Kendeji Style Corn Salad

Monday, April 21, 2008

In China, the K in KF-Chicken product stands for Kendeji. The meal combos don't come with a default side of fries (though you can swap them in) but with a little cup of corn salad - corn with carrots and cucumbers in a creamy dressing. Salads here are usually pretty grim, at least as depressing as the 'chicken juice potato mud' (mashed spuds and gravy) offered by the same chain, but I tried the corn salad for the first time a couple of days ago and was amazed at how great it went with the 'fragrant spicy chicken wings'.

To make the stuff at home I diced half a medium carrot, and two tiny cucumbers (it was only about 3/4 cup of chopped cucumber total). I steamed the carrot pieces for a few mintues, then added two cups of corn kernels and cooked them together until the kernels were just still holding crispness, then chilled them. Meanwhile, I salted and drained the cucumber.

(I'm really getting into steaming food by the way. In addition to the health and environmental reasons, if you have high quality vegetables then steaming preserves their colour/shape/flavour really beautifully. You also don't burn things, though it is easy to overcook...)

When everything was ready to mix together I poked through the fridge searching for my tube of Kewpie, but could not find it. I wanted a really sweet and tangy dressing but had to improvise by mixing 1.5 tbs mayo with 1 tbs cream and 1 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tbs lemon juice and a few shakes of salt. That said, giving exact amounts for this kind of salad is tough; the sweetness of the corn and whether or not the cucumbers were salted will affect the final taste. I would also use plain white vinegar here in place of lemon juice if I had it(white vinegar in China has little acidity). Anyway, make sure the taste balances and chill until cold, then taste again before serving. Serves 2-4.

Guo Kui

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Guo Kui is the name given either to flat breads that are baked, then split and filled like sandwiches or stuffed with meat or sweet things and then pan fried.

The fried kind are my favourite. The stuffed kind are expensive and messy to eat, and it's harder to find safe specimens. However, there is one place by the Sichuan opera house downtown that has amazingly good guo kui; shown below.

Guo Kui are 1.5-2.5 RMB for the fried kind and 3-5 RMB for the sandwich variety. Because of my location I've been insulated from rising food prices back home; how are the frugal cooks managing in North America?