May 22, 2010

About... Asian Food.... Chow Mein.... Stir fry

Hello all

yesterday i made soem quicky stir fry for my son and his guest - big succest  - quit spicy and sooo good...
I just chopped a few zucchini, spring oninons, bell pepper, grilled chicken breast, onions, garlic and fried that in peanut oil, then i added grated ginger, oyster sauce, korean chili paste, honey, freshly chopped chiles and cilantro and added on top of a few fried chinese noodles...
Will make this again..... But when i stared about posting a simple stir fry again

i need to do some research... here the result of the history and facts about asian food and stir fry

Cheers - Alissa


"Stir frying is an umbrella term used to describe two techniques for cooking food in a wok while stirring it: chǎo and bào. The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the chǎo technique. The two techniques differ in their speed of execution, the amount of heat used, and the amount of tossing done to cook the food in the wok. Cantonese restaurant patrons judge a chef's ability to perform stir frying by the "wok hei" produced in the food. This in turn is believed to display their ability to bring out the qi of the wok." 

Chao technique

A product of the chǎo 
The chao technique is similar to the Western technique of sautéing. A traditional round-bottom cast iron or carbon steel pan called a wok is heated to a high temperature. A small amount of cooking oil is then poured down the side of the wok (a traditional expression in China regarding this is "hot wok, cold oil"), followed by dry seasonings (including ginger and garlic), then at the first moment the seasonings can be smelled, meats are added and agitated. Once the meat is seared, vegetables along with liquid ingredients (for example often including premixed combinations of some of soy sauce, vinegar, wine, salt, sugar, and cornstarch) are added. The wok then may be covered for a moment so the water in the liquid ingredients can warm up the new ingredients as it steams off. To keep the meat juicy, usually a cook would take the seared meat out before vegetables are added, and put the meat back right before vegetables are done. In some dishes, or if the cooking conditions are inadequate, different components may be stir fried separately before being combined in the final dish (if, for example, the chef desires the taste of the stir fried vegetables and meats to remain distinct).
The food is stirred and tossed out very quickly using wooden or metal cooking utensils. Some chefs will lift the wok to the side to let the flame light the oil or add a dash of wine spirit to give the food extra flavor. Using this method, many dishes can be cooked extremely quickly (within a minute).
Some dishes that require more time are cooked by adding a few dashes of water after the stirring. Then the wok is covered with a lid. As soon as steam starts to come out from under the lid, the dish is ready. In this case, the food is stir fried on high heat for flavor and then steamed to ensure that it is fully cooked.

Bao technique

The wok is heated to a dull red glow. With the wok hot, the oil, seasonings, and meats are added in rapid succession with no pause in between. The food is continually tossed, stopping for several seconds only to add other ingredients such as various seasonings, broths, or vegetables. When the food is deemed to be cooked it is poured and ladled out of the wok. The wok must then be quickly rinsed to prevent food residues from charring and burning to the wok bottom because of residual heat.
The main ingredients are usually cut to smaller pieces to aid in cooking. As well, a larger amount of cooking fat with a high smoke point, such as lard and/or peanut oil, is often used in bao.

(Quote Wikipedia)

Asian food was introduced to the United States in the mid-1800's when Chinese immigrants from Canton began settling in California. At that time the food was consumed primarily by the Chinese community. Chinese food became popular with young cosmopolitans in the 1920s because it was considered exotic. It wasn't until after World War II that Asian cuisines (notably Chinese, Japanese and Polynesian) piqued the interest of mainstream America. 

Sylvia Lovegren's Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads 1995 describes America's 20th century Asian food fads. In the 1960s Polynesian theme restaurants and tiki bars were all the rage.
While Chinese food was introduced to America in the mid-19th century, Vietnamese (Japanese, Thai, etc.) cuisine was generally unknown to mainstream American diners until the 1970s. Coincidentally, this period also marks the genesis of fusion cuisine, a convergence of fresh foods, exotic tastes and interesting textures. 

From the beginning, Asian dishes intended for American diners were adapted to suit expectations. Emphasis on basic meat and vegetables served in standard (sweet & sour, soy) sauces with fried rice became the norm. In many authentic Asian restaurants, there were two menus: one for people of Asian descent and another for tourists. The difference was more than language.

Did you know? Some "classic" Chinese menu choices such as fortune cookies are not Chinese at all! They were invented in America. 

Molly O'Neil's article "The Chop Suey Syndrome: Americanizing the Exotic," New York Times, July 26, 1989 (C1) explains the process. 

"When Europe began trading with the Orient, the seaport of Canton became the gateway to the West. The Cantonese readily absorbed these cosmopolitan influences and, being great travelers themselves, soon emigrated to Europe and America. They were the first to establish Chinese restaurants ouside their own country and to make Chinese cooking known to the West. As a result, most Chinese restaurants in the United States and Europe are Cantonese."
---The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook, Gloria Bley Miller [Grosset & Dunlap:New York] (p. 15) 

" 1847, the first Chinese immigrants settled in San Francisco and were followed by thousands who helped to build the transcontinental railways. The meals of hundreds of California families were influenced by cooks who were Chinese and had been hired as housemen in middle-class homes. They seldom were permitted to prepare Oriental meals, but they held to their art of serving vegetables that do to lose their crispness or color...Other Chinese were cooks for the work gangs...In the early California Chinese restaurants there was a willingness to cater to customers--some proprietors served their non-Chinese clients only what they thought those diners wanted, that is, chop suey and fried steak. Better restaurants gained fame on San Francisco's Grant Avenue, on or near New York's Mott Street, in Los Angeles, and every other American city of censequence, and the developing tastes for genuine Chinese food resulted in a vogue for home delivery of such easily portable items as egg rolls and chicken chow mein in paper buckets. But it wasn't until after World War II that Americans began consciously to augment their Oriental kitchen repertoires by attending classes in Chinese cooking and avidly sampling new tastes that became available in restaurants specializing in Mandarin, Hunan, Fukien, and Szechwan dishes in addition to those from Canton. This influence on American eating habits came after new political relationships encouraged interest in largely unknown regions of the People's republic, and many more Chinese entrepreneurs arrived to join what had been dominantly a Cantonese population in the United States..."
---American Food: The Gastronomic Story, Evan Jones, 2nd edition [Vintage Books:New York] 1981 (p. 166-7) 

"The Chinese settled their own Chinatowns within major United States cities, where they opened chow chow eateries, identified by their triangular yellow flags. At first these small, cramped eateries catered to their own people, then expanded their menus to attract curious Americans who dared cross into those mysterious cities-within-cities...The cookery in these new Chinatowns was basically stir-fired, rice-based Cantonese, whcih efficiently utilized every part of the animal...Americans not used to such economy were often dismayed by what they found in their rice bowl...Most of these eateries were primitive in design and atmosphere...Before ling, however, Chinese cooks learned how to modify thier dishes to make them more palatable to a wider American audience. In fact, most of the Chinese restaurants outside of Chinatown proclaimed in their windows that they were Chinese-American, lest Occidental customers shy away for fear of being served duck feet and bird's nests.By the 1920s, Chinese restaurants dotted the American landscape, and one was as likely to find a chop suey' parlor in Kansas City as in New York or San Francisco, even though the typical menu in such places bore small resemblance to the foods the Chinese themselves ate. Many dishes were cloyingly sweetened with caramel and sugar, inundated with pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries, and fried in thick batters, while the ubiquitious flaming appetized platter called pu pu...was first served as a gimmick by Victor Bergeron at his Trade Vic's Polynesian-American restaurants in Oakland and San Francisco. Won ton soup, egg rolls, barbecued spareribs, sweet-and-sour pork, and beef with lobster sauce were all concocted to whet Americans' appetites, and to this day, it is standard procedure for an American in an Chinese restaurant to be handed a two-columned menu written in English, while a completely different menu printed in Chinese will be given to a Chinese patron, who, in any case, would probably disregard it and order from the specials written in pictographs on the walls. "Going for Chinese" became very much an American expression, and when Americans began moving to the suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s, Chinese restaurants followed on their heels,particularly in suburban shopping malls....Perhaps more important to the success of the Chinese-American restaurant was its readiness to serve food at any and all hours and to pack it up and deliver it with dispatch, all at prices no other ethnic group could match. Chinese take-out went hand in hand with Americans' historic penchant for gobblingh up lots of cheap food in as little time with as little fuss as possible."
---America Eats Out, John Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 76-80)
[NOTE: This book has far more information than can be paraphrased here. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy] 

"Much of what passes for Cantonese cooking in the Western World would sicken a traditional Cantonese gourmet. Canned pineapple, canned cherries, and even canned fruit cocktail; enourmous quantities of dehydrated garlic, barbecue or Worcestershire sauce; canned vegetables, corn starch, monosodiumglutamate, cooking sherry, and heavy doses of sugar are found in many of these bizarre creations. This fusion of pseudo-Cantonese and pseudo-Polynesian food can be traced to a renegade Cantonese chef at Trader Vic's in California. The basic formula appears to be: take the fattest, rankest pork you can get; cook it in a lot of oil with the sweetest mixture of canned fruits and sugar you can make; throw on a lot of MSG and cheap soy sauce; thicken the sauce to gluelike consistency; and serve it forth. The Cantonese regard the whole business as proof that Westerners are bultureless barbarians, but they cook it, and now even many Taiwan Chinese (having eaten Cantonese food only in cafes catering to American G.I.'s) are convinced that this is typical Cantonese cooking." ---Food in China, E.N. Anderson [Yale University Press:New Haven CT] 1988 (p. 212-3) 

Chow Mein
Chow mein literally means "fried noodles." Food historians agree on two points:
  1. Noodles have been known to Chinese cooks since ancient times.
  2. No one knows exactly who made the first chow mein and when.
Historians also agree chow mein most likely migrated to America with Chinese immigrants in the mid-19th century. Yes, this food (and many others) has endured several changes over the years...from indigenious cooks to Americanized restaurant selections to canned versions and frozen entrees. 

"Chow mein is related to and takes its name from "chao mian," a Chinese dish consisting of previously boiled noodles stirfried with meat and vegetables. There is, however, an important difference. In chow mein the noodles are deep fried in bundles, which are crisp and brittle when they emerge; whereas in the Chinese dish the noodles are soft."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 183) 

"Chow mein.
A Chinese-American dish made of stewed vegetables and meat with fried noodles. The term comes from Mandarin Chinese ch'ao mien', "fried noodles," and probably was brought to the United States by Chinese cooks serving the workers on the western railroads in the 1850s. The word first appears in print in 1900. Although most chow mein bears scant resemblance to true Mandarin cooking, it has become a staple in Chinese-American restaurants...Owing to its inexpensive ingredients, chow mein has long been a lunch dish in American school cafeterias."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 83) 

"If chop suey was...Chinese food for the American masses, chow mein was a dish for gourmets. Hard as it is to believe for those of us who have only eaten the horrid frozen or canned chow mein of the messes served under that name in doubtful greasy spoons, properly prepared chow mein can be very good indeed...The key to good chow mein is the noodles. Those nasty deep-fried things tasting of rancid fat that most Americans associate with chow mein are virutally unknown in China. Instead, the Chinese...stir-fry freshly boiled noodles in hot oil until they are crisp on the outside but still beguilingly soft in the center. The hot noodles with their contrasting crisp/soft text ures are then served with a stir-fried mixture of vegetables and strips of meat."
---Fashionable Food, Sylvia Lovegren (p. 91)

[NOTE: This book as plenty of information on the introduction of Chinese food to America...ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]
"Chow Mein, or "fried noodles," is a casual dish which calls for parboiled noodles (previously drained dry and chilled) to be cooked with other ingredients, somewhat in the manner of fried rice; that is, the noodles and the other ingredients are fried separately, then combined and cooked until nearly done."
---Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook, Gloria Bley Miller [Grosset & Dunlap:New York] (p. 630-1) 

The history of pasta
La Choy is one of the oldest and most well-known brands of American-made mass-produced Chinese food sold to consumers and foodservice operations--you can ask them questions about their products. 

Chinese language lesson here

lo mein (low m-ein)- beef noodle dish, either in soup . the noodle is thick
lo - means meat
chow mein - (zou m-ein) fried noodles basically. can use like spegetti noodles sometimse.
chow means fry up stir up 

Chinese-American Chow Mein

Adapted from Jewish Home Cooking
recipe source
2 Tablespoons peanut, canola or corn oil
2 medium-large onions, peeled, cut in half through the root end, and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
5 ribs celery, thinly cut on a sharp diagonal (about 2 cups)
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1-1/2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1-1/4 cups chicken stock (or broth), divided
2 Tablespoons dry sherry, dry madeira or in a pinch dry red wine
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
2 cups white meat chicken, cooked any way you choose, sliced into strips
Fried Chinese chow mein noodles

In a small pouring vessel, combine soy sauce, dry sherry, 1/4 cup chicken stock and cornstarch.  Set aside.

In a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until the oil is very hot but not smoking.  Add onions and celery and stir fry for about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and mushrooms; stir-fry for one minute.  Add 1 cup of remaining chicken stock, cover the pot and simmer for four minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Uncover the pot and stir in bean sprouts and water chestnuts.  Add cornstarch mixture to the pot and stir it until the liquid in the pot has thickened.  Taste for seasoning.  You may want to add salt or more soy sauce.

Serve immediately on a bed of fried Chinese chow mein noodles.  Top with chicken you have prepared any way you choose.  


gestern musste es wieder schnell gehen und sollte scharf und frisch sein - ich bin nach der Arbeit noch zum Gemüsestand meines Vertrauens gefahren... habe mir Paprika, Zuchini, Frühlingszwiebeln, Knoblauch, Zwiebeln, Ingwer und frischen Koriander sowie Chillies mitgenommen - wohlwissend das mein Sohn Übernachtunggäste haben würde. Ich einen großen Pot asiatische Nudeln gekocht, dabei Gemüse geputzt und geschnibbelt, die Pilze bewusst weggelassen, da die Kinder sie nicht mögen... dann den Wok angefeuert und gegrillte Hühnerbrust vom Vortag in Streifen geschnitten und dann alles nach einander angebraten mit koreanischer Chilipaste, geriebenen frischen Ingwer,  Honig, Austersauce, Salz, Pfeffer und etwas Sake... dann abgeschmekt und auf die in etwas ernussöl angebratenen Nudeln gegeben, frischern feingezupften Koriander drauf ... sehr köstlich

Im englischen Teil habe ich etwas zur Geschichte und Hintergrund des Stir fry recherchiert und auch dem Klassiker Chow Mein.... sowie die Historie wie die chinesische Küche nach Amerika kam...

Viel Vergnügen


Petra said...

Toll, welche Bücher du alle hast, da kann ich richtig neidisch werden. Ich finde das alles sehr interessant, auch zur Verbreitung der asiatischen Gastronomie in den USA. Das Buch von Silvia Lovegren lese ich übrigens gerade.

Toni said...

Schön bunt und lecker :)! Und jetzt les ich mir mal die Details durch.

Evi said...

Schön recherchiert. Sowas lese ich gerne. :)

Ich wusste gar nicht, dass die OUP auch einen "Companion to Food" herausbringt und insgesamt eine ziemlich breite Publikationspalette hat. Ich kenne die nur von drögem Sprachwissenschaftskram und mitteldrögem Literaturwissenschaftsrkram. ;) Anschaffenswert?

Cherry Blossom said...

Hallo Petra, viele Bücher leihe ich mir aus und mache mir Notizen Silvia Lovegren ist ein tolle Buch oder? Leider finde ich kaum Recherchen über Food Historie in Deutschland - dafür bist Du die Expertin und ich bin dir sehr Dankbar dafür.... aber wie die chinesische Küche hierher kam weiss ich nicht... DU??

Danke Toni....

Evi das "Companion to Food" ist für einen wissbegierigen und ernsthafen Foodie der sich für Historie etc interessiert ein ganz wichtiges Werk und Lexikon - es hat keine Rezepte, nichts über Weine und sehr wenig über Stoffwechsel oder Ernährungswissenschaften.... Dazu gibt es im Web auch einige Rezensionen - kannst Du mal nachschauen ich glaube das Buch kostet so um die 50 EUR.

Petra said...

@Cherry Blossom: Ja, in Deutschland ist Food-History bislang ein ziemlich unbeackertes Feld. Die chinesische Küche in Deutschland würde ich gern mal recherchieren. Die Anfänge dürften wie in den USA in den China-Towns liegen, die es bei uns auch in Großstädten wie Hamburg und Berlin gab. In der NS-Zeit wurden die aber zerstört.

Evi said...

Danke für die Info! Ich werde mal zusehen, dass ich das irgendwo in die Finger bekomme und ordentlich ansehen kann.


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