Monthly Archives: April 2018

Chinese Food, American Style

It is often a standing joke that what Americans consider to be Chinese food is totally of our own making, and cooks and diners in China would find them completely foreign (like chop suey–what on earth is that?). But somewhere along the line, Chinese food was adapted from our Asian immigrants, Americanized and became wildly popular, not only as a take-out but served buffet-style and sit-down as well. Many dishes are accompanied by plain white, brown or fried rice. Let’s review our most popular:

Dim Sum: bite-sized dumplings stuffed with veggies or meat,essentially a Cantonese preparation not always offered at many restaurants; can be also presented as small sampling dishes, depending on the menu and the cook’s whim;

Hot and Sour Soup: a delightfully “sour” soup with a spicy broth, it contains red peppers or white pepper and vinegar; another favorite soup is a light broth with won ton (meat-filled dumplings);

Quick Noodles: a staple in every Chinese home and found on most Chinese restaurant menus, it comes in several versions, often called lo mein and may be plain or have veggies;

Szechwan Chilli Chicken: a fiery Sichuan delight loaded with pungent spices like ginger, green and red chillies and brown pepper; be careful if you are not a fan of hot chilli peppers;

Spring Rolls: frequently a lighter version of traditional egg rolls, which are shredded meat and veggies encased in a papery thin dough, rolled and deep fried; a favorite to be sure;

Egg Foo Young: an egg pancake with veggies, often too bland for Chinese foodies, served with a brown sauce;

Shitake Fried Rice with water Chestnuts: mushrooms and water chestnuts are used frequently in Chinese cooking, and this is just another version of traditional fried rice; some things never go out of style;

Moo Shu: stir-fried veggies and meat, chicken, shrimp or tofu, rolled up in thin pancakes spread with plum sauce (this author’s favorite dish);

Kung Pao Chicken: savory pieces of chicken cooked in a wok with veggies and flavored with peanuts and spices; from the time of the Qing Dynasty (circa 1876);

General Tso Chicken: deep-fried chicken dish in a tangy sauce, an all-time favorite; it may have been named in honor of a Qing dynasty military leader, but it’s really anyone’s guess;

Orange Chicken: another popular deep-fried chicken dish, coated with an orange sauce after cooking (not for a low-fat diet, to be sure);

Peking Duck: don’t expect this specialty to be readily available at many Chinese restaurants, Peking duck harkens back to the Imperial Era (221 B.C.) and characterized by its thin, crisp skin; often must be ordered ahead of time but fit for an emperor;

Like many other cuisines, Chinese cooking uses sauces and seasonings native to their regions, which might include:

soy sauce
oyster sauce
sesame oil
rice vinegar
rice wine
soybean paste
star anise
five spice powder
chili sauce (or paste)
chili powder
sichuan peppercorns
black bean sauce

Many of these are available in the Asian aisle of your local grocery store or a multitude of Asian grocers in larger cities and can be great fun to try in your own kitchen. So look up the closest Chinese buffet or restaurant, bring your appetite and get ready to sample some of American’s favorite foods. As the old saying goes, you may be hungry an hour later, but it’s well worth it.

Food and Food Health

We all have passed through a phase, or are still in one where the mind still walks the streets of dilemma as to whether the salad in the afternoon can make up for the double cheese hamburger of last night. Whether the calories gained through the chocolate pudding can be balanced through the oatmeal in breakfast.

A few years back, there was a stigma about having the perfect thin or muscular (as one prefers), flat-stomached body. There was this misconception that slim and trim is the way to look beautiful. But fortunately, this stigma and misapprehension is slowly and somehow being eliminated from the society. Today, every type of body is beautiful, whether it is a flat-stomach or a fat belly. But that does not give any of us the right to overlook the fact about eating healthy.

Eating healthy does not mean gulping down only chunks of vegetables and salads. Eating healthy does not mean being on a “diet”. Eating healthy means providing the body every kind of nutrients to function properly. And it includes the Broccoli Soup one cringes to as well as the delicious classic double crust cheese-filled pepperoni pizza, everyone craves for.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE BODY

We all love eating, mainly the junk type, but sometimes realization hits us and we tend to understand that salads and vegetables and fruits are really important part of a diet. Every type of nutrient is needed to keep the body functions in its right place. Vitamins, proteins, minerals, carbohydrate, fats, roughage and water, these are the nutrients we need almost on a daily basis. I won’t waste time by telling what these are and how each of them are important because this is something we all have learnt in six-grade science subject. But I do would like to mention some of the dishes that are delicious, healthy and contain all of the above nutrients in the right amount.

THE FINGER-LICKING CLASSIC CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA

It is a delicious chicken preparation, which is rolled up with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese and drenched in a tasty white wine pan sauce. It is a mouth-watering dish with the goodness of protein (found in chicken), fats (cheese) and the palatable white wine sauce. It can easily be garnished with vegetables, providing the wholesome richness of vitamins and minerals.

THE DELICIOUS UN-CHEESY POTATO BROCOLLI SOUP

The name may seem to have no part of it seem delicious- ‘un-cheesy’, the dreaded ‘broccoli’ and ‘potato’, but the taste seems to be contradicting it’s not-so appealing name. It is a preparation which will fill the tastebuds with an explosion of flavor and its richness makes it almost hard to resist. The dish is a mixture of health and taste.

THE OH-SO YUMMY APPLE CINNAMON BREAKFAST BARS

This the perfect preparation for all those fuzzy kids who refuse to eat any fruits. This flavorful dish is full of protein and fiber and a favorite among the children and adults alike.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD HEALTH IN OUR LIFE

There is absolutely no need to state what importance food holds in the existence of an individual. As stated above, it does not matter if one is slim or fat, what matters is whether the individual is eating healthy. Excess of nothing is good, especially not food. But we need to understand the right amount and the right kind of nutrients our body needs, to stay healthy and to keep our loved ones healthy as well.