Last Saturday night Kian of Red Cook invited me and my family to his Late Spring Chinese Dinner at his home in Harlem. Fellow dinner guests included Kian’s partner Warren, their fellow food enthusiast friend Ed, Shelley Menaged from the James Beard House and Iron Chef judge and food writer Akiko Katayama.
When I asked Kian how he had accumulated such a wealth of knowledge about Chinese cooking and cuisine, he told me, “I do lots of research. I read Chinese cookbooks, go online… the online forums are very helpful.”
Over the course of four hours, Kian bustled back and forth between the dining table and the kitchen, meticulously prepping and presenting us with course after course. Meanwhile, we shared stories about gritty pizza joints, trips to outerboroughs, and our passionate love or hate for durian fruit, all between bites of food.
We gathered around Kian as he was finishing prepping his first course, waiting with eager anticipation for the ten-course marathon to begin.
The menu was on the fridge
Assorted cold appetizers (Clockwise from the top: Prawn Salad with Mustard Mayonnaise, Preserved Egg with Ginger Vinegar, Jujube Dates and Ginko Nuts, Bitter Melon with Goji Berries, Braised Bran Dough)
Bitter Melon Salad with Goji Berries–the bitterness was surprisingly refreshing
Preserved Egg with Ginger Vinegar
Stir-fried Beef with Leeks–super tender and juicy
Sichuan Fragrant Crispy Duck
Shelley says no to durian. I say yes!
Red Cooked Pork with Steamed Buns (the white steamed buns are not pictured)
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Fresh Lychee–Savory and sweet, it was one of my favorite dishes of the night
Young Coconut Chicken Soup..Light, fruity, and with a kick of white pepper, it was perfect for a warm summer day. Kian also said this was the most popular dish at his ICE class
Baby Bok Choy in Conpoy Sauce (conpoy is dried scallop)
Oil Poached Catfish with a mean underbite and a wonky stare. It was dressed with carmelized soy sauce and topped with cilantro, green onions, and a red pepper
Kian decapitating the catfish
Chinese Sausage Fried Rice–a Chinese banquet always ends with a starchy last course
Fried Milk, the final course of the night
Crispy coconut on the outside and a rich, gooey jelly-like milk inside. The New York Times did a piece about fried milk which I enjoyed
Kian will be teaching a dumpling-making class at the Institute of Culinary Education on July 24th which you should totally check out if you’re in New York! In the meantime, visit Redcook.net for Kian’s latest authentic Chinese recipes.