Yesterday, when I was browsing online, by a chance, I came across an article about Chinese food in the ‘Independent’, which, to be honest, was rather disappointing.
Well, I mean, Chinese cuisine is very difficult to describe in a few words, or even in a short article. There are huge regional and ethnic differences, not to mention that there are different kinds of food that are used for health and medical purposes; there are also plenty of common/everyday recipes as well as rare ones, traditional ways of cooking and modern ways. Not all the dishes I would like to have myself, and sometimes I even find some of them can be too strange to eat, but to judge Chinese cuisine fairly, I think you have to look at the whole picture.
Hopefully, if I am not lazy and can be persistent enough on this blog, I will gather enough information on Chinese regional, and ethnic dishes, as well as more different kinds of cuisines within China. :))
Talking about modern Chinese dishes, there are lots of changes, or say new ‘inventions’ these days. Most of these ‘new’ dishes, I have never even seen or heard of before, until my friends and family introduced them to me when I went back to China on holidays.
These modern ways of cooking normally involve using new ingredients ( new vegetables, herbs, or even Western ingredients) into the dishes, or ‘playing around’ with the usual ingredients, by using different combinations to create a new taste or a new way of eating, or just simply bringing the recipes from almost hundreds years ago, and adapt them to modern taste.
So, today I have a guest post to share a new recipe, just to give you some ideas about modern Chinese cuisine. The guest is —- ha… — is my dearest dad! He agreed to let me share this dish — it is too beautiful not to share, really. He made this when inviting guests for Chinese new year.
Where should I start — my dad is a true artist. Unlike me, whenever he cooks, he always tries to present the dishes in a beautiful way. Did I ever mention that he used to prepare a dish that was presented as a ”zoo” — with two ‘pandas’, ‘small hills’, ‘grass land’ and ‘bamboo’? It was so beautiful that in the end nobody was willing to ‘eat’ the ‘panda’.
This recipe is one of his latest ‘inventions’, he calls it “huang tu gao po’, referring to the ‘Loess Plateau’ in central China, where hills are constructed with yellow soil one layer after another layer. (See the picture below.) The recipe he made is actually very simple — he made the ‘layers’ with simple Chinese egg pancakes, and spread some mixed spring onion and carrot on top of each layer. It can be eaten warm or cold and tastes fresh and light, good to serve as a side dish, or instead of staple food on the dining table.
Here is how he made it. (When he made it, he did not know it was going to be shared here, so he could not remember the exact amount of each ingredients. Here is what he roughly explained to me.)
Egg, flour, salt, oil.
Spring onion, carrots.
1) Whisk the eggs and add in a little bit water, gradually add in plain flour and salt. The mix is not supposed to be thick. (Depending on how many layers you like to prepare, you can choose the amount of eggs and flour. If you like, check my recipe on making egg flat bread.)
2) Chop the spring onions into small pieces.
3) Shredded carrots.
1) In a flat sauce pan, add a few drops of oil.
2) When the oil is 50% hot, add in a ladle of egg and flour mix. Gently move around the sauce pan, let the egg and flour mix evenly spread on the sauce pan.
3) Before the top surface of the pancake getting completely done, (not totally dried yet), spread prepared spring onion and carrots on the top, so that the spring onion and carrots can be ‘embedded’ in the pancake. (But of course, some of the pieces will be still just on the top, but it does not really matter.)
4) Remove the pancake to a plate. And keep on making the rest of ‘layers’, until the small top layer.
My dad’s suggestion for making one layer smaller than another — use a little less egg and flour mix when you next layer, until the small layer on the very top.
When coming to eat it, it can either be eaten layer by layer, or chop in to four portions, and have a few layers at the same time. Hope you like it. And all the love to my dearest dad!