Cathy Erway's most recent book is The Food of Taiwan. She is the author of The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove and blogs at Not Eating Out In New York. Tune into her podcast, Eat Your Words on Heritage Radio Network.
@Meritra: The flat cabbage is often called "Taiwanese cabbage" in Asian groceries. It's featured in this dish: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/02/taiwan-eats-braised-cabbage-with-dried-shrimp.html
@Prpltrmpt: Fully appreciate your passion for traditional Taiwanese foods. I interviewed and cooked with countless chefs in the north and south of Taiwan (where my mom is from) for this dish, and found personally that the black vinegar that many used to be a delicious addition. You can certainly make it with or without meat, or with other vegetables such as sliced Taiwanese (flat) cabbage, which is alluded to, or marinade the pork with wine instead of/in addition to sesame oil, or add dried shrimp or squid. Happy rice noodling and sharing of styles as well!
@Irene: Sorry I didn't reply before dinnertime! You're right, it should be light soy sauce, not dark.
@Al_Kellpone: Toasted sesame oil is it!
@Chanjying: Thank you! Pinyin fail.
@BookWrangler: Yep, Shaoxing rice wine works well!
@CuriousAppetite: Boneless is fine, but it'll cook much faster.
@toasterlover: Skin side-down to start out would be best to prevent sticking. Then you can flip it around a few times while braising. Most "Asian" sesame oils are toasted, but you can get some kinds that have been toasted darker than others. This has a deeper, toastier flavor and works just fine, too -- a matter of preference!
@BigMacIII: No idea about the slow cooker, as I haven't tried (don't own one). Give it a try and let us know!
@rjd1247 Any medium-hot fresh chili (preferably red, for color) is good. Just cut smaller pieces if they're bigger peppers and use just a pinch.
@punchjc: There's a good recipe for homemade buns in the Momofuku cookbook, as well as many of the oldschool Pei Mei cookbooks (Google her). But most home cooks and restaurants (including Momofuku) don't make their own buns from scratch. They buy them premade and ready to reheat in a steamer, so this recipe calls for those kinds which you can find in an Asian grocery. The recipe from scratch is pretty simple if you've ever made white bread, however, a yeast-risen AP flour dough with sugar added and formed into oval shapes before steaming.
@Michael Thim: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. "Lacks recognition as" is better put, I appreciate it. (The definition for "country" could fit Taiwan's reality as well as "nation.") But in keeping with your point about its being ultimately up to the people to decide, only a small minority of Taiwan's population currently vie for independence, while a majority opt to maintain "status quo." Perhaps it's not necessarily an issue of pride or capacity, but fear/threat playing a large role. In any case, the column (and a cookbook I'm writing) is meant to explore how Taiwan's food IS distinct, and worthy of its own name.
@amyjo: I agree with you. It is such a hearty soup that it seems unfitting for a thin, delicate noodle.
@AndroidUser: I think you answered your own question. To be sure, I wrote "Taiwan," not "ROC," the former of which has not officially proclaimed to be an independent nation even though it is self-sufficiently governed democratically, without being ruled over by any other. The "ROC" indeed professed to be the legitimate government of China but international attitudes on this have changed, hence PRC now being viewed as such (e.g. included into into the UN, while ROC is not).
@DennisEats: True enough, in that a "nation" can be defined as a group of people sharing a common culture. I said "technically not" to underscore the dilemma of the above.
@Michael Turton: No position except to call attention to the wonderfully unique culture and cuisine of Taiwan.
@Mike K. It's 3 sticks of butter to 1 1/4 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup cornstarch. When the dough is chilled for at least 20 minutes, it's easy to work with to form into shapes, but if it comes to room temperature or warms up too much, it'll definitely be oily and difficult. As for the pineapple, you're right that stirring is more crucial in the final minutes as it becomes drier. I would definitely give a slow-cooker a try! Occasional stirring does lead to a more red or brown, slightly caramelized color and deep flavor, however. Just carries a greater risk of burning if you don't stir it often enough!
@allisi: just as long as cookies keep, so about 4-5 days should be no problem. Thanks!
@octopod: Oh dear! You're absolutely right, thanks so much for pointing it out and understanding -- fixed now!
@SinoSoul: Cheers! I love basil clams, too. As for non-Asian eggplant, I just think they are oddly shaped for braising or stir-frying, and can taste more bitter. The two basils do taste slightly different, but I kind of like 'em both!
@Bobabeast: Thank you so much! I had indeed considered explaining that you should add hard-boiled eggs for tasty lu dan anytime, but thought I'd save that for a future post! Thanks for the video, I watched her as well :)
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