Aug 24, 2021 • 42M

XO Soused - Notes and queries on drying and rehydrating in Chinese cooking

Andrew Wong and Mukta Das
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A fortnightly chat about techniques and dishes from a professional Chinese kitchen, their history and their cultural setting
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Why are there so many ingredients in Chinese cuisine that are dried? What is the cultural and culinary importance of these foods?

Weaving their way through key dried items such as abalone, bird’s nest and even controversial ingredients such as shark’s fin, Andrew and Mukta discuss why Chinese chefs have chosen certain seafood, livestock and plant matter for drying and rehydrating, and what flavours, textures and cultural value this adds to dishes.

And how are these foods dried? What marinades and stocks are used to soak the foods before drying? How many times ingredients are dehydrated and rehydrated in these same or different stocks and sauces? And how should we rehydrate foods before finally cooking these in a dish?

A sideview of a cooked abalone encase in a pastry tart case in the centre of a textured dinner plate
Abalone flaky tart with aged balsamic vinegar from Andrew’s dim sum menu at A Wong. Source: Andrew Wong

XO Soused is a fortnightly audio newsletter.

Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

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