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Peppery Hot

by: Liu Lingyi

Hong Kong China: Wan Li Book Company 2005, Hardbound
ISBN: 962-14-3084-4


Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2006 Issue: 13(4) page(s): 25 and 26

Not a pepper lover as a child, friends convinced the author to eat the piquant varieties. Interestingly, loving chilies came easier than accepting sweet ones. It was years later that she became acquainted with common sweet red, yellow, and green peppers. Earlier she had avoided them disliking their aroma. When away from home at college, the salad bar became her avenue to health and realization learning that peppers were sweet enough to be eaten as a fruit. From slow acceptance she went on to trying more kinds of peppers. Thus, she acquired a love for the entire pepper family. This adoration led to this bi-lingual collection of fifty-nine nifty pepper treats.

Every recipe has a full-page color picture of its finished dish and a white box with a general or specific tip. Some are commonplace, such as peeling sweet and hot peppers can be simplified if baked until the skin is burnt. She places hers in tightly sealed sandwich bag for a few minutes, takes them out and then peels them. Another tip, allow time for basil to soak in the seasoning sauce, it increases the flavor of a dish. For those who find chili too potent, add a little vinegar to lighten the flavor and make it milder.

Great recipes include Sweet Pepper and Multi-grain Rice, XO Bitter Gourd, Chili Garlic Chicken, Spicy Raw Fish Salad, and Sweet Spicy and Sour Shrimp. There are others, some new-wave, adding a western ingredient or two such as the one below; many others are more traditional.
Fish Salad
Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dried chili pepper seeds
2 kiwi
2 pounds sushi quality tuna (or salmon)
1 Tablespoon soy jam
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon ginger juice
Preparation:
1. Mix olive and sesame oils, ten add the chili pepper seeds. After five minutes, remove them and set them aside reserving the oil.
2. Peel kiwis and slice them thinly. Place them around the edge of a serving platter. Use the remaining ones to cover the center. Slice the fish and put these slices on the kiwi, leaving half-inch outer edge of the platter uncovered.
3. Mix soy jam, sugar, ginger juice, and the reserved chili pepper seeds. Let rest five minutes, then pour this over the fish.
4. Heat reserved oil until it comes to the boil and quickly pour this all over the fish. Serve.

                                                                                                                                                       
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