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Asian Conference Report

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Conferences, Meetings, Announcements, and Reports

Fall Volume: 1999 Issue: 6(3) page(s): 29 and 30

The Continuing Education Department of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY sponsored a three day jam-packed event in May called 'Asian Flavors and the American Professional Kitchen.' Starting with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a reception on Friday, May 14th until production classes were over on Sunday, the 16th, participants heard about, participated, and practiced their understandings and skills. They heard about Asia on the rise, Asian influences on American palates, fusion foods, and culinary styles that blend East and West.

The program was detailed, loaded with speakers and hands-on talent from those who really know where and how Asian foods are an ever growing part of American cuisine. The first speaker, Roy Yamaguchi, delivered a general welcome, then a powerful keynote address. There were many others presenters that followed, truly a star-studded cast. One of these was Barbara Tropp who spoke about China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and their tasting the components of flavor. For those who attended her soy sauce tasting in Seattle a few years ago at an AIWF conference, you know her keen palate and her way to teach about the subtleties of tasting. Those attending this Asian conference were similarly rewarded.

Talks and tasting herbs, pairings of beer and Asian foods, and wine and Asian foods continued the agenda as did information about rice and the Asian kitchen, Asian spices and their particular flavors, and Asian health-giving recipes. All these and an Asian produce workshop, too, name but a few of the enticing events. There were eight break-out sessions to chose from; more than enough to break everyone’s heart as they could not attend all and soak up every Asian culinary detail. Sessions were interspersed with tasty foods with Asian flavors, Shirley Cheung’s Chinese dinner, a Japanese breakfast, and a Grand Buffet.

If the name Shirley Shuliang Cheng sounds familiar, your memory may go back to the 1994 Conference held at Queens College called 'Chinese Food and the American Palate.' There, she presented a fascinating paper. Before and since that event, Professor Cheng continues to teach culinary arts at the CIA, was a chef in a restaurant in Beijing, and was on the faculty team that won the coveted Sarrizin Cup from the Societe Culinaire Philanthropique. Also teaching Chinese and other Asian cuisines at the CIA is Danny Yushan Lee, a former Chinese restaurant owner and chef with a wealth of expertise in Asian foods and Asian food service management.

Attendees received a looseleaf notebook chock-full of hundreds of pages of information, bio’s, and recipes. They needed to consume lots of the fine food served to tote that heavy volume. This gem was laden with pages of menus served, others suggested, and lots more including selected readings from books by luminaries such as Bruce Cost, Nina Simonds, Barbara Tropp, Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin, Jackie Passmore and Daniel Reid, and Chris Yeo and Joyce Jue. This notebook of pages shone with a book list organized by country, recipes and a recipe index, some materials from some of the sponsors, and more.

With permission, we share two wonderful recipes served at this conference. They are rewritten in the style of all recipes in Flavor and Fortune and come to you with compliments of the CIA, Michael Leung, and Professor Cheng, who developed them.
Water Crystal Steamed Shrimp Dumplings
3 cups wheat starch
2 Tablespoons lard
2 cups boiling water
2 cups tapioca starch
1 pound shrimp, half minced fine, the other half diced
3 ounces water chestnuts, minced
3 ounces pork fat, optional but recommended
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon MSG, optional
1 egg white
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1. Mix wheat starch and lard. The add the boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Gradually add the tapioca starch and mix until combined. Allow the dough to rest for one minute then put it on a board and knead for two minutes.
2. Mix both portions of shrimp and all of the remaining ingredients until sticky.
3. Divide the dough into four portions. Cover three of them and form balls about one inch in diameter of the other one. Flatten each and roll out to about four inches in diameter.
4. Put a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center and pleat fold the dough around half of it and seal that to the remaining half of the dough. Using each of the remaining portions of dough, continue until all dumplings are made.
5. Put lettuce leaves on bamboo steamer racks. Then put the dumplings of the lettuce, but do not allow them to touch each other. Steam them for six minutes over rapidly boiling water. Serve with light soy or another dipping sauce.
Chinese Spring Rolls
1/4 pound ground pork
1 Tablespoon rice wine
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon corn oil
1 scallion, minced
1/4 pound savoy cabbage, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 pound bean sprouts
1 package spring roll or similar dough sheets
oil for deep frying
mustard or another dipping sauce of your choice, optional
1. Mix pork with wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch.
2. Heat Tablespoon of oil and fry the pork until it changes color, then add the scallions, cabbage, seasonings, and sesame oil.
3. Then add bean sprouts, stir once or twice, remove from heat and cool.
4. Put two tablespoons of the filling on a spring roll sheet, then roll and seal it with egg, flour paste, or water. Continue until all filling and sheets are prepared.
5. Deep fry in oil until golden brown, drain on paper towels, and serve with mustard or any other dipping sauce.

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