Popular Post abcdefg Posted July 15, 2016 at 02:59 AM Popular Post Report Share Posted July 15, 2016 at 02:59 AM If you sometimes enjoy making authentic Chinese food at home, nothing will open doors for you as much as being able to use original-language recipes. It's not difficult, and if you are on a practical Chinese language learning path, it might be time to give it a try. With that in mind, let me take you through this simple dish I made yesterday here in Kunming, using it as a chance to give you a little insight into recipe language. Made this for a Chinese friend who is not an adventurous eater; we had it for lunch. It's a safe and easy dish even if you're not used to cooking Chinese food. No tricks and no surprises; yet it came out pretty tasty. Recipes that one finds on internet cooking sites here are often graded as to difficulty 难点/难度。This one would have to be a 初级，primary grade, since it doesn't call for any specialized equipment or techniques. Furthermore, the ingredients are not exotic or difficult to find. Let's take a look so you can see for yourself. 用料 主料：鸡肉 -- 250 克； 玉米粒 -- 适量 辅料：红尖椒 -- 适量 调料： 葱、大蒜、姜、食盐、蚝油 用料 means ingredients, also given as 菜料 or 材料。The ingredients are usually divided into 主料 which means main ingredients, and 辅料 which are supplementary ingredients, plus 调料 broadly meaning seasonings. This division is sometimes kind of fuzzy and doesn’t always neatly follow western logic. It's also not uncommon to find things omitted in this initial list that are later called for in the instructions. 适量 is a frequent phrase, which simply means "an appropriate amount." So you can use a little or a lot depending on your preferences and those of your guests. 葱 = spring onions, 大蒜 = garlic, 姜 = ginger, 食盐 = salt, and 蚝油 = oyster sauce. In this particular recipe, the 主料 are corn 玉米 and chicken 鸡肉 。Chinese recipes usually give ingredients by weight instead of by volume. Unless you have a kitchen scale, and I don’t right now, this means you need to work by eye. (A cooking scale is inexpensive on Taobao, and is probably a sensible investment, especially when starting out.) Here I used one large chicken breast and about a cup of corn. The corn you need for this dish is corn kernels 玉米粒 instead of corn on the cob 玉米棒。You can either buy the corn kernels as such in the wet market, freshly shucked, or you can buy corn on the cob and strip the kernels yourself with a paring knife. When buying corn, look for a uniform rich golden yellow color and ears of corn that are not too large, since corn picked young tends to be more tender. I usually buy free range chicken 土鸡 since it has more flavor. This dish can either be made with chicken breast 鸡脯肉 or chicken leg 鸡腿肉。Each has advantages 优点 and disadvantages 缺点。 Chicken leg is dark meat, moist with a bit more flavor, but it takes an additional step to remove it from the bone. Chicken breast, white meat, is easy to cut up, but can easily become dry and tough if cooked too long. I had chicken breast on hand, and so that’s what I used yesterday. Convenience is a trump card if you’re just preparing a casual meal for a friend and not polishing your Michelin star. Here's a picture of the 辅料, the peppers. These 红尖椒 are quite mild, with only a little bit of bite. When I cut them up, I discarded most of the seeds; had I left more seeds, the dish would have been spicier. If you wanted the dish to have considerably more heat, it would be easy to substitute 红辣椒 red chili peppers. These are about as long as a finger, though smaller in diameter. The ones I used, 红尖椒, are twice that long, and as big around as a thumb, although similar in shape and color. If you wanted zero heat, you could use red bell pepper, 红甜椒。 Now moving on to the 做法 or method, sometimes also written as 步骤 or steps, we quickly see that it has two parts, the prep and the actual frying. Let's look first at the way we need to pre-treat the chicken. I sliced it into thin strips = 鸡肉切片。 Could have just as well cut it into small cubes = 鸡肉切丁。Next we marinate it briefly to help it cook fast and give it extra flavor. 腌 means to marinate; it can also mean to brine or to pickle. 蚝油一汤勺、料酒一汤勺、淀粉一茶勺、拌匀、放入鸡肉、腌上15分钟。Mix a tablespoon of oyster sauce (蚝油), a tablespoon of cooking wine (also referred to as 黄酒), a teaspoon of corn starch. Put in the chicken, mix it well and let it stand 15 minutes. (The weather is hot, so I let it marinate in the fridge out of respect for food safety.) While the chicken was marinating, I minced some garlic and ginger 切细蒜姜 and cut a scallion into one-centimeter sections 切段葱。Then washed and cut up the vegetables 洗好后，切片蔬菜。I had some left over spinach 菠菜 in the fridge, so I added it as well. Could have used 韭菜 (garlic chives) instead of spinach. I mainly wanted some dark green in the finished dish so it would look attractive. Never hurts to think about eye appeal: we now have three bold colors, as you see below. Ready now to fire up the wok. I started some rice at the very beginning, and didn't light the fire on the stove until the rice was ready. Nothing worse than having everyone stand around while your main dish get cold and the rice takes an eternity to finish. 大火上锅下油炒鸡肉到丢粉色。Heat the wok with high fire, add a little oil, then stir fry the chicken until it loses its pink color. Scoop it out and set it aside. 捞出来、保留/备用。 再放一点油，吧大蒜、姜炒香。Add another tablespoon of oil to the hot wok, put in the ginger and garlic, fry until fragrant. Chinese is an efficient language and you often encounter succinct phrases like this. Instead of saying “fry until fragrant,” it’s just 炒香 and similarly instead of “fry until golden,” it’s just 炒金。 Now give the peppers a slight head start, following with the corn, and last of all the spinach and scallions. 先炒红尖椒，然后放玉米、菠菜、葱、调料。Here’s what it looks like at that stage. 加鸡肉、快拌好、少量盐、出锅。Add back the chicken, quickly mix it up adding a sprinkle ("a tiny bit" = 少量) of salt, scoop it out of the wok into a serving dish. 装盘出锅。This phase shouldn’t take more than 20 or 30 seconds; it’s just to combine flavors and be sure the chicken pieces are thoroughly reheated. Steamed rice on the side. Chinese recipes often have a sentence or two at the end which is a hint or tip to make the dish come out better. It's written as 小贴士。Maybe, for example, "Remember to slice the meat thin so it will cook fast." But here today I've included those "footnote" type comments in the main text as we went along. One big advantage of being able to use a Chinese recipe like we did here today is that you are more likely to find authentic treatments of local ingredients and are less likely to wind up with some nondescript though vaguely east-west amalgamation such as might grace the $5.98 all-you-can-eat steam table down at China Star Buffet in the strip mall on the loop in small-town Texas (where I lived for way too many years.) 5 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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