chinese cuisine

43. China part 4: Beijing: Peking Duck Breast with Clementine & Spices

Posted on

Aaaah the capital of China, Beijing oh noo wait,… Peking? In fact they are both the same thing. But why does this city have 2 names? Here’s the thing, the Chinese government gets quite cross about English-speakers using the name Peking for their capital city, insisting on the more modern transliteration Beijing. Since Mandarin is the first language in China (Beijing is Mandarin) and Cantonese is the only the second language in China (Peking is Beijing in Cantonese). So both 100% correct and everyone will exactly know what you mean, but you’d better use Beijing.

Beijng

Here are some things you didn’t know about Beijing:

  • If you’re offered a gift, refuse to take it! At least a couple of times. Why? Because it’s considered polite in China. It shows humility and being grateful. Also, refuse compliments – always! Don’t even say, “Thank you” You just end up looking vain.

  • Beijing is the oldest City in the World – Before you discount this fact, here me out…The Peking Man lived in Dragon Bone Hill near the village of Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District about 230,000-250,000 years ago. This makes it the city with the oldest remains of human habitation.
  • The Asian girl approaching you with a camera wants to take her picture with you. They call this “making hello”. This is not a scam. Caucasians and other non-Orientals are still uncommon enough in most Beijing neighborhoods that the locals are curious.

Last Chinese recipe people!!! This is a fancy one. Since duck breast is pretty expensive. But the rest of the ingredients are quite cheap. Still it isn’t a really complicated recipe! Something to impress your parents, boyfriend, girlfriend, crush and friends 😉

Clementine peking duckbreast

Ingredients: 2 duck breasts, 5 clementines, 1 tbsp. wine vinegar, 3 tbsp. honey, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 anise stars, 3 black peppercorns

Slightly cut the duck breasts skin side with a sharp knife, without cutting the meat.

Place the duck breasts, skin underneath in a cold pan and place over medium heat.

Cook until the excess fat have melted (if needed discard fat during cooking) and the skin is golden brown and crispy.

Turn the duck breasts and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Keep warm.

Press 4 clementines, get the zest of the fifth and then peel it and separate the wedges.

Deglaze the pan with clementine juice, add the vinegar and spices, clementine wedges and honey. Simmer over low heat until reduces by half, the sauce should not boil.

Serve the meat sliced and topped with the sauce and clementine wedges.

 

42. China Part 3: Shanghai: Sweet and Sour Sticky Ribs

Posted on

Shanghai is most eastern and also biggest (25 million, and yes you read that right) and richest city in China.  The funniest part is that Shanghai we know today didn’t exist 25 years ago it was just farmland! It just sort of magically appeared over the course of just a few years. Is Shanghai done growing? NO I don’t think it is ever done and it is changing and growing so ridiculously fast. Is there anything left of the old Shanghai? Luckily yes! Shouning Road is a great example, the old China, walk down the street look in any direction and there is something to eat.

Shanghai

Things you didn’t know about Shanghai:

  • When you get out of the elevator in the Shanghai Municipal Marriage Service Center to get married, the first thing you see is a sign with three arrows that says “Marriage (Turn Right),” “Adoption (Turn Left),” and “Divorce (Straight Ahead).”
  • Internet rumors once raged that Shanghai’s public toilets brought in more than €10 million a year.
  • The total area of Shanghai was 636 square kilometers in 1949. It is now 6,340 square kilomenters.
  • Each weekend, hundreds of Shanghai parents come to the People’s Square marriage market to look for suitable mates for their children.
  • Locals in Shanghai tend to drink everything warm or at room temperature, including water and beer. If you want either served cold, you’ll need to ask for it that way.

So my brother adored these ribs so much that he asked me the next day already when we were going to eat them again! This is what you would call MANFOOD, delicious, rich, greasy. YUM! This might be my best dish yet!

Sticky Ribs

Ingredients: 2 lbs pork ribs (raw unmarinated), 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, divided, 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine, divided, 3 tablespoons oil, divided, 8 thin slices of ginger, 4 scallions (white parts only), chopped, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon dark Chinese vinegar, 2 cups water, toasted sesame seeds

Clean the ribs and pat them dry with a paper towel. Marinate the ribs with 1 tablespoon light soy sauce and 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a flat bottomed pan over medium heat and brown the ribs on all sides. Set aside on a plate.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in a clean wok over medium heat, and cook the ginger and scallions until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Take them out of the wok and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil, and with the wok on low heat, add the sugar. Stir and let it melt. Add the ribs and coat them with the melted sugar. Turn off the heat.

Add the second tablespoon of shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, vinegar, water, and the cooked ginger and scallion. Turn up the heat and bring everything to a boil. Then cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. After 30 minutes, if there’s still too much liquid in the pot, take off the lid and turn up the heat, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened and the ribs are coated and sticky.

It’s best to serve these ribs at room temperature. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

41. China Part 2: Sichuan: Kung Pao Chicken

Posted on Updated on

Sichuan is a province in the West of China, known for its spicy kitchen (chili heaven!), fertile land and off course giant panda’s. The landscape is very diverse, with Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in the West, Sichuan Basin in the middle (basically farm land), and Hilly Region in the East. Large mountains with turbulent rivers and deep valley’s crossing through.

Sichuan

Things you didn’t know about Sichuan

  • It is also known as land of abundance since ancient times.
  • The population is 90 million, which makes it the fourth most populated province in China. (90 million!!! That is like quadruple the people who live in the Netherlands, and that in 1 province!!!)
  • Have I mentioned the GIGANTIC SIZE of the province you can compare it to 12x Switzerland!
  • Wildlife to be found in Sichuan: Giant Panda’s, Sichuan Golden Monkey’s, Takin (I never heard of a Takin I actually had to google it!)

Schermafbeelding 2015-02-02 om 10.00.59

I love spicy food, the Sichuan pepper I only discovered a few year ago. It has a really distinctive taste, it sort of numbs your tongue or something it is really hard to explain. I think it tastes great though. Seriously go easy on the salt in this recipe!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Read the rest of this entry »

40. China Part 1: Hong Kong: Dim Sum

Posted on Updated on

China is simply too big to choose 1 dish, it would be cruel to choose 1 dish while China has sooo many good dishes! So I split China up in 4 parts. And I know there are 8 culinary regions in China I will start with Hong Kong!

Soooo Hong Kong… Hong Kong is the most western orientated province in China. Officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China but that doesn’t fit on passports or official documents so let’s just keep it casual and call it Hong Kong! When people think about Hong Kong they think about: growing Chinese economy, THE foodiecity in Asia, skyscrapers, expensive hotels,… but what they seem to forget is that Hong Kong has been around for a while (5000 years). So how did Hong Kong become so businesslike? Well after the first opium war (1839-1842) the British took control of Hong Kong. That way it became sort of a European city in Asia! Only in 1997 Hong Kong became a part of China! The city became China’s first Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997 under the principle of “one country, two systems”.

Hong KongHere are some things you didn’t know about Hong Kong:

  • Hungry? Hong Kong is home to around 11,000 restaurants – almost one for every 680 residents – In fact, there are so many eateries that you could dine at a different restaurant every night for the next 30 years.
  • Fire up your Rolls-Royce. It’s said that Hong Kong boasts more Rolls-Royces per capita than anywhere else in the world.
  • Vertical horizons. To match its thick population density, Hong Kong boasts the highest number of skyscrapers in the world by far.
  •  The fragrant harbour. Oh the irony. Hong Kong actually translates as “fragrant harbour”.

Hong Kong food or Cantonese food is enjoyed all over the world  and is closest to the flavor of Chinese takeaway food. It is the sweetest and is the most similar to the Western palate. This week I made dim sum. I love dim sum and I have been looking forward to this for a while now! My mom always has a plater of dim sum in the freezer just in case we have guests, but my brother, sister and I often eat them for lunch or a quick snack. Which she doesn’t make a fuss about because it’s pretty healthy, at least better then devouring a bag of chips. This particular type of dim sum is called siu mai. I didn’t get the shape right because my wonton sheets were round instead of square, but honestly they were delicious! I had never tasted the homemade ones because even restaurants buy them most of the time but you do actually taste the difference.

Dim SumIngredients: 150gr of king prawns, 150 gr of pork mince, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 1 chunk of ginger, grated, 1 spring onion, 2 water chestnuts, 1 tbsp roasted chopped peanuts, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp cornflour, 20 wonton wrappers, sweet chili sauce (for dipping), 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 red chilli, 1 spring onion

Chuck the prawns, mince, garlic, ginger, spring onion, soy sauce, sesame oil,red chili,  cornflour into a food processor and pulse into a rough paste. Chop the water chestnuts and roasted peanuts as finely as possible and mix into the paste. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Lay out the wonton wrappers on a surface and place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of each wrapper. Fold the edges up of the wrappers up around the mixture, leaving a hole in the top (brush the pastry with water if it struggles to stick). Cut away any excess wrapper. Boil a little water in a wok or saucepan. Sit your steamer over the water (You could also use a sieve over a deep saucepan). Place a square of greaseproof paper into the steamer and add the dumplings. Put the lid on the steamer and cook for 10 minutes.