We’ll spend three weeks learning about ancient China, life in modern China, and taking some virtual tours. We’ll try to cook some authentic Chinese dishes. There’s a delicate balance between cooking authentic and what our students will eat. We want to present a diverse menu, but we don’t want to shatter the green ceiling. Also, it’s hard to know what’s authentic and what’s not. As it says in one of the Chinese recipe sites we use, “Authentic Recipe” is a misleading phrase in culinary parlance; it suggests a single, Platonic ideal for a given dish, something which is unreasonable, if not impossible”. By the way, China has the oldest continuing restaurant in the world. Check out the BBC documentary, China, The Mandate of Heaven found in the links below. For our first week of China we’ll start off with General Tso’s Chicken. In our second week we’ll move to a simpler dish, Beef Lo Mein. On-line literature we’ve looked at describes “authentic” lo mein as not containing bell pepper or carrots. We’ll try to stick to that by using a recipe published by Emeril Legasse, Stir Fried Beef Lo Mein, which seems to adhere to the basic ingredients and techniques we’ve read about. For our third week we’ll be making kung-pao-chicken. We’ll put our own stamp on this by thin slicing the ginger and increasing the amount. We’ll also add more garlic and cashews than the recipe calls for. Not a lot, but definitely more. Yum!
We won’t be able to replicate the high heat cooking you’d associate with Chinese cooking, but I’m sure the kids will produce some dishes that will be quite tasty. Check out the links to lessons, recipes, and videos, and virtual tours below.