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Grandma's Kitchen:   Eat Drink Man Woman - Starring .... Food
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The preparation and consumption of food almost plays the starring role in the movie Eat Drink Man Woman. Requiring the ministrations of three world-class chefs, as well as numerous food specialists, food was possibly given more attention than most actors and actresses in starring roles.

Over 100 different recipes were used in Eat Drink Man Woman with each dish authentically prepared for its presentation on the screen. Ensuring the authenticity of the recipes used in the film, food consultant expert Lin Huei-Yi was called in for recipe selection. In addition, she also coached the actors on the physical preparation of the dishes that would be prepared by their characters on camera. Special choreography was devised to mimic traditional chefs’ movements.

"When Jia-Chien (portrayed by Chien-Lien Wu) is making pancakes, there are actually two chefs making pancakes and three assistants helping," director Ang Lee recalled. "A male chef is throwing the dough on the griddle, but it wouldn’t be possible for his hand to double as Jia-Chien’s, so a woman chef, also an expert in making the pancakes, had to be on set. In that scene, the pancakes are only one course of ten."

The challenge was not always in the preparation. Up to a dozen dishes would have to be prepared, each perfectly steaming for an eight-second shot.

The following are five recipes from Eat Drink Man Woman, not requiring the attention of world-class chefs or food consultant experts. Try these recipes for yourself!

Stir-Fried Taiwanese Clams

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of clams
  • 2 small, fresh, sweet red peppers
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut oil for cooking
Directions
  • Clean the clams by scrubbing them under cool running water with a vegetable brush.
  • Cut the red peppers into sections.
  • Mix in separate bowl with basil, soy sauce, wine garlic and sesame oil.
  • Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large frying pan.
  • When the oil is hot, add the clams and the sauce and mix. Cover and simmer over a low heat until the clams open.

Serves four as an appetizer. Pour over rice or noodles to serve as a main course.

Four Kinds of Vegetable

Ingredients
  • 1 can of baby corn
  • 14 pieces of Chinese green cabbage
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of Chinese hot oil
  • 12 black mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Simmer baby corn and cabbage in soup stock for two minutes.
  • Season with salt.
  • Drain, preserving the stock.
  • Stir-fry black mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of hot oil, season with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Cook for 1/2 minute.
  • Mix cornstarch with 1/2 teaspoon of water, add to the mushrooms. Cook for another 1/2 minute.
  • Simmer tomatoes in the soup stock for 2 minutes. Peel and cut into halves.
  • Group each vegetable on a plate, forming a circle.

Serves five to six as an appetizer or side dish.

Steamed Chicken with Black Mushroonms

Ingredients
  • 3 chicken legs
  • 6 dried black mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  • 2 teaspoons of minced green onions (scallions)

Directions

  • Remove skin from chicken legs and cut them in half.
  • Soak mushrooms in water until soft, discard stems and cut the tops in half.
  • Mix chicken, mushrooms, cornstarch, and seasonings together in a large bowl.
  • Marinate for 1/2 hour.
  • Steam the ingredients over high heat for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Sprinkle with green onions.

Serves three to four.

Minced Shrimp in Lettuce

Ingredients
  • 1 pound of prawns or other shrimp
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup of chopped onions
  • 1/3 cup of chopped white leeks
  • 1/3 cup of peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 2 Yiou-Tias or "Chinese Donuts" (Long pieces of fried dough, found in Chinese specialty stores.)

Seasoning

  • 4 chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken stock (or water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.
  • A pinch of white pepper

Directions

  • Clean and shell the prawns, pat dry.
  • Cut into small pieces and marinate for 10 minutes in salt and cornstarch (mixed with 1/4 teaspoon water).
  • Cut Yiou-Tias into 1-inch sections, fry in hot oil until crisp.
  • Pat dry, flatten with a spatula or the side of a chopping knife, and tear or cut into small pieces.
  • Fry prawns in hot oil, stirring until they change color.
  • Fry onions.
  • Add shrimp, then seasoning; mix until coated.
  • Mix with Yiou-Tias.
  • Wash the lettuce and tear the leaves off, keeping them whole.

Serve the shrimp wrapped in lettuce leaves. Serves four to six.

Note: If you cannot find Yiou-Tias or wish to leave them out, the shrimp alone is still delicious.

Chicken and Cucumber Cold Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 6 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Directions

  • Cook chicken in boiling water, cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • Take out, let cool, and shred (or tear by hand).
  • Peel cucumbers into strips, skin and all, and put the strips in a large bowl.
  • Put chicken shreds on cucumber, mix the sauce and pour on top.
  • Sprinkle scallions on top of salad.

Serves four as an appetizer.

If you have any easy, tasty Asian recipes to share, please send them to us at P.O. Box 23744, San Diego, CA 92193-3744. E-mail: editor@jadedragon.com. If we use your article, we will send you a Jade Dragon Online t-shirt.

Other recipes from Grandma's Kitchen:

Soybean Magic
Fiesta – Filipino Style
Chinese Kitchen Medicine
Filipino Party Foods
Healthy Summer Eating
Inarizushi
Vietnam’s Chicken in Lemon Grass
Korean Homestyle Cooking
Prosperity for the New Year
The Fine Art of Korean Cooking
The Ever Pan-Tropic Bamboo and Indonesian Soup
Tofu Bubble and Chinese Cabbage
Shrimp Hui Tofu
Fighting the "Baby Fat" Blues with Asian Food
Connie’s Cuisine
Asian New Year's Recipes
More Asian New Year's Recipes

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