs also now have H-Marts or large cooking supply stores. I favor the lightweight, flat-bottomed carbon steel style wok. It cost me a whopping $11.98 at Sun Sun Market on Oxford Street. You can get a similar one online via Amazon or other such mail order shops. Even at double the price, it remains a bargain as far as cookware goes. Don’t bother to buy a nonstick wok! You will develop a natural nonstick surface quickly.

Step Two – How to season your new wok.

You’ll begin by scouring the wok with steel wool and soap. This is the one and only time these two things will touch your wok! You dry it carefully then season it by rubbing and pressing chopped scallion or garlic chives, ginger and peanut oil into the sides and bottom of the wok. After about 20 minutes of stir-frying the vegetables will be darkened and so will the wok. The pores of the wok have been opened by the heat and the metal will begin to absorb the fragranced oil.

Step Three – Tips for excellent results. Throughout the book, you’ll learn tips and techniques like how to cut the garlic, scallion or ginger that make up Asian “mirepoix”. Helpful substitutions included for those not near a Chinatown. For example, dry sherry (or my mother-in-law’s favorite Amontillado) make good substitutes for Shao Hsing rice wine.

Step Four – How to clean it and store your wok. Similar to cast iron skillets, you simply rinse with hot water, dry it, then store it. As mine is new, I often take a folded paper towel and tiny bit of oil or bacon fat to lightly coat the surface.

Step Five – Unexpected wok fun. Did you know popping popcorn in a wok is one of the best ways to develop the patina? (See below.) With only 20 minutes, you can season a wok properly and then it’s DONE. Each subsequent use improves the quality of your wok.  According to Grace Young, "Wok hei, or the breath of a wok, is the flavor and aroma that's produced if a stir-fry has been correctly cooked with super fresh ingredients over high heat---and it only lasts for a fleeting few seconds or minutes after the food has come out of the wok." 

I’d like to say I’m introducing a new technique and tool can energize your weeknight kitchen routine and inspire you to try new recipes. But in truth, wok cooking is as old as it gets. It may be new to you, but not for long.

One Seriously Good Cookbook: Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge

There are some books that are simply recipe collections. Others are travelogues, picture books, nice for the coffee table. Then there are books you want to devour. With your eyes, your senses, your heart. This is one of those. Grace Young combines everything we’ve come to expect from the best of our cook books:

  • Pictures that document step-by-step the key techniques
  • Heartwarming stories that tie personal moments and dishes that represent them to historical events
  • Techniques that will enable home cooks to get terrific results
  • Recipes that are both pleasing and fun to make, as well as delicious.

Like all my favorite cookbooks, this one is already dog-eared, splattered and tabbed. I removed the dust jacket for this shot.

My Wok, My Self

A seasoned wok is a work in progress, just like me.

As I eagerly flipped through the first few pages of my then-new book with my then-new wok, imagine how my heart sank when I go to page 23 Patience to Wok. Patience? Me?!

Only two pages later, I learn that one of my favorite snacks, popcorn, is perfect for boosting the wok’s patina. Like many kitchen lessons, these wok lessons translate to life lessons. Once in awhile, especially when your wok is young, you may find some food stubbornly sticking here or there. No problem! Woks, like cast iron skillets are nearly impossible to ruin. Young’s book even shows you how to give your wok a “facial” to restore the surface.

Soon you’ll see beauty in your imperfectly mottled patina. You’ll appreciate the quick-to-heat and quick-to-cool surface and you’ll definitely appreciate the lightweight nature of most woks. I find myself reaching for the wok as much or more than the large cast iron skillet these days. Even eggs won’t stick now.

Lessons from a wok:

  1. Stubbornness of youth can be overcome with some seasoning.
  2. Be as quick to cool, as you are to heat.
  3. Appreciate your imperfection.
  4. A tiny bit of TLC goes a very long way.
  5. Be giving.

To learn more:

Some thoughts on the "Chinese Restaurant Manifesto" - A bowl half-empty or half-full?

My day began with an interesting read circulating on Facebook. An Eater's Manifesto For Chinese Restaurants | Florence Lin | Carolyn Phillips. I don't know Lin or Phillips but Phillips' self-described "rant" caused me to pause. She takes two experiences - one dining with a friend who ordered in Chinese, and one when she ordered presumably in English and different dishes - as her starting point for the rant. Phillips draws some dubious conclusions. Had she gone back and asked for the same dishes, by their Chinese names, I bet she'd have had a different experience. Chinese restaurants are not punishing you for being non-Chinese, after all. They are serving you what they (albeit often mistakenly) think you will prefer. It is our job to show them otherwise.

But first, a step back...

To understand what we wish to critique, it is helpful to know a little history. There are many reasons that Chinese restaurants and menus developed the way they did. At least for Boston's Chinatown a look at the these may be helpful in understanding how we got to where we are today.

Remember, it was not so long ago that all Italian restaurants were red sauce or pizza joints. Today authenticity and regional expressions rule the day, but this was not always the case. Few outside of Italy knew the difference between Tuscan and Sardinian ten or fifteen years ago. So it is with Chinatown and Chinese food. In its early days, the craze for this new exotic cuisine was driven by people with little knowledge of China, no appreciation for nuances of regional cuisines. I'm not a fan of the Food Network but one cannot deny its popularity and at least in earlier days it lead the way in terms of food education.

Back then, and to some extent even today, Chinese people and their food were treated with hostility or at best some curiosity. Early diners in Chinatown were not foodies. They were railroad, garment and laundry owners and managers. A little later, as The Chinese Exclusion Acts began to be repealed and our Chinese population grew, some enterprising Chinese capitalized on the growing American hunger for this new "exotic" cuisine. Neon dragons and phoenix festooned the growing number of restaurants catering to the adventurous. Ruby Foo's Den grew so popular the entrepreneur opened a second location in New York.

In the early days, when visiting dignitaries and entertainers would have their drivers bring them to Chinatown for this new and edgy experience, Chinese restaurants were happy to have them. In order to also feed their own authentic food, they began to use a yellow banner or flag hung in the window to signify that real Chinese food would be served, off menu. This was not conceived of as a way to hide these dishes from gwei lo; it was more likely that no white folks back then were interested in authentic expressions of regional dishes. They were happy to have their scorpion bowls and chop suey.

Chinese menus grew to cater to a broad variety of tastes as a matter of business survival. Here in Boston we have a regrettable habit of running lemming-like in packs to the newest, latest, he's doing what there? - restaurant. People are too quick to follow a trend, a crowd, a review. We are fortunate to have a thriving restaurant culture now. Restaurants outside of Chinatown, as well as in it, have to work hard to keep customers coming back when the sheen of being the hottest new spot has been eclipsed by the next hottest new spot.

I asked respected Boston restaurant critic "MC Slim JB" for his take on this topic and Phillips' post:

In my experience as a white man with no Mandarin or Cantonese, I have little difficulty getting access to the “good” menu, even as my countrymen are ordering General Gau’s and pork fried rice. Traditional regional Chinese vs. “debased” American-Chinese is not an either/or choice in Boston’s Chinatown restaurants, and it clearly is good business to serve an American-Chinese menu to the folks that don’t understand or appreciate traditional cooking. This inclusiveness has zero effect on the quality of my traditional Cantonese, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Shandong, Sichuan, and other regional cuisines and specialties available in the neighborhood. I can get terrific dim sum, live-tank seafood, hotpot, BBQ, and so on, and servers don’t blink when a white patron orders them. 

I also think the author’s perspective lacks grounding in the realities of the restaurant business. Chinese restaurateurs are savvy businesspeople: does Phillips believe that they are simply naïve, blind to the gigantic opportunity she sees to educate consumers about more traditional regional cuisines? Or could it be possible that there’s still a huge portion of the American populace, that despite all our alleged food obsessiveness, just isn’t that adventurous?

I agree that better translations, better server language skills, and an aggressive approach to marketing the virtues of traditional cuisines would lure more non-Chinese patrons across the great divide. But it’s still a business, and most restaurateurs would like to make a buck at their trade – if they can educate the heathens and bring them to a new world of joy in the process, that is proverbial gravy, but it’s a fool’s errand if they lose money and go belly-up in the process.

If Phillips wants to see more restaurants doing traditional cuisines in a way that edifies and educates the poor ignorant Anglophone masses, I welcome her to try it: I suspect she may be in for a rude shock at how very difficult it is to pursue her grandiose vision and keep the doors open for six months. In the meantime, I will continue to eat quite well and traditionally in Chinese restaurants, and hope for the day that more of my countrymen will throw down their prejudices, ignorance and monolingualism, and start exploring a bit on their own. Sometimes, the problem of culinary authenticity is not in our restaurants, but ourselves.

My approach

Because I live so near Chinatown, and lead historically-driven culinary tours in Chinatown, and I eat in Chinatown regularly, I get to see first-hand a broad view of Chinese food lovers from those that order nothing but chow mein and crab rangoon, to those that are curious. A whole table orders three types of fried rice. Diners who wrinkle their noses and say "Eeuw" at food that is so fresh it's still alive when you've ordered it, or comes to the table with a face. Meat on the bone, heaven forbid.

I am also the first to complain that a menu is poorly translated, ("baked pork chop" which turns out to be beautiful, fall-off-the-bone, red-braised pork rib but goes unordered because of the bad translation). But let's remember, these folks conduct business in a second language. How's your Cantonese? Your Mandarin? Mine are non-existant.

So what is a well-intentioned, mono-linguistic adventurous diner to do?

Here's what I did long before I met my Cantonese-speaking husband, long before I was trained to conduct the Chinatown tours. Perhaps these tips will serve you well:

  1. Find something on a near-by table that intrigues you and ask for that dish.
  2. If kitchen staff are cleaning a box of produce that just came in that day at a back table, GET THAT. I've discovered more than one regular favorite by ordering this way.
  3. Ask the server for a dish that is typical of their region. Know what region you are talking about.
  4. Insist politely that you "don't want tourist food." I used to have a wallet card that had this phrase translated into several languages. It was always a good ice-breaker.

Here are some other tips, I've incorporated more recently:

  1. Pick up a book on Chinese food and learn what some key ingredients or iconic dishes are in the main regions. (Two current favorites: Grace Young's Stir-fry to the Sky's Edge, Pat Tanumihardja's Asian Grandmother's Cooking)
  2. Go to a restaurant that serves a particular regional cuisine. Get the dishes that represent that region.
  3. Take a Chinatown tour.
  4. Do not pour soy sauce, chili garlic sauce over your food as if it were mustard on a hot dog.
  5. Learn how to say please or thank you in the appropriate language - here, usually Cantonese or Mandarin.
  6. Ask the server to read the specials to you. This you may want to do this off-hours. You're not going to win any friends by stopping service at peak hours to read what is, after all, authentic dishes.
  7. If it's peak hours, simply ask "what is fresh, best today?" That will always get you some suggestions.

bowl chopsticks_OPT

A bowl half full

We could look at life as a bowl half empty or half-full. We could question whether a provocative rant is simply trying gain visibility for an upcoming cookbook release. But I prefer to look at the world as a bowl half full. We have a wonderful opportunity to explore the globe through television, the internet, through cookbooks and  most importantly through food. Thankfully we have more restaurants and better ones than ever. Why not take a positive approach?

Don't assume that Chinese restaurants are trying to dupe you or are interested in serving you bad food. In my experience, they are genuinely happy if someone is curious or adventurous about their cuisine and they're proud to share it.

Don't hold Chinese restaurants to a different standard than others. Do you call out Italian eateries for serving dishes from more than one region? Indian restaurants also often represent a variety of regions on their menus. I don't mind so much if more than one region is represented but ask which is their speciality.

I suspect much of the pro-rant tweets and posts are coming from a group of sophisticated food lovers who may be greatly over-estimating the general dining public's preferences. But the more sophisticated the ranter, the higher the bar I'm gonna hold you to. Meet them at least half way and you'll find a much improved experience.

  • What are your favorite tips for dining out in ethnic restaurants?

  • What are your favorite books about regional cuisines, Chinese or otherwise?

 

 

A Farewell Feast at Jade Garden

Farewell Nathan, Mat  

Saying goodbye as we schlepp our wares out the last day. Then a feast at Jade Garden including fantastic geoduck, fish maw soup, scallops with vermicelli and toasted garlic and so - much - more.

What a pleasure it was sharing the delicious variety of sustainable seafood coming out of British Columbia!

All agreed it was a successful show. Thousands of samples served. Deals done. Relationships built. Looking forward to next year already.

Ingredient Sleuth: Goji Berries (AKA Wolfberries)

I have to admit the popularity of goji berries as a "new superfood!" turned me off to exploring these little orange-red berries. Doesn't help reduce my skepticism that these nutritional powerhouses are now the subject of MLM schemes and connected to tall tales ascribing insane longevity to them. But I kept hearing about them and began to see them at Whole Foods, then realized that finding them bobbing in Ma-La hotpots with other traditional Chinese ingredients like red dates, indicates they are not "new" - though they are new to me, and I'm guessing maybe to a few of you, as well?

Goji Berries

Goji berries

Look Here - Goji Berries, Good for Eyes

Health benefits of berries, in general, include the high levels of anti-oxidants, Vitamins A & C, along with other nutrients which vary by berry. Antioxidants also help boost immune function, protect vision, and may help prevent heart disease.

Goji berries share these health benefits with other berries: they are rich in vitamin A and C - more per weight than oranges - and they have more beta-carotene that carrots. See what eye docs say about lutein and zeaxanthin.

The primary components being studied are polysaccharideslutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein you may have heard of before (kale, eggs and other foods are good sources) but it may be that zeaxanthin is new to you, as it was to me. Both lutein and zeaxanthin have been studied for their potential to protect against age-related macular degeneration but recently the second component, zeaxanthin, was noted to concentrate in the eye to offer more protection than lutein which settles in the eye in more diffuse ways.

Preliminary research suggests brain-boosting brain benefits as well as protection against age-related diseases like macular degeneration and even Alzheimer's (The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease).

Goji in hot porridge

Mixed grains, raisins, goji berries, toasted walnuts.

How to Eat

So how much do you need to consume and how to use them?

I tried to calculate amounts from the medical journal studies I read. 15 mg was the amount used in one study. All the converters I found start at larger increments and there's the whole volume versus liquid thing. Makes my brain hurt. Hey, there's more than one reason I went to law school instead of med school!

I'm going to say it's roughly equivalent to a Tablespoon a day (thanks to all who weighed in - pardon the pun - on my math conundrum posted on FB.) Put them in your cereal, or your smoothie, maybe on a salad as you would craisins or raisins or cranberries. Add to granola.

As mentioned earlier, in Chinese hot pot soups or stews they work well. The flavor of them is described as cranberry crossed with cherry. I find them neither as tart as cranberries nor as sweet as cherries. Think of the tartness of a pomegranate aril in the texture of soft raisin.

Two conversion calculators were some help and may be worth bookmarking later: See GourmetSleuth.com.

Where to Find

Chinese herbalists, groceries and online. Whole Foods carries them as well. Look for Lycium barbarum or Goji or Wolfberry.  I get mine at Nam Bac Hong, the herbalist on my Boston Food Tours - Chinatown Tours. If you are on blood thinners, you should consult your doctor before adding any TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine to your diet as many are known to interfere with those drugs.

Also anyone with food allergies, you'll want to be aware that these are new to the West and some studies are beginning to track allergic reactions and cross-reactions.

Taking a Dim Sum View - Chinese New Year Whets Foodies' Appetites

Since we're approaching the Chinese New Year people are getting excited about banquets (like the Boston Food Tours special Chinese New Year tour and banquet) and poking around the edges of Chinese food maybe more than they usually do.

lion dance 2008

Why not take our tour, or even throw your own Chinese New Year party? Here' are two excellent books to help you prepare your own Chinese New Year event:

 

If you are approaching Chinese food as a spectator sport, definitely get your hands on the latest Lucky Peach - Chinatown edition (!)

luckpeach

 

 

 

 

 

and have a look at this Wall Street Journal piece on dim sum: Taking a Dim Sum View - WSJ.com.

 

Chinese Roast Duck Fresh Rolls with Green Gage Plum Jam

La Reine Claude or Green Gage Plum Jam + a hankering for siu nap - Chinese roast duck = [hint, that is the duck in the takeout container, poised over a bowl of steamy water...]  

siu nap

 

scroll down...

 

 

 

 

 

 

roast duck fresh rolls

Roast duck fresh rolls!

Those white crepe-like things, for those of you who don't know (poor things), are rice paper wraps. You can get them at any grocer in Chinatown and probably at large grocers in the "International" section. They're stiff like parchment when you get them and you simply slide them into a large bowl of steaming hot water for a couple minutes, just until they've softened. Remove it from the water, let the excess water drip onto a clean towel, then wrap it around your favorite julienned veggies, herbs, grilled meat or tofu. I've even done a huge platter for a wrap-your-own appetizer for a party.

I like to stuff them with all sorts of veggies, herbs, and make dipping sauces with black vinegar, or sriracha...chili oil, sesame-peanut dressing.

It's my eat-more-greens secret weapon. Everything's more fun in a fresh roll! Even husbands that profess indifference to salad will gleefully enjoy them when wrapped in rice paper.

So I took Denise Woodward's generous gift of lovely jam and introduced La Reine Claude to Monsieur Siu Nap. Gave them a little buffer of baby romaine, cilantro and julienned scallions and cucumbers, and wrapped them all up.

 

 

roast duck fresh roll

 

What would you wrap?

Fragrant Food Memories - Humble, Stunning Ginger-Scallion Sauce

  If Proust had been Chinese instead of French we might all wax eloquent about ginger-scallion sauce instead of Madeleines.

This condiment, a humble but wondrous concoction, elicits squeals of delight and swooning beyond any rational explanation. Francis Lam suggests you might even find your sofa edible with the right spoonful. Pat Tanumihardja's Asian Grandmothers cookbook concurs. Ask any friend from Hong Kong and I'll bet they will claim their Mother or Auntie makes "the best" one.

ginger-scallion

I was researching this sauce in preparation for a dinner recently and C happened to walk by the desk, seeing a photo in someone's recipe I found online. He stopped. "Wow! I totally remember the smell of that being made. I LOVE that stuff. Can you make it?"

For the man to have that sort of Proustian moment - he went on to describe Mom's special bowl, just for making it; being at Uncle King's and smelling the fragrant steam waft up from the bubbling mix - for this guy to have that kind of moment stopped me in my tracks. I mean, I married a man that could just about live on neon orange Mac n Cheese from a blue box and cheap candy, the sweeter and more artificial, the better. So I knew we were on to something.

I recalled his beloved Aunt Linda gifting little pots of it to her daughters, our cousins, over the holidays, after we'd enjoyed yet another amazing meal at her house.

Digging, Scraping

Determined to come up with my own version of homemade ginger-scallion sauce, I began my research. I found Francis Lam's recipe in Salon.com in June of last year. It includes instructions to "Salt the ginger and scallion like they called your mother a bad name and stir it well." I followed these measurements and instructions.

I also took cues from a recipe in Pat Tanumihardja's Asian Grandmothers Cookbook. It includes the common description of "a three inch piece of fresh ginger" (Sometimes I've seen "a large knob of ginger" sometimes also with a helpful descriptor "about the size of your thumb.")

As I reviewed recipes, I was thinking that so much of Asian cooking is by touch, by feel, by scent. I recall my friend Raghavan Iyer describing how Indians cook with their hands: "Cooking with utensils is like making love through an interpreter, it can be done, but it's not nearly as much fun!"

All this makes it difficult to teach a home style recipe via print or web, especially if you're not familiar with the ingredients or the techniques. This makes me appreciate my Asian cookbook authors even more!

Pat's book is a wonderful window into many favorite homestyle meals, comfort food to celebration food, from all over Asia. This is a visit with a friend, an introduction to cherished family recipes. So I was digging through recipes, scraping away papery ginger skin.

I noticed that my current ginger was rather large, and the next we purchased ginger was rather small...another variable. This recipe is so easy and enticing, so fragrant, it's the perfect foil to simple poached chicken or fish, I really wanted you to be able to try it at home.

convexspoon

Tip: the best way to peel ginger - scrape with a teaspoon. You will lose less of the juicy, fleshy part of the ginger than if you peel with a paring knife or vegetable peeler.

My first batch was a little salty to my taste (I have been known to fiercely defend those I love, so perhaps I should have dialed back on the imagined insult to my mother.) I grated a little fresh ginger into the slightly salty batch and it was a hit. I was immediately asked to replicate it, and I decided to make my own recipe, measuring things as I went along, to share it with you.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce

I think this is one of those recipes that each cook makes to her own taste. I've seen recipes that call for garlic, some that add soy. I followed Pat's and Francis' recipes to guide me in my first attempt. I measured things here to encourage you to try your own. Since there are so few ingredients, it is imperative that you use the best, organic ingredients you can get your hands on. It's served with simple poached or steamed or roasted foods, and many of us would feel no shame in admitting that the other thing you eat it with is merely a vehicle for conveying this yummy stuff to your mouth. Almost.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C +2 TBSP of ginger, fresh organic ginger, peeled and chopped in food processor or by hand
  • 1 C scallion, chopped, process separately in food processor
  • 3/4 C best quality peanut oil, (I use Spectrum)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (any salt but not Morton's Iodized)
  • 1/2 tsp best quality soy sauce

 

Directions:

  1. Peel, then mince ginger, chop in processor. Stop before it begins to turn to a paste.
  2. Place minced ginger in deep, heat proof bowl (like you'd use for making French onion soup).
  3. Mince scallions, process in same way.
  4. Add to ginger, you should still have room for mixture to bubble up some as the oil sizzles the ginger and scallion.
  5. Add the salt, mix.
  6. Heat your peanut oil - you want it really hot, but not burnt. As it heats you'll begin to see shimmery lines and it will become fragrant. Just when it starts to smoke, it is ready. The color will also become more transparent.
  7. Finish with 1/2 tsp of soy sauce.
The oil will sizzle and steam when it hits the ginger scallion mixture. This is what you want. My first batch was a bit too salty for my taste and I didn't see enough sizzle. It was still really good. This recipe and instructions will hopefully ensure that your first attempt is great and encourages you to make more. As Francis says, it makes everything taste good, though I'd stop short of the sofa.
Do you make this? Have you tried it?
Will you try it now and let me know how you like it?

 

Dumplings, Dumplings, Dumplings and other Asian Food Finds

It started with the arrival of Andrea Nguyen's Asian Dumplings cookbook and the arrival of Pat Tanumihardja's Asian Grandmother's cookbook. Here you'll find a mostly pictoral post, with descriptions of these fine books and my maiden voyage to H Mart, as well as pictures of my first attempts at making gyoza skins from scratch. Making dumplings is sort of like having sex: it's not hard to do, but to do it well, is another matter. Either way, it's delicious and fun so don't be intimidated, try some homemade dumplings.

First, the books. Read my review here: Asian Cookbook Explosion is a Boon to Home Cooks.

asiandumplingsAndrea's got a wonderful website Asian Dumplings, including many video clips and how to pictures. asiangrandmotherscookbook

Pat's website includes many recipes not in the book, along with recipes like these Sardine Puffs which are Sustainable, too!

Then my husband announced his birthday wish:  "Dumplings, at least 39, one for each year, or as many as I can eat." And, I have the Oishinbo Ramen and Gyoza edition on loan from the Passionate Foodie's lending library (my friend Rich, AKA the Passionate Foodie is generous about loaning books that he knows I'd enjoy. He's introduced me to many great books, three on my nightstand right now!) Read about Rich's Saké class here, Saké Wins Over Some New Fans.

Still, reading and doing are not the same, as the Chinese say: talk does not cook the rice.

oishinbo

 

When the Kotobukiya Japanese grocery store closed in Porter Square, many of the essential ingredients were hard to find. Later the new H Mart in Burlington opened. A plan came into focus. So the quest began. Could we find the ingredients we needed? Could we make proper gyoza? It was time to try!

You will have noticed that the Oishinbo book is entitled: Ramen and Gyoza. Both are Chinese in origin and beloved by Japanese as well as many of the rest of the world. Just today as I was finishing the edits on the Suite101 book review post, I saw this article in the New York Times, One Noodle at a Time. As the excellent glossary notes, Ramen and Gyoza are often served together. Reading this article will make you hungry for a big bowl of ramen. I need to make it to Ken's Ramen in the Super88 Food Court.

 

Remember you can buy books I review from my Powell's Bookshelf! Click on the Icon below to go browse and buy! powellspartner