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We Start out in China…

Well Chef Fan’s we start out on our journey of learning and homework with China. I plan to post the recipes that we will be making for Cuisine and Culture: International Flavors but first we have reading assignments, and questions to answer about our reading. I find the questions interesting and hope that you will as well because for now this is all I got. Enjoy!

 1. How long have the Chinese been cultivating rice?

            The Chinese have been cultivating rice since at least 4000B.C.

 2. Identify the only SE Asian culture to use chopsticks in the same manner as the Chinese?

            Vietnam

 3. Explain yin-yang (1 paragraph)  

            When it comes to cooking eating a healthy diet is all about achieving a balanced and healthy body. To do this dishes and meals are composed of both “yin” and “yang” foods. Yin foods are cooling and mild and also represent dark feminine qualities. Yang foods on the other hand tend to be lighter and more masculine, or warming and hot. You could say that yin reduces body heat, while yang increases body temperature. Yin foods tend to be sweet like sugar, and are generally fish seafood and vegetables; while Yang foods are tart like vinegar and are often meats and fruits like apricots and cherries. However some ingredients like eggs are both yin and yang, and in some cases cooking a item changes it from a yin to a yang.

 4. What is fan?

            One of the two categories of food, primarily starch (most often rice).

 5. What is ts’ai?

            The second of the two categories of food, primarily vegetables and meats in other words things served with rice.

 6. What does rinsing rice do?

            It cleans the rice and helps to make ti less starchy. Typically it is rinsed three times but sometimes more. In China washing the rice symbolizes the beginning of preparing the meal. You can also soak your rice in the cooking water before you actually cook it. This can be done from anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour. Soaking and rinsing the rice is said to make it tenderer and take less time to cook.

 7. Although there are many ways to map China’s food regions, list the four regions (from the book) with one statement about each

  • The North: Beijing (Peking) – Uses of wheat, you will see breads, baked buns, dumplings and wheat noodles. Seasoned with garlic, chives, and leeks, he north does not rely on fresh herbs like other parts of China do. Meat is especially prized and smoking meats is very common.
  • The East: Shanghai – Know as “The land of rice and fish” it is coastal and has the Yangtse river running through it. It is also a very fertile crop land. Hoisin sauce and rice wine vinegar are used as flavorings, and is known not only for the quality but also the quantity of the soy sauce they make.
  • The South: Canton –Most often thought of as Cantonese and is widely considered the finest, most sophisticated and most innovative cuisine in China. The main ingredient is the star of the dish and the sauce is used just to accentuate the main ingredient. The south is also where you will find citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines. Fish and shellfish are used a great deal, but you also find the more unusual meats like snake and dog. This is also the region where Dim sum originated from
  • The West: Szechwan, Hunan, and Yunan – simpler and less subtle then the South it is the region of spicy foods, being famous for both Hunan and Szechwan. Soy sauce, soy paste, bean curd, and black beans are essential ingredients.  Beef, lamb, smoked duck, and fish are used in many dishes; with spicy peanut sauce, sesame sauce, and hoisin sauce being the most typical sauces.

 8. Which region is known as “the land of fish and rice”?

            The East or Shanghai region.

 9. Which region exhibits the most European influence?

            The South or Canton (Cantonese) region.

 10. Which cuisine is spicier Hunan or Szechwan? Why?

            Hunan is spicier because of the use of more fresh chiles, as opposed to the chile paste used in Szechwan.

 11. Explain how the Chinese deep fry differently than Western cooks.

            First off it is a fundamental part of Chinese cooking. Here in the West it is a one step technique but in China they will commonly use it as the first step in the cooking process. As the first step it is used for searing the outside of an ingredient. They are also known as “fearless-fryers” and will fry not only large cuts of meat but also whole fish.

 12. When was tea introduced to Europe and America?

            Not until the seventeenth century       

13. What is the difference between green tea and black tea?

            Green Tea- original color of the leaf not fermented, also the lightest.  Black Tea- fermented before drying, commonly known as “red tea” or double-fermented, in China

 14. Explain “Wok Hay”

            “Wok Hay” is many different things depending on who you talk to but most agree that it is the “breath of the wok” or “wok energy”.  “Wok Hay” is also a strictly Cantonese expression. For a very general definition it is something that is already present in the ingredients but a very hot wok just helps bring it out. The blacker the wok the more intense the “Wok Hay” is going to be or simply put it is something you create with the wok. “Wok Hay” is also said to make the food powerful and strong.

 15. What are the 4 pimary ingredient in soy sauce?

            Soy beans, Roasted grains, Water, Salt. The ingredients are fermented in the sun normally in urns.

 16. Name five primary flavorings used in Chinese cuisine.

            Soy, chilies, garlic, vinegars, salt, aka Salty, Sour, Spicy (hot), Bitter, and Sweet

 17. What is the most common mistake when using a wok?

            Using a Wok that is not hot enough, or that has been overloaded with itesm so that it cools down to much.

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