Cookbook Club - Every Grain of Rice

Cooking at home and sourcing ingredients
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Mike Z
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Location: Central Tempe

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Sweet post! The twice cooked pork looks gorgeous
anonman
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Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Washington, DC

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Great post. Twice cooked pork is a favorite of mine at the local eatery. They add some fresh green chile (not sure what kind, by color and shape (although chopped up), they look like Anaheim.

As for "Sweet fermented sauce", I think that's simply hoisin sauce, which is pretty easy to find.
davej
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Tim H
Posts: 280
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Location: Gilbert, AZ

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Thanks for the replies. :)

I checked the net too, and I'm pretty sure that's the right stuff. I'm going to buy every brand I can find at the Asian markets and do a taste test. Maybe it's just a preference thing. My wife didn't think the flavor was that bad.
There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
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Tim H
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Location: Gilbert, AZ

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Remember the cold slicked pork belly at Miu's Cuisine? I've been wanting to make the Cold Chicken with a Spicy Sichuanese Sauce (p. 48) (but with pork) since I started cooking from this book, but have been waiting until I made my own chili oil (p. 320).

I wanted to use pork belly, but settled on a pork sirloin roast. To keep it tender, I cooked it sous vide at 140°F for about three hours. No salt, just some oil and slices of ginger. It was chilled it in the fridge before being sliced.

For the chili oil, I used dried chilies, snipped them in pieces and removed the seeds, then toasted them. The recipe says to use a mortar and pestle to grind the chili into flakes, but to avoid grinding the chilies to powder. I found it difficult to avoid this with the mortar and pestle, and ended up using a knife and my fingers to break them up as much as possible. The recommended temp for the oil is 275, but this produced a timid sizzle when added to the ground chilies, so I put the oil and chilies on the heat until they came to a simmer. I'm very happy with the results. The store-bought chili oil tastes more of grass than of chilies, while the homemade stuff is more earthy and tastes strongly of toasted chili. Really good, and worth the effort. (Though I would use the pre-ground chilies she recommends next time.)

The final dish lived up to my expectations, and was pretty darn close to my memory of the dish at Miu's. I doubled the Sichuan peppercorns (to 1 tsp) and got that numbing sensation along with plenty of heat from the chili oil. The pork was tender and just right for this application.
Lee Kum Kee vs. homemade chili oil
Lee Kum Kee vs. homemade chili oil
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sous vide pork sirloin roast
sous vide pork sirloin roast
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Cold sliced pork with spicy Sichuanese sauce
Cold sliced pork with spicy Sichuanese sauce
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There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
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Tim H
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Location: Gilbert, AZ

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Red-Braised Pork (pg. 94). I wasn't going to post this; it's a pretty basic dish. The pork is tender and the fat buttery after a three-hour braise, and the homemade chicken stock adds richness. Still, it's about what you'd expect given the ingredients. But it occurred to me that if I were served something this good in a Chinese restaurant, I'd be raving about it in the Valley Eats forum. Why is it so hard to find food this good at a Chinese restaurant?
A very nice pork belly from Lee Lee's
A very nice pork belly from Lee Lee's
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Red-braised pork
Red-braised pork
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There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
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Skillet Doux
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Hooray! Somebody made the Dong Po Pork! I really need to get around to making this at some point.

How was the sweetness for the recipe as written? I've had some that were fairly light, and some that were downright syrupy (*ahem*... looking at you, Shanghai).
Dominic Armato
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Tim H
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Location: Gilbert, AZ

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Pretty close to where I wanted it. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of sugar for 2 cups of stock. I added maybe a couple teaspoons more, so the sweetness was noticeable without being cloying. Yeah, it was really good. My wife made a tofu dish the next day, and she snuck some of the pork in there.
There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
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Tim H
Posts: 280
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Location: Gilbert, AZ

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The recipe we keep coming back to is the Classic Dan Dan Mian on page 280. I like it better than the version on the preceding page because it includes 3/4 cup chicken stock, which keeps the noodles loose and makes the whole dish rich. Although Sichuan peppercorns are not called for (but are in the recipe on pg. 279), we add them. She also calls for lots of ya cai, just rough chopped we assume. So easy, so delicious.

We made it last week with pork and leftover mushrooms and both of us immediately wanted more mushrooms. So last night we left out the pork and used fresh shiitake, re-hydrated wood ear, and shimeji/beech mushrooms. The stock was an extra-rich double stock, and I used 3 tbs of chili oil, so it was very spicy but not incendiary.
Mushroom Dan Dan Mian, Man
Mushroom Dan Dan Mian, Man
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There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne