The weather has been so bad over here in the past … 2 weeks? — At least. … I know if you are reading here, you must be laughing at me, and saying that I turned to be English — talking about weather all the time. But the dark, heavy, low clouds have been hanging in the sky for so long, it completely shadows my ‘mood’ — only — I guess I don’t have to cry, because the rain keeps on dropping down, as if the sky is crying instead of me, and me — I can just sit in front the window, see the rain washing the grass, plant, the road and the buildings, and pray that I can be in the sun soon.
Seeing my friends wrote on Weibo (Chinese twitter) that summer is coming now in my hometown in China already, and they are starting having summer feasts, and of course, also they are preparing for the summer heat. — I am so jealous!! Here in England is still a bit chilli, no matter how many times I tried to leave that winter coat at home, when I stepped out, I would have to come back to pick it up. :(
But, today, the sun!! Not blue sky, not so bright, not so warm, but the sun shines through the blinds! I took off my thick cardigan, sitting in the sun, close my eyes — just enjoy that warmness, brightness wrapping me up, lifting me up… Yes, I am pretending that I am having a hot summer day. :)
My friend in China nicely asked, ‘when are you back? I will treat you grill, cold bear, smoked chicken bones, spicy soup…’ — All the things we had when we were together, the ‘must-have’ ones in northeast China every summer. It makes my mouth watering, and reminds me there are so many featured northeast Chinese dishes I haven’t shared here.
Ok, here comes one — bean jellies salad, one of my mum’s and mine favorites. It is not really main dish, rather ‘xiao chi’, like ‘snacks’. You can have a small bowl of it, just for the fresh taste, but your stomach will be filled up. :)
If you are in China, I bet you will find difficulties to find it in the restaurants, they are more sold in the stalls in the streets, or those ‘food court’ places. Whenever, me and my mom go shopping, we always ‘take a wander’ in those ‘food courts’ with featured regional ‘snacks’, and sit down for a bowl of this bean jellies salad.
Bean jellies is the translation I found online, I am not even sure if it is accurate. It is made from starch flour into a ‘jelly’ like texture. This kind of ‘Jelly’ can be found in different regions of China, it normally comes with plain taste, then you would need to pour seasoning sauce over it, make it into a nice ‘salad’. However, different regions have different kinds of seasoning sauce for it. For example, the most famous one is probably the ‘chuan bei’ (northern Sichuan province) version. Come to ‘Sichuan’ dish, you can imagine — very very spicy, but unique nice cool spicy. Northeast version normally mixes with other green vegetables and ‘flour noodles’, not very spicy, rather a bit sweet and sour with sesame paste, it is quite similar to Green bean starch salad. I will make the northeast version next time.
The starch flour, normally munge bean starch is considered to be the tasty one, same as Fensi, but if you cannot find it, (which is not easy to buy in the supermarkets), any other starch will do the job as well. In the recipe, I used potato starch. :)
Here is how it is easily made. :)
Starch flour (I used potato starch)
Garlic, sesame oil, chilli oil, light soy sauce, (or if you can use a teaspoon of preserved spicy chilli sauce for the spiciness), salt
Preparing the ‘jellies’:
1) In a sauce pan, mix 1 cup of starch flour and at least 4 cups of water (some suggest 6 cups, but it is maximum.)
2) Sit the sauce pan on the mid – low fire, while it is getting boiled, keep on stirring, until it turns into a ‘jelly like’ texture.
3) Pour the starch mixed ‘jelly’ into a container, and leave it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours. (I normally leave it over night.)
Preparing the sauce:
1) Mix minced garlic (2 or 3 gloves) with 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of chilli oil, (or 1 tablespoon of preserved spicy chilli sauce), 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, and salt of your preference.
2) Pour the seasoning sauce over the ‘jelly strips’, mix well. — Eat!! :) Super fresh for a hot summer day! :) — Saying that, as I am writing, the rain starts again. :(((