- Just Like Blighty
Cauliflower or Choi Fa
a very common vegetable in Canton, and it is exactly
like the ones bought in UK. My Taishanese mother in
law usually serves a cauliflower dish with every meal,
although many of these preparations are not as westerners
would expect them.
Cauliflower is a member of the Brassica family,
and technically so similar to Broccoli that scientists
have a difficult task to differentiate between the two.
Fortunately we consumers find this very simple and even
a child can do it without fuss. However, we suggest
you remember this fact, as sometimes Cantonese cookery
crosses lines and styles in unexpectedly pleasant ways.
|Like in UK, cauliflower is available virtually
all year round, and buying is exactly the same
also. Look for ones that are free from blemishes
and have a healthy white colour. Then choose ones
with the tightest head clusters.
Preparation is also the same, with leaves and
stalks being removed, before the florets are pared
down to the required size for the dish. Cantonese
chef's often slice the florets also before washing
and setting aside for later cooking.
|Unusually, Cantonese chef's will sometimes also use
the main stalk in cooking. This is prepared by peeling
away the outside and pithy under skin, until you are
left with solid and firm flesh. It would be safe to
state that if you get rid of the outer quarter of an
inch of main stalk, then the remainder is good for slicing
and cooking - and very tasty!
Recipe 1 - Cauliflower with Celery and Long
This recipe has no English name, but is one of the very
best I have ever eaten. It is also simple to prepare
and easy to cook.
Into a hot wok with a little oil throw half a wardrobe
(Bulb) of peeled and whole common garlic. Stir fry for
about 1 minute before adding 1 ounce of coarsely diced
ginger. Now add the celery, beans and cauliflower stirring
quickly to coat the ingredients, before adding a pinch
of salt and pepper, and a rice bowl of water. Return
to the boil and adjust to a simmer.
|1 cauliflower cut into florets
||2 Tablespoon cooking oil
|4 Chinese long green beans or Dao
Gok. Prepare as UK runner beans, slicing into
||1/2 wardrobe of garlic, peeled
|1 baby celery bunch with heads
and bulb removed. Chopped into strips if larger
size used. 3 inches long by 1/4 inch wide.
||2 oz peeled and chopped ginger
leaving 1/8th thick triangles of about 1/3 inch
|Salt and Pepper to taste
||1 rice bowl of water
Cover and checking occasionally, leave to simmer for
10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked, but
still a little crunchy. The ideal is once again to aim
for a couple of tablespoons of water to be naturally
left in the wok. Once cooked add to a serving dish and
pour over a little of the juice/stock so as to coat
the bottom of the serving plate - send to table.
To add a little verve, add one small, mean and finely
diced chilli to the mix.
Recipe 2 - Cauliflower Cheese
This stalwart British dish is easy to make in China
- once you pay a King's Ransom for some decent supermarket
imported cheese! I use imported New Zealand Cheddar
as it is about the best available in China. At home
I would use Lancashire cheese
This simple dish requires par-boiled cauliflower, with
floret size to your personal choosing. The main preparation
is the sauce, which is a béchamel sauce, and you can
find out how to make this here
To the béchamel sauce we are simply going to add about
4 oz of grated cheddar cheese, stirring well in until
it is fully melted and mixed thoroughly into the sauce.
Both salt and pepper are crucial to this dish, so start
with one teaspoonful of each in the sauce, and perfect
over time for your palate.
The quick way is to simply add the sauce to the cauliflower
and serve, or add the cauliflower to the sauce and serve
- it doesn't matter. However, this isn't it - simply
What you should do, presuming you have an oven, is to
add both sauce and cauliflower to an ovenware serving
dish and mix together carefully, then sprinkle a little
more freshly grated cheese on top. Cook in a preheated
moderate oven (Probably as high as your Chinese ovenette
will go) and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until
the cheese on top is golden brown going on deep brown
in places, but not burnt. Serve immediately.
This is a totally Chinese invention, and as mentioned
at the head of this page - never presume anything in
China - the land where tomatoes are only ever considered
to be a fruit!
Broccoli cheese is made in exactly the same way as Cauliflower
cheese, except the main ingredient is not cauliflower,
but its botanical neighbour broccoli.
This dish is interesting to the point where I have ordered
it several times in restaurants, but not yet bothered
to cook it at home. The main difference is that for
this dish you need to replace most of the salt and pepper
with extra crushed and finely diced garlic - and that
The other main difference is that Cheddar doesn't really
work with broccoli, so substitute a blend of Edam or
Gruyere and equal parts Mozzarella. To get this right,
add a little Boursin - and now your cooking!
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably
supported by our friends and various internet portals.