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On the Menu: In San Francisco

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Restaurant Reviews

Summer Volume: 1998 Issue: 5(2) page(s): 17 and 18

This item was published as a restaurant review in an item titled: On the Menu: In San Francisco touting: Straits Cafe in San Francisco.

Published with two recipes, one for Rojak, the other for Sweet and Sour Peppers and Eggplants, both Nonya dishes, they are given below and listed as individual recipes. Should you want to try some Nonya food at home, the first is my own interpretation of Rojak, a first-course or starter food, the second is a Nonya item served at the restaurant. It was taken from The Cooking of Singapore by Chris Yeo and Joyce Jue and published in 1993 by Harlow and Ratner in Emeryville, California. Both are provided below in Flavor and Fortune style.
1 Tablespoon chili paste with garlic
1 Tablespoon blachan (dry shrimp paste)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon tamarind, rinsed in warm water 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cucumbers, seeded and diced in half-inch cubes
1 cup bean spouts, heads and tails removed
1/2 cup diced peeled daikon or kohlrabi
1/2 cup canned pineapple, drained well
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
3 squares fried bean curd, cut into half-inch cubes
1. Mix the first four ingredients with four ounces of water mashing the tamarind until it combines with the other items, then add the lemon juice and mix well.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, toss thoroughly, and serve as a cold side dish or salad.
Sweet and Sour Peppers and Eggplant
2 Japanese eggplants, cut in half lengthwise and thirds crosswise.
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon water
1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
1. Fry eggplant in oil in a wok or deep pan for about four or five minutes until golden brown then drain on paper towels. Remove all oil but one tablespoon from the wok or pan.
2. Fry garlic, onion, and both peppers until tender but still crisp. Then add everything else except the sesame seeds and bring to the boil.
3. Return eggplant to the pan, toss to reheat and coat with the sauce.
4. Top with sesame seeds and serve.

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