Chinese vegetables info recipe And Books
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Chinese vegetables info recipe and books|
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chinese vegetables info
Many Westerners overcook vegetables draining them of their natural flavours and colours and rendering them limp and lifeless. In China vegetables are never overcooked. The techniques of Stir frying blanching deepfrying and even braising all preserve the flavours of vegetables while retaining their crispness and texture. The trick is to know when to stop cooking. Simplicity is another factor. The Chinese rarely cover their vegetables with heavy sauces preferring the natural tastes and textures. But vegetables are rarely eaten raw unless they are pickled; even lettuce is cooked and cold Chinese salads always consist of cooked or pickled vegetables too. All Chinese meals include one or two vegetable dishes since apart from being highly nutritious they add colour and texture to a well balanced meal.
Westerners generally agree that vegetables cooked in the Chinese fashion are delectable. This excellence in the preparation of vegetables is of course based on thousands of years of culinary experience. China is also fortunate in having a vast array of native edible plants supplemented in recent centuries by foreign imports such as tomatoes carrots sweet potatoes and various types of marrow.
The BuddhistTaoist tradition is one source of the Chinese peoples expertise with vegetables. Buddhists avoid meat because they abhor killing any living animal since this contradicts their doctrine of reincarnation. Taoists are vegetarian because they believe that to kill animals is to shatter the essential unity of the universe. For the past 1500 years therefore these minority groups have promoted vegetarianism and their chefs have made imaginative and creative use of vegetables. They have concocted imitations of meat fish and seafood dishes which are so realistic and delicious that people are hardput to distinguish the replica from the real thing. Because vegetables are not good sources of protein the soya bean that miracle protein food which is found everywhere in China was pressed into service. Beancurd soyabean milk and other beancurd products became staples in the vegetarian diet. Instead of poultry or meat broths the liquid left from soaking dried Chinese black mushrooms provided the base for sauces and soups. All of these innovations slowly spread beyond the Buddhist and Taoist groups to the much larger society of nonvegetarian Chinese.
Technique is especially important in vegetable cookery. We cook with a minimum of water or oil to obtain the best results. The use of high heat and rapid cooking seals in the flavours and nutrients but retains texture and crispness. Blanching vegetables in hot water and then plunging them into cold water after brief cooking ensures that the natural flavour and colour of vegetables is retained. This process is particularly important when Stir frying harder vegetables such as carrots or broccoli which need to be partly cooked before being stirfried.
Deepfrying is another favourite method of cooking vegetables since hot oil seals in the flavours and gives vegetables a crunchy texture. Whatever technique you use I hope you will discover the same pleasure that the Chinese have been deriving from vegetables for centuries. Most of the vegetables used in the following recipes are well known in this country. I have however included some which may be less familiar.
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