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Coconut Rice

@BigBurke. Making rice in a pot on the stove will leave a crust of cooked rice on the bottom of the pot. You can avoid it by using a nonstick pan. Or you can do what my Chinese family does by returning the pan to high heat (after scooping off the fluffy cooked rice) to further scorch the crust so that the underside is medium brown. Remove from heat, scrape off the crust and eat as a crunchy after-dinner snack.

Oct 05, 2011
roundabout in Recipes

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

Edit - "zest and 1-2tsp of ONE lemon." I bought a couple of lemons for the amt of zest called for. Using some of the juice should be sufficient to be able to decrease the amt of zest needed.
BTW, nice to see Jill Santopietro over here in Chow. I loved her little kitchen vids over at the NYTimes.

Mar 26, 2011
roundabout in Recipes

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

Aagh, overly complicated recipe, imo. 3 bowls and a saucepan to make pancakes? Rated as "easy" yet separating eggs, beating eggwhites, and tempering? Yes, I know how to do those things, but I admit to not closely reading the recipe before I started and along with halving the recipe on the fly I didn't have good flow for what was supposed to be an easy bfast. End result was good--fluffy, not too sweet, and a nice clear lemon taste. I would adapt as follows (to simplify prep, bump up the ricotta and distribute it more evenly, and hopefully decrease the # of lemons nec)...Use zest of lemon and 1-2t lemon juice, incr ricotta to 1c. In med bowl, microwave butter to melt, whisk in milk, egg yolks, 1T sugar, 1t salt; stir in ricotta; stir in dry ingredients mixture until just combined. Beat egg whites and 1T sugar; fold into batter mixture. Cook pancakes.

Mar 26, 2011
roundabout in Recipes

Grace Young Is a Wok Evangelist

It's been awhile since I've bought a cookbook but after browsing through this one it seemed so worthwhile. Beautiful pictures, stories, and recipes that fine the nice balance between authentic and "what is that and where do I find it?" ingredients. I, too, am American of Chinese descent and am still getting a feel for wokcraft. (Highly recommend The Wok Shop in historic San Francisco Chinatown as a place to find a wok and, more importantly, how to use it! But growing up my mom mostly used a deep cast iron skillet, so don't let implements hold you back from trying your hand at cooking Chinese!

Aug 29, 2010
roundabout in Features

wok maintenance question

A few thoughts. First of all, you have to use old rice. You can't use rice that was cooked the same day because it'll stick as you try to fry it. Any cooked rice after being in the fridge overnight (or longer) will be suitable.

Second, Wok 101 is to have the wok on high heat, have it hot, then drizzle in the oil. The oil needs to be very hot--almost smoking--before you add your ingredients to stir fry. You can look for the oil to pull up on the wok surface, or another test is to flick a little water on the wok surface (it should sizzle).

Third, because the oil needs to be hot you need oil that has a high temp before it smokes. Which is why you do NOT use olive oil. Traditionally peanut oil is used because it can really take the heat, but I use canola (healthier) and have used vegetable and corn in the past.

Last, stir-frying is active. Put in your ingredients and stir it as it sears. If it's not searing, turn up the heat. I'm not coordinated enough to be constantly flipping the food as in the vid (that was funny!) but I am using my paddle to keep the food moving. If the food sticks, you probably need more oil or (more likely) your wok needs to be seasoned more.

That said, fried rice (at least our family way) isn't -that- fried. Even day-old rice is starchy and wants to absorb the oil rather than be seared by it. So I would stir fry my veggies and meat and fry my scrambled egg then clear my wok. Heat it with a little oil, of course, and put the rice in. Using my paddle, I smush it down rather than stir it around in order to break up the clumps and get as much of it into contact with the hot surface. Then I leave it to fry for a bit. I then flip it over in sections to get as much of the top stuff onto the bottom to fry and again let it sit for a bit. Add in my previously cooked ingredients and do a little stirring action and that's about it. To thoroughly fry the rice would probably require more oil as you continuously stir fry (which is why the stuff seems so greasy whenever I get it outside of home).

And I do recommend The Wok Shop (, open for business in San Francisco's Chinatown, that was great about recommending a wok for me as well as including useful extras (including a recipe book and wok-seasoning instructions).

Have fun, all!

Mar 07, 2010
roundabout in Cookware

Glass Top stove, what's best to use on it?

I love my smooth top range since gas wasn't an option in my current house. If you want to stir fry, I highly recommend this iron wok with enamel exterior from The Wok Shop in San Francisco.
I struggled with and HATED a joyce chen carbon steel wok that heated poorly (smoothtop or regular electric), was heavy, and resisted my efforts to season it. The gracious owner of the Wok Shop was kind enough to direct me to this wok and it has been fabulous. It will get the oil smoking in no time and you can sear your food for the "wok hee" flavor.

Lastly, I wipe my smoothtop with a soapy dishrag during my once-over cleanup after cooking and I can usually avoid having to polish it with glass cleaner. For any burned, stuck-on residue I find sprinkling baking soda onto it and making a paste with vinegar does the trick. After sitting for a bit, scraping it with a nylon scrubby or the edge of a plastic spoon will get anything off.

Mar 07, 2010
roundabout in Cookware