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    • abcdefg
      1
      This delicious flavor combination is popular all over China, especially in the summer months. The two main ingredients, long green beans 四季豆 and eggplant 茄子, are both thought to help the body deal with hot weather. I was reminded of how good it tastes this weekend as a guest at a business lunch in a “home style” 家常菜 restaurant known for its Yunnan take on such well-known dishes. Today I decided to make it at home while the mental image was still fresh in mind.   Here's the restaurant version. I didn't think to snap a picture until it was nearly gone. Hence the half-empty plate.         (Please click the photos to enlarge them.)                             Yunnan food is not quite as fiery hot as that of Sichuan and Hunan, but it is definitely no shrinking violet when it comes to using a bold palette of spices. This dish is a good example of how Yunnan cuisine constructs a distinctive regional flavor.   These beans 四季豆 are as long as my forearm. My neighborhood outdoor farmers market has several related varieties, all inexpensive and fresh. I picked a nice-looking bundle, paid 3 Yuan, and then moved on to find some eggplant. At this time of year lots of small eggplant are being harvested, some no longer than my outstretched hand, from wrist to fingertips. I bought 2 that were a little larger than that. Paid 2 Yuan for them.             Bought a red bell pepper 红甜椒 for 1.50 and a couple of moderately-large spring onions 大葱 for one more Yuan. Ingredient total at this point was under 8 Yuan. Factor in some garlic and ginger plus bottled sauces, and you are looking at a lavish total investment of around 10 Yuan.             Washed 洗净 and cut the vegetables 切段, making the sections of green bean and eggplant approximately the same length. The pieces of eggplant were strips, about the size of a finger 切条状。Finely chop a little garlic and ginger, smash and slice the spring onion, sliver half the red bell pepper, and set out a tablespoon of doubanjiang 豆瓣酱。This is a spicy fermented bean and chili sauce that originated in Pixian County, Sichuan. 郫县, not far from Chengdu 成都。                 Not shown is one small rice bowl containing a mixture of my liquid ingredients, prepared so that they can be added quickly without having to measure when the pan is hot and food is cooking fast. (1 tablespoon of soy sauce 酱油, 1 tablespoon of dark aged vinegar 老陈醋, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine 料酒, and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce 蚝油。)   A second small rice bowl contains a half teaspoon of corn starch 玉米淀粉 mixed with about two tablespoons of water, to be added at the end as a binder and thickening agent 勾芡。    Preheat the wok over high flame; when it’s hot, add a couple tablespoons of cooking oil. I think rapeseed oil 菜籽油 works best for this since it isn’t overly delicate, stands up well to high heat and adds a little flavor of its own. Add the eggplant, stirring constantly until it becomes tender and starts to take on a golden color. Remove it to a pan and set it aside.             If your wok is well seasoned, it won’t need washing at this point. You can just wipe it out with a paper kitchen towel and add another tablespoon or so of oil. Continuing to use high flame, add the cut green beans and stir fry them for two or three minutes, until they become slightly tender and start to look “crinkly” and develop speckling with dark in color. You don’t want them to actually scorch, but a little color is desirable. You can see the "breath of the wok" as the beans near the end of their cooking time. (It's closer to smoke than it is to steam.) It adds an element to the flavor. Scoop them out into a pan. Set them aside.                                     Wipe the wok and add a little more oil. (It won’t need much; a teaspoon or two.) Put in the ginger 姜末, followed by the minced garlic 蒜泥, thinly sliced red bell pepper 红甜椒丝 , chopped spring onions 葱花, 4 or 5 dried red chili peppers 干辣椒, and the doubanjiang 豆瓣酱。Stir fry these together until they are well mixed and you can smell the aroma. Add back the beans and the eggplant. Combine them well with the spices.             Now add the bowl of wet seasonings, a pinch of salt 食用盐, a pinch of sugar 白砂糖, a pinch of MSG 味精。If it looks too dry, add a splash of boiling hot water (not cold water; you don't want to slow down the cooking process.) Cover and cook on low heat for two minutes. Remove the lid and mix in the corn starch slurry 水淀粉。                                   After it comes to the boil again, it’s ready to serve. Plate it up! Goes real well with steamed rice and part of a small roast chicken.              At the restaurant it was just one component of a big lunch spread at a round table that had a dozen other dishes: chicken, pork, beef and fish. Vegetables that were steamed, boiled and fried. A couple types of soup. We rotated the center of the table slowly and had our fill of a fine assortment of Yunnan specialties. Can’t do all that at home of course, but still wanted to reproduce one small piece of it today and show you how.    Here's the recipe all in one place if you would care to give it a try: (Please click "reveal hidden contents.")   Spoiler Ingredients: Long green beans 四季豆 -- about 300 grams – stem end removed, cut in pieces 3 or 4 inches long. Slim Asian eggplants 茄子— about the same amount by volume as the beans – cut into finger-sized strips. (Leave the skin on.) Dry seasonings -- Small thumb of garlic, minced. 老姜 Large clove or two of garlic, minced. I prefer the kind that is all one single clove, not segmented into petals. 独蒜 One large spring onion 大葱 – smashed flat with the side of knife 菜刀 and cut fine. Only use the white part. Half a red bell pepper 红甜椒 – Seeded and thinly sliced. Dried red chili peppers 干辣椒 – 4 to 6 depending on how hot you like your food. Doubanjiang – 豆瓣酱 – 1 tablespoon -- a spicy sauce made from fermented beans. Coarse cooking salt 食用盐 – ¼ teaspoon or less (a pinch.) Don’t need much because several of the other ingredients contain salt. Beware of using Chinese table salt. It’s very fine and you can easily over-salt things. Granulated sugar – 白砂糖 -- ¼ teaspoon or less (a pinch.) MSG 味精 or chicken essence 鸡精 – ¼ teaspoon or less (a pinch.) Liquid seasonings – 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce 生抽,aged rice wine vinegar 老陈醋,yellow cooking wine 料酒,and oyster sauce 耗油。Mix these into a small bowl so they are ready to use fast when needed. Corn starch 玉米淀粉 ½ teaspoon, mixed with about 2 tablespoons of cold water – 水淀粉。Used as a binder and thickening agent. 勾芡     Method: Over high flame, quickly stir fry the eggplant in a couple tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Remove them to a bowl and wipe out the wok. Heat another tablespoon of oil. Continuing to use high flame, stir fry the green beans until they get soft and begin to develop spots of deep golden color. Remove them to a bowl and wipe out the wok. Heat another tablespoon of oil. Stir fry the aromatics (ginger, garlic, dried red peppers, doubanjiang, red bell pepper slices until they are mixed well and beginning to release their aroma. Return the eggplant and green beans to the wok. Stir to mix with the aromatics. Add the wet seasonings plus a tablespoon or two of hot water (if it looks dry.) Cover and cook about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the corn starch solution. Ready to serve after it returns to a boil.  
    • Marina B.
      0
      Hello! I will go to Qingdao in a August and stay there for summer. I want to take Chinese class when I'm there but I don't know in which school I should go to learn, could you recommend me one please? Thank you!   Marina
    • suMMit
      5
      How can I have an I-talki type lesson, where the teacher is not just explaining stuff to me,  that’s not a drill, but rather has a communicative purpose?   What can I give them that outlines a speaking lesson related to what I have recently studied and want to practice(I.e jobs, food, personal traits, hobbies, travel etc)?   I have tried a number of teachers. The first session is always fine, because it has the purpose of basic intro/ask/answer about each other - a genuine reason for communication. I find on subsequent lessons, I don’t know how to get a purpose to speak.   -Discussing an article would be great, but is too had right now, because my level/vocab is not high enough   -I tried following a book together, but they seem to focus too much on explaining grammar or vocabulary. I can do this on my own! I need them to practice speaking and listening with.   *I’m at an elementary level, been studying for around 8 months consistently.
    • DavyJonesLocker
      10
      In my humble attempt to expose myself to more reading I have allocated a lot more time to just general reading. Text books are shelved for a while. No new words added to ANKI, I am just going to run down the review count to keep things ticking over.   I have exhausted the graded reader materials so its onto easy(ish) novels. I have had a two false starts with 2 books 《三体》 刘慈欣 super interesting but due to the shear amount of unknown words reading stamina is hard to maintain. . 《流星,蝴蝶,剑》 simply lack of interest on this one, hard to push on through. Not for me at the moment but I do want to come back to it    Both of these with patience Id say are not too difficult to understand at an 85% - 90% comprehension level if I check the unknown words. (perhaps with the exception of the cultural references in the latter book)   One thing I realise that is "interest" trumps "difficulty". I rate this as highly important as even if one reads above one's level, it is still is a lot better than not reading at all! Hence I had much more motivation to read 三体 than the other one despite the slower progress.     Third attempt is 《海边的卡夫卡》 [村上春树]    (Kafka on the Shore , Haruki Murakami)  who is one of my favourite authors and have read almost all of his works in English. It's going well this time I am and quietly confident I can finish it (fingers crossed). However, the usual problem is that I encounter a lot of new words. I am never certain what's the best approach is to remember these new and often useful words.   Just check them and move on reading don't put them into SRS? 
    • feihong
      1
      Pop prodigy Hua Chenyu gives us a twisted cover of the classic Cui Jian song about a malicious individual who goes about pretending to be an itinerant monk. He’s deceptive, greedy, lacking in empathy, and more than a little lascivious. But you certainly can’t fault him for lack of confidence.   This is the third installment of the Grand Chinese Lyrics Project.   Chinese title: 假行僧 Artist: 华晨宇 Listen: https://youtu.be/6NBgcJxpI9M Type of lyrics: monologue Difficulty: Medium? No rare characters or exotic grammatical structures.   Lyrics   我要从南走到北 我还要从白走到黑 我要人们都看到我 但不知道我是谁   假如你看我有点累 就请你给我倒碗水 假如你已经爱上我 就请你吻我的嘴   我有这双脚我有这双腿 我有这千山和万水 我要这所有的所有 但不要恨和悔   要爱上我你就别怕后悔 总有一天我要远走高飞 我不想留在一个地方 也不想有人跟随   我要从南走到北 我还要从白走到黑 我要人们都看到我 但不知道我是谁   我只想看到你长得美 但不想知道你在受罪 我想要得到天上的水 但不是你的泪   (This verse is missing from this version of the song) 我不愿相信真的有魔鬼 也不愿与任何人作对 你别想知道我到底是谁 也别想看到我的虚伪
    • ghstudio
      5
      I purchased a packet of "chinese Herbal Mix for stewing pork" made by tomax enterprixes and sold by amazon and walmart:   https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/tomax-chinese-herbal-mix-for-stewing-pork/6000197121121   https://www.amazon.com/小磨坊養顏四物湯-Chinese-herbal-Stewing-Pork/dp/B075DVBTL4   There are no english instructions....  
    • Bibu
      1
      just wondered how to translate "情" to  English, some example   情深深雨蒙蒙 情非得已 情不自禁 情景交融 一枝一叶总关情 亲情 友情 爱情 ....   Not sure posted in the right place,  ps. help to rolocate to the right place if had. thx.
    • Mijin
      3
      I'm sure a very basic question, but I didn't see a past thread.   Basically I want to quit my job, and get my HSK 5 and maybe HSK 6 while deciding next step. If it is necessary to get a study visa, then I will enroll at a school full time. But if not (my residence permit still has 8 months on it) I would just study on my own and just contact a school for assistance with sitting the exam.   But the whole process is unclear to me, and once I quit I only have four weeks until I am in limbo.   NB: My desire to quit and desire to take a study sabbatical are two separate things. I wouldn't quit a job I am happy in to do this.
    • SunnySideUp
      6
      I have some more questions and would like to check whether I got the meaning right. Sometimes there's a particular word or phrase I'm not quite sure about. I appreciate any insights, pointers etc.   要是他们能用上这个软件,就可以用电脑来写东西了,写起来会快得多。那样的话我们国家不就进步了。 If they can use this software, they can use computers to write stuff down, and they can write faster. In that case/this way our nation just won't make progress.   →i don't understand the 不就进步了  - wouldn't the argument be that if they can use the software, they would make progress? I'm also not sure about why 了is there... Change of state 了?   可是,对她这样从里到外都那么干净的女孩,不说真话...他想都不能想。 But to not tell the truth to a girl so proper from the inside out...he thinks that (not telling the truth) can't even be thought of?   →my issue is with the 想都不能想 and whether I got that right   但是他一块钱 ---- 不,他一分钱都没有。 But he doesn't have money - no, he doesn't have one single bit of money?   →Does 分 trump 块 in terms of measurement, to drive the point home that he really doesn't have anything?   那个时候上天也没有帮过我。 At that time nobody (under the sun) (or god?) helped me.   →does 上天 have religious undertones or does it just mean nobody under the sun?   而真宗皇帝因为她长得美,会说好听的话,一直都非常喜欢她,也很信任她。 Because emperor 真宗 thinks she is beautiful and can speak nice words and he likes her very much, he also trusts her.   →而 trips me up. I've also never seen it used at the start of the sentence. If it has the meaning because, why does the sentence not start with 因为? Or is 而 just used to add emphasis?   屋子里的女人就是十年前被关起来的李妃。 The woman in the room is concubine Li who was locked up ten years ago. →被关 locked up? 李妃听着听着就哭了。她对赵忠说:“10 年前我生了个男孩儿,可是刘妃送给真宗皇帝的却是个怪物。 When concubine 李 heard that she started crying. She told 赵总:“ten years ago I have birth to a boy, but concubine 刘 gave 真宗皇帝a monster.   →can I translate 听着听着 as "when" or "as soon as"? I don't really know what to do with 却 here.. especially 的却 从侍女哪里,陈琳知道阿珠突然“病死了”,阿珠的尸体被侍从赵总送出去埋了。 陈琳learned from the female servants that 阿珠died of an illness all of the sudden and that her corpse was taken outside by 赵总to be buried.   →is the first 从侍 referring to 从 as from;the second 侍从 as servants? I presume the first reference could be changed to 从侍从女?    
    • marilyn_99
      7
      Hello, can someone please translate these Chinese characters? I would like them tattooed but I would like to make sure that it is interpreted correctly. If this is correct, can the letters be read from top to bottom instead of left to right? Thank you!
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