|Dishes||Dumplings, fried aubergine, Mapo tofu (vegan)|
|Population||1,400,050,000 (greatest in world)|
|Land mass||9,596,961 km2 (3rd largest)|
|Languages||Standard Chinese (official)|
|Religions||73.6% NO religion|
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
CHINA WEEK! Bridget was so excited for this week that we skipped out Chile. It was a special occasion as we invited our friend Sonya, who is from Northern China, down to the house to be our guest-chef. She taught as how to make proper Chinese dumplings, just as her grandparents once taught her to do. It was a bit of effort but very fun and she made it look so easy (it wasn’t too bad). We also made Szechuan Aubergine and Ma Po Tofu (vegan), which are two dishes Bridget ate a lot of when she traveled to China last summer. It was super delicious and left us stuffed.
Just to note, there are so many amazing dishes to make from Chinese cuisine, from the huge number of different regions. Get on google and give them a go!
Traditional Chinese Dumplings
INGREDIENTS (enough dumplings for 7 pp)
- Wrapper dough = plain flour, water (eye-ball measures)
- 6 eggs
- 6 spring onions
- 1 packet prawns (if using)
- 1 large piece of fresh ginger, well chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, well chopped
- sesame oil, for frying (can also use veg oil)
- Make the wrapper dough by literally just mixing flour and water together until the desired consistency is reached and you have enough dough. We used initially 300 grams of flour and then kept adding flour and water as we went. Sonya says the dough is perfect when the sides of the mixing bowl are clean. The dough should be smooth and totally mixed, similar to a soft bread dough.
- Next step is to roll out the wrappers. Roll the entire dough into a giant sausage, with a thickness of around 2 inches. Rip off a small chestnut sized piece, flatten it with your palm and using a rolling pin, roll this into a thin circle on a floured surface. Sonya’s method is to roll the wrapper with the pin by continually turning the wrapper in a circle. The wrapper should be thin enough to see light through. Repeated this with the rest of the dough and make sure to use plenty of flour so the wrappers do not stick.
- Now make the filling by heating up sesame oil in a pan on a medium high heat. Fry the garlic and ginger for a few minutes and then lower the heat. If you are using prawns, add them in at this stage also. Add the eggs in and scramble them until nice and firm. Then turn off the heat and incorporate the chopped spring onions.
- To make the dumpling, take a wrapper and hold it over your 3 middle fingers, turning your hand to point to the side. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper and use water to coat the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over on itself and seal down the edges. Then fold along the edges to seal. Sonya was very good at doing this and made it look effortless. So, our recommendation is watch a video of someone who knows what they are doing. Then give it your best go! As long as the dumplings won’t burst, you’re doing fine.
- To fry the dumplings, heat oil at 1cm thickness on a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and place the dumplings in the oil. Fry the dumplings until golden brown on both sides, using tongs to turn them over half-way through cooking time. Then place them on a cloth to dry.
- Serve with dipping sauce of white wine vinegar, either by itself or with soy sauce mixed in! AMAZING!
Fried Szechuan-style Aubergine
- 2 large aubergines, chopped into short + thin matchsticks
- 1 large piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- Szechuan chilli paste
- sesame oil for frying
- Heat the sesame oil on a medium-high heat. Fry the ginger and garlic for a few minutes.
- Add in the aubergine matchsticks and lower the heat. Let it sit for a few minutes and then give it a good, rapid stir. Add in the chilli paste and a little more oil and stir occasionally until the aubergine is soft.
Mapo Tofu (veganized)
- 1 packet mushrooms, diced finely
- 4 tsp veg stock
- 1 cups water
- 1 block of soft tofu (silken would work also), cut into 1 inch cubes
- Salt to taste
- 3 tbsp veg oil
- 3 small dried hot red peppers
- 1 tbsp any spicy bean paste
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp finely ground Sichuan pepper
- ½ cup slivered scallions, both white and green parts
- Make a broth by adding hot water to the veg stock.
- Prepare the mushrooms by dicing them finely.
- Put sesame oil in a wok over medium heat. Add red peppers and bean paste and cook, stirring until fragrant for 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and let sizzle, then add mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil and Sichuan pepper. Add the veg broth and cook mixture gently for 2 minutes.
- Add the tofu cubes and shake the pan to distribute sauce well. While the tofu is still soft, try to avoid smashing it. Add in the cornstarch dissolved in a little water, gently swirling pan to incorporate (sauce will thicken) and simmer tofu in sauce for 2 minutes more on a low simmer.
- Serve this in a bowl, sprinkled with scallions.
Xièxiè and see you in Colombia! M + B x