The original article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/09/opinion/09Ferretti.html.
When I first visited Shanghai about two years ago, I was shocked how different the real thing is from what I got used to in the US. Of the most popular American menu varieties - sweet and sour chicken or pork, fried wontons (this is actually the East Coast creation - not usually served in Seattle), or wonton soup - none were available anywhere I ate.
Generally, US chinese variant is heavy on deep-fried, but the food in Shanghai and Beiging is not - it emphasizes steaming, cooking, and uses a lot of creative sauces.
Also, the fresh juices are extremely popular, including unusual for an American palate, but absolutely great cucumber juice, melon and watermellon juices. I now make all of them at home.
A couple of recipies I also brought from my travel in China are fish shanghainese, garlic eggplant, and vegetables in garlic sauce.
BRAISED RIVER FISH WITH SWEET GINGER-SOY SAUCE
- 1 piece (1-inch long) ginger root, peeled
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons each: rice wine, dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1 whole small fish or fillets, about 1 pound, cleaned
- 2 green onions, chopped
Cut ginger in half; grate one of the halves into a medium bowl. Stir in water, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and salt; set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until just smoking; remove from the heat. Carefully rub the remaining piece of ginger over the interior of the wok; discard ginger. Return the wok to the heat. Add oil; heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.
Add fish; cook until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn; cook 2 minutes.
Carefully discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil in the wok. Add the soy sauce mixture to wok; heat to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook until sauce is thickened and fish is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer fish to a platter; pour sauce over. Garnish with green onions.
Makes 4 servings.
Or here's the variant directly form Shanghai: http://blog.eastday.com/sp1/angelstreet/08224761686.shtml
HOT GARLIC EGGPLANT
- 4-6 Chinese or Japanese eggplants (these are long and slender-HFSs or Chinese groceries will have them)
- 1 t chopped fresh ginger
- 1 T chopped fresh garlic( I use 4-6 cloves, as I really like garlic)
- 1 T Hot bean paste (available from Chinese groceries-check label to make sure it has no added oil-most don't)
- 2 T soysauce (adjust down for sodium restriction)
- 1 t sugar (or sucanat)
- 1 t salt (again, adjust for low sodium version)
- 1/2 cup soup stock or water
- 1 T chopped green onion
Cut eggplant into finger sized pieces-cut lengthwise, then into quarters etc.
Saute with some water in a non-stick pan/wok, until soft. When soft, remove from pan.
On low heat, cook garlic, ginger, and hot bean paste for a minute, then add
salt, sugar, soysauce and stock/water. Return eggplant to the pan and cook for about five minutes until garlic is soft and a sauce forms. If sauce is too
thin, thicken with 1t corn starch mixed with 2t water.
Serve over white/brown rice.
(Reprinted from here: http://www.chinatownconnection.com/hot-garlic-eggplant.htm)
GAI-LAN SAUTEED WITH GARLIC
- 1/2 cup of rice cooking wine
- 3 T of light soy sauce
- 2 T of starch
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 T of oil
- Several stems of Gai-Lan
Heat garlic in a deep pan with the oil, until it attains a light brown hue. Add the rest of ingredients except for the gai-lan. Heat it to simmering. Add gai-lan so it's 1/2 covered in liquid. Cover. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir approximately mid-way.
The liquid can be reused for the next batch of gai-lan.
It should look similar to this: http://flickr.com/photos/28514984@N00/1584533607/