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One-Dish Meals for People who Can’t Leave the House -- 电饭煲菜饭

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889

Speaking of those photos, did your treasured Hong Kong chopper make it safely to Texas?

 

Or did you leave it behind as sort of a "I will return!" statement?

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abcdefg
15 minutes ago, 889 said:

Or did you leave it behind as sort of a "I will return!" statement?

 

Yes, that's exactly what I did. All my stuff is still in my Kunming apartment. Even carried my bike up four flights of stairs so it would be safe. 

 

Hope to return during the second half of April. Will reevaluate the actual date as it gets closer. 

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matteo
On 2/10/2020 at 9:23 AM, abcdefg said:

Also, if you have other ideas on simple meals for good home-made eats during quarantine, or semi-quarantine, please pitch in. If there are enough, we can start a new thread. 

 

I often cook steamed 豆腐 as a quick  recipe when I feel like something simple. I find it super convenient as I put the rice in the rice cooker and just place the tofu on top, and while it goes I prepare all the other ingredients. Chances are you know it already, so I'll just outline quickly how I do it!

The basic stuff:

Rinse out the rice, put it in the cooker and cover with water. I use slightly more water than usual because my rice cooker is very basic, it detects the extra weight of the tofu and cooks for longer - so if you don't add a bit of extra water you risk burning the rice. If you add to much water though, you overcook the rice. 

Cut the tofu in big nice slices (you can skip this but then it will be much harder to share) and lay it on top in the steaming shelf.

While the water is warming up, cut up a couple of tomatoes in mid-size chunks and lay them on top of the tofu.

You can replace the tomatoes with a diced eggplant, but it makes for a longer recipe as it will need to be pre-cooked in a pan before steaming.

 

Toppings:

Depending on what you like and how much time you got, you can go crazy. I usually use:

- fried shallots (pick two or three shallots, slice them finely - optionally mix with a bit of finely chopped ginger -  and fry them in a small pan until golden and crunchy )

- finely diced cucumber

- steamed veggies

- stir fried garlic sprouts

- stir fried eggplants

 

How to serve it:

Once ready, put the tofu and tomatoes in a saucer and dress with sesame oil and light soy sauce.

Keep the rice separately and the toppings each in its small bowl. 

This way of serving the dish helps making it look a bit fancy even if it's actually really simple (if you do things properly, the table will be full of little cups full of colorful food), plus you can add to the rice whatever ingredient you prefer and create your own mix!

 

Are you guys familiar with the recipe? do you have any recommendations/ things you do differently?

Cheers

 

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abcdefg

Thanks @matteo -- It sounds delicious. I will definitely try it. Your suggestion of adding some stir fried eggplant sounds good. Eggplant and tomato are a great combination. I would be tempted to use them together. Should work well with the tofu and rice. 

 

This method of making a one-dish rice-cooker meal differs a little from the method above, in that you put the more fragile ingredients in the steamer basket above the rice instead of directly onto the rice. 

 

I often take that approach too and like it very much. Appreciate you posting your recipe! 

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Zeppa

Thanks, abcdefg, that was delicious. I ate too much of it. Will try to attach a photo. I happened to be passing through Stratford (East London) where there is a branch of Loon Fung and I got some sausage and greens. 

IMG_0816.JPG

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abcdefg
4 hours ago, Zeppa said:

...where there is a branch of Loon Fung and I got some sausage and greens. 

 

That's an excellent combination! 

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Zeppa

It was very good. I haven't ever made anything with these sausages. They only had the one type, 8 or 10 small ones linked in pairs, sealed in plastic. I don't know how long they would last once opened (that's in theory, as I can see I will eat them shortly). 

Decades ago when Poon's came to Chinatown in London, their special dish was called wind-dried food on rice. Some of it was sausage. I read that Poon's returned in 2018 but a different location. 

https://london.eater.com/2018/1/23/16923460/iconic-chinese-poons-returns-to-london-after-a-decade

Apparently it is called claypot rice with home-made wind-dried meats. 

If I were suddenly isolated here in London I suppose it would be whatever's in the freezer plus baked beans on toast. 

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abcdefg
3 hours ago, Zeppa said:

Apparently it is called claypot rice with home-made wind-dried meats. 

 

Those air-dried sausages develop lots of concentrated flavor. I like them very much and usually have some on hand. Traditionally, they are hung for storage from the ceiling rafters in the kitchen away from the stove where it's not terribly hot. With good air circulation, they don't require refrigeration. 

 

Most traditional Guangdong-style claypot dishes can be adapted very well for the rice cooker. Here's a related method of using a rice cooker to make traditional Hakka salt-baked chicken: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57244-salt-baked-h akka-chicken-in-a-rice-cooker-电饭煲焗鸡/?tab=comments#comment-444040

 

To be frank, I always have trouble with traditional claypot cooking, done in a traditional clay pot. It's mainly a matter of timing and degree of heat. How long and how hot for this part of the recipe, how long and how hot for that part. If I make claypot chicken with rice, for example, three times in one week just as an exercise, it gets "just about right" by the last time. Then I don't make it again for 4 or 5 months, and the first time back it's hit or miss. 

 

When it comes out right, however, it is glorious. I've been to thriving and busy restaurants that made nothing else: They were claypot specialists, offering various meats and seafoods in combination with vegetables claypot style. Maybe this will be one of my 2020 culinary resolutions: "Get claypot chicken rice down pat." Then I can pass on the tricks that will enable others to succeed with it too.   

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Shelley
4 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Get claypot chicken rice down pat.

I think that this may not be something that you get right every time. Mainly becuase you are working with clay. Clay pots are not consistent in their thickness and the heat will vary depending on where you put the chicken or other meats/foods. 

 

The reason this works so well in a restaurant is the commercial scale of the pots and the heat. A chef/cook comes in early and fires up the claypot, they stay hot all the time the restaurant is serving food. The claypot is hot, really hot and the cook has learnt the hotspots and how his pot cooks.

If you take a look at these pots in an Indian restaurant (only place I have seen one in the flesh) they almost glow cherry red, when the chapati is thrown against the side it cooks and bubbles up in seconds. Tandoori chicken (I believe tandoori is named after the pot- clay pot) is cooked in minutes with the intense heat. 

 

I wonder if it is actually possible to do this at home with any success and if this is one that should be left to professionals.

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Zeppa

Shelley, the claypot is not the same as a tandoor. It is like a cooking pot but made of clay. The Germans have something called a Römertopf - Roman pot - that has some similarity in its effects. I did buy a Chinese clay pot once but I had no experience with it. In my memory, however, Poons served the claypot rice in small stainless steel vessel. Maybe it was taken out of the clay pot to serve. The German one is a different shape, but it has the same principle - the moisture from the cooking goes into the walls of the pot:

https://pleasanthillgrain.com/romertopf-classic-clay-oval-baker-3-4-7-qts

 

Here's a claypot you can order at Souschef:

https://www.souschef.co.uk/products/chinese-clay-pot?variant=16895727566906&currency=GBP&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjbDKs8vM5wIVybHtCh2djgKVEAQYAiABEgI8wfD_BwE

 

abcdefg: thanks for details on the chicken dish and for the link. I must try it. Only recently Fuchsia Dunlop showed pictures on Instagram of actual salt-crust chicken and I was interested. Hers is Hangzhou. I am attaching a screenshot of Instagram - hope this is OK. 

saltcrust chicken.jpeg

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Shelley

Ah ok I see its not the pot that has hot coals/fire in it, the pot goes on top of the flames/heat/oven.

 

I have seen the french version of this.

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realmayo
On 2/12/2020 at 12:38 PM, abcdefg said:

Traditionally, they are hung for storage from the ceiling rafters in the kitchen away from the stove where it's not terribly hot.

 

I wonder if I'm the only one to have come across masses of then hanging from the ceiling of a large public toilet? 

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abcdefg
8 hours ago, realmayo said:

I wonder if I'm the only one to have come across masses of then hanging from the ceiling of a large public toilet? 

 

I think you are the first to have seen that! (At least I never have.)

 

Several "family style" restaurants 家常菜 in Kunming hang sausage from the rafters along with big pieces of air-dried beef 牛肉干吧 in a prominent place in the dining room. I believe it's partly to give the place a "down home" feel. Seems like it would present a sanitation challenge; that it would attract bugs and mice, but I have never discussed it with management. 

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realmayo

I like to think the overpowering stench of ammonia would have killed any bugs!

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