Comfort Food

Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by Tuco1965, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Sep 24, 2015
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    So I was watching the violent anime series on Netflix called Baki which is about these martial artists who beat the crap and maim each other. It's kind of like an anime version of JCVD's Bloodsport, but with the focus spread out among its various characters, exploring their motivations. In one episode, a master skilled in the art of Chinese martial arts beats the crap out of another guy (from the UK). In the end, the Chinese guy decides to save his UK opponent who has suffered near-fatal injuries. During the UK guy's recovery, the Chinese master cooks up some Chinese medicinal food. There is actually cuisine in Asia like this using the medicial herbs. There might be a restaurant or two near Monterey Park or Diamond Bar that specializes in medicinal cuisine. My grandmother used to cook up some of this stuff. Most of the time, it was usually horrible-tasting tonics, but sometimes a real food dish that tasted good.

    The Baki episode brought up in my mind a dish that I used to make when I lived in Irvine where the ingredients were more accessible: Korean ginseng chicken soup. The herbs are very basic for this and I happened the two herbal ingredients handy: dried dates and ginseng. I used the American variety of ginseng (slightly different properties than the kind in Asia, and often treasured over it). Note that I am not Korean, but the recipe can be thought of to be highly compatible with the rest of the East Asian countries (China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.)

    The ingredients are simple: cornish hens, sticky rice, garlic, ginseng, and dried dates. Note that in the photo below, I already stuffed the hens with sticky rice (pre-soaked overnight) and pieces of garlic. I also put extra pieces of garlic in the broth. The Korean twist to what would other be a basic Asian dish is the addition of copious amounts of garlic, as garlic isn't typically used in broths of Chinese cuisine - although of course there are exceptions, e.g. my mom uses a ton of garlic in her award-winning Taiwanese fish-cake or squid-cake stew. Garlic was the secret ingredient that no one else could figure out. Part of Asian cooking is that there are always familial variations of recipes. Here, I took a very basic approach, although I think I may have some ideas on the addition of other herbs. The point is the master the basics before experimenting - this is a very Eastern approach. (The Western approach often involves experimenting for the sake of experimenting without mastering the basics. My wife takes this approach, with a 70% chance that my kids and I will not eat the dish).


    Bring water to a boil. Put in ingredients. Light boil medium for a bit and then let simmer. I tend to use lower temperatures and simmer (sometimes with the stove off) for longer periods. More tender meat this way.

    Transfer to a heated stone bowl to keep the dish hot while eating it. Garnish with green onions. I hate cold soup. Hot stone bowl keeps broth hot throughout the eating experience.

    The dipping sauce, Korean style on the left. It's so much better when you make this on your own. Most restaurants tend to have watered down sauces, or stuff where too much sugar has been added (this is personal and family preference of course).

    And of course, a photo with a bite out of it. Screw pretty pictures. The sticky rice inside the hen is so good. The broth is actually not salted while cooking. The flavor of the broth is mild and delicate. Salt and pepper will be added to personal taste or depending upon mood.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  2. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

    Aug 13, 2016
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    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I was invited for Canadian Thanksgiving and the host served cornish hens with sticky rice stuffing, not in a soup but some kind of sauce with dried dates as well. have not eaten anything so delicious an calming for years.
    But I cannot see myself cooking this stuff every time I need some comfort, usually I just eat walnuts with honey. If that does not settle my nerves, then the next step towards my liquor cabinet.

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