Monday, February 06, 2012

Happy Lantern Festival!


My veggies and tofu from my trip to Yulin wet market.

Today is the last day of the Lunar New Year, which is also known as Lantern Festival 元宵节. I was hoping to make tang yuan 汤圆 from scratch, but when I went to the market I decided to also make a Sichuan feast for dinner and completely forgot the ingredients for tang yuan! Actually it wasn't such a bad thing, I was able to focus completely on making my Sichuan food without worrying about making something too different than norman and without the assistance or instruction of my ayi.

I took my Sichuan Cookery book to the market with me and decided to make something heavy on the vegetables. I decided on our family favorites of fish fragrant eggplant 茄子 and dry fried green beans 干煸四季豆 and added a couple of new dishes to my Chuan cai 川菜 repertoire. I added flowering chives with smoky bacon 腊肉抄韭菜花 安定 and homestyle tofu 家常豆腐 as they were in season and we needed a little more protein in this meal.

I decided for once that it would good to do mise en place with my dishes. I learned this in culinary school, but for some reason I have always fought this procedure. This time I did a mise en place with every dish and it made things so much simpler, and looked beautiful. Who would have thought?


Homestyle bean curd mise en place


Fish fragrant eggplant mise en place


Flowering chives with smoky bacon mise en place


Dry fried green beans mise en place


The finished product!

I have to say that my dry fried green beans were the best of the four dishes and the best I have ever made. I used ground Sichuan pepper this time and it added so much to this dish. I wish more restaurants used it in their dry fried green beans. My personal favorite, fish fragrant eggplant was a little heavy on the black vinegar. Must work on this one! All and all I was really pleased with the meal and happy Jonny and the kids couldn't stop eating it.

Happy Year of the dragon!


hotpot said...

Mise en place means "putting in place" in French. It is the process of setting up the ingredients you would like to use when cooking a dish.

Anonymous said...

It tasted even better than it lloks, Jonny, Angus and Gemma