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TOPICS INCLUDE: Kudos for A&B Lobster House; Plum sauce recipes; Mary Sia recipes; Chinese pastry; Roasted meat seasonings

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Letters to the Editor

Spring Volume: 2004 Issue: 11(1) page(s): 6 and 14

From ARNOLD in Newport:
I did go to A&B Lobster House in response to the mention in your fine journal (in the 2003's 10(2) issue). It was wonderful!
ARNOLD: Delighted you enjoyed a place whose chef we thoroughly enjoy. And thank you for calling Flavor and Fortune ‘a fine journal.’ We do appreciate kudos because they make us aim higher so as to please.

From SUESUE in Haverstraw NY:
I make plum sauce, almost as good as the kind we have purchased. But it does not stay well. Any suggestions to help us keep it longer? While asking, would you share one of your recipes for this sauce?
SUESUE: We have made many sauces, and those that have a short shelf-life are best poured into ice cube trays. When frozen, pop the contents and put the cubes into heavy-duty freezer bags. Take out only what you need, the rest stays quite well, for months, in a good deep freezer, but only for about two months if the freezer is part of a refrigerator. There are many ways to make this sauce, none exactly as the commercial one, but nevertheless quite good. At the end of this article are two of them, one to use as soon as it is made, the other needs maturation.

From CARY via e-mail:
Enjoyed the article about Mary Sia but as I am not lucky enough to have one of her cookbooks can you print a recipe or two as they were in her earlier books? Also, can you share one of the covers?
CARY: The covers of the editions we have are torn. We have included (in the hard copy of this issue), a title page, hope that helps. It is of the 1935 edition. As to recipes, here are two from Mary Sia’s 1935 cookbook. It was printed by the Peiping Chronicle in what was then called Peiping, China. They are written below, with minor changes, to keep the style used in Flavor and Fortune. We have made and enjoyed them, hope you will, too.

From CATHY K. In NYC, via e-mail
Did the Chinese have pastry years ago?
CK: The article titled: Snack on the History of Chinese Snacks addresses that issue It was in Volume 10(3) on pages 29 and 30. Sorry to have selected so general a title. We need to be more specific in the future so that article titles found on the web can help those looking for particular bits of information.

From HEDDY via e-mail:
Just returned from Hong Kong; ate some wonderful roasted (or more correctly called barbecued meats). Can you advise their seasonings>
HEDDY: We have never roasted on our own probably because we live near sources in Chinatown. Our library of information has only one book exclusively on that topic. It indicates those frequently used in the sauce/marinade grouping as: Light and dark soy sauce, tomato sauce, sesame paste, satay paste, salt, sugar, Shaoxing wine, Worcestershire sauce, brown vinegar, peanut butter, malt sugar, seafood paste, fermented bean paste, pork roast paste, rose liquor, sesame oil, fresh ginger, shallots, slab sugar, rock sugar, Welsh onion, garlic, and leek. They also have a chart with spices frequently used; they include: Red rice, star anise seed, wild peppers, allspice, pepper powder, fennels, cassia bark, dried tangerine peel, chili powder, saffron powder, five-spiced powder, licorice, ground ginger powder, and curry powder.. This is a 1990 book titled: Roasted and Spiced Food in Hong Kong authored by Luo Yuzhong, published by Food Paradise Publishing Company of Hong Kong. The ISBN number is: 962-355-156-8. With or without locating this book, we wish you many wonderful roasted meat meals. To start you on your way, the last recipe below is the first recipe in the book; rewritten to match others in this magazine.
Plum Sauce, for now
Put four tablespoons each of plum jelly, chutney, and dry mustard, and one-half cup of apricot or plum preserves into a blender. Switch on and off a few times. Then add two tablespoons each of rice vinegar and cornstarch, one teaspoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a cup of cold water. Blend until well-mixed, and put this mixture into a bowl. Add up to one teaspoon of coarsely chopped hot red peppers, depending upon how piquant you like your plum sauce, and stir well. Pour into a freezer tray, put this into the freezer and the next day, pop the cubes and put them into a freezer bag; remove excess air, and seal and return to the freeer. Defrost one or more cubes an hour before they are needed.
Plum Sauce, Made in Advance
Take a pound of plums and peel and pit them. Then chop the pul coarsely and put into a large pot. Add one-quarter cup this soy sauce, one-quareter cup yellow or brown bean sauce, three-quarters of a cup of applesauce, chutney or a combination of both, one-half cup sugar, one-quarter cup rice vinegar or a mixture of rice and black vinegars, and a teaspoon of salt. Mix well, add a cup of cold water and two tablespoons cornstarch. Mix again and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce ehat. Then cover the pan and simmer for an hour, stirring every fifteen minutes or so. When the plum sauce is half cooked, bring eight cups of water to the boil, put in four clean canning jars, covers, and lids, and simmer these for twenty minues, then turn off the heat under this pot. When plum sauce is finished cooking, ladles it into these jars, seal them, and allow them to cool. Then refrigerate for at least three weeks, then use as desired.
Salted Taro
2 pounds large taro
2 Tablespoons glutinous rice flour
2 Tablespoons rice flour
1 teaspoon alt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups oil
1. Pare the taro, wash, and wipe it dry. Shred it in long thin strips. Place them on a plate.
2. Mix both flours and salt and peppper. Sprinkle this flour mixture evenly over the shredded taro. Form this into flattened balls.
3. Heat pan, add the oil, and when hot, add a few balls at a time and fry until borwn and crips. Then serve.
Pigeon Chop Suey
1/2 bunch 'long rice,' fried (see note below)
1 pigeon meat removed and chopped fine
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
8 water chestnuts, finely chopped (optional)
2 Tablespoons oil
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with two tabklespoons cold water
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Tablespoon rice wine
1. Place all chopped ingredients in separate piles on one or more plates.
2. Heat a wok or large fry pan, add the two tablespoons oil, then saute pigeon meat until lightly brown. Add onions, celery, water chestnuts (if usung them) and stir-fry for ten seconds, then add soy sauce and simmer for one minute.
3. Add cornstarch mixture, the othet tablespoon of oil, and the rice wine and cook for one minute. Por over the 'long rice' or the shredded lettuce and serve.
Note: This is the foundation on which to sit the fifinshed recipe; one cup shredded lettuce may be used instead.
Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken, head and all, about four pounds
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons salt
dash of five-spice powder
2 slices fresh ginger, minced fine
1 scallion, minced fine
5 ounces white vinegar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons malt sugar
1. Clean chicken and sew it up from tail to head end with needle and heavy thread.
2. Put the chiken in a pt with boiling water, and boil it for two minutes.
3. Mix granulated sugar, salt, five-spice powder, ginger, and scallion and coat the chicken and allow it to dry hanging in a gragae, basement, or cool place.
4. Roast in a hot oven (450 degreees F) for twenty minutes, then allow chicken to return to room temperature. Discard any liquid and cut the chicken into serving-size pieces, then serve.

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