Hunan Cuisine

 Mouth on Fire!



    Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, is famous for its fine production and extensive materials, with an emphasis on the variety of appearance, use of oil and generous portions, tasting fragrantly spicy and refreshingly tender. Among the culinary techniques, simmering, stewing, curing, steaming, stir-frying are frequently adopted, as well as their well-performed quick-frying. Xiang cuisine has always attached importance to the internal harmony of raw materials with a mutual flavor infiltration. 





    The flavor of sour spicy is advocated in its seasoning. Due to the geographical feature, the climate of Hunan is mild with high humid, people, according to traditional Chinese medicine, like to eat spices, such as chili peppers, to get rid of the excessive moisture in the body and keep refreshing. Dishes seasoned with sour pickles and cooked by chili are much more appetizing that it has become a local dietary customs. The theme for Xiang cuisine is to pair with the staple, the steamed rice.





Cooking Features



  In all the cooking techniques, relatively speaking, simmering in Xiang cuisine is more than a raise, almost to the point of perfection. Simmering at a low heat is believed to extract the essence of material and create originality taste. The types of simmering can be divided, by color, into brown and white, or by seasoning, broth, thick and milky soup. 





    Taking an overview of Xiang cuisine, the common flavor are spicy dishes and preserved ones. Hot Chili Peppers, which are famous for their bold taste, are produced all over the province, are the main raw materials for making spicy dishes. Chili pepper are cooked in a wide variety. The big red pepper, sealed in a pickle jar, will form a taste of sour spicy. The chili with Sichuan pepper and garlic results in a  mouthfeel of pungent spicy. Pickle the chopped red chili peppers in a sealed altar, providing a taste of salty spicy. The chopped red pepper, mixed with rice powder and pickled in a sealed altar, can be fried or made into paste. Or added with garlic and fragrant black bean, soaked in camellia oil, resulting in a oily spice flavor with a strong fragrance.The chili pepper, roasted and peeled, blended with sesame oil and soy sauce, gives a taste of   sweet spicy.



The Universal Fit Chili Paste



     In addition, dry and fresh chili pepper can also be used as cooking ingredients.





    The production of preserved meat has a long history of more than 2000 years in China. The dishes in different regions have their own characteristics with interdependence. Generally, the dishes of preserved meat featured in wonderful tastes of salty umami and pleasing appearance by skilling cutting, with various seasoning, such as sour spicy, and diverted technique, like simmering roasting.





Regional Features



Xiangjiang River Region





    It is the main representative of Xiang cuisine which is characterized by thick flavor and affordability. Certain techniques, including simmering, stewing, curing and  steaming, are prior to others in the system. The curing method includes smoking, marinating and roasting. The famous Hunan smoked products, could be applied as cold dishes or stir-fried, or steamed with broth.



 Dongting Lake Region





   River products, poultry and domestic animals are selected as main material in the cuisine, usually by stewing, braising, steaming and curing. Its thick sauce, salty spiciness and  unique fragrance won it a large scale of popularity. The stewed dishes are commonly prepared in a hot-pot way on the table, eating while boiling, tasting fresh and delicate, full of reunion joy.



Western Mountainous Area  





    The cuisine is skilled in making mountainous delicacies, smoked bacon and a variety of preserved meat, with a taste of salty spicy, often heating by charcoal, presenting a strong flavor of the  mountain.






Zu’An Fin



    It is a famous series and important schools in Hunan with elaborate selection materials and unique cooking method. Stew a hen with a pig anterior elbow, meanwhile get quality fin, shrimp, scallops, mushrooms and other condiments prepared. Simmer the fin with the broth, as well as other, to be rotten. The  dish tastes mellow and glutinous with rich nutrition supply.











    The dish serves first in a meal traditionally, symbolizing joy and happiness. The materials are comparatively easy to prepare. Main ingredients include meat, such as fried meatballs, egg omelettes, fried pork skin, pork, cooked belly slices, ink fillets, gizzard, chicken liver, and vegetable, like bamboo shoots, agaric and black mushroom. Put all the material in a large pot by order and steam to well-cooked with broth.



Stewed Chicken



    The dish represents the joy of a family reunion. Clean a fat  tender hen with a whole body. Steam the hen to tender, put in several shelled boiled eggs and heat for another 20 minutes. Take out the original soup to boil vegetables, mushrooms. Finally,   sprinkle a little peppercorn powder.





Stewed Soft-shelled Turtle and Chicken



    Soft-shelled turtle and chicken are selected as the main raw material, supplemented by mushrooms, ham, cooking wine, scallion, ginger, garlic and other condiments, by boiling and then steaming. The dish is exquisitely lip-smacking with a tempting fragrance and rich nutrition.



Triplet Poultry



    The dish is steamed in a unique way, putting a pigeon inside the hen and a sparrow inside the pigeon, inside the sparrow there being Tianma,the gastrodia elata and medlar. 






Changsha Crisp Duck 



    This dish is featured by crisp tenderness and fragrant savor. Deep-fry a well-breed duck until it becomes golden and crisp. Sprinkle with Sichuan pepper powder and pour into sesame oil. Slice into strips, neatly placing in a plate. Inside the crisp skin wraps   the tender meat, leaving a mellow aftertaste linger.



Steamed Eggs without Yolk and Mushrooms





    The key to the dish lies in the control of heat which should well-cook the eggs without spoil its whole shapes and soft texture.

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