Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Designing the Menu, Beverages, My Shopping List, and Tracking Sown Exotic Ingredients

I usually divide the contents of this weblog into several separate ones. But since I'm going to be making my 'Road Home' dim sum dinner on Valentine's Day and will be heading off to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas soon thereafter, I thought I would economize on time and space and include my comments about designing the menu, deciding on the dishes, beverages to go with, my shopping list, and tracking down exotic ingredients all in a single entry. I hope it's not too much to digest at one time. Here goes...

For my 'Road Home' Dinner & a Movie, and my first attempt at homemade dim sum, I want to make sure I include all the classic favorites. Even with my limited dim sum experience, I know which ones those are. And there's a reason why they're the classic favorites: Because they're all so beautiful and delicious, if a little labor intensive. No doubt, I will have to be very organized this time, and plan to do much of the prep work a day or two before. I'm also going to cheat a little and use commercially prepared wrappers instead of making my own from scratch. With all the tasty treasures I have in mind, I'm definitely going to take all the shortcuts I can think of.

The Dim Sum Dishes I've chosen for my 'Road Home' Dinner & a Movie are:

Pork Shu Mai
Spring Rolls
Shrimp Toast
Spare Ribs
Barbeque Pork Buns
Paper Wrapped Chicken
Crispy Duck
Wontons
Pinwheel Shrimp
Seafood in Rice Paper Wraps
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Lettuce Wraps

Beverages To Go With

The beverages to go with my 'Road Home' Dim Sum dinner are a no-brainer: Tea, Tsing Tao Beer, and Plum Wine. The same things one might order in a dim sum restaurant, and all are available locally.

My Shopping List:

Specialty Ingredients: White Pepper, Nori, Panko, Rice Wine, Rice Wine Vinegar, Rice Paper Wrappers, Gyoza Wrappers, Wonton Wrappers, Spring Roll Wrappers, Sesame Oil, Water Chestnuts, Soy Sauce, Chinese Black Mushrooms, Oyster Sauce, Nam Pla, Hoisin, Chinese Mustard, Plum Wine, TsingTao Beer

Fresh Ingredients: Shrimp, Scallops, Pork Ribs, Chicken Breasts, Duck, Bacon, Ground Pork, Green Onion, Ginger Root, White Bread, Napa Cabbage, Garlic, Honey, Red ell Pepper, Celery, Carrots,

Basics: Eggs, Flour, Cornstarch, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Brown Sugar

Tracking Down Exotic Ingredients:

Having already prepared nine Asian dinners for my ThingsAsian Dinner & a Movie project, my pantry is fully stocked with enough specialty ingredients to prepare most any kind of Asian meal. I've even gone through my first jar, bottle or package of some things and am already well into a second. Things like Nam Pla fish sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, etc. In the local vicinity, there's Cost Plus and Trader Joe's, and even our supermarkets now stock a growing inventory of Asian ingredients, but often at dear prices. So, to economize, I like to stock up on those kinds of staples on my excursions to San Francisco. But when I'm too busy to play hooky for such a big outing, and can't find them here in town, I order Asian ingredients from AsianFoodGrocer.com. In the righthand column of this page, there's a link to their excellent online emporium.