Tang yuan(yuanxiao)

1. What is tangyuan and why do Chinese eat it?

Tang Yuan or Yuanxiao is the special food Chinese people eat at the Lantern Festival .Lantern festival is also known as “yuanxiao” festival, which is a traditional festival in china. It is said that the custom of eating tangyuan originated during the Eastern Jin Dynasty in the fourth century, which became popular during the Tang and Song Dynasty. The round shape of the tangyuan is a symbol of wholeness, completeness and unity. What’s more, tangyuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with “tuanyuan”, meaning reunion. So people eat them to denote union, harmony and happiness for their family. <
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2. What’s the difference between yuanxiao and tangyuan?
It is usually called as yuanxiao in north china while named as tangyuan in south china. It is small round dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, jujube paste, walnut meat, dried fruit, sugar and edible oil as fillings. The way to make Yuanxiao also varies between northern and southern China. The biggest difference is that the common method used in northern provinces is to pinches the fillings into even balls ,then put them on the basket which is filled with dry glutinous rice flour, and constantly shake them from time to time by adding water into it to coat the yuanxiao with glutinous rice flour. once the size is moderate ,it will surely have a rich fragrant taste both in fruit and rice! Meanwhile the method to follow in southern provinces is to shape the dough of rice flour into balls, make a hole, insert the filling, then close the hole and smooth out the dumpling by rolling it between your hands which will also have an amazing taste.
3. What can be used as fillings?
Yuanxiao can be classified into filled and unfilled ones. The filled yuanxiao are either sweet or salty. Sweet fillings are made of sugar, Walnuts, sesame Sweet osmanthus flowers, peanuts, red bean paste, or jujube paste. A single ingredient or any combination can be used as the filling. The salty variety is filled with minced meat, vegetables dried shrimp or a mixture. Tangyuan can be boiled, fried or steamed. It tastes sweet and delicious.

4. Tips on how to boil tangyuan?
1. Before putting yuanxiao into the pot, pinch the yuanxiao gently to have it cracked slightly which will surely help boil yuanxiao both inside and outside to have a delicious taste.
2. Use boiled water: fist put some water in the pot wait until it boiled then slowly put yuanxiao into water, but remember don’t put too many at a time otherwise it’s not easy to boil. Meanwhile use spoon to gently push yuanxiao around in one direction so that they cannot be stick together.
3. Add cold water: In the process of spoiling yuanxiao, every time the water boiled you are supposed to add some cold water in it, so as to keep the slightly rolling situation to insure the yuanxiao will be separated and the cover will not be broken as well. After boiled 2-3 times then wait for a while and you will have the yuanxiao ready for eat.
4. Distinguish whether it’s raw or cooked: you could use both you eyes and fingers: first look whether its cover is smooth while floating on the water surface or not, then use chopsticks to press down on them to see whether they are softer. If so, it’s time to eat the masterpiece you have just made!
5. Taken out of the pot quickly: After already boiled thoroughly if the yuanxiao cannot be eaten once only, it should be taken out of the pot in time, and put into pure boiled water, after cooling, put them in the plate for next time eating.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad Recipe

This simple salad features a delicious contrast between the tangy avocado and tender shrimp, and the sharp hot mustard paste really brings them together.

Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes

Utensils:

Pot, 2 bowls.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shrimp, peeled, deveined, parboiled
1 avocado, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
Seasonings:

1 tbsp.light soy sauce
1 tbsp.hot mustard
2 tbsps.lemon juice
Directions:
1. Put a pot of water on to boil, parboil the shrimp meat, about 1-2 minutes (P1).

Parboiled shrimp meat and avocado cubes

P1

2. Make the dressing by whisking all the seasonings together in a bowl (P2).

Mix all the seasonings together in a bowl

P2

3. Put the avocado cubes and shrimp in a separate bowl, spoon the dressing over them, combine to properly coat with the sauce.

4. Serve immediately (P3).

Shrimp and Avocado Salad Recipe

P3

Chinese Food Recipes Tips And Guide

My friend simmon’s family cooks a Chinese food at least once a month. It looks like a tradition. Everyone clears the schedule. He sister, parents, He uncles, He brother gather around the family kitchen to taste meal from the Orient. Yes, Chinese food. They really love it because it is easy to follow. One of our favorite is the sauces. It’s very delicious for our tongue. Our family can adapt with the variety of flavorful spices.

The main taste of Chinese food or Chinese cooking depends on the ingredients of the sauces. If you are fan of Chinese food, you must know it. These cooking sauces are used in a variety of delicious authentic recipes. Fried rice, for example, is made of spices and sauces that make the delicious taste.

Kids really like a delicious meal. There are a lot of Chinese foods for children. Try to serve the dipping sauce in a little bowl to accompany appetizers like egg rolls, spring rolls or pot stickers. Let them choose the bowl and you’ll see their faces light up. By the way, there are so many different Chinese cuisine types of flavors that can be implemented into everyday menu. Some of the famous are sTheyet and sour sauce, garlic sauce, hot mustard and chili oil.

They use chili oil to enhance the flavor. Chili oil is made of chili peppers. Hot mustard and garlic sauce are delicious sauces. It is used for Chinese appetizers. And another favorite in Chinese food is sTheyet and sour sauce. If you interested with those sauces, you can try to give your family Chinese food for dinner. The sauces are easy to make.

Nowadays, the sauces have become very popular around the world because They can make it easily and it has a great flavor when you add to Chinese meals. It’s so adaptable. Chinese cuisine has become our favorite. You can try it out. Happy cooking!

Cooking With Spring Roll Wrappers – Add a Little Crunchy Fried Goodness to Your Next Meal!

After you’ve procured yourself a frozen package of spring roll wrappers – you will not believe how easy it is to make great spring rolls. But although these wafer thin squares of dough do roll up nicely into an Asian style spring roll snack – why limit yourself to the tastes of the Orient? Spring roll wrappers can be incorporated into the flavors of any cuisine and add a surprising and very tasty bit of crunch to any meal idea.

What Kind of Spring Roll Wrappers to Buy?

In truth there is only one kind of spring roll wrapper, but these are sometimes confused with egg-roll wrappers or with rice paper wrappers (which are used to make fresh Vietnamese style rolls).
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  • Egg roll style wrappers are thicker and usually smaller – and they look like egg pasta. These are not what you want.
  • Rice paper wrappers are dried and brittle and are an almost translucent white. Don’t get these either.
  • Spring roll wrappers are made from wheat flour and water and are generally sold frozen. They are very thin and resemble filo pastry in appearance. They are generally sold in about 4-5 inch square package sizes.

Keep these in the freezer indefinitely, removing wrappers as you need them.

How Do You Use Them?

You can roll your chosen filling up either by closing (folding over) the ends as you wrap, or by leaving the ends open. To seal off the rolls, mix together a small quantity of water and flour to form a paste like glue. Add a dab of this flour to the end corner of your wrapper paper and this will hold your seal.

How Do You Flavor Them?

As an idea to get you started. Take a single spring roll wrapper our and lay it flat on your work surface. Add on about 2 Tbls of grated carrot and a small pinch of salt.

You are going to roll this up “open ended” style like a cigar to add crunch, visual interest and savory taste to your plate, but you should also add in a complimentary seasoning that matches with the flavor profile of your dinner.

  • If you are cooking a Caribbean meal – you might add in a scant tough of ginger or cinnamon and after frying add another pinch of cinnamon outside.
  • If you are cooking Italian, you might add in a pinch of fresh thyme with the carrots and serve with a tomato “salsa” in an olive oil and garlic dressing.

Add in any spice or flavoring that would compliment the carrot (or whatever other filling ingredient you choose) and the other main ingredients on the plate.

Alternatives to Rolling?

You can also cut the wrappers into halves, and fry them in oil flat. When they are crispy, you can use them on your plate to create very professional looking napoleons! Try layering in flavored root vegetable purees between slices of fried spring roll pastry…delicious!

Or, fry them flat and toss them in flavored sugar for a crunchy garnish to your favorite dessert.

Or, proceed as above with the sugar, but layer in ice cream and fruit sauces for an impressive homemade ice cream sandwich!

Pick up a package the next time you find yourself in an Asian grocery store and start playing around with these very versatile and very tasty sheets of CRUNCH!

All About Chinese Chopsticks

As anyone who has been to a Chinese restaurant knows, chopsticks are the traditional implements for eating Chinese dishes. But far from being difficult and inefficient, they’re actually very versatile. They require a moderate amount of technique and practice, but in short order anyone can learn to use them well.

Chopsticks have been in use for over 3,000 years. They receive a mention in The Book of Rites dating from the Shang Dynasty that ruled China from 1600BC – 1100BC. In that time they’ve been made of ivory, bronze, bamboo and many other materials. Decorative designs may employ gold, silver, ceramic enamel or lacquer and other compounds. The Kuaizi Museum in Shanghai has collected over 1,000 pair, many of them centuries old.

Chinese chopsticks are usually about 8-10 inches long and often thickened or blunt at the ends. Both sticks are the same. Japanese chopsticks, by contrast, have narrowed ends, more pointed than their Chinese cousins.

To use Chinese chopsticks, place them both into one hand. Clamp them between the index finger and thumb, then move one to between the index and middle finger. The ends should be at the same point and both should lie in the same plane. In using Japanese chopsticks one stick protrudes slightly out from the other and they may be slightly twisted.

The trick is to have both a firm grip on each while being able to swivel one into the other in a pincer-like movement. That motion is performed by moving the index finger and thumb just slightly, opening and closing the pincer. You should be able to tap one end into the other and make an audible sound without losing grip on either.

Chinese dishes are prepared with all this in mind. Instead of large slabs of beef or whole legs or breast of chicken, meat is made bite-sized. Dumplings (Jiao Zi) are made so that they can easily be grasped between the chopsticks. The weight and size make it simple to hold them without opening the pincer too wide or falling out too easily. Rice can be scooped into the mouth by bringing the bowl up to the lips. Slurping soup is not considered rude in Chinese dining.

Despite the name, no stabbing or chopping is required or expected. In fact, in Chinese dining etiquette, such things would be considered impolite. There are several other traditional customs in the proper use of chopsticks, as well.

Sticking chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice is considered poor taste. They resemble the incense sticks that are placed in rememberance of the dead. Unlike some Western circumstances, the Chinese don’t generally mix meals with mourning. In Chinese culture, eating even an ordinary meal is a celebration. Instead, rest them on the side of the bowl or plate.

Waiving chopsticks in front of the face or at other diners is equally bad manners. Neither should one suck on the tips or lick the length of the chopstick. Nor are they used to pull a food dish toward one. Chopsticks may be provided in or with a central dish to scoop food onto one’s plate. Use them instead.

How To Make Jiao Zi (Chinese Dumplings)

The humble dumpling. In Western-style cuisine it is a simple staple, a source of carbohydrates and great comfort food. Done Chinese style, it is a work of culinary art. Jiao Zi (or Gow Gee, in the Mandarin dialect) is a concoction made of dough stuffed with meat and/or vegetables. It is often served as part of dim sum. Proper preparation takes a bit of time and effort. But the results, when done correctly, are well worth it.

Ingredients

Wrap:

4 cups white flour
1-1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt

You’ll want to acquire the correct type of Chinese flour, whether you use rice flour or wheat flour. Ordinary Western-style wheat flour has a very different consistency when prepared.

Chill the water to just above freezing and dissolve the salt into 2 cups of it. Blend thoroughly and add the extra 1/2 cup only if the dough isn’t completely wetted. Knead well and ensure that the result is firm. If needed, sprinkle in a bit more flour. Then chill the dough.

Filling:

1 lb lean ground meat
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brandy
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper

Combine all the ingredients, then stir. Don’t overdo it in order to avoid making the meat mushy.

Bring out the chilled dough and separate a piece into two parts. Flatten each section until they’re about 1/8 inch thick. Layer the meat mixture onto one then cover with the other. Crimp the edges until the result looks something like a white fortune cookie crumpled around the rim. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough and meat.

The raw dumpling can be boiled or fried, as desired.

To boil, use a pot large enough to cover the dumplings with a couple of inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then layer the Jiao Zi along the bottom of the pot. Stir gently to prevent them sticking together. Continue heating until the mixture boils again. Add a cup of cold water and allow to come to a boil again, then remove from heat.

To fry, simply line a wok with a layer of sesame oil and bring to a high heat. Then toss in the dumplings. Remember that woks cook very quickly. You’ll need to keep the dumplings moving in order to get them evenly cooked on both sides. It’s particularly important to ensure that the meat inside is well done.

Serve

The results are often dipped into a sauce of equal amounts of black vinegar and soy. Jiao Zi is a component of a traditional dim sum cart and are often served during the Chinese New Year’s celebration. As a symbol of wealth they bring good fortune in the coming year, but these are delicious anytime.

Healthy Chinese Eating

One of the things that always strikes me in China is how remarkably well so many people eat. It’s ironic that so many westerners think of Chinese food as being unhealthy – all those negative images of deep-fried food in gloopy sauces laden with MSG. Restaurant food is often richer, with more meat and fish, more oil and fewer vegetables, but home cooking tends to be centred on grains and vegetables, with small amounts of meat here and there.

And look, to the left and below, at what I found builders on a construction site eating when I visited Beijing in March: a widerange of fresh vegetables, freshly-cooked, some meat and beancurd, plenty of rice…  It’s hard to imagine British builders eating so healthily during their lunchbreaks. And yesterday, on the expressway to Hangzhou, my bus stopped at a service station where the refreshments on offer were mainly many different kinds of fresh fruit, and steaming zongzi (leaf-wrapped glutinous rice parcels) with a variety of fillings. Again, I couldn’t help comparing this kind of thing with the packaged foods sold at British petrol stations and motorway services…

Asian Moon Cakes

The flavors of fall are complex and earthy.
Chestnuts. Pumpkins. Sweet potatoes.
And, if you are Chinese, moon cakes. These are not the sugary pastries that Westerners usually think of when it comes to cake. Moon cakes are small, dense and more savory than sweet.

They are eaten during the mid-autumn festival, traditionally on the 15th day of the eighth moon by the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, it falls on Sunday. This is when the moon is at its fullest and brightest.

Festivities include music, dancing — and eating moon cakes.

The Greensboro Chinese Association and various Asian student groups at UNCG will host an Autumn Moon Festival on Saturday. The event, which also promotes the university’s new Asian studies major, will include cultural speakers and music, dance and martial-arts demonstrations. UNCG geography professor Susan Walcott will talk about the significance of moon cakes. Festivalgoers also can sample moon cakes there.lif_mooncake_23_

More on moon cakes

The palm-sized cakes are round or rectangular. They usually come in a set of four and are packaged in tin boxes.

Traditional moon cakes are made of sweet bean paste fillings, with a golden-brown, flaky crust. Some are filled with a golden duck egg yolk.

The top of the cake is usually embossed with the Chinese characters for longevity, harmony or the baker’s insignia.

It takes two to four weeks to prepare the bean paste, so most families just buy them from a bakery or store.

Through the years, moon cakes have evolved from a Chinese delicacy to something as common as ice cream. Modern versions of the cake may be fat-free or feature flavors such as lychee or chocolate.

Other Asian countries also have adopted their own versions of the fall delicacy. In Vietnam, the cakes may be filled with roasted chicken, shark fin or mung beans.

Cambodians may fill it with durian, a large, pungent fruit, found in southeast Asia.

In Indonesia, moon cakes may be filled with chocolate, cheese or milk.

And the Japanese version of the moon cake may contain chestnuts or azuki beans, which are small, sweet and red.

Moon cake folklore

* One legend is that the custom of eating moon cakes began in the late Yuan dynasty. It’s said that the Han people resented the Mongol rule of the Yuan Dynasty. Revolutionaries, led by Chu Yuan-chang, plotted to usurp the throne.

Chu needed a way to unite the people to revolt, without alerting the Mongol rulers of their plans. So, his close adviser, Liu Po-wen, came up with this plan: spread a rumor that a plague was ravaging the land and that only by eating a special moon cake, distributed by the revolutionaries, could they prevent the disaster.

So, the Han people received these cakes that when cut open, had the message: “Revolt on the 15th of the eighth moon.” This is how the people united to overthrow the Yuan. And that’s how moon cakes became an integral part of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

* Another legend dates back to ancient times when 10 suns appeared at once in the sky. The emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the nine extra suns. When the archer completed his task, the Goddess of Western Heaven rewarded him with a pill that made him immortal. When the archer’s wife found the pill and took it, she was banished to the moon. Legend says that her beauty is greatest on the day of the Moon Festival.

Chinese For Americans

Forty years ago, Chinese food for many Americans was egg rolls, chop suey and drinks with paper umbrellas. Then it was General Tso’s chicken and sesame noodles.

But over the past decade, as large communities of people from India, Peru, Korea, Trinidad and Guyana have formed in New York and elsewhere, ideas of what Chinese food can be have expanded.

“I call them second-generation Chinese restaurants,” said Cheuk Kwan, who has directed a documentary film about the spread of Chinese restaurants around the world.

Dishes like chili-spiked, deep-fried chicken lollipops, which are a Chinese-Indian specialty, and lo mein topped with chunks of peppery jerk chicken are what Chinese food is now to many.

New York City’s first hyphenated version of the cuisine – after Chinese-American, of course – was Chinese-Cuban, which arrived in the 1960’s, when thousands of Cubans of Chinese descent came to New York after Fidel Castro’s rise to power.

Seafood soups, fried rice with pork, scallions and tiny shrimp, and chicharrones de pollo – chicken cut into small pieces and deep-fried in the Cantonese style – were and are standbys.

Over the years, as more Americans have visited China and more Chinese have immigrated to the United States, more authentic versions of Chinese food have come to town on a gust of hot chilies, Sichuan peppercorns and bean paste. Restaurants serving the cuisines of Taiwan, Shanghai and Fujian have opened in the city’s burgeoning Chinatowns – Flushing in Queens and Sunset Park and Homecrest in Brooklyn.

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When New York’s young Korean-Americans go out for Chinese food, they often eat ja jiang mien, boiled noodles in a rich meat sauce, mixed with Korean brown bean paste and studded with Chinese fermented black beans.

In Elmhurst, Queens, La Union, a Peruvian chifa (slang for Chinese restaurant), serves platters of chancho, a Hispanic rendering of char siu, Chinese for roast pork.

The roots of these hybrid Chinese cuisines around the world are the same as those of Chinese food in America. Millions of Chinese men, most of them from the province Guangdong (formerly known in English as Canton), left China in the late 19th and early 20th century. Only men were allowed to leave the country, often by becoming indentured workers to companies in need of cheap labor in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and South America.

Professional cooks were usually not among the emigrants, so the earliest Chinese restaurants outside China were started by men with little knowledge of cooking and a desperate need to improvise with local ingredients. The dishes they came up with, like chop suey, have long since been dismissed as “not Chinese” by scholars of the culture.

But Chinese food has never been quite what outsiders think it is.

“The term Chinese food represents an area four times larger than Western Europe and the eating habits of more than a billion people,” Mr. Kwan said. “You could say that there is really no such thing as Chinese food.”

Eugene Anderson, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of “The Food of China,” disagreed. “Chinese food is defined by a flavor principle of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and green onions” and methods including stir-frying and steaming, he said. “Once you get too far away from those rules, it is no longer Chinese.”

Chinese Culinary Culture

Being one of the important fruits of China‘s age-old culture, the Chinese food and drink culinary art enjoys a high prestige both at home and abroad. The whole world looks upon eating a Chinese meal as a high-leveled enjoyment. The Chinese people whether living in or outside the county all share a proper sense of pride for such a rich Chinese food and drink culinary culture. Thus, to regard the Chinese food and drink culinary art as a culture, a science, or an art is entirely justifiable.

The Chinese culinary culture has a distant source and has become well established. The legend has it that the Chinese culinary culture originated with Yi Yin, a virtuous and capable minister of the Shang Dynasty (15th – 11th centuries B.C). It can be seen that China initiated the culinary art as early as the Shang and Zhou (11th century to 221 B.C.) times. With the growth and development of production and economy during various periods, the culinary techniques too registered step by step heightening and improvement—-from brevity to variety, from rudimentary to advanced stage, from day-to-day snacks to feasts, even to palatial dishes and delicacies. During about the time from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) and the Warring Stated Period (CA. 475-221 B.C.), to the Sui-Tang period the Chinese dishes began to be marked apart by Southern and Northern tastes. During the period of the Tang (618-907 A.D.) and the Song (960-1279 AD) dynasties, people went in a great deal for eating and distinct local colors were added to the Chinese dishes, such as the Northern food (”Lu” or the Shandong dishes), the Southern food (”Yue” or the Cantonese dishes), the Chuan food (Sichuan dishes), Wei Yang (Yangzhou) and the vegetarian foods. Records respecting each kind of dishes have been handed down. No matter the four oldest groups (i.e., the Sichuan, Cantonese, Shandong and Yangzhou groups) or the eight groups that gradually matured after the Tang and Song Dynasties (the Sichuan, Cantonese, Shandong, Yangzhou, Beijing, Anhui, Zhejiang and Hunan groups) or the Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Henan, Liaoning groups, as well as the Muslim feasts prevalent throughout the country. Each of these famous groups has its own long history and characteristic traditional techniques; these put together have truly for the Chinese culinary culture produced a rich, sublime fruit borne out of the policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend.

Shanghai is China‘s biggest port city. Since the Opium War and the opening of the five ports to foreign trade, it was thronged by traders from all over the world and was densely populated by the Chinese and foreigners, and the city became thriving and prosperous. In the wake of economic growth, the several big culinary blocs poured into Shanghai one after another. Till the 1920s, restaurants featuring the various kinds of dishes, like the Cantonese food, Sichuan food, Beijing food, Yangzhuo food, Ningbo food, Anhui food, Muslim feast, Tianjin food, Suzhou and Wuxi food and Shanghai‘s local dishes together with Western cafes, numbering near a hundred, had emerged in Shanghai. So the saying “Satisfying eating is in Shanghai” is actually not coined by the Shanghailanders of today, but prevailed already some 80 years ago. Undoubtedly local people would enjoy their own food quite much. each of these sayings is correct, because in each place there are distinctly-colored regional culinary blocs and the delicacies of different tastes available in Chinese food, a fact acknowledged the world.