Home Flavor in A Old Town
An overview of a village in An Hui
Among more than 50 types of skills, braising, stewing and the raw smoking are the most common seen and the best interpretation of characteristics of Hui cuisine. Quick-frying and stir-frying are used much less frequently in Anhui cuisine than in other Chinese culinary traditions.
Beside the large dose of oil used in cooking, the appearance and heating control are also stressed in Hui cuisine. The formation of Huizhou cuisine is closely related to the unique geographical environment, humanistic surroundings and dietary customs. The beneficial conditions, such as the pleasant climate, as well as the numerous customs etiquette and the seasonal activities, provides the cuisine an inexhaustible cooking sources and strongly safeguards its development.
The cuisine features in a simple and elegant style of originality with a mouthfeel of fresh crispness and tenderness, which come from strict selection of materials, unique heating skills and the emphasis on dietary therapy. Fresh varieties in rivers and poultry are selected as main materials and raw-smoking is a distinctive culinary method.
Local materials are given priority to gain umami on the selection list. Geologically, owing to the moderate climate and proper amount of rainfall, the abundance of delicacies, river production and poultry, such as bamboo shoots, fungus, chestnuts, Chinese yam, agaric, chukars, stonefishes and soft-shelled turtles, ensure materials quality and provision to make dishes fresh and prominent. Degrees of heating vary according to the different textures of raw materials and the flavor requirements respectively.
Hui cuisine is good at keeping the originality of raw materials with a taste of salty umami, in which self-made ham is frequently used as seasoning and rock sugar to enhance a delicate flavor but without a sense of sweetness. Braising and stewing are preferred to keep a suitable flavor and healthiness, in line with the principles of dietary regimen which is inherited from traditional Chinese medicine that therapy and diet share a source. In the large family of braising in brown sauce, the ones in Hui cuisine present a beautiful caramel. Additionally, self-extracting canola oil are generally used as cooking oil and firewood as heating source.
The cooking techniques include cutting, heating and practicing. The stressing of heating has a long tradition in Hui cuisine, whose uniqueness embodies in Kung Fu dishes which require braising, stewing, raw-smoking and steaming. It is the emblem to identify skills of a cook that heat control varies with materials and dishes accordingly, which also is critical to the creation of different mouthfeel, like crispness or tenderness.
Zhong He Soup
The dish, with at least 5 colors, looks milky in an unctuous texture. Tasting refreshing and not greasy, it would be a smart choice for the elder and young.
Tips: The tofu has to be hard type and the meat better be with some fat to make the soup milky. The mushroom and bamboo shoots better be fresh instead of dry.
Besides, simmer at low heat. Make sure no soy sauce is added, to avoid covering the bright colors of materials which is inviting and appetizing.
Smelly Chinese Mandarin Fish
It is one of the representatives of the Hui cuisine, originated from where the so-called pickled means sticky or smelly. The dish smells stinky but has a fabulous thick mouthfeel with its fresh and tender meat, deboned into chunks, smooth and refreshing, reserving the originality of the fish. The process is unique and fastidious. Pickle the fresh mandarin fish, belly facing up in somewhere the room temperature is about 25 ℃, pressed with mountain stones or river pebbles,. When six or seven days later, the fish will emit a smelly odor. Then fry in a pan with pork slices, bamboo shoots, braising at a low heat.
The heavy hair covering tofu launches the imagination. There is indeed a life in it. The white thin hair is the hypha of mucor, which gives tofu a new vitality. Huizhou people who are gourmets can truly appreciate hairy tofu. It can be cooked both simply and complicatedly. In the mind of old Huizhou people, a little bit of chilly sauce goes best with coal-roasted tofu. The internal of tofu is completely different by a series of transformation which gives tofu an incomparable flavor. Huizhou people call this strong flavor—a flavor of hometown.The small grains among the hypha are spores, an indication of the hairy tofu is properly matured.
This dish is wide known as Treasured Delicacy for its thick fragrant decoction, meltingly tender meat and authentic originality. Chukar is a type of frog animal perching in the stone seams near streams in the Mount Huangshan. Chukars are a kind of delicate nutrition supplement which is rich in protein, calcium and other nutrients.
Bamboo Shoots Simmered with Chinese Sausage and Black Mushroom
Ham and Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots from the Mount Wen Zheng are the top delicate among the delicacies in Anhui cuisine. Due to its blandness in fragrance, the bamboo shoots are simmered with salted bones, Chinese sausage and black mushroom that make the dish a pleasing combination of crispness and delicate flavor.
Stewed Chukars and Stone Fungus
The flashing point of the dish is its savor and tender but not greasy with a refreshing scent.
Stewed Sorted Tofu
Tofu, yolk, fat meat and pig kidney are the main material of the dish which is welcomed by its meaty mouthfeel, rich nutrients and simple practice.
The fried meatballs, coated with breadcrumbs, are made of meat and Chinese water chestnut, starched by fresh berry juice, sugar, vinegar and salt.
Yi Pin Pot
The dish belongs to the hot pot field which is quite exquisite. On the bottom of a pot paved with dry bamboo shoots, the second layer of meat chunks, the third with white tofu or fried tofu, meatballs and vermicelli successively, decorating with spinach or day lily, adding condiments and water, and then simmer at a low heat. The authentic flavor is thick and refreshing, tempting the appetite, and the more layers the better. Each layer in turn should be braised at high heat for a few minutes and then simmer for three or four hours. The point is pour the soup, from time to times, with a spoon from the top to ensure the scent penetrated.
A well-cooked Yi Pin pot must be oily and not greasy, mashed but not melting, presenting a perfect combination of appearance and fragrance.
Braised Mushroom and Chestnut
The dish takes mushrooms from mountainous area and Chinese water chestnut, with an impressive color matching and a mouthfeel of crisp delicacy.