LUPEC 1: Bryna’s Boozy Tour of Asia

7 Sep

The ladies of LUPEC 1 had an extra special treat in August: founding member Prince of Wales was in Denver after a year in China (she’s finishing her dissertation on Chinese literature this year!) and brought us an amazing array of Asian spirits to try.  We were completely blown away with her exotic and educational meeting!

Presents! We love presents!

LUPEC Name: Prince of Wales

Meeting Date: 8/22/2010

Meeting Theme: Bryna’s Boozy Tour of Asia

Why did you choose this theme?

I had the fortune to travel around China and Korea this last year, and brought back lots of booze!

What were the cocktails you served?

Chilled osmanthus wine (guihua jiu) from Guilin, China.

Warmed yellow rice wine (huang jiu). This is served with either a dried Chinese date or dried plum (I like the really dark black wumei plums, although I served it with Chinese Tribute Dates).  The dried fruit gives the sherry-like yellow rice wine a more complex aftertaste.

Umeshu sawa.  This one i think was probably the most popular–it’s very light and nice, especially in the hot weather.

Maehwaju zipang.  I adapted this recipe from a St. Germain recipe called a “St. Zipang,” so if you can’t find maehwaju, then use St. Germain.  Maehwaju is Korean plum blossom wine, and Zipang is sparkling sake.

Yogurt soju cocktail.  This is immensely popular in Korea, but i think between the oddness of the yogurt drink and the fact that it was the last one, it just wasn’t a hit.  i think I’d like to share another soju drink sometime, made for me by a Korean friend i met in Beijing; she called it Esther’s Drink, and it is a variation of the ubiquitous so-maek that i had in Seoul. 😀

What food was served/brought?

I made (Korean-style) Lettuce Wraps with Tofu.  You can substitute chicken, or probably even (really) thick cut bacon/pork belly.

2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (it’s similar to malt vinegar in taste if you can’t find asian rice vinegar.  the Chinese kind is called Chinkiang or Zhenjiang, and it’s the same color as malt vinegar.)
1 Tablespoon yellow rice wine (it tastes like sherry if you can’t find this)
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons soysauce; I used 1 t. light soy sauce and 1 t. dark (gives better color) together; if you can’t find dark soy sauce then just use light.
1 teaspoon asian (toasted) sesame oil

Mix the water and cornstach together untill completely combined; then mix together with all the other ingredients and set aside.

1 lb. chicken julienned or one package tofu cut into thin slices
2 cloves garlic minced
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
1 8oz. can sliced water chestnuts, chopped coarsely
1 8oz. can sliced bamboo shoots, chopped coarsely
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms or straw mushrooms (canned, fresh, or rehydrated) stemmed and cut into julienne strips (i bet you could also use enoki mushrooms, just cut off the bottom and separate them well)

Heat a skillet or wok for a few minutes until it is hot and then add about 2 Tablespoons canola (safflower, etc.) or peanut oil and make sure the wok’s surface is coated.  If using tofu, pan fry the slices until they get a light yellow “”crust”” on one side and then flip over doing the same on the other side.  Then remove to a plate and chop coarsely.  If using chicken/pork cook stirring constantly, until cooked/ no longer pink.  Remove to a plate.

Add another 1 Tablespoon oil to the hot wok/skillet and add the garlic and ginger; cook until fragrant.  Add water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms, stirring often until mushrooms have softened, about 4 minutes.  Return the chicken/tofu/pork to the wok and add the sauce.  Cook, stirring constantly, until a thick, glossy, sauce has formed (this is what the corn starch does, and why it needs to be dissolved with water before so it doesn’t get clumpy/gloppy), about 1 min.

To serve you’ll need about 4 green onions sliced lengthwise into long thin strips, and a head of iceburg lettuce.  Remove the leaves of lettuce and wash/pat dry; if they’re really large tear into halves.  Put some of the pork/chicken/tofu mixture on a leaf of lettuce with a little green onion and season with ssamjang or gochujang (a little spicy a little sweet dark red Korean chili sauces; ask for what usually gets eaten with Korean BBQ) to taste, and then wrap it up!

Anything else you’d like to say about your meeting?

I really enjoyed being able to bring parts of my life in Asia back to the lovely LUPEC Denver ladies, especially since I don’t get to see them very often!  Just let me know when I can do it again!

Recipe, please!

Umeshu sawa

Choya brand umeshu (plum wine) can be found at Total Beverage or you can even make your own:

2 parts umeshu
1 part sour mix
1 part club soda or Sprite

Mix and serve in an old fashioned glass with ice.  Garnish with a cherry or lemon twist.  Tastes like lemonade, very light and refreshing.


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