Chinese Rehabilitation

In some ways I’ve been very Chinese in the past. I promise to change…

I’m talking about recipes. If you know anything about Chinese food culture then you know that Chinese recipes are secret things to be shared only with your most loyal people. Your family’s recipes and techniques for making the most delicious wonton soup is the difference between them making a living and the rival soup outfit down the street. This secrecy is even greater when you get to Chinese haute cuisine, have you ever read a recipe from an actual Chinese master chef? (no not Ken Hom, don’t get me started) I mean the equivalent of Blumenthal, Keller or Ducasse, see how they literally explain their techniques to the finest degree; water bath salmon at 43.8 degrees celsius. With Chinese chefs it’s very different, recipes are vague sometimes deliberately obtuse. Sure you’ll get a list of ingredients and a basic outline of the processes, but the finer points no way! You’ll never really discover why a chef’s famed dumplings are so special. The actual secret is maybe years of training your palate, practise and amazing skill!

I’m not claiming to be a master Chinese chef but I have been very traditional when it comes to sharing recipes. It must be a culturally ingrained condition because my family doesn’t have any special recipes handed down through generations. My mum does cook great Cantonese Hakka soul food but so does every Canto-Hakka mum. But I vow to change, to rehabilitate and be more liberal. A softening process that started with my stint at Peel & Stone where I shared my BBQ rub and sauce recipes. The same recipes that were used on the ribs that won Bristol Grillstock this year. I also recently gave a copy of my salt beef recipe to Helen Graves over at Foodstories. Though making your own salt beef should really be as common as roasting a chicken. It’s so simple and delicious. So you see I am changing. I’ll share the BBQ sauce and rub recipes with you too sometime, I promise, it’ll be the last step of my rehabilitation.

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