Posts Tagged With: Chinese

Kung Pao Chicken

Chinese Entree

KUNG PAO CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

MARINADE

2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk green onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce (2 more tablespoons later)
1½ tablespoons cornstarch (1 teaspoon more later)
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon Poultry MagicTM spice (¼ teaspoon more later)
2 teaspoons rice wine
1½ tablespoons water

SAUCE

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
¼ teaspoon Poultry MagicTM spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 red chiles
½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

wok or skillet

Serves 4. Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION OF MARINADE

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Mince garlic. Dice green onion. Mix 1½ tablespoons cornstarch, garlic, green onion, ginger, ¼ teaspoon poultry spice, rice wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and water. Cover all sides of the chicken cubes with this mixture. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

PREPARATION OF SAUCE

Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, malt vinegar, ¼ teaspoon poultry spice, salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in 2nd mixing bowl. Set aside.

FINAL PREPARATION

Cut red chiles in half, remove seed, and mince (I cannot say strongly enough, WEAR GLOVES OR WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP after touching the chiles and their seeds. They make your skin burn. My gosh, they cause pain. Don’t rub a throbbing temple or wipe sweat from your upper lip immediately after touching red chiles and their seeds. Your face will be on fire. And guy chefs, this is a really bad time to scratch your balls.)

Put unsalted peanuts and 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil in wok. Sauté at 350 degrees until peanuts start turning golden brown. Stir frequently. (The golden brown phase is astonishingly short. The following dark brown/black state is forever.)

Add the coated chicken cubes. Sauté at 350 degrees. Fry for 2 minutes or until chicken is done or no longer pink inside. Stir and turn cubes frequently.

Add red chiles and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Sauté at 350 degrees and stir until the peppers turn dark. Add soy/malt vinegar/sugar/sesame oil sauce. Cook until sauce thickens. Stir frequently.

Thank the person who washes and cleans after this meal. If you are both the cook and cleaner, sit down, have a cold root beer, and admire the halo above your head.

TIDBITS

1) If all strange dishes taste like chicken, why not have chicken?

2) Kung Pao chickens are much milder than their more peppery cousins, Kung Fu Chickens.

3) Peppers that look similar to each other can vary greatly in spiciness. So, keep that in mind when you and a bunch of friends from Madison, Wisconsin travel to St. Louis, Missouri to see two classmates get married and you all stop in a restaurant that serves free peppers.

4) Throat germs don’t like peppers either. Hah, take that!

5) Some people think that cuisine near the Equator is filled with peppery dishes because food didn’t keep well there before refrigeration. I think people in Cuba eat more peppers than the Swedes because peppers are grown in Cuba and not in Sweden.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Cajun Hamburgers

Cajun Entree

CAJUN HAMBURGERS

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds ground beef
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon Meat MagicTM spice
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon coriander
No-stick cooking spray
6 slices provolone cheese
6 hamburger buns

PREPARATION

Completely defrost hamburger meat. Mince onion in food processor. Preheat skillet to 350 degrees. Mix onion, paprika, salt, cayenne, poultry spice, cumin, thyme, and coriander on large plate. Form 6 hamburger patties. Coat both sides of the patties with no-stick spray.

Place the patties on plate and move them around until they are coated with spices on both sides. Place patties in skillet, gently turning them over every 1 minute, or until spices are blackened. Keep skillet’s lid on while frying.

This is a great dish if you wish to impress people at a barbeque or at an embassy if somehow you manage to get past the guards.

TIDBITS

1) I’ve never seen a Cajun hamburger, but if I were Cajun and was hankerin’ for a burger this is how I would make it.

2) Hamburg is a major seaport in northern Germany. A panhandler at its main train station kicked me in my shin when I declined to give him a handout. On the other hand, one of the city’s prostitutes smiled and said, “Have a nice day,” after I had said no.

3) I had Chinese food on that stopover in Hamburg. I couldn’t find German food near the train station. I went to Tijuana once with a friend. We couldn’t find Mexican food, so we settled for Chinese. What is it with Chinese food being everywhere? If I went to Beijing, would I only be able to find German or Mexican cuisine?

4) Provolone cheese is not really very Cajun. But its inclusion is in keeping with the theme of “Cooking with what’s handy.” I had provolone cheese, so I used it. Besides, it made a nice culinary contrast and complement to the Cajun spices.

5) Or maybe it is not too hard to imagine a French-Italian couple kicked out of Acadia, Canada by the English in the 18th century settling in the bayous of Louisiana sustaining themselves by selling Cajun burgers with provolone cheese.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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De Lancey’s Asian Fun Festival Tours

Himari, your tour guide

Third Saturday of February – Saidaiji Eyo Naked Man Festival – Men, clad only in loincloths race toward Saldaiji Templein in Okayama to collect lucky sticks. Register in advance with Saldaiji temple and buy a loincloth. Then you run around the temple for two hours and through a fountain of frigid water. This purifies your body and soul. Fully purified, the race becomes competitive. Indeed, the event has become quite a team sport with many teams sponsored by local businesses. The goal is to catch one of two wooden sticks, shingi, thrown into the racers midst by a temple priest. Catching a shingi confers good fortune for a entire year. Spectators vie for 100 lucky items thrown in the crowd. Amazingly enough, there’s a more subdued version of this for the local children. This strengthens the bonds between residents. Tourists can shop at the excitingly named street of Go Fuku Dori.

Late April to May – Steamed Buns on Bamboo –  The festival takes place in Hong Kong on or around Buddha’s Birthday. Contestants climb a giant bamboo tower covered in Chinese steamed buns. Buns picked from the top of the bamboo tower or taken on the backs of the contestants to the top are consider luckier than ones at the bottom.  Climbers try to grab as many lucky buns as they can in three minutes. Hard to reach buns give extra points. Or you could simply go for the prestigious Full Pockets of Lucky Buns award. This is won by the climber who grabs the most buns in three minutes. There is also a rather exciting team-relay event. The week-long festivities includes incense, prayers for prosperity and health, and offerings to festival’s god, Pak Tai. Wander the grounds and sample the incredible variety of steamed buns. See the festival’s spectacular parade, elaborate lion and unicorndances and marching bands. Witness the martial arts demonstrations. Don’t miss the “Floating Children” parade where children dress as Chinese deities. They sit on stands so high that they appear to be floating.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Cambodian Lap Khmer (Beef Salad)

Cambodian Entree

LAP KHMER
(Beef Salad)

INGREDIENTS

6 ounces fresh beef sirloin or tenderloin steak cut thinly as possible
1½ tablespoons fresh basil*
1½ tablespoons fresh mint*
¼ pound Chinese long beans (also called yardlong beans)
1 red chile pepper
½ small red onion
1½ tablespoons fish sauce, Hoisin sauce, or soy sauce
1¼ teaspoons sugar
¼ pound bean sprouts
2½ tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lemongrass stick or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¾ teaspoon prahok, shrimp paste**, fish sauce, or even omit
2 tablespoons water

* = or use 1 tablespoon each of dried basil and dried mint. Again, if your guest gives you guff about this, turn your sonic obliterator on her. It’s okay, you are the master of your kitchen. (See Courgette v Aubergine, 1973.)

** = prahok can be found in Asian supermarkets on online. Shrimp paste is the closest substitute to prahok. It too can be found in Asian supermarkets or online. However, foodies will tell you shrimp paste really is only a distant substitute. Indeed, an entirely reasonable approach to finding prahok is to not use it at all. If some oaf complains about the missing prahok, zap him with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your kitchen.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

large freezer bag
deli slicer or kitchen mallet
sonic obliterator

Serves 2. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – BEEF SIRLOIN

Put sirloin in freezer bag. Push out all air from freezer bag and close tightly. Freeze meat for 1 hour. (Meat will firm faster in the freezer if you put the bag on a metal tray before putting it in the freezer. Periodically check to see if sirloin has firmed. The sirloin is just firm enough if a knife goes the meat smoothly.

If cutting with knife, make sirloin strips by cutting against the grain as thinly as possible. If cutting by deli slicer or mandoline, set the cutting thickness to ⅛. (Be sure to use the safety features on these kitchen tools. (If you can’t slice the sirloin thinner than ⅛”, flatten the slices with a kitchen mallet until they are ⅛” thick. )

PREPARATION – REST

While sirloin firms in freezer, dice basil, mint, Chinese long beans, red chile peppers, and red onion. Add basil, mint, Chinese long bean, red chile pepper, red onion, fish sauce, sugar, and bean sprouts to 1st mixing bowl. Toss with fork until well blended.

Cut beef slices into strips 1″ wide and 2″ long. Add beef strips to 2nd mixing bowl. Pour lime juice over beef. (The citric acid in the lime juice will “cook” the sirloin in the same way as ceviche does for fish.) Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

While sirloin marinates, remove outer, white layers of lemongrass. Mince remaining green part of lemongrass (Skip this bit, if you’re using lemongrass paste.). Add vegetable oil to pan. Heat oil using medium-high heat until a bit of garlic will dance in the oil. Carefully add garlic and lemongrass to hot oil. (Add sirloin here if you want it sautéed.) Sauté on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Stir frequently. Add prahok and water. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat.

Add all ingredients to large salad bowl. Toss with forks until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) Lap Khmer is a Cambodian dish. Cambodian was, as of press time, the most popular cuisine in Cambodia. However, the cuisines of: Paraguay, Austria, Mali, El Salvador, and Luxembourg remain quite underappreciated.

2) Indeed, Greenland, with a cuisine that emphasizes: whale, musk ox ptarmigan, lump fish roe, seal meat, and wild cloudberries quite shunned by native Cambodians. Sad to say, you’ll never hear the following conversation in Cambodia.

Acharya: Hey Thyda, where would you like to eat tonight?
Thyda: I dunno. Where would you like to eat?
Acharya: I dunno, what do you want?
Thyda: I dunno, how about Greenlandic?
Acharya: Great,. I was thinking about Greenlandic cuisine this very morning. But which restaurant?
Thyda: How about The Fragrant Elephant? My friend Jorani says their food’s quite tasty. And it’s just two streets away from us.
Acharya: But won’t it be crowded?
Thyda: Yes, it will. We’ll have to make reservations right now.
Acharya: And don’t forget, let’s save room for fresh wild Arctic berry desserts. You know how much I love them.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

 

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Cantonese Ginger Beef

Chinese Entree

CANTONESE GINGER BEEF

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

¾ pound sirloin steak or flank steak
2 teaspoons sesame oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon mirin or rice wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

¼ cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
¾ teaspoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

1½” ginger root
3 scallions or green onions
1 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSILS

wok (optional, not to be confused with an EwokTM. Although having an Ewok would be cool.)

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Cut steak against the grain into as thin as possible slices. Cut these slices into 1″ squares. Add all marinade ingredients to large mixing bowl. Stir with hands until cornstarch is no longer visible and steak squares are well coated. Let sit for 20 minutes.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

While steak marinates, Add all sauce ingredients to small mixing bowl. Stir with fork until cornstarch is no longer visible.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Peel ginger root. Cut ginger root into thin strips or rounds. Cut scallions into ½” long pieces. Add peanut oil and marinated steak squares to wok. Sauté at medium-high for 3 minutes or until steak squares brown. Stir enough to ensure even browning. Remove steak squares and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon oil from work.

Add ginger strips and scallion pieces to work. Sauté for 30 seconds. Stir frequently. Return steak squares and add sauce to wok. Stir fry using medium-high heat until liquid starts to boil and steak squares are cooked through. Stir frequently.

TIDBITS

1) America has the Easter Bunny. It is both a symbol of the Resurrection and of fertility.

2) Britain also has the Easter Bunny.

3) The Easter originally came to America from Germany.

4) But Germany hasn’t really celebrated the Easter Bunny for a long time.

5) Germany also started two world wars.

6) Coincidence? Perhaps.

7) Australia doesn’t have an Easter Bunny either. In 1859 or so, someone released rabbits into the wilds. The rabbits bred like rabbits. Soon, rabbits were displacing all sorts of native critters and munching acres upon acres of crops. Farmers hated that. So, Australia periodically wages a campaign against the rabbit hordes. But the rabbits keep coming back. Farmers still hate them.

8) Thus, the land Down Under doesn’t have an Easter Bunny. It has the Easter tilby. A tilby looks a bit like a rabbit. The tilby has great sex, producing eight babies a year. This number is apparently, less than what the rabbit can do. But even so, the Easter tilby isn’t as celebrated as the Easter Bunny is in other lands.

9) America, Britain, Germany, and even Australia aren’t the only nations with a rabbitish animal celebrating fertility.

10) Oh no, the Cantonese region of China honors fecundity through cattle.

11) What is the singular form of cattle? Technically, there isn’t one. However, extensive research –Watching hours of the TV show Rawhide–gives us “beeves” as an alternative word for “cattle.” “Beef” is the singular form of “Beeves.” There you go.

12) It might seem strange for a beef to symbolize fertility. Would a bee have been a much better representative for reproduction?

13) Yes, it would have. Except that in 1884, a British newspaper, The Lion, wrote an article about Canton’s annual Bee Festival. Only The Lion didn’t say that. A misprint turned the celebration into the Beef Festival.

14) Hundreds of thousands of tourists thronged Canton to honor beef., spending millions of pounds while there. The Cantonese government knowing a good thing when they saw it, officially renamed the event, The Beef Festival. Local restaurateurs developed this dish to serve their British guests. Now you know.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Adventures in Cooking

I often list substitutes in my recipes as the original ingredient is found easily only in the recipe’s native land. Sometimes though, finding the ingredient, usually an herb, is impossible even on the internet.

My most exciting ingredient search was for an herb that grows only in the wilds of Sinkiang Province. And even there, the herb is rare. Then there’s the problem of the Chinese police not believing I was scouring the countryside for an herb.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Fun Festivals – Steamed Buns On a Bamboo Tower

 

Would you climb a giant bamboo tower for these?

Lovers of bamboo and buns will not want to miss Hong Kong’s Cheung Chau Ben Festival . The festival takes place on or around Buddhas Birthday, near the end of April or May. in Hong Kong. Contestants climb a giant bamboo tower covered in Chinese steamed buns. Um, okay, it’s not entirely clear from that whether the tower is covered in Chinese steamed buns or the climbers are covered in them. Either way, it’s pretty darn exciting. Anyway, buns picked from the top of the bamboo tower or taken on the backs of the contestants to the top are consider luckier than ones at the bottom. People there go vegetarian during this festival. It’s not clear why. Maybe I would too if I had to climb a tall tower with steamed buns all over me.

The festival’s star attraction are the huge bamboo towers covered with handmade buns. Legends says the island was plagued by an epidemic that killed thousands. Resourceful Cheung Chau locals brought in the god Pak Tai and built it a temple. Pak Tai then shooed the plague and evil spirits away.

In this festival, the inhabitants honor Pak Tai with the Bun Grabbing contest. (Naughty, mind your thoughts.) Contests clamber up a 60-foot tower that’s covered with steam buns. Climbers try to grab as many lucky buns as they can in three minutes. Hard to reach buns give extra points. Or you could simply go for the prestigious Full Pockets of Lucky Buns award. This is won by the climber who grabs the most buns in three minutes. There is also a rather exciting team-relay event.

It’s not at all clear to me how grabbing buns of a bamboo tower shows gratitude to a god who stopped a plague or why these buns are lucky. But there you go. The locals love the event. Tourists from all over the globe come to see it. And you should too. So make your flight plans. Book your hotel and by all means see the Bun Grabbing contest. It’s on the last day of the festival.

But there’s more to this festival than grabbing buns. The week-long festivities includes incense, prayers for prosperity and health, and offerings to festival’s god. Pay a respectful visit to Pak Tai’s altars.

Then wander around the grounds and sample the incredible variety of steamed buns sold by the many food vendors. Heavens, those steamed buns are tasty. And be sure to bring home souvenirs of the event.

Don’t get so distracted by the yummy buns that you miss the festival’s spectacular parade. See elaborate lion dances (No, no ravenous, wild lions are used), and marching bands. Be entranced by the martial arts demonstrations. Biff, biff. Don’t miss the “Floating Children” parade where children dress as Chinese deities. They sit on stands so high that they appear to be floating.

But wait, there’s more. See unicorn dances. Does your town have anything like that? No, I didn’t think so.

It’s well worth arriving in Hong Kong the weekend before the festival for the preliminary Bun Carnival. Watch instructions teach you how to climb the Bun Tower. Climb it for fun. Practice on it. If you find you’re good enough, why not enter the event itself? Go for it. Do it for yourself. Do it for me. Do it for all us who aren’t able to attend.

Oh my gosh, this sounds like such a fun festival.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Shrimp Cashew Stir Fry

Chinese Entree

SHRIMP CASHEW STIR FRY

INGREDIENTS

2 celery stalks
3 dry red chiles or Thai chiles
3 scallions or green onions
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 pound shrimp, pealed, deveined, 31-40 count
⅔ cup roasted cashews*
¼ cup water chestnuts, sliced

* = Roast plain cashews with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in pan or air fryer, if you can’t find roasted cashews.

Serves 4. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Dice celery,. Add enough water to cover celery to small pot. Bring water to boil using high heat. Add celery. Boil celery for 30 seconds. Drain and set aside.

Dice chiles, and scallions. Add vegetable oil to large pot. Heat at medium-high heat until a bit of scallion starts to dance. Add scallion, light soy sauce, and sugar. Sauté at medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Stir frequently.

Reduce heat to medium. Add shrimp, cashews, chile, and water chestnuts. and sauté for 3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink or orange. Stir frequently. Add celery. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir frequently.

TIDBITS

1) I wrote this recipe assuming a person would be reading it, that a person would be making this dish come to life.

2) But there’s absolutely nothing in the recipe referring to a human chef.

3) There’s even no mention of the cook needing an opposable thumbs. So, if you’re quite the clever sheep, clever enough to read recipes in English, then go for it.

4) The title could also be interpreted as telling a shrimp to stir fry a cashew.

5) Or perhaps this stir fry is meant for a chef named Shrimp Cashew and no one else.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Tuna Macaroni Salad

Filipino Entree

TUNA MACARONI SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 pound macaroni
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk
½ red onion, white onion, or yellow onion
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups mayonnaise
½ pound pineapple pieces, drained
3 cans tuna (15 ounces)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

2 quart casserole dish

Serves 8. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook macaroni according to instructions on package. Drain, set aside, and let cool. While macaroni cooks, dice carrot and celery. Mince onion.

Add carrot, celery, onion, cheese, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Stir with fork until well blended. Add mayonnaise, pineapple pieces, and tuna. Add this mix and macaroni to casserole dish. Mix with fork until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) For longest time, barbarian horsemen had pillaged northern China with scant opposition. For whenever, the armored Chinese infantry plodded toward them, the invaders’ simply rode away.

2) Then about March 31, 4 BC, Wanli Tofu was struck by a brilliant idea. It really was a falling apple that had struck him, but the pain got him thinking, “Why not block the invaders with a wall, a really long wall, one that covers the length of the country?” So Emperor Mung Bean, founder of the Mung dynasty decreed the Great Wall of China.

3) Unfortunately, the Chinese built the wall by simply stacking one stone over another. The invaders just took down the stones and invaded anew. But China got lucky. Filipino trader Marcos Marcos Marcos happened to be at court hoping to sell his Tuna Macaroni Salad to the Emperor. Tofu saw that Tuna Macaroni Salad could be used a mortar to hold the wall’s stones together. So the Chinese tried the Salad mortar. It worked! The invasions stopped. Yay!

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Gado Gado

Indonesian Appetizer

GADO GADO
(Vegetable Salad)

INGREDIENTS

¾ pound Yukon gold or new potato
3 eggs
½ head Chinese cabbage or Napa cabbage
1¼ cups spinach
1¼ cups bean sprouts (aka mung beans)
½ pound tofu
2 tablespoons peanut oil or sesame oil
½ cucumber
8 prawn crackers*
1 cup peanut sauce or satay sauce

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

* = Some prawn crackers can be served as is. Others need to be deep fried. If so, please follow instructions on package.

PREPARATION

Add enough water to pot to cover potatoes. Bring to boil. Add potatoes. Boil potatoes for 20 minutes using medium-high heat. Remove potatoes and set aside. While potatoes boil, add enough water to 2nd pot to cover eggs. Bring water to boil using high heat. Carefully add eggs. Boil eggs for 6 minutes if soft-boiled eggs are desired or for 12 minutes if you want hard-boiled eggs. Remove eggs from heat and seat aside.

Add enough water to 3rd pot to cover cabbage, spinach, and bean sprouts. Bring to boil. While water comes to boil, dice or shred cabbage and spinach. Add spinach and bean sprouts to pot. Let boil for 30 seconds. Remove spinach and beansprouts with slotted spoon and transfer to large mixing bowl. Add cabbage to pot. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove cabbage with slotted spoon and transfer to mixing bowl with spinach and bean sprouts. Add ice cubes and cold water. Let sit for 2 minutes. Remove veggies with slotted spoon and pat dry with paper towel.

Cut tofu into 1″ cubes. Add tofu and oil to pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until all sides turn golden brown. Stir frequently to ensure even browning. Remove from heat. Cut cucumber into slices ½” thick. Cut potatoes into ½” cubes. Peel eggs and cut each one into 4 slices.

Add cabbage, spinach, and bean sprouts to large serving bowl. Toss veggies with forks. Arrange potato cubes evenly over veggies. Do the same, one ingredient at a time, for the tofu cubes, cucumber slices, egg slices, and prawn crackers. Divide the peanut sauce into 4 small bowls, 1 for each guest. Guests then add peanut sauce as desired to the top of their salad.

TIDBITS

1) Gado Gado is Indonesian.

2) Gado Gado is anagram for A dog, a dog. It’s also an anagram for A god, a god. And even one for O dga, o dga.

3) Dga is, of course, the plural form for dgum.

4) Only the Latin language changes um to a to make a noun plural. The Ancient Romans spoke Latin. These way-back Romans worshiped gods.

5) They only worshiped gods that looked like people. But they were aware of the gods worshiped in other lands. Such as the dga, the dog gods of what is now Olduvai Gorge.

6) This is a long train of thought, so feel free to have coffee and doughnuts.

7) Anyway, Lucy of Olduvai Gorge is the first known human. Dr. Mary Leakey discovered Lucy’s skull on July 17, 1959. Lucy had a pet dog. She called it Dgma. It’s skeleton was discovered 42 years later under a rusty lunch box left behind by the site’s original excavators.

8) Okay, we now have enough information to trace humanity’s history from then to now.

9) Lucy’s tribe, possessing a limited vocabulary, took to calling all dogs Dgma.

10) Over the millennia, Lucy’s and Dgum’s descendants traveled ever northward. Along the way, because there really nothing else to do but walk, these hardy trekkers decided to worship dogs. Prehistoric shrines to Dgma trace the great northward walk.

11) By 1786 BC, the dgma worshipers reached Egypt. Little Osibis, daughter of Ramses II, saw one of the dogs. “Father, would you buy me that dog?” asked Osibis, “I shall call it Annubis.”
“Well okay,” said the ruler of all Egypt, “ but don’t go asking me to make it a god.”
“Ooh, that’s a good idea.” Osibis clapped her hands. “Make it a god or I shall cry.”
And so softy Ramses added Annubis to Egypt’s horde of gods.

12) In 48 BC, Julius Caesar arrived in Egypt, fought a bit, and took the Queen Cleopatra back with him to Rome. Cleo wanted to take all her dogs with her. Caesar said just one.
“Very well,” said Cleopatra, “I shall bring this dgma.”
“No, said Julius, “The singular form of dgma is dgum. The Romans will kill me if I left you butcher their language.”

13) But Cleo never did change the dog’s name to Dgum. This incensed Brutus, an ardent grammarian, so much that he assassinated Caesar. Rome would become an empire and go on to conquer the world.

14) Dog worship did make it to long-ago Indonesia. Those ancient people, all hardy anagramists, changed the chant “O god, o god” to “Gado, gado.” Gado Gado became the name of the food eaten after morning devotions. Then other stuff happened over the centuries and here we are.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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