Saturday, September 18, 2010

Turkey (the country, not the fowl)

By the time you read this, JS and I are already far, far away from Vancouver. As you may have guessed from the title (no kidding), we are in Turkey!

So, while we are away, here are some Turkish dishes that JS and I have made in the past.

Börek with Beef Filling

Kısır (Turkish Bulgur "Tabbouleh")

Çılbak Köfte (Turkish Bulgur Kofte)

Mualle (Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses)

Etli Biber Dolmasi (Stuffed Peppers with Groundmeat)

Shourabit Silq bi Laban (Lebanese Chard and Yogurt Soup)
(Yes, I know it says Lebanese, but I think yogurt soups are also served in Turkey.)

We will be back before you know it. =)

We're back and enjoying a glass of Turkish Çay (Tea).

eatingclub vancouver
in Turkey (September 2010)

Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Topkapı Sarayı (Palace) Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)
Turkey Flora
Hierapolis Ruins and Travertines (Pamukkale, Turkey)
Güray Pottery (Avanos, Turkey)

If you wish to travel to Turkey, then check out this über-useful site:
Turkey Travel Planner

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yunnan 168 (San Gabriel, CA)

*NOTE* I am having a hard time writing this post. Why? Because the characters on the keyboard are not in their usual places! Besides that dıffıculty, there are all sorts of additional characters on this keyboard like: Çç Üü Ğğ Şş Iı (ı without the dot!) and İi (capital İ wıth a dot!). Any ideas as to where we are? =)

"Spicy with spicy"

One of the restaurants we visited when we were down in LA in July was Yunnan 168. Yunnan is certainly an under-represented cuisine in Vancouver, so we made a special effort to visit this restaurant in San Gabriel.

left: cold chrysanthemum tea; right: hot tea

When we were seated at our table, we were given not just regular tea, but also cold chrysanthemum tea (it was truly, truly hot that day). I thought this was a nice touch, especially since I later saw one can order it off the menu (for a fee, of course).

Unfortunately, I have never been a fan of chrysanthemum tea. But, I still drank some since they so kindly offered it.

We were greeted with this display as we entered the restaurant. We decided to order the 3-kinds cold appetizer plate. We were surprised as they really piled the items onto that plate!

Most Yunnan and Sichuan restaurants have a selection of cold appetizers that you can choose from. We chose the smoked chicken, some bean curd threads, and peanuts with dried anchovies.

Smoked Chicken
The pieces were very large. What large chickens they must've been! This was nice and smoky, but not too smoky, and very juıcy despite being breast meat.

Bean Curd Threads
Nicely seasoned. No complaints here.

Peanuts with Dried Anchovies
The peanuts with anchovies were so addictive! It was a tad spicy, a tad salty, and a tad spicy all at once: it's crack, I tell ya.

"Steamed" Chicken in Claypot

Apparently, this is a standard or well-known Yunnan dish. It was called "Style Steamed Chicken in Claypot" on the menu.

See number 184.

The Steamed Chicken in Clay Pot tasted "standard" to me, as in the usual flavours of chicken soup with some Chinese herbs.

Yunnan Noodles with Special Sauce

See number 20.

This dish tasted very familiar to me, but I can't quite place it. It definitely tasted of green onions and garlic, but there's also an acidic note to it. This was also quite good.

There it is tossed and mixed together.

Sautéed Kangkong/Water Spinach

I'm a lover of kangkong that really as long as they're crisp and not wilting, I'm all over it.

"Spicy with Spicy"

Actually, the English translation is quite correct. But of course, one really has no idea what to expect.

See number 125.

This dish turned out to be diced up tofu with ground pork with peppers. This was excellent, probably my favourite of the bunch.

Although, I think they toned down the heat level as it was still quite tolerable. ;)

"Shrimp with Pineapple"

One of the chef's recommendations was a Shrimp and Pineapple dish.

See number 33.

From the sparse description, I was expecting a similar type of dish that you can get at a Taiwanese restaurant, with the shrimp and pineapples coated with a mayonnaise-based sauce.

Instead, the mayonnaise was served as a dipping sauce on the side.

This dish was completely different, almost "deconstructed," with the shrimp and pineapple pieces deep-fried in a light batter with a sprinkling of sugar.

This was the first time I encountered such a preparation. It was great.

Also very good: the pineapple pieces were real pineapples, not canned ones.

Noodle Soup of unknown name

I don't know what they were thinking but in the middle of the meal, the waitress asked us if we wanted a cold dısh of bean jelly threads or noodle in soup. They said they were giving it to us FOR FREE.

Look at all the food!

There was even a container of rice! See that darkish red container? Yeah.

Why would they give us more food?!?! Not that I´m complaining. ;)

We chose the noodles with soup, which was a rice noodle soup with ground pork, chicken, and some seafood.

The noodles were round rice noodles, and there was a healthy amount of cilantro added to the bowl.

The flavour profile was very clean, very light. Quote homey and quite good, but we cannot finish it, of course.

As you can see, there were only two of us and all this food can probably feed 6.

All done!

Teehee. No, we did not really finish it all. There were leftovers.

The most astonishing part of this whole meal was that the tab for all this was 50 bucks, including tax (9.25% in CA). Compare this with the meal we had at a Sichuan restaurant in Vancouver the day before we left for Los Angeles where I had to pay 80 bucks for 3 dishes!

A funny to end the post...

Look at their typos! I thought I was typo queen but this has me beat!

Basically, they pressed all the keys next to the intended ones. Look at your keyboard and compare.

SNAKK OIT = small pot
CASSERIKE = casserole

Yunnan 168
San Gabriel, CA
Visited in July 2010

eatingclub vancouver in Los Angeles
The Manila Machine Food Truck
Yunnan 168

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Smoked Salmon Rangoon

I had never heard of "crab rangoon" until sometime last year.

Mind you, when I say I heard of them, I really mean that I only heard of them. Until now, I still have not seen crab rangoon in the flesh (or, in the wonton wrapper, I should say).

But, we do love our cream cheese, so when we had some smoked salmon languishing in the fridge, we decided it was high time we made this fake Chinese food classic at home, but with a salmon-y twist!

Cream Cheese Goodness

For the filling, we mixed together cream cheese, smoked salmon, green onions, and just a touch of lemon juice.

These wonton wrappers were not good. It was so hard to separate each one!

Each wrapper got a tiny amount of filling, then because I'm lazy, simply got folded into a triangle. After a dip into hot oil, they were done.

Ah yes, for that sweet, gloopy component to complete the dish, we used "Sweet Chilli Sauce for Chicken" for dipping.

Salty smoked salmon and creamy cream cheese encased in deep-fried dough, slathered with sweet sauce? More, please!

Wandering Chopsticks made crab rangoon last year.
As in, with
crab krab, not smoked salmon.
Wandering Chopsticks: Crab Rangoon

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Smoked Salmon Rangoon
Makes approx 30 to 40 pieces

approx. 30 to 40 wonton wrappers

200g smoked salmon, chopped
400g cream cheese
3 stalks green onion, chopped
lemon juice (optional)

Mix together smoked salmon, cream cheese, green onions and a splash of lemon juice. Full each wonton wrapper with the filling, wet the edges to close.

Deep-fry each filled wonton until golden brown.

Serve with sweet chili sauce ("sweet chilli sauce for chicken").

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