Monday, December 12, 2005
You know Chinese New Year is coming when...
when there is pork hanging from the ceilings and balconies.
Yes, indeed that is meat hanging. It will hang there until the end of January when the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year. I walk through our housing compound and you can always tell when your neighbors are Chinese when you see link after link of sausage hanging off their balconies. I have heard from others that they will even hang dead cats from their balconies preparing them for their new year's feast. Luckily we will be somewhere on vacation, so we won't be dining on any of these delicacies.
Last week my friends Asma and Sophie attended a cooking class to learn how to cook Sichuan- style Chinese dishes. We learned how to cook sweet and sour pork, ma po dofu, kung pao chicken, fish-flavored eggplant, and crispy rice with vegetable sauce. It was a great class and we had fun along with great food. I have to say my favorite was the ma po dofu. The teacher, who spoke zero English thought I was crazy. I wasn't following instructions and she would curse me everytime I didn't use 1 cup of oil in my dishes. I was explained that in Sichuan cooking it was very, very important to use a lot of oil. I just ignored it and just used a tablespoon of oil in my dishes. They were also using recycled oil. When we finally realized that the oil we were using wasn't fresh we asked for fresh oil. I have never seen such dirty looks in my life!
Sophie, teacher, and Asma chopping and stirring. Check out our cleavers!
Asma stir-frying her little heart out!
Here is the crispy rice with vegetable sauce.
Sophie tasting her delicious cooking.
I am not sure if you noticed from the photos that we were still wearing our coats. It was freezing in the kitchen. There was no heat and the 2 burners we were using didn't really keep us very warm. I am still trying to get used to most places not having central heating.
I am really looking forward to coming home this summer and cooking a feast for my friends! I promise not to use any Chinese bacon!