China celebrates this Tuesday, February 1, its most important holiday, also shared in other Asian countries, the Chinese Lunar New Year. Unlike our western one, it is a date that varies each year following the lunisolar calendar and marks the beginning of the harvests and the beginning of the end of winter, for this reason, it is also known as the Spring Festival. This is how we say goodbye to the Ox to welcome the New Year of the Tiger, and we do it, how could it be otherwise, paying homage to his cuisine.
The coronavirus pandemic makes it impossible for this festivity to be celebrated in style, as it would be under normal circumstances, with cultural and festive activities which Madrid has been joining for some time in collaboration with the country’s embassy. One of the largest Chinese communities in Europe resides in the capital of Spain, mainly concentrated in the Usera neighborhood, where some of the best Chinese restaurants in Madrid are also found.
Authentic Chinese cuisine and its western version
Speaking generically of “Chinese cuisine” does not do justice at all to gastronomy as rich, varied, and fascinating as that of the Asian giant. The dimensions of the country, it’s complex historical past and the different regions and cultures that shape today’s China, reflect a vast cuisine that is difficult to condense into a few paragraphs.
Something similar happened in the United States, where Chinese immigrants from the Hunan region landed and popularized other specialties adapted to local tastes, such as kung pao chicken.
Our best Chinese food recipes
Kung Pao Chicken
Kung pao or Gong bao chicken is less well known in Europe, but very popular in the United States. Adapted to the Western palate, its origin does take us to the most authentic China, in this case to the province of Sichuan, where there is a special taste for food that is hotter and spicier than in other regions of the country.
General Tso-style chicken
It is another of the great iconic dishes of Chinese cuisine in the United States, which is very popular due to its similarities with the fried chicken so popular in the American country, together with a sweet and sour sauce, without excesses. In this version, we prefer to lighten things up by using the oven.
Chicken With Almonds
With different variations, chicken with almonds is usually always present on the menu of any Chinese restaurant. It is an easy and delicious recipe that requires few ingredients and about 20 minutes of dedication. During the marinating of the chicken and its subsequent cooking, we can dedicate ourselves to other things, such as preparing its garnish, and in less than half an hour we will have the food ready. You will want to do it over and over again.
Chicken With Pineapple
It is curious how pineapple has found a niche in dishes from half the world that previously seemed very exotic to us, and today we have totally normalized them. Be that as it may, chicken with pineapple is another regular in Chinese restaurants that are very popular in Western countries, as the sweet taste of the fruit pairs very well with spices, soy sauce, and meats, which it also softens.
It is another of the classic dishes of “neighborhood” Chinese restaurants, perfect to accompany three delicacies with rice or some noodles. In the Canton region, it is usually steamed, but in western lands, we enjoy it more fried.
In this recipe, we will brown the meat first before incorporating a mixture of natural orange juice which, after being reduced over low heat, leaves the chicken juicy and tremendously aromatic. If we prefer, we can use boneless thigh meat, which is fattier and tastier.
Coming in many different sizes, shapes, and fillings, Chinese-style spring rolls (or Chinese rolls) is a tremendously popular snack in Asian countries and the rest of the world. Its name comes from the fact that the rolls were originally prepared at the end of winter and when the new spring vegetables arrived in the markets.
Veal In Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a condiment widely used in Asian cuisine, similar to fish sauce, which provides a great intensity of aromas and flavors to many dishes, not just fish. Although it seems like a long list of ingredients, the recipe is simple and very quick if you use Thermomix.
Cumin Spicy Beef Stir Fry
The original recipe for this dish, which we have adapted to our pantry, is called zi ran Niu rou, and it stands out for the aromas of cumin in combination with Chinese rice wine, which we can substitute for a sherry. It is a perfect recipe to use the wok, but it can be done without problems in a good frying pan.
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