“So, what’s after the omelette?” I didn’t realize people were waiting for more until happy hour last night, so thanks to my friends for the kick in the bum to get me back on my blogger! A trip to China and playing catch up delayed this next post, but I’m back with some stories to share. First up, my cooking class in Beijing:
– Stir fry beef with big spring onion
– Fish flavor eggplant (braise eggplant with pickled chili)
I think the most surprising thing for me about this Chinese cooking was how easy it was. We didn’t use super exotic ingredients, but it was just flavors and techniques I don’t use often. There was a lot of ginger, garlic, scallions & soy sauce – and of course the wok and cleaver are essentials in the Chinese Kitchen. I think even without the wok though, these flavors can be replicated easily at home.
My favorite dish was the Black Pepper Beef stir fry with peppers – we ‘marinated’ the beef with some soy sauce, corn starch, salt, and cooking wine. You mix it with the strips of meat, and because of the cornstarch you end up with a thick sauce after cooking. The sautewith the peppers included ginger, garlic, soy sauce and a hefty portion of ground black pepper. Overall, very familiar Chinese flavors, but so much better b/c I made it!
I would say the most surprising dish was the eggplant. I’m not a huge eggplant fan because it can be slimy if not prepared properly. Rather than your typical quick stir fry, the vegetable was cooked a little slower with pickled chilies, ginger and garlic, and it was just delightful – not slimy at all. I will definitely give another shot to eggplant now that I know it has potential.
Taking this class was probably in my top 5 favorite things in Beijing. It was fun to be in this traditional home, meeting locals and chatting with other people who loved food and were excited to learn more. Until I commit to buying a wok of my own, I’m going to have to try out these fabulous Chinese flavors in my American cookware and see what happens.