Saturday, November 27, 2010

nanking sweet potatoes quest

11/27/2010: So Beckey bought some sweet potatoes for T-Day, and I'd been hankering to make the ones that I've had with the sesame chicken at the House of Nanking in San Francisco.

Years ago, I found a book of San Francisco recipes that listed how to make these. I remember making them at my mom's for Chrismas, I think, with Beckey, but they turned out just OK, maybe too much soy sauce.

So I tried two different versions this evening. Both were pretty good, but not exactly Nanking-style.

Here are the two versions; the basic procedure is the same, just the sauce recipe varies.

Nanking-style Sweet Potatoes V1

1/2 large sweet potato, sliced somewhere between 1/8" - 1/4" on mandoline
4c. canola oil

1 tsp sesame oil

1 green onion, sliced, for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in small saute pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, let reduce for 5 minutes, and turn off heat.
  2. In small batches, fry sweet potatoes at 350-375F for 1 minute, then remove onto paper towels to drain and cool.
  3. When first fry is complete, heat oil to 375F, and fry potatoes again in batches, for about 1 minute, remove and drain.
  4. When complete, reheat sauce to boil, add potatoes to sauce, toss.
  6. Serve at once, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.
Sauce V1

1/4c. light soy sauce
1/4c. rice wine vinegar
1/4c. white sugar
1 tsp worcheshire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp homemade pickled ginger (or fresh ginger)

Sauce V1 Results
  • A bit too sweet and too salty
  • Also a bit too much ginger
  • Nice caramelization, I cooked for 10 minutes, maybe too caramelized, very thick and sticky

Sauce V2

3 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4c. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp worcheshire sauce
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp homemade pickled ginger (or fresh ginger)
1 pinch red chili flakes

Sauce V2 results
  • Better balance
  • A bit spicy; omit chili flakes next time
  • Still maybe too garlicky
  • Less soy sauce (2 tbsp)
  • Add chicken stock (1/4c) and let reduce
  • Try re-adding worcheshire?

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