China

Recipes from China

Zongzi/Rice dumplings with bamboo leaves

Makes 20 dumplings

Ingredients:

40 large bamboo leaves (2 for each zongzi)
20 long strings (for binding leaves)
1 kg (2.2 Ib) uncooked glutinous rice
2 kg (4.4 Ib) fatty pork, sliced into 3 cm (1") cubes
10 salted duck's egg yolk, shelled, cut into halves
40 small dried shittake (black) mushrooms
20 dried chestnuts
10 stalks of scallions, cut up into 1 cm (1/2") lengths
500 g (18 oz) dried radish diced very finely
100 g (3.5 oz) very small dried shrimp
200 g (7 oz) raw peanuts (shelled, with skins)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine
Vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, roughly crushed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 pieces star anise

Directions:

1. Soak rice in water for three hours, drain.
2. Stew pork and chestnuts for 1 hour in soy sauce, rice wine, ground pepper, 1 teaspoon of sugar. and star anise. Set aside pork and chestnuts in bowl.
3. Boil peanuts until tender (30 minutes to 1 hour).
4. Soak mushrooms until soft. Clean and cut off stalks. Stir-fry with a little liquid from stew. Set aside in bowl.
5. Shell and halve duck eggs. Set aside in bowl.
6. Chop up dried radish finely and stir-fry with some 1/2 teaspoon sugar and garlic.
7. Stir-fry spring onions until fragrant.
8. Stir-fry shrimp very quickly.
9. In a large wok or bowl, add rice, then add spring onions, radish, shrimp, peanuts. Mix together well.

Wrapping zongzi:

1. Rinse bamboo leaves in hot water to tenderise, before washing thoroughly in cold water.
2. Wet strings to make them more pliable.
3. Take 2 leaves and overlap them. About 2/3rds of way along the length of the leaves, place one hand underneath, make a cup shape with the leaves.
4. Add a small amount of rice mixture, then add 1 piece of pork to the centre of the rice. Add more rice on top, compressing slightly.
5. Now repeat this process, in turn adding 1 each: chestnut, mushroom, half a duck egg, followed by a layer of rice until you have a full rice ball in your hand.
6. Wrap leaves tightly around the ball of rice.
7. Dumplings should be pyramid shaped with sharp edges and pointed ends. It takes some practice to make nice looking ones.
8. Zongzi are tied up just like shoes laces with a double knot which makes them easy to open.
9. *Steam for 1 hour, unwrap and serve.

Notes:

Eat zongzi plain or with a sauce of your choice. Wrapped tightly in plastic, zongzi freeze well. To reheat, thaw, and without removing the bamboo leaves, steam (best option), or microwave. Before micro-waving, poke a very small hole in the wrapping and pour in 1/4 of a teaspoon of water to help prevent the zongzi drying out. To test for doneness, plunge a sharp fork into the centre of the zongzi. If the pointy end of the fork is hot, so is your snack.

*People in southern Taiwan tend to boil the dumplings rather than steam them.

Source: http://www.eatingchina.com/recipes/zongzi.htm

Cha ye dan/Tea Eggs

Serves 6

Ingredients:

6 eggs
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black tea leaves or 1 tea bag
4 pieces star anise
1 small stick cinnamon or cassia bark
1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns (optional)
2 strips dried mandarin peel (optional)

Directions:

1. Place unshelled eggs in saucepan of cold water – water level should be at least 4 cm (1-1/2") higher than eggs.
2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes.
3. Remove the eggs. With a knife, tap each egg to slightly crack the shells in two or three places. Return to saucepan.
4. Add other ingredients and stir. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, adding water as necessary.
5. Drain, serve hot or cold.

Notes:

Cook longer for a stronger flavour and a deeper colour. Tea eggs are also known as Chinese marbled eggs for the unique marbling effect on the surface of the egg. Sauce can be frozen and reused.

Source: http://www.eatingchina.com/recipes/zongzi.htm

Chinese Green Beans

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Chinese bean sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon brown sugar
vegetable or peanut oil for stir-frying
1 pound fresh green beans
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili paste
sesame oil

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine bean sauce, soy sauce, cooking wine and sugar. Set aside. Chop garlic, ginger and scallions and have them ready. In a wok, heat a tablespoon or two of oil. When hot, add the green beans and stir-fry for about five minutes. Remove beans from wok. Add the garlic, ginger and scallions and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the chili paste to the wok, stir. Return green beans to wok, add the sauce and toss. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame oil to taste.

Enjoy!

Source: Phyllis Noble