The history of Chinese cuisine goes back over 3,000 years. Like medicine, culture and all spheres of life in China, it is inextricably linked with ancient Chinese philosophy. Back in the second millennium BC, the sage Yi Yin created the theory of “food harmonization”. And Confucius taught the techniques of culinary art in the VI-V centuries. BC. During its existence, culinary art has acquired and, importantly, retained all those valuable knowledge and skills that allow Chinese dishes to be considered one of the most healthy and delicious.
According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, the Chinese eat every food known to us, as well as such exotic ingredients as shark fins, swallow nests, tree mushrooms, transparent vermicelli, etc. But there are, however, a few ingredients that are present in almost all Chinese dishes. First of all, it is soy sauce. It is made from soybeans. They are boiled, mixed with roasted wheat and a special type of mold is introduced into this mixture. When the mold has developed sufficiently, the mixture is placed in a saline solution, then squeezed, filtered and pasteurized. Other products are also made from soybeans – butter, milk, cottage cheese. There are hundreds of recipes for dishes from fresh, dried, marinated bean curd. Another of the traditional ingredients is ginger, a bizarrely shaped root with a very spicy and pungent taste. The Chinese love sesame oil.
A distinctive feature is the methods of preparation of products. The originality of the dishes is achieved by the skillful processing of the raw materials, and not by the raw materials themselves. One of the basic principles is that the dish should consist of small pieces so that during the meal no additional effort is required to cut the finished dish on the plate. Hence the two main culinary secrets in Chinese: properly cut and properly fried. For each type of dish, vegetables and meat are cut in a special way: cubes, sticks, wedges, strips, etc. Very often, when cooking, they use batter from dough or starch, because. this method allows you to save the juiciness of the original product. Pieces of meat, fish, seafood, vegetables are prepared in batter. It is extremely rare for a product to be prepared as a whole, but at the same time, without violating its integrity, i.e. all bones are removed so that the external form does not change. For frying foods, the so-called “wok” is used – a large diameter frying pan, having the shape of a hemisphere, made of cast iron, iron or aluminum. When frying, a minimum amount of fat is used. Butter, ghee and margarine are not used in Chinese cuisine, instead they are pork and chicken fat, sesame, maize and cottonseed oil. Often foods are steamed. For this, bamboo baskets are used, which are placed one on top of the other, placed in a saucepan with a small amount of water, and then covered with a lid, and sometimes with a towel.
The basis of Chinese national cuisine is dishes from a wide variety of products: cereals, flour, vegetables, meat, fish, marine invertebrates, algae, poultry, young bamboo shoots, etc. One dish, as a rule, includes a large number of components, and ingredients for the same dish is prepared separately, in a certain temperature regime. The apparent incompatibility of components, tastes and aromas is another feature of Chinese cuisine. Examples of this are numerous: “fish flavored pork”, “fruit flavored beef”, sweet and sour cucumbers.
Rice is the staple of Chinese cuisine. Dry friable porridge (tribute) and very liquid (damizhou) are cooked from rice, which the Chinese love very much and use only for breakfast. In many places, rice porridge prepared in various ways replaces bread. Crumbly unleavened rice is served both on its own and with numerous additives (finely chopped shrimp, vegetables, eggs). Rice perfectly sets off the taste of the main dish and absorbs sauces well.
Dishes and flour products are very popular among the Chinese. Among them: noodles, vermicelli, various kinds of cakes, steamed bread (pampushki), dumplings, ears, sweet cookies. Unleavened dough noodles are boiled in boiling unsalted water for 5 minutes, then quickly washed with cold water, put in a large bowl, and a side dish is placed on top – pieces of pork or chicken in sauce, finely chopped onions, sea cucumbers, tree mushrooms, bamboo shoots.
Vegetables play a huge role in Chinese cuisine. The most widely used cabbage (Chinese salad, white cabbage, Sichuan), sweet potato, potato, various types of radish, green onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, green bean pods. Thick young bamboo sprouts are popular in boiled form, side dishes and canned food. Vegetables are marinated in large quantities, salted in soy sauce, sour and dried. They are the main snack for cereals, especially radish and lettuce salted in soy sauce.
Meat is represented mainly by pork, beef and lamb are used much less frequently. The main method of heat treatment is roasting over high heat. For many dishes, poultry meat is used, especially chickens and ducks. They are prepared in various ways using a variety of sauces, starches, seasonings and spices.
Chicken and duck eggs are widely used. When preparing some cold and hot snacks, duck eggs canned in a special way are used. They are coated with a mixture of ash with lime, soda and salt and kept for 20-100 days in vats or earth. As a result of this exposure, the protein becomes brown, and the yolk becomes green.
The national drink is green tea (not very strong and without sugar). Chinese wines are usually very sweet. Local vodka – “Maotai tszyu”, “Fengtszyu”.
The territory of China extends from the subtropics to the hills and steppes of Mongolia. It is quite natural that such a number of climatic zones, and hence the products characteristic of each of them, resulted in the appearance of dishes typical of each given region.
Beijing cuisine traditionally uses lamb, as well as sesame (butter, grains, dough), borrowed from Mongolian cuisine. The most common vegetable is the so-called Chinese cabbage, a cross between cabbage, lettuce and celery. Here they prefer to season their food with spicy rice vinegar and cook vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce. Beijing cuisine combines simple, hearty dishes with gourmet dishes from the imperial court. The pinnacle of culinary art is undoubtedly Peking Duck. The duck is dried, soaked in soy sauce and fried. The finished dish is cut right in front of you by a waiter in white gloves. You will be served a piece of duck with a crispy crust, cucumber slices, onion feather and slightly sweet plum sauce on a thin, almost transparent pancake. Another popular dish is “poor chicken”. The chicken is stuffed with champignons, cabbage, onions, herbs, wrapped in lotus leaves, covered with clay and fried in the oven. The client himself must break the hardened clay crust with a small hammer.
Shandong cuisine is light and appetizing, not abusing fats. The best dishes of this cuisine primarily include soups: pure broths and milk broths. For example, “swallow nest soup” is world famous – a pure broth of completely edible and healthy saliva, with which swallows fasten their homes. Usually this soup is served at official banquets. Milk broth contains not only milk, it is seasoned with local Jiang vegetables, other cities along the coast of Shandong Province are famous for sea delicacies such as “quick fried shells” or “oysters fried in oil”. These dishes are usually served with wine. Of the numerous species of freshwater fish of the Shandong table, the Chinese perch is considered the most popular, and of the marine gourmets, they prefer salmon, large and small croaker.
The spring-fed freshwater pond on Mount Taishan is home to the so-called “red-scaled fish”. In fact, its scales have a golden hue, and only the fins are bordered with a red stripe. Its meat is especially juicy. Cleaned, washed, it is rubbed with spices, fried in a deep layer of oil and served with seasoned salt. Restaurants in Jinan City are famous for carp from the Yellow River in sweet and sour sauce. When cooking, carp is made with oblique cuts on both sides, covered with a layer of beaten eggs, fried in oil, poured with sweet and sour sauce and served. The head and tail of the fish rise during frying, so it appears on the table bent into an arc.