The Chinese cuisine: are you sure to know it? In the West is almost always reduced to almonds chicken, spring roll and frid ice-cream, going with the fuzzy idea that it is heavy, low in quality and that use strange ingredients.
Living in Shanghai and having see a part of this huge Country I can say that nothins is more far away than this. The Chinese cuisine surprised me and seduced me in a very few time, so that I have the desire to know it better and to appropriate of it, in particular of the homemade one, the dishes that are prepared daily in the homes.
The Chinese cuisine is all about grains and vegetables. It transform humble and common ingredients in incredible dishes, with which you can taste the real flavor of the ingredient itself, but you have also the sensation of eating healty, well and in harmony with the seasons and the land.
The ingredients surprised me from the first shop: the freshness and the quality of fruits and vegetables, the variety of the rice, of the tofu and eggs, the quick turnover accordin to the seasons. Expecially the variety of the fresh vegetables is surprising: with large leaf, like water spinach, amaranth, chrysanthemum, potato’s leaves; tubers and radishes like the taro, sweet potatoes. lily bulb, bamboo; and the mushrooms, so many that you get lost and so fresh!
The base ingredients are all common, cheap and they are cooked ina simple and quick way. The sweets are few, usually tied to festivity, and they’re not so sugary.
More than real and rigid recipes, the cuisine here in China is a style, an approch to cook and eat that can be adapted to different places and can ispire many situation, a few ingredients cooked rapidly, mostly vegetables dishes with the addition of a little bit of fish or meat, just to give taste. The use of spices and herbs is abundant, tipycal of asian cuisine and one positive aspect is that these can be largely found also in western markets and groceries.
One of the first questions that a Chinese make in front a new dish is: is that healty? Is a thing about which they care and they’re very proud – deservedly – of their culinary tradition. Like the mediterranean diet is well balanced and healthy.
But also here in China, like is inevitabile, western habits are spreading, like the large use of meat (also thanks to the better economic conditions), fast-foods and soft drinks, thath bring the consequences that we already know. But luckily the Chineses love traditions so along the streets you can find tipycal snacks like steamed corn cobs, steamed sweet potatoes, fresh fruits just cut and steamed buns.
There are clearly also here more filling and complex recipes: a ot of the taditional stree-food is fried and there are complicated dishes tied to festivity, but the everyday cuisine is other.
And is this that I’d like to let you know, learning it with you, debunking myths, discovering new ingredients or new way to use them, introducing new flavors with healthy, easy recipes to do at home, everyday… Curiosity is the cuisine soul!
If you like to know more about China you can read my blog Bacchette&Forchette!