Profile

theotherworldly

  • Location: United Kingdom
  • Favorite foods: Hakka cuisine, mei cai, abacus seeds, Singaporean food, laksa, zi char, nasi lemak, hokkien mee, beef burgers, pau, kopi roti, Taiwanese Shilin market food, matcha ice cream, pistachios, century egg, taramasalata, frijoles negros

Chilies, Noodles, and Lamb: 11 Must-Eat Dishes in Xi'an From the Muslim Quarter and Beyond

Also, I love the word for rouchuan (meat on skewers): 肉串
The word for 'meat' looks like a rack of ribs and 'skewers' looks like two pieces skewered with a stick!! :-)

Chilies, Noodles, and Lamb: 11 Must-Eat Dishes in Xi'an From the Muslim Quarter and Beyond

Kenji! The hand-pulled noodles you had are in fact biang biang noodles :-) under a different alias. Hand-pulled noodles are a general term with different styles throughout China

The Serious Eats Guide to Shopping for Asian Noodles

findingmykd - shirataki is usually braised, like in oden or chankonabe. Personally I like to mix it with natto and mentsuyu. It is an unusual but very popular low-calorie guilty pleasure... the natto makes the shirataki extra slippery.

The Serious Eats Guide to Shopping for Asian Noodles

Actually while the graph is underway there should also be a code key for the cross-section shape of the noodle. A o-shape mark indicates a round noodle, a x-shape can indicate flat, ...

there is also length of the noodle and application in recipes to consider :-(

There is so much information to consider when thinking about classifying Asian noodles!

I recently had a Xi An style hand-pulled, chili oil-tossed wheat noodle not unlike papardelle called biangbiang mian. It was slightly spongy and soaked up the garlic and chili oil beautifully. 'Sponginess' is definitely a textural consideration for non-soupy noodle application... I hope SE will expound more on this :-)

There are other noodles that have been missed out. For example, under alkaline wheat noodles, prawn shell noodle (xia zi mian), e-mian, mian bo or mee pok, you mian, shou mian (longevity noodle), bai yu mian, shanghai mian ... under hand-pulled noodles there are dao xiao mian (knife cut noodles), ban mian, la mian (the progenitor of ramen), liang pi (not to be confused with liang fen or mung bean sheets).

The Serious Eats Guide to Shopping for Asian Noodles

Could somebody make a table showing columns of noodles made with different ingredients (rice, wheat, mung bean starch, etc), with the noodle types arranged down the list so they are from thinnest to thickest;

and

a scatter graph to with the x-axis being thickness of noodle, y-axis being chewiness, and a colour key for noodle starch type?

@EugeneK, udon is one of the categories of Japanese noodles, usually chewy and made with salt, wheat flour, and some mochi tapioca starch. You are thinking of sanuki udon, one of the most popular styles of udon, but that simplifies udon greatly. Udon is thicker than somen for sure but the regional thin style like the Kansai noodle is very delicious too. I think the Eden brand you are talking about is actually a regional variation. I am also fond of kishimen which is close to tagliatelle. There isn't one type of udon, it is actually very complicated!

How Korean Cuisine Got Huge in America (And Why It Took So Long)

@VeganWithAYoYo Gochujang just tastes exactly like sambal tauco / vegetarian sambal belacan to me. For that reason I was underwhelmed. Sriracha is what I want with my golden McD fries!!!

Ideas in Food vs. The Steak Bomb: The Filling

That KNIFE. Tell me more about it!

How Spam Won Over America's Restaurants

Spam is like finely ground uncured salami to me...

Crispy Pickled Shiitake From 'Pitt Cue Co.: The Cookbook'

Just go to an Asian supermarket and look for "dong gu" or "winter mushroom" in the dried section. Those are dried shitakes. If you walk by a particularly rank-smelling Asian supermarket ;) the kind that are wholesale with open sacks of dried foodstuff and scoops and weighing scales, you are in luck. Get your dried shitakes there - usually there are different grades for premium (large) ones to cheap (small ones, usually extra rehydrated and added to those cornfloury cheap Chinese takeaway sauces with chop suey, the sauce is cooked too quick and wet for shrinkage).

Quality premium dried shitakes will rehydrate soft and silken :-)

Gadgets: Put Training Wheels on Your Rolling Pin

I just put two small chopping boards on each side and roll...

Manner Matters: Should You Tattle on Kids Sneaking Food?

Pipe up at the dinner, shut up after the event. I think all the other commenters are just getting their hackles up from feeling tattled-on by their own well-meaning family friends.

The Food Lab: The Wok Mon Converts Your Home Burner Into a Wok Range. For Real.

If I understand this right, the WokMon is like the barrel on a bunsen burner with a concave edge...? Forgive my bad science...

Manner Matters: Bagel Brouhaha and the Rules of Cohabitation

I think the girlfriend should be responsible for the mess of her guests. If they spill crumbs, they must clean. If your girlfriend doesn't clean, preferring to deflect her duty by way of a personal attack on you, she is disrespecting you in two ways - failing to behave as if she were in a joint ownership of the property, and prioritising her friend's liberties at your expense.

I don't think people in a serious relationship should be trying to "teach" the other a "lesson", especially by enrolling a friend similarly disrespectful. It's both vindictive and cowardly.

You should spare yourself the dysfunction.

The Serious Eats Field Guide to Asian Greens

There's a certain vegetable that's been KILLING me to translate. It's called 'di wang cai' and when wilted, is slippery and slightly mucilaginous (the texture is 'neba-neba' in Japanese). It looks like your picture for malabar spinach but I'm not sure if they're the same!

Chinese Noodles 101: Crispy Pan-Fried Noodle Cakes With Seafood

@Double_J and Shao - thanks for the advice! I could try in my large skillet, possibly thin noodle disks (and maybe I'll serve more than one, just to be plenty greedy / generous).

How Salty Should Pasta Water Be?

Forgive me for complicating the issue further - Daniel, did you mention how much penne you were using? Given that people use different amounts of water when cooking pasta, and the fact that pasta absorbs water when rehydrating, surely this is a factor that requires clarification. Would there be a difference in seasoning when, controlling for the salinity, the amount of penne cooked is changed?

Chinese Noodles 101: Crispy Pan-Fried Noodle Cakes With Seafood

Thank you so much for this recipe! I've gone obsessive on crispy noodles before and sampled every eatery's iteration in Chinatown (London) and on cheapie 100Y DIY types in Japanese hyaku yen shops. One thing I'd like to ask - is it possible to dehydrate them in the oven instead of frying? I don't have a large wok at my present apartment.

The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

@Kenji - I asked him again (just to be sure if it's mumbo-jumbo) and he said he was referring to the air sac. The heat shock causes the air to expand and force a route between membrane and the shell, equalising the pressure (?) of the air inside the egg. He swears that it makes his fried eggs rounder but I have *no idea* if that's related...

The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

Kenji, I'm not sure if this is the answer or scientifically proven, but my boyfriend's grandpa mentioned last week that plunging an uncooked egg into boiling water equalises the internal pressure of its contents, ensuring a perfectly round sunny side-up. He insisted it was not about the looser proteins getting a heat shock and denaturing. I wonder if this is related to eggs being easier to peel?

Shaun5 mentioned that eggs in a water bath were impossible to peel cleanly, but what about pasteurised eggs-in-shell? They're held at a temperature in a water bath too. Surely those would be more difficult to peel too?

Gadgets: Colorful, Disposable Paper Bakeware That Works Like a Charm

No more wasteful than people who order takeaways...

The Serious Eats Guide to British Sweets

Jam sandwiches, custard creams, fig rolls, malted milks, nice biscuits (makes me smile every time), viennese swirls, french fancies, Christmas puds, hot cross buns, and all things lemon...

The New Anova Precision Cooker Promises to Be the Best, Most Cost-Effective Sous-Vide Solution on the Market

Totally devastated - bought one in March for a birthday present (tomorrow!!!!!!) and now this comes out :'(

Any way to return the v.1 (I am in the UK) and score one for Christmas???

Chinese Greens 101: Chinese Broccoli With Oyster Sauce and Fried Garlic

Shao, could you expound a bit more on your fried garlic? What do you mean by slow-cooked? Is it at a high or low heat - are they sauteed, confited, shallow-fried in a wok, or deep fried? How fresh are they and can they be kept, or purchased?

I salivated at the fried garlic more than anything!!!

Knife Skills: How to Cut Citrus Fruit Into Wedges, Slices, and Suprèmes

Everybody ogle at Kenji's knife

The Fresh Ramen Kits From Sun Noodle Will Knock Your Socks Off

Are they on Amazon? Any chance of shipping to UK?

Any love for soggy fries?

Am I alone in my preference for limp, warm, greasy, salty blond fries, sweetly steamed in a brown paper bag or plastic carrier? Those are my absolute favourite, with soft potato innards like a pierogi.

I don't believe the whole world has an unerring, uniform standard for a 'perfect' fry... if that is perfection, I love imperfection!!!

Sous vide recipes?

Following Kenji's reviews on the immersion circulators, I've got one for my SO - a pity however that SE doesn't have more sous vide recipes!

Anybody here has ace recipes they've tried to share? There are so many different timings and amounts about the interwebs that I would really appreciate if there was a formula for calculating cooking time based on weight / protein content / temperature of water bath.

If you've done SV, do share your best recipe!

XLB technique in burgers?

Had a decent, but tad dry burger today. Came across XLB article on SE (chinese soup dumplings).

Has anybody tried applying the gelatinous soup stock mince from XLB onto burger patties to create moisture on top of fat?

Meat juices brown so well when seared, so I'm wondering if this could be an amazing idea...

The hit-or-miss nature of soft cheese

I've bought lots of brie and camembert, frequently for social functions where I prep a cheeseboard with a selection of crackers. However, some days the brie is nowhere as gooey as it ought to be, with a crumbly sour feta-like heart, other days it is amazing. Same goes for camembert - the Le Rustique wheel was almost damp to the touch and its core was utterly liquid. What gives? Why is it so inconsistent? Any way to ensure it's always soft?

Thanks :-)

Sauerkraut - live food?

Was making a sauerkraut broth when it occurred to me that the heat might have 'killed' all the goodness in it - doesn't sauerkraut have lactobacillus or something that is making the lactic acid?

Is it still nutritious? Ought I worry?

Thanks :-)

How sweet do you like your caramelised onions?

Had some jammy ones, so sweet they were onions in syrup. Is it me or are they getting sweeter? Maybe I received too large a dollop in a sandwich. I like mine less sweet and even more savoury, probably when contacting dijon mustard.

What about you? Do you reckon they're too sweet?

Missing the how-to posts

I don't know if you feel the same, but I really miss the how-to posts on SE! I love the beautiful food-porny pics, but I'm a little sad they're moving to the magazine ...

Do you feel the same?

Do you have any suggestions for how-to posts?

I'd love for a kind of classification for posts that distinguish basic skills, intermediate, and advanced skills. I'm an amateur cook that can follow recipes, but my groundwork isn't all that good - at the same time I love reading about advanced skills too.

If a sort of timeline bar graph can be made for recipes showing what prep times overlap, with the "active task" highlighted in green colour or something it would be AMAZING. For example, if something is simmering while you're prepping the garnish or cooking the pasta it would be great help. (Sorry, I'm kind of stupid.)

If recipes could also be sorted by what tools are required, it would be great too! In Japan for example, while there are lots of interesting tools (e.g. takoyaki pan, fish grill) in a usual house, there just isn't an oven... Sorry to digress

Unconventional preferences

Don't get me wrong, I love a juicy burger.

But once, after my friend did the cooking, they were totally dark-brown, Maillard-to-the-extreme discs of beef, smashed and cobbled at the side, totally well done (she pressed the edges to "make it bigger").

I loved it. Thin, salty and beefy, it was probably a third of an inch and completely crusted. She's better with woks.

I know, it goes against all the juicy burger press... some might not even call it a burger!

Anything you prefer against convention?

Your menu ordering style?

When I order from a menu, I'm nearly almost always an optimiser. It's as if there's a multiple-axis scale I want to fulfil: Craving, Healthy, Tasty, Value, Variety... etc. This means I take forever to figure out what I want at a restaurant.

I frequently go for anything slow-cooked (I may not have the time) or something cooked with specific equipment, or exotic ingredients I wouldn't be able to get or prepare on the same scale.

I tend to analyse the menu to figure out the kitchen inventory and what's special about the Specials.

Talk about analysis paralysis!

My boyfriend is the 'tried and tested', or 'utterly uncharted territory'. That's his value proposition.

What's your menu ordering style?

Do you enjoy strategising or analysing when ordering food?

Whiter than white bread in Japan

One of the interesting things I spotted in Japan was their propensity for refining food products from all over the world (and thus making it 'Japanese')

The classic sliced Wonderbread of Japan is shokupan, which comes in 6 or 8 slices without the crusted ends.

However, what really piqued my interest was a completely white loaf of shokupan - baked at a temperature without the classic brown ring!

And this wasn't all - dinner rolls, completely white too. Impossibly soft Japanese bread :-)

These buns are really popular and form a good base for other sorts of Japanese bread pastries

http://recipe.rakuten.co.jp/recipe/1390016361/

What's wrong with cheap spaghetti?

A flatmate tasked me to buy him some spaghetti, and being college students on a shoestring budget I naturally purchased the supermarket basics brand at 19p per pack. Now, I know not all wheat or spaghetti brands are made the same, but is there any particular glaring defects with cheap spaghetti?

He remarked, "This is very cheap spaghetti," while poking it about in the pot. Seemed to slurp down the spaghetti alla carbonara without any ill-effects and even remarked that sometimes he even surprises himself.

Is there anything wrong with cheap spaghetti? On the other hand, what are the appreciable differences with more expensive brands?

Describe the smell of natto

It's almost summer. Hot day, and I left a parcel of natto out to defrost. Forgot about it and left the house. As I was entering the flat, my elderly lady neighbour told me there was a horrible smell coming from the open kitchen window.

"I think you have a dead rat," she confided. I invited her in and lo and behold, it was the natto. She was not impressed I can tell you!

What does natto smell like to you? It smells like sweaty feet and deliciousness to me :-)

Frozen skinless salmon fillets

I bought a bag of these things and immediately regretted it after taking one out to bake. I was looking for a cheaper alternative to those lovely fat fillets with skin on ... yes, I've learnt a hard lesson about price and quality.

These turn out so dry and nasty!

Any recipes on how to make them even mildly palatable? Should I defrost them? Put them in a wellington or pot pie? I'd hate to waste the lot :( I'm on a college student budget.

P.S. I am lactose/allium/cruciferous veg intolerant.

Looking forward to your suggestions! Thanks :-)

Lactose intolerance, how to deal with it?

I'm 22 and in the span of the last 3 years, my tolerance for dairy has dramatically reduced to the point my belly gurgles and hurts (gas) about 2 hours after eating anything made with milk.

This includes:
Custards
Cheeses
Flat white
Yoghurt
Creamed soups
Quiche (???)
Whey shakes
Any pastry creams

Of course, I can handle 4 squares of chocolate, but anything beyond that is giving me daily trouble! Eating out is fraught with difficulties as I believe the lactose amounts accumulates.

Does anyone suffer from lactose intolerance or have good ideas how to manage it, or look up lactose data? The effects vary in severity greatly so it is really difficult to predict the response and it's preventing me from going to social gatherings for fear I will get that dreaded gas. :(

Supermarket seafood and the meaning of Fresh

*I live in the UK, so this may not be the same as in the US*

I've been wondering lately if the 'fresh' seafood and prawns I get, (deshelled) are actually 'fresh'. I wonder that about the salmon fillets they sell in pairs in the package too. What does "fresh" mean if these produce have been frozen for transport? When does something stop being fresh by virtue of being frozen for a bit longer, and why does seafood sold in this form cost a lot more than its cousins in the freezer section?

In the UK we've got lots of ready meals - chicken tikka masala, spag bol, etc. The ready meals that are being sold 'fresh', I suspect, are no different from the ones in the freezer, albeit having been defrosted.

Are we paying a premium for the illusion of freshness? SE'ers who work in supermarkets, do you know?

What's your favourite/disliked fat?

Asking this question because I was offered a taste of my flatmate's goose-fat roasted potatoes and I had a strong response ... YUCK. Overwhelming smelly rancid sesame-oil bird poo smell for me. I had to spit it out.

I know that as humans we're all wired to enjoy fatty foods and that fat is an important contributor to mouthfeel and the solubility of complex flavour compounds. But fats aren't made equal, and our favourites differ... here's mine:

My favourite animal fats: Bacon, butter, bone marrow
My favourite vegetable fats: Coconut cream, sesame oil
Processed fats: Aioli, Kewpie mayo, chili in oil, hollandaise

Most disliked: Rancid nut oils, goose fat, 'normal' white mayonnaise, olive oil 'creamed' spinach eugh, lard cakes

What's yours? Do you reckon there's a reason for our preferences?

Recipes that use tahini helvasi (sesame halva)?

Received a kilogram of this from a friend who bought it at an ethnic market and it doesn't have a best-by date. It's plain vanilla and has no seeds or nuts in it. We've spooned enough and have about 75% left.

Any suggestions as to how I can utilise this in a cake or pudding?

Melted fudge sweets -> Brandy snaps?

I cut up some cornish dairy fudge (they look like toffees but don't stick to teeth) and put them as a topping to my pudding in hopes it would melt and glaze it. It did, but on the edges of the tin it turned to a sticky flat brandy snap-like candy.

Does anybody know if this is a shortcut to making brandy snaps?

Fizzy salsa?

A pot of salsa I made and left in the fridge for a week turned fizzy. Is it still edible? Has anybody tried salsa like this? Is it by any chance a rural Mexican delicacy?

Hamburgers. Top or bottom bun?

Do you fancy the mouthfeel of a glazed, smooth top bun with teeth sinking into it, or the bottom bun that soaks juice?

I personally really fancy the top bun, especially when melted cheese and slippery burger sauce and lettuce insulate it from disintegration. I like the mouthfeel rather than the sog. The sesame seeds are awesome too. Now if I could have two top buns ...

Novice question about puff pastry

I have some trouble with puff pastry - sometimes it's crispy and flaky (usually so when made into cheese twists), other times it is doughy and somewhat like a flat croissant. Once I tried to make coconut-jam puff-pastry easy buns they completely collapsed into a flat cookie-like creation.

Why is it so inconsistent?

(I've always used storebought supermarket own-brand puff pastry)

Comments System Upgrade?

I recently quad-posted (or perhaps quintuple) on a thread and I'm really sorry about that! I just can't actually delete them. I don't want to spam and all but it'd be great if I could correct the error there. The message-posted cgi page never loaded so I refreshed a few times...

While we're on that topic, could we have nested comments so people can reply directly to a thread? It'd make all the @soandso easier to catch up on.

I would like info on the snap of a hot dog in reviews

All the dressings and capers, chiles, bacon-bits and what-not are fine and dandy, but what really does it for me is the snap. Say no more, snap's the word. Tell me about the snap.

Having grown up in Asia my exposure to hot dogs and sausages are meagre at best. British bangers this side of the pond are crusty and juicy with a coarse grind but just not 'bouncy' in the snap like a kielbasa, but rather crunchy-crisp and rippy.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being biting cleanly through a flaccid cold supermarket 10cent frankfurter, and 10 being ... a hot pork intestine casing cheese-filled kielbasa (apologies if I don't know how snappy things can get), I'd like a snap-o-meter rating for all the hot dog reviews.

I'm saying this because I bought a Swiss-cervelat hot dog in and it ruined my day. That was a very fat supermarket frankfurter wrapped in a bread roll.

What do you think? Is a snap-o-meter useful?

How does slow-cooked beef get so brown?

The only times I've made slow-cooked beef, they came out light greyish brown, not unlike some corned beef. Sometimes they turn a bit browner, but not by much.

I had been eating into a steak and ale shortcrust pie here (Brit!) and I realised I have no idea how to make beef that deep and brown. Think a brown between the hue of dark chocolate and milk chocolate. I've loved slow cooked beef all my life in various forms - steak pie, beef brisket rice, ribs, rendang, but somehow have no idea how it's done.

How does it get so brown? Does anyone know? The brown isn't just on the outside but through the entire chunk of meat ...

Chinese Noodles 101: Crispy Pan-Fried Noodle Cakes With Seafood

Crispy and a little saucy, egg noodles pan-fried until they form a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-in-the-middle cake is a classic Hong Kong and Guangzhou dish. A nest of egg noodles are fried in a wok until golden brown and topped with a combination of stir-fried meat, seafood, or vegetables. Here's how to make my favorite version, topped with seafood in a light gravy. More

Seared Short Rib Wraps from 'Family Table'

Today I'd like to present an argument in favor of lettuce wraps. Sure, they have a reputation for being a vehicle for ho-hum, low-carb and bland diet food, but there's no reason they need to stay in such a category. Once filled with rich and spicy short ribs, soft and sticky white rice, and potent kimchi as they are in Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner's Family Table, the humble Bibb lettuce leaf transforms into the best sort of wrap. They're strong enough to contain its filling, yet supple and mild enough to not overpower their contents. It's the best excuse to eat with your hands. These particular short rib wraps are super easy to throw together: blend up a potent marinade and let the boneless rib meat drink up its flavor for a couple of hours (or more if need be), heat a heavy pan, and sear away. More

The Food Lab Lite: Pasta with Crab, Tomato, and Chilies

It's still snowing on and off in New York, but we're on the cusp of crabbing season, which probably explains why I've got crabs on the mind. It also helps that it's my wife's favorite seafood and she's about to embark on a six month west-coast sabbatical so I'm trying to squeeze in all the brownie points I can before she takes off for the sunnier climes. This dish, based on the spaghetti with crab and sea urchin at Marea fits the bill. More

Melissa Clark's Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes

It'd be a shame to pass over a described as a "masterpiece." Full stop. In Secrets of the Best Chefs, Adam Roberts is totally enamored of Melissa Clark's recipe development process. And his adoration is most evident in his headnote to Clark's recipe for Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes. It's a relatively simple recipe (duck breast gets an hour-long rest with garam masala and salt before being seared, finished in the oven, and topped with a pan sauce of grapes, cinnamon, and balsamic vinegar) with show-stopping results. More