I absolutely love when I get to learn how to cook Chinese food from my local friends and this past Thursday I got to do just that! Brett is out of town all week so I've had more time to hangout with my local and foreign girl friends. This past Thursday one of my language teachers and I went to the market together and got all the ingredients for a delicious Chinese feast! She also loves to cook and whenever we have class together she shows me photos of what she's been cooking recently. We're kindred spirits!
Since I rarely eat out and therefore don't get to share much Chinese food with you all, I thought it would be fun to show you what Chinese food my teacher and I cooked together.
I also want to say that I've realized that I'm a nibbler, especially around meal times while I'm cooking. So just remember that I often eat more than I show in these What I Eat in a Day posts. Thankfully, my point in sharing these full days of eating isn't for you to know exactly how many calories I eat in a day, but to give you a glimpse into my life here in China and provide you with plant-based meal ideas.
I still haven't gotten sick of this simple, chocolate oatmeal breakfast with nut butter on top. I just cook oats with chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, cocoa powder and cinnamon until thick and then top it off with whatever nut butter I fancy that day. The nut butter melts and spreads out over the oats and it's so delicious and satisfying.
My language teacher and I made three Chinese dishes together which we ate with rice. These dishes were simple and more of Chinese home-cooking than specific dishes. I thought everything we made was absolutely delicious and I've already made the Tofu Tomato Stir-fry again since then. It's pictured below.
In addition to the tofu, we made two cold dishes that are called liang ban (凉拌) which basically means a tossed salad.
For the first one we used a vegetable that most foreigners don't care for called zhe er gen (这儿跟). I love it though and so does my teacher. It took a while to clean the vegetables and chop then, but after that you just mix them with different sauces and let it sit for awhile so the zhe er gen can soak up the sauce. We used chili oil (which she taught me how to make), sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, dark vinegar and others. Chinese people often eye-ball all their ingredients, so I hope I can learn to do that well too!
For the second liang ban we bought thick rice noodles called he fen (河粉) which were also so easy to prepare. We tossed them with chili oil, brown sugar, dark vinegar, soy sauce, mushroom oil and salt. My teacher has definitely made cold salads a few times in her life, because her eye-ball measurements were spot on.
I love that she didn't mind or think I was weird to take photos of all the food we made before we started eating. We ate so much, because by the time we finished cooking it was almost 2 PM and we were hungry. Everything we incredibly delicious, but my stomach was in pain not long afterwards. It was so worth it though and I love learning how to use all the different Chinese sauces.
If you like cold Chinese noodle salads, check out my Cold Chinese Salad Noodle recipe!
It took me a long time to get hungry again after our feast and I didn't feeling like cooking so I ate a very strange meal of reheated Tomato Zucchini Soup, cucumber and baked sweet potatoes topped with pumpkin chocolate mousse for something sweet. It was a weird combination but satisfying.
Interested in Chinese food and curious about authentic Chinese snacks? Check out my post on 11 authentic Chinese snacks!
- Do you have friends from different countries?
- What other cuisines do you like to cook?
- Have you ever seen or heard of zhe er gen?
I hope there will be s recipe for the tofu tomato stir-fry on your blog sune. It looks soo yummy. I dont know how you make your food look so good on your pictures.
I'll be sharing it soon! It's so easy and not very traditional, but other people seemed excited to learn how to make it as well. Thanks so much Dana!
I'm a new reader but so far super impressed. I'm also new to the vegan field just making the change recently, I used to be more of a one-foot-in-one-foot-out vegetarian.
I've been doing a lot of reading and research into alternative protein sources and I see articles picking on soy, mainly tofu, as not being a healthy alternative. This being due to it often being genetically modified and can apparently cause breast cancer since it contains plant based estrogen. This really bummed me out because I LOVE tofu and I was excited to use it more in my cooking.
Do you have alternative research supporting its health? What do you say to those that react negatively to its use?
Thanks so much for any information you can provide me with! As a newbie, I really appreciate this.
Hi Cassandra! I'm so glad you found my blog and said hi! Sounds like you're making some big dietary changes. I hope you find joy in the process of experimenting with new foods and recipes! I've been thinking about this topic recently actually as some friends here have been asking me my thoughts on soy. I haven't done my own personal research yet, but from what I've heard the research results are mixed. I don't see it as something to worry or stress about since the evidence isn't set in stone. I do believe that other foods such as animal products are more detrimental to our diet and I've seen my health improve (esp. lower cholesterol) since eating a plant based diet. Either way, I still choose to eat soy in small amounts and don't stress about it! Sorry I don't have any scientific information to share, but I hope you too try not to stress to much and just eat a varied diet!
Casey the College Celiac says
Congrats on expanding your cooking meals and skills! It's always so cool to get to taste foods from another culture. I personally don't have a ton of experience with other cuisines, but I've loved the Greek and Indian food I've tried before! Hopefully one day I'll learn how to gluten-free-ify it and cook it on my own!
Thanks Casey! I love learning to cook from my Chinese friends and don't do it enough. Greek and Indian cuisines are both so delicious. I cook Indian a lot, but not so much Greek food. I hope you can find ways to gluten-free-ify them too!! Good luck:)
I love how you are immersing yourself in life in China and with such enthusiasm.
Your food, as always, looks delicious (I hope to see the recipes on the blog soon!!) X
Thanks Cara! And I'm glad to hear you'd be interested in the recipes! I'll have to figure out how to share them with you all since most of my Chinese friends eye ball everything:)