Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Yangchow Fried Rice

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

This is my new favorite. Unbelievably simple, healthy, and delicious! 

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Shrimp
Bowl 2: Rice, peas
Bowl 3: Ham, scallions
Bowl 4: Salt, white pepper

I was skeptical while making this stir-fry - with no seasonings other than salt and white pepper - and as hard as it was, I did refrain from adding that little bit of garlic, and soy sauce that is typical of fried rice recipes. 

This took me by surprise - it really was full of flavor - no other seasonings are needed, and the white pepper added the perfect amount of heat. No wonder in China, Yangchow fried rice is prized for its clean and fresh flavors (perfect description btw). I have said before, simple can be best, and it rings true with this recipe.

This was so simple to prepare: the shrimp is stir-fried in a small amount of oil just until it turns color, add a little more oil, and the rice and peas, stir until heated through, throw in the ham, scallions, and seasonings, mix all together, and it's done. A most delicious meal in mere minutes.

This also would be utterly delicious made Catonese style, with Chinese barbecued pork in place of the ham. 

Do give this recipe a try; you'll be missing out if you don't.

We as a group do not post the recipes on our blogs, but lucky for you, the recipe is published on Fine Cooking's website, and of course, you can always find it on page 259 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, by Grace Young.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Chinese Jamaican Stir-Fried Chicken with Chayote

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

A most delicious stir-fry! Served with rice, you have yourself a complete meal. 

The recipe calls for two not so ordinary ingredients: Pickapeppa Sauce and Chayote (pronounced Chahy-oh-tee or Chī'ōdē) squash, which also goes by the names of vegetable pear, christophene, chocho and mirlton. Depending on what article you read, it is either a fruit or vegetable. I'm sticking with fruit.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Chicken, dark soy sauce, garlic, cornstarch, salt, oil
Bowl 2: Onions
Bowl 3: Salt
Bowl 4: Chayote
Bowl 5: Water
Bowl 6: Pickapeppa Sauce, ketchup
Bowl 7: Salt

This stir-fry begins by adding the chicken to the wok first, which is allowed to sear and stir-fried briefly before it is removed from the wok (to be added back in later). Oil is added to the wok with a bit of salt and the chayote - this is stir-fried for a short time, and then some water is added, the wok is covered for about five seconds, uncovered, stirred, and covered again until the chayote is crisp-tender. The chicken is added back in along with the sauce mixture and a bit more salt, and stir-fried just until the chicken is cooked through. Yep, that simple.


I have purchased chayote at my local grocery in the past, however, this time, I had to make a trip to 99 Ranch, my local Asian market. If you can't find chayote, you could substitute zucchini; though I may skip or shorten the time of the steaming portion of the recipe, for zucchini is pretty tender from the start, whereas chayote is crisp like an apple, as I prefer my vegetables on the firmer side.

I found it easier to peel the chayote after slicing it in half and giving it a quick rinse with water (it can be slippery); I was able to get a better grip on it, and also able to get to more of the skin in the creases at the top.

The Pickapeppa Sauce (aka Jamaican ketchup), I did not even check my local markets for, and went straight to World Market, knowing I had seen it there before. Other members mentioned they did find it at their Safeway and Ralphs supermarkets - so maybe it is not so uncommon after all.

This sauce tasted to me, a lot like A-1 steak sauce with a dose of vinegar. However, mixed with ketchup and stir-fried along with the other ingredients, it had a totally different flavor - nothing at all like steak sauce.

Andy said this was another A+ meal; and on his second helping he voiced "this is way good.."

It is said that the seed of the chayote is a delicacy in Mexico. So of course I had to give it a try. The seed was very tender, with a "green" flavor, almost grass-like; it was just OK - not something I would have a hankering for in the future.

(Update: to clarify, I ate the seed raw, Grace informed me that it should be cooked.)

I did have an extra chayote that I used for making this raw, light, crisp salad for my lunch. I came across a recipe on Canadian Living, that used a very simple citrus (lime) vinaigrette to toss partially cooked chayote in, along with some cilantro. I chose not to boil the chayote, and just sliced it very thin with a mandoline. Raw chayote is crisp like an apple, with a very mild flavor - similar to a cucumber, sans the sweetness.

Check out the following links for more information on this interesting fruit:

We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. You will find the recipe on page 133 of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find at your local library.