jeudi, novembre 26, 2009

Prawn Tofu Egg on Rice (Mui Fan)

Tofu Prawn and Egg on Rice

Most of the Chinese you find on Continental Europe come from Wenzhou or Zhejiang - places I've never even heard of before arriving in Europe. These cities and provinces are better known for their matchsticks or leather goods than their cuisine - and as such the quality of Chinese food in most European countries suffers greatly.

I remember bringing a Chinese girl from Wenzhou with me to London many years ago. She was my disciple, understudying me to learn how to lead groups of Chinese-speaking tourists from Paris to London. To supplement my student income (from a scholarship), I used to work on some weekends and being a tour guide paid better than babysitting or McDonald's. I had the advantage of being both a French and English speaker, not something most Chinese students could boast of.

I brought her to a Cantonese-run Chinese restaurant in London and introduced her to a Cantonese rice dish Mui Fan. It's basically a rice dish with an egg gravy and whatever leftover meat, seafood and vegetables one could find. An Asian Risotto, if you wish.

It was love at first bite for her and she would order it twice a day during the whole weekend and on every subsequent trip to London that we took together. Her family owned a restaurant, I was surprised she never thought of asking her chef to try cooking the dish.

I arrived at the Chinese shop the other day when they just received a batch of fresh tofu. They would do great in this dish as I had some leftover rice this evening and prawns in the freezer. I made it with lots of garlic, an ikan bilis stock, prawns, the tofu, some Chinese cooking wine, a little cornstarch and one egg beaten into the gravy hors-feu. Everything poured over leftover rice.

3 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

I thought Wenzhou was in Zhejiang province. Its above Fujian province.

Me too, found out that most Chinese in Europe came from that province. Later I found out it was also historical as Zhejiang natives served the French in World War 1, kind of, in that the French men were fighting the real war, while the Zhejiang menfolk were carted from China to France to do menial jobs. There is a cemetery close to Paris where these Zhejiang WW1 folks were buried, so China politicians usually make a big show by paying respects there.

One of the reasons why I do Not like Northern & Central Chinese food is the abundance of too many dumplings. Not much variety. I do not get it why Sporeans so love xiao long bao, its kind of like the rage here. I need variety: veges, fish, poultry, all done in diff ways.

Real Chinese food overseas can only be found in 3 countries IMO: UK, Canada & Australia. I rate Australia the best. I guess its the shortest distance back to homeland HK for these Canto chefs to recharge themselves, hence the practical decision for the big influx of Canto chefs immigrants to Australia in the past decades.

I can still remember the HK bakeries in Sydney, the dim sum food sold in Melbourne Chinatown bakery. It was my nose that led me to that fabulous dim sum bakery in Melbourne.

Also not forgetting Vancouver. Another great watering hole for faboulous Canto food. Somehow the folks there knew straight away that I was not Canto becos I went to a Chinese supermarket which was nearest to my hotel to buy snacks, lady cashier just took one look at me & spoke in Canto accented English.

Anonyme a dit…

Following up from what I posted above, did not know that you were facing some difficulty with another mother in an earlier post.

Hope everything is fine now. But for the life of me, goodness me, coming from a small country like Spore we are exposed to flu like symptoms everyday in public transport: MRT trains & buses are always very crowded during peak hours. Our classrooms are about 30+ to 40+ students per class closely packed together & some get ferried in school buses too. Our offices, MRTs & buses are all air conditioned & flu bug travel faster in confined spaces.

In short, no matter how protected you are, sooner or later you will get the flu bug one way or another.

And do not expect a 747 or an A380 flight carrying 400+ passengers for healthy passengers who think they may be carrying a flu virus to inform all passengers on the same flight & airline management that they have sick family members at home & so beware. That would be ludicrous!

Lotus, take heart, some folks are just looking for others to blame.

Beau Lotus a dit…

It is, when you ask them, they will tell you they come from the city or the province. It makes a difference to them, to look like a citadin or a provincial.

I have always thought that the French could have chosen the "right" war partners which would be more beneficial to the cuisine culture in the country.

I agree with you about the dumplings, I tolerate them in small quantities and often wish they could be finer. I have eaten once at Lao Beijing for the Peking Duck but have never been tempted by the Northern Chinese restaurants in Singapore. Am not at all into xiaolong paos. I am a HK Dim Sum person.

About the misunderstanding with the other mom, these things happen. I am not one to keep things to myself, I prefer to talk/scream match it out so that at least we all know where we stand. You may know by now that I am political and am not a wall flower.

None of the children are sick on the trip, but she was worried that mine still was and could contaminate hers etc. I may have too much faith in the teachers and in destiny (que sera sera), but others do not want to have their kids sick away from the family.

Finally, the quarrel was also about form. We play on the register of language and many assumptions. I didn't appreciate the former and I didn't agree that I had been a bad mom letting loose a "still sick" child on other children. Last evening a teacher smsed me to inform me that my son had not been sick at all during the trip and that everyone is well, confirming what I thought in the first place, so all's well that ends well.