Essential Knowledge 20: Foundations (本分須知)

須知單::本分須知 滿洲菜多燒煮,漢人菜多羹湯,童而習之,故擅長也。漢請滿人,滿請漢人,各用所長之菜,轉覺入口新鮮,不失邯鄲故步。今人忘其本分,而要格外討好。漢請滿人用滿菜,滿請漢人用漢菜,反致依樣葫蘆,有名無實,畫虎不成反類犬矣。秀才下場,專作自己文字,務極其工,自有遇合。若逢一宗師而摹仿之,逢一主考而摹仿之,則掇皮無真,終身不中矣。 List of Essential Knowledge::Foundations Manchurian dishes tend to have more roasted and stewed dishes, Han dishes tend to have more soup-based dishes. When one is exposed to a culture's foundations and trained in its methods from a young age, one can become extremely adept in the culture's cuisine. As such, when a Han … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 20: Foundations (本分須知)

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Essential knowledge 19: Rescuing Dishes (補救須知)

須知單::補救須知 名手調羹,鹹淡合宜,老嫩如式,原無需補救。不得已,為中人說法則:調味者,寧淡毋鹹;淡可加鹽以救之,鹹則不能使之再淡矣。烹魚者,寧嫩毋老,嫩可加火候以補之,老則不能強之再嫩矣。此中消息,於一切下作料時,靜觀火色便可參詳。 List of Essential Knowledge::Rescuing Dishes A chef of the utmost calibre can create a dish with every element seasoned and cooked to perfection, never needing to rescue any dish from failure. However for the sake of the common cook, we shall speak about how to save a failing dish. When seasoning a dish, … Continue reading Essential knowledge 19: Rescuing Dishes (補救須知)

Essential Knowledge 18: Thresholds (疑似須知)

須知單::疑似須知 味要濃厚,不可油膩;味要清鮮,不可淡薄。此疑似之間,差之毫厘,失以千里。濃厚者,取精多而糟粕去之謂也;若徒貪肥膩,不如專食豬油矣。清鮮者,真味出而俗塵無之謂也;若徒貪淡薄,則不如飲水矣。 List of Essential Knowledge::Thresholds[1] A dish that should be thick and rich, should not be so rich that it becomes greasy. A dish that is supposed to be umami and light, must not be so light as to taste insipid. When trying to find the thresholds for these criterion, missing by the breath … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 18: Thresholds (疑似須知)

Essential Knowledge 17: Choice Portions (選用須知)

須知單::選用須知 選用之法:小炒肉用後臀,做肉圓用前夾心,煨肉用硬短勒。炒魚片用青魚、季魚,做魚鬆用鯶魚、鯉魚。蒸雞用雌雞,煨雞用騸雞,取雞汁用老雞;雞用雌才嫩,鴨用雄才肥;蒪菜用頭,芹韭用根︰皆一定之理。餘可類推。 List of Essential Knowledge::Choice Portions The methods of choosing the right portions of ingredients are as follows: use pork tenderloin for quick stir-fries, use the inner muscle of the ham for meatballs [1], and use pork belly for slow braises. Black carp and grouper are good fish for stir-frying, while grass carp and … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 17: Choice Portions (選用須知)

Essential Knowledge 16: Using Starch (用纖須知)

須知單::用纖須知 俗名豆粉為纖者,即拉船用縴也,須顧名思義。因治肉者,要作團而不能合,要作羹而不能膩,故用粉以牽合之。煎炒之時,慮肉貼鍋,必至焦老,故用粉以護持之。此纖義也。能解此義用纖,纖必恰當,否則亂用可笑,但覺一片糊塗。《漢制考》:齊麯麩為媒。媒即纖矣。 List of Essential Knowledge::Using Starch[1] Bean starch is known as "xian", just as boats are towed using "qian" [2]; from each item's name, we can elucidate their use. When someone is shaping ground meat and wishes to make it hold its form, or if they wish to make a soup thick and smooth … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 16: Using Starch (用纖須知)

Essential Knowledge 15: Cleanliness (潔淨須知)

須知單::潔淨須知 切蔥之刀,不可以切筍;搗椒之臼,不可以搗粉。聞菜有抹布氣者,由其布之不潔也;聞菜有砧板氣者,由其板之不淨也。「工欲善其事,必先利其 器。」良廚先多磨刀,多換布,多刮板,多洗手,然後治菜。至於口吸之煙灰,頭上之汗汁,灶上之蠅蟻,鍋上之煙煤,一玷入菜中,雖絕好烹庖,如西子蒙不潔,人皆掩鼻而過之矣。 List of Essential Knowledge::Cleanliness Just as a knife used to cut green onions cannot be used to cut bamboo shoots, a mortar used to pound peppercorns cannot be used to pound flour. A dish that has the smell of a cooking towel means that the towel used was not clean, just as … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 15: Cleanliness (潔淨須知)

Essential Knowledge 14: Quantity (多寡須知)

須知單::多寡須知 用貴物宜多,用賤物宜少。煎炒之物多,則火力不透,肉亦不鬆。故用肉不得過半斤,用雞、魚不得過六兩。或問︰「食之不足如何?」曰︰「俟食畢後另炒可也。」以多為貴者,白煮肉,非二十斤以外,則淡而無味。粥亦然,非斗米則汁漿不厚,且須扣水,水多物少,則味亦薄矣。 List of Essential Knowledge::Quantity It is better to use more of an expensive ingredient in a dish and less of the inexpensive ones [1]. If too much of an ingredient is pan-fried or stir-fried at a time, there would be insufficient heat to cook [2] them through, meats done this way are especially … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 14: Quantity (多寡須知)

Essential Knowledge 13: Seasons (時節須知)

須知單::時節須知 夏日長而熱,宰殺太早,則肉敗矣;冬日短而寒,烹飪稍遲,則物生矣。冬宜食牛羊,移之於夏,非其時也。夏宜食乾臘,移之於冬,非其時也。輔佐之 物,夏宜用芥末,冬宜用胡椒。當三伏天而得冬醃菜,賤物也,而竟成至寶矣。當秋涼時而得行鞭筍,亦賤物也,而視若珍饈矣。有先時而見好者,三月食鰣魚是 也。有後時而見好者,四月食芋艿是也。其他亦可類推。有過時而不可吃者,蘿蔔過時則心空,山筍過時則味苦,刀鱭過時則骨硬。所謂四時之序,成功者退,精華 已竭,搴裳去之也。 List of Essential Knowledge::Seasons Summer days are long and hot, which causes meat to spoil if the animal is slaughter too soon. Winter days are short and cold, which slows the cooking process and may cause food to be undercooked. Beef and lamb (mutton) are best eaten in the winter … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 13: Seasons (時節須知)

Essential Knowledge 12: Table service (上菜須知)

須知單::上菜須知 上菜之法︰鹹者宜先,淡者宜後;濃者宜先,薄者宜後;無湯者宜先,有湯者宜後。且天下原有五味,不可以鹹之一味概之。度客食飽,則脾困矣,須用辛辣以振動之;慮客酒多,則胃疲矣,須用酸甘以提醒之。 List of Essential Knowledge::Table service The technique for table service: salty items should be served before bland items; Thick and rich items should be served before thin and light items; Dry dishes should be served before soupy dishes. There are numerous flavours in the world [1], so one should not be limited to … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 12: Table service (上菜須知)

Essential Knowledge 11: Tableware (器具須知)

須知單::器具須知 古語云︰「美食不如美器。」斯語是也。然宣、成、嘉、萬,窯器太貴,頗愁損傷,不如竟用御窯,已覺雅麗。惟是宜碗者碗,宜盤者盤,宜大者大,宜 小者小,參錯其間,方覺生色。若板板於十碗八盤之說,便嫌笨俗。大抵物貴者器宜大,物賤者器宜小。煎炒宜盤,湯羹宜碗,煎炒宜鐵鍋,煨煮宜砂罐。 List of Essential Knowledge::Tableware The ancients said: “Good food cannot match good tableware.”, indicating the importance in choosing one's bowls and dishes. However tableware from the reign of Xuan de, Cheng hua, Jia jing, Wan li [1] are so precious that it leaves one anxious and nervous of breaking them during use. … Continue reading Essential Knowledge 11: Tableware (器具須知)