Homemade Cuisines to Beat the Winter Chill
Traditional Chinese medicine recommends people to nourish organs and enrich blood during winter. Recipes that provide nutrients vary according to regions — some of them are pricey food ingredients like Chinese caterpillar fungus and ginseng.
Hangzhou locals prefer using ordinary food ingredients that they use in their homemade dishes to replenish nutriments rather than use those expensive herbs.
Shanghai Daily takes a look at some of the common home-made dishes during winter.
Candied sweet potato 拔丝地瓜
Sweet potato is stuffed with flavonoid, protein and dietary fiber that are helpful against breast and rectal cancer. It makes up for nutrition that is lacking in rice and flour, stimulates digestion and nourishes liver and spleen.
TCM considers winter the best season to sample sweet potato because its enriched nutrients can help replenish energy in cold weather.
Usually, people grab a bite of roasted sweet potato at roadside food stalls or boil it in congee at home.
Another innovative cooking style is to caramelize them.
First, fry the sweet potato cubes until they turn yellow. Then scoop them out of oil. Next, deep fry sugar until it becomes crimson and bubbling. Lastly, quickly stir-fry sweet potato cubes in sugar until they are coated with a layer of caramelization.
Where to eat:
Northeast Hometown Restaurant 东北老家
Address: 25-26 Xinyi Street 信义坊25-26号
Tel: (0571) 8826-9706
Duck seasoned with soy sauce 酱鸭
Cooking duck seasoned with soy sauce is a tradition among Hangzhou locals. According to historical materials, natives always made the dish as soon as winter sets in. Even diners from neighboring Shanghai and Jiangsu Province are allured by its yummy taste.
In winter, some people suffer from excessive inner heat due as humidity declines. Duck meat is considered cold and sweet because ducks mainly live on aquatic products. Therefore, people are recommended to try duck meat to lower the heat and remove toxins.
The cooking process is time consuming. First, the duck has to be marinated with soy sauce and hung on a ventilated platform until the sauce dries out. Then, the duck is coated with a layer of seasonings and stuffed with spices, and put in a pot for 12 hours at temperatures as low as zero degree Celsius.
Next, pour soy sauce into the pot until the duck is completely immersed in it and then preserve it for another 24 hours.
Take out the preserved duck and stew in soy sauce until it turns crimson, and then dry it in sun for two to three days.
Unlike the cold appetizer offered in restaurants, locals favor to heat the duck with rice wine made in Shaoxing (located in northern Zhejiang Province), shredded ginger, shallot and garlic to add flavor.
Where to eat:
Jiuqifeng Restaurant 酒旗风
Address: 13 Beishan Rd 北山路13号
Tel: (0571) 8796-9733
Radish boiled with mutton 羊肉萝卜汤
People seldom workout in chilly weather, thus accumulating toxin in body every day. TCM recommends that people use radish to remove inner toxin since it is considered cold with detoxifying property.
An old saying goes that “eating radish in winter and savoring ginger in summer.” Ginger helps to replenish energy since sweating takes away people’s strength.
Radish helps in stimulating saliva and nourishes the skin when it dries up in winter. It is dubbed “fair-price ginseng” by virtue of such nutritious value and low price.
Besides pickling them, another popular way to cook radish is to stew it with mutton which is considered a tonic containing yang (hot) energy that is necessary for fall and winter.
First of all, stew radish cubes and mutton with sliced shallot, a spoon of rice wine and a pinch of Sichuan pepper in order to remove the odor of mutton. Then throw the froth when they are boiled.
Next, put mutton in a pot of clean water and simmer it for at least 90 minutes. Then put the radish cubes and continue simmering for half an hour. Add seasonings according to personal preference.
The dish helps in alleviating problems of lung and spleen diseases and removes edema, relieves cough and reduces sputum.
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