It is day one of the first semester at Yuexiu University in China and I feel rather wistful. While I am glad I am in Australia and happy with what I am doing, there is part of me that would like to be in China. I've been in contact with students and FT's over the last few days - which does make me think for of being there. Another time, perhaps.
One thing that I discovered is how the young people do not learn to cook - for a start they spend most weeks in the dormitory and live on a fare of canteen food (which is pretty good really), or take-away from the hundreds of stalls adjacent to the north or west gates of the camps - the little trolleys laden with food and fires to cook - appear late n the day and only depart after the last wave of students when classes finish at 9 pm. We do laugh that Chinese people are always eating.
When they go home for weekends or holidays mother or grandmother cooks in rather primitive kitchens - usually cramped and with few "modern" cooking facilities. But mostly they eat out.
When the two students were visiting recently they loved cooking classes we gave them. Not enough, but I've promised some cooking instructions. One thing I learned of course is that they do not have the facility to measure ingredients the way we do. No spoons, no cups, no kitchen scales, so I am creating recipes using measuring spoons and cups - I gave one of the students her own sets, so hope she can work out some of the recipes.
One of the foods that students buy is a flat bread. I found some recipes for Chinese Flat Bread, and I've created a recipe that can be done without worrying about scales. A cup helps. I ate this bread several times,but as someone who is not an egg lover, I'd rather the street vendors mix the egg in the batter, so that the ingredients were properly mixed and that a clump of egg yolk was not visible.
What do you need to make it?
A cup or container that holds about 250 mls.
flour (plain flour is best) - you will need about 1 1/4 cups.
some shallot or other green onion leaf, chopped fairly finely (about a quarter of a cup full)
2 eggs (whip them up in a bowl until they are mixed well - a whisk, chopsticks or other beater work well)
a cup of water (use drinking grade water)
Oil (I like to use olive oil)
Salt (I like to use very little - a couple of pinches of salt)
Pan for cooking
Stove or fire
Add the flour, onion, oil and salt to the beaten egg, and mix until it is a smooth paste. Heat the pan and put two spoonfuls into the pan and spread it using the wooden spoon. When the bottom side is golden brown, turn it over and cook the other side.
You will have enough mixture to make several flat breads.
Clean up all your cooking utensils.
I'd be interested if anyone tries it. Can you think of any other variations?