This one formula is an antidote in a pill form. I presume it is a sort of general antidote as opposed to a specific antidote against a particular poison.
Ingredients include realgar 雄黄 and cinnabar 朱砂. This formula looks complicated, and apparently requires blood of a white duck to be mixed with the realgar and cinnabar, then steam and sun-dried - repeat eight more times (altogether nine times). Then the process continues and requires the mixture to be added to various other stuff (including mung bean milk - not soya bean milk), steamed and dried three times.
If a person had taken poison and requires this formula, I am sure the person would have died long before the antidote is ready.
Note that realgar contains arsenic, and cinnabar contains mercury, both which are poisons.
1) Nine plates and nine bowls, making 18 dishes altogether.
1) Braised beef (boneless) hind shank 2) Braised pork belly 3) (Pork) Meat floss 4) Cold cuts of beef 5) Fried beef 6) Belly pork boiled, then marinated with fish sauce, sliced and served with a sauce made of minced garlic and aged vinegar (they are really into vinegar in this region). 7) Belly pork stewed until soft, then deep fired (akin to twice cooked pork) 8) Meat balls made of minced pork and prawns, served in a light chicken broth 9) Glutinous rice (I would serve fried with mushrooms, dried prawns, Chinese sausage, garnished with sliced chilli and deep fried peanuts
1) Pig trotter stewed in clear stock, in aspic (served cold, jelly like) 2) Stewed pigs ears 3) Stewed pig cheek 4) Beef (I would serve sliced, fried with leek) 5) Seaweed (I would serve cold, tossed in sesame seed oil and soya sauce, topped with fried sesame seed and crushed fried peanuts) 6) Kelp (I would serve cold, lightly tossed in sesame seed oil) 7) Dragon claws – this is fern fronds (bracken) – I would serve fried with minced garlic with oyster sauce 8) Dried prawns – I would serve as is, first soaked in hot water to soften, then deep fried over high heat; the water in the prawn would turn into steam and thus “puff” up the dried prawns, making them less dense if not a bit crunchy. 9) Agar-agar – I would serve this similar to aspic chicken – cook chicken in chicken stock, remove bones, tear up the meat then dissolve agar-agar in chicken stock, pour over the shredded chicken and serve after it has set.
Does this sound appetizing? There is a glaring lack of vegetables though.
Both kelp and agar-agar had been featured quite often in the banquets as stated in the display on Armed Escort Banquet Menu.
This is a picture of some cold starters I ate, and it featured kelp and agar-agar. I had labelled them accordingly. The kelp were presented as thin green strips, and the agar-agar were in a beautiful translucent golden strips. Enjoy....
Apparently, the 4 x 4 banquet comprises Four bowls of seafood delicacies, Four main (meat) dishes, Four bowls of broth/chowder and Four plates of minor dishes.
A more luxurious presentation of this banquet will commence with Sixteen starters/Hors d'oeuvres comprising Four presentations of dimsum/finger food, Four fresh fruits, Four dried fruits, and four snacks.
Sixteen starters/Hors d'oeuvres
a) Kelp, agar-agar (I would make this savoury, flavoured with beef broth and set, then cut to strips), fern frond/bracken (blanched and served with oyster sauce), sea-rice, which I interpret as dried prawns (soaked in hot water until softened, then deep fried to puff them up – delicious as snack to company liquor – I choose this over pretzels) b) Fresh bananas, kumquats, pineapples, apples c) Dried plums, “mendong” – I only know a medicinal herb by this name, so I am lost on this one, dried marrows, honey jujube d) Sliced beef (I would present dried beef, sliced), sliced pork, pork ribs simmered in rock sugar, chicken tongue simmered in soya sauce.
Four Seafood delicacies:-
a) Sea cucumber stewed with boneless beef shin b) Braised pork (I would add abalone since this is supposed to be seafood delicacies) c) Meat floss – I would flavour with fish sauce d) Eight treasure congee – this is a rice broth with eight types of nuts etc., inter alia lotus seeds, red jujube. I would add in shredded dried scallops (soaked and then deep fried) for extra flavour and texture.
Four Main (Meat) dishes
a) Cuttlefish (calamari) in sweetened balsamic vinegar b) Twice cooked pork fried with wood fungus c) More popularly known as 木须肉 these days, this is a dish with fried pork slices, fried eggs, cloud (black) fungus, and dried tiger lily buds 金针花 d) Fried vegetables – in this case, with chicken meat, since there are two pork and one beef dishes already. Mutton might is also possible, but I would prefer something more on the plain side to refresh the palate.
Four broth/chowder (烩 as a style of cooking is meats etc. served in – not with – a lot of thick sauce/soup – sort of like a chowder)
a) Thickened soup with fresh fish, pork and chicken b) Lightly thickened soup with Fish maw and meat balls made of minced pork and prawn c) Lotus seed in a light savoury broth d) (Glutinous) Wine lees and poached egg in a light syrup (I have had this before - I love it!)
Four plates of minor dishes
a) Fried beef slices b) Fried mutton with vegetables c) Slice chicken breast fried with chillis d) Meat balls in sweet balsamic vinegar
Desserts – I am too lazy to translate these – not that there are any English equivalent anyway.
I don't think I will be doing anymore translating of the dishes. It is very hard work.