Chinese Cooking

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6:00-7:30 P.M. / Nov. 11th, 2016 / 3302 North Kohrman
In this workshop, you will learn:

1. Traditional Chinese hotpot condiment and food preparing

2. Red Dates, Longan and Tremella Dessert Soup 红枣桂圆银耳汤

Chinese hotpot , also known as Chinese fondue, is one of the most popular meals in China. It consists of a simmering metal pot of broth at the center of a table, and all raw ingredients placed beside the metal pot, so people can add and cook whatever they like in the broth.

Chongqing hotpot is the most famous hotpot in China , it can be found in almost every Chinese city. Chongqing hotpot is famous for its numbing and spicy flavor, resulting from a special seasoning — Chinese prickly pepper— and other spicy ingredients like chili added to it, which marks its difference from other types of hotpot. People gather around a small pot boiled with charcoal, electric or gas filled with flavorful and nutritious soup base. You have a choice of spicy, pure and combo for the soup base. Thin sliced raw variety meat, fish, various bean curd products and all kinds of vegetables are boiled in the soup base. You then dip them in a little bowl of special sauce. Be careful since the spicy soup base is burning hot. Chongqing people love their hotpot, especially when the weather is steamy. The fire dances under the pot, the heavily oiled and spiced soup boils with hazy steam, and the people are bathed in sweat. Although hotpot can be found wherever there are street vendors or small restaurants, Chongqing hotpot has the greatest variety and is known for its delicious soup base and dipping sauce.


Red Dates, Longan and Tremella Dessert Soup

A simple and easy made of Red Dates, Longan and Tremella (银耳) Dessert Soup benefits people’s lung and blood , its also very popular in Chinese women as its beneficial are more to whitening and skin care products.

Main ingredients: 3 Red dates, 10 dried longan, right amount of tremella, 2 small bowl of plain water

Seasoning: 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Steps:

1. Break longan shell. 2. Wash and remove the red dates kernel/seed. 3. Soak tremella with plain water till soften. 4. Bring red dates, longan flesh and tremella into a pot. Add in plain water and boil over high heat. Once boiled, turn to low heat and boil for another 30mins. 5. Add in brown sugar and stir well. Serve!

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Chinese cooking techniques (Chinese: 中餐烹調法) are a set of methods and techniques traditionally used in Chinese cuisine.The cooking techniques can either be grouped into ones that use a single cooking method or a combination of wet and dry cooking methods.

History

Chinese society greatly valued gastronomy and developed an extensive study of the subject based on its traditional medical beliefs. Chinese culture initially centered around the North China Plain. 

The first domesticated crops seem to have been the foxtail and broomcorn varieties of millet, while rice was cultivated in the south. By 2000 BC, wheat had arrived from western Asia. However, these grains were typically served as warm noodle soups instead of baked into bread as in Europe. Nobles hunted various wild game and consumed mutton, pork, dog, and beef as these animals were domesticated. Grain was stored against famine and flood and meat was preserved with salt, vinegar, curing, and fermenting. The flavor of the meat was enhanced by cooking it in the fat of a different animal.

By the time of Confucius in the late Zhou, gastronomy was becoming a high art. He was recorded discussing one such picky eater: "For him, the rice could never be white enough. When it was not cooked right, he would not eat. When it was out of season, he would not eat. When the meat was not cut properly, he would not eat. When the food was not prepared with the right sauce, he would not eat." During Shi Huangdi's Qin dynasty, the empire expanded into the south. By the time of the Han Dynasty, the different climes and cuisines of China's peoples were linked by major canals and begun developing greater complexity. Not only is food seen as giving "qi", energy, but food is also about maintaining yin and yang. The philosophy behind it was rooted in the I Ching and Chinese traditional medicine: food was judged for color, aroma, taste, and texture and a good meal was expected to balance the Four Natures ('hot', warm, cool, and 'cold') and the Five Tastes (pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). Salt was used as a preservative from early times, but in cooking was added in the form of soy sauce, and not at the table. The predominance of chopsticks and spoons as eating utensils also necessitated that most food be prepared in bite-sized pieces or (as with fish) be so tender that it could be easily picked apart.

By the Later Han period (2nd century), writers frequently complained of lazy aristocrats who did nothing but sit around all day eating smoked meats and roasts.

During the Han dynasty, Chinese developed methods of food preservation for military rations during campaigns such as drying meat into jerky and cooking, roasting, and drying grain. Chinese legends claim that the roasted flatbread Shaobing (shao-ping) was brought back from the Xiyu (the Western Regions, known as Central Asia) by the Han dynasty General Ban Chao, and that it was originally known as Hubing 胡餅 (barbarian pastry). The shao-ping is believed to be descended from the Hu-ping (Hubing). Shaobing is believed to be related to the Persian and Central Asian Nan bread and the near eastern pita bread. Foreign westerners made and sold sesame cakes in China during the Tang dynasty.

During the Southern and Northern Dynasties non-Han people like the Xianbei of Northern Wei introduced their cuisine to northern China, and these influences continued up to the Tang dynasty, popularizing meat like mutton and dairy products like goat milk, yogurts, and Kumis among even Han people. It was during the Song dynasty that Han Chinese developed an aversion to dairy products and abandoned the dairy foods introduced earlier.

The Han Chinese rebel Wang Su who received asylum in the Xianbei Northern Wei after fleeing from Southern Qi, at first could not stand eating dairy products like goat's milk and meat like mutton and had to consume tea and fish instead, but after a few years he was able to eat yogurt and lamb, and the Xianbei Emperor asked him which of the foods of China (Zhongguo) he preferred, fish vs mutton and tea vs yogurt.

The great migration of Chinese people south during the invasions preceding and during the Song dynasty increased the relative importance of southern Chinese staples such as rice and congee. The Yuan and Qing dynasties introduced Mongolian and Manchu cuisine, warm northern dishes which popularized hot pot cooking. During the Yuan dynasty many Muslim communities emerged in China, who practiced a porkless cuisine now preserved by Hui restaurants throughout the country.Yunnan cuisine is unique in China for its cheeses like Rubing and Rushan cheese made by the Bai people, and its yogurt, the yogurt may have been due to a combination of Mongolian influence during the Yuan dynasty, the Central Asian settlement in Yunnan, and the proximity and influence of India and Tibet on Yunnan.
As part of the last leg of the Columbian Exchange, Spanish and Portuguese traders began introducing foods from the New World to China through the port cities of Canton and Macao. Mexican chili peppers became essential ingredients in Sichuan cuisine and calorically-dense potatoes and corn became staple foods across the northern plains.

During the Qing Dynasty, Chinese gastronomes such as Yuan Mei focused upon a primary goal of extracting the maximum flavor of each ingredient. However, as noted in his culinary work the Suiyuan shidan, the fashions of cuisine at the time were quite varied and in some cases were flamboyantly ostentatious,especially when the disply served also a formal ceremonial purpose, as in the case of the Manchu Han Imperial Feast.

The People's Republic of China, amid numerous false starts, has largely industrialized food production. A side effect of this process was the introduction of American poultry-rearing techniques, which has greatly increased the relative consumption of eggs and chicken in various Chinese cuisines.

Regional cuisines

A number of different styles contribute to Chinese cuisine but perhaps the best known and most influential are Cantonese cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine (specifically Huaiyang cuisine) and Sichuan cuisine. These styles are distinctive from one another due to factors such as availability of resources, climate, geography, history, cooking techniques and lifestyle. One style may favour the use of lots of garlic and shallots over lots of chilli and spices, while another may favour preparing seafood over other meats and fowl.

Jiangsu cuisine favours cooking techniques such as braising and stewing, while Sichuan cuisine employs baking, just to name a few. Hairy crab is a highly sought after local delicacy in Shanghai, as it can be found in lakes within the region. Peking duck and dim-sum are other popular dishes well known outside of China.

Based on the raw materials and ingredients used, the method of preparation and cultural differences, a variety of foods with different flavors and textures are prepared in different regions of the country. Many traditional regional cuisines rely on basic methods of preservation such as drying, salting, pickling and fermentation.

Staple foods

Rice

Rice is a major staple food for people from rice farming areas in southern China. Steamed rice, usually white rice, is the most commonly eaten form. Rice is also used to produce beers, wines and vinegars. Rice is one of the most popular foods in China and is used in many dishes. Glutinous rice ("sticky rice") is a variety of rice used in many specialty Chinese dishes.

Noodles

Chinese noodles come dry or fresh in a variety of sizes, shapes and textures and are often served in soups or fried as toppings. Some varieties, such as Shou Mian (寿面, literally noodles of longevity), are symbolic of long life and good health according to Chinese tradition. Noodles can be served hot or cold with different toppings, with broth, and occasionally dry (as is the case with mi-fun). Noodles are commonly made with rice flour or wheat flour, but other flours such as soybean are also used.

Soybeans

Tofu is made of soybeans and is another popular food product that supplies protein. Other products such as soy milk, soy paste, soy oil, and fermented soy sauce are also important in Chinese cooking.
WheatIn wheat-farming areas in Northern China, people largely rely on flour-based food, such as noodles, breads, jiaozi (a kind of Chinese dumplings), and mantou (a type of steamed buns).

Vegetables

Some common vegetables used in Chinese cuisine include Chinese leaves, bok choy (Chinese cabbage), Chinese spinach (dao-mieu), on choy, yu choy, bitter melon, and Chinese broccoli or gailan (guy-lahn). Other vegetables include bean sprouts, pea vine tips, watercress, celery.
A variety of dried or pickled vegetables are also eaten, especially in drier or colder regions where fresh vegetables traditionally were hard to get out of season.

Herbs and seasonings

Spices and seasonings such as fresh ginger root, garlic, scallion, white pepper, and sesame oil are widely used in many regional cuisines. Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cilantro, parsley, and cloves are also used.
To add extra flavors to dishes, many Chinese cuisines also contain dried Chinese mushrooms, dried baby shrimps, dried tangerine peel, and dried Sichuan chillies.

When it comes to sauces, China is home to soy sauce, which is made from fermented soy beans and wheat. Oyster sauce, clear rice vinegar, chili, Chinkiang black rice vinegar, fish sauce and fermented tofu (furu) are also widely used. A number of sauces are also based on fermented soybeans, including Hoisin sauce, ground bean sauce and yellow bean sauce.

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