Teen Chef – 1 Feb 2020

This week our Teen Chefs will be making – Real Black Bean Beef & Vegetable Chow Mein

It is Chinese New Year and is year of the Rat.

The rat is the first in the 12 year cycle of Chinese zodiac signs and those born in the year of the rat are generally born with these zodiac rat characteristics.  They are believed to be very intelligent, charming, diligent and positive.

In Chinese culture rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.  Food plays an important role in many New Year celebrations with families coming together for reunion meals and feasts.

There is so much more to Chinese cuisine than just your local takeaway.  Chinese food is fairly healthy as dishes usually contain lots of vegetables.  This country’s cuisine is fascinating and differs from many others as it lacks the creamy, butter-based sauces found in many other cuisines.

Food is central to Chinese New Year and festive dishes are chosen for their symbolism in bringing good health, long life, luck and prosperity into the coming year.  Red is a symbol of luck and yellow for wealth.

Noodles, along with long beans, are traditionally eaten at Chinese New Year, as the long strands symbolise longevity for the year ahead. The preparation of the noodles is generally up to personal preference, as long as the noodles are not cut or broken as this would signify shortening of life, which would definitely not be a good start to the year!

This week we will be combining umami-rich black beans with finely sliced beef and vegetables in a tasty sauce results in an authentic version of this beloved Chinese takeaway.

We will also make a Chow Mein, which translates as ‘crispy noodles’, is mostly associated with takeaways, but when freshly made at home it makes for a satisfying tasty meal. There is a lot of speculation as to the exact origins of the dish, as most regions of China seem to have a version, but with such an array of interchangeable ingredients you can see why it is difficult to know its exact origins.

Often considered a staple ingredient of Asian cuisine, the word noodle in fact derives from the German word nudel. Many cuisines have their own version of noodles – from Makguksu in Korea to Western European Spatzle – and the term generally encompasses any thin, straggly foodstuff made from unleavened dough.

Chinese New Year is the pinnacle of the Chinese calendar and is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year.  Celebrated by more than 20%, of the world; it’s the most important holiday in China and to Chinese people all over the world.

Five facts about Chinese New Year

·         It is the longest Chinese holiday

·         The festival causes the largest human migration in the world due to family reunions

·         Children receive lucky money in red envelopes

·         Firecrackers are always set off at midnight

·         The Chinese decorate everything red for Chinese New Year

This week we will be using the following skills: measuring, chopping, and mincing, cutting, slicing, mixing/combining, boiling/simmering and wok frying.

See you Saturday Teen Chefs.

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