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TOPICS INCLUDE: Chinese herbs; Website kudo; Chicken with fuyu; Hasma; Fish lips; No Kazak recipe; Flattened pig; Shark's fin

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Letters to the Editor

Spring Volume: 2003 Issue: 10(1) page(s): 6 and 7

FYI, do you know that Chinese herbs show promise for hepatitus B patients? Just read in 'Health Scout News' about a new study that suggests some people suffering from the liver disease caused by the hepatitus B virus could benefit by adding Chinese herbal medications to their drug regimes.
MARCIA: Thanks for calling this article by Michael McCulloch and Frank Meyers to everyone's attention. This information is in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health. It can also be accessed directly at the following long website address: www.healthscout.com/template.asp?page=newsDetail&ap=408&id=50941.

FROM LILIAN C. via e-mail:
I was interested in the publication based upon a colleague’s description and came across your website. May I offer you the highest compliments to those involved in producing a very well-written and informative publication.
LILLIAN: Thank you for your very kind words. As you advised you were born and raised in the US to Chinese immigrants and worked in Korea, Japan, and Singapore as a Chef, we accept them with humility and hope we can continue to live up to such high praise.

Ever eager to try something new, I prepared Chicken with Fuyu Flavor in the Summer 2002 issue. At first I thought I made a dreadful mistake because as soon as I uncapped the jar, a strong aroma filled my kitchen. But, I went ahead anyway. Surprisingly, after completing the recipe, the odor muted, it now seemed tame. My husband, who I called in to taste the exotic fare, absolutely loved it and asked for seconds. Late that night after we had turned off the lights, he was still praising me for an unusually tasty dinner. Thank you for the introduction to REAL Chinese cuisine.
PHYLLIS: You said it best. Many readers tried fuyu after reading Irving Chang’s tempting article. Every one of them shared compliments. Two related it to their first taste of an American cheese called Liederkranz. They stated that the aroma almost put off their trying it. Strong aromas and tastes mellow more the longer something cooks. Those that do not allow themselves past a first step miss many a fine food. Glad you did not. Now try mashing a half inch square of fuyu into a teaspoon of soy sauce mixed with the same amount of sesame oil and pour that over plain steamed veges.

MARY LEE via e-mail:
Have recently eaten hasma with lotus seeds. No one was able to translate this food word into English. What is Hasma? and from
Is hasma the male reproductive organ of the snow frog from China?
To BOTH of YOU and ALL: Hasma is the oviduct of the female snow frog, about which we wrote a very popular article; it generates lots of mail and requests. An article about it appeared in Volume 7 Number 3, on pages 11 and 12. Copies of that issue are available for $10.00 postpaid. For those that want just the article, we are starting a new service. Copies of any article can be had for one dollar per page plus a dollar for shipping and handling. Those that want just this article, the cost is $3.00, postpaid. Check our website for a complete list of articles listing our first nine years of publicatrion, or send a query by e-mail to flavorandfortune@hotmail.com

From SHONEY L. via e-mail:
What are fish lips? Saw them on a menu in a Chinese restaurant in Jakarta. Where can one purchase them, or are they only available to fisherman; and, would it be too much to get a recipe using them?
SHONEY: Answering your first question was not easy, but time and persistence paid off. We learned that the Chinese sometimes refer to the skin of the shark as fish lips. No one was sure why, perhaps a reader can help on that question. One can find shark skin dried and in Chinese herbal emporia. Ask for it directly. At two herbalists we went to, they did know what we meant when we asked for fish lips; at three others they did not.

BEVALEE wrote:
Your article about the Kazaks was wonderful as that is my heritage. However,there was no recipe for the Kazak bread, why not?
BEVALEE: Due to space limitations that recipe was omitted, and we apologize. This year alone, we have increased the number of pages by one-quarter. We hope you enjoy this issue, the first with forty pages. Enjoy the Kazak bread, that follows below, too:

STEVE from Montreal writes:
Where can I get a copy of Florence Lin's Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings, & Bread?
STEVE and all who inquired: Does anyone out there have a copy they would care to sell or give to this subscriber? If so, contact the editor who will be able to make this long-time reader/supporter very happy.

From LEROY via e-mail:
I am trying to learn how to roast a whole pig Chinese style that is flat and without bones like those you see in Chinatown. Can you help?
LEROY: We have been to many a Chinatown in a plethora of cities worldwide but never saw a flat whole pig without bones. Can anyone out there help Leroy?

FROM CLARA via e-mail:
Someone who hates sharks fin soup told me it was poisonous. Is it?
CLARA: Bet you friend read Stanley Omaye's article in the Food Technology October 2001 issue. He does make the case for contamination with mercury, particularly methlymercury. However, he does caution not to throw the baby out with the bath water. He says that local regulatory agencies have been touting the benefits of eating marine foods for decades. As in many foods, there is a paradox here. There are several nutrients (selenium, zinc, and vitamins C and E) that do have a profound effect on mercury and methylmercury toxicity. We also know the protective effects of selenium against mercury. He says that those marine species that have high tissue levels of mercury also have high fish-tissue-levels of selenium. Like most researchers, he calls for more research to protect the public from contaminants. We do, too, as that is like supporting motherhood; who could be against that? My question is more to the point, how often do you eat Shark’s Fin Soup? When you respond to that question, then answer the item in that headline: To Eat or Not to Eat, and think that the Chinese eat this rarely but enjoy it lots, and rich Chinese who eat it more often than the less affluent, and they live longer, too.
Kazak Flat Bread
1 teaspoon dry yeast (or one yeast ball)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup corn oil
8 cups flour
1/2 cup diced onions
1. Mix yeast, sugar, and salt in a bowl and add half cup of warm water, and then slowly add the oil.
2. Slowly mix in the flour until a stiff dough holds together. Take dough out of the bowl and knead until smooth. Cover with a towel and let it rest for half an hour.
3. Cut dough into eight parts, and roll each of them into a ten inch circle. Spread one-eighth of the onions on each and pat them into the dough with your hand. Let them rest and rise slightly for half an hour. Then take a small knife and use it gently to make tiny holes in the dough. Now they are ready to steam or bake.
4. To steam them: Put cloth on a plate and put a circle of dough on it and place it on a streamer rack over simmering water. Steam for twenty minutes. You can stack them four deep, if you have four steaming racks, but be sure the plate doe not touch the edge of the rack. Serve them warm or rewarm them, if need be.
or to bake them: Put these circles on a pre-heated baking sheet and bake in a pregeated 500 degree Farenheit oven for five minutes, watch them after three minutes so that the edges do not burn. If they do, put small pieces of aluminum foil over the edges that are turning dark. Take themout of the oven and serve warm.
Stewed Fish Lips
1/2 pound dried shark skin, soaked overnight, covered and refrigerated
3 Tablespoons corn oil
4 slices ginger
2 scallions, each tied into a knot
24 small black forest mushrooms, soaked for half hour in one cup warm water, remove stems and reserve mushroom water
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine
4 sprigs fresh coriander, tied in a knot
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup shredded Chinese greens
6 ounces whole bamboo shoots, cut into thick slices
2 cups chicken broth, reduced to one cup
1 teaspoon mushroom soy sauce
rice or noodles
1. Rinse soaked shark skin with fresh cold water and then squeeze out as much water as you can, being careful not to tear the skin. Then cut into pieces about two inches per side. Heat oil and stir shark skin pieces for one minute, drain and set aside, reserving the oil.
2. Heat remaining oil and fry ginger and scallions for one minute. Add mushrooms and fry another two minutes, then add shark skin and stir-fry for another three minutes before adding rice wine, coriander, and sugar. Simmer for five minutes on very low heat.
3. Put shredded green on the bottom of a heat-proof casserole that can go to the table. Put half the bamboo shoots on them then the mushroom mixture followed by the rest of the bamboo shoots. Pour broth and soy sauce over this, stir gently once and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for twenty minutes. Serve with or over rice or noodles.

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