Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moon cake season

Mid-autumn festival is mid September this year but already now many shops have started selling moon cakes. I passed by one of the tea houses here in Shanghai and saw that they are selling moon cakes made with tea. Moon cake with green filling is made with mint tea and the other one is made with rose tea. They tasted quite good, felt a bit lighter than the traditional moon cakes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Golden coins

Yet another recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop's brilliant book "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: recipes from Hunan province": Golden coins. Hard boiled eggs fried with ginger, chili, vinegar, sesame oil...wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. A new favourite way of preparing eggs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Red wine risotto

I had red wine risotto recently and loved it. I found this recipe and only difference to the one I tried is that it doesn't have any pancetta. I thought that pancetta in the risotto I tried was really perfect addition so I added 50 grams cubed pancetta and sauteed it together with shallots.
Another thing I changed was that I added radicchio at the end of cooking as 25 minutes sounded a bit too much.

Red wine risotto
adapted from Epicurious
8 dl vegetable stock, warm
2 chopped shallots
50 gr pancetta, cubed
1 small radicchio, thinly sliced
2,5 dl risotto rice
1 dl red wine
2 tbsp butter
olive oil and some parmesan

Heat the olive oil, add shallots and pancetta and saute until golden brown. Add the rice and stire until it absorbes all fat. Add the wine and stir until absorbed by rice. Slowely add a bit of warm stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock and stiring until rice becomes soft and creamy. It is important to wait until the stock is absorbed by rice before you add more stock. Add radicchio and cook until wilted. Take the risotto of the heat, add butter. Serve with parmesan on the top.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Biggest crêpe - eat your heart out France

...ok it is not really a crêpe :), but it surely looks like one. It is a Chines type of bread that is cooked exactly the same way as crêpe. Even a bit more advanced cooking technique is used because it is important to spread the dough very fast on hot "pan". And in this case the "pan" had an engine and was rotating constantly when spreading around the dough.
I do not know how Chinese people eat this bread, just plane or with some spread (probably savory), but all I know is that there was no Nutella in reach. And just hypothetically, can you imagine how big jar of Nutella you would have to use for this "crêpe". One can always dream.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chinese style icecream

Forget about cream and eggs, Chinese style icecream is all about ice. A pile of shaved ice is covered with different type of fruits, jelly, red beans, mung beans and it is sweetened with condensed milk. I guess condensed milk has been added lately as it is not a Chinese ingredient. Sometimes icecreams come with a soy milk jelly on the top.

I like Chinese style icecream, it is refreshing and works perfectly for hot summer days in Shanghai. I think it would be a nice addition to all cold desserts in the western part of the World as well. Western types of icecreams have found their way to China, Häagen-Dazs has stores all over the city and not to mention all other brands. Lets see if Chinese style icecream ever reaches the west.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Street markets in Shanghai

There are quite few street markets in Shanghai and sometimes when walking around they emerge out of nowhere. They are usually spread over a block or two, and you can find just about anything. You can say they are shopping malls spread around on the streets. But that's the only thing in common with shopping malls. Street markets have a soul, life and a character that doesn't leave you untouched and empty. A street market in Shanghai is all about people and their everyday lives. It gives you an individual insight, which in a country with 1,3 billion people can be hard to see.
This is how food section at a street market can look like.

Green tea - there are also many tea markets, usually 3 stores buildings where you can find all kinds of tea. Chinese people also like to try their tea before buying it.

Gas cooker ready to start

Watermelons on sale

Steamed dumplings

Steamed bread buns

Steamed bread buns

Star anise, dried chillies, cassia bark and a scale.

Knife sharpening guy - wish I had him in my neighborhood.

Scallion cakes - another popular snack in Shanghai.

Sweet rice cakes

Hand pulled noodles - this is the most amazing way of making noodles. I have never seen something like it. Unfortunately I didn't manage to take pictures but luckily this guy did!

Lotus seed pods - seeds are easily picked out and eaten fresh. They are also used in sweet soups and moon cakes filled with lotus seed paste is another delicacy.

Ginger and garlic - one of the basic ingredients in Chinese cooking.

Deep fried snack


Sea food

Fried dumplings

On a street market you can also find a guy who is repairing bicycles.

Street market bakery

Turtles - house pet turtles

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shanghai breakfast

Shanghai breakfast is definitely the best part of Shanghai cuisine. And probably the reason why Shanghai people are as fit as they are. Few things Shanghai people eat for breakfast:

Pan fried shengjian dumplings are sold on every corner in the mornings and when you see them freshly made you cannot pass by without having a couple.
Dumplings are filled with pork and stock. Stock has previously been cooked until it reaches jelly stage, then cut into pieces and used in the filling. Later on when dumplings are pan fried, stock melts and dumplings become the most wonderful dumplings on this planet Earth, mmmmmm....

Pao fan, or rice congee is eaten as breakfast dish. Rice is boiled in water and later stock and vegetables are added. Very simple and delicious. But being western this dish was eaten on VERY late-breakfast weekends. I can handle milk-rice in the early mornings but that's about it when it comes to rice and mornings.

Soy milk and green tea. Green tea drinking doesn't stop at breakfast. Most of the people carry a bottle of green tea with them all day long.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Shanghai cuisine

I have been told that Shanghai cuisine is loved by Shanghainese people, and that is Shanghainese people only. In China there are 8 recognized cuisines but Shanghai cuisine is not one of them. At least not for now. I also find Shanghai cuisine rather special. Common way of preparing food is deep-frying and use of sugar and alcohol. Which could make you think that Shanghai people are overweight and unhealthy, but no, they are not. At least they don't look that way.

Few Shanghai dishes that can often be found on menus:

Crispy chicken - deep fried pieces of bread are stir fried with chicken and celery.

Stir fried noodles

Potatoes and peppers are briefly stir fried and mixed with rice vinegar and some sugar...delicious!

Crispy duck - duck is first steamed and later pressed into a cake and fried between sheets of duck skin until crispy....extremely delicious.