Winter Melon Soup, Steamed Sea Bass, & Black Bean Chicken | Yan Can Cook | KQED

Winter Melon Soup, Steamed Sea Bass, & Black Bean Chicken | Yan Can Cook | KQED

January 27, 2020 10 By William Morgan


(upbeat Oriental music)
(knife tapping) (audience clapping) – [Narrator] And now, Martin
Yan, the Chinese chef. – (speaks in foreign language) That’s “How are you?” in Cantonese. Just in case you didn’t know
who posed for the animation, that’s me, Martin Yan, live and in color. (audience laughs) And we’re ready to take you on
a gastronomic tour of China. I don’t know what your menu is, but my menu is eight treasure winter melon soup, steamed sea bass, and
sizzling black bean chicken. This are all typical Cantonese dishes as I can make it as a complete menu. First we start, of course, with the soup. Eight treasure winter melon soup. If you have six treasure, you have six treasure winter melon soup. You have 15 different things, you have 15 treasure winter melon soup. Nobody cares.
(audience laughs) I don’t care, my mother doesn’t care, my grandmother never cares, anyway. First of all, I wanna to show
you what kind of ingredient that we use in this particular dish. You start with a winter melon, ‘kay? And then you also come over
here, we have some crab meat. About a quarter of a pound of crab meat. You can use about two to
four ounces of lean pork and also half of a chicken breast and some prawn. Four to six prawns, all depends on how many people you have. And also some dry mushroom
they call shiitake in some Japanese stores
and also straw mushroom. You can actually buy fresh straw mushroom in some store but you gotta go all the way to the far East to get it.
(audience laughs) And also some green peas and also some Virginia or Smithfield ham. Basically this is a very
simple, very refreshing dish because this is also a
formal dinner banquet dish. I wanna show you a little
about this winter melon. The reason why they call
this winter melon is during the winter, the
darn thing goes south. (audience laughs) And also, I’m not quite
sure you notice that. There a lot of powder when
you buy the winter melon. You notice that a lot
of white powder here. This a like a snow powder. When I was a little kid I
learn how to ski around here. (audience laughs) I wanna show you how it looks from inside. See, it looks like this and
I’m gonna to cut it open. Hi-yah!
(audience laughs) Hi-yah! I wanna show you how it looks inside. Look, you got seeds here and you got this. And when you touch this
all the powder come here because the powder is more
or less like a preservative because the bugs won’t like this. That’s why one of these if
you keep in a cool, dry place you can keep it for a long, long time. Up to three months if you
keep in a dry, cool place. Some of these are approximately 10 pounds, some of them are 18 pounds, some of these up to 50 to 60 pounds. You gotta be a very strong
cook (audience laughs) to use this. In fact, I’m not quite
sure how many of you know that in China they use
this for the athletes when they practice and
get ready for the Olympic shot put.
(audience laughs) I’m gonna show you how easy it
is, let’s trim the skin off. Trim the seed out, like this. Okay. And then you can cut this
into little pieces like this. (quick knife taps) No big deal.
(audience laughs) And you set it aside. Now I also want to show you, we’re going to cut up some mushroom. Trim this. First, you take the
stem because it’s tough. After we take the stem off nothing will stem from this anymore. (audience laughs) (knife clinks rhythmically) (fast knife chops) – Whoo!
(audience claps) – Wow! Wow. Now for the straw mushroom. It looks like a little
baby with a little helmet. Look at this, it’s kind of cute. (audience laughs) And you cut this right
in half, like this, okay. Cut it in half and put it aside. Here I have a pot of broth heated up. First I’m gonna put mushroom. Shredded or cubed or diced ham. Straw mushroom. And then I also use the winter melon. Put it right here. Let it bring to a boil
because you want to make sure it has enough time to cook. And in the meantime, I wanna show you how you
can quickly cut the chicken. One, two, three, stack them all up. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Put them all together,
set aside, right here. (audience laughs)
You can marinate this. You don’t wanna put it right here? Then I will put right there.
(audience laughs) And then we’re gonna marinate this with a tiny bit of soy sauce. With a tiny bit of sesame seed oil. With a tiny bit of egg white, okay. Egg white give the stew in the juice, give that nice smooth texture, sure. Take it up and also have
some shrimp here, okay. Also mix them all up. Some pork here, mix them all up. Stirred it, stirred it. And then, I’m gonna put it over here. And then bring it to a boil. When you bring this to a boil, when this is bring to a boil, it doesn’t take too long to cook because you do not want
to overcook them, okay? Now, you put the crab meat in in the last minute when it’s almost done. And when it’s done, you’re
gonna serve it in this bowl. Let me show you. I’m gonna serve in this
wonderful thing here. Look at this. See that? You carve the whole winter melon. Of course you can, if you
don’t have one of these. If you don’t know how to carve this. No big deal, you serve it right here. We show you, serve it right here. Just as good. See, I’m gonna show you. You can serve it right over here. While I am dishing this out, I notice June over there
have a question for us. – Yes, Martin, how do you
know if fish is fresh? – Very easy, pick it up, look
at it and ask, “How about it?” (audience laughs) No, basically, fresh fish. First of all, it should have a very nice pleasant fishy aroma,
does not smell fishy. If it smell fishy that means
it has been in a fish market for 16 years.
(audience laughs) Secondly, you open the little gill, the gill, it should be pinkish red. It should not be brown or dark brown. If there’s dark brown that means it has been in
a store for 17 1/2 years. (audience laughs) And also you gotta look at the eyeball. That’s why I always say,
“Look at the eye straight,” because the eyeball
should be nice and clear. It should not be opaque. You touch the gill, that the scale is nice and
firm is not mushy, mushy. That means the fish is nice. Of course, the best thing
is it still swimming. (audience laughs) Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! If all these requirements
are met then nice fresh fish. Now I wanna show you how to do a very, typical, popular Cantonese dish called steam whole fish. I happen to have a sea
bass, you can use raka, you can use red snapper, nobody cares. Now, first of all, I have a fish. Approximately one and 3/4
to two and a 1/2 pound fish. I have couples, two to
three whole green onion, some Chinese style cilantro
or coriander leaves. Soy sauce, you can use
regular all-purpose soy sauce or you can use dark soy
sauce, and some ginger, okay? Now it’s much easier to get the regular all-purpose soy sauce. Now the first thing I wanna show you is, I wanna quickly cut the ginger, show you how the Chinese
chef peel the ginger. You hold onto the piece
of ginger like this and you go (knife scraping), you see. This is real business, cooking business. I’m not pulling your leg, look. You know, the way the
peel is, I wanna show you. When you peel it like this, you’re only peeling off the skin, you’re not wasting anything. You use a peeler, you waste
about 1/10th of those. Now of course for this particular case, I do not have to worry about peeling it because sometimes after, because I cut it,
everything into julienne. Put it right here. Cut it right here, cut it right here. Three gigantic slices and I go like this. (rhythmic knife chopping) (audience clapping) Chinese cooking is very musical. (audience laughs) You put it right here and also, I also wanna show you how
easy it is to cut this. Put them all together then you
press this, like this, okay? (fast knife taps) Cut ’em all up, set it aside. In the meantime, I wanna show you how you should score
the fish a little bit. When you do steaming the fish, you have to be in total control. You put your hand around the shoulder, note around here, you
talk to the fish and say, “How about you and me, take a look?” (audience laughing) Now I wanna show you, let us score this. You score one, fish zero. Score two, fish nothing. You continue to score on both sides. The idea of scoring the
fish is it give you a sense because the heat can penetrate
into the fish a lot easier, so those doesn’t take too long to cook. Now when this is ready,
you don’t put anything. Put it right here. Sprinkle a tiny bit of ginger. Sprinkle a tiny bit of green onion. And then you steam it over here. Now let’s turn it to high. Steam it, you can use
this tic-tac-toe thing or you can use two of
these to make tic-tac-toe. Or you can use these to make tic-tac-toe. (audience laughs) Or you can use one of
these nice bamboo steamer, just like the Chinese chef do. You can stack them all up, you can steam a whole fish family. Put it right here, boiling water. Make sure you put it right here and then you cover it up like this, okay. If that thing’s sticking
out, you say, goodbye. (audience laughs) While I’m waiting for this,
I understand that Samantha, you have a question for us. – Yes, I wanted to know if there are different types of steamers
for different kinds of food? – Well, there’re basically two
different types of steamer. One is make outta bamboo,
pork bamboo steamer. You can stack them all up. You can go, 1-2-3-4-5! You can cook something takes a little bit longer to cook here. Something that you want to warm up here. You can cook them all up like this, okay? And also you can just
steam it right in a wok with a wok lid because when you buy a wok, they always come with a wok lid. Or you can buy some metal steamer. Nowadays, you got little
ole things in between with the holes with a lid. You can do it like that too. Lonnie, you have a hard question there. – Yeah, I was wondering if you have to soak your bamboo
steamer before you use it? – Yeah, when you first
buy the bamboo steamer, it have very, very strong bamboo aroma. So you gotta do something about it. If I were you, I would put it and soak it in a big
sink of water overnight. Okay? And then also before I use it, I would steam this whole
thing by itself, nothing else. Let the steam really
steam cook the darn thing. You do call, steam nothing.
(audience laughs) So let the steam really clean it up. Get that undesirable aroma out. While I’m steaming this I’m heating up a tiny bit of oil here. Polyunsaturated oil, heat it up. Let us heat this up, okay,
because I want to heat this up. In the meantime, to save time, we have already steam
another fish because one fish is not enough to feed so
many people around here. We are having an other
fish right here, okay. We have a fish right
here, already steamed. I wanna show you how to do this. You transfer this and you put
it right here very carefully. Now when you steam something, you can put two piece of green onion right in the middle, okay? And then you sprinkle some ginger. Okay. Some chopped green onion. And also you can also spring
a tiny bit of coriander, okay? When it’s ready, you put the hot oil. Let the hot oil sizzle in, look at this. (loud sizzles) Wow! (audience clapping) Also put a tiny bit of soy sauce. This is the most natural way to cook food because everything is cooked in its natural juice. No extra heavy ingredient is it. Very healthy. Like in China. I don’t know about you. In China, everybody believe
ginger helps aid digestion. The way they spell relieve is G-I-N-G-E-R. (audience laughs) Percy, I know that you have a question. – Hello, Martin, I’d like to know how do you select the
right size of cleaver and what is the best way
to sharpen a cleaver? – Very intelligent, important, practical question Percy just asked us and I hope I can answer this. Normally in our store, most of the Chinese
people or the Chinese chef use knife like number one,
number two, and number three. Number one is large, number
two is a little smaller. And I recommend you to
use something like this, number three, okay? This is number three knife,
just have the right balance. And if I were you, I would choose the high-carbon
stainless steel one because they do not rust. The blade stay really well
and it’s easy to sharpen. Don’t just get the stainless steel but high-carbon stainless steel. It doesn’t matter if
it costs a little more because a knife is one
of the most important cooking utensil, okay? And also the handle should
be shaped in such a way that when you handle it very comfortable. And also the weight
should be nice balanced when you swing it you
don’t go, “Got, stuck.” See, very nice, and it also got rivets so it lasts for a long, long time. Now it’s very easy to sharpen a knife. Use a regular sharpening stone. You push it here, put some water if it’s a wet stone. In your oil stone you put oil. Put this cleaver, because the angle of Chinese
cooking got very, very small. So you push it one, two, three. 15 times the same angle, push it hard. Turn it to the other,
1-2-3-4, great exercise, and after that all you
have to do is 1-2-3-4. And I want to show you how sharp this is. Whoa! Whoa.
(audience clapping) I can’t believe it. Now, now we have a nice sharp cleaver. I wanna show you how functional a Chinese chef knife is, okay? First of all, you can use
the knife to slice, okay. Slice, thin slices like this. Like this, like this. Look at this, wow. And then you can cut julienne. Stack this up and go. (audience clapping) Look at this. And then, you can also use
this to press the garlic because this is also a
Chinese garlic press. Take this out, the whole
thing comes out like this and you go (quick chops). And then you can also use
this to transfer food. You have the food here and
you put the cleaver here at exactly 15 degree and
you go (tap) like that. And also you can use this for
parallel cutting, you see. Now I wanna show you how
wonderful this knife can be. Parallel cutting technique,
parallel to your cutting board. Like this, wow. (audience clapping)
Look at this. Look at this. Now also, also the wonderful thing is, this is a wonderful protective thing, just in case something, ha-ha-ha! Wow, wonderful. And also, my mother taught
me when I was a little kid use this to smash black
beans, garlic into a paste. Go, you smash it, this
how the Chinese do it. Do it the old-fashioned way. Wonderful look at this.
(audience claps) Now with this, a smash of black bean, I’m gonna show you how
to make a dish called sizzling black bean chicken. Over here. In this particular dish, all we need is approximately one whole chicken breast or two half chicken breasts, or one plus one equal to
two half chicken breasts. (audience laughs) Cut it up into slices or cubed. And then I also have one to
two tablespoons of black beans, depends on, if you get used to it, you use more, you’re not
used to it, you use less. Chili pepper, hole or crush. Shallot, chopped ginger. Green onion, one whole green, one chopped, also garlic, okay? Of course, we also have about
two tablespoons of dry sherry. One tablespoon of soy sauce
and a tiny bit of sesame seed or about two teaspoons. We’ll use this to marinate our chicken. Let me get a bowl here, to marinate our chicken. Okay. Put all this ingredient,
put it right here, marinate the chicken. When you marinate you always
use these chopstick, marinate. While I marinate this, I understand that Louise
have a question for us. – Yes, Martin. How much oil do you use when stir frying? – ‘Kay, stir frying is
one of the most healthy, most fun, most wonderful
way to do stir fry dishes. Because the shape of the
wok, you only use a tiny bit. As soon as you put the oil in, you swirl the wok a little bit around and you stir fry it, just
have enough oil to coat it. Normally, I use anywhere
from one tablespoon to one and a half tablespoon. For a gigantic dish,
I used two tablespoon. Do not use too much. I always use polyunsaturated oil, you see. Let it marinate a little bit. I am gonna also cut up these, just in case we have
more people for dinner. And I wanna show you how fast you can do. Wow, wonderful, see.
(audience clapping) Heat up the wok. When you do stir fry dishes, always make sure you
heat up the wok first, because if the wok is not heat up, you put the oil in, when
you put the meat in, it gets stuck and you end
up having chicken jerky. (audience laughs) One teaspoon, measure precisely. Another teaspoon, measure precisely. Another teaspoon, all
together one tablespoon. Not less and not more. Now when this is nice and ready, we are going to put this
ingredient together. Heat up the wok. Put the oil in when the wok is hot. Green onion and ginger and garlic, stir fry. Tiny bit of shallot, okay. Of course, we use the mashed black bean. Oh, toss the food. Okay. Save the chili pepper later because you don’t want to make it too hot. Stir, get the aroma. Can you smell it? Wonderfully delicious. You see, in China there are approximately 455
recipes for chicken dishes. Any chicken with half a brain will know they’ll never get to the age
to collect social security. (audience laughs) Now when this is nice and ready
we’ll put the chicken here. Wow look at this. Stir, stir. Stir. You can do it like this, if
you don’t have a hot plate because this supposed to be
a sizzling hot dish to do. You can make the sauce and
stir fry the chicken like this. Or you can stir fry the chicken,
then you can put the sauce and cook the sauce
separately in a sauce pan. Just make sure when you
are using black beans, always keep in mind, put the black bean in the jar, air tight. Otherwise, everybody in
the radius of 350 mile can tell you are fixing black beans. And you keep it in, it will
last for a couple hundred years. This little bottle. I have this here since 1821. Over 150 years. You save this when you make
really, really old chicken and take black beans. Okay, stir fry. We’re gonna season this stir fry. I wanna show you, you can
toss the food like this. Wow look at this.
(audience claps) Put the seasoning in. Of course, you should also
use one portion of cornstarch. Thicken it up. One portion of cornstarch
mixed with one portion. Wow, toss, toss the food, toss the food. If you want, you can use a tiny bit more. Mix tiny bit more sauce if you serve this over
the rice or noodle, okay. Now when this is ready, I wanna show you. I have a little hot plate
here, which I have heat up. Wow! This is hot. That’s why you call sizzling hot plate. Stir, stir. I’m gonna serve this over here, look. Listen, very carefully. Wow.
(audience clapping) Don’t it look wonderful? This is. It has been a ball being with you all. And I hope you enjoy the
show as much as I did. Remember, if Yan can cook, so can you, (in foreign language)! (audience clapping) (upbeat Oriental music)