Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Beijing - Cooking classes

Cooking classes were the next highlight! Luckily we were meeting out chef on the edge of the hutong (traditional style living in a maze of alleyways), or we would never have found her. This photo is inside the alleyway on the way - not where we were cooking!!

There were seven of us in the group, and after introductions, our next stop was the market. We watched Chun Yi negotiate for chicken, various spices and vegetables, before heading into the hutong to her cooking school. Although I was pleased to note that we didn't buy anything exotic like wiggling silkworms, snake or beetles, there was the opportunity to finally identify some of those stranger looking fruits and vegetables I'd seen previously.

Lessons started off with an explanation of different soy sauces and how you tell a good one from a bad one. Unfortunately this hasn't helped me back here at all. The vital ingredients are listed on the label! Perhaps I need a more authentic chinese supermarket than Waitrose.

Although not all of the cooking was hands on - it would have taken far to long - we had the opportunity to view closely and to get closely involved in two dishes. We made Gong bao chicken and canton style steamed fish. In this photo, I am trying to fish out all the very hot dried chili I had just fried. I was assured that any eaten would result in a numb mouth! Leon left his in, but I wasn't that brave.

We ate the food in the little courtyard outside and it was delicious. Once again I had eaten too much food - the story of my life in China!!

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