I bought some lettuce stem for a Chinese stir-fry that I ended up not making. This is a vegetable that I learned to cook while I was in Chengdu. I have always called and thought about it as lettuce stem, but its proper name is celtuce (or wōsŭn; 莴笋 ; asparagus lettuce).
Tag Archives: chengdu sichuan
Dàn dàn miàn (担担面; “peddler’s noodles”) are boiled noodles with a spicy sesame/peanut sauce poured over them. The story goes that lunch peddler’s would carry a dàn dàn—a shoulder pole with a bucket on either end—with the cooked noodles in one bucket and the spicy sauce in the other. When you bought your lunch you were expected to provide your own bowl and the seller would put in some noodles and splash some of the sauce over them.
On Christmas morning my family likes to go out for dim sum (点心; snacks), Chinese small plates. For the last several years we have gone to Tai-pan in Palo Alto, but this year Miriam talked up into trying something new. It was not quite a disaster, her suggested restaurant was over-flowing with a four hour wait, but we finally found a strip mall place that was actually excellent.
Noodles are a symbol of longevity in Chinese tradition. A usual recipe for Chinese New Year would be to serve these in a Longevity Noodle Soup. Traditionally, you slurp these noodles whole without breaking them, so that you do not cut your longevity short. For my birthday/New Year’s feast I decided to go a different route.
Steamed fish is something we had many times while we were in Chengdu, Sichuan, and in Hong Kong. It is actually a fairly simple recipe. I reconstructed it and I have continued to make it since we come back.
We were introduced to this dish while we lived in Chengdu, Sichuan. Dong quai is a Chinese root that is good for women. Suffice it to say, that what ginseng is supposed to do for men, dong quai is supposed to do for women. If you want to know more, The Soup Queen goes into far more (and personal) detail on the subject than I possibly could. I do not make this dish very often, only when my women are feeling ragged.
Yesterday was Daddy’s Day, so I made beef and beans. Today I am paying the price by making a vegetarian meal for Jan and Eilene. After work, Jan usually goes to the gym to work out and de-stress. Depending on which gym she goes to, the session she is attending, and the traffic she can come home anywhere from 6:45 to 7:15. With a stir-fry you can do all of the prep work and then put the dinner on hold, but ready to go, for easily an hour. A quick 10 minutes of stir-frying and a hot fresh dinner is on the table.
Eilene is graduating from High School today and last night I decided to make one of her favorite dishes, spicy chicken and pan fried noodles. We lived in Chengdu, Sichuan, P.R. China for a year and a half back in 1988-90. While I have tried to replicate many dishes that we had during that stay, this recipe is closer to one from Cook’s Illustrated. I have wandered far from that original recipe.