Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

River Mandarin favourites available at home

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Today's column features recipes readers requested from River Mandarin.

Trish Rawsthorne had requested the recipe for River Mandarin's Harvest in snow. Thanks to June Miller of Sandy Hook and Donna Durrant who had a copy from the restaurant's cooking class, to Joy Derhak and Marie Jackman who sent me a copy, as submitted by the restaurant, from the In Good Taste 1999 recipe book, and to Tim Kelly who had asked his server at the restaurant for the recipe and was given a copy.

Alexa Gervais, Sandra Dewar and Tim Sewall, a former Winnipegger now living in Indonesia, had all requested the Mandarin's recipe for Beef the River, which appeared in the Free Press a number of years ago. Thanks to Ellen Bruce, John Loewen, Trish Rawsthorne, Karen Holland and Patty Hiley, who all had the original newspaper clipping, and to Patti Davis who had a copy from the restaurant's cooking class.

This week's requests come from Gwen Bailey of Portage la Prairie, who is looking for a recipe she had clipped earlier for brownies made with pinto beans, and now that Knorr ham stock cubes have been located in Winnipeg, Marie Jackman asks for recipe ideas with them, other than pea soup.

Thank you to all of the faithful readers, for your requests and recipes, and especially those who so willingly search cookbooks, old files and boxes of clippings, eager to find recipes or share "secret" ones to help out others, and then take the time to send them in. You are a great group of people!

If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an e-mail to recipeswap@freepress.mb.ca, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Darlene Henderson, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number. Note that your recipe may not appear right away due to space limitations.

Harvest in snow

225 g (1/2 lb) ground chicken meat

112 g (1/4 lb) ground pork (optional)

60 ml (1/4 cup) chopped Chinese mushrooms (soaked)

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped water chestnuts

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped onion

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped green onion

56 g (2 oz) dry rice vermicelli

1.5 litres (6 cups) cooking oil

1 head lettuce

Meat marinade

3 egg yolks

15 ml (1 tbsp) light soy sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) water

15 ml (1 tbsp) cornstarch

1 ml (1/4 tsp) black pepper

5 ml (1 tsp) sesame seed oil

Seasoning sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) light soy sauce

5 ml (1 tsp) dark soy sauce

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

2 ml (1/2 tsp) sugar

1 ml (1/4 tsp) black pepper

5 ml (1 tsp) sesame seed oil

Lightly mix ground chicken and ground pork with the marinade mixture.

Heat 1.5 litres (6 cups) of oil to 400 F. Drop a piece of vermicelli into the oil to test. Oil is ready when the piece of vermicelli floats up in 5 seconds or less and becomes fluffy. Deep fry the package of separated rice vermicelli quickly on both sides and drain.

Heat 500 ml (2 cups) of cooking oil and stir fry the meat mixture until fully cooked and then drain.

Heat 30 ml (2 tbsp) of cooking oil and stir fry the mushrooms, water chestnuts and onions. Add the seasoning sauce and cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Cover the outside edge of a large plate with the lettuce leaves. Place the rice vermicelli in the centre of the plate. Add the meat and vegetables over the top of the snow (vermicelli). To eat, place a small amount of the snow, meat and vegetables on a lettuce leaf and roll up or eat as is. Serves 4.

Taste Tester Notes: This is a great combination of flavour and texture and fun to eat. I used 338 g (3/4 lb) of lean ground chicken and no pork. I did cook it in the 500 ml (2 cups) of oil as directed, but next time would simply stir fry it in a few tablespoons of oil. I used some medium size vermicelli from a larger package (only because I also need some on hand for an upcoming recipe), but the very thin vermicelli will be easier to roll in the lettuce and look prettier. The vermicelli pieces puff up quickly when deep fried and turn white. You can find all of the ingredients in a large grocery store that carries ethnic foods, or where Asian items are sold. The dried Chinese mushrooms (shiitake) are sold in bags and are inexpensive, with soaking directions found on the back of the bag.

Beef the River

450 g (1 lb) beef tenderloin

225 g (1/2 lb) broccoli

1.5 litres (6 cups) oil

1 egg, beaten

About 125 ml (1/2 cup) flour

30 ml (2 tbsp) oil

2 green onions

3 pieces ginger

Marinade

2 green onions

3 (1/4 to 1/2-inch) pieces ginger in 125 ml (1/2 cup) water

7 ml (1/2 tbsp) wine

90 ml (6 tbsp) water

15 ml (1 tbsp) soy sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) light soy sauce

1 ?- 2 ml (1/4 to 1/2 tsp) black pepper

30 ml (2 tbsp) cornstarch

Seasoning sauce

30 ml (2 tbsp) ketchup

90 ml (6 tbsp) water

15 ml (3 tsp) sugar

30 ml (2 tbsp) Chinese rice vinegar

10 ml (2 tsp) cornstarch

2 ml (1/2 tsp) sesame seed oil

1 - 2 ml (1/4 to 1/2 tsp) salt

Worcestershire sauce to taste

Cut beef tenderloin across the grain into 1/4-inch thick steak-size pieces. Pound beef slices with the back of a cleaver or meat tenderizer. Marinate beef with ginger water and rest of marinade for 30 minutes.

Steam/prepare broccoli, retaining a crunch.

Heat 1.5 litres (6 cups) of oil to about 350 F. Coat each piece of beef with egg and flour. Deep fry beef a few pieces at a time for about 2 minutes. Drain.

Heat 30 ml (2 tbsp) oil to stir-fry green onions and ginger and remove wok from element. Pour in seasoning sauce until thickened. Return beef to sauce. Mix well. Serve on top of broccoli.

Taste Tester Notes: Beef tenderloin is a fairly expensive cut of beef, but it is almost melt-in-your-mouth tender, and if you are serving this dish with rice and/or other accompaniments, you should be able to serve 4. The recipe that appeared earlier in the Free Press says to steam the broccoli, and the recipe from the cooking class just says to "prepare broccoli." (My preference is stir fried in a small amount of oil with fresh ginger). Instead of breading and deep frying the beef, you could cut it into smaller pieces or strips and stir fry in a couple of tablespoons of oil. I used 5 ml (1 tsp) of Worcestershire for the sauce. There is just enough sauce to glaze the beef, so you could double the sauce ingredients if you would like more.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 4, 2008

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