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West Lake Vinegar Fish

  West lake vinegar fish  West lake vinegar fish is named as “Shusaochuanzhen” and is a traditional cuisine of restaurant in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. It is made by grass carp and well-cooked. After done, it is poured with a skin of bright oily sweet and sour sauce, the pectoral is up, the flesh is tender, the taste is like a crab, tender, flesh, sweet and sour.  The history of west lake vinegar fish was sourced from Linan, capital of South Song Dynasty. Song, Wusao is a famous female cook. Zhaogou from Song Dynasty took a dragon boat to Western Lake and appraised the dish. So the dish is so famous and regarded as the top of the same kind of dish. Later after improvement, two dishes came into being, one is “West lake vinegar fish” and another is “Sister Song’s Fish Broth”.  In republic of China, Liang, shiqiu recorded this cooking method: grass carp from western lake, less than inch, weights not more than 250g. After killing, it is cooked, pouring with sauce and ready for serving. Nowadays, the dish is served in many local famous restaurants, but rarely see in local resident’s table, in some restaurants, bass had taken place of grass carp.  West lake vinegar fish chooses grass carp weighing less than 750g. When cooking, it is well done in only three to four minutes. When serving, pouring with a skin of sweet and sour sauce, the dish is brightly-oily red, with tender and fresh flesh, in a crab flavor, sweet and sour, very unique.  Grass carp is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, beneficial to the circulation of blood, is a good food for patients with cardiovascular disease. Grass carp is rich in selenium, if eating often, it is anti-aging and has beauty effect. But also grass carp is beneficial to the tumor prevention and treatment. The grass carp can warm the stomach, calm the liver and wind, cure the rheumatism, malaria and Yichang, and clarify eyes. Grass carp mainly cure consumptive disease, wind virtual headache, hyperactivity, hypertension, headache, and chronic malaria.  There are two brothers with family name “Song” in ancient. Both of them were very knowledgeable and lived for a reclusion by the west lake. There was a rascal “Zhao” travelling on western lake and met a young lady doing the laundry. He was attracted by the beauty of the lady and tried to take her home. After he knew that the lady had a husband and he killed her husband in conspiracy. The brother and sister of family Song got very upset and went to the government for asking to punish the rascal. But the government and the rascal were in same boat, they were beaten and thrown out of the government. After going back home, the sister of Song asked the brother of Song ran away for avoiding revenge from the rascal. Before he departed, she cooked a bowl of fish with sour and vinegar, in unique way for cooking. The brother ask the sister: “why the fish is cooked like this?” The sister said: the fish is both sour and sweet, is like life with bitter and sweet, do not forget the sorrow and hard for residents’ life and how your brother died.”  The younger brother felt so moved after hearing the words of the sister, and he memorized the wishes of the sister. Later, the brother became a big government officer after he passed the official exam. He came back Hangzhou and punished the rascal. But he lost contact with sister. One day, he went to a banquet and had a dish very same as the dish cooked by his sister. He asked the cook and found her sister finally. Since he left, for avoiding revenge from the rascal, she hided in an official family as cook, the brother felt happy on finding her and went back home with her. Later, he gave up the position and became a fisherman for reclusion with her together.

Dragon Well Tea Shrimp Recipe

  Longjing prawns, also known as shrimp stir-fried with Dragon Well tea, is a specialty of Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, produced using the meat of live river prawns coated with egg white and moistened starch, fried in lard at a medium-low temperature for 15 seconds, removed from the oil and drained when jade-white in colour, and then quickly stir-fried over extreme heat with boiling water infused with Longjing tea, tea leaves and Shaoxing wine. This dish consists primarily of white and green colours; the colours are elegant and the flavour is light and fragrant. According to legend it arose when the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty visited southern China. Hangzhou's famous Louwailou restaurant is a well-known producer of Longjing prawns. in Hangzhou , it’s one of the most enjoyable dishes to eat during summer. Newly picked longjing , or dragon well tea, is used to accompany the river shrimp. Traditionally, the tea leaves have to be picked around Qingming  in early April to ensure their tenderness. The shrimps have to be plump residents of the river, and must be captured alive. Green tea such as longjing is rich in antioxidants, while shrimp is high in protein. When cooked carefully, the shrimps remain white and the tea leaves green. In one bite, the smoothness of the shrimp contrasts with the slightly bitter taste and rougher texture of the tea leaves. Together, the two ingredients form a perfect balance of nutrient content, color, texture and taste.  Hangzhou people favor this dish so deeply that its origin has been romanticized. It is said that the great poet Su Shi  was the inspiration behind this delicious invention. Sitting by the riverside on a spring day, he wrote the lines “Brewing the freshly picked tea on the newly started fire, I should enjoy poetry and wine while my youth lasts.” A suitably inspired Hangzhou chef then combined newly picked tea leaves with shrimps from the river to create the dish.  An alternative anecdotal tale involves the Qing Dynasty (1616 A.D. – 1911 A.D.) Qianlong  Emperor, who is said to have enjoyed traveling incognito to Southern China. During one such journey, he stopped at a farmhouse and was offered a cup of tea. The brew carried such a delicious fragrance that he grabbed some tea leaves from the farmer’s basket before he left. Later, he visited a restaurant in town and gave the tea to the waiter to prepare. By accident, a corner of his dragon robe, a garb that could be worn only by the emperor, gave away his identity. The waiter scuttled in to tell the chef the news. Reeling from the shock, the chef mistook the tea leaves for chopped green onion and mixed them with the shrimp. The dish turned out surprisingly well and greatly pleased the emperor.  Now, you can follow in his footsteps and can enjoy this dish at home by gollowing the recipe below:  Ingredients: [serves two people]  1000g fresh shrimps  2tbsp longjing tea (or any green tea, but make sure they are leaves, not tea bags)7tbsp cooking oil  1tbsp egg white  2tsp Chinese cooking wine  1tsp salt  1/2cup starch, mixed with 1/4 cup of warm water2tsp chicken powder (optional)  Method  1.  Marinate the shrimps with salt (1/2tsp), egg white, starch and water mixture (1/4cup), 1tsp chicken powder and 1/2tsp of cooking wine.  2.  Brew the longjing tea with boiled water and set aside for 5 minutes, then separate the tea leaves from the liquid tea.  3.  Heat 5tbsp of oil in a pan until hot and add the shrimps. Stir fry until the shrimps curl up and turn red. Be careful not to overheat the shrimps. Set them in a temporary container. Pour out the remaining oil. Clean and dry the pan.  4.  Heat 2tbsp new oil in the pan until hot. Add the shrimps, 1tsp cooking wine, 1/2tsp salt and 1tsp chicken powder.  5.  Add in the longjing tea leaves, quickly stir fry. Then add 2tbsp of the liquid tea and stir until the ingredients are evenly mixed. Keep heating until the liquid boils.  6.  Add in 1/4 cup starch mixture and stir until even.  7.  Serve hot.


Hangzhou Duck

  Hangzhou duck  Hangzhou duck is famous Han style gourmet. It is made by mature duck as raw material, after pickling and deliberately made. It is bright red, smooth and very favorable.  The duck should be prickled at first, then sauced, with special flavor, if temperature is higher than 7℃, the prickling time will be less than 12 hours.  If prickling ducks is in large amount, for more flavoring, exchange the duck position from time to time.  Potassium nitrate should be poured proportionally, or it will impact the color and eating of dish.  The duck of this dish must be mature, the best duck is from Shaoxin, after many rounds, the finished duck is bright red, oily and fragrant.  The fat of duck has low-melting point, and very digestive. It contains B vitamins and vitamin E more than other meat, can effectively resist beriberi, neuritis and inflammation, but also anti-aging. Duck contains abundant nicotinic acid, which is one of two important components of coenzyme in the human body, all kinds of duck in Brown Sauce product has a protective effect on myocardial infarction in patients with heart disease.  The duck is washed clean and dry. The duck is put inside into container, best in crock, the duck is put inside, with fresh sauce, cooking alcohol, added with ginger, star anise, geranium with hot pepper. The condiments should be more than the duck and pressed with heavy load. If there are many ducks, for more flavor, exchange duck positions from time to time. After three to four days, it is sun-bathing. After three to four hours sun bathing, the duck became very favorable.  When added condiments, it is mentioned additionally, adding no sugar. According to the taste and cooking method of residents in Hangzhou, adding sauce and sugar should be the same time for fresher. Adding sugar in the duck, it will make the taste of duck not good, and looks not pretty too. The best time in sauce should be from three to four days, if only in one day, the taste is not enough, if too much more, it is too salty. The same for the sun bathing, if too less not good, but too much more, without water, the flesh is too dry.  There are skills on steaming. Because adding no sugar in sauce, so when steaming, there should be added with some sauce for fresh. The fire can not be too big for avoiding too much steam washing off the taste and color of the duck. After steaming, you have to wait until cool for cutting into slices. The flesh is often steamed with various vegetables, bamboos, tofu skin and taro with best flavor.  The duck is best-preserved in dry, cool and low-temperature environment for avoiding to save in refrigerator and low down quality.

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