Chinese Recipes- In a country where the traditional way to greet someone translates to 'have you eaten yet?' (ni chile ma), be rest assured, the food will be extraordinary. China has the most popular culinary heritage in the world. The history of their cuisine dates back to about 1000 years with varied cooking styles, techniques and ingredients that have evolved over time.
A typical Chinese meal will have two things - a carbohydrate or starch like noodles, rice or buns, and accompanying stir fries or dishes of veggies, fish and meat. They use a lot of fresh vegetables like mushroom, water chestnuts, bamboo and even tofu. In North China, wheat-based accompaniments like noodles and steamed buns dominate the table, in contrast to South China where rice is a favourite. The short-grain sticky rice, grown throughout Southern China, is irresistible.
Chinese cuisine is as diverse as their culture where every region writes up a new menu. Cooking styles, ingredients, flavours - all differ from region to region. The most prominent regional cuisines in China are:
Anhui, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong,Szechuan and Zhejiang.
Cantonese cuisine is famous all over the world for its distinctive style. Most dishes are steamed and stir-frying which makes it healthy and non-greasy. Here the dishes are tender, slightly sweet and with a mellow fragrance.
Shandong cuisine originated in East China and mostly features seafood as it is a coastal province. You'll find scallops, clams, sea cucumbers and just about everything on the menu. They heavily rely on salty flavours.
Zhejiang cuisine also thrives on seafood, but focuses more on soft, fresh flavours. Their food is known to have a delicate appearance. They are also fond of using bamboo shoots. This province is famous as the 'land of milk and honey.
Similarly, the dishes from Jiangsu region are known for their soft texture. Back in the day, it was a prominent part of ancient China's royal cuisine. Their dishes offer a balance of sweet and salty tastes.
Szechuan cuisine stands out due to the bold, pungent and spicy flavours. The use of Sichuan peppercorn is what makes it unique. This one is for those of you who love the sting.
Anhui cuisine uses a wide variety of herbs and vegetables, especially, fresh bamboo and mushrooms. It also use a lot of wild herbs to enhance the flavour and aroma.
Fujian cuisine is often served in a broth or for cooking styles like braising, stewing, steaming and boiling. The most notable features of this cuisine are - the use of fresh ingredients from the mountains and sea, soup making and a lot of focus on seasonings.
Hunan cuisine is well known for its hot spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep color. This province is popularly known as the 'land of fish and rice'. It is renowned for its stews, but their cuisine also features a lot of braised and baked dishes.
Eat it Right!
Chinese food is meant to be eaten with chopsticks and you'll find this practice fairly common in all Chinese households. Many, many years ago the use of fork and knife was believed to stand for violence versus chopsticks which represented gentleness and compassion.