Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chowhound Digest! Squiddo Lens! And the Myths of Home Stir Fry

A lot happening today. I'm heading out soon to get more reviews and more pics of my favorite places but there is plenty of news I need to share.

Chowhound Digest

My review of Mama's Lu Dumpling House in Monterey Park made the Chowhound Weekly Digest! Click here to see!

5 Restaurants I Have to Take My Dad To

Over at Squidoo I've been working on a lens about my 5 favorite Chinese places. Click here to check it out.

Myths of Home Stir Fry

Time to get to the "Cooking" part of this blog. Me and my family have been making stir fried dishes at home for years. There are quite a few things I've learned and some myths that need to be dispensed with.

Myth #1 You Need a Wok in order to Stir Fry
Not true. For the last several years my dad has been stir frying using an old cast iron dutch oven. I've been using a Martha Stewart non stick skillet I picked up at K-Mart. The fact is your stove top isn't built for a wok anyway, so you either end up buying a flat bottom wok which isn't any different from a dutch oven, or one of those wok rings. It doesn't really make any difference. The vessel doesn't make the dish, your skill does. Use the vessel you're most comfortable with. Don't just use a wok just to be authentic.

Myth #2 If It Isn't the "Dragon's Breath" It Isn't Real Stir Fry
Sure you can rig up a backyard propane turkey fryer to give you the BTU's of a real restaurant quality stir fry like Alton Brown. But why bother? For me stir fry is comfort food. I don't want to engage in a backyard engineering project every time I want beef and broccoli. Besides do you really want to be that authentic. Cooks who work the stir fry line in real restaurants don't have any hair on their forearms. It all gets singed off. Yes you won't get the "breath of the dragon" with a home range. You're veggies won't be slightly singed by the heat. But you can still get good color and carmelization. It can still taste beautiful and that's what counts.

Myth# 3 You Have to Use Cornstarch to Thicken
You don't have to do anything. You just need to do what works for you. Sometimes thickening is completely unnecessary. If you're using a rich enough stock, the sauce will thicken all on its own. Often recipes will have you marinate meat in a mixture that includes cornstarch so there's no need to add it a second time. You know how you like your sauces. You can serve them as thick or as thin as you want them. You can even do something crazy like add a pad of butter for thickening. Yes even Chinese food tastes better with butter!

Sorry for the short post but I'm off to get more material!

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