Happy Chinese New Year! As a way to celebrate the new year I watched Eat Drink Man Woman, which is fantastic. The story-line is amusing, the food scenes are excellent, and the dynamics between the characters feel genuine. Let’s get back to the food part. The opening of Eat Drink Man Woman is mesmerizing. Master chef Chu is shown cooking an elaborate Sunday meal for his three daughters, Jia-Ning, Jia-Cheng, and Jia-Jen. He kills and guts live fish and turns them in a delicious-looking soup. He roasts duck and makes perfectly wrapped dumplings from scratch. His actions are documented as he makes his way through the meal, and watching Chef Chu create this meal is both awe-inspiring and hunger-inducing.
Eat Drink Man Woman is an entertaining romantic comedy about Chef Chu and his aforementioned three daughters. The film follows Chef Chu and each daughter as they fall in love and figure out what to do with their lives. All three daughters live with their father, and the movie shows what happens to each of them at this time in their lives. Eat Drink Man Woman is co-written and directed by Ang Lee, who has directed movies such as Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Life of Pi. There is no shortage of food in this movie – from the restaurant Chef Chu runs to the Sunday meals he makes to the school lunches he creates each day for his neighbor. As soon as the movie is over you will want to get in the kitchen and start making shrimp dumplings and tofu dishes.
During the opening scene, Chef Chu is seen talking on the phone offering cooking advice to a friend. He tells the person on the other end of the line to not salt fish as it will dry it out. Ironically, I chose to make a Fried Salted Cod Cake with this movie to show how salted cod, in fact, can actually be quite moist and delicious. Cod is one of the five frequently consumed fish species in Taiwan, which is where this movie takes place.
These Fried Salted Cod Cakes are insanely good. They’re almost like big round fish sticks with tartar mixed in. They are smooth and creamy with a delightful sour bite to it. Soaking the salted cod takes a while (8 hours-overnight) but once the prep is finished the cakes are fairly quick to put together. Even though the cod is salted, I have a feeling that if Chef Chu tasted these cakes he wouldn’t disapprove.
Fried Salted Cod Cakes
4 russet potatoes, large dice
5 tablespoons butter
2/3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup half & half
Salt and pepper to taste
Fried Salted Cod Cakes
½ pound salted cod, soaked for 8 hours and shredded (with hands)
5 baby sour gherkins
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1¾ cup mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3-4 cups Panko Bread Crumbs, for covering cakes
1. Add the potatoes to a stockpot. Fill the pot with cold water that covers the potatoes by 2-3 inches.
2. Start boiling the potatoes over high heat. Let the potatoes boil until they are so soft you can stick a fork in them easily.
3. In a separate saucepan, warm the butter, heavy cream, and half & half. Once warm, set aside.
4. When the potatoes are soft, strain. Add back into the empty pot and stir over low heat for four minutes. This helps make the mashed potatoes fluffy.
5. In the pot, or a different mixing bowl, add the cream mixture to the potatoes and whisk with a handheld mixer. Add salt and pepper. Mix until the mashed potatoes are smooth and combined.
6. Place the mashed potatoes in the fridge. You will need 1¾ cups of mashed potatoes for the fish cakes. There will be leftovers, so in the meantime don’t hold back on enjoying the mashed potatoes by the spoonful.
Fried Salted Cod Cakes
1. In a mixing bowl, add shredded salted cod. Add in the gherkins, garlic cloves, green onions, grated ginger, mashed potatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and egg. Mix well until combined.
2. Place this mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until firmer.
3. Once cooled, scoop out ¼ cup of the salted cod mixture and form into a patty with your hands.
4. On a clean table, place the Panko breadcrumbs in a pile. Fully cover each side of the salted cod patty with breadcrumbs.
5. n a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat for five minutes. When heated, fry the patties for three minutes on each side. When finished frying, place the patties on a paper towel to absorb excess grease.
6. Enjoy warm with green onions as garnish.
© A Dash of Cinema
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