A New Year’s Jai From Shanghai

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 25, 2006
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The affable Don Conover has a new perch at the Shanghai Bistro in Discovery Bay, where he and vocalist Rex Nockengust have teamed up for a exhilarating Broadway cabaret show on Friday and Sunday evenings.

This eclectic and skilled keyboardist has become a huge fan of Chef Chih Chieh Chang’s cuisine since the shows began, and he’s excited to be performing at what many people consider the most beautiful Chinese restaurant in Hawaii.

Don is also a docent and organist at the historic Hawaii Theatre, and will be featured in “The Three Phantoms in Concert” Jan. 26-29, rising from the pit as he plays the 1922 Robert Morton theater organ.

He’s also used to making the most of every moment. Most recently, he served as music director for Aloha Rosie’s at Hawaii Pacific University, and he’s in his 29th year as minister of music at Church of the Crossroads, United Church of Christ.

Don himself was born in the Year of the Horse, and lives up to his sign by being popular, cheerful, perceptive, talented and good with his hands - something very important for a keyboardist.

Those born in this Year of the Dog have signature traits of being loyal, honest and trustworthy.

So as Don and others look ahead to the Year of the Dog, in celebration of Chinese New Year, here is a recipe for a signature Chinese dish for the New Year, jai.

Chef Chih Chieh Chang
Chef Chih Chieh Chang


Recipe courtesy of Chef Chih Chieh Chang

* Chinese parsley (optional to taste, or replace with celery leaf)
* 1 cup dried bean curd sticks (let stand in warm water, chop up when soft)
* 1/8 cup angel hair seaweed (or sliced seaweed)
* 1/2 cup gingko nuts
* 1 cup Napa cabbage (diced)
* 1 cup long rice noodles (let stand in warm water, chop up when soft)
* 1/2 cup fungus (let stand in warm water, get rid of the hard portion)
* 1/2 cup lily flowers (let stand in warm water, get rid of the hard portion)
* 1/3 cup golden mushrooms
* 1/8 cup water chestnuts
* 1/2 cup carrots (sliced)
* 5 pieces black mushrooms (diced; let stand in warm water, chop up when soft)

For Sauce:

* 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
* 1 teaspoon Southern-style preserved bean curd
* 1 teaspoon ginger (chopped up)
* 1 teaspoon soy sauce
* 3 cups water
* 2 teaspoons preserved bean curd
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2 teaspoons sesame oil
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce puree
* 2 teaspoons cooking oil

Add 2 teaspoons cooking oil into a heated pot. Then add ginger.

Add Southern-style preserved bean curd and preserved bean curd, mash up and stir well.

Add soy sauce, soy sauce puree and oyster sauce; stir well.

Add dried bean curd sticks, gingko nuts, long rice noodles, fungus, golden mushrooms, lily flowers, water chestnuts, black mushrooms, carrots and angel hair seaweed. Stir fry 1 minute.

Add 3 cups of water and continue cooking.

When all the ingredients are halfway cooked, add sugar and Napa cabbage. Cook 5 minutes.

Remove pot from stove, add sesame oil and Chinese parsley, mix well and serve.

*You may change the content of ingredients with your own creativity. For example, you can also put corn, bamboo shoots, any kind of beans, high gluten ball, etc. Or you can even put seafood or meat as desired.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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Most Recent Comment(s):

The show at Shanghai Bistro is wonderful, and the recipe is easy and tastes great, thanks for both!

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