Posts tagged Food History
Food Facts: Benefits of Eating Nuts
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In general, nuts are good sources of fat, fiber and protein.

Most of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated fat, as well as omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. However, they do contain some saturated fat.

Nuts also pack a number of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and vitamin E.

Many studies have investigated the health benefits of increased nut intake.

One meta-analysis of 33 studies found that diets high in nuts do not significantly affect weight gain or weight loss .

Yet, despite having little effect on weight, many studies have shown that people who eat nuts live longer than those who don't. This may be due to their ability to help prevent a number of chronic diseases.

For example, nuts may reduce risk factors for metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels .

There are several yummy dishes at Windchimes that include a type of nut like our Honey Glazed Shrimp, any Kung Pao dishes, any Cashew dishes, and my favorite Honey Glazed Cashew Chicken!

Why the Chicken Became Orange
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_chicken

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_chicken

 

The variety of orange chicken most commonly found at North American Chinese restaurants consists of chopped, battered and fried chicken pieces coated in a sweet orange-flavored chili sauce, which thickens or caramelizes to a glaze. While the dish is very popular in the United States, it is most often found as a variation of General Tso's chicken in North America rather than the dish found in mainland China. Chef Andy Kao claims to have developed the original Chinese-American orange chicken recipe at a Panda Express in Hawaii in 1987. It’s become popular enough that other Chinese restaurants have created their own versions.

In Chinese, this dish is known as "橙花雞", literally "(Fresh) Orange peel chicken". The dish also has a variation known as "陳皮雞", literally "Dried Citrus peel chicken", referring to dried orange or tangerine peel, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as cooking.

For restaurants outside of Asia, fresh orange peel is often used instead, or even no peel at all.

Come and and taste our Orange Chicken and see what you think!

History of Sweet & Sour Cuisine
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Sweet and sour is a very popular Chinese dish and one of my favorite but how did it become so popular? Is it really something that’s traditional in China or was it adapted to American’s tastes?

Chinese cuisine uses a variety of ingredients and cooking methods that are very different from other cultures. Their own food and recipes vary according to the different Chinese regions, but generally speaking their basic diet consists mainly of rice and vegetables. Sweet and Sour chicken recipes in Western countries are not exactly what you would find in China. Usually the Chinese use the sweet and sour flavor for fish recipes rather than for chicken. Also, the Chinese, unlike the Americans, do not drown their food in the sauce; rather they serve it on the side for dipping. The sweet and sour recipes for fish are associated with the region of Hunan in China. The recipes that we use in America do however combine the classical combination of the five flavors of: sweet, sour, salty, pungent and bitter. The Chinese do not use as much sweet as we do, and their recipes tend to be more on the bitter side; to create the sweet and sour flavor they mostly mix vinegar with sugar. It is believed that the authentic cuisine of China developed during the Manchus Dynasty of 1644-1911; they introduced a life of decadence and leisure, where food became an important feature in their three day long Imperial Banquets. For the Chinese, food is treated with utmost respect, and is associated with health, luck and prosperity.

There are several different variations of this dish but for the most part it was created to satisfy Western tastes but still keeping the tradition and flavor of China.

The Different Noodle Types
Sizzling Noodle

Sizzling Noodle

When you've come into Windchimes and taken a glance at our menu, you may have noticed that there are several dishes that have noodles in them. From Sizzling Noodles to Lo Mein, all these noodles are not the same. What are the differences you may ask. Well, don't you worry because we got you here!

Sizzling Noodle - is a thick Egg Noodle that comes out in a hot skillet. These are noodles that are thick and absorb the juices and sauce they are sizzling in. It's a great way to not only get a great flavor but also a great sound when presented making everyone wanting what you have!

Lo Mein - also Egg Noodles are typically stir fried with vegetables/meats and other seasonings. Find out more about Lo Mein from last weeks blog post.

Cantonese Noodles - Angel Hair Egg Noodles. These noodles are very thin and delicate They are more chewy in texture and yellow in colour either due to the addition of lye  and/or egg. This class of lye water noodles has a subtle but distinctive smell and taste, described by some as being "eggy".[9] 

Rice Noodles - Angel Hair Rice Noodles are similar to the above but the only difference is these noodles are typically made only with rice and water without the addition of salt. Although unorthodox, some producers may choose to add other plant starches to modify the texture of the noodles.

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What kind of noodles do you prefer? 

Honey in China's Culture
 
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In the spirit of International Honey Day this Saturday I wanted to talk about the history of honey and how it plays into Chinese culture.

Talking about bees and honey in history must always include Ancient Egypt and Ancient China. But starting from the very beginning of times, we must say that bees are actually one of the oldest forms of animal life, since Neolithic Age, preceding humans on Earth by 10 to 20 million years. When they appeared, humans did whatever the other animals were doing at the time, meaning, stole the bees’ honey to feed themselves. Homo Sapiens and honey were together since the Stone Age.

As the centuries went on honey was considered an important medicinal remedy as shown in their writings dating from about 2000 BC. As with India, honey also occupied an important place in Chinese culture, another great eastern civilization. Honey is mentioned in the Shi Jing, or Classic of Poetry, an important book of Chinese theology written in the 6th century BCE. According to Ancient Chinese medicine, honey is a major component to earth, one of the five basic elements, and acts on the stomach and spleen meridians of the human body.


According to Chinese medicine, honey has a balanced character (neither Yin nor Yang) and acts according to the principles of the Earth element, entering the lung, spleen and large intestine channels. (as mentioned by earlier writings). During the Xin Dynasty, around 220BC, a book of Chinese medicine says: “Those who often take honey can keep fit, honey can cure indigestion, it can be used in medicaments to bind other ingredients together.”

 
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Need your Honey fix today? Try out our Honey Glazed Shrimp. Doctors orders!

Killer Condiments: Spicy Mustard
 
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In honor of National Mustard Day on August 4th, I thought we should talk about and celebrate one of the popular condiments that is used in most Chinese restaurants: Spicy Mustard.

This popular condiment is typically served with appetizers like egg rolls or wonton strips and can bring a flare of flavor by adding some heat. This is done by mixing dry mustard powder with water, creating a chemical reaction that makes the sharp, hot taste. How does this all work. Here's the science to break it down.

Mustard seeds come from the mustard plant, a member of the cabbage family. They contain two sulphur compounds, myrosin, and sinigrin, as well as an enzyme, myrosinase. When the seeds are broken and water is added, the enzyme breaks down the sulphur compounds. The result is the sharp tasting oil that gives mustard its pungency and helps explain why the name mustard comes from the Latin words mustum (must) and ardens (burning).
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Want to try and make it yourself? Here's a simple recipe to spice up any of your dishes at home!

Fried Rice: Why It's So Good?!
 
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What makes fried rice so good? I was floored the other day when I finally tried Windchimes' fried rice. It had a flavor that I had never tasted before and couldn't stop eating it. I couldn't stop thinking about it and had to go back to get it again. It was almost too good for words! Though, it got me thinking what exactly was fried rice and what is the history behind it.

The basics is fried rice is typically pre cooked rice that has been stir-fried in a wok or frying pan and is usually mixed with other ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, seafood, or meat. Most of the time it's made from left overs from other dishes and can be eaten on it's own or as a pair to another fish. 

While the exact origins of fried rice are lost to history, it’s believed that it was invented sometime during the Sui dynasty (A.D. 589–618), in the city of Yangzhou in eastern Jiangsu province. Yangchow (Yangzhou) fried rice is still the standard by which all other Chinese fried rice dishes are judged: morsels of fluffy rice tossed with roast pork, prawns, scallions, and peas. In American-Chinese restaurants, you’ll sometimes find it called "special fried rice." Today, fried rice dishes are found throughout China, particularly in the south, where rice is the staple grain.

But why is it so good? I think one factor that comes from it being so good is the nostalgic aspect of it.  For me fried rice was an easy dish I could make easily enough for myself when I first lived on my own. Something so easy as taking leftover Chinese food and throwing it into a pan and adding an egg to it (for protein!) and some veggies to make it a balanced meal. It was quick and good. I still think of those simpler times and every time I have fried rice I'm taken back to that place.

 
Cuban Fried Rice

Cuban Fried Rice

 

Fried rice has also spread to other countries putting their own spin on the popular dish. From Thailand to Cuba and Portugal to Japan. All these places have their own versions that have some basis of the original dish but making it their own and I can't wait to try them all!

The Legend of Potstickers
 
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Potstickers are one of my favorite dishes. These simple, little fried pillows filled with meat leave you wanting more. Usually they are an appetizer and meant to share but sometimes you just want them all to yourself. How did these little dumplings become so popular and why are they so delicious? 

The Chinese have been enjoying these little treats since the Song Dynasty. No one knows the exact origin of how they were created but according to legend they were invented by a chef in China's Imperial Court who accidentally burnt a batch of dumplings after leaving them on the stove for too long. The dumplings were overcooked and burnt on the bottom but not on top. The Chef went with this mistake and said it was a new dish and was supposed to be served in this style, leading to the Potstickers we enjoy today. 

 
 

Typically, potstickers are made with a hot water dough that uses boiling water, giving the dough greater elasticity so it can hold it's shape. Though, if you are trying to make these at home you can usually pick up Gyoza or wonton wrappers to create a similar substitute. After they are made you want to fry them up and flip over with the brown side up. Then after they are finished and plated up you can use a variety of dipping sauces to bring out the delicious flavors of the pork inside. 

There are other types of potstickers from different regions of China but these fried delights are my favorite. Come into Windchimes today to taste them for yourself. And be prepared not to share!