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An Interview with Martin Yan (ºÂ ¤å ¹F)

Sally and Antonia interview Martin Yan (cooking teacher, cookbook author, and host of the popular television show "Yan Can Cook.")

Interview Time (23:15)

Check out these recipes while enjoying the interview...


Wok Smoked Fish

1-1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as sea bass or red snapper, about 1/2-inch thick


2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/4 cup rice wine or dry sherry
3 tablespoons regular soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns

Smoking Mixture:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/3 cup black or oolong tea leaves
Julienned honeydew melon and cantaloupe for garnish

Cut fish crosswise to make 3-inch square pieces. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add fish and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Combine smoking mixture ingredients and spread evenly in a foil-lined wok. Set a round cake rack over smoking mixture. Place fish on rack and place wok over high heat.

When mixture begins to smoke, cover wok with a foil-lined lid; reduce heat to medium-low and smoke until fish flakes with a fork, 7 to 8 minutes.

Turn off heat and allow to sit with lid on for 5 minutes. Serve fish hot or cold, garnished with melon.

Asparagus with Sweet and Pungent Dressing

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon salt


2 tablespoons plum sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili oil
2 teaspoons sugar and honey
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
Chopped toasted walnuts for garnish

Cut asparagus diagonally into 1-l/2 inch slices. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add oil, salt, and asparagus. Cook until asparagus is crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Pat dry with paper towels.

Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add asparagus and toss to coat.

Arrange asparagus on a serving plate and garnish with walnuts.

Ginger-Date Wontons


1/3 cup chopped walnuts
6 Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon butter, softened
24 wonton wrappers
Cooking oil for deep-frying

Combine filling ingredients in a bowl; mix well.

To make each wonton, place 1 teapsoon filling in center of a wonton wrapper; keep remaining wrappers covered to prevent drying. Brush edges of wrapper with water and fold wrapper in half to form a triangle. Pinch edges to seal. Pull two opposite corners together, moisten one corner, and overlap with the other corner; press to seal. Cover filled wontons with a dry towel to prevent drying.

Heat oil in a wok to 360F over medium-high heat. Deep-fry wontons, half at a time, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve hot or cold.

A tip on serving wine or tea in China


In China, there's a whole code of etiquette surrounding the serving of wine and tea. If you're pouring wine for a guest, always fill the glass to the brim as a sign of respect. With tea, it's a different story: filling the cup more than half-way is a sign of disrespect. When it comes to toasting, show respect by clinking your glass below your guest's. If you get confused, just remember my first rule of dining etiquette: "be nice, and always offer to pick up the tab."