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Food Hacks And Tips

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by StudioStuntz, Mar 2, 2016.


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  1. What's the secret sauce used in Chinese house fried rice? Seriously I make it and it doesn't taste the same like every Chinese restaurant out there. What's the secret?!! Same with beef lo mein.
     
  2. StudioStuntz

    StudioStuntz

    Jul 19, 2015
    I don't prefer or cook Chinese as my Asian go-to, so your kind of on your on on these, at least from my end.

    I did look at several fried rice recipes and the only liquid was soy sauce, so either it's a combo of the vegetables they use, or it's the brand of soy sauce.
    Each brand has its own unique blend of ingredients that may differ ever so slightly, especially when it comes to the sweet/salt level.

    Chinese fried rice from Epicurious:

    • 6 tablespoons lard or cooking oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 scallions, chopped
    • 1/2 cup fresh shrimp, shelled, deveined and diced
    • 4 cups cold, cooked rice
    • 1/2 cup cooked peas
    • 1/4 cup canned diced bamboo shoots
    • 1/4 cup diced boiled ham
    • 1/2 cup diced cooked chicken
    • 1/2 cup diced Chinese roast pork or left-over roast beef or veal
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

    Again, I'm not familiar with how this dish is supposed to taste, especially at the eatery where you go, but here is a recipe for beef low mein with several liquids. Compare them with what you use. From Allrecipes:

    Beef Lo Mein
    • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
    • 4 cups mixed vegetables
    • 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
    • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Asian chile paste with garlic
    Again, theoretically, this could be the exact names of ingredients they use, but each company puts its own twist to it.

    For example, there are dozens of various paprikas on the market but most recipes won't tell you if they used a sweet one or not.

    Dozens of five spice powders some use the same five with different ratios, some substitute one or two of the spices used.
    The term Asian Chile Paste is so generic one couldn't possibly guess how many different blends there are available.

    Next time you visit the restaurant, try to peer into the kitchen and see what color /size bottles they use.

    If there is an Asian market near you, ask them what kinds of liquids to use, most will be glad to offer advice if they can sell you something.

    Another point to ponder, do they/are you using a wok, and does your stove get hot enough to stir fry properly?

    It sure is challenging to find authentic ethnic recipes here in the states, as well as the original ethnic site or cookbook of choice willing to give it up.

    Let me know if the above ingredients sound right, or if you want the entire recipe from above.

    If not, I'll check my bookmarks for a Chinese forum.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  3. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I used to be a cook in a Filipino/Chinese restaurant and our fried rice used no "secret sauce" per se, just minced garlic, fish sauce, MSG, sugar, and soy sauce.

    We had miki, which pretty much looks like lo mein. It was basically minced garlic, fish sauce, MSG, sugar, soy sauce, wine, pepper, and sesame oil.
     
    ColdEye likes this.
  4. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Do you like soft-boiled eggs, but are afraid to make them because it's so difficult to ensure that they are neither over- or under-cooked? I use this fool-proof method from Cook's Illustrated, and it works perfectly every time:

    https://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/7279-soft-cooked-eggs

    After the eggs are cooked, I generally just peel them (gently!), then chop them up on top of slices of toast, though the video also show how to split them in half and scoop them out of their shells.
     
  5. I don't know many food tips, but I know bacteria.

    For every 5° of rise in the temperature of a gallon of milk above 40°, you can take a full week off the shelf life.
     
    BboogieXVII and StudioStuntz like this.
  6. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV

    Log-in / Trial membership required :(
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Sorry about that -- my bad. I'll just explain it myself, then:

    Put a half-inch of water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Place the eggs in gently, cover the pot, lower the heat, and set a timer for exactly 6 minutes and 30 seconds. When the timer goes off, immediately put the pot (with eggs) under the faucet and run cold water over the eggs for about 30 seconds (or transfer the eggs to a bowl in the sink to do same) to prevent them from cooking further.

    What makes this fool-proof is that it will work for any number of eggs and any sized saucepan without having to adjust the cooking time. When you boil them the usual way, with the eggs completely submerged, the problem is that adding cold eggs to the boiling water cools the water and slows or stops the boil. The degree to which this happens varies with both the number of (cold) eggs and the size of the pot, making it difficult to get the cooking time exactly right. The Cooks Illustrated method avoids this problem because only a small part of each egg is in contact with the water, so adding the eggs doesn't slow the boil. Then, with the lid on, they cook mainly via steam.
     
    StudioStuntz and SnoMan like this.
  8. StudioStuntz

    StudioStuntz

    Jul 19, 2015

    I neglected to put in post #62 that many places and recipes use day old rice, which may help offer a different taste?
     
    One Drop likes this.
  9. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I don't know if it affects the taste but you definitely want the day old, somewhat dried out rice for the texture. Here's how we did it at the restaurant I worked.

    - heat up wok, add oil and allow to heat up
    - add minced garlic and allow to brown
    - add scrambled egg
    - add rice (we would break it up by hand in a bowl to make sure it wasn't stuck together beforehand)
    - add seasoning: fish sauce, MSG (secret?), a small amount of sugar (secret?), and soy sauce (only enough to color the rice)
    - add a small amount of meat stock to resoften rice (secret?)
    - add meats and veggies (carrots, peas, etc)
    - plate then garnish with fresh green onion
    - ???
    - Profit

    * Most places use way too much oil IMO (e.g. the above recipe). You really don't need that much!
    ** At our restaurant, we used fish sauce instead of plain salt in 95% of the dishes. It definitely adds an additional "Asianess" to the flavor
     
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  10. StudioStuntz

    StudioStuntz

    Jul 19, 2015
    I gave your post a like only because I couldn't give it a really like.

    It's good for adults to know, especially if they have kids.

    We had a milk company that posted that info on their cartons in the early seventies, and haven't been able to find anything resembling that info since, either through books or Google. I also had no clue that the red flag temp 40°.

    They had a chart that broke down several or so temps in relationship to its fridge life, and showed how long over each temp it would last.
    It also stated that once the 40° was compromised, putting it in the fridge even under 40° didn't do anything to rectify the original wrong.
     
  11. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Montreal, QC
    I've been making an excellent fried rice recipe from the Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes cookbook, and the sauce for my favorite fried rice in the book consists of:

    1 Tbsp dry sherry
    1 Tbsp fish sauce
    1 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp sesame oil

    It's a great book in general if you enjoy Asian recipes/cooking, and the "easy" in the title is actually accurate. Except for the sourcing of a few ingredients, every recipe is super simple and tasty, with no sub-recipes. I highly recommend it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Peach-P...1&keywords=lucky+peach+101+easy+asian+recipes
     
  12. I'm afraid I don't completely understand what you mean here. What exactly do you mean by prep?

    If I were to add anything myself, it would be this:

    Salt, sugar, fat. These are three easy ways to make food delicious. There's more to it than that, and more ways to do it but making a sauce with a creamy texture takes butter or cream, and the right amount of salt will do wonders for its flavour. Sugar belongs in places too, but I'm not too big on desserts or sweet in general. What I CAN say however, from two years experience as a cook and twenty four as a human being, is that this is a terrible way to make food healthy, but an effective way to make food tasty.
     
    fdeck likes this.
  13. You know, I had some wings from some of a co-worker's students from my stay in China. They were pretty damn good - not like our fried buffalo wings, but still damn tasty. Anyways, we asked them what they did, and they basically just boiled it in soya sauce and coca cola. It's probably something deceptively simple like that. I know that I've had some success with a more or less 50/50 mix of chinese vinegar and soya sauce. Chinese vinegar is a tad different, but similar enough I'd say to malt vinegar.
     
  14. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Apologies if it's considered poor form to quote oneself, but after making a couple of these bad boys for breakfast this morning I thought of something important to add.

    I've learned over time that the one semi-tricky part about making soft-boiled eggs, whether you use the method described above or some other method, is figuring out precisely how long to run the eggs under cold water after removing them from the pot: not long enough and they keep cooking and are too hot to handle; too long and they're cold when you eat them. The instructions from Cooks' Illustrated say 30 seconds, but I've discovered that the ideal timing varies depending on just how cold your tap water is. At my house, the "cold" water could be described as "cool" at best in the summer, but is icy cold in the winter. Consequently, I run the eggs under the "cold" water for about 30 seconds in the summer, but no more than about 15 seconds in the winter. Sounds like hair-splitting, I suppose, but with soft-boiled eggs timing is everything!
     
  15. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    By prep I mean washing and cutting all your vegetables and trimming or cutting your meats, measuring out or having at hand all your ingredients, and making sure all the utensils are at hand.

    Good tasting ingredients make tasty food, salt is only needed in limited quantities if you have not become accustomed to over salting, fat helps spread the flavours around your mouth and ads texture and reduces dryness, and sugar is rarely needed except in small quantities if your ingredients are if decent quality, as the natural sugars in meats and good fruits and vegetables that are ripe should suffice.

    These things should enhance, not replace the natural flavours of properly cooked quality ingredients.

    They are overused in fast food and industrial food products to make poor quality food taste good.

    As a cook of two years surely you do prep work (mise en place) before every service?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  16. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Spot on! It's fairly common for carts that sell corn (on the cob) around here to absolutely drown them in mayo and Parmesan. I wonder if the people that buy them have ever tried just plain corn. It's delicious!

    I have similar issues with Filipino food. Even though I grew up eating it, I rarely crave it. It's just too darn salty! My dad will actually add salt to fruit as he eats it. :beaver:
     
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  17. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Oyster sauce.
     
  18. Oyster? I barely knew 'er!
     
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  19. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    If you want super crispy chicken skin, pour boiling water over it before putting it in the oven. It shocks the skin and crisps up nicely.
     
  20. DanAleks

    DanAleks Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

    Mar 5, 2009
    Add jalapenos...
     

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