Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Mutton Brandy and Lamb Wine.

Mutton Brandy and Lamb Wine.

Yesterday I gave you an extract from Thomas Astley’s travelogue A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels ... in Europe, Asia, Africa and America ..., Also the Manners and Customs of the Several Inhabitants, published in 1747. Here we pick up where Astley left us yesterday:

Though Tea is their most usual Liquor, yet they often drink Wine, made of a Kind of Rice different from that which is eaten. There are different Sorts, and various Ways of making it: the following is one: They let the Rice soak in Water, with some other Ingredients, for twenty or thirty Days: afterwards boiling it till it is dissolved, it immediately ferments, and is covered with light Froth, like that of new Wines: Under this Froth is very pure Wine; and the Clear being drawn off into well-glazed Vessels, they make of the Lees, which remain, a Kind of Brandy, sometimes stronger, and more inflammable, than the European. There is great Vent for it among the People. That which the Mandarins make use of, comes from certain Cities, where it is reckoned very delicious: That of Vu-si hyen, in Kyang-nan, is in great Esteem, owing to the Goodness of the Water found there. But that brought from Shau-hing fu, in Che-kyan, is in greater Request, as being more wholesome.

They have a Kind of very strong Spirit, or distilled Water, said to be drawn from Mutton, which the Emperor, Kang-hi, drank sometimes; but few make use of it besides the Tartars, as it has a disagreeable Taste, and soon intoxicates. They have another very extraordinary Sort of Wine, made in the Province of Shen-si, and called Kau-yang-tsyew, or Lamb’s Wine: It is very strong, and has a disagreeable Smell; but among the Tartars chiefly, it passes for excellent Liquor: None of it is carried into other Countries.

The Chinese have several other Sorts of Liquors; some mentioned in the Dutch Embassies, as the Saan-su distilled from Milk; and Bean broth: This Nieuhof seems to call Tartarian Tea. Cunningham, in his Account of the Island of Chew-shan, says, what is called Bean-Broth, is only an Emulsion made of the Seed of Sesamum, and hot Water. The Tartars use Camel’s, as well as Colt’s Flesh, in their Feasts, as great Dainties.

Sadly, I am completely unable to give you the instructions for making your own Mutton Brandy or Lamb Wine, but the process is essentially along the same principles as old English Cock Ale or Viper Wine.

As the recipe for the day I have decided to go to the other end of the spectrum, and give you the instructions for smoked duck, from a fine book called Pei Mei's Chinese Cook Book (1969.) The introduction contains a short bio of the author:

Miss Fu Pie-Mei, Taiwan' s celebrated television chef, has had about fifteen years' experience in demonstrating the art of Chinese cookery. Her association with ladies of many other countries , who have shown interest in her art, has encouraged her to present this most comprehensive book in English and Chinese.

She has skillfully compiled and up-dated recipes for more than one hundred traditional dishes which will appeal to both western and eastern tastes. Hopefully, the ease with which these dishes can be prepared will increase interest in Oriental cuisine and encourage further r search by young and old cooks alike ,

I congratulate Miss Fu and trust that her book will further advance the friendship and interest between the Chinese and American people.

Camphor and Tea Smoked Duck
1 Duck (about 4 lb.,)                        2 C Wood chips (Camphor wood is best)
3 T Salt                                               ½ C Black tea leaves
2 T Brown peppercorn                    8 C Peanut oil
2 t Saltpeter                                      a little fruit peel (orange or lemon)
1. Fry peppercorns and salt in dry pan over low heat about 1 minute, take
out and let cool, then mix with saltpeter. Rub the duck inside and out
2. Use string to hang the duck by the neck and place in shade in a windy area until very dry (about 6 hours)
3. In heavy iron pot place the wood chips, black tea leaves and fruit peel (well mixed together). Add a rock over this and place the duck on it. Cover. Smoke this about 10 minutes over low heat. Turn the duck and smoke for 5 minutes more. Duck will be brown.

4. Remove duck put in steamer to steam for 2 hours. Remove and deep fry until skin is crispy and very dark. Cut in 1" wide 2" long pieces, lay on platter. May be served with green onion and sweet bean paste. 


Joe Hopkins said...

As always you present totally fascinating and interesting topics.

In reviewing my copy of Fu MeiPei's cookbook, I believe it was published in 1969, not 1900. There is a mention of television being introduced to Taiwan. And, a further clue would be the reference to Taiwan, which didn't become separate from China until 1949.

That doesn't diminish your interesting blog, just shifts the time this recipe was published.

Anonymous said...

The date of 1900 for Pei-Mei's Cookbook must be erroneous. Other sources say the book was first published in 1969. There is a digital scan on which also lists the obviously false 1900 date:

A cursory glance will show that this book could not have possibly been published in 1900. The photos are obviously not that old and there are even references to the communist Chinese government in it!

Ann said...

1900? Television chef from Taiwan? Just inquiring.

The Old Foodie said...

OOPS! Thanks one and all. I sometimes do these posts on the fly, jammed in between my other committments, and my proof reading is .... sometimes non-existent. I am grateful to my mini-army of copy editors!