Thursday, January 17, 2008

Korean Food: Beondegi

Beondegi are a popular snack food in Korean cuisine. Literally meaning "chrysalis" or "pupa" in Korean, Beondegi are steamed or boiled silkworm pupae which are seasoned and eaten as a snack. Beondegi are often served by street vendors, as well as in restaurants and drinking establishments. They are also sold in cans in grocery stores and convenience stores.

Beondegi (video)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Serbian Food: Pihtije

Pihtije are an aspic-like Serbian dish. They are generally made from low grade pork meat, such as the head, shank and/or hock. Some recipes also include smoked meat.

Pihtije are commonly just one component of a traditional Serbian meal (or an appetizer), although they can be served as a main dish. They are usually accompanied by cold rakija (strong šljivovica or apricot brandy is nice, but quince brandy can do as well) and turšija (cold pickled vegetables, usually horse-radish, bell peppers, hot peppers, green tomatoes and cabbage/sauerkraut).

The recipe calls for the meat to be cleaned, washed and then boiled for a short time, no longer than 5-10 minutes. Then the water is changed, and vegetables and spices are added (usually pepper, bay leaves, onion, carrots, celery). This is cooked until the meat begins to separate from the bones by itself; then, the bones are removed, the meat stock is filtered and the meat and stock are poured into shallow bowls.

Garlic is added, as well as thin slices of carrots or green peppers, or something similar for decoration. It is left to sit in a cold spot, such as a fridge or outside in cold weather (this is a traditional winter dish). It congeals into jelly and can be cut into cubes (it is often said that good pihtijas are "cut like glass"). These cubes can be sprinkled with dried ground red paprika (aleva paprika), as desired, before serving.

How Pihtije Looks (video)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chinese Food: Jiaozi

Jiaozi (Chinese transliteration) or gyōza (Japanese transliteration) and also known as mandu (Korean transliteration), is a Chinese dumpling, widely popular in China, Japan, Korea, as well as outside of East Asia particularly in the United States.

Jiaozi typically consist of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping. Jiaozi should not be confused with wonton: jiaozi have a thicker skin and a flatter, more oblate, double-saucer like shape (similar in shape to ravioli), and is usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce (and/or hot chili sauce); while a wonton has a thinner skin, is sphere-shaped, and is usually served in broth.

Common dumpling meat fillings include pork, mutton, beef, chicken, fish, and shrimp which are usually mixed with chopped vegetables. Popular vegetable fillings include cabbage, scallion (spring onions), and Chinese chives. Dumplings are eaten with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce that may include vinegar, garlic, ginger, rice wine, hot sauce, and sesame oil.

Dumplings are one of the major foods eaten during the Chinese New Year, and year round in the northern provinces. Traditionally, families get together to make jiaozi for the Chinese New Year. In rural areas, the choicest livestock is slaughtered, the meat ground and wrapped into dumplings, and frozen outside with the help of the freezing weather. Then they are boiled and served for the Chinese New Year feast. Dumplings with sweet, rather than savoury fillings are also popular as a Chinese New Year treat.

Jiaozi were so named because they were horn shaped. The Chinese for "horn" is jiǎo (角), and jiaozi was originally written with the Chinese character for "horn", but later it was replaced by a specific character 饺, which has the food radical on the left and the phonetic component jiāo on the right.

According to folk tales, jiaozi were invented by Zhang Zhongjing, one of the greatest practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in history. They were originally called "娇耳"(Pinyin: jiao1 er3) because they were used to treat frostbitten ears.

How to make Jiaozi (video)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Indian Food: Chicken tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala is a westernised Indian dish based on baked chicken chunks (chicken tikka) cooked in a curry sauce. It was hailed as "Britain's true national dish" but is popular throughout the world.

Chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka, chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt then baked in a tandoor oven, in a masala ("mixture of spices") sauce. There is no standard recipe for chicken tikka masala; a survey found that of 48 different recipes the only common ingredient was chicken. The sauce usually includes tomato and either cream or coconut cream and various spices. The sauce or chicken pieces (or both) are often coloured orange or red with food dyes.
Other tikka masala dishes replace chicken with lamb, fish or paneer.

Chicken Tikka Masala (video)

Korean Food: Kimchi

Kimchi, also spelled gimchi or kimchee, is a traditional Korean fermented dish made of some select vegetables with varied seasonings. Kimchi is the most common Korean banchan, or side dish, eaten with rice along with other banchan dishes. Kimchi is also a common ingredient and cooked with other ingredients to make dishes such as kimchi stew and kimchi fried rice.

General information about kimchi
This side dish of fermented vegetables continues to be an essential part of any Korean meal. Early kimchi dishes were relatively mild, spiced with fermented anchovies, ginger, garlic, and green onions. Koreans still use these ingredients today, but the spice most closely associated with modern kimchi is red pepper powder. Korea boasts more than two hundred types of kimchi, all rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins created by the lactic acid fermentation of cabbage, radish, and other vegetables and seafood.

The kimchi served at a meal will vary according to region, season, and may differ according to the other dishes on the menu. A seaside region's kimchi will be saltier than that of a landlocked area, and summer cooks produce cooling water kimchis to contrast with the heartier cabbage kimchis of the autumn and winter. And a delicate cucumber kimchi sits better beside a bland noodle dish than beside a robust beef stew. To understand kimchi at its simplest, think of it is as divided into two kinds: seasonal kimchi (for short-term storage, made from vegetables that are fresh in the markets at any given time) and Kimjang kimchi (for long-term storage, made in quantity in late autumn).

How to make Kimchi (video)