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Talking Points: Thanksgiving Issue, 2014

A special recipe from Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook fame.
November 26, 2014

Talking Points

Thanksgiving Issue, 2014 


Happy Thanksgiving! 感恩节好!

If this gorgeous pumpkin stew is making you hungry, it’s okay to skip down to the recipe below. (Photos courtesy of Martin Yan.) Click here to read our regular Talking Points issue from earlier this week.

We at the USC U.S.-China Institute have much to be grateful for, beginning with those who give time, energy, and money to support and participate in our efforts. These include a wide variety of people in the U.S., China, and elsewhere. And it includes you. Thank you for reading Talking Points and encouraging others to join our mailing list.

Martin Yan 甄 文 達 loves food, loves preparing it, and sharing his passion for it with others. In a career


spanning four decades, Yan has produced more than 3,500 television episodes which have been broadcast in more than 50 countries. More people have seen prepare Chinese food than any other chef in America. His 30 cookbooks have helped many explore different Chinese cuisines. In addition, he has three restaurants, takes fans on culinary tours, and runs a culinary academy in Shenzhen. His energy, knowledge, and infectious enthusiasm has won him legions of fans and two prestigious James Beard Awards for the top food documentary.

Yan was born in Guangzhou and grew up in his mother’s restaurant. He was trained in Hong Kong and eventually moved to Canada. On a slow news day, a local station asked him to prepare a dish on air. The industry that is Martin Yan was born. He describes himself as a cultural ambassador.

Yan’s knife work is legendary. The San Jose Mercury News reported that even students at his culinary academy, who have presumably seen the master’s knife work on television, were stunned when he deboned a chicken in just 15 seconds. But Yan argues that good cooks don’t just have the mechanics down, but also pay attention to the science of cooking. Though he’d been working in restaurants for ten years, he enrolled at the University of California, Davis and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science.


Below is the recipe for Chef Yan’s pumpkin stew 杞子燴南瓜. To learn more about Yan, please visit his website and Facebook page. Both have plenty of videos with Yan’s trademark humor and skills. His new television show is Martin Yan’s Taste of Vietnam and is being aired on public television stations across the U.S. A big thanks to Chef Yan for selecting this recipe for Talking Points readers.

Getting hungry?  Previous Thanksgiving specials from Madame Wu and Ming Tsai are available. 

Early tomorrow, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City will feature a Chinese-themed float, the first ever in the parade. It’s called the Beauty of Beijing and was sponsored by a community group (it will be the third

 Children and others were invited to see the float ahead of time in New Jersey.

float in the parade). This float hasn’t garnered the attention or criticism that befell a Chinese-themed float that was part of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on June 1, 2009. When will a Chinese cartoon character balloon join Pikachu, Hello Kitty, and Spiderman floating above the streets?

Please join us on Facebook and Twitter, we look forward to hearing from you at Again, many thanks for reading and for supporting the institute. If you can, please consider making a financial contribution. All gifts help and are appreciated.
Best wishes, 
The USC U.S.-China Institute
 -- a program of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism


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Pumpkin Stew
Makes 4 - 6 servings

12 oz pumpkin
1 tablespoon ham, diced
2 tablespoons dried wolfberries, soaked and drained (optional)
2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup canned bamboo shoots
Cooking oil for deep-frying

2/3 cup soup stock or water
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Cooking Method
1. Peel, seed and cut pumpkin into 1-inch pieces. Heat cooking oil for deep-frying over high heat. Add pumpkin; deep-fry 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside. Combine seasoning ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a hot claypot over high heat. Add ham, stir-fry until fragrant. Add pumpkin, wolfberries, and green onions; stir fry 2 minutes. Add bamboo shoots and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 5 minutes or until pumpkin softens. Serve.



南瓜, 切小塊 300 克
素火腿, 切小粒 20 克
杞子, 浸軟 2 茶匙
蔥, 切段 2 條
罐頭油燜筍 70 克

上湯或水 2/3 杯
淡奶 (Evaporated Milk) 2 湯匙
酒 2 茶匙
麻油 2 茶匙
鹽 1/2茶匙
糖 1/2茶匙
白胡椒粉 1/4茶匙

1. 大火燒熱炸油, 炸南瓜2分鐘至金黃色, 取出瀝油; 調味料拌勻, 備用。

2. 大火燒熱1 湯匙油, 炒香素火腿, 加入南瓜、杞子及蔥炒2分鐘, 加入油燜筍及調味料, 加蓋, 中火燜5分鐘, 盛碗, 趁熱享用。
Copyright by Yan Can Cook, Inc. 2014

USC | California | North America | Exhibitions   

USCeventsUSC Events
01/23/2015: Screening: Roulette City
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0357
Time: 5:00 - 9:00PM
Cost: Free
USC Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures presents "Roulette City", a film about a boy named Tak who goes to Macau and learns about luck, loyalty, and love. The screening will be followed by a talk with writer/director Thomas Lim. 

CACalifornia Events 


11/30/2014: Exclusive Pre-release Presentation & Book Signing: Mystery of the Giant Masks of Sanxingdui
Bowers Museum, Kershaw Auditorium
2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Time: 1:30PM - 2:30PM
Cost: Free to members; free with paid admission; $8 individual
At Bowers Museum, Icy Smith, author, educator and publisher, East West Discovery Press, and Gayle Garner Roski, illustrator and artist, will present the book Mystery of the Giant Masks of Sanxingdui.


12/04/2014: 1943 - China at the Crossroads
UC Berkeley, 180 Doe Library
412 McLaughlin Hall, Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Time: 12:00PM - 2:00PM
The Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley presents a talk with Professor Joseph Esherick to discuss China's one critical year, 1943.


12/04/2014: How to Commit to the Traumatic Past: Knowledge and Book Space in Ding Yaokang, Sequel to "Plum in the Golden Vase"
UCLA, Bunche Hall 10383
315 Portola Plaza , Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Cost: Free
The UCLA Center for Chinese Studies presents Dr. Xiaoqiao Ling, speaking about Ding Yaokang's novel sequel to Xu Jin Ping Mei (A sequel to Plum in a Golden Vase).


12/04/2014: Indian Literature and Culture in Medieval China: A Focus on Manuscripts from Dunhuang and Turfan
Stanford University, Main Quad, Building 70, Room 72A1
450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford presents a lecture with Professor Chen Ming from Peking University discussing translations of Indian manuscripts from Dunhuang and Turfan.


12/04/2014: From Baghdad to Beijing: Reflections of a Foreign Correspondent
UC San Diego, The Great Hall
9500 Gilman Dr #0550, La Jolla, CA 92093
Time: 6:30PM - 8:30PM
Cost: Free
21st Century China Program presents foreign correspondent Evan Osnos. He will discuss his new book "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China," as well as his reflections on the pitfalls and challenges of being a foreign correspondent.


12/05/2014: Organized Knowledge and State Socialism, 1949-1978
UC Berkeley, Institute of East Asian Studies, Fifth floor conference room
1995 University Avenue, Berkeley, California 94720-2318
Time: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
UC Berkeley presents a workshop investigating knowledge production during the Maoist period (1949-1978) of the People's Republic of China. 


NANorth America Events
12/02/2014: Social Mobility and Revolution: The Impact of the Abolition of China's Civil Service Exam System
University of Chicago, Pick Hall, Lounge
5828 South University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
The University of Chicago's Center of East Asians Studies presents a workshop discussing the abolition of China's imperial examination.

12/02/2014: Authors & Asia: Eric Liu, A Chinaman's Chance
Asia Society
1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX 77004
Time: 7:00PM
Cost: $15 Member, $25 Nonmembers
Asia Society presents Eric Liu, author of "A Chairman's Chance." This presentation traverses his family's history, culture, and future, piecing together a sense of Chinese American identity-and American identity itself.

12/07/2014: Screening - The Puppetmaster
Freer Gallery of Art-Meyer Auditorium
1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
Time: 2:00PM - 4:25PM
The Smithsonian's Museum of Asian Art presents a screening of Hou Hsiao-hsien's film "The Puppetmaster". Richard Suchenski, director of the Center for Moving Image Arts at Bard College and editor of Hou Hsiao-hsien, will introduce the screening and do a book signing.  
Below are exhibitions ending in the next two weeks. Please visit the main exhibitions calendarfor a complete list of ongoing exhibitions. 
ends 12/07/2014: Chen Shaoxiong: Ink. History. Media
Asian Art Museum- Foster Galleries
1400 East Prospect Street, Seattle, WA 98112
Chen Shaoxiong (born 1962) was a founding member of the "Big Tail Elephant Group" of conceptual artists in Guangzhou in the 1990's. Today, he works both independently and collaboratively as a member of an Asian artist collective called "Xijing Men" as well as another Chinese artist collective, "Project without Space." His art crosses mediums, including painting, photography, collage, and conceptual art.

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