Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spicy Chinese Recipe Is a Secret No Longer

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spicy Chinese Recipe Is a Secret No Longer

Article excerpt

A FEW months ago, when Yan Jin of south St. Louis sent us the recipe for one of her favorite dishes, she had something she no longer has. Time to cook.

But ever since she started her residency in internal medicine at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Jin not only has no time to cook, she barely has time to eat.

"I'm still trying to find some easy recipes that I can cook when I'm in the mood," she said. But since she has so little time to devote to the search, her success has been minimal. Since coming to this country 3 1/2 years ago from her home near Shanghai, Jin has discovered a few American foods that she now falls back on. Pizza, for example. She'd like to be able to make her own, she said, but so far she hasn't mastered the knack of working with yeast doughs. "My friends tell me it takes practice," she said. But since she has no time to practice, she settles for the takeout variety. The worst part about all of this is that Jin really enjoys cooking. In fact, when Jin came to the United States after graduating from medical school in China, she studied nutritional sciences at the University of Vermont, thinking she might incorporate her love of food and cooking into her career. When her husband's career brought the couple to St. Louis last October, Jin was able to put some of her new-found nutritional knowledge to work in her own kitchen, modifying recipes to make them lower in fat and calories. One of her favorite success stories is cheesecake, something she and her husband both love. Feeling guilty about all the fat in this decadent dessert, Jin came up with a version using fat-free yogurt cheese, which she makes herself. At least, she used to - when she had time. She also used to make a chicken and shrimp stir-fry that she first tasted in a Chinese restaurant called the Panda Inn in Burlington, Vt. The dish, known as chicken and shrimp soong, was the restaurant's "secret" specialty - secret because it wasn't listed on the menu. "When I ordered it for the first time, the hostess asked me who recommended the dish to me," said Jin, who had been told about it by a classmate. …

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