Monday, July 20, 2015

Eat, Drink, Man, Woman inspires Joy, Luck, Dragon, Phoenix #FoodnFlix

This month's Food n Flix selection, chosen by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen was Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, a Chinese film with English subtitles.  This movie was filled, and I mean FILLED with food.  It was a feast for the eyes.  The movie is about a master chef and boy is his food gorgeous!!  Having raised a Chinese daughter for the past 8 years, I have learned that this culture definitely eats with their eyes first and this movie attested to that.


What is Food n Flix, you ask?  Well it is just the coolest little group in the blogging world.  We all watch the same movie each month and then create a dish inspired by the movie we watched.  We blog about our recipe and our thoughts about the movie and then whoever is hosting rounds up all of our blogs at the end of the month and shares them with the group.  It is a lot of fun.  It is casual and non demanding.  Anyone can play along, just watch the movie, create a dish and email it to the host. You can learn all about it at Deb's announcement post  or you can follow the Food n Flix blog posts each month and choose to step in when you have the time and/or inclination.

So, as I was saying, our movie this month was Eat, Drink, Man, Woman.  It was not a movie about food per se, but it contained food in nearly every scene.  It was a movie about relationships.  Relationships between a father and his daughters, relationships between siblings, relationships in the workplace, relationships between friends and lovers, relationships that are ending and beginning. And all of these relationships developed and grew, as relationships often do, over the dinner table and over food.

I wasn't sure that I was going to like this movie but I ended up really liking it.  I could relate to all the daughters as they struggled with their relationships with their father and each other.  I could relate to the father who only wanted his daughters to be happy but was unable to communicate in any way other than food.  It was the story of how we often assume to know what others are thinking/feeling/wanting/wishing without taking the time to really talk with them and find out.  

There were several dishes that appealed to me in this movie....almost all of them in fact.  If I could I would have embraced some time with the master chef and learned every trick and skill that he would offer to share.  The dish that I decided to make was what Mr. Chu called Joy, Luck, Dragon, Phoenix.
In the movie it was made to take the place of a dish that had used shark fins but the fins were fake and the dish was ruined.  Mr. Chu was called to save the day and he did so by throwing out the bad dish and making this dish that contained lobster and prawns among other things.  This dish is traditionally served at weddings or celebrations.

Image result for my grandmother's chinese kitchen

When looking for this recipe, I went to my go to cookbook for anything Chinese.  My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo.  I have shared several other recipes from this cookbook in prior posts including an entire Chinese Lunar New Years feast, Steamed Buns, and Clams with Black Bean Sauce.  I found this recipe for Dragon and Phoenix Soup.  Eileen's write up says that this soup "is symbolic as well, the lobster or "dragon shrimp" representing the emperor, the chicken or the phoenix, a representation of the empress.  It is also a symbol of a happy marriage, and was served as part of a wedding day banquet."  Perfect....I couldn't wait to make it.

I served this soup up as a first course, followed by a chicken stir fry.  This meal was originally scheduled for Wednesday this week but then we ended up having company tonight so I switched my Meatless Monday menu for this one which was much better suited for guests.  Mary's sister Pat was here for a couple of days and her husband, Ken, was joining us for dinner when he came to take her home.  Pat asked how she could help and I handed her a bag of peas and asked her to shell them for me.  She had never shelled peas before.  I often forget that not everyone is as food oriented as I so I showed her how to shell the peas and she went to town on them.

This soup was so very delicious and so very easy to throw together.  I can see why it is considered a wonderful celebratory soup in China.  I will be serving this again and again when I get hungry for Chinese food.

Dragon and Phoenix Soup
very slightly adapted from My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen

(Mix 2 identical marinades as below, one for chicken and one for shrimp)

1 T. rice wine
1/2 T. ginger paste
1 t. light soy sauce
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t. sugar
1 t. dark sesame oil
pinch white pepper
1/2 t. rice vinegar
2 t. cornstarch
12 oz. chicken breast, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 lobster tails, shelled, deveined, washed, dried and cut into bite size pieces.

Place ingredients into 2 sealable plastic bags, large enough to hold the chicken and shrimp, shake to combine.  Add the chicken to one bag and the shrimp to the other.  Let marinade for 30 minutes.

3 c. peanut oil
1 oz. bean threads
5 c. chicken stock
1 T. ginger paste
1 T. garlic paste
1/2 c. asst. mushrooms, cut into 1/2" dice
1/2 c. canned, sliced bamboo shoots, drained
3/4 c. fresh peas, shelled
3 egg whites, beaten
5 scallions, whites and light green, thinly sliced

Heat wok over high heat.  Add peanut oil and allow to heat.  Add bean threads.  Be prepared with a kitchen spider to remove the bean threads almost immediately as they cook in only a few seconds. Remove and place on a paper lined plate to drain.  Set aside.

Place chicken stock, garlic and ginger into a large soup pot.  Heat to a boil over high heat. Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots, cover, return to a boil and allow to cook 2 minutes.  Add peas, return to a boil and cook 2 minutes longer.  Add chicken and it's marinade, bring back to a boil and allow to cook for another couple of minutes until chicken turns white.  Add the lobster and it's marinade, stir and then add the beaten eggs, stirring to permit eggs to blend.  Add the bean threads and scallions. Stir to blend and remove from heat.   Print Recipe

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  1. Such a comforting bowl of soup and it's a great match for the film with its happy marriage symbolism. On the cooking side, I love how the proteins are marinated first for extra flavor.

    I am glad you enjoyed the movie! I agree that it is easy to relate to the characters and the food is stunning. Thanks for joining in this month. ;-)

  2. Sounds like a great group. Will have to give the movie and the food a try.

    1. You should join us next month Judy. It is a great group and all you need to do is watch the film, cook a dish and send out an email.

  3. I've never shelled peas either. Looks great!

    1. Thanks Kimberly it was delicious as are fresh peas and very easy to shell.

  4. What a great idea from the film. That soup sounds (and looks) amazing.

  5. Wendy, this looks so good. I think you have more skill than I do in this type of cooking, because it looks more complicated than throwing it together. I would love to try it, I am totally in love with the name!

    1. It was really a simple dish, I thought it was going to be much more complicated too Terri. Give it a try.

  6. Wendy, this looks so good. I think you have more skill than I do in this type of cooking, because it looks more complicated than throwing it together. I would love to try it, I am totally in love with the name!

  7. This really looks amazing, and I love the inspiration that you chose - I forgot all about that when I was writing my post!

  8. Great inspiration! That was one of the scenes where I was actually paying attention, but I couldn't bring myself to make it!

    1. OH Amy it was soooooo delicious. Of course I am a shellfish fanatic.

  9. What a great soup and like how we all had a same but different view of this month's Food n Flix movie too!

    1. Thanks Joanne. It is fun seeing things through other's eyes sometimes.


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