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Homemade Siu Mei and Luo Mei

by: Chan Wei

Hong Kong China: Food Paradise Publishing Co., an imprint of Wan Li Book Co., Ltd 2009, $78.00, Paperback
ISBN: 972-962-14-4017-4

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2010 Issue: 17(3) page(s): 24

With emphasis on braised and roasted meat, poultry, and foods of the sea, this book's fifty recipes in Chinese and English makes them easy to prepare at home. The recipes are clearly written, and are in simple steps.

Every recipe has a full-page color photograph of its completed dish, advises how long is needed in preparation and cooking, and what unusual utensil(s) might be needed, if any. While preparation times seem long, translating them from metric to American measures may be longer. Truth is, only a few minutes of any cook's attention is needed at the beginning of any of the recipes. The food items cook with little to no attention, and they need very few more minutes including plating at the end.

The Lamb with Chili is a winner even though the meat called for is simply written as 'mutton.' The Bitter Melon with Spicy Sauce is a wonderful accompaniment at any meal, and it goes great with lamb. Steamed Chicken in Sesame Oil is so easy to make, it is almost as if someone did all the work for you. Roasted Eel with Savory Honey Sauce is another winner, as is the Celtuce Shreds in Sesame Sauce.

Chicken Feet in Abalone Sauce high on my list, my husband adores these 'paws' as some books call them. My only confusion when making them is why no abalone sauce in its recipe? Never mind, its White Marinade, a sauce with ten special spices that stays in the refrigerator is already made and ready to use when making this simple recipe. Nothing can be easier. Purchase the chicken feet, measure and mix a few things, and then prepare this simple tasty sauce.

There are several pork, goose, duck, and chicken recipes, a few for squid, eel, and scallops, even a few vegetable items that are perfect to serve with the roasted dishes. The Bitter Melon in Spicy Sauce and the Celtuce Shreds in Sesame Sauce are great vegetable items that go well with any of the protein dishes. There are eight other non-protein foods that I plan to try with this book's great roasted ones.
Braised Lamb Brisket in Chili BBQ Sauce
2 and 1/2 pounds mutton
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 Tablespoons glutinous rice wine
2 large knobs fresh ginger, diced
5 shallots, each cut in half
6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
2 Kaffir lime leaves or one piece lemon grass cut into one-inch pieces
small piece tangerine peel
2 brown cardamon pods
6 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 Tablespoon broad bean paste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
5 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons crushed Chinese rock sugar
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1/2 pound water chestnuts, peeled
1 carrot, peeled and cut diagonally into two-inch pieces
2 scallions, each tied in a knot
1 red chili pepper, seeded and sliced on the diagonal
1. Cut the mutton into two-inch by two-inch squares, heat a wok, add one tablespoon of the oil and saute the meat until browned. Then add rice wine and a few tablespoons of water and bring to the boil before draining the meat and drying the pieces with paper towels. Then wipe the wok dry.
2. Heat the dry wok, add the other tablespoon of oil and saute the ginger, shallots, garlic, lime leaves, tangerine peel, cardamon pods, and the bay leaves for two minutes, stirring all the time.
3. Add the sauteed meat, BBQ sauce, broad bean paste, paprika, tabasco, salt, sugar, and chicken bouillon powder, and when hot, transfer to a clay pot, add the broth and braise for an hour. Then add the carrots, water chestnuts, scallions, and the pieces of chili pepper and braise for another half hour to an hour or until the meat is tender. If desired, remove the lime leaves, tangerine peel, cardamon pods, and bay leaves, then garnish with scallion knots and the chili pepper pieces and serve.

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