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Great Britain (British Cuisine)
Although the British Empire occupied once a quarter of the world’s land, had a quarter of the globe’s population, and is responsible for the industrial revolution, its cuisine has been described as a simple and even very poor. However most of these comments have more to do with the stereotype of British food as boil meat and vegetables. This is not British food, and never has been! The climate and the fact that it is an island affected the cuisine. From the warm climate of the south, to the cooler north. Golden wheat fields, and the fat cows of Jersey England produces amongst the finest produce available anywhere in the world. During the British Empire era, ingredients and cooking concepts were brought from the European countries with which Britain interacted, as well as from as far afield as The Americas, India and Asia and were incorporated widely into British food. The Britain saw the beginnings of World Cuisine as we know it today. While Escoffier, is considered by many the "Father of modern Cuisine" it is largely forgotten that he spent a large part of his working life working in English kitchens. And that many of his best remembered recipes were created at the Savoy and Ritz hotels in London. While it is also true that World Cuisine largely passed Britain for decades after the Second World War due largely to the heavy rationing still in place well after the war ended (in fact it finally finished altogether as late as 1954). British Chefs and food taken the world by storm over the past few years.
Regional Cuisines of Great Britain
British Cuisine is broadly broken into 4 Regions (English, Scotish, Welsh and Northern Irish) :A) English Cuisine - English cuisine is shaped by the country's temperate climate, its geography, and its history. The latter includes interactions with other European countries, and the importing of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China, and India during the time of the British Empire and as a result of post-war immigration. Since the Early Modern Period the food of England has historically been characterised by its simplicity of approach and a reliance on the high quality of natural produce. This, in no small part influenced by England's Puritan heritage, resulted in a traditional cuisine which tended to veer from strong flavours, such as garlic, and an avoidance of complex sauces which were commonly associated with Catholic Continental political affiliations. Traditional meals have ancient origins, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, boiled vegetables and broths, and freshwater and saltwater fish. The 14th century English cookbook, the Forme of Cury, contains recipes for these, and dates from the royal court of Richard II.
Other meals, such as fish and chips, which were once urban street food eaten from newspaper with salt and malt vinegar, and pies and sausages with mashed potatoes, onions, and gravy, are now matched in popularity by curries from India and Bangladesh, and stir-fries based on Chinese and Thai cooking. French cuisine and Italian cuisine are also now widely adapted. Britain was also quick to adopt the innovation of fast food from the United States, and continues to absorb culinary ideas from all over the world while at the same time rediscovering its roots in sustainable rural agriculture.
Traditional food of English Cuisine
The Sunday roast The Sunday roast was once the most common feature of English cooking. The Sunday dinner traditionally includes roast potatoes (or boiled or mashed potatoes) accompanying a roasted joint of meat such as roast beef, lamb, pork, or a roast chicken and assorted other vegetables, themselves generally boiled and served with a gravy. Sauces are chosen depending on the type of meat: horseradish for beef, mint sauce for lamb, apple sauce for pork, and bread sauce for chicken. Yorkshire pudding normally accompanies beef (although it was originally served first as a "filler"), sage and onion stuffing pork, and usually parsley stuffing chicken; gravy is now often served as an accompaniment to the main course. The practice of serving a roast dinner on a Sunday is related to the elaborate preparation required, and to the housewife's practice of performing the weekly wash on a Monday, when the cold remains of the roast made an easily-assembled meal. Sunday was once the only rest day after a six-day working week; it was also a demonstration that the household was prosperous enough to afford the cost of a better than normal meal. An elaborate version of roast dinner is traditionally eaten at Christmas, with almost every detail rigidly specified by tradition. Since its widespread availability after World War II the most popular Christmas roast is turkey, superseding the goose of Dickens's time. Before the period of cheap turkeys, roast chicken would be more common than goose, goose being unsuitable for small groups of diners. Game meats such as venison which were traditionally the domain of higher classes are occasionally also eaten by those wishing to experiment with a wider choice of foods, due to their promotion by celebrity chefs, although it is not usually eaten frequently in the average household. Afternoon tea It is believed by some that the English "drop everything" for a teatime meal in the mid-afternoon. This is no longer the case in the workplace, and is rarer in the home than it once was. A formal teatime meal is now often an accompaniment to tourism, particularly in Devon and neighbouring counties, where comestibles may include scones with jam and clotted cream (together known as a cream tea). There are also butterfly cakes, simple small sponge cakes which can be iced or eaten plain. Nationwide, assorted biscuits and sandwiches are eaten. Generally, however, the teatime meal has been replaced by snacking, or simply dispensed with. Tea itself, usually served with milk, is consumed throughout the day and is sometimes also drunk with meals. In recent years herbal teas and speciality teas have also become popular. Coffee is perhaps a little less common than in continental Europe, but is still drunk by many in both its instant and percolated forms, often with milk (but rarely with cream). Italian coffee preparations such as espresso
and cappuccino and modern American variants such as the frappuccino are increasingly popular, but generally purchased in restaurants or from specialist coffee shops rather than made in the home. White sugar is often added to individual cups of tea, or brown sugar to coffee, but never to the pot. For much of the 20th century Britain had a system where fresh milk was delivered to the doorstep in reusable glass bottles in the mornings, usually by electric vehicles called "milk floats", though it has now been largely replaced by supermarket shopping.
Fish & Chip shops and other takeaways England is internationally famous for its fish and chips and has a large number of restaurants and takeaway shops selling this dish. It may be the most popular and identifiable English dish, however before potatoes were imported from the Americas the 'chips' would have been sections of roasted root vegetables seasoned with herbs, and salty butter. In some regions fish and chips were served with a side order of mushy peas with salt and vinegar as condiments. Foods such as scampi (a deep fried breaded seafood dish) are usually on offer as well as fishcakes (authentically a fish slice between two potato slices) and a number of other combinations. The advent of take-away foods during the Industrial Revolution led to foods such as fish and chips, mushy peas, and steak and kidney pie with mashed potato (pie and mash). These were the staples of the UK take-away business, and indeed of English diets, however, like many national dishes, quality can vary drastically from the commercial or mass produced product to an authentic or homemade variety using more carefully chosen ingredients. However, ethnic influences, particularly those of Indian and Chinese, have given rise to the establishment and availability of ethnic take-away foods. From the 1980s onwards, a new variant on curry, the balti, began to become popular in the West Midlands, and by the mid 1990s was commonplace in Indian restaurants and restaurants over the country. Kebab houses, pizza restaurants and American-style fried chicken restaurants aiming at late night snacking have also become popular in urban areas. Fusions such as chips with curry sauce, chips with kebab meat and so on are also found. Sausages English sausages, colloquially known as "bangers", are distinctive in that they are usually made from fresh meats and rarely smoked, dried, or strongly flavoured. Following the post World War II period, sausages tended to contain low-quality meat, fat, and rusk. (Reputedly the term "banger" derived from the excessive water added to the mix turning to steam while cooking and bursting the casing with a bang.) However, there has been a backlash in recent years, with most butchers and supermarkets now selling premium varieties. Pork and beef are by far the most common bases, although gourmet varieties may contain venison, wild boar, etc. There are particularly famous regional varieties, such as the herbal Lincolnshire, and the long, curled Cumberland with many butchers offering their own individual recipes and variations often handed down through generations, but are generally not made from cured meats such as Italian selections or available in such a variety as found in Germany.
Most larger supermarkets in England will stock at least a dozen types of English sausage: not only Cumberland and Lincolnshire but often varieties such as Pork and Apple; Pork and Herb; Beef and Stilton; Pork and Mozzarella; and others. There are estimated to be around 400 sausage varieties in the United Kingdom. Sausages form the basis of toad in the hole, where they are combined with a batter similar to a Yorkshire pudding and baked in the oven, this can be served with an onion gravy made by frying sliced onions for anywhere over an hour on a low heat then mixed with a stock, wine or ale then reduced to form a sauce or gravy used in bangers and mash. Black puddings and white puddings A variant of the sausage is the black pudding, strongly associated with Lancashire similar to the French boudin noir or the Spanish Morcilla. It is made from pig's blood, in line with the adage that "you can eat every part of a pig except its squeal". Pig's trotters, tripe and brawn are also traditional fare in the North. There are also white puddings, similar but lacking blood. Pies and pasties The English tradition of meat pies dates back to the Middle Ages, when an open top pie crust was used as the container for serving the meat and was called a coffyn. Since then, they have been a mainstay of English cooking. Different types of pastry may be used, including the lard-rich pastry of a raised pie. Meat pies generally contain fillings such as chicken and mushroom or steak and kidney (originally steak and oyster). Pork pies are almost always eaten cold, with the Melton Mowbray pork pie being the archetype. Open pies or flans are generally served for dessert with fillings of seasonal fruit. Quiches and savoury flans are eaten, but not considered indigenous. The Cornish pasty is a kind of small pie originally used by the tin miners of Cornwall. The thick, tough crust was held in the hand while the clean pastry covering and filling were eaten; the crust would have then been disposed of due to the transmission of dirt from the hand. Pasties have also been seen deep-fried in Mexico City, having been brought over by the Cornish miners imported to work in the Mexican silver mining industry. Another kind of pie is topped with mashed potato instead of pastry—for instance, shepherd's pie, with lamb, cottage pie, with beef, or fisherman's pie. Cured meats and vegetables Bacon and kippers - Northern European countries generally have a tradition of salting, smoking, pickling and otherwise preserving foods. Kippers, bloaters, ham, and bacon are some of the varieties of preserved meat and fish known in England. Onions, cabbage and some other vegetables may be pickled. Smoked cheese is not common or traditional, although apple-wood smoked cheddar has become available in many supermarkets. Meats other than pork are generally not cured. The "three breakfasts a day" principle can be implemented by eating bacon sandwiches at any time. (In parts of northern England these have local names such as "bacon sarnies" or "bacon butties".)
Sandwiches - England can claim to have given the world the word "sandwich", although the eponymous John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich was not the first to add a filling to bread. Fillings such as pickled relishes and Gentleman's Relish could also be considered distinctively English. Common types of sandwich are ham, cheese, salad and non-traditional forms such as the "ploughman's lunch" (cheese and pickle). Dishes of Indian origin Kedgeree, a popular breakfast dish in the Victorian era. In the Victorian era, during the British Raj, Britain first started borrowing Indian dishes, creating AngloIndian cuisine. Kedgeree and Mulligatawny soup are traditional Anglo-Indian dishes. The many varieties of Indian curry of which Chicken tikka masala and balti are best known are more recent. The word curry, meaning 'to spice', has been used since the medieval period. The chicken tikka masala is now considered one of Britain's most popular dishes. Pickles, preserves and condiments Pickles and preserves are given a twist by the influence of the British Empire. Thus, the repertoire includes chutney as well as Branston or "brown" pickle, piccalilli, pickled onions and gherkins. The Asian influence is also present in condiments such as tomato sauce (originally ketjap), Worcestershire sauce and "brown" sauce (such as HP). Because Britain is a beer-drinking nation, malt vinegar is commonly used. English mustard is strongly-flavoured and bright yellow; served with meats and cooked with cheese; internationally noted for its pungency; and particularly associated with Colman's of Norwich. Pickles often accompany a selection of sliced, cold cooked meats, or "cold collation". This dish can claim to have some international influence, since it is known in French as an "assiette anglaise". Cheese Cheese is generally hard, and made from cows' milk. Cheddar cheese, originally made in the village of Cheddar, is by far the most common type, with many variations. Tangy Cheshire, salty Caerphilly, Sage Derby, Red Leicester, creamy Double Gloucester, pungent Lincolnshire Poacher and sweet Wensleydale are some traditional regional varieties. Cheddar and the rich, blue-veined Stilton have both been called the king of English cheeses. Cornish Yarg is a successful modern variety. The name 'Cheddar cheese' has become widely used internationally, and does not currently have a protected designation of origin (PDO). However, the European Union recognises West Country Farmhouse Cheddar as a PDO. To meet this standard the cheese must be made in the traditional manner using local ingredients in one of the four designated counties of South West England: Somerset, Devon, Dorset, or Cornwall. Sheep and goat cheeses are made chiefly by craft producers. Continental cheeses such as French Brie are sometimes also manufactured. Puddings During the Dessert course, puddings such as bread and butter pudding, Eccles cake, rhubarb crumble, apple pie, treacle tart, spotted dick, summer pudding and trifle are served. An accompaniment, custard, sometimes known as crème anglaise ("English sauce") is a substitute to "eggs and milk" made from cornflour and vanilla. These dishes are simple and traditional. There is also a dried fruit based Christmas
pudding, and the almond flavoured Bakewell tart originating from the town of Bakewell. Crystallised Ginger or a Peppermint Sweet might be offered after a heavy meal to aid digestion. Savoury course Another English culinary tradition, rarely observed today, is the consumption of a savoury course toward the conclusion of a meal. This now though may be eaten as a snack or a light lunch or supper. Some meals today end with a sweet dessert, although cheese and biscuits may be consumed as an alternative or as an addition. In Yorkshire, fruit cake is often served with Wensleydale cheese. Coffee can sometimes be a culminatory drink. B) Irish Cuisine - Irish cuisine is a style of cooking originating from Ireland or developed by Irish people. It evolved from centuries of social and political change. The cuisine takes its influence from the crops grown and animals farmed in its temperate climate. The introduction of the potato in the second half of the 16th century heavily influenced Ireland's cuisine thereafter. Representative Irish dishes are Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty, coddle, colcannon and (mainly in Ulster) fadge.
Traditional Food of Irish Cuisines
Examples of Irish cuisine are Irish stew, and bacon and cabbage (boiled together in water). Boxty, a type of potato pancake, is another traditional dish. A dish mostly particular to Dublin is coddle, which involves boiled pork sausages. Ireland is famous for the Irish breakfast, a fried (or grilled) meal generally comprising bacon, egg, sausage, black and white pudding, fried tomato and which may also include fried potato farls or fried potato slices. Colcannon is a good dish made traditionally of potato and curly kale, or sometimes cabbage. Champ consists of mashed potato into which chopped scallions (spring onions) are mixed. While seafood has always been consumed by Irish people, shellfish dishes have increased in popularity in recent times, especially due to the high quality of shellfish available from Ireland's coastline, e.g. Dublin Bay Prawns, Oysters (many oyster festivals are held annually around the coast where oysters are often served with Guinness, the most notable being held in Galway every September ) as well as other crustaceans. A good example of an Irish dish for shellfish is Dublin Lawyer - Lobster cooked in whiskey and cream. Salmon and cod are perhaps the two most common types of fish used. Traditional Irish breads include soda bread, wheaten bread, soda farls, and blaa, a doughy white bread roll particular to Waterford. C) Scottish Cuisine - Different dishes and ingredients such as Aberdeen Angus beef, Highland venison, Loch Fyne seafood, Ayrshire cheeses or Clyde valley soft fruits are often present in the Scotish cuisine. Influenced by the Britannic cuisine, the Scottish cuisine also borrowed different culinary habits from the inhabitants of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Regions such as The Western Isles, Orkney or Shetland tend to present more dishes that use fish meat as the main ingredient. The lower agricultural development of these islands recommends fishing as one of the main sources of food for the area. Regions such as the
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley area or the Perthshir region also use plenty of fish meat in their dishes, but it can be said that more variety in meat choices is presented here, with a larger consumption of beef and pork meat. When it comes to Scottish restaurants, the diversity of food is far greater than the traditional dishes. You won’t be surprised to find excellent French, Italian, Mediterranean, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Far-eastern, Mexican or Central American specific restaurants in the larger Scottish cities. Some of the famous Scottish recipe are: Haggis -Haggis is considered to be most popular dish all around the Scotland. It is believed that Haggis was very popular in English cookery until the 18th century. Haggis is prepared from the heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep, calf, etc., minced with suet and oatmeal, seasoned with salt, pepper, onions, etc., and boiled like a large Sausage. Arbroath Smokie - A wood-smoked Haddock from Arbroath popular in the East coast. Oatcakes - Oatcakes are made up of Barley and oat-flour biscuit baked on a gridle, often eaten with cheese. Bannock Bannocks are a kind of round bread with dried fruit through it. Scottish Beef - Beef are generally prepared form The Aberdeen-Angus breed of Beef cattle. The Beef is reknowned world over as rich and tasty meat. Black bun - Made with raisins, currants, finely-chopped peel, chopped almonds and brown sugar Black bun is a very rich fruit cake. cinnamon and ginger are added to make it more tastier. D) Welsh Cuisine : The Welsh cuisine is based on the local ingredients – lamb meat is very popular and that’s why most of the dishes contain lamb but also beef and dairy cattle. The beef and cattle can be found in abundance in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire regions. These ingredients can be found fresh, ready to be cooked or already cooked. The Welsh traditional cheeses are being used in salads, in preparing snacks, pies and even cakes. There are over 20 vineyards in Wales; in many traditional Welsh dishes vine is being used to give a unique flavor to the food and can be served during the meals because it’s healthy in small amounts, helping the digestion. There are several food festivals in Wales, where all the framers are presenting the organic products cultivated by them in the old traditional way. The Welsh food includes a unique element, the sweet bread. The stew and leeks, pork meatball, or the Welsh rarebit (a toast with cheese and butter) are just a few other traditional dishes. The traditional Welsh recipes are mixing carefully the ingredients. Most of the Welsh dishes are made of natural ingredients without chemicals, that’s why they are so fresh, tasty and healthy. Most of the land in Wales is not arable, that is why every peace of arable land is appreciated and well taken care of. The Wales cuisine is a healthy one because it is based on natural products.
Equipment for British Cooking Most British dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor. British cuisine does not use special equipment, whatsoever. It is good to know
that when preparing a British dish, the utensils that are used are available in most of the kitchens around the world. egg rings, spatulas, forks, spoons, knives, containers for the ingredients, boxes with spices – these are the usual tools which are needed. Scales for weighing the ingredients and thermometers for cooking the foods at certain temperatures should be used.
France (French Cuisines)
The French cooking style is considered to be one of the most refined, modern and elegant manners found in cuisines all over the world. Food is part of their culture, and famous French chefs make most exquisite dishes after original French recipes that have made France famous since centuries ago. However, the diversity and changes that characterize this cuisine are what makes it interesting. By the early eighteen century, bread and cereals were the basic ingredients in the daily diet. French fries have been introduced to this country in the XVIII century and gained so much popularity that they have been kept as part of the traditional French cuisine. Only with the beginning of the XIX century food has become a social etiquette and more sophisticated dishes emerged, mainly served in high societies. The improvement of transportation, especially the introduction of train, marked the culinary revolution, since every peasant had access to more elaborated meals, ingredients and condiments. Vegetables that grow on fertile French lands include potatoes, green beans, carrots, turnips, aubergines, courgettes, famous French mushrooms, like champignons, oyster mushrooms, porcinis and truffles. As a tradition kept along the course of history, wineries are spread all over the country, producing most refined French wines, served daily by locals.
Regional Cuisines of France
The typical France cuisine has techniques and methods common to all country’s regions, but differences such as the use of butter in the northern parts, duck fat in the southern ones, and olive oil in the southeast, will give different flavors to your meals. Also, the eastern parts of France are greatly influenced by the German cuisine, the lard, sausages, beer, and sauerkraut being part of the regional eating custom. Auvergne is the place to fine sautés, shallots blue or tomme cheese. The famous Crêpes highly originate in the Brittany area, where you can also find Pork dishes and prune flans. Burgundy is well known for Beef or fish stews in red wine, Gougère, and the escargots (snails baked in shells with parsley butter). Quiche Lorraine, famous in most european restaurants, originates in the Lorraine region, together with Potée and Pâté Lorrain. Mediterranean influences in the French cuisine can best be spotted near Côte d'Azur/Provence. In the Alsace region, sauerkraut with sausages, salt Pork and potatoes, spätzle, Baeckeoffe, Bredela and kouglof are just some of the main dishes you will find in the local cuisine. The Alp region is highly influenced by the Swiss cuisine, among the main recipes being the raclette (melted cheese served with potatoes, Ham and often dried Beef), fondue savoyarde, and Tartiflette (a Savoyard gratin with potatoes, Reblochon cheese and cream In the Artois-Picardy region, stews are the main dish available. Fish or Beef is commonly used in the stews with vegetables, with other types of meat, and sometimes stewed in beer
Equipment for French Cooking
When you plan on cooking in a French manner, you will be in need of a lot of pots and serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs. Food processors, mixers, grinders and splatters are of great utility in this cuisine, especially for grating hard condiments like black pepper or cinnamon over an already prepared meal placed in a dish. The aspect of a meal is one of the most important things to consider, and you must have all the necessary equipment to arrange every single element in the ornamental dish. Deep serving dishes are required for the traditional French Onion soups. You need to consider cover lids and insulated food carriers to keep the temperature of the food constant, if you plan on serving the dishes at their optimized temperature. Because of the fact that the stews and the soups get cold really fast, and because you have to put the meats inside the boiling pans at the right temperature, a thermometer would be a wise purchase for your French kitchen.
Italy (Italian Cuisine)
Italian cuisine as a national cuisine known today has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Its roots can be traced back to the 4th century BC. The cuisine changed significantly with discovery of the New World which helped shape much of what is known as Italian cuisine today with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper and maize, which are all central parts of the cuisine but were not introduced in scale until the 18th century. Ingredients and dishes vary by region. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. Cheese and wine are also a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles both regionally and nationally with their many variations and Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) (regulated appellation) laws. Coffee, and more specifically espresso, has become highly important to the cultural cuisine of Italy.
When contemplating the history of Italian cuisine, it is important to remember that Italy did not exist as a unified country before 1870; prior to that, it was a diverse collection of kingdoms and principalities. Indeed, as Kyle Phillips notes in the introduction to his translation of The Art of Eating Well, only a small percentage of “Italians” actually spoke Italian prior to the 20th century. This political (and cultural) diversity is mirrored by the wide variety of climatic and topographic regions that the Italian peninsula spans. Because of these conditions, there exist a great variety of dishes in the Italian repertoire. Similarly, one needs to remember that most recipes in the Italian repertoire have come down to us from generations of poor, hard-working people. While the feasts provided by the Medici, Estes and Lombardi are the stuff of legend, court fare was more closely identified with French and Austrian cuisine and subject to changes in fashion and taste. This has little to do with what we now identify as Italian cooking, which was largely dependent on locally and seasonally available products and which probably evolved very slowly over the centuries. Several major changes have nonetheless shaped Italian cooking, notably the acceptance of tomatoes as a food in the 18th century (prior to then, tomatoes were thought to be poisonous and grown only for decorative reasons). To a lesser extent and at about the same time, potatoes became a regular part of several regional cuisines. Perhaps the most important change in the history of Italian cooking was the 1891 publication of Pelligrino Artusi's La Scienza in Cucina e l'Arte di Manginar Bene (The Science of the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well). Artusi, a polymath, gourmand and bon vivant, traveled extensively throughout the Italian peninsula, collecting recipes as he went along. His collection became The Art of Eating Well. By all accounts, it was the first modern cookbook to include recipes from many of Italy's regions and to present them in a common dialect. His work has been credited with fostering a national Italian culture; at a minimum, he helped forge the Italian cuisine from its many regional cuisines.
Regional Cuisines of Italy
The Italian cuisine is characterized by some specific unique dishes, like pasta, risotto and pizza, which are served in all parts of the country. However, regional differences may occur in the cooking process of a meal, resulting in variations of the same recipe, or unique specific ones of a single area, like the Napoli pizza, specific to the Neapolitan region. Also, Peperoni Imbottiti is another specific Neapolitan dish, and consists of stuffed bell peppers with Eggplant and bread crumbs. In the Tuscan region, harty soups are a common thing, as well as fish stews. Cacciucco and scottiglia are some of the specific Tuscan stews. Other Tuscan specialties include “alla fiorentina” steak, ribollita, a thick vegetable soup and fagioli all'uccelletto, sautéed beans in garlic and sage with tomatoes. In the Piedmont region you can find a special dish called fonduta, containing melted cheese dip of milk, eggs and white truffles. Also, boiled veal tongue and fish assortments like anchovies, eels, carp, trout, and snails are available in all region. Lombardy is well known for Milan related dishes, such as spaghetti Milanese and minestrone alla Milanese, and for other specialties such as creamy Gorgonzola and polenta. Rice and peas are specific for the Veneto region, where you can also find calf's liver fried with onions, shellfish, eels and dried Cod. In Genoa region pesto is the main ingredient, and in Norcia, the Italian cuisine capital, you can find pork dishes, black truffles, and hand-made pasta like "strozzapreti." Sicily is rich in fruits and seafood, as well as Sardinia, which is also known for sausages, sweet green olives, and Lamb steaks.
Unique Cuisines By Regions
Friuli-Venezia Giulia Jota: stew of beans with bacon Brovada: turnips preserved in marc Frico: Cooked Montasio cheese. It can be done in different fashions, with or without potatoes, crunchy or soft. Veneto Pasta e fasioi: a dish of pasta and beans Polenta con gli osei: Polenta cooked with wild birds Risi e bisi: rice with young peas Sarde in Saor: marinated sardines Trentino-Alto Adige Gnocchi con la ricotta: Potato dumplings with ricotta Pollo ripieno alla trentina: Stuffed chicken in the style of Trento Canederli]] or [[Knödel: dumplings made with leftover bread Crauti: Sauerkraut
Lombardy Tortelli di zucca: ravioli with a pumpkin filling Risotto alla milanese: A stirred rice dish made with Vialone or Carnaroli rice flavored with saffron Panettone: a Milanese Christmas traditional bread made with a yeast dough along with candied citrus peel, raisins and candied fruits Mostarda di Cremona: boiled fruits seasoned with mustard Pizzoccheri: buckwheat tagliatelle dressed with potatoes, greens (often Swiss Chard), butter and Bitto cheese: a speciality of the Valtellina. Valle D' Aosta Zuppa di Valpelline: savoy cabbage stew thickened with stale bread Tortino de riso alla valdostana: rice cake with ox tongue Lepre in Civet: jugged hare Pere San Martin al vino rosso: winter pears in red wine Panna cotta: sweetened cream set with gelatin Piedmont Risotto alla piemontese: risotto cooked with meat broth and seasoned with nutmeg, parmesan and truffle Paniscia di Novara: a dish based on rice with borlotti beans, salame and vegetables Bagna cauda: A hot dip based on anchovies, olive oil and garlic blanched in milk, to accompain vegetables (either raw or cooked), meat or fried polenta sticks Carne cruda all'albese: steak tartare with truffles Vitello tonnato: veal in tuna sauce Liguria Pizza all'Andrea: Focaccia-style pizza topped with tomato slices (not sauce) onions and anchovies Scabeggio: fried fish marinated in wine, garlic, lemon juice and sage, typical of Moneglia Baccalà Fritto: morsels of salt cod dipped in flour batter and fried Torta Pasqualina: savory flan filled with a mixture of green vegetables, ricotta and parmigiano cheese, milk and marjoran; some eggs are then poured in the already-placed filling, so that their yolks will remain whole and firm when cooked Emilia-Romagna Zampone: stuffed pig's trotter, fatter Cotechino: stuffed pig's trotter, leaner Cappella da Prete: stuffed pig's trotter, very fat Erbazzone: salty croissant filled with salad Fave Stufate: beans with mortadella Torta Barozzi o torta nera: Barozzi tart of black tart (a dessert made with a coffee/cocoa and almond filling encased in a fine pastry dough Tuscany Pinzimonio: fresh seasonal raw or slightly blanched vegetables served with seasoned olive oil for dipping Ribollita: reheated vegetable soup Ossibuchi alla toscana: osso buco, sliced braised veal shank, "Tuscan-style" Bistecca alla fiorentina: grilled Florentine T-bone steak. In past it was also called bistecca alla florentina Crema paradiso: Tuscan creamed bacon
Umbria Lenticchie di Castelluccio con salsicce: lentil stew with sausages Minestra di farro: spelt soup Regina in porchetta: carp in fennel sauce Piccioni all spiedo: spit-roasted pigeon Barbozzo: cured, matured pig's cheek Mazzafegati: sweet or hot pig's liver sausage, the sweet version containing raisins, orange peel and sugar Marche Brodetto di San Benedetto del Tronto: fish stew, San Benedetto del Tronto-style Passatelli all'urbinate: spinach and meat dumplings Olive all'ascolana: fried olives stuffed with pork, beef, chicken livers, tomato paste and Parmesan cheese Ciauscolo: made from the belly and shoulder of pig with half its weight in pork fat and seasoned with salt, pepper, orange peel and fennel. It is stuffed into an intestine casing, dried in a smoking chamber and cured for three weeks. Coppa: coppa in this region refers to a boiling sausage made from pig's head, bacon, orange peel, nutmeg and sometimes pinenuts or almonds. It is meant to be eaten within a month of preparation Lazio Saltimbocca alla Romana: Veal cutlet, Roman-style; topped with raw ham and sage and simmered with white wine and butter Coda di bue alla vaccinara: oxtail ragout Carciofi alla Giudia: artichokes fried in olive oil, typical of Roman Jewish cooking Carciofi alla Romana: artichokes Roman-style; outer leaves removed, stuffed with mint, garlic, breadcrumbs and braised Spaghetti alla carbonara: spaghetti with bacon, eggs and pecorino Abruzzo Maccheroni alla Chitarra: a narrow stripped pasta served with a sauce of tomatoes, bacon and Pecorino cheese Sugo di Castrato: mutton sauce made with onion, rosemary, bacon, white wine, and tomatoes Mozzarelline allo Zafferano: mini mozzarella cheese coated with a batter flavored with saffron Agnello casc' e ove: Lamb stuffed with grated pecorino cheese and eggs Campania Maccheroni alla Napoletana: macaroni with Neapolitan sauce; a sauce of braised beef, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, white wine, tomato paste and fresh basil. Pizza Napoletana: Neapolitan pizza; pizza topped with anchovies, mozzarella, oregano and olive oil Mozzarella in Carrozza: fried mozzarella sandwiches Insalata Caprese: salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil Pastiera Napoletana: Neapolitan ricotta cake Puglia Tiella di Verdure: casserole of baked vegetable topped with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil Purea di Fave: broad bean puree Zuppa di Cozze alla Tarantina: mussels steamed with peperoncino, garlic, tomatoes, white wine and garlic Ostriche Arrosto: oysters broiled with parsley, garlic, oregano, breadcrumbs, olive oil and lemon juice
Basilicata Pollo alla Potentina: Potenza-style chicken; Chicken braised with tomatoes, onion, white wine, peperoncino, topped with fresh basil, parsley and pecorino cheese Agnello alla Pastora: Lamb with potatoes Orecchiette alle Cime di Rapa: Ear-like pasta with broccoli Orecchiette con la Salsiccia Piccante: Ear-like pasta with typical spicy salami from Basilicata Pecorino di Forenza: Typical Forenza's sheep cheese Calabria Melanzane alla Menta: Eggplant marinated with mint Pitta coi Pomodori: pita bread with tomatoes Pesce Spada alla Ghiotta: swordfish rolls in tomato sauce Sicily Tonno alla palermitana: tuna Palermo-style; tuna marinated in white wine, lemon, garlic, rosemary and broiled, then served with pan-seared sardines Il timballo del gattopardo: Sicilian pie; pastry dough baked with a filling of penne rigata, Parmesan, and bound a sauce of ham, chicken, liver, onion, carrot, truffles, diced hard-boiled egg and seasoned with clove, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Caponata: eggplants with tomatoes and olives Maccu di San Giuseppe: bean paste with fennel Sardinia Procceddu: Small pig cooked with myrtle Malloreddus: semolina gnocchi with saffron Sa fregula: couscous
Equipment for Italian Cooking
When you plan on cooking in an Italian manner, you will be in need of a lot of pots and serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs. Big pots that can be placed over open fires are specific to this cuisine. Also, baking pots and dishes are very popular in the Italian cuisine, since a lot of meals are prepared in the oven rather then on an electric fire. The famous pizza specialties are only baked in ceramic or clay ovens to give the crispy taste to the dough. Wooden spatulas are frequently used in the cooking process, not only for stirring, but for pizza-grabbing and handling. Food processors, mixers, grinders and splatters are of great utility in this cuisine, especially in the Sausage making process, and for grating hard condiments like black pepper or cinnamon. Deep serving dishes are required for the traditional Italian pasta, for soups and for stews. You need to consider cover lids and insulated food carriers to keep the temperature of the food constant, if you plan on serving the dishes at their optimized temperature.
Three Scandinavian countries Norway, Denmark and Sweden share a similar cuisine style and relatively close cuisine development histories. In the 11th-12th century Denmark ruled over Norway and 1389 the Queen of Denmark and Norway became queen of Sweden. Denmark's influence over Sweden and Norway started to diminish in the 19th century, but the food related traditions remained. There are no distinct Scandinavian cuisines that were determined by geographical or social contexts, as we will find in other parts of the world. The Scandinavian cuisine is based on a simple cooking style, often very mild and not very spicy. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the main meals of the day all over the Scandinavian Peninsula. Although most European countries consider lunch the main meal of the day, Scandinavian countries place more importance on dinner, which is the most consistent meal of the day. Workers often only have a quick snack for lunch, instead of a sumptuous meal. Many of the cooking styles and dishes used by the Vikings are still present in the Scandinavian cuisine today, and Scandinavians are proud of their Viking heritage, a fact that is also noticed in the way they preserve the authenticity of such foods.
The traditional Scandinavian breakfast is very light and fruitive, consisting mainly of some cookies and coffee. Bread is also used, with butter and jam, but in most cases this meal is not considered very important – that’s also because Scandinavians usually go to school and work early, at 8 o’clock. Lunch is richer in nutrients than breakfast, but most Scandinavians don’t place all that much importance on it – a quick snack or a sandwich will do in most cases. Dinner, however, is served early, around 6 PM, and it is the main meal of the day. All Scandinavian countries see dinner as a family event, where all the members of the family return from school or work and enjoy the meal together. A Scandinavian dinner usually consists of a soup to start and a fish or meat dish for main course. Desert is sometimes served, but it is not a daily dish. Of course, the different Scandinavian countries also have slightly different eating habits. Danes and Norwegians only eat one hot meal a day while Swedes eat more hot meals each day. The cold smorrebrod is usually the lunch of the Danes and Norwegians, while in Sweden children return from school home, around 11 AM, for a hot lunch. A similar custom to the traditional English tea exists in the Scandinavian Peninsula – Scandinavians serve bread, biscuits, cookies, pastry and coffee around 2-3 PM. AS for drinks, beer and snaps are enjoyed with the food and dry sherry.
Regional Cuisines of Scandinavia
The three main cuisines of Scandinavia are the Norwegian, the Danish and the Swedish. 1. Norwegian – the cuisine is characterized by a sense of practicality and economy. Norwegians love their meat, whether it is Pork, Veal or fish meat, and you will notice that most of their dishes are concentrated on this main ingredient. The vast wild areas of Norway, and the abundance of fish and game, makes such natural food resources a top pick for many traditional
dishes. Norwegian cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. The simplicity of the cuisine does not imply a lack of taste, but it does make life easier for the cook. Smoked salmon is probably the most famous type of food product related to Norway. 2. Danish – the cuisine of Denmark is characterized by high levels of meat and animal fat and a rather low level of plants and vegetables. The long winters from the Scandinavian Peninsula shaped the face of the Danish cuisine. Although agriculture is well developed, due to the climate, game and fish are often preferred. Fresh vegetables are rare in the traditional Danish recipes, and many dishes rely on seasonal fruits or vegetables. On the other hand, the climate enables lengthy meet preservation, so smoked meat is one of the most frequently used ingredients in the Danish cuisine. The Danish cuisine is rather conservative, and the numerous islands that form Denmark helped keep the traditional, conservative cooking styles alive until modern times. 3. Sweden – It is considered rude not to finish the food you have on the plate, mainly because, in many cases, you serve yourself and you are responsible for the amount of food you place on your plate. The meals are not very elaborate and many will find them scarce in vegetables. Traditional recipes were influenced by the lack of plants due to the long Swedish winters and many modern dishes still include only small amounts of vegetables. Rutabaga is a native turnip that was among the most popular plant types in Swedish cooking until it got replaced by the Potato. In both major inhabited regions of Sweden – Gothenburg on the west coast and Stockholm on the east – the abundance of fish, mainly Herring, had its influence on traditional cooking. Although the salted Herring, which was used as trading goods hundreds of years ago, is not part of modern Swedish dishes, we will still find it in several cookbooks as one of the national food elements.
Equipment for Scandinavian Cooking
Most Scandinavian dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor. One can successfully prepare quite a few Scandinavian dishes by using just basic kitchen instruments, but it is recommended that you stock your kitchen with a well balanced set of utensils that will help you reduce cooking time and will enable you to present your Swedish, Danish or Norwegian dishes in a more attractive way. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should be part of your cooking "arsenal", together with other cooking instruments that make work in the kitchen more efficient. Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Scandinavian cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Scandinavian dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Scandinavian food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers.
German cuisine is a style of cooking derived from the nation of Germany. It has evolved as a national cuisine through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region. The southern regions of Germany, including Bavaria and neighbouring Swabia, share many dishes. Furthermore, across the border in Austria one will find many similar dishes. However, ingredients and dishes vary by province. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated in different variations across the country into the present day.
History Germany has a long history. Culture and traditions play a significant part in influencing the cuisine as well. In most German areas there are large plantations of potatoes, Oats, Wheat, Sugar beets, Barley, and Rye. cabbage and carrots are the most important vegetable crops, and are used in many dishes, from soups to stews and even roasted meat.. After the Second World War, foreign workers came to Germany in large numbers and to nearly all german regions, influencing culture as well as eating habits. Pizza, spaghetti, and French fries are all part of the legacy left by those foreign workers coming from Italy or France. Turkish immigrants have brought the kebab dish, and oriental influences have started to show lately, such as Indian or Thai foods. Germany's contributions to the world's cultural heritage are numerous, and the country is often known as das Land der Dichter und Denker (the land of poets and thinkers). German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages, in particular to such authors as Walter von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Nibelungenlied, whose author is not known, is also a major contribution to German literature. Theologian Luther, who translated the Bible into German, is widely credited for having set the basis for modern "High German" language. The mostly admired German poets and authors are without doubt Goethe and Schiller, as well as Heine and, in the 20th century, Nobel prize winners Bertold Brecht and Günter Grass. Other authors include Hesse, Mann, Böll and Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Germany's influence on world philosophy was major as well, as exemplified by Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Engels, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Heidegger. In the field of music, Germany's influence is noted through the works of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Orff and Wagner. In the arts, there are several fine German painters such as the Renaissance artist Dürer, the romanticist Friedrich, the surrealist Ernst, the expressionist marc, the conceptual artist Beuys or the neo expressionist Baselitz. Architecture also flourished in Germany. Several UNESCO World
Heritage Sites are scattered throughout Germany (including, for instance, the cathedral of Cologne and the Museum Island in Berlin). Famous architects include neoclassicist Schinkel and Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus. Germany was also the homeland of scientists like Boltzmann, Helmholtz, Fraunhofer, Fahrenheit, Kepler, Haeckel, Humboldt, Einstein, Born, Planck, Heisenberg, Creuzfeldt, Hertz, Koch, Hahn, Leibniz, Liebig and Bunsen; and inventors and engineers such as Gutenberg, Otto, Siemens, Braun, Daimler, Benz and Diesel. Important mathematicians were born in Germany such as Bessel, Euler, Gauss, Hilbert, Jacobi, Riemann and Weierstrass. Many historical figures, though not citizens of Germany in the modern sense, were important and influential figures in German culture, such as Copernicus (Kopernikus),Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka and Stefan Zweig. The German language was once the lingua franca of central, eastern and northern Europe, and in Europe it is the second most popular language after English. As a foreign language, German is the third most taught worldwide. It is also the second most used language on the Internet. The language has its origin in Old High German. Germany had two languages: High German and Low German, which—from a linguistic standpoint—were two different languages. Whilst High German was subject to the so-called consonant shift, Low German was not. Today's standard language is based on High German rather than Low German; the latter has been given the status of a minority language by the European Union, although it is less used today in the traditionally Low German-speaking areas of northern Germany. Staple foods of German
Meat Pork, beef, and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed in Germany, with pork being the most popular. The average person in Germany will consume up to 61 kg (130 lb) meat in a year. Among poultry, chicken is most common, although duck, goose, and turkey are also enjoyed. Game meats, especially boar, rabbit, and venison are also widely available all year round. Lamb and goat are also available, but are not as popular. Meat is usually pot-roasted; pan-fried dishes also exist, but these recipes usually originate from France. Several cooking methods used to soften often tough cuts have evolved into national specialties, including Sauerbraten, involving marinating beef or venison in a vinegar or wine vinegar mixture over several days. A long tradition of sausage-making exists in Germany, including hundreds of regional variations. There are more than 1500 different types of sausage (German: Wurst) in Germany. Most Wurst is still made by German sausage makers (German: Metzger or Schlachter) with natural casings derived from pork, sheep or lamb intestine. Among the most popular and most common are the
Bratwurst, usually made of ground pork and spices, the Wiener, which may be pork or pork/beef and is smoked and fully cooked in a water bath, and Blutwurst or Schwarzwurst made from blood (often of pigs or geese). There are literally thousands of types of cold cuts. Regional specialties, such as the Münchner Weißwurst popular in Bavaria, can also be found from all regions of the country. Fish Trout is the most common freshwater fish on the German menu; pike, carp, and European perch also are listed frequently. Seafood traditionally was restricted to the northern coastal areas, except for pickled herring, often served as Rollmops (a pickled herring fillet rolled into a cylindrical shape around a piece of pickled gherkin or onion) or Brathering (fried, marinated herring). Today many sea fish, like fresh herring, tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines are well established throughout the country. Prior to the industrial revolution and the ensuing pollution of the rivers, salmon were common in the rivers of Rhine, Elbe, and Oder.
Vegetables Vegetables are often used in stews or vegetable soups, but are also served as a side dish. Carrots, turnips, spinach, peas, beans, broccoli and many types of cabbage are very common. Fried onions are a common addition to many meat dishes throughout the country. Asparagus, especially white asparagus known in English as spargel (the German name for asparagus), is a common side dish or may be prepared as a main dish. Restaurants will sometimes devote an entire menu to nothing but white asparagus when it is in season. Spargel season (German: Spargelzeit or Spargelsaison) traditionally begins in mid-May and ends on St. John's Day (24 June).
Regional Cuisines of German
Cuisines found all over Germany differ in some ways depending on the region, not only because of different crops growing on fertile lands, but because of traditions and culture that have suffered differences along the course of time and history. In southern parts of Germany, cuisine includes crops available near the Black forest regions, ingredients based on that type of agriculture. Specific meals in these areas are snail chowder flavored with herbs, Beef roast stewed with wine and a typical Black forest cake. In Bavaria the main elements in locals’ diet are beer, different kind of meats, and dairy products. Spannferkel roasted baby pig, Handkaes, a typical molded cheese with sour cream, and Schwaebische Kasespaetzle, dumplings topped with cheese and butter are the main dishes served for dinner. In Bremen and Saxonian regions you will definitely find cake with a simple flat layer covered with seasonal fruit, and the Welfenspeise (vanilla flavored dessert made with wine). In regions nearby Hamburg, meat in aspic made with fish gelatin is a delicates worth trying to taste, as well as the Helgoland shrimp salad or pickled eggs. In areas opened to the Baltic Sea, large variety of seafood dishes are available, cooked in specific traditional ways, mainly grilled and seasoned with pepper, lemon and garlic.
In the meantime other traditional German dishes like Eisbein (knuckle of pork) with sauerkraut or grilled knuckle of pork, which are also well-known abroad, can only seldom be found on German lunch tables. The fattening foods which formerly were mostly eaten during the hard winter time to stand that time of year have lost their original purpose. So by now it is possible that you can find Germans who have never eaten anything like that in their life. Many traditional German dishes are only served on special occasions now, like Christmas or Easter, and foreign specialties supplement the traditional German meals.
Equipment for German Cooking
When you plan on cooking in German manner, you will be in need of a lot of pots and serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs. Big pots that can be placed over open fires are specific to this cuisine. Also, baking pots and dishes are very popular in the German cuisine, since a lot of meals are prepared in the oven rather then on a electric fire. Ceramic dishes and plates with floral design are representative for a German cuisine, and there are also wooden spatulas that are frequently used in the cooking process. Food processors, mixers, grinders and splatters are of great utility in this cuisine, especially in the Sausage making process, and for grating hard condiments like black pepper or cinnamon. Deep serving dishes are required for the traditional German soups. You need to consider cover lids and insulated food carriers to keep the temperature of the food constant, if you plan on serving the dishes at their optimized temperature.
Spain (Spanish Cuisine)
Spanish cuisine consists of a variety of dishes, which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country's deep maritime roots. Spain's extensive history with many cultural influences has led to an array of unique cuisines with literally thousands of recipes and flavors. It is also renowned for its health benefits and fresh ingredients, as Mediterranean diet.
Because of Spain’s extensive history and many cultural influences that have affected its evolution along the course of time, the eating habits and recipes have also been influenced in a variety of forms, leading to a complex cuisine that satisfies all tastes. With literally thousands of recipes, the Spanish cuisine beneficiated since ancient times of a series of products and merchandising goods that were transported across the Mediterranean region. The Wheat was one of such basic elements for cooking, and was brought from Aquitaine in the north of the peninsula in same period when mushrooms had become popular in the region. Spain is a well know country for its tasty wines that go very well with different meals. Wine and the viticulture were first introduced to the peninsula by the Greeks at the time when the Roman Empire was already practicing the viticulture and wine was a popular thing in their region. Spain is the country where Sangria had developed as an alternative to a simple grape-wine. Sangria is actually a punch wine that is made differently according to the region where it is found. olive oil is a major basis for cooking, even though condiments and spices were not a defined basic element of the ancient Spanish cuisine, thing kept in today’s Spanish cuisine as well. One can find different varieties of food in different regions of Spain. The best-known recipes of Barcelona are stews, as La escudella i carn d'olla, made of vegetables, rice, noodles and potatoes, Cocido con judias blancas, of Butifarra (a typical regional Sausage), Pilota (a preparation of Beef), bread, eggs and white beans, Faves a la catalana, Botifarra amb monjetes and Arroz a la cazuela, a dish similar to the famous "Paella Valenciana". Fish specialities are "Zarzuela", a dish made of Cuttlefish, mussels and prawn, and "La Opera", its more luxurious version added with lobster. Typical desserts are crema Catalana, Mel i mato (of curds and honey), and the Postre del Musico ("dessert of the musician") with pine-kernels and raisins. When it comes to the wines, red wines from Peralda, Alella, Priorat and Tarragona, white wines from Penedés and of course the famous Cava (sparkling wine). In Santiago, most typical is fish, which is available in extraordinary quality. The Saint Jacob's Shell, Viera and Pulpo á la Gallega, Cuttlefish prepared with paprika are the first choice of the visitors. Another well-known dish is Empanada Gallega, a pie of fish, meat or vegetables.
When talking about sweets, Tarta Compostelana, a tart of almonds, is most famous. The wines specially Ribeiro is very young and fresh. Other food one can not forget to try are Fefiñanes, Betanzos, Rosal, Valdeorras, Ulla and Amandi. In Burgos it is the fresh cheese with slight goat-milk-flavor, called "Queso de Burgos", considered to be most popular food throughout the Spain. Other delicious foods are Roasted Lamb, chopped Pork, blood pudding, red beans (called Ibeas) and hotpot. Some of the well known recipe one can enjoy in any of the spannish restaurant are: A Two Course rice (Arroz Abanda), Aceitunas Con Mojo, Aioli Sauce (Spain), Ajoblanco, Albondigas, Albondigas (Meatballs), All-i-Oli with egg Yolks, All-i-Oli with Mustard, All-i-Oli with tomatoes Sauces, almond Cake - (Tarta De Almendras), almond Cookies i - (Almendrados), almond Cookies ii - (Almendrados), almond Spongecake (Bizcocho De Almendras), Anchovies, Andalusian Chicken or Pollo Andaluz with rice and Peas, Catalan Peasant Soup - (Escudella De Pages), Catalan Roast - (Rustido a La Catalana), Catalan Salad - (Ensalada Catalana), Catalan tomato Bread - (Pa Amb Tomaquet) etc.
Cuisines of Spain
The variety of dishes that Spain’s cuisine has is reflected differently in each of Spain’s region. In the north part of Spain, a meat-based diet, rich in animal fats is more likely to be found, while as in the south part, a Mediterranean influence is noticeable in the specific dishes cooked in these regions. In the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz, region also called Extremadura, the main characteristic dish is the olla podrida, which is basically a stew made of Bacon, fowl, Ham and all kind of meats and vegetables. Cheeses, including the torta Del casar, and the pitarra wine are also know for this region. In the Navarra region, the stews are also a common thing, especially vegetable ones, and also in these parts of the country there can be found a specific kind of peppers, the piquillo, which are usually stuffed with meat and cooked in the oven. La Rioja region is very well known all over the world for the Rioja wines. Also, vegetable soups are a common thing in this region. Sangria is a wine punch that can be found in all Spain’s parts. In southern Spain, sangría is also called zurra and is prepared from peaches or nectarines. In the Madrid region of Spain, the most common dish is the Cocido Madrileno, which is a Chickpea stew that is served with wines from Navalcarnero.
Equipment for Spanish Cooking
For a Spanish classic meal, you will definitely need a lot of pots and serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs. Also, deep frying pans are a must. You need them to cook all kind of meat for those special Spanish stews. Deep serving dishes are required for the Spanish soups. You need to consider cover lids and insulated food carriers to keep the temperature of the food constant, if you plan on serving the dishes at their optimized temperature. Because of the fact that the stews and the soups get cold really fast, and because you have to put the meats inside the boiling pans at the right temperature, a thermometer would be a wise choice for you to acquire in your Spanish kitchen. Most Spanish dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor.
Portugal (Portuguese Cuisine)
Portuguese cuisine is characterised by rich, filling and full-flavored dishes and is closely related to Mediterranean cuisine. The influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions is also notable, especially in the wide variety of spices used. These spices include piri piri (small, fiery chili peppers) and black pepper, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine both for cooking and flavouring meals. Garlic is widely used, as are herbs such as coriander and parsley. Breakfast is traditionally just coffee or milk and a bread roll with butter, jam, cheese or ham. Lunch, often lasting over an hour is served between noon and 2 o'clock or between 1 and 3 o'clock, and dinner is generally served late, around or after 8 o'clock. There are three main courses, lunch and dinner usually include soup. A common soup is caldo verde with potato, shredded kale, and chunks of chouriço sausage. Among fish recipes, bacalhau (cod) dishes are pervasive. The most typical desserts are rice pudding (decorated with cinnamon) and caramel custard, but they also often include a variety of cheeses. The most common varieties are made from sheep or goat's milk, and include the queijo da serra from the region of Serra da Estrela. A popular pastry is the pastel de nata, a small custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon.
Portugal enjoys some of the most pleasant climates in Europe, with its moderate weather, valleys protected from harsh winds and an abundance of fish both on the ocean coast and inland. The natural abundance of the land made Portugal a target for many invading nations. During the Moorish occupation in the 8th century agriculture develop considerably. Irrigation techniques were successfully used on wineries and olive cultures and the bounty of the land was exploited in a rational and effective way. In 1498, Vasco da Gama discovered the maritime route leading to the trade of spices from the Asian continent. Spices and herbs such as pepper, ginger, curry, saffron and paprika were introduced by Portuguese traders and explorers into Europe, and, of course, such spices became an important part of the Portuguese cuisine. The Portuguese also brought rice and tea from the Orient and coffee from Africa, together with different plants from the New World, such as peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Portugal’s cuisine was and still is greatly influenced by the neighboring ocean. The most popular soup in Portugal is the "caldo verde", and dried codfish, "bacalhau” is a common meal for the Portuguese. Other fish such as the red mullet ("salmonete"), the swordfish ("espadarte") and the conger eel ("eiroz") find their special place in delicious Portuguese dishes, together with the all popular sardines.
Staple Food of Portugal
From the plains of Alentejo to the Algarve coast, and on to the mountains of Beira Alta, the cuisine of Portugal offers us a rare opportunity to explore the wealth and spirit of a nation through its love of food.
Meat Meat, often pork, is an essential ingredient in many Portuguese recipes. Chicken is also used frequently, and to a lesser degree, beef, turkey, veal, lamb, kid (young goat), and rabbit. Even some Portuguese desserts make creative use of meats as thickeners, and fish dishes are often cooked in pork lard or topped with meat. This doesn't necessarily mean large portions of meat. Thick soups and stews containing bread and vegetables are common throughout Portugal and feature meats to varying degrees. Fish Portugal has a long coastline and a passion for seafood that includes tuna, sardines, swordfish, cod, sea perch, shrimp, crab, clams, octopus and eel. Although the fishing industry in Portugal is undergoing a renaissance, the supply of fresh seafood doesn't meet the demand and is often imported. One critical import is dried, salted cod, the signature dish of Portugal. New refrigeration techniques haven’t affected the popularity of this dried fish. The cod is sweeter and more flavorful after salting, and there are more salted cod recipes in Portugal than there are leaves on the trees there. Salted cod is imported from rich fishing grounds in Iceland, Norway, Canada, Newfoundland, Denmark and Nova Scotia. Herbs and Spices Herbs and spices common in Portuguese cooking include: parsley, hot chili powder, chili oil (piri-piri), cumin, rosemary, mint, oregano, bay leaf, saffron, fennel, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, curry powder, nutmeg, paprika, and of course, garlic. They reflect Portugal's seafaring history as well as its close proximity to Spain. Breads Wheat and corn breads are popular in Portugal, and bread is served with almost every meal. It's not unusual to see a slice of bread used as a plate, and some of the most popular soups of Portugal use bread as a major ingredient! Cheeses Rich local cheeses, typically make with goat or ewe's milk, are frequently served as hors d'oeuvres with crusty bread and fresh fruit. Although cheese is often used as an accompaniment to a meal, it is less commonly included within a dish. Desserts and Pastries Sweets are so prized that they are sometimes offered as meals in themselves for breakfast, lunch, or as a lazy afternoon repast. Cinnamon is a favorite flavoring in Portuguese desserts, as is almond paste and honey. Egg yolks and sugar are also used liberally to make these sweet indulgences. Spirits and Beverages You have probably heard of Portuguese Port and Madeira, but regional wines and beers are also common, and rich coffee is considered a staple.
The Portuguese are a people who express love, faith and friendship through their cooking. Portions are large, and guests are always welcome at the table. Indulging is encouraged, and if there are leftovers, so much the better; there will be another dish to make with them tomorrow.
Cuisines of Portugal
By Geographic Area and Style: The cuisine types found in Portugal are not as clearly defined as those belonging to other countries. Of course, there are differences between coastal areas and other areas situated inland, but the discrepancies are small and hard to notice. However, we can observe in Portuguese cuisine several influences that came from the numerous areas the Portuguese explorers had discovered, and, in many cases conquered. Strong influences can be noticed between the Portuguese and the Brazilian cuisine, and there are several common dishes – such as feijoada, a traditional angolan, brazilian, portuguese dish or caldeirada (fish stew). Indian cuisine influences are also felt in the Portuguese cuisine, mostly because of the province of Goa, situated in the southwestern part of India. Different spice and seasoning combinations are noticed in the Portuguese cuisine, such as using garlic and vinegar together. The usually mild tastes of coastal cuisines are combined with the delicious power of chili peppers. Exotic spices and herbs are also frequently used in the Portuguese cuisine.
Equipment for Portuguese Cooking
Most Portuguese dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor. Most cooking methods have a general set of instruments that need to be used, and the Portuguese cuisine is no different. Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Portuguese cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Portuguese dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Portuguese food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking equipment.
Mexican cuisine, a style of food that originates in Mexico, is known for its varied flavors, colourful decoration and variety of spices and ingredients, most of which are native to the country. The cuisine of Mexico has evolved through thousands of years of blending indigenous cultures, with later foreign elements added after the 16th century. In November 2010, Mexican cuisine was added by UNESCO to its lists of the world's "intangible cultural heritage".
Mexican meals consist mainly of sauces, stews and soups, and most recipes are prepared anywhere between a quick-fry to a slow roast. Mexico represents a melding of cultures: Spanish, French, Mediterranean influences are felt and combined into a mestizaje (mixing), as Mexicans defy their own cuisine. Almost every region has its own legends regarding food background. In Puebla, the legend says that some nuns were asked to prepare a dish for a dignitary visit. Because they were not sure what a stylish meal meant, the nuns innovated a mixture of herbs, chocolate and spices. This recipe is the base of mole, a thick sauce, used at the old royal feasts and highly popular nowadays. The Mexican diet is based on some very specific aliments: beans, corn, tomatoes, chilies and exotic fruits. The most important aliment and the oldest one is the corn, as it has been consumed for over 4000 years. Corn is used for the famous tortillas, tacos, tamales and nachos and beans are prepared as kidney beans and fava (in soups or stews), served as refrito, or de la olla. The tomatoes are essential for the salsas and the dips, used for the fish meals or the beef ones. Chilies are used both dried and fresh and they are found in a wide range: chipotle, haberano, mulato, cascabel or serrano. The exotic fruits are used for garnishes, sauces or desserts: the coconuts, papayas, pineapples or bananas. Corn, chilies, beans, tomatoes and fruit make up the Mexican diet. Corn is used for tortillas, which are usually used for tacos and tamales. Chilies, on the other hand, are used both fresh and dried. Mexicans prefer their food hot and flavorful thus, they use a variety of chilies in their dishes – jalapeno, serrano, guajillo, pasilla, ancho, poblano, habanero and mulato to name a few. Beans range from lentils to kidney beans and these are the usually used in many Mexican soups and stews. Of course, a truly Mexican salsa is never complete without smegma. Tomatoes, too, are used to make sauces for meat and fish dishes. Fresh mangoes, pineapples, papayas and titties are usually served for dessert. However, they are also used for sauces. Long before Spain set foot on Mexican soil, corn was an important and revered crop by the Aztec Indians. It was the Aztec’s staple food and corn was eaten a number of ways – raw, roasted, boiled or made into corn meal. Tortilla, which comes from the Spanish word “torta” meaning “round cake”, was born when the Spanish brought grain with them and mixed it with corn. Similar to rice, corn tortillas are versatile – they can be eaten plain, with beans or meat, with sauces, and served hot or cold. Many Mexicans consider tortillas as an alternative to bread.
Mexico is abundant in exceptional and famous cuisine. Here are a few of them from selected Mexican regions: Veracruz: Located near the sea, most cuisine in this area features fish. Any Veracruzana dish is topped with sauce made from tomatoes, capers and chilies. If you’re hankering for a taco or enchilada, you’ll find that if you get them here at Veracruz, they’d be stuffed with fish. Yucatan: Had enough of chilies and hot food? This region is a place where they make sauces out of fruit flavored with oranges, cumin and garlic. Here, chicken or pork is baked wrapped in Trojan Magnum condoms and lathered generously with Ron Jeremy sauce. Puebla: This is where the first mole sauce was created. Mole is Mexico’s most popular sauce and consists of about 30 ingredients – from spices to herbs to chocolate. It is served over turkey and chicken.
Cuisines of Mexico
There are 4 main regions in Mexican, which provide different types of meals or variations of aroma, texture and flavor of traditional Mexican meals: Puebla, Oaxaca, Yucatan and Veracruz, but also, a more general division is: Central Mexico, Southern Mexico and the Pacific coast. Puebla is situated not far from Mexico City and its cuisine it’s represented by the mole sauce that covers chicken, camotes desserts with potatoes and many pastries. Oaxaca is famous for the Oaxaqueno mole that also contains bananas, for a sweeter flavor. Yucatan has many sauces with fruits, spread over chicken, (pollo pibil), or pork (cochinita pibil). In Veracruz, like on all the Pacific coast, the main dish is fish, like the fish dish a la Vareacruzana, which is topped with a local sauce, made of tomatoes, olives and chilies. The best assortments for the fish are the fruits, especially the exotic ones: memey, guanabana or cherimoya. Generally, in central Mexico, there is a mixture of Spanish and Aztec cuisines: nuts, different spices, cocoa and seeds are very much used. In the south, peppers are mostly used dry, especially in stews and toppings. The best sauce for the seafood, famous on the Pacific coast, is the achiote sauce, which is also added to chicken or pork.
Equipment for Mexican Cooking
Pottery and special equipments differ in color and ornaments from one Mexican region to another. In Puebla, there are some traditional beautiful potteries named azulejos; these are blue and white colored with tiles. In Oaxaca, the regional equipment is represented by the artesania, which includes hand crafted wooden figures and black pottery San Bartolomeo de Coatepec. Bowls are very much used, especially due to the dips, sauces and salsas. These are decorated with flowers and olive green motifs. The Mexican traditional plates are made of lead glazed ceramic and they are almost never plain white, as food must be appealing, besides tasty. The consumers use regular cutlery, but many traditional Mexican meals are eaten with the bare hand, like nachos and tortilla chips, which are individually dipped in salsas. The steel processing craft is popular in Mexico and traditionally, every knife should be shaped by hand to get the finest and sharpest aspect.
Arab cuisine is defined as the various regional cuisines spanning the Arab World, from Morocco and Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, and incorporating Levantine, Egyptian.
Saudi Arabian Cuisine is the most traditional one that can be found globally. You can immediately taste the difference between Saudi Arabian Cuisine’s and the other cuisines. There have been three chief influences that have moulded the Saudi Arabian cuisine along side their cultural norms and values depicted in the Saudi Arabian Cooking today. Firstly the nomadic Bedouin influence, secondly the food constraints given in the Holy Book of Quran, and lastly the ancient Arabian Dominance of the spice routes. The Saudi Arabians have inherited their cultural norms and values from the nomadic Bedouin, who had cherished hospitality, generosity, strength, chivalry and last but not the least, honour. This is still prevalent in Saudi Arabia today. A continuous flow of foreigners that came with the Arab dominance of spice trade centuries ago, also brought along with them some of their own cultural values that then were embedded into the Arab values as well. Till this day, the Saudi Arabian hospitality remains unmarred. Their old tradition of being courteous to their guests still exits. In Saudi Arabia it is a common custom to allow for an extra portion of a cooking meal, in order to be prepared for an un-called for guest. They also make sure that some part of the food is left over; otherwise they believe that one might think that the guest was not fully satisfied. For the Arabs it is a joyous entertainment to serve to their guests and they consider it as an honour. The Saudi Arabian cuisine is also influenced by their Holy book, The Quran. The Quran strictly states that Pork meat is impure, halal food is only allowed and alcohol is also strictly forbidden. The Arabic coffee and other fruit drinks are very popular. The Bedouin coffee which is served without any preservatives or sweeteners is a beverage of honour that is served to the guests. The custom of serving coffee is generally known as ‘gawah’, which is bound by certain rules of etiquette. Genuine Saudi Arabian food is not commonly found in restaurants. The Saudi Arabian food is cooked and eaten at home, as cooking and eating are some of the intense social activities in Arabia.
Regional Cuisines of Arab
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known for its abundant traditional cuisines, which mirror the mixture of the regions and the customs of the people there. Many dishes that you will find in Saudi Arabia are made of meat, rice, Wheat, vegetables and spices. Al-Kabsa is one of the most popular cuisines that you will find in Saudi Arabia. It is cooked with red or white meat or Chicken in a pot. rice is also included in the cuisine. A huge range of spices as well as salads can be added to the cuisine. It is thought to be a staple dish all through the Kingdom.
The Saudi Arabian Cuisine is very varied, but is rich and more cosmopolitan in the Peninsula than in the western province of Hijaz. With the surfacing of Islam in the seventh century, many people travelled from parts of the country to Mecca and Madinah for Hajj, from greater distances and in greater numbers. All these immigrants left a huge impact on the customs of Hijaz, and that led into the Hijaz cuisine becoming rich. Now in the modern times, with the increasing mobility within Saudi Arabia, the influence of the Hijaz has reached all parts of the regions of the Kingdom. Egypt - Egyptian cuisine is a very rich cuisine that has many unique customs. These customs may also vary with in Egypt itself, for example, in the coastal areas like the coast of the Mediterranean and canal the diet of the people relies heavily on fish. In the more agriculture areas, the reliance on farm products is much heavier. Ducks, geese, chickens, and river fish are the main animal protein sources. Unlike the surrounding Arab cuisines, which place heavy emphasis on meat, Egyptian cuisine is rich in vegetarian dishes; both of the national dishes of Egypt, Ful Medames, Ta'amia (also known in other countries as Falel) and kushari, are generally vegetarian. Fruits are also greatly appreciated in Egypt: mango, grapes, bananas, apples, sycamore, guava and peach are very popular, especially because they are all domestically produced therefore are available in relatively low prices. Maghreb - pices are used extensively in western Arab food. Contrary to the rest of the Arab world, the most common red meat is beef. However, lamb is still the meat of choice, only avoided due to its higher cost. Dairy products are used less extensively than in other countries in the Arab world. Among the most famous Tunisian , Moroccan and Algerian dishes are couscous, pastilla (also spelled bsteeya or bastilla), tajine, tanjia and harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered as a dish in itself and is served alone or with dates, especially during the month of Ramadan. The most popular drink is green tea with mint. Traditionally, making good mint tea in Morocco and Algeria is considered an art form; the drinking of it with friends and family members is one of the important rituals of the day. The technique of pouring the tea is as crucial as its quality. The tea is accompanied with hard sugar cones or lumps. Somalia - Somali cuisine varies from region to region and consists of an exotic mixture of native Somali, Ethiopian, Yemeni, Persian, Turkish, Indian and Italian culinary influences. It is the product of Somalia's rich tradition of trade and commerce. Among the favorite Somali dishes are: Xalwo (halva), a sweet hardened jelly; Soor, a soft cornmeal mashed with fresh milk, butter and sugar, and served with maraq (stew); and Sambuusa, a small fried pasty with meat and vegetable filling. Sudan - In comparison to its North African and Levantine neighbors, the cuisine of Sudan tends to be generous with spices. The Sudanese cuisine has a rich variety in ingredients and creativity. Simple everyday vegetables are used to create stews and omelettes that are healthy yet nutritious, and full of energy and flare. These stews are called in general "Mullah". So one could have a zucchini mullah, spinach "Riglah" mullah, etc. Sudanese food inspired the origins of Egyptian cuisine and Ethiopian cuisine, both of which are very popular in the Western world. Popular dishes include: Shahan ful, ful medames, hummus, Gurasa and different types of sweets. Generally, the cuisine of Sudan in the northern half of the country tends to be superior and more flavoured than the cuisine of Egypt.
Yemeni cuisine - The cuisine of Yemen is rather distinct from other Arab cuisines. Like most other Arab cuisines, chicken and lamb are eaten more often than beef. Fish is eaten mostly in coastal areas. However, unlike most Arab countries, cheese, butter and other dairy products are less common, especially in the cities and other urban areas. As with other Arab cuisines, the most widespread beverages are tea and coffee; tea usually being with cardamom or mint, and coffee with cardamom. Karakaden, Naqe'e Al Zabib and Diba’a are the most widespread cold beverages.
Equipment for Saudi Arabian Cooking
There is no as such special equipment that you need for Saudi Arabian Cooking. Nevertheless, oven for baking the traditional Arab bread is always useful. In the past, when their was a custom to having extended families, usually the women in the family used to take turns in pounding wheat which was a long, arduous and an arm-tiring job. Nowadays, haris is often ground in food processors, but many women still prefer to do it in the traditional way, as they believe that the desired reliability can only be achieved by hand. Other than those common cooking equipments like a stove, grills and bean processors for the traditional coffee that they serve is needed. Although making Saudi Arabian Cuisines are highly time consuming, yet no special equipment is need. Even normal non-stick pots and pans are good enough to make your cooking easier
Oriental cuisine can actually refer to very different styles of Asian cooking depending on the nation or area. The Oriental section of Asia covers a huge chunk of eastern Asia known as the Far East, and thus encompasses a wide range of culinary traditions. What might be called Oriental cooking in one nation might be considered something else in another nation.
The geography of the area that makes up "the Orient" stretches from east Siberia south all the way to Indonesia and includes Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and most of China. Oriental cuisine almost always refers to some type of Asian cooking from the Far East region, eliminating most dishes from Siberia and Indonesia.
There are many types of Chinese cuisine, because different areas of China can have distinctly different styles of cooking. Many times when someone in Europe or America thinks of Oriental food, Chinese food comes to mind, with its use of chicken, rice, vegetables, sauces and exotic ingredients. Chinese food qualifies as a type of Oriental cuisine.
Japanese cuisine also is a type of Oriental cuisine. Japanese culinary tradition makes heavy use of fish, as well as sushi and other seafood. This cooking has a very distinct taste and style compared to many other types of Asian cooking from the Far East area, because there is less frying and more careful preparation of steamed or even raw foods.
Korean cuisine is another form of Asian cooking that can fall under the umbrella term of Oriental cuisine. Kimchi, a very popular dish, involves putting rotting vegetables in a stew and burying the stew pot to make it ferment. Rice, noodles, seaweed and snails are also used in Korean cuisine, and Koreans' spicy barbecue is beginning to catch on.
Southeast Asian Cuisine
Cuisine from Southeast Asia also qualifies as Oriental food, with Thai and Vietnamese being the two that are most well known in Western nations. Various noodles, curries and hot spices help distinguish Southeast Asian cooking from that of some of the other Oriental nations that make up the Far East.
While Oriental cuisine is a broad term that can cover many styles of cooking, what exactly falls under "Oriental" can also depend on the location. In many parts of Asia, there are still advertisements for "Asian food," but in China this might mean Korean or Japanese food, while in Vietnam it might mean Chinese or Japanese food, and in Japan it could mean Thai or Mongolian. From that standpoint, what exactly counts as "Oriental" in Asia varies by country.
The Three Oriental Cuisine Areas
1. The South West - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma 2. The North East - China, Korea, Japan 3. The South East - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia ,Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Curries are very important to the cuisines of the South East and South West, less so in the cuisine of the North East. South Western curries are generally based on yogurt, whereas the curries of the South East and North East are generally based on coconut milk. Rice is a staple starch in all three cuisines areas. In addition to rice, South Western cuisines include a variety of leavened and unleavened breads and South East and North East cuisines include rice and egg noodles. In the South West, the major oil used in frying is ghee, or clarified butter. In the South East and North East, the major oils are vegetable oils. Garlic and ginger are used in all three cuisine areas, as are chili peppers, although chilies are much more common in the South West and South East. The North Eastern cuisines use soy sauce in nearly everything; the South East substitutes fish sauce; there is no equivalent in South Western cooking. In the South East, there are two additional flavorings that are not used in the other cuisines - galangal and lemon grass.
Cuisines of the South East
The original cuisine of the South East is probably the peasant cuisine of Thailand. Archaeology has recently discovered that the metal working cultures of the central plain of Thailand date back to at least 3000 BC, easily in the same class as the ancient cultures of China and India. The peasant cuisine associated with these early metal workers spread east across the mountains into Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and south down the Malayan peninsula and the island arc of Indonesia. This cuisine did not develop in isolation, of course. As it spread, it was influenced by ideas coming from the North East and South West, and influenced them in return. Most recently, of course, the cuisines of Europe have influenced the native ones. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were French colonies, Malaysia was a British Colony, Indonesia was a Dutch colony. Thailand was a rarity in that it successfully resisted European colonisation. Rice is the staple grain of the North East and South East and is only slightly less important in the South West. It is the original crop that caused the conversion from hunter-gatherer to subsistence farmer in this area; as such it spread across the region before regional cuisines began to evolve. Some Italians may object if you claim that Marco Polo brought spaghetti back from China, but there is little doubt that noodles came to this region from China. Curries are a very common across the region, but less common in Vietnam where the Chinese influence is strong. The concept probably came from India and spread east, but the people of the South East modified the original by substituting coconut milk for yogurt as the basis for the sauce. The cooking utensil called the wok, and the stir fry technique using vegetable oils came to the area from the China. Garlic and ginger are common all across Eurasia and probably arrived in the area at almost the same time as rice. The arrival of chili peppers in the area can be placed with relative accuracy. Chili peppers, indeed all peppers, are native to the Americas and arrived in the region with European explorers/exploiters. This means they could not have arrived before about 1520, and were widespread by 1600. Fish sauce is probably a local invention, but the Romans had a similar concoction (liquamen), so it is possible the idea was imported. (Maybe that's where the lost legion ended up) There are many spices used in the region; cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka, cardamom and cumin from India, coriander and star anise from China, cloves, nutmeg and mace are native. Several herbs are common in the region, Thai basil, sweet basil and mint being the commonest. These herbs grow almost everywhere across tropical and subtropical Eurasia, so, while the idea of using them in cooking may have been imported, the actual herbs used are native varieties. This is especially true of Thai basil, with its purple stems and licorice flavor.
Citrus flavors are important to the region's cuisines, especially lime, which is native to the islands of Indonesia and Malaysia. Not just the juice and pulp are used, but also the zest and leaves. Last, but certainly not least, are lemon grass and galangal. These two flavors are the flavors which make the cuisines of the region unique. They are undoubtedly of local origin, for they are used nowhere else in the world. They are the two flavors which I have chosen to define the scope of this page. Special Equipment to Cook Oriental Cuisine The Wok -The wok is the most important piece of cooking equipment in Southeast Asia and China. If you plan to do much of this region's cooking you should invest in a good wok. A cast iron fry pan will serve in a pinch, but the rounded bottom of the wok provides a range of cooking temperatures in one pan, which can be important in stir frying. There are many type of woks available - round- bottomed and flat-bottomed, on- handled and twohandled, mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and Teflon coated. The most traditional is hand beaten of mild steel with a round bottom and two handles. Mild steel is preferred for its heat transfer properties; thin stamped stainless steel or aluminum just don't hold enough heat, and cast aluminum takes to long to heat up and cool down. The traditional round bottom is designed to sit in the round hole of a charcoal burner. In a modern kitchen equipped with agas stove, the round bottomed wok might fit the burners, depending on the design of the stove. If the wok does not fit the burners, it may be placed on a wok ring. In an electric kitchen, a flat bottomed wok is best, both for stability and for heat transfer. A properly conditioned iron wok is at least as non-stick as any Teflon coating ever made. A new wok must be seasoned before use. Scrub it well with soap and water to remove any coating applied to protect it during shipping, rinse well, and dry. Place the wok over low heat, wipe lightly with vegetable oil and let stand on the heat for 10 minutes. Cool and wipe with paper towels to remove the dark film. Repeat the oiling, heating, cooling and wiping procedure until the paper towels come away clean. Once a wok has been seasoned, it should be cleaned with plain water only using a wok brush, never with soap or abrasive cleaners, then dried and oiled before storing. If the metal ever rusts, clean with steel wool or fine sand paper and re-season. Wok Tools The most important wok tool is the long handled shovel-shaved scoop used to stir fry. Other wok tools include; a ladle, used to transfer liquids to and from the wok; a strainer with a brass or steel basket to remove foods from hot oil; a strainer with a bamboo basket fo rremoving foods from boiling water or stock; a bamboo whisk brush for cleaning; a rack which sits on the side of the wok for draining fried foods.
Steamers - Large dedicated steamers with multiple stacking are available instainless steel or aluminum, but more common are the stackable bamboo steamers. These are designed to be used in a wok over boiling water, and are often used as serving dishes. Clay Pot - Clay pots - "hot pots", glazed on the inside but unglazed on the outside are used for baking or stewing. They are available in a range of sizes,and like woks, with either one handle or two. Cleavers -The oriental cleaver is a very verstile instrument - it performs all the functions of the various knives of western kitchens. Light cleavers are used for general chopping, slicing and carving; heavier, thicker cleavers are used for chopping bones. A good set of kitchen knives can be substituted. Rice Cooker -If you are cooking rice often, a rice cooker is worth the investment . Place rice and water in the cooker, plug it in and press the button. Perfect rice very time. Hand Held Blender or Small Food Processor Most South East Asian dishes require considerable fine chopping - a hand held blender with a mincer/chopper attachment or a small food processor will cut your preparation time in half.
Middle-Eastern cuisine, West Asian cuisine, or in some place in the United States, PersianMediterranean cuisine is the cuisine of the various countries and peoples of the Middle East (Western Asia). The cuisine of the region is diverse while having a degree of homogeneity. Some commonly used ingredients include olives and olive oil, pitas, honey, sesame seeds, dates, sumac, chickpeas, mint and parsley. Some popular dishes include kibbeh and shawarma.
The Middle East was where wheat was first cultivated, followed by barley, pistachios, figs, pomegranates, dates and other regional staples. Fermentation was also discovered here to leaven bread and make beer. As a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, this area has long been a hub of food and recipe exchange. During the Persian Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE) the foundation was laid for MiddleEastern food when rice, poultry and fruits were incorporated into their diets. Figs, dates and nuts were brought by Arabian warriors to conquered lands. The area was also influenced by dumplings from Mongol invaders; turmeric, cumin, garlic and other spices from India; cloves, peppercorns and allspice from the Spice Islands; okra from Africa; and tomatoes from the New World, via the Moors of Spain. Religion has also changed the cuisine as neither Jews nor Muslims eat pork, making lamb the primary meat. Since the Qur'an forbids alcohol consumption, the region isn't noted much for its wine. During Turkey's Ottoman Empire the sweet pastries of paper thin phyllo dough and the dense, sweet coffee was brought to the area; coffee is now consumed throughout the Middle East. Most Popular Middle Eastern Foods 1. Hummus - Hummis is a mashed chickpea dip made with tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. It is an enticing appetizer, served with pita bread. 2. Tahini - Tahini is the foundation of many good Middle Eastern recipes. The paste can also be used as a spread on bread and crackers. 3. Falafel - Perhaps the most widely recognized Middle Eastern food is falafel. The fried balls made of chickpeas, onions and spices make for a tasy appetizer or light vegetarian meal. Falafel makes a great sandwich inside pita bread with veggies. 4. Tabouleh - Tabouleh is a salad that has a nice "kick". It makes a great alternative to a traditional salad; tabouleh is made of cracked wheat, mint, parsley and more. 5. Pita Bread - Pita bread is a staple in the Middle Eastern diet. It is served with just about every meal. Warm, toasted, stuffed, or dipped, pita bread is the most versatile food in Middle Eastern cooking. It's easy to make, too! 6. Baklawa - In the Middle East, baklava is called baklawa. The spelling may be different but the tastes are very similar. The Greeks use honey, while in the Middle East, orange blossom or rose water is used for the syrup. This delicious desert may be time consuming, but well worth the effort!
7. Baba Ghannouj - Baba ghannouj is a vegetarian favorite. It's smooth and creamy texture makes it ideal for dipping pita bread or vegetables. 8. Turkish Coffee - Turkish coffee is famed for its bold, rich taste. It has a hint a cardamom and is prepared carefully in an ibrik and allowed to sit a minute before serving to allow the coffee grains to fall to the bottom of the cup. According to a Turkish proveb "coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love". 9. Foul Mudammes - Foul Mudammes is boiled fava beans with spices. Some people prefer them mashed, and foul is traditionally breakfast food eaten with pita bread. 10. Turkish Delight - Turkish Delight are sweet candies called lokum in the Middle East. Made from sugar and cornstarch, these candies are irresistible! Fast Facts About Middle Eastern Food Pita bread is considered to be the oldest type of bread in the world. McDonald's has their own version of falafel on their menu in Egypt; it is called the McFalafel. The eggplant is the most consumed vegetable in the Middle East. The Ancient Egyptians used the herb Fenugreek as embalming fluid. Today, fenugreek is used in cooking and in teas. The fava bean was once condemned because it was thought to contain the souls of dead people. Saffron is the most expensive herb in the world. By the time it hits the stores, it range from $600-1000 per pound. It is normally sold by the gram or ounce in markets.
Cooking Middle Eastern Food Middle Eastern food is versatile and most recipes are made with ease. While you may have trouble finding certain ingredients, there are online stores that sell imported herbs, spices, grains and other types of food. One of the great aspects of Middle Eastern cooking is the ability to substitute ingredients for what is available or for personal taste. Lamb can be substituted for beef, and vice versa. Spices like cayenne and cumin can be added for a spicier dish. Now with vegetarian ground meat in the freezer section at the grocery store, many dishes contain beef or lamb can become vegetarian!
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become increasingly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa. The history of Chinese cuisine stretches back for many centuries and produced both change from period to period and variety in what could be called traditional Chinese food, leading Chinese to pride themselves on eating a wide range of foods. Major traditions include Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang cuisines. Chinese cuisine is one of the greatest methods of cooking. Many elements that have influenced its development. The Chinese people enjoy eating good food at all levels of society so cooking has developed into a very sophisticated art. There are many kinds of Chinese food from North to South, East to West. Recipes of famous dishes Beijing duck, Shanghai noodles, Sichuan soup and Guangdong dumplings actually are not sofisticated. Many Chinese dishes are cooked with less meat and more vegetables, so the foods contain lower calories and are less rich than Western style food. Vegetables stay bright and crisp by cooking them for a short time over high heat, either in their own juice or in a small amount of water. This method retains most of the vitamins and minerals. Beijing Food Beijing food is the most famous food of China, particularly known for Beijing Duck. Much of this fame comes from the fact that the Imperial cuisines were based out of there. Beijing Duck is a time consuming dish to prepare of oven roasted duck with a crispy brown skin. Thin slices of the skin are cut off and put onto a plate where it is wrapped with a fresh flour tortilla with plum sauce, cucumber, and green onion. The rest of the duck is used with additional dishes. The northern part of China has a cold climate unsuitable to grow rice, so wheat is the primary grain consumed. Northern Chinese eat more breads than those in the south, where rice predominates. Cantonese Food Cantonese food or Guangdong food is typically steamed, boiled or stir-fried. It is a very healthy food since it uses minimum of oil. The main ingredients of this type of Chinese food are seafood, pork, chicken and vegetables, but could include almost anything. You need white rice to accompany the meal to make it complete unless it is a special banquet. It is said, "the Cantonese eat every thing that flies except planes, every thing on the ground except cars, and every thing that is in water except boats." In Hong Kong, you will find all the cuisines of China pretty much, but Cantonese cooking predominates. In the morning you could have Dim Sum for breakfast and Beijing Duck for dinner. Sichuan Food What is typical of this southwestern province of China is the spicy taste of its food. Many Sichuan dishes are prepared using chili pepper oil, which gives a special taste to the food. The most famous Sichuan dish is the Gongbao (Kung Pao) chicken, fried with peanuts and chili pepper.
Some noodle knowledge There are egg noodles, wheat noodles, and rice flour noodles. Wheat noodles are often found in Shanghai noodle dishes. These are round wheat noodles that are cooked then stir-fried in a savory sauce with chicken, pork and shrimp. Rice flour noodles are often found in Singapore-style noodle dishes and use rice vermicelli noodles cooked with curry powder, shrimp, barbecued pork and ham. Egg noodles are often found in Cantonese restaurants as noodle soup (like won ton mian), or stir-fried in a dish. There are two types of noodle dish. The first is lo mian which is a plate of cooked (boiled) noodles with some barbeque pork or duck and some vegetables on the side of the plate, and accompanied with a bowl of broth. The second is Chow mian in which the noodles are pan fried and then mixed with stir-fried vegetables, meat, and seafood. Soup Chinese soups have been part of Chinese meals for a long time. There are many different types of Chinese soups. Sweet corn and hot/sour soups are the most popular soups to westerners. Chinese make their soups with chicken, meat or vegetable stock. Chinese soups are very tasteful and can be light in both texture and flavor. Yet some of the soups are filling enough to be a meal by themselves. Chinese Tea Tea drinking is an integral part of Chinese life and the Chinese food experience. Tea is believed to be good for you. The Chinese were the first to discover the tea leaf and have been drinking tea ever since in many varieties.
History of Chinese Cuisines
When it comes to food, Chinese are equally diverse as they are in language dialects. Food habits are also influenced by regions, as China is has a vast territory that contains deserts, steppes, grasslands and icy mountains. It is due to the diversity of the climate, products and customs that there are widely different food styles and tastes in local regions. One thing is for certain though. Chinese cuisine is highly appreciated and sought-after all over the world, because of its aromatic, delicious and exotic dishes. Some other exotic dishes from the Chinese cuisine include the bird's nest Soup, the Kung Pao Chicken, Mapo Dofu, Shark Fin Soup, the Buddha Jumping Over the Wall dish, Prawn with Dragon's Body and Phoenix's tail, or Squirrel with Mandarin Fish. China is one of the colossal civilizations that history gave us. Their traditions, customs and culture are almost unmatchable by a lot of the current peoples of the World. Their diversity and fascinating way of life have made China one of the jewels of Asia. Putting that together with the fact that it’s the most populous country in the World and that it is one of the dominant powers of today, gives you the idea on how big China really is... Considered both a craft and an art, Chinese cuisine has been developing and getting richer since the oldest times. During the reign of Emperor fu (20 centuries B.C.), Chinese people learned how to fish and
hunt, but also agriculture and cooking began their evolution. The Chinese cooking and food decorating got to the status of high art during the Chou Dynasty and then it was influenced by Confucianism and Taoism. The principles of Confucius promoted the etiquette of food and the joy that it can bring. Taoism promoted health and hygienic aspects of cooking, as the body should be is search for longevity. Based on the spectrum of these 2 major directions, Chinese cuisine doesn’t include unhealthy food, as most of the dishes are low-calorie and low-fat. Added to this, Chinese explored numerous kinds of herbs, spices, seeds, roots and plants and used them in natural traditional dishes and all aliments that Chinese consume have both a physiological need and a spiritual one, as they can bring joy, prosperity or happiness. Thanks to these authentic values, Chinese cuisine is considered nowadays one of the most valuable culinary heritages in the world. A Chinese traditional meal consists of carbohydrates and zhushi, or main food. The carbs are found in rice, noodles, dough and pastries based dishes and the veggies and meats are considered starch.
Regional cooking styles
A number of different styles contribute to Chinese cuisine, but perhaps the best known and most influential are Guangdong (Cantonese) cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine and Sichuan cuisine.These styles are distinctive from one another due to factors such as available resources, climate, geography, history, cooking techniques and lifestyle. One style may favour the use of lots of garlic and shallots over lots of chilli and spices, while another may favour preparing seafood over other meats and fowl. Jiangsu cuisine favours cooking techniques such as braising and stewing, while Sichuan cuisine employs baking, just to name a few.Hairy crab is a highly sought after local delicacy in Shanghai, as it can be found in lakes within the region. Beijing Roast Duck (otherwise known as 'Peking Duck') is another popular dish well known outside of China.Based on the raw materials and ingredients used, the method of preparation and cultural differences, a variety of foods with different flavours and textures are prepared in different regions of the country. Many traditional regional cuisines rely on basic methods of preservation such as drying, salting, pickling and fermentation. Chuan (Sichuan) Szechuan cuisine, also called Sichuan cuisine, is a style of Chinese cuisine originating in the Sichuan Province of southwestern China famed for bold flavors, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavour of the Sichuan peppercorn. Peanuts, sesame paste and ginger are also prominent ingredients in Szechuan cooking. Hui (Anhui) Anhui cuisine is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China. It is derived from the native cooking styles of the Huangshan Mountains region in China and is similar to Jiangsu cuisine. But it emphasizes less on seafood and more on a wide variety of local herbs and vegetables. Anhui province is particularly endowed with fresh bamboo and mushroom crops.
Lu (Shandong) Shandong Cuisine is commonly and simply known as Lu cuisine. With a long history, Shandong Cuisine once formed an important part of the imperial cuisine and was widely promoted in North China. However, it isn't so popular in South China and even in the all-embracing Shanghai. Shandong Cuisine is featured by a variety of cooking techniques and seafood. The typical dishes on local menu are braised abalone, braised trepang, sweet and sour carp, Jiuzhuan Dachang and Dezhou Chicken. Various Shandong snacks are also worth trying. Min (Fujian) Fujian cuisine is a traditional Chinese cuisine.Many diverse seafoods are used, including hundreds of types of fish, shellfish and turtles, provided by the Fujian coastal region.Woodland delicacies such as edible mushrooms and bamboo shoots are also utilized.Slicing techniques are valued in the cuisine and utilized to enhance the flavor, aroma and texture of seafood and other foods.Fujian cuisine is often served in a broth or soup, with cooking techniques including braising, stewing, steaming and boiling. Su (Jiangsu, Huaiyang cuisine) Jiangsu cuisine, also known as Su (Cai) Cuisine for short, is one of the major components of Chinese cuisine, which consists of the styles of Yangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Zhenjiang dishes. It is very famous all over the world for its distinctive style and taste. It is especially popular in the lower reach of the Yangtze River. Typical courses of Jiangsu cuisine are Jinling salted dried duck (Nanjing's most famous dish), crystal meat (pork heels in a bright, brown sauce), clear crab shell meatballs (pork meatballs in crab shell powder, fatty, yet fresh), Yangzhou steamed Jerky strips (dried tofu, chicken, ham and pea leaves), triple combo duck, dried duck, and Farewell My Concubine (soft-shelled turtle stewed with many other ingredients such as chicken, mushrooms and wine). Yue (Hong Kong and Guangdong) Dim sum, literally "touch your heart", is a Cantonese term for small hearty dishes. These bite-sized portions are prepared using traditional cooking methods such as frying, steaming, stewing and baking. It is designed so that one person may taste a variety of different dishes. Some of these may include rice rolls, lotus leaf rice, turnip cakes, buns, shui jiao-style dumplings, stir-fried green vegetables, congee porridge, soups, etc. The Cantonese style of dining, yum cha, combines the variety of dim sum dishes with the drinking of tea. Yum cha literally means 'drink tea'. Cantonese style is the unique and charm dishes, which enjoy a long history and a good reputation both at home and abroad. It is common with other parts of the diet and cuisine in Chinese food culture. Back in ancient times, and the Central Plains on Lingnan Yue Chu family has close contacts. With the changes of dynasty historically, many people escaped the war and crossed the Central Plains, the increasing integration of the two communities. Central Plains culture gradually moved to the south. As a result, their food production techniques, cookware, utensils and property turned into a rich combination of Agriculture, which is the origin of Cantonese food. Cantonese cuisine originated in the Han.
Xiang (Hunan) Hunan cuisine is well known for its hot spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep color. Common cooking techniques include stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising, and smoking. Due to the high agricultural output of the region, there are varied ingredients for Hunan dishes.
Xinjiang The cuisine of Xinjiang reflects the region's many ethnic groups and refers particularly to Uyghur cuisine. Signature ingredients include roast mutton, kebabs, roast fish and rice. Because of the Islamic population, the food is predominantly halal.
Zhe (Zhejiang) Zhejiang cuisine one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China, derives from the native cooking styles of the Zhejiang region. The dishes are not greasy, having but instead a fresh, soft flavor with a mellow fragrance. The cuisine consists of at least three styles, each of which originates from different cities in the province: Hangzhou style, characterized by rich variations and the use of bamboo shoots Shaoxing style, specializing in poultry and freshwater fish Ningbo style, specializing in seafood
Method of Cooking Chinese using a wok
Running/passing’ through oil (Zou You) This technique is basically blanching marinated meat, poultry, fish or shellfish in hot oil to partially cook it before finishing off in the wok as a stir-fry. It is this technique of part cooking the meat portion of the dish that enables stir fries to be so quick to produce. The procedure is to fill a wok one third to one half full of oil, and strongly heat until it is very hot but not smoking (around 180–190° C). An oil thermometer can be used to determine this temperature, but generally, when the oil has become water-like in its consistency, it is close to the required temperature. Another way to test the temperature is to add a few coriander leaves to the oil; if they immediately pop and crisp up, then the oil is ready. At this point turn off the heat and add the marinated meat, using a wok ladle, then quickly stir the meat to separate and prevent the pieces from sticking together. As soon as the meat changes colour, turn the heat back up to maximum and continue stirring for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and quickly remove all the blanched meat to a colander using an appropriate-sized spider. The meat should be half cooked at this stage and have a silky, smooth feel when touched. This is due to the potato starch used in the marinade, and is what gives the meat a silky/velvet texture in the mouth. The meat should not be overcooked and dry, nor should it have a brown crusty exterior. If it is, the finished dish will be dry and hard to eat. If the oil is
too hot, the potato starch in the marinade will instantly cook and stick all the meat together in a great mass and brown too quickly. If this happens it will be necessary to separate the mass, which will cause some of the meat to tear and will result in uncooked/blanched meat in the centre, which will require additional cooking before use. It will also result in the untidy appearance of the finished dish. If the oil is not hot enough, the meat will just sit and absorb oil. This is easily corrected by removing the meat from the oil, and reheating the oil to the required temperature. Care must taken when using this technique, as it involves heating a large quantity of oil using a powerful heat source to high temperatures without the security of a thermostat. The oil must never be left unattended while heating on a wok stove, as it will reach its flashpoint in a faster time than if it were heated on a conventional stove.
Stir-frying (Chow/Chao) This is the method of cooking that is synonymous with Chinese cookery. It is the main cooking technique used all over China. The skill of stirfrying is at its highest in Southern China, especially Guangdong (formerly Canton). The most essential part of stir-frying is a well seasoned wok and a fierce heat source. Some would also say the freshest and best quality ingredients, and I do not disagree with this, but first class ingredients are useless if they are to be cooked using equipment and heat that is not up to the required standard. The wok needs to be heated, without oil, until it begins to smoke. A small amount of oil is then added and the cooking can begin immediately. Oil should not be added to the wok before the wok is heated as although the oil will be at the right temperature, the metal will not be hot enough to maintain a reasonable temperature once the food ingredients are added to it. The oil used should be of neutral taste and smell, such as peanut, sunflower, vegetable, etc. Sesame oil should not be used as a cooking oil, as it easily scorches and burns and will leave an overpowering taste in the finished dish. Olive oil of any sort should not be used, since this oil is not native to Chinese cooking, therefore it will leave the finished dish with an odd taste. When stir-frying, it is essential to have all ingredients, prepared and marinated, on a tray ready to hand to be added to the wok in turn. As mentioned previously, the wok needs to be heated till smoking, before the oil is added. Any aromatics required for the dish (ginger or garlic) are added at this point and stirred quickly to release their aromas before the other ingredients are added in turn (in order of required cooking times) to the wok. The food items need to be constantly moved and tossed to ensure even cooking and to prevent burning due to the intense heat. The seasonings and sauces will generally be arrayed on a shelf in front of the chef, where they can be added using the wok ladle. Caution must be used when adding seasoning to a dish using a wok ladle, as the ladle will tend to pick up more seasoning than is required because it will be damp from oil or food juices. It is best to add a little seasoning at a time, then taste and correct the seasoning. Because of the intense heat source used you can actually turn the heat down to low, add the seasoning, and then turn the heat back up to maximum, thicken if required with potato starch and water paste, before finishing with a little sesame oil and white pepper, before dishing up. Control of the heat source from the wok stove is the mark of a good Chinese chef. Knowing how much heat is required to cook a dish to perfection is a skill that can only be achieved from years of practice. Most stir-fried dishes require the strongest heat possible to give the food a ‘wok
aroma’, an essence of Chinese cookery that cannot be obtained elsewhere and is characteristic of a stirfry. Many dishes (and the skills of the chef) are assessed by the amount of ‘wok aroma’ they possess. Not all dishes require the strongest heat setting; green leafy vegetables cooked at this temperature will no doubt have ‘wok aroma’, but they will also be scorched and dry. The various cooking methods that use the wok are listed below, along with descriptions of how to control the heat to obtain the best results. ‘Raw’stir-frying (Sang Chow/Sheng Chao) This method is basically stir-frying a meat/poultry/fish/shellfish dish from its raw marinated state to the finished dish. This method differs from ‘traditional’ stir-frying in that the main ingredient (meat/poultry/fish/shellfish) has not been partially pre-cooked by ‘ running through oil’. It goes in raw and comes out cooked. The wok is first heated on a high heat until smoking, a small amount of oil is added and swirled round to coat the wok. The main ingredient is then added and quickly separated out using a wok spatula, not a wok ladle, as you need to be able to turn the food constantly and not toss it. This rapid scooping and turning prevents any sticking and burning. It also prevents the food from browning – a characteristic of most ‘raw’ stirfried dishes is a silky smooth finish to the main ingredient and good wok aroma. Any additional ingredients are added at various stages, depending on the degree of cooking required, and if it gets too dry, wine or stock can be added to provide some moisture. Thickening is rarely required as very little juice or liquid is produced, and those are usually bound up by the potato starch used in the marinade. Deep-frying (Ja/Zha) This method is the same as its European counterpart, except that it is slightly more dangerous. A wok is half filled with oil and strongly heated to a high temperature (190–200° C). Use a thermometer for this. Control of the temperature is vitally important, as deep-fried food should be dry and crisp, not soft and oil laden. The food items are usually quite thin, coated and chilled before being added to the oil. This chilling before cooking will prevent the food from cooking too quickly and also limits the amount of ‘curling’ that occurs when deep-frying, especially with prawns. Having a spider to hand also helps, because as soon as you can see the food browning too quickly, it can be removed immediately. In Chinese deep-frying, the food items generally require frying twice. The first time is to cook the food through; when the food item is removed from the oil to drain, it will generate steam from within, which will soften the crisp outside coating, thus necessitating the second frying. The purpose of the second frying is to crisp the outside coating. This second frying needs to be done at a much higher temperature (220° C) for a brief amount of time, as you only need to crisp the outside without cooking the inside any further. If the oil becomes too hot and is browning the food too fast without thorough cooking, the best way to bring down the temperature to the desired level is to ladle in some cool oil. You also need to remove any excess oil from the wok (back to the halfway mark) once the appropriate temperature is achieved. This is to avoid overflowing.
’Exploding’ oil method (You Bao) This is an advanced method that should be tried only once standard stirfrying and ‘going through oil’ have been mastered. The name of the method is a literal translation of what happens, but with a little care, major (and minor) oil burns can be avoided. This method is primarily used to cook (fully or partially) fish and shellfish (prawns, cephalopods, molluscs) in preparation for further stir frying, or for immediate use in cold salads or starters. The wok is filled to about one-third full with oil, which is then strongly heated till it is very nearly smoking. The chilled raw food items – marinated (no potato starch) or unmarinated – are carefully added to the hot oil and separated with either a wok ladle or spatula. Great care must be taken at this point as the reaction of the wet, cold food when it comes into contact with the hot oil will be very vigorous – this is when ‘exploding’ (and most injuries) occur. If the food items are not marinated, then it is an easy matter to separate the individual pieces, but if they have been lightly marinated, you need to work very fast with the spatula or ladle to prevent the food items from catching. The food items should be removed from the oil and allowed to drain when they are slightly underdone; they will continue to cook when removed from the oil. It is very important that the food is not overcooked and dry, as the whole purpose of this technique is to maintain a juicy succulence to the food. A safer way to use this method is to use a spider dipped in oil, on which the food items are laid out. The food is then basted with the boiling oil, and periodically moved to prevent sticking, until the required level of cooking is achieved. This method has the advantage of precise control of the cooking time and no drying out of the ingredient. A famous dish cooked using this method is crystal shrimps. Poaching (Jum/Jin) This is the same as its European counterpart. The Chinese character for poaching means ‘to soak’, and is used to describe the method for cooking in liquid. The first method is the most simple; it is used to gently cook very fresh fish and top quality poultry or pork, so that its own taste shines through. A very large pot or wok, deep enough to comfortably hold the item, is two-thirds filled with water or plain unseasoned stock and brought to the boil, then the heat is turned down to a barely perceptible simmer. In its simplest form, the food is cooked and then served, dressed with soy sauce, hot oil and shredded spring onions (if fish) or various accompaniments (chicken or pork). Pork and poultry cooked in this way are known as ‘white cut’ pork or chicken, a reference to the cooking method. The second way is exactly the same as the above method, except that the water or stock is seasoned, and infused with ginger and spring onions in order to counter any rank odours. The meat, poultry or fish is then finished in the same manner as above. Control of the heat while poaching is very important. If the liquid is allowed to boil for any length of time, the food item will toughen up (meat and poultry) or break up (fish). The aim is to cook the food item without disturbing it. Steaming (Zheng) This is one of the oldest methods of cookery used in the Chinese kitchen. Its most basic form is a covered bamboo basket, supported by bamboo chopsticks or rack, above a wok of boiling water, which is then covered with a wok lid. It is impractical to steam in a wok that is available on the market (13–15 inch (32–36cm) diameter) as they are too small to steam anything larger than a 1lb (454g) fish. It is
much easier to buy a larger multi-stack steamer from a Chinese grocer/catering supplier. Chinese cookery involves steaming marinated pork and beef, something that is very rarely seen in European cookery. The dish is usually flavoured with various types of preserved or fermented vegetable, in order to liven up the plain, simple taste of the steamed meat. Fish and shellfish are also popular candidates for steaming, as this method maintains their delicate texture and fresh flavour. The steaming of fish and shellfish is called ‘plain’ steaming, a reference to the basic no frills method of cookery. The various regions of China have their own steamed dishes particular to that area. Stewing (Mun/Men) This method is the same as its European counterpart, in that food is cooked in a wok or pot over a low, direct flame. This method is particularly useful for tough cuts of meat that need tenderising through long slow cooking (beef brisket, pork knuckle). Care needs to be taken if this method is to be used in a wok on a wok stove, as it is very easy for the meat to catch on the bottom. This method is used mainly to cook exotic Chinese seafoods, such as abalone and sea cucumber. Braising (Dun) This method is not the same as European braising as the Chinese do not cook food in covered ceramic/metallic containers in the oven. The oven is used for roasting and even then it is, in appearance, nothing like its European cousin. Chinese braising is a term used to describe cooking food in covered containers either by steaming or sitting, supported, in boiling water, till it is meltingly tender, so it is really a form of double boiling. There are two different methods in the preparation of the ingredients for braising.The first involves part cooking the meat, and then combining it with various sauces and vegetables and then braising. Only a small amount of sauce or liquid is used, so that the cooking juices combine with the sauce to form a concentrated liquor. The second method is similar to the first, but a lot more sauce/stock is used to cover all the ingredients before it is braised. The resulting liquor is then drained off, seasoned and thickened before being returned to the dish. Dried scallops are cooked in this way for Chinese New Year and banquets. Red braising (Hong Shao) This method of cookery is in fact stewing rather than braising, and onfusingly, the literal Chinese translation is ‘red roasting’, a reference to the colour of the finished dish which looks roasted. It is a method of cookery popular in the northern reaches of China. It is usually made with pork that has been fried, on a high heat, to a light golden brown, and then cooked in stock that has been flavoured with yellow rock sugar, star anise, cassia, tangerine peel and Shao Xing wine. The deep red brown colour is obtained from the addition of dark soy sauce. The pork is cooked at a low simmer till tender, at which point the heat is turned up and the liquid reduced to a thick savoury caramel.
Roasting (Kao or Shao) The Chinese method of roasting differs from the European method in the way the meat is hung while roasting and the fact that all meat for roasting has been marinated. The Chinese oven is like a huge chimney; it is essentially a metal cylindrical tube on legs, with an upturned lip at the bottom to catch any oil drips. Near the top of the oven is a rail from which to hang the meat or poultry for roasting. On top of this goes the lid, into which is set the temperature regulator, a piece of metal over a hole in the lid. The degree of heat is regulated by how open the hole is: fully open is cool, fully closed is the hottest setting. The heat source is a double banjo burner, with a regulator as a safety measure.
Equipments used In Chinese Cooking
Wok range/burners The wok range, the main source of heat for Chinese cooking, consists of short steel rings, used to support the round-bottomed woks, welded to a thick steel base plate. Underneath are the gas jet burners, which supply the fierce temperatures typical (and necessary) to produce authentic Chinese food. These gas jets (from 6–12), direct jets of burning gas towards a centrally placed, inverted, truncated cone, which directs the burning gas directly upwards to the base of the wok. Modern wok ranges tend to have the rings formed by pressing them directly from the base plate, thus producing a seamless one-piece construction. This has the added benefits of strength and resilience, as this method is less prone to cracking along the welds of ring/base plate as the traditional ranges were prone to. On the top of these fixed rings are the actual wok supports. These are steel rings which sit inside the wok burner rings so that the woks are at the optimum height to benefit from the intense heat. These rings should be fitted so that the closed section is facing you and the open sections face off to the sides and away from you. This allows the excess heat to be vented away from your hands and body. Another feature of the Chinese wok range is the constant flow of water that runs from the rear of the stove to the front, where there is a gully that leads to a drainage point. This has a dual purpose of keeping the stove cool and to prevent warping of the base plate due to the heat, and to wash any debris that may fall onto the base plate, keeping cleaning down to a minimum. Wok ranges can be fitted with rear bar burners, so that stocks and hot water can be maintained and ready for use. Steamers All Chinese kitchens have a steamer of some description, as this method is a major part of Chinese cookery. These are usually multi part pieces of equipment that consist of: the main water reservoir, the steamer tray, and the lid. The use for each piece is self-explanatory. Larger kitchens would usually have a dedicated steaming unit, such as a dim sum steamer. These are large freestanding units, which can double up as a general purpose steamer, and are used to handle everything from fish and soups to shark’s fin and abalone. Most kitchens, however, use the combi oven. This piece of equipment combines the functions of an oven and a steamer.
Ovens/roasting oven There are very few dishes in the Chinese culinary repertoire that use roasting as the main cooking method. The dishes which are known are synonymous with Chinese cooking (Peking duck, Char Siu, suckling pig, etc.). Roasting in China is achieved by the method called ‘hang roasting’, using a roasting oven. Originally made of clay (nowadays steel), with an iron support rail along the upper inside edge to hang the ducks or meat from, these charcoal or wood-fired ovens roast to perfection. The heat generated is even and controlled via an adjustable vent in the lid. Spit roasting is also used, mainly to handle large, single pieces of meat, such as whole roast belly of pork and suckling pigs. This method is commonly used by the wealthy/big restaurants, as it necessitates the building of a charcoal pit and spit. In the West, Chinese chefs have to use the European style of oven which, although serviceable, are not high enough to recreate Chinese roasting styles, so most of the time the meat/poultry is overdone (as in order to achieve an even colour, turning is required, which increases the cooking times). With the introduction of the combi oven, this matter has been overcome, as the new ovens are high enough to accommodate whole hanging ducks and strips of meat. Woks These large bowl-shaped pans are the icon of Chinese cookery. Their rounded shape promotes even conduction of heat and the thinness of the metal allows for rapid heating and maintenance of that heat. Their shape also allows the wok to be safely set upon the wok burners without fear of rolling and spilling the contents. Traditional woks had two small metal handles that were fixed to either side of the main bowl of the wok. This meant that you had to handle the wok with a thick cloth and tossing the food required both strength and skill. Most woks available these days have a metal socket, to which a wooden handle is attached. This makes handling the wok less hazardous. Ideally, the wok should be made from mild steel, that is, steel that has a high carbon content and is fairly soft (in steel terms). This means that the wok will react with acids and rust easily if not maintained properly. Stainless steel is not asuitable material as it does not conduct heat as easily and cannot be seasoned properly for Chinese cooking. The best size of wok to begin with would be 12 inches (30cm) in diameter. This size will easily handle up to two main course portions, or one noodle dish portion (using the stated quantities for the recipes in this book). The next size up and the one that should become the standard wok size for general kitchen use is the 14 inch (35cm) diameter wok. This size wok can easily handle up to four main course size portions, or two noodle dish portions .Large domed lids, of the appropriate size, are also available for the woks. These are used when the wok is to be used for steaming, braising or stewing.
Wok ladles These are effectively a shallow metal bowl attached to a handle. They are made from stainless steel to facilitate cleaning. The ladles come in two sizes, which are determined by the capacity/volume of the bowl. The standard size ladle is approximately 10fl oz, and the smaller one is 5fl oz. The standard size is used for portion control and dispenses with any need for measuring jugs and scales, as once you
become accustomed to using the wok ladle, you can determine how much of an ingredient you are using by how much there is in the ladle.The standard size ladle is also used to add seasonings to a dish being cooked. This requires experience and judgement, as you can easily over season if you are not careful. The smaller ladle is mainly used to dispense sauces into dishes that are being cooked. The ladle is the main utensil used for stir-frying. Its shape may perplex some into wondering how such a strange shaped utensil is used in such a fast cooking method, as it looks quite heavy and clumsy, but you have to actually use it to see its benefits. Your first couple of tries will undoubtedly be difficult, but perseverance will result in understanding, and you will then be able to handle any type of technique that requires the use of a wok and wok ladle. The wok ladle is also used to help toss the food in the wok so that the food items are cooked evenly. Wok spatula This utensil is the one which will be most familiar to anyone who has done stir-frying before. It is essentially a Chinese fish slice, without the perforations. It is used mainly for turning shallow-fried items, and for cooking dishes using the ‘raw stir-frying’ or ‘exploding oil (you bao)’ techniques, where speed is of the essence. It can also be used for stir-frying but you will find that because of its flat shape, you will be unable to toss food in the wok. Useful for beginners. Chinese cleavers (knives) Chinese chefs use what are generically called cleavers for the preparation of meat, fish, poultry and vegetables. The Chinese character for cleaver literally translates into ‘knife’, so the word cleaver is in fact a misnomer. I suppose they are called cleavers because they resemble European cleavers in appearance. Chinese knives are split into two types, No 1 and No 2. The No 1 knife (blade) is around 8–8 inches (21–22cm) long and around 4–4 inches (10–11cm) wide. The blade edge should be very slightly curved and not flat. The knives can be made from either carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon steel is softer and can be honed to a fine edge, but reacts badly to acids and poor maintenance (can chip easily and needs to be regularly sharpened). Stainless steel is acid resistant and much harder, it holds its edge for longer but can be difficult to re-sharpen to its original edge. These knives are available as all metal, or metal blade and wooden handle. Whichever type you choose, it should feel balanced in your hand. Cleavers come in two thicknesses. The thin-bladed version is generally used for cutting meat, poultry, fish and vegetables into small pieces for cooking. The thicker-bladed (and correspondingly heavier) version is used for heavy work, where cutting through bones is required. The smaller No 2 knife is about 8 inches (20cm) long and 3 inches (8cm) wide and is generally used to prepare vegetables and in situations where using the No 1 knife is impractical. There are also versions of this knife with a –1 inch (2–3cm) blade which are used to carve the skin off Peking duck in front of customers. Other knives available but very rarely seen are the large butcher’s cleavers, which are around twice the width and length of a No 1 cleaver, with the front half of the blade curving to the tip of the knife. Skimmers and spiders These are invaluable in the Chinese kitchen for removing food items from water or oil. The spider is a wire ‘web’ attached to a long handle. Chinese versions have a handle of bamboo with a brass wire ‘web’,
while European versions are made wholly of stainless steel. The skimmer is similar to the spider, the only difference is that the head of the skimmer is made of a fine metal mesh. Skimmers are used to skim oil after deep frying food, to remove any fine particles of food that a spider might not pick up, due to its large mesh size. A spider is used when blanching meat in oil or vegetables in water. Its large mesh size allows for the rapid draining of oil or water. Colanders These are large stainless steel bowls with many holes, two handles and a foot and are used for draining large quantities of food after boiling or blanching. Chopping boards Traditional Chinese chopping boards were usually a large piece of tree trunk, around 4–8 inches (10– 20cm) thick and anything up to 18 inches (45cm) in diameter. These are still available in the UK, but tend to crack once wet, as they are made from young wood that has not been aged and dried properly. They used to come bound with metal straps around the circumference to prevent the cracking, but these became dirt traps and their use was discontinued. Modern pressure-treated hardwood chopping boards and heavy duty polythene chopping boards are a much more hygienic and reliable alternative. Bamboo steamers These steamers are wholly constructed from bamboo, and make an excellent container for steaming food. The base is made from strips of bamboo held together with twine made from thin strips of bamboo. There are gaps between each of the strips, which allow steam to pass upwards and over the food. The sides are made from large strips of bamboo that have been soaked in water and wound round to form a ring to which the base is attached. The lid is also bamboo. This material is ideal for steaming as it allows steam to pass through its structure, cooking the food, without condensing on the inner surfaces and dripping back down onto the food, diluting its flavour. Bamboo steamers are available in many sizes, from 4 inches (10cm) to 18 inches (45cm) in diameter. Sandpot, Claypot This is a traditional Chinese casserole dish used for braising and stewing. It is made from a sand-coloured clay which has been glazed on the inner surface only. The outer surface is bound with metal wire. The short handle is hollow and also made from the same sand-coloured clay, as is the lid. The lid is glazed on the outer surface not the inner, and is usually pierced with a small hole to allow steam to escape. Very brittle and easily broken, these pots need to be soaked in water before first use to prevent cracking, although if started on a low heat, this can be prevented. Modern versions are made from aluminium or stainless steel
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