Baiju

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Baiju

Postby Kurt » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:16 am

I found a chinese run liquor store that carries a huge variety of traditional Chinese "wine" which is more like vodka made with sorghum. I got two bottles one is Lhu Lo Jiu Zhao which is 60% sorghum, 20% rice and 20% wheat and 52% ABV and it tastes like...cheese mixed with flowers. It is the best way to describe it but both the cheese flavor and the flower flavor are subtle. Apparently it is supposed to be drank very fast in shot glasses that are about 1/3 the size of our shot glasses during a meal and frequently. We are going to do a trial run tomorrow as I am making Sichuan pork belly with bok choy and ginger as well as marinated hot, sour and sweet chicken hearts..both using the 100% sorghum Niu Lan Shan Er Guo Tou Jiu at 56% ABV in the marinades (I had used "moonshine" as chinese cooking wine in the past and it does work, but my surgeon suggested that real Chinese spirits make all the difference..hence my shopping this week)

One secret I found with Chinese food is to wash the meat until it is not cloudy and boil pork for 5 minutes with a splash of chinese spirit and some old ginger. That and not to fear MSG and cornstarch.
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Kurt
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Re: Baiju

Postby MJK » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:00 am

MSG is bad news but it is in everything so your doc has a valid point there. "Natural flavoring' items on labels can be up to 95% monosodium glutamate; that is the FDA hard at work and that is why you can't eat just one Dorito. But plastic rice and formaldehyde flavored sheetrock will do you in first and those pesky brain plaques will only be a problem for your care providers and interesting to the med students learning from your perished flesh.

My buddy Eng owns a Thai joint here and he brought two bottles of Chinese soy sauce to the table for me to sample. I read the label for the one I decided was much more flavorful and found a substance called ' Additive E650' or '650E'. A quick search found that whatever it was it was prohibited in feed for racehorses in Australia. Ah, better living thru chemistry.

So are you gonna drink that wine or just cook with it? Sounds like the makings of a hangover to remember.
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Re: Baiju

Postby Kurt » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:07 pm

MSG is just glutamine suspended in sodium so I am not bothered by it but there is food I have had where MSG is the predominant flavor (usually Chop Suey in the US). The traditional chinese cooks who adopted it will tend to use less than 1 gram of the stuff in a dish that serves 4 and that is how I try to use it as well.

That said, we do allow some horrible additives, like coal tar based food coloring which is only legal in the EU when it comes with a warning and here in the US it is in bread and pickles. The amount of yellow #5 in a typical hamburger is staggering. I discovered I had a reaction to the stuff when I quit smoking and sucked on Jolly Ranchers to alleviate withdrawal and I broke out. So I knew I was allergic to something so I gave up hard candy and then it started again and I looked at things like corn chips, pickles and bread and it was all yellow #5. I finally became reaction free when I became one of those food allergy dicks in restaurants.

I try to bake my bread whenever possible. It is quite easy to do but is a matter of routine rahter than skill.

I drink the expensive stuff and cook with the cheap stuff. No hangovers yet but I have not done the traditional Chinese method of drinking tons of little shots during a meal after each toast. Apparently the flavor plus intoxication plus Sichuan food is really quite an enjoyable event.
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