Posts tagged chinese food
mangoshrimp2 copy.jpg

There’s are a lot of fruit in Chinese cuisine which leads to delicious meals but did you ever wonder why? Well, Jacqueline Newman has done the research on why! Check it out below!

Chinese Food Symbolism: Fruits (Part I)

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Foods and Symbolism

Spring Volume: 1996 Issue: 3(1) page(s): 16

Fruits are temple offerings. Did you ever wonder why? What about oranges? Did you get any this past Chinese New Year holiday? Were they fresh? The Chinese love fruits, they like them big and beautiful, and they prefer fresh fruits, though sugared ones are common at this time of year. Fresh fruit at the New Year symbolizes life and a new beginning. Sugared ones are a wish for a sweet year. Traditionally, the pomelo, mandarins or what we call the tangerine or clementine, as well as limes, bananas, pineapple, and water or winter melon are seen as temple offerings. And speaking of traditions, during the harvest festival, the Lunar New Year, and other special occasions, fruits are common gifts, as well as common offerings.

The orange is a prayer or wish for good fortune. That is why it is probably the most common food offering. As a harbinger of wishes for good luck, they are often eaten on the second day of the New Year. Why not the first, because once an Emperor distributed oranges to his officials on the second day of the New Year. Thus you are also wishing for officialdom if you eat them on this day.

The mandarin and other fruits in the citrus family have other interesting roles. For instance, after her wedding, the bride is given two of these fruits by her new in-laws. She is to peel them the evening of the nuptials and share them with her husband. These two fruits are symbolizing a family wish that the bride and groom share a happy and full life together. Also, the name of the mandarin in Cantonese also means gold, clearly a dual wish here adding hopes for a life loaded with prosperity.

I was told that in the north of China two types of dried fruits are placed under the marriage bed, both wishing for many offspring. These are dried lychees and dried longans. The reason for these particular items, the words for them also mean "to have children quickly."

Melons and the pomelo are symbolic of family unity, they hold out the wish that the family will, like the moon, stay round, large, whole, and also united. Families love to share them and many other fruits. That may be why they buy large fruits and share them together.

Pomegranates have special family meaning, too. They symbolizes fertility; this fruit is full of seeds. A picture is often a wedding gift, a special picture with one of these fruits shown half-opened. The meaning is a hundred seeds, or more completely, a hundred sons. The word for seed is zi, it is also the word for sons.

The pomegranate is one fruit not used for sacrifice. The reason, it is considered to be too seductive. If you see a pomegranate on an old sash or cap of office in an ancient painting, the meaning has nothing to do with the seeds of this fruit, rather, it is saying or maybe praying to keep the title or rank from generation to generation in the same family. As in the two meanings for zi, what we call a homonym, only in this case it the word shi which also means generation.

Banana, found on some offering altars are there for other reasons. This fruit's leaves are one of the fourteen precious items to scholars. So on the offering table or altar, you are finding a wish for education, brilliance in work or school, or a related thought.

Apples have meaning, too. They symbolize peace. The word for apple in Chinese is ping, the homonym of ping is peace. Should you wonder what a homonym is, think of the word bear, the big four-legged animal and then think bear as in to bear fruit. Now the blossom of the apple is different; it stands for beauty. If you see one in a picture along with magnolias, the meaning is a hope that your house be honored and rich (with beauty).

Apricots are symbolic, too, they can stand for or mean a beautiful woman. But beauty had best not be to give your husband a red one. If you did, it would tell him that his wife is having an affair with a lover.

The loquat in Chinese is called pipa, which is the name of a Chinese musical instrument. Now this fruit ripens in early spring. So young boys out with less than honorable women were said to be running with loquat blossoms. Peaches portend longevity, and one almost always sees them in the hand of a man. That could be because the peach blossom advises of a somewhat loose lady. One rarely sees these two fruits together. though in real life less han honorable women could be out with young boys.

Pears symbolize something else. For example, lovers should never share a pear because the word for pear is identical to the word for separation. Many fruits are shared, but never is the pear divided with a husband, a lover, or a friend. And, whatever you do, don't give pears as a gift, especially on the 15th day of the 7th month; if you did, you would be wishing a separation from or to someone loved.

Symbols in fruit and other foods are fascinating. Allow me to end with a tripartite Chinese image wishing you (with a peach, a pomegranate, and a finger-lemon) a long life, many sons, and every happiness.

Recipes to Try at Home: Bali Curry
indonesian-curry-blend-roasted-210-650x650w.jpg

Bali is a province of Indonesia and the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. 

Curry paste

  • shallots 2 large (or 3 small)

  • garlic 2 cloves

  • ginger 3 cm piece, peeled

  • long red chillies 2, deseeded (or leave seeds in if you want a spicy curry)

  • roasted cashew nuts ½ cup, plus extra to garnish

  • fresh turmeric 5 cm piece, peeled (or 1 tsp ground turmeric)

  • tamarind purée 1 tablespoon (if you can’t find this, use 1 Tbsp lemon juice mixed with 1 tsp brown sugar)

  • lemongrass 1 stalk, tough outer layer removed

  • soy sauce 1 tablespoon (gluten-free if required)

  • coconut sugar 1 tablespoon (or brown sugar)

Chicken curry

  • oil for frying

  • onion 1, thinly sliced

  • skinless and boneless chicken thighs 600 grams, cut into 3cm dice

  • coconut milk 400 milliliter can

  • soy sauce 1 tablespoon (gluten-free if required)

  • kaffir lime leaves 2, tough inner stalk removed, very finely sliced

  • lime 1, juice

To serve

  • red chilli 1, very finely sliced lengthwise

  • kaffir lime leaf 1, very finely sliced lengthwise

  • steamed rice

  • beansprouts 1 cup

  • cucumber 1, cut into 1cm dice

  • lime 1, cut into wedges

METHOD

  1. Place all the curry paste ingredients in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste.

  2. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add ¾ cup of the curry paste (freeze the remaining paste if you like, for another curry) and fry for about 4 minutes until very fragrant, stirring continuously to prevent sticking.

  3. Add another drizzle of oil, the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until onion is very soft (about 5 minutes). Add 1 Tbsp water if mixture begins to stick to pan.

  4. Add chicken and fry for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Add coconut milk, soy sauce and kaffir lime leaves and simmer for about 8 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce has intensified in colour and thickened slightly. Season to taste with lime juice.

  5. Garnish with extra roasted cashews and thinly sliced red chilli and kaffir lime leaf. Serve with rice, with a handful of beansprouts, diced cucumber and a lime wedge on the side.

Note

  • If you’d like to make your curry hotter you can add more curry paste, but make sure you fry it off in a separate small pan for a few minutes (until fragrant). Then add a small amount at a time to the curry until you reach your desired heat level. That way you won’t get the rawness of any spices or shallots in your curry.


History of Food: Egg Drop Soup
3_egg_drop.jpg

What are some of your favorite soups at Windchimes Chinese restaurant? Did you know we have more than just Hot and Sour soup?

Egg drop soup or Danhuatang (traditional: 花湯; pinyin: dànhuātāng; literally "egg flower soup") is a Chinese soup of wispy beaten eggs in boiled chicken broth. Condiments such as black pepper or white pepper, and finely chopped scallions and tofu are optional, but commonly added to the soup. The soup is finished by adding a thin stream of beaten eggs to the boiling broth in the final moments of cooking, creating thin, silken strands or flakes of cooked egg that float in the soup. Egg drop soup using different recipes is known to be a simple-to-prepare soup in different East Asian and Western countries.

In the United States, egg drop soup is often one of the main soups offered in American Chinese cuisine, and is also called egg flower soup, a literal translation of its Chinese name, on the menus of some restaurants. Cornstarch may be used to thicken it.

What is Sesame?
sesame_history.jpg

Sesame is a common ingredient in Chinese food but where does it come from?

Sesame  is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum, also called benne. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods or "buns". World production in 2016 was 6.1 million tonnes, with Tanzania, Myanmar, India, and Sudan as the largest producers.

Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. Sesamum has many other species, most being wild and native to sub-Saharan Africa. Sesamum indicum, the cultivated type, originated in India and is tolerant to drought-like conditions, growing where other crops fail.

Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed. With a rich, nutty flavor, it is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world. Like other nuts and foods, it can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

Sesame seeds are sometimes sold with the seed coat removed (decorticated); this variety is often present on top of baked goods in many countries.

Sesame seed is a common ingredient in various cuisines. It is used whole in cooking for its rich, nutty flavour. Sesame seeds are sometimes added to breads, including bagels and the tops of hamburger buns. Sesame seeds may be baked into crackers, often in the form of sticks. In Sicily and France, the seeds are eaten on bread (ficelle sésame, sesame thread). In Greece, the seeds are also used in cakes.

History of Food: Lychee Fruit
Lychee copy.jpg

Since Lychee is this years lucky fruit I thought we should learn a little more about this history behind it!

Lychee: The lychee is also a spiky red fruit, a bit bigger than a cherry, with a pit surrounded by an inedible peel and somewhat translucent milky flesh. It is very high in Vitamin C and is juicy and sweet with a pleasing hint of tartness. It’s mostly eaten fresh but can also be canned. It can be found in many frozen yogurt places in the U.S. as a popular topping. It is also a popular flavor for many Asian drinks, snacks, and dessert products.

It is a tropical tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China, where cultivation is documented from 1059 AD. China is the main producer of lychees, followed by India, other countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and South Africa. A tall evergreen tree, the lychee bears small fleshy fruits. The outside of the fruit is pink-red, roughly textured and inedible, covering sweet flesh eaten in many different dessert dishes.

What are some of your favorite Lychee treats?


Recipes to Try at Home: Cantonese Noodles
CN_logo.jpg

Have you ever wanted to venture outside the typical meal? Do you want to impress someone with a new dish or just want to try to make one of your favorite dishes at home? Well, you’re in luck! Today I’m posting how to make one of our favorite dishes Cantonese Noodles!

The recipe comes from The Little Spice Jar website. Check it out below:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounces Hong Kong style egg noodles

  • 8 scallions

  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce

  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons high heat oil (such as canola, vegetable)

  • 1 ½ cups mixed veggies (such as coleslaw style cabbage, shredded carrots, and bean sprouts)

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. While the water is boiling, separate the greens from the whites of the scallion. Cut into one-inch pieces then quarter the 1-inch piece vertically so you end up with thinly julienned scallions, set aside. In a bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, stir to combine, set aside.

  2. When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles and allow them to boil for 2-4 minutes (according to package directions). Drain and rinse under cold running water.

  3. Heat a large wok or a 16-18 inch skillet over high heat. Let the skillet heat for several minutes until it becomes SCREAMING HOT. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of canola oil. When the pan becomes very hot and the oil starts to shimmer, add the noodles in a thin even layer. Grab the handle and carefully swirl the pan so the oil evenly coats all the noodles. Allow the noodles to cook for 4-6 minute or until they become crispy.

  4. Flip the noodles over using a large spatula. Do this carefully, don’t worry if you cannot get all of them to turn at once. Do it in portions if necessary. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of canola oil around the perimeters of the pan and again, lift the skillet with handle and swirl the pan to allow the oil to distribute. Let the noodles fry for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove the noodles to a plate.

  5. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, along with the white part of the scallion and let sizzle for just 10 seconds. Add the shredded carrots if using, and let cook for an additional 10 seconds. Add the noodles back into the skillet and toss. Separate the noodles so there aren’t any large clumps. Toss in the shredded cabbage mix, if using and drizzle with the soy sauce mixture and toss continuously for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce distributes evenly over the noodles.

  6. Add the bean sprouts if using and the greens of scallions. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

NOTES:

  1. For vegetarians, you can swap the oyster sauce for dark soy sauce or an oyster flavored sauce (see ingredients some of them actually don’t contain oyster extract at all!)

  2. If you do not have a skillet/wok large enough to fit all the noodles, you can do this in 2 batches (use a ½ tablespoon of sesame oil and ½ tablespoon of canola oil per batch/per side.)

The prep and cook time all take about 15 mins totaling in half an hour. Now if that doesn’t sound easy and . like a complete meal I don’t know what does!

Try it out today and post your images to show how you did!

Monthly Horoscope: March Fire Rabbit
march-april-monthly-horoscope-2019-fire-rabbit-month-karmaweather.jpg

The month of the Fire Rabbit of the Chinese calendar starts on March 7th and end on April 5th.

Though your luck for wealth is somewhat stable, the excessive waste in daily life will make you out of cash at the end of the month and ruin the investment opportunities. In workplace, you Rabbit people will be prone to misunderstanding and you should watch your tongue in communication with coworkers; some secrets and gossips you talked with them might be spread by someone. As for love relationship, you'd better say it directly and you will get an unexpected answer or surprise.

Your work will go well and you will be as busy as a bee for the project or business in your charge. The high-intensity state will improve your efficiency significantly and the work will go well with your efforts. The stressful work, however, will make you short-tempered and you should watch your attitude toward colleagues, or you will be envied and hated. Your income from work will be good but not for windfall, so stay away from gambling and consider about conservative investments or conventional savings.

Recipes to Try at Home: Spring Rolls
spring_rolls_logo.jpg

SPRING ROLLS

  • Yield: 24 spring rolls

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes

  • Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Course: Appetizer, dim sum

Spring Rolls are the vegetarian super light, crispy and tender vegetarian appetizer cousin of the traditional egg roll.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup canola oil divided

  • 8 cups napa cabbage sliced thinly

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • 2 carrots sliced thinly

  • 8 ounces bamboo shoots sliced thinly

  • 2 tablespoons mirin

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 24 8" square spring roll wrappers

  • canola oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add half the canola oil to a large heavy skillet on medium high heat and add in the napa cabbage cooking 8-10 minutes while stirring until almost all the liquid it releases has cooked off.

  2. Add in the garlic, carrots and bamboo shoots and cook for 1 minute while stirring before adding in the mirin, soy sauce and sesame oil and stirring again then let filling cool completely.

  3. Mix cornstarch with two tablespoons of water.

  4. Lay out the spring roll wrapper, brush cornstarch slurry around the edges to moisten and add about 2 tablespoons of filling in a long rectangle shape, folding in from the sides and rolling the wrappers closed tightly.

  5. Heat 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven to 325 degrees and fry the spring rolls until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).

Celebrating Our Customers
Google Business  Image from one of our customers

Google Business Image from one of our customers

Windchimes has been so lucky to have such great customers through out the years. We are so happy that you enjoy our food and keep coming back for more!

We love to hear from you whether its through liking our Facebook posts or using our hashtag #WindchimesChinese food on any social media to connect all of us together.

One place that we’ve been seeing a lot of love is on Google Business. We get so many great reviews from you on our food and even get some great pictures too! We would love to celebrate how much you love us and will even feature your images on Facebook, Instagram, and Google Business. We love to see you get creative!

We love you and would love to show our appreciation! So, next time you’re in snap a picture and tag us #WindchimesChinese and find us on all the different types of social media!

 
Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 10.27.47 AM.png
 


Happy Lunar New Year: The Celebration Begins
happy_new_year.jpg

Just because the new year has begun doesn't mean you're allowed to rest.

While most countries that observe Lunar New Year offer three to seven days of public holidays, celebrations don't end until the 15th day of the first lunar month, also known as the Lantern Festival. (Lunar New Year in 2019 lasts from February 5 to February 19.)

There is a list of superstitious dos and don'ts for the new year but the rule of thumb is to say a lot of "kung hei fat choy"or "gong xi fa cai," and avoid saying things that may sound like a less auspicious word.

During the festival, people will travel around to visit relatives, who will prepare snacks and fill up candy boxes for the visits -- except for the third day of the month.

It's believed that arguments are more likely to happen on that day -- February 9, this year -- called chi kou (or "red mouth"). Hence, most people will engage in other activities like visiting a temple. In Hong Kong, a major spring festival horse racing event takes place every year on the third day.

During the 15 days, married couples have to give out red packets filled with money to children (and unmarried adults) to wish them luck.

The seventh day is renri, or the people's birthday (February 11). when the Chinese mother goddess Nuwa is said to have created mankind.

The highlight comes on the last day, during the Lantern Festival (February 19).

Being the only day when young girls in ancient Chinese society could go out to admire lanterns and meet boys, it's also been dubbed Chinese Valentine's Day.

Nowadays, cities around the world still put on massive lantern displays and fairs on the 15th day of the festival.

Some create more sparks than others. Like Nuanquan, a small Chinese town that puts on a spectacular "firework" show by throwing molten metal against a cold stone city wall.

Kung hei fat choy!

http___cdn.cnn.com_cnnnext_dam_assets_190122133755-lunar-new-year-travel-rush.jpg