Year of the Tiger (rawr)

12 Feb

The lunar new year begins Sunday… that means the Year of the Tiger.

We are certifiably koo-koo crazy for dumplings. Delicate shrimp har gow, sweet pork siu mai, and the holy grail of steamed dumplings at Jing Fong. We memorably munched on dumplings and washed them down with a pot of hot tea at the Hong Kong dim sum palace in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Walking in by ourselves off Elizabeth Street and up the escalator, wait staff in yellow jackets seated us at the singles’s table, inhabited by a trio of wisened men hunched over steaming bowls.

We must be hallucinating the flavour — despite our intrepid online sleuthing, we have yet to encounter a similar recipe. It tasted delicately of scallops steamed boy choy and celery. Rejuvenating.

Speaking of Big Apple Chinese New Year, here are two more New York items.

Moving on to less authentic fare — but no less compelling — we live with regret for running out of time to encounter Kenny Shopsin. The great Calvin Trillin introduced us to crazy Kenny through the New Yorker.

Trillin’s children were regulars and frequently ordered items that weren’t on the menu. And so, we’ve pined for his Chow Fun without ever tasting a morsel. We were thrilled to pick up Shopsin’s memoir/cookbook Eat Me, which features some chicken and bok choy funness: stir fry dredged chicken strips “the size of a baby’s finger,” add a mix of bok choy, jicama, snow peas, scallions, shitake, broccoli, long beans etc, and two cups of fresh chow fun noodles.

Squeeze the juice of a lemon over everything, drizzle with soy sauce and add 1/4 cup chicken stock.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
4 ounces ground chicken (cooked)
14 ounces chow fun noodles (wide rice noodle)
2 teaspoons minced scallions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon Szechwan preserved vegetables (can be found at Asian market)
2 teaspoons shredded black fungus mushrooms
1 teaspoon Sesame oil

3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon mushroom soy sauce
2 teaspoons water
Directions: Separate the chow fun noodles and cover with plastic wrap until ready for use. Heat the wok and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Stir fry garlic and chill paste for about 6 seconds. Add ground chicken and stir fry with garlic and chill paste. Add black fungus mushrooms and sauce stir-fry for about 10 seconds. Separate the noodles and mix into the wok a handful at a time. Continue cooking for 2 to 4 minutes or until the noodles are hot.
Mix in sesame oil before serving.
Serve on plates.
Garnish with Szechwan preserved vegetables and minced scallions.



Ming Tsai

2 cups master seafood mixture, recipe follows

1 egg

2 ounces chopped, frozen butter

1 package shumai wrappers

Lemongrass Broth, recipe follows

In a food processor, add seafood mixture, egg, and butter. Pulse until the butter is incorporated but still visible (small pieces). Place 1 tablespoon of mixture on a wrapper and bring up the sides going around the mound. Continue with the remaining mixture and wrappers. Drop, open side up, from 6 inches on a flat surface to flatten the shumai bottoms. Steam shumai for 8 minutes.

Into 4 soup plates, place 3 shumai each. Ladle 4 ounces broth around the shumai. Serve and enjoy.



  • 1 pound rock shrimp, diced
  • 1 pound Chilean sea bass, diced
  • 1 pound bay scallops, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and white pepper

In a food processor, add shrimp, bass, scallops, egg, ginger, and sesame oil. Pulse only a little bit to bring ingredients together. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in scallions and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.


  • • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno sliced with the seeds
  • 4 slices peeled ginger
  • 6 stalks lemongrass, sliced, white part only
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Dash white pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced

In a 2-quart casserole, saute onions, jalapeno, ginger, and lemongrass. Deglaze with fish sauce and reduce by 80 per cent. Add stock and dash of white pepper. Reduce by 20 per cent on a slow simmer, about 45 minutes. Strain and keep hot. Check for seasoning. Squeeze in lemon juice right before serving.

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