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How to make vietnamese shredded pork skin (Bi)?

As that other post is pretty much useless - it says what you already know - I thought I'd add my experience. I found a recipe in a Thai cookbook - Thai Food by David Thompson. It was simply boil the skin for an hour in salted water with 2 tablespoons lime juice. Cool and slice. I did not have lime juice and used rice vinegar. I boiled mine for 1 hour 15 minutes and it was tender, but still a little crunchy. I'm at elevation so most things take a little longer. The real problem is slicing it. The Vietnamese prepared Bi - is really really finely sliced. It's so fine that I think it's even sliced horizontally through the skin somehow - that it it's thinner that the skin is thick! I could not even get close. I rolled it up and used a very sharp knife. So mine was thicker, but it still works. Chilling and using a mandoline or meat slicer might work? Another thing - the skin I find at the market is aimed at a Latino buyer for making cueritos (maybe chicharones too), so it's processed a bit - all the fat is removed and it's scored. If you started with skin you took off yourself - it would need to be trimmed of all fat first. Oh - this would make excellent cueritos - for tostadas - too.

May 03, 2015
lokidog in Home Cooking

I am looking for an authentic recipe for Caldo Tlalpeno. Anyone have one?

According to a neighbor from Mexico, epazote is essential to this dish. I grow it. It's found as a weedy plant in much of the warmer parts of the US - even some colder areas, and is usually available at Mexican grocery stores.

May 20, 2014
lokidog in Home Cooking

Good hot chili oil brand?

I'm pretty sure huy fong stopped making the sa-te. It used to be my favorite! They also add preservatives to all their products now which make them taste off (to me anyway).

Sep 25, 2012
lokidog in General Topics

Good hot chili oil brand?

NO! Air at the top of the jar is inconsequential - The oil itself is enough to provide an oxygen-free environment. However, the whole point here is moot as chili oil is made with dried chilies, then also heated - further drying the chilies - even browning them a bit, so it's perfectly safe because of the lack of water. Botulism = no oxygen, low acidity, water, relatively low osmotic stress (low salt and sugar levels), and usually warm temps, though some strains can work in cool temps - but very slowly.

Sep 25, 2012
lokidog in General Topics

Can someone analyize this Mochi making process?

I guess I sort of mis-stated a bit - the kind I think the original post was talking about and desired to make was kiri mochi - flat squares or rectangles usually bought in packets, sometimes frozen. Either this or she has never had freshly made mochi? She (I'm assuming from the name) talked about 'cooking' them - right after pounding and shaping them. That is not what you do with fresh mochi - at least by people I know who make it, especially at new years. After pounding it's done - no cooking necessary. They may cook it later after it's solidified for awhile - especially by putting it in soup the next morning. The round mochi 'balls' - may be toasted, but I've always eaten them like they are, fresh and soft, - usually filled with something. After researching this a bit - the kiri-mochi is an air-dried version of mochi. I think it could be made from properly made mochi (not too moist) just by letting it dry. What I was trying to say was that mochi is supposed to be sticky and soft when first made, especially by hand. It's the old mochi - dried a bit and no longer with that great texture that frying and broiling are used, and a sort of whole different texture is achieved (crispy outside - chewy inside). I've left mochi set in the fridge for awhile, and I think if I fried it - it would work (but not with the fillings). The kiri mochi I've seen in my health-food store is really dry - not at all sticky - and needs to be cooked in some way. Here's an alternative method that makes it without pounding.

Aug 28, 2012
lokidog in Home Cooking

Can someone analyize this Mochi making process?

I think you've confused your types of mochi. The pounded hand-made type is supposed to be rather sticky and chewy. I've never heard of toasting this type of mochi. The kind that is frozen - that you toast and that puffs up is not the same thing. It's another product altogether, made industrially. I think it's sort of like comparing pancakes to a baked cake - they are just not the same thing. I think the dry - round or square mochi sheets are likely made of rice flour, not pounded glutinous rice, but I'm not sure how to make them.

Aug 28, 2012
lokidog in Home Cooking

botulism in canning: is it all about pH?

Wrong! Botulism can not tolerate oxygen, the opposite of what you stated. And air in the jar has nothing at all to do with this. Leaving headspace is for sealing the jars, NOT for preventing botulism! It's physics as water is non compressable and a vacuum is difficult to produce without a gas (air) in the jar. However the air in the jar will be depleted of oxygen by aerobic bacteria, then Clostridium botulinum can grow and produce the toxin.

And 3-5 bean salad is normally quite acidic and could probably be fine without even canning it. The attic would not have much affect either as botulism is active above 50 degrees or so (though it is most active at 95F so it would be faster).

"The main limiting factors for growth of C. botulinum in foods are:
(1) temperature, (2) pH, (3) water activity, (4) redox potential, (5) food preservatives, and (6)competing microorganisms." from CDC. This being said, Temp, redox (oxygen availablility), food preservatives, and competing microganisms are a moot point for pasta sauce. Water activity = High salt and sugar can limit botulism too, but would not be appropriate in this sauce. But PH, if properly measured would be perfect. Some salt also helps as PH and salt content work together to prevent spore growth.

The fact that you are cooking the sauce first also helps somewhat as one of the problems with canned tomatoes is that they are 'fresh' packed and the bacteria (if present) are not killed before being put in the jar. A sauce, where the tomatoes are thouroughly cooked likely will be free of live spores of the offending bacteria, though it's not 100 percent effective as the spores could be in the air or get in the product off your hands, clothing, etc. The bacteria are naturally in the soil nearly worldwide, and therefore these spores can get on nearly everthing from the wind blowing up dust or though gardening outdoors and bringing them inside on your person. So thourough cooking will help, though not assure that spore growth will occur. The PH testing will be a good measure of protection. It's something that most people can not accomplish so that's why pressure canning is often recommended for tomato products.

Canned pumkin is very difficult to heat to proper temps without pressure canning. I make a wonderful pickled pumpkin - lots of vinegar and sugar. It needs only a water bath.

Aug 19, 2009
lokidog in Home Cooking

Basic Sweet Mochi (An Mochi)

The recipe is definitely missing the cooking the rice step. Mochico flour is not instant rice!

Feb 21, 2009
lokidog in Recipes

The How-To's of Matzo Balls

The perfect entertaining recipe is very similar to a Food Network recipe

However I think it is seriously flawed. Here is my recipe - it's mostly different in the technique. If you try to add the egg yolks and broth to the Matzo Meal, it forms a very thick viscous mixture that is nearly impossible to incorporate into the beaten egg whites without deflating them. My method instead incorporates the egg yolks and broth together - then this will the whites - while sprinkling the matzo meal over all, and folding with a spatula. It incorporates nicely without deflating the whites. Then you let everything sit so the matzo can absorb some of the liquid. It is pretty easy - and produces very nice matzo balls - I think they are perfect - they hold together yet are not heavy.

For the Matzo Balls:
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons chicken fat or oil
3/4 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soup stock or water

Separate the yolks from the whites and mix the yolks with chicken fat (or oil). Beat egg whites to very soft peaks. Beat together the yolks, oil, and stock and pour over the beaten egg whites. Sprinkle matzo meal and salt over the egg mixture and fold together. Refrigerate for 40 minutes. Mixture should firm up when the matzo meal absorbs moisture from the eggs. If still loose add a little more matzo meal. Remove from refrigerator and make heaping tablespoon size balls. Boil in salt water for about 40 minutes. Makes enough for about 2 quarts of soup. These will be mutch lighter than 'regular' matzo balls.

Now my stock is also a bit different - and is based on teachings of the Frugal Gormet and Chinese White Cut Chicken cooking technique. It makes a clear flavorful broth and excellent textured chicken either for addition to the soup or for other purposes. My addition to the technique is the addition of soup ingredients while cooking the chicken. Again - it's mostly technique, not really ingredients that are important (you can use the veges and herbs you prefer).

1 whole chicken (fryer or a roaster


4 cups mixed sliced or cubed vegetables (I like half carrots and half celery - and sometimes summer squash, green onions, celery root, potatoes, tomatoes (these are good added near the end of cooking too), cauliflower, cabbage, tunips, kohlrabi, etc)

1 cup herbs (optional - parsley is great, then I sometimes use dill, chervil, garlic greens, and or celery leaf - then you can use much smaller quantities of garlic, rosemary, thyme, basil, savoy, marjorum, etc.)

8 quarts water - enough to cover all the chicken and vegetables
1 tablespoon salt and more to taste after soup is cooked
2 teaspoons peppercorns

Wash chicken in running water inside and out. Put in pot with vegetables and salt and pepper. Heat till boiling. Cover and turn heat off. Let rest for 20 minutes. Heat again to boiling, and let rest again for 20 minutes. If using a roasting chicken repeat but let rest for only 10 minutes. Then remove chicken - and let cool. You can skin and debone the chicken and add back to the soup (do not cook it any more or the texture of the chicken meat will not be the same). Or you can use the cooked chicken in other dishes. You can even grill the chicken with the skin on to crisp it up (don't overcook or you will loose the moist tender texture of the chicken).


Dec 08, 2007
lokidog in Home Cooking