Having a very warm Christmas and new years seems unreal — here is Valencia! In the morning, when I opened the curtains, the whole window was filled with blue colour, blue from the sky, not even a thread of cloud, and underneath, the buildings and streets are all brighting up in the sun. I always forgot how sunny Valencia could get even in winter, never remember to take my sunglasses with me. Now, I had to half close my eyes when I looked up. :)
‘Three kings’ celebration just happened here — one of my favorite time in Spain. The celebration parade marched crossing the city, and I was squeezing myself in the crowd, totally forgot about age, manners or anything else, just standing on the side of streets, waiting for the arrival of the three kings, and screaming ‘aquí!! aquí!!!’ Then if we were lucky enough sometimes, we would receive some sweets that the ‘parade’ and the ‘kings’ throw to the crowds, and of course, when the parade ends, we would give all the sweets we had to those kids were still looking for sweets left on the ground.
By now, I think the whole holiday celebration is ending, replaced by the ‘sale’ everywhere. — Seeing me enjoying myself so much, I guess you can forgive me for not posting so often lately, no? :))
Here you go, a very interesting northern Hui ethnic group recipe — ‘open mouth’ flat bread with beef mince fillings, I think the most interesting part is the ‘open mouth’ on top of the flat bread. Why is it made this way — I don’t know, but since the first time my dad brought them back home, I could not get it out my mind.
Well, flat bread with fillings with ‘sealed’ surface is a pretty common dish. You can get them from many restaurants and many people know how to prepare it. You probably have read my post ‘He zi’ (means closed up)– it is also a kind of flat bread with fillings, but this one is different. In Chinese is called ‘Xian bing’, means flat bread with fillings. It is more … ‘moisturised’ than ‘He zi’. The flour paste is the main difference, unlike ‘xian bing’ made with flour and cold water, the flour paste for ‘Xian bing’ is made with plain flour and warm water. And the dough and the pastry need to be very soft. And unlike ‘Hezi’, which can be made with vegetables or meat mince fillings, ‘Xian bing’ is normally made only with meat fillings.
As for the ‘open mouth’, it is typical of Hui ethnic group recipes. In my city, there is a restaurant just called ‘open mouth’ flat bread with filling (Kai Kou Xian Bing), and it is the only restaurant making this recipe. It is said that that restaurant has hundreds years of history. But in the recent years, it moved to a corner, where is not very easy to be found, only “good” customers, like my parents would still bother to go there just to enjoy the original taste of this flat bread.
I used to think it was impossible to make it with ‘open mouth’ at home, but one day, when I was making normal ‘Xian bing’, I could not close up the top surface, then I realized that I just made a ‘open mouth’ one. :))
Here is how I made it.
For the filling: Beef mince (any kinds of mince you like), ginger, spring onion, oil, salt, ground five spices, sesame oil, light soy sauce, cooking wine.
For the dough: Plain flour, warm water.
For the filling:
I used around 250gm of beef mince, mix with chopped mince-like small size of ginger, 1 spring onion, 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 flat teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground five spices, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine.
For the dough: I mixed 3 1/2 cups of plain flour with 1 cup of warm water. (You can alter the measurement, the more important thing is to get a relative soft dough).
Making ‘Xian bing’:
1) Knead the dough very well, then divide the dough into small pieces, say around 3-4cm diameter (?)
2) Press the small dough into a flat sheet (not too thin), or use a rolling pin.
3) Place a generous amount of filling in the centre of the pastry, let it evenly spread on the pastry sheet.
4) Pick up a corn from the edge of the pastry sheet, fold it backwards at every 1cm, like the photo.
5) Then when you finish with the rest of the edges, in the centre, it will be left a ‘window’ where you can see the fillings.
6) In a flat sauce pan, add around 2 tablespoons of oil, when the oil is hot enough, place prepared ‘xian bing’ in the sauce pan with medium fire.
7) Turn around time to time until both sides turn to gold. —–
I like to have it with soup and salad/liangcai together. Hope you like it! :)))