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More About Unusual Meats (Fish Lips, Bird's Nests, Duck Liver, Camel Paw, and Duck Tongues

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Unusual Ingredients

Spring Volume: 1996 Issue: 3(2) page(s): 19 and 23

The article in Flavor and Fortune's Volume 2(3) about unusual ingredients was responsible for two things. The first was requests for other unusual recipes, the second for additional copies of that particular issue. While there are no longer any extra issues, we can accommodate with more unusual recipes.

Another thing we cannot do, as requested in several letters, is to provide readers with nutrient analysis for the recipes printed. Programs that provide nutrient analysis and books that have food composition do not have most unusual Chinese ingredients. Sorry, but though one reader suggested that we just tell her which ingredient has no nutrient information and advise about all others, that is not a good idea as it provides false illusions as to calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fats, and cholesterol amounts. Instead, as Susan Braverman suggests in her 'Recipes Can Meet Dietary Needs' column in this issue, the foods that follow need to be reserved for special occasions, eating only a little and enjoying them a lot. That is the best solution.
Fish Lips
3 pounds of fish lips or cheeks
1 pound bok choy or other greens
1/4 cup Smithfield ham
2 cups chicken stock
3 Tablespoons rice wine
1 teaspoon ginger root
1 teaspoon minced scallion, white part only
dash ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon chicken fat
1. Blanch fish lips or cheeks for ten or fifteen seconds and cool immediately in cold water, then drain.
2. Blanch vegetables for one minute and chill and drain. The put into boiling water and simmer for two minutes. Drain and put on a serving plate.
3. Mix ham, soup, wine, scallions, ginger root, Sichuan peppercorns, and chicken fat and heat to just below the boiling point. Add fish lips or cheeks and just barely heat through. Drain and place in the center of the greens and serve immediately.
Bird's Nest Soup I
4 ounces bird's nest
1 shiitaki mushroom, soaked and sliced very thin
6 cups very rich chicken stock
1 Tablespoon minced Smithfield ham
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/8 teaspoon very finely minced ginger root
2 ounces chicken breast minced fine
1. Wash the bird's nest in many changes of water until all extraneous matter is removed.
2. Bring bird's nest, mushroom, stock, ham, and salt to just below the boil, then simmer until the bird's nest is soft (about half an hour). 3. Add rest of the ingredients and simmer another ten minutes, then serve.
Sweet and Sour Duck Liver
4 duck livers (or 10 chicken livers, if duck liver is unavailable)
2 teaspoon of rice wine
1 teaspoon light of soy sauce
1 teaspoon mushroom soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup corn oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon black vinegar
1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1. Mix livers with rice wine, both soy sauces and the cornstarch.
2. Heat oil and quickly deep fry the livers, then drain.
3. Mix last six ingredients and bring to the boil. Add livers, simmer for two minutes (but only one minute if using chicken livers). Serve immediately.
Note: Garnishing with one tablespoon minced coriander looks lovely.
Camel Paw with Mushrooms
1 camel paw, cleaned and soaked for one hour, whole or chopped into one-inch by four-inch pieces
1 boneless chicken breast, cut into eighths
10 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and cut in half
1 ounce Smithfield ham, slivered
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 scallions, tied in knots
6 slices ginger root
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 whole shiitake mushroom, for garnishing (optional)
1. Put all of the ingredients into a wok or deep pot. Bring to just below the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer covered for two hours.
2. Remove from heat, remove ginger root, scallion knots, and peppercorns, and discard them. Then serve.
Note: One can thicken the sauce with three tablespoons cornstarch in the same amount of water or remove the solids and reduce the liquid somewhat; and also put the whole mushroom in the center just before serving.
Duck Tongues with White Fungus
1/4 cup white fungus
1/2 pound duck tongues
1 slice fresh ginger
1 scallion
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small carrot, diced fine
2 Tablespoons frozen green peas, defrosted
1. Soak the white fungus for two hours, then pick out and discard any dark spots and miscellaneous matter.
2. Boil duck tongues with ginger and scallion in the stock for ten minutes, remove from the liquid, cool, and remove the cartilage from each of the duck tongues.
3. Mix all ingredients except the carrots and peas, and simmer for one minute. Then add duck tongues and the vegetables, and heat through. 4. Remove the fungus from the pan, put the remaiing mixture in a small bowl, put the fungus on top, and serve.

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