Friday, August 19, 2016

Learning To Cook Chinese ... From a Pro

Pearl emphasizes that the Napa cabbage must be cut lengthwise, not across, as I was set to do.
Susan and Margie: Great smiles.
My friend Susan nailed it when she said, "Let's you, Pearl and me celebrate our birthdays together with Pearl teaching us to cook Chinese." That'll work, I said, and when Pearlie Mae Fu agreed, we were set.

Pearl is a good enough cook to have once had a TV show. I cook pretty well and Susan is a superb photographer. So it worked out. We invited my Margie to come along and enjoy what we cooked.

Pearlie supplied a list of ingredients for Chicken/Nappa (or Chinese) cabbage, a flavored broccoli dish and fried rice (veggies and ham). She asked for ginger, fresh garlic, sesame oil, oyster sauce, the veggies and chicken.

Slicing the ginger.
What I first learned last night was that the demure, small, gentle Pearl is a drill sergeant in the kitchen.

I learned that cutting veggies is not quite as simple and straightforward as I thought: cut the cabbage long, the ginger across and the garlic both chopped and lengthwise. Cut the chicken breast small. Most important, buy broccoli with complete stems (which I didn't know until we were ready to cook, so we had to deal with broccoli crowns).

I cook the way I do everything else: all at once. Pearlie is organized. She made me organize, do things in proper sequence, not get ahead of myself. It was a difficult lesson.

All the while, Susan was swirling around us, taking photos to preserve the moment.

As you can see, the dinner turned out wonderfully and I simply loved the subtle mix of spices, herbs and freshness of the veggies and chicken. What a great birthday share it was.

Pearl instructing.
Susan loved photographing my kitchen stuff.
More kitchen goodies: black and white and color.
Sargeant Pearlie instructing the recruit.
Here I'm doing my famous chicken toss to impress Pearl.
Love Susan's shot of Margie.
No, Pearl, "bon apatite" is neither Mandarin, nor Cantonese.
The girls at dinner. (I shot this; no need to blame Susan.)
Dinner, Pearl's way.

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