Chapter 17 – Spicy and Delicious, Crisp and Fragrant

 

 

Translated by Prosperousfood.com

 

Rehosted by Gumihou at kitchennovel.com

 

 

 

 

 

Yang Yong subconsciously despised Ye Chui. He looked at Tian Xiaoduo again and thought that he had understood. When Tian Xiaoduo had told him that Ye Chui was coming here to cook, he did not say what Ye Chui wants to do. All he said was to let Ye Chui try to cook chicken dishes.

 

Yang Yong felt that Ye Chui had depended on his relationship with Tian Xiaoduo to get a job in the kitchen. Ye Chui wanted to work in Wan Lai Fu’s kitchen.

 

Tian Xiaoduo wants Ye Chui to show off his cooking ability so that he can get a job here. How could a 17-years-old boy compare to the chefs here?

 

However, since Tian Xiaoduo had asked him, then he will have to give Tian Xiaoduo some face [2]. After all, Tian Xiaoduo is the head chef of this restaurant.

 

With these thoughts in mind, Yang Yong asked Ye Chui: “Chef Tian said that your craft is very good, and today we have an opportunity to sample the dish that you have cooked. Oh, may I ask what dishes are you going to cook, Mr Ye?”

 

Ye Chui can naturally see the contempt in Yang Yong’s eyes, but he is not angry with the latter. He prefers to let the food he made speak for him. Ye Chui smiled and replied: “I’m going to make a chicken dish, but because the recipe is a top secret, I hope the chefs in the restaurant can stand a bit further away while I am cooking.”

 

“What!”

 

When Ye Chui said this, Yang Yong’s face became incredulous. The other chefs were also angered by this remark. Who is this arrogant bastard that wants them to clear out of the kitchen when he cooks?

 

Only Tian Xiaoduo thought that this was normal—considering how precious the ancient recipes were, he understood the need for Ye Chui be too cautious. This request is quite reasonable.

 

He hurriedly took Yang Yong aside and said: “Manager, this young man is cooking a dish using a long-lost recipe. To prevent others stealing his recipe, it should not be seen by other chefs. Since there are not many diners now, forgive his trespasses, and let him have the kitchen to himself.”

 

Yang Yong was quite unhappy. He felt that Ye Chui is here to create trouble. However, Tian Xiaoduo is the head chef. Since Tian Xiaoduo trust Ye Chui, Yang Yong should give Tian Xiaoduo some face.

 

So Yang Yong calmly said, “I agree to this agreement. But we have some VIPs who will be coming here. I could not allow you to use the kitchen for a long time.”

 

“Just give me 20 minutes. That should be more than enough.” Ye Chui confidently smiled.

 

Then under the command of Tian Xiaoduo, the unwilling chefs were forced to give way to Ye Chui. Everyone was chased out of the kitchen by Tian Xiaoduo. Even Yang Yong, Fang Tao and Tian Xiaoduo also wait outside the door to the kitchen.

 

“Even he had an old recipe, not everyone could create tasty and delicious food.” Yang Yong thought. He was unhappy with the whole arrangement, but he could not help feeling a bit excited – what dishes will Ye Chui cooks?

 

The ingredients in the kitchen were readily available. Ye Chui wore an apron around his waist, stretched out his arm, looked at the familiar stove facilities, and his face was covered with a delighted smile. In his past life, he spends more than half of his time in the kitchen and feels intimate about the kitchen facilities.

 

The chefs and management of Wan Lai Fu restaurant watched from the glass door. Ye Chui placed a wok on the stove, pour half a pot of oil, and then took out a freshly-purchased white broiler chicken from the freezer. He placed the chicken on the chopping board.

 

Then, Ye Chui picked up a large Chinese cleaver. With a few “squeaking” sound, the entire frozen chicken was split into small pieces, The chicken’s head and tail were discarded, and he sliced down again.

 

He switched the knife and used a sharp blade to remove the bones from the chicken, and placed the flesh of the chicken in a small pot.

 

This process actually took less than two minutes. Seeing the entire chicken cleanly sliced apart, the eyes of the chefs in the restaurant immediately brighten.

 

Next, Ye Chui took some condiments and added a pinch of salt and some cooking wine to the chicken. Then he saw Ye Chui’s hands began to massage the chicken meat to ensure that the marinade is evenly spread.

 

This is to speed up the defrosting of the harden chicken meat and to make the chicken meat more tender. This method of massaging chicken requires acute knowledge of the process. The force should not be too strong, otherwise it will cause the moisture in the chicken to dry out; the massage should not be too slow, otherwise, the chicken would not be tasty, and lack flavour; the intensity and speed of the beatings must be just right to ensure that the chicken retains its optimal flavour. This requires a lot of hard work.

 

After massaging the chicken for 3 minutes, the oil in the wok is approximately 80% hot. Ye Chui immediately tosses the pieces of chicken into the wok and fry them. A fragrant scent immediately effused out. Ye Chui skilfully turns over the pieces of meat with bamboo chopsticks to ensure that the pieces of chicken are evenly fried.

 

This smell is highly familiar to chefs who work in the kitchen. But at this moment, the aroma of the chicken that Ye Chui cooked seems to be richer than the smell of the chicken that they fried.

 

The crowd outside of the kitchen drooled. From the door of the kitchen, they could only see Ye Chui’s back, but they could not see the process in Ye Chui’s hands. They all crept closer to the door, and tried to peer through the glass door.

 

Yang Yong’s contempt for Ye Chui has been reduced with this display of cooking skills, but he still insisted: “It’s just fried chicken. What’s so great about it?”

 

The chefs also think that this is only a fried chicken. Although the aroma is more mouth-watering than usual, there is no need to clear the kitchen just to allow Ye Chui to cook.

 

“No, that is not correct!” Tian Xiaoduo looked at Ye Chui’s back. He said pensively. “This fried chicken smell is very special. There should be a special method used to marinate and cook the chicken… Also, I do not believe that Ye Chui just wants to fry the chicken and present a dish of fried chicken. There should be other steps to complete the dish that he had in mind…”

 

Of course, Ye Chui is not making fried chicken.

 

Ye Chui fried the chicken pieces in oil until these pieces of chicken turn golden in colour. Then he picked them out when the exterior of the chicken is crunchy while the inside of the chicken is tender.

 

He turned off the stove and picked up another pot. While he waited for the second pot to get hot, he began preparing the other spices: dried red chilli, Sichuan pepper, onion, ginger, beans, monosodium glutamate, sugar…

 

The most important part of the dried red chilli to is cut them into one-inch length. After it is fried using the oil in the pot, a spicy smell suddenly spreads out.

 

Yang Yong, who was standing outside the glass door, caught a whiff this spicy aroma, and immediately sneezed. Fang Tao and Tian Xiaoduo were chefs. They were used to different smells arising from the kitchen. However, they also felt quite uncomfortable.

 

Ye Chui, on the other hand, seemed to have absolutely no reaction to this smell. His hands seemed to be flying as he put various spices into the pot. Then he added the fried chicken to the pot and mixed it. With this mixture, the chicken was coated in a hot and spicy flavour. This combination creates a new chicken dish.

 

Finally, he plated the contents of the pot. Mission completed! The entire duration he took to create this dish is exactly 20 minutes!

 

The dish was red and golden in colour. The golden chicken pieces complemented the bright red peppers, perfectly interpreting the “colour” of the dish [1]. Tian Xiaoduo, Yang Yong, Fang Tao and rest of the chef couldn’t wait to try it.

 

This means that this dish fulfilled the criteria for “smell” [1].

 

What about the “taste” [1] of this dish?

 

Tian Xiaoduo picked up a pair of bamboo chopsticks and placed a piece of chicken in to his mouth. The first impression he had of this dish is spicy, spicy, spicy to the extreme.  But it is also tasty to the extreme.  There was a hint of tangy taste. When he gentle bite the chicken, he could feel a crispy, exquisite taste.

 

His eyes were suddenly filled with tears. It was unknown if he cried because it was so spicy or because he was moved by this taste. He chewed carefully to ensure that his sensitive tongue would appreciate the taste of this dish.

 

“Spicy and delicious, crisp and fragrant, this dish is amazing!” Tian Xiaoduo shouted out loud. Then he turned to look at Ye Chui, “Brother, this dish… this dish. What’s the name of the dish?”

 

“This dish is called La Zi Ji (Spicy Chicken).” Ye Chui smiled as he gently explained.

 

…….

 

Notes

[1] This was referring to the criteria used to judge Chinese cooking. In ancient China, all food is judge by 5 criteria as follows:色,香,味,形,意 But the criteria used in this chapter only used the first three criteria to judge the dish. The other two criteria形,意are not evaluated. I guess this happened because of the vegetarian movement.

 

Colour色– refers to the look of the dish. The dish should look appetising. This is the first impression of the dish. This is why many top grade Chinese restaurants added elaborated sculptures to their food to improve the colour of the dish.

 

Smell香– refers to the smell of the dish. The dish should smell good. If the food smells bad, many people could not stand it, and will not eat it. This is the second impression of the dish.

 

Taste味– refers to the taste of the dish. The dish should taste wonderful.

 

[2] Face is a unique Chinese concept. It means not to embarrass others or to respect others. To give someone some face is to give in to them and not embarrass them out of respect for them.

 

 

 

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Translated by Prosperous Food dot Com

Rehosted by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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