Brave new world: Kung pao chicken video

You can sort of see the ginger juice glistening on the place here, but it comes across better on video.

The News has asked me to start making cooking videos to go with my Elements column that runs every other Sunday. The articles can be found on Page 4 of the Spotlight section.

There’s some background on the ingredient, spice, herb – the “element” – and a recipe chosen to show it off and convince people to broaden their horizons. The most recent one is about ginger, and it’s this link, which duplicates the print edition, that contains the detailed recipe.

Here’s the video, as I walk you through kung pao chicken. (It might be preceded by a short ad, sorry.)

The process of putting the resulting video together has been by turns frustrating, enjoyable and educational. I’m learning that how things look, and how they are illuminated, is just as important as the words I use to communicate to my audience.

The benefits are many – the most obvious ones being the ability to harness sound and movement to tell the story. I can tell you that fresh ginger should ooze juice when you grate it, but it’s better to also see the trickle of juice down a plate. I can write that your pan should be so hot the ginger or other stir fry ingredients sizzle on contact – but when you hear it hissssss as the ginger hits the pan, it should stick better with readers.

For someone who’s been pretty much a word guy for 24 years as a published writer, I have a lot to learn. I realize upon watching the video now that I need to make better decisions about the visuals I need to get my message across.

But with the hard work and good suggestions of News videographer Lauren Mariacher, plus coaching from News photo ace Bill Wippert, the result’s not too bad. Considering I’m a total video rookie.

Let the razzing begin! Helpful feedback welcome too.

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Filed under food, poultry, recipes, video

4 responses to “Brave new world: Kung pao chicken video

  1. Lauren Newkirk Maynard

    No razzle, just dazzle AZ. You make it look so easy. Here’s to giving Bittman a run for his money!

  2. Julie

    Great Job – I can’t wait to see more.

  3. Jeff

    Did I miss it or didn’t you mention what was in the sauce? I think you mentioned cornstarch but I had the impression it was a marinade as well for the chicken.
    Usually, the dish incorporates Sichuan peppercorns or chiles to add some heat.
    I see you used chicken thighs which I too find are better for stir fries.
    It’s a great video and hopefully, the simplicity will encourage dining diversity in Buffalo.

  4. I never copied the recipe from the Buffalo News site, and now it’s only available in the archives. Is it possible to get it from you? I love making stir fries (in my favourite kitchen tool I own: my $16 wok) and am anxious to try this one out.

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