Eight treasure tea
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
4y ago
Green tea leaves form the base for this traditional hot tea from the Hui parts of the Chinese Northwest. It is then seasoned with things like rock sugar, red dates, wolfberries, dried longans (dragon eye fruit), walnuts, apricot pits, and raisins. Additional herbs and flowers are added to add up to the nominal “eight” ingredients, but these are decided by local and personal preferences. Other areas in China have their own versions, such as Sichuan. There the tea often contains some local green tea, ginseng, rock sugar, licorice root, wolfberries, raisins, red dates, and finally both jasmine ..read more
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Pure comfort from the Northeast + Europe
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
4y ago
 While the areas along the lower Yangtze are home to a vibrant Buddhist food culture that combines ingenuity with a kaleidoscope of fresh ingredients, China’s desert lands pose a challenge for those who prefer meatless meals.  At least, that was our discovery when my husband and I, then very much dedicated vegetarians, traveled there in the fall of 2001. The problem really wasn’t the lack of vegetables — we ate well, that is for sure — but everyone else in the tour group (nay, the entire Northwest, it seemed) ate little else but meat, and so whenever a restaurant had to think up something ..read more
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Honey ginger cheesecake with tomato jam
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
4y ago
This is a very Taiwanese take on cheesecake. For one thing, it’s small and cute and light.  Second, the sweetness has been cut way back. Not only that, but honey is used instead of sugar, which both matches that lovely jam from last week and also inserts a gentle warmth into each bite. Amplifying all this is a crust made from gingerbread cookie crumbs.  And finally, that tomato jam beautifies an already stunningly caramelized top. A flavor profile like this is completely in line with the Chinese love for surprise, since the red jam suggests that cherries are in the offing, when actually ..read more
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Tomato and candied ginger jam
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
4y ago
Ta-da, and welcome to my very successful attempt to bring the warm days of summer straight up into the dead of winter via tomato jam.  Most folks don’t think of tomatoes as being good candidates for jam, but these are after all berries—we’re just used to finding them in savory dishes, is all.  You certainly can use fresh tomatoes here, but good canned tomatoes are a couple million times easier, since then you won’t need to peel them. Plus, a really tasty canned tomato will be full-flavored, so most of the guesswork will be tossed out of the equation, too.  In my recent experiments with ..read more
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Rice cakes with yellow chives and mushrooms
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
4y ago
One of the glories of East Chinese cooking is its artistry with rice, particularly sticky rice.  In other parts of the country these grains are turned into equally sticky dishes or ingredients. However, Zhejiang province in particular has mastered their transformation into hard white logs or small batons that are literally called year cakes, but which we know as rice cakes, which still doesn’t make much sense in English, but there you go.  Be that as it may, since they are called year cakes in Chinese, they make the perfect vegan dish for the Lunar New Year (January 25 this year). Plus ..read more
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Something special for the Lunar New Year table
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
4y ago
Mark Saturday, January 25 on your calendar, boys and girls, for that is the beginning of the Lunar New Year. This time around we will be celebrating the Year of the Rat, as well as the beginning of a whole new decade that I hope will be much less stressful than the last and full of joy for you all. With that in mind, I’m offering up this marvelous dish from Hunan. Its finished shape calls to mind the idea of togetherness or even a silver ingot (don’t get all judgey on me here… this is Chinese Culture 101), so it is an appropriately auspicious thing to serve as you usher in the New Year ..read more
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Chinese borscht
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
5y ago
This is the Chinese version of borscht, Mother Russia’s quintessential soup. Even the name in Chinese tells you that: Luósòng means (and sounds like) “Russian.” But as soon as you taste it, you know you've wandered over the border into Manchuria, as those rich, Slavic flavors have been tempered and emboldened by ginger, rice wine, soy sauce, and (yes) sometimes even catsup. But what really launches this soup into culinary heaven are two things: really great canned tomatoes plus the oxtail that forms the backbone (sorry) of the broth.  A friend of mine recently introduced me to the canned ..read more
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Dried orchid blossoms
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
5y ago
The name alone of this dish is enough to make me smile. In Chinese it’s simply “dried orchid blossoms,” with no other clues as to what is involved. Does it look like an orchid? Or taste like a flower? Or even possess a single petal? Nope. What this is is a uniquely delicious dish with the most marvelous texture, something that I’ve never found in any other bean curd creation. The secret lies in the fancy knife work, which actually is not at all fancy once you get to know the secret. We used to buy plastic bags of this when we strolled around downtown Taipei. Certain shops were known fo ..read more
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It's Moon Cake time!
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
5y ago
This Friday is the Moon Festival, or Zhongqiu jie (Mid-Autumn Festival) as they call it in Chinese. When it comes to food, this day means one thing and one thing only: moon cakes. Up until only a few years ago, I had tackled the other two of the big three Chinese holidays - Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival - and to be honest, I really didn't break a sweat when it came to those foods. I'd been making those dishes most of my married life, and not to boast, but after over three decades in a Chinese household, I probably could wrap a rice tamale blindfolded with the same ease that ..read more
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Fresh bamboo shoots for hot weather
Madame Huang's Kitchen
by Carolyn Phillips
5y ago
Taiwan spent fifty years under Japanese occupa­tion, from 1895 to 1945, and the culinary influence has never left. The fresh seafood available on the island is part of the reason why the Japanese cui­sine there is so wonderful, but I’m also fond of it because it has been inflected with Chinese flavors. To make this local specialty, fat winter or spring bamboo shoots are cooked until barely tender, chilled, and then drizzled with ribbons of Japanese mayo. Overall, it’s a very simple dish, but make sure you check out the Tips below for help in selecting the main ingredient. Beaooootifu ..read more
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