Our blog this time in three acts. Act one continues after the break.
Area: Over 9.5 million sq km; 4th largest in the world
Slightly smaller than the US
Borders: Borders 14 different countries, including three I have already cooked (Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Burma)
Population: Over 1.3 billion; Largest in the world
Largest City: Shanghai
Time: All of China officially falls within one timezone; although some places observe an unofficial "timezone"
Political Pressure: According to the CIA Factbook, no substantial political opposition groups exist to the ruling Communist party
National Anthem: The March of the Volunteers, originally a theme song to a 1935 Chinese movie
GDP: Over $10 trillion; 3rd largest in the world
Stats: China dominates so many of the stats it is hard to name them all. Top five in oil production and consumption. Biggest labor force and most mobile phones. More internet users than any other countries.
Source: CIA Factbook
The logistics behind getting China to work were a little ridiculous, kinda like the real country. Kevin and I ran around the international store trying to read labels in other languages and interpret what the descriptions really meant. After some successes and compromises, we came home:
Day one was going to be the most ambitious. We invited people over to have some Kung Pao Chicken (West), Buddah's Delight (South) and Jiao Zi or Guo-tieh (North), AKA Potstickers. I realize that none of those sound too exotic, as you can order them all at your local Chinese takeout place, but my research seemed to say that yes, people in China actually do eat these dishes. And I was still out of my normal comfort realm, so it was a good start.
Osmosis! The salinity on the outside of the cabbage is higher than on the inside, and nature tries to even these things out. Thus, water comes out of the cabbage. (It may be called diffusion - I forget the difference between osmosis and diffusion. But osmosis is a cooler word.)
|When we were done, the cabbage lost a significant amount of its mass.|
|Also note: clean house!|
|I think sesame oil is now my favorite thing.|
I read what I had to do next for Buddah's Delight and saw I had to blanch all of the vegetables. All 8 of them. Ummmm, no. There goes that dish. Save it for another day because it isn't happening tonight.
We starting enlisting other people to help. Can you tell I am anxious just remembering all of this? I filled the pot stickers while Alison closed them up. Kevin fried them while I cooked the Kung Pao chicken. It was quite the operation.
|Jon drank in the background. :-p|
|This is how much oil the Kung Pao Chicken called for. It seemed a bit ridiculous, but it worked.|
|A few wouldn't fit in the pan...|
Rachel ate three of the peppers, which she regretted. I would not recommend doing that.
If I weren't trying to do so much at once, I don't think these dishes would be that hard. I would really like to make them again. I would probably remove the peanuts and try the steaming directions for the pot stickers instead. I still have to figre out the dough part, though.
In conclusion, a delicious but stressful day one from China. What will day two bring? A new meat and a second attempt at some veggies. Stay tuned!
Next time: China Day 2