Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Vinegar Glazed Chicken & Shanghainese-Style Stir-Fried [Lima] Beans

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

Vinegar Glazed Chicken

I feel the saying "you had me at . . ." is way overused and I have avoided it (I think) - until now. The title alone had me wanting to make this immediately!! And why there isn't a photo in the book is beyond me - it is a most gorgeous looking stir-fry.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Scallions, ginger, garlic, dried red chili peppers
Bowl 2: Chicken, dark soy sauce, soy sauce, dry sherry, sugar, cornstarch, Sichuan peppercorns, salt
Bowl 3: Sesame oil, dark soy, soy sauce, dry sherry
Bowl 4: Balsamic vinegar

This dish is traditionally made with red chili peppers that I have used here, however in the book, red pepper flakes are called for to make things easier. I only used three peppers for this recipe, I easily could have added more for there was not much heat - not sure how old my dried peppers were. When using whole peppers, make sure to snip one of the ends off so that the seeds of the pepper disperse throughout the stir-fry.

Grace calls for Chinkiang vinegar, which she says adds a great depth of flavor, but balsamic (which I used) she says is a great alternative.

The accidental plating. Lucky for me the sauce splattered this way! (Well, there was a blob on the other side as well, which I wiped clean.) I couldn't have made it happen this way if I tried. 

Not only does this look good, but it tastes good too. To me, it even had an inkling of barbecued flavor to it at first bite. Another member of our group mentioned her hubby thought it tasted slightly like bacon!

This . . . is another winner folks.

Shanghainese-Style Stir-Fried [Lima] Beans

I was feeling this needed a little flair - in the end it probably didn't really need anything at all. But my idea of adding a little Pickapeppa sauce sounded like a good idea at the time. As you can see, the sauce started to "bleed" into the beans almost immediately. Hmmm, maybe two or three slices of cherry tomato on top would be cute - or nothing - depending on how you serve it up - molded and chilled, or warm, straight from the wok.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Pickled cabbage
Bowl 2: Lima beans
Bowl 3: Chicken broth
Bowl 4: Sugar, salt

This is an odd stir-fry to say the least. It wasn't easy stir-frying mashed beans - they just wanted to stay in one big clumpy mass and stick to my chuan (wok spatula). I just had to keep scraping the beans off and pressing down and dragging the chuan across them to incorporate everything.

I found the pickled cabbage at a store in Oakland's Chinatown (wish I can remember which one - it was the last store I was going to look at before giving up). Of course I tried to find them at my local stores, even 99 Ranch, our local Asian grocer to no avail - the other stores may have had this - but if they had the Chinese label showing, I would have had no clue. At least now I know what to look for.

The recipe calls for fresh fava beans - which here in California do not come into season until late January (if you're lucky) or February according to the vendor at the farmer's market. I may have been able to find frozen fava beans at 99 Ranch, but I never made it over there.

We actually enjoyed this. Andy liked it a lot actually - he said it made him feel like he was eating clean; "clean" eating can be a put-off for some - but this was tasty - not knock-your-socks off tasty like I'm accustomed to with recipes from this book, but it was good. Andy says he would even eat this a couple times a week.

I'm glad I purchased two cans of the pickled cabbage, for I will definitely make this again when fresh fava beans are in season come next year.

These two recipes can be found on pages 136 & 227 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge.


We as a group have agreed not to post the recipes on our blogs. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Dried Scallops

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

This special occasion dish received high marks throughout our group; here are a few words from our members describing this stir-fry: intense, special, rich flavor, decadent, a umami bomb!

Dried scallops are considered a delicacy in China.

The scallops get a soaking for about an hour or more until they are softened and easily shredded.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Shallots
Bowl 2: Shiitake mushrooms
Bowl 3: White pepper
Bowl 4: Chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, reserved scallop liquid
Bowl 5: Scallops

This stir-fry is the specialty of Grace's friend George Chew, who serves this at his New Year's Eve celebrations.

As I mentioned, this was a big hit amongst our members; not so much for us though. Sorry Grace and George!! At first bite I thought it had really good flavor, then a fishy aftertaste kicked in which lingered . . . all night long.

Maybe it was the quality of the scallops? Just how does one tell what they are getting as evidenced below.

A word of caution:

Susan, a fellow wokker recommends avoiding this brand like the plague. She purchased these at an Asian market near her for $12.99 for six ounces (the price may have been a clue - for dried scallops can easily go for up to and more than $100 a pound!) She said they never softened as they should after soaking, and they had a rubbery texture and nasty taste. So beware!

If you go to a Chinatown as I did, you will find shops with scallops in very large jars filled to the rim in assorted sizes and prices. The good thing in making a special trip, you can purchase the quantity needed so there is no waste.

We even have a member, Bob, who dried his own! That is one way to make sure you're getting top quality. Want to know how to make your own dried scallops? Join or FB page and type in "scallops" in the search box and scroll through until you come upon Patti's (Bob) post for drying scallops, or just do a Google search. :)

This recipe can be found on page 215 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge.


We as a group have agreed not to post the recipes on our blogs.