1. Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce
  2. Empress's Simulation of Crab
  3. Peking Cha Chiang Mein Noodles

Serve the spare ribs as a startar. The Simulation of Crab was invented by a chef for the Empress when crab was unavailable. The ginger and vinegar is served separately and stirred into the egg yolk and fish just before eating.

1. Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce ()
    5 tablespoons vegetable oil
    750 g (1 1/2 lb) spare ribs, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths
    3 tablespoons black bean paste
    2 spring onions, finely chopped
    2 thin slices root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    2 dried chillis, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon Chinese winter or dry sherry
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
    2 teaspoons cornflour
    1 tablespoon water

    Preparation time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: about 1 hour 10 minute

1. Heat the oil in a wok until it is smoking and add the spare ribs. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then transfer the ribs to a heatproof bowl.

2. Pour off most of the oil, leaving about one tablespoon, and reheat. Put in the black bean paste, half the spring onions, the ginger, garlic and chillis. Stir-fry together for 30 seconds, then add the wine, soy sauce and sugar. Mix together, then stir into the bowl with the spare ribs. Place the bowl in a steamer and steam for 1 hour.

3. Pour off the liquid from the bowl into a pan and bring to the boil. Blend the cornflour with the water, and stir into the apn to make a smooth sauce.

4. Transfer the spare ribs to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle on the remaining spring onions. Pour over the hot sauce and serve immediately.

2. Empresses's Simulation of Crab ()
    450 g (1 lb) white fish fillets, cut into matchstick-sized shreds
    1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
    8 egg whites, beaten lightly
    250 ml (8 fl oz) vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon warm oil
    3 tablespoons chicken stock
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    pinch of MSG
    2 egg yolks
    2 teaspoons finely chopped root ginger
    2 teaspoons wine vinegar
    sliced tomato, to garnish

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes

1. Sprinkle the fish with cornflour and toss to coat evently.

2. Add the fish to the egg whites and turn to coat each piece thickly, then add the warm oil.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Add the fish and fry gently in batches until puffed. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off the oil.

4. Mix together the chicken stock, salt and MSG. Pour this into the wok, add the fish and turn and tir gently over low heat for 2 mi nutes.

5. Place the fish on a well heated serving dish. Break the raw egg yolks over the fish. MIx the ginger and vinegar together and pour over the top of the yolks and stir into the fish. Garnish with sliced tomato or radishroses, if liked.

Be sure not to overcook the fish: it should be white and translucent, to contrast with the egg yolks.

3. Peking Cha Chiang Mein Noodles ()
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 slices root ginger, peeled and minced
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    225 g (8 oz) minced pork
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 tablespoon yellow bean paste
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    3 tablespoons chicken stock
    1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
    1 tablespoon water
    450 g (1 lb) egg noodles, boiled until just tender and drained
    1/2 cucumber, cut into matchstick strips
    3 spring onions, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) sections

    Preparation time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: about 10 minutes

1. Heat the oil in a wok, then add the onion, ginger and garlic and stir-fry together for about 1 minute. Add the minced pork, together with the salt, yellow bean paste and soy sauce, and leave to simmer over heat for 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the stock and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Blend the cornflour with the water, then stir into the mixture and stir over heat until the sauce has thickened.

3. Put the noodles on a warm serving dish and pour on the meat sauce. Arrange the shredded cucumber and spring onions around the noodles and serve immediately.

<>   Xiaoniu SuChu Hsu (p) 1998    suchu@techart.nia.edu.tw