As I mentioned in my last post, this project just passed the 6-year mark, and a lot has changed since I first started it–careers, cities, kitchens, vehicles, family, presidents, even dietary preferences.
For the last two years, we’ve been sticking to a plant-based diet, with the very occasional seafood or dairy indulgence (however, traditional meat itself is totally gone). We’ll still go out for a real sushi dinner here and there (although, not lately due to coronavirus), and every so often, I’ll make a recipe like 11-9: Fried Jumbo Shrimp with real shrimp as a treat.
“Fruit from the sea” as a description for shrimp seems strange to me, even though I know Simply Delicious didn’t coin the term. “Fried Jumbo Shrimp” is what they use to lure you into mediocre chain restaurants–it’s not quite haute cuisine.
I’m not doing a good job of selling you on this dish, am I? Well, since fried food doesn’t travel well as takeout, maybe you’d like to take this “opportunity” to learn how to fry your own?
Pork is probably the most common version of sweet-and-sour that you see in Chinese restaurants–there’s even a vegan version of it you can buy in most stores. In case you’re looking for something more refined (but maybe not as easy or meatless), here’s Serious Eats’ take on it.
The terms are used interchangeably here, and seemingly in most other places as well. The biggest takeaway from the spring vs. egg roll debate is that spring rolls are originally from China, but have been Americanized along the way (while egg rolls were always American).
They tend to have a thinner wrapper than egg rolls, and are often also associated with the transparent rice paper rolls you tend to see in Vietnamese and Thai restaurants.
Chinese cuisine is a lot more prevalent today in the United States than it was 30-40 years ago when Simply Delicious was being written & printed. I suppose we have cookbooks like this to thank in some small part for introducing many 1980s American families to a more global palate.
Speaking of a global palate–I made this dish vegan. Yes, that picture above is vegan–keep reading to find out how. #clickbait
Sometimes when you use recipes from old cookbooks, they can seem a bit “tone-deaf” when it comes to modern-day sensibilities about race and culture. Despite a questionable name, 11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp contains many ingredients commonly found in Chinese food.
I love the porcelain bowls they served the example dish in. The wooden chopsticks are also a great touch. What a great photo!
Whosoever it was that the editors of Simply Delicious hired to name these dishes deserves some kind of award. And the award for naming-the-most-dishes-a-casserole-that-are-not-actually-a-casserole goes to….SIMPLY DELICIOUS. A casserole is defined as “a kind of stew or side dish that is cooked slowly in an oven.” 7-8: Chinese Pork Casserole is cooked relatively fast on a stove top. Doesn’t exactly sound like a casserole to me.
This recipe card is great because it basically teaches you to make a version of Chop Suey at home.
Here’s a first for me: I’ve never attempted to break down a duck before this recipe, 6-11: Chinese Duck. I’ve cooked with duck a handful of times, but this is definitely the most involved with it that I’ve ever gotten. There’s one more duck recipe in this book, so expect a return sometime in the future.
I found myself with a duck after my husband took a trip past a local butcher a few weeks ago, so I decided to take a stab at one of the two recipes in the book. I assumed this would be similar to the Chinese dish Peking duck, and in true Simply Delicious style, it doesn’t quite come as close as recipes today can get you.