Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Deep Fried Corn, Hubei-style (椒盐玉米)

Deep Fried Corn, Hubei-style (椒盐玉米)

Today, we wanted to show you how to make one
of my personal favorite dishes from the Hubei province… Jiaoyan Yumi, or Deep Fried corn. Now this dish is part of the Chinese Jiaoyan
flavor profile, a taste that you can find in a lot of different Chinese cuisines, but’s
often mistranslated into English as ‘salt and pepper’. Why the mistranslation? Well, because… at its core, ‘Jiaoyan’
refers to a mix of salt, that is, Yan and Sichuan peppercorn that is, Huajiao. Pepper, meanwhile, uses that same Jiao character
(椒), and is sometimes also in the mix, thus the confusion. Now know there’s a ton local variants for
this Jiaoyan flavor… another classic Jiaoyan mix is salt, Sichuan peppercorn, fennel, and
dried tangerine peel… in Cantonese cooking it generally refers to a mix of salt, sand
ginger, and sometime white pepper powder… and we’ve even seen Jiaoyan refer to a mix
of salt and five spice powder. For our Hubei-style Jiaoyan spice mix, we’re
using a half teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorn powder and the cheap
powdered stuff actually works better here… a quarter teaspoon of white pepper powder,
and a half teaspoon of sugar together with a sprinkle of MSG to balance. Now just FYI for Hubei-style Jiaoyan that
white pepper’s actually kind of a rarity, but we quite like it, so feel free to go either
way there. So right, for this dish we’ll be frying
two small ears of fresh corn which should give us about 250 grams of kernels. Then we’ll be frying that corn together
with about eight dried chilis, sliced into 1 cm pieces and deseeded… three sprigs of
scallion, white and green portions separated and both thinly sliced, some aromatics, which
was an inch of ginger finely minced, three cloves of garlic, also finely minced, and
of course those scallion whites. Then together with that spice mix we just
made, that’s honestly it. So before deep-frying, we’ll give that corn
a quick blanch in hot water. So just add in your corn, cover, and let that
boil for about a minute and a half, or until you see the corn floating. Then just take those out, toss in a bowl of
cool water to stop the cooking process… or ice water if you feel strongly on the subject. Then transfer to a strainer and let those
dry off about fifteen minutes or so. Now to coat, some Jiaoyan dishes use just
cornstarch and some’ll coat with egg. We personally prefer the midpoint between
the two and add a little egg… so crack that, and beat it until no stray strands of egg
white remain. Now to your corn add in a tablespoon of cornstarch
and mix well… you’re looking for the cornstarch to’ve absorbed any obvious surface moisture. So then add in just a tablespoon of your beaten
egg, save the rest for fried rice or scrambled eggs or really whatever, and again feel free
to just skip if you prefer. Mix that well, then add five tablespoons of
cornstarch. Now, depending on how wet your corn kernels
were this might need a little more or little less starch, so we’re primarily going by
texture here. I know with the bowl we’re using it’s
a little hard to tell what’s going on, so what you can see here is that the corn’s
kinda sticking together but when you grab the corn the individual kernels can still
easily flow from your hand. For us, this took an extra tablespoon of starch
to get here with this batch, so six in all, and now… we can deep fry. So in a wok get a couple cups of oil up to
180 centigrade and with the flame on high… toss in the corn. Fry that for about 45 seconds, then shut off
the heat and take it out. Then we’ll do a double fry to crisp things
up… so heat the oil up to at least 195 centigrade, drop in the corn, fry for literally just ten
seconds, then take it out and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Now, to stir-fry. As always, first longyau… get your wok piping
hot, shut off the heat, add in a touch or about a half tablespoon of oil, and give it
a swirl to get a nice nonstick surface. Flame on high now, immediately go in with
the aromatics. Now the reason the oil quantity’s so low
here is because for Jiaoyan dishes you really want to keep everything dry and crispy…
so just a quick fifteen second fry until fragrant then in with the chilis. Quick ten second fry, then toss in your fried
corn. Give that all another brief ten second fry
together, then toss in your powdered seasoning and fry that all together for one more minute
until you can see the seasoning’s evenly mixed in. Scallion greens, in, quick fifteen second
fry, heat off, and… out. Hubei-style deep fried corn, done. So this makes for a pretty easy and simple
weeknight dish, although I know many of you may be scared of deep frying… so what we
do is have a little pot like this and put it next to our wok. And then we strain the oil back in every time
we’re finished using it… and change the oil about like once every week. So this makes for a very handy set-up. But – I also know you probably don’t want
to get in the habit of deep frying for health reasons, but there’s also another very important
step in [some] stir fries called “passing through oil”… which takes the meat and
dips it in high temperature oil for about twenty seconds. This step makes for very juicy meat and barely
adds any calories! So it’d be a great way to use up that oil. So check out the Reddit link in the description
box for a detailed recipe… a big thank you to everyone supporting us on Patreon – and
as always, subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.

49 comments on “Deep Fried Corn, Hubei-style (椒盐玉米)

  1. Hi good day everyone and I would like to ask you a question, how does this recipe comes from and where does it started? I want to find out because when I watched your today's recipe video, it's seems interesting and very delicious too.

  2. Looks great! Quick question, and sorry if you've covered this before. Can you recommend a brand of Wok that could be found in the US? I'm at the point where i want to get something that will season well and last for some time but a bit clueless od what to look for.

  3. Since you're tackling the salt and "pepper" flavour profile, will you also be doing Salt and Pepper Pork and Salt and Pepper Squid?

    As for the oil, I personally go the extra step of filtering the oil with either paper towels or with coffee filters to make the oil last longer.

  4. So beautiful and def looks so tasty. I would have added some garlic but hey, I roll like that so who cares! The technique is awesome, and since it's peak corn time here in Boston, gonna do Jiaoyan! Thanks as always.

  5. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. Ok, so apologies for the lengthy outro this time, it’s just a question a lot of people’ve had in the comments. Just to expand a little bit – we generally have about 3-4 cups of oil in that little pot. We said weekly there, but AFAIK the general rule of thumb for frying oil is to change it after ~10 uses. For us, that’s 1-2 weeks, but we’ll usually just kinda eyeball it.

    2. So regarding passing through oil – just to clarify, it’s a useful step in a lot of meat-based stir-fries. We illustrated the technique here in our stir-fry 101 vid: It’s a step that is almost always done in restaurants, but pretty rarely in home kitchens. If you ever find your stir fried meat to be missing ‘that restaurant taste’, it’s probably more to do with passing through oil than your burner or whatever.

    3. I’d really like to get a source for you guys on our ‘coatingless deep fry at high temperature for less than 30 seconds adds basically no calories’ claim, I really would. Could’ve sworn I saw a SeriousEats article from Kenji on the topic but after a quick google no avail. Perhaps it was a NYT article or an Alton Brown show? Gah. Whatever. So just know that we could be swimming without a paddle there.

    4. Besides passing through oil, another use for your ‘side oil bowl’ is to longyau – but not the way we instruct you to. The actual proper way they’ll longyau at restaurants is (1) get your wok piping hot (2) off the flame (though apparently from watching Wang Gang some chefs do it over the flame) toss in a glug on your side oil (3) give it a swirl to get a non-stick surface (4) pour all the oil back into the bowl. For us, we tend to opt for that method when our oil’s fresh, and the method we outline in the videos after a couple rounds of frying with the stuff.

    5. There’s a convincing argument to be made that we should’ve just titled this “salt and pepper corn”. I mean, in defense of the common translation what else would be a good shorthand word for ‘Sichuan peppercorn’ besides ‘pepper’? I dunno. I guess just as a dude that grew up in the US “Salt and Pepper” just can’t be separated from, you know… the seasoning pairing that’s on every table and in every dish.

    6. Hopefully was able to time this to go along with corn season where you are. Pretty sure I remember August was the time in the USA? It’s August/September here.

    7. Speaking of the USA, the other day I was making some Mac N Cheese (my American comfort food and probably one of the only Western dishes I make nowadays)… and ate it alongside this dish and some of the NW-style cumin roast lamb that we’re testing for next week’s video. The meal felt weirdly… American if that makes any sense at all? Even though Sichuan peppercorn isn’t exactly a Western ingredient… and people in the US rarely eat lamb… and the Chinese BBQ spice mix on the lamb is so distinctively Chinese… I dunno. It all weirdly worked together. Try that combination of dishes after we toss out the lamb recipe next week – see if you agree with me.

  6. Hey, do you find the burner you cook with is sufficient for all your chinese needs? Do you know the BTU output of it? I dont think any of the butane ones we have here in america are that strong. Thanks!

  7. My favorite corn recipe: Start a wood fire anywhere safe, throw un-shucked ears of fresh corn on top of burning embers and rotate until husks are blackened, remove from heat, pull off silk and eat with or without butter or salt. Ta-Da!

  8. OP where do you find the three tray container for cornstarch, salt, and sugar?

    I can’t find those at the asian market here, even.

  9. Any reason Chinese recipes mostly use white pepper powder? There's not really a taste difference between black and white pepper powder right?

  10. Well, since I'm allergic to corn, maybe I'll do this with chickpeas. Corn is so completely toxic. If anyone watching this has celiacs disease or gluten sensitivity, know that you can't eat corn.

  11. I'm from Hubei, so glad to see cooking from my hometown. Good job! Your channel is seriously underrated. You deserve 1m subscriptions. There are things I especially appreciate about your channel: 1. your cooking is 100% authentic, 2. your cooking is very homestyle, easy to replicate, no jet engine needed. 3. you guys seem to be very knowledgeable in both western and chinese cooking, many comparisons and suggestions make so much sense for people not living in China. Hands down, the best youtube channel for westerner to learn chinese cuisine!

  12. Lol "or ice water if you feel strongly on the subject" love the lowkey humor of this channel so much 😋😋😋

  13. The thumbnail looked like hominy at first. I see you're using fresh corn in this recipe, but I'm curious whether hominy (or Pozole, or nixtamalized (soaked in lime) corn) is ever used in China? Anyone know?

  14. I saw in comments below someone saying the corn looked like hominy. Is the corn "field corn" or "sweet corn?"

  15. Do you use paper filter for your oil in pot or just left them sink at bottom and just pour out upper portion next time you use them oils?

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