Sunday, February 7, 2016

Chinese New Year & Monkey: Goose & Clos Apalta!

© 2013 Am Ang Zhang

As you all know, tomorrow is Chinese New Year and this is the year of Monkey which conjures up images of smartness and cunning. No matter, every year has something good about it. Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated for fifteen days. 

“……During Chinese festivals there was always much sharing of food, and that was traditional style Teochiu food that I have come to miss……”

Teochiu is the ancestral home of the Cockroach Catcher. Outside China, Teochiu cuisine may not be as well known as Cantonese, Shanghai, or Peking cuisine.However it is no less tasty. I am of course totally biased as far as Teochiu food is concerned. To celebrate New Year Day, my wife made Teochiu Braised Goose. Most “foodies” know about this famous goose. My wife has developed her own recipe, which is adapted from the one my mother gave her years ago.    She found our fish kettle just the right size and shape for the job. Braising a goose in a fish kettle has got to be a Cockroach Catcher first!

Generally, the goose is served cold with the meat sliced into large and thin slices. This is where the Cockroach Catcher’s surgical skills come in handy.

The sauce in which the goose is cooked is used for dipping and a second sauce of good quality vinegar and garlic and finely chopped chili is the traditional Teochiu way. The chili is of course optional and best not overused. If you cannot find good Chinese vinegar, a mixture of good balsamic and white wine vinegar will do very nicely.

This year the wine that will go with the goose will be, surprise, surprise from Chile: 

             Color: Dark and deep inky purple red color.
             Nose: Complex nose opening towards ripe and expressive red and black fruit, such as plums, red cherries, dry figs and blueberries. Spices such as clover and black pepper.
             Mouth: With a concentrated structure, this wine has a round attack followed by velvety and polished tannins filling the mid palate and a ripe and rich long lasting finish.
 This wine goes extremely well with our goose where the sauce uses mainly cilantro and this wine fits the bill. 

Well, there is the fat. And the wine will cut through it with its delicious tannin. Goose fat is the true come back kid, thanks to the Goddess, who recommended it as best for frying potato chips. It has a high smoke point and is now seen as one of the best quality fat.

In the brief time my father ran the poultry farm, he kept goose too. We used to use the fat as butter for special Teochiu cakes. I can still taste them now. 

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