5 Hardest Chinese Dishes to Cook
While some Chinese cuisine, such as noodles or rice, are renowned for being simple and relatively easy to prepare, there are some dishes famous in China that are a little trickier to make. We take a look at five of the hardest Chinese dishes to make.
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Otherwise known as Fat Tiu Cheung, the Buddha name for this dish originates from a story which sees a Buddhist monk smelling a dish with such a delicious aroma that he jumped over the wall to find it. Upon tasting the dish, the monk claimed that even Buddha would jump over to sample it! The dish requires around two full days to prepare and contains a whole host of ingredients, with many recipes listing at least 30 main components.
At its simplest, the dish is a shark fin soup, but it also includes mushrooms, quail eggs, scallops, sea cucumber, fish maw, abalone, chicken, ham, pork tendon and bamboo shoots. Due to the controversy surrounding shark finning, the dish has become a little harder to find in recent years, with restaurants adding fairly hefty price tags for a bowl of the soup.
As the name may suggest, these noodles are made by hand, without the use of a machine, which is usually used to stretch dough out into thin noodles. Lengths of dough are folded and twisted repeatedly, and this process manages to split the dough into thin, noodle-like strands! Many chefs producing hand-pulled noodles will need to train for years before perfecting their skills.
8 Treasure Duck
The eight treasure duck is an elaborate dish that is often reserved for special occasions such as New Year celebrations. The dish requires a whole duck to be marinaded, deep fried, stuffed with eight ‘treasures’ and then steamed for between two and three hours! The eight treasures will vary in each recipe, but will usually include dried shrimp and glutinous rice. Common ingredients include dried scallops, pork, spring onions, nuts, water chestnuts and mushrooms.
Despite the name, these eggs definitely aren’t a thousand years old, but are still very old when it comes to egg! Taking around three months to produce, the eggs are preserved for 100 days in ash, lime, salt and tea. Typically, duck eggs will be used to make this dish. Once they have been left for that time, the shells will be removed and the egg will be sliced and served with soy sauce or pickled veg. After 100 days of preservation, the egg will usually have turned almost black.
Image Credit: kattebelletje
A traditional Chinese dish that has been prepared in this manner for thousands of years, the Beggar’s Chicken is wrapped in clay and slowly baked for around 6 hours at a low heat. The origins of this dish saw the chicken coated in mud and cooked in a hole with a fire, after a beggar stole it but had no pot in which to cook it. Modern recreations of this dish see the chicken stuffed with vegetables and other meats, and is wrapped in lotus leaves before being encased in clay. Other recipes see the clay traded in for pastry, for an edible cooking solution, or see the chicken simply wrapped in tin foil.
Whether you want to brave cooking one of these dishes, or would rather stick to simpler, delicious Chinese cuisine, you can find a wide range of ingredients at our Chinese supermarket online.
Image Credit: Lou Stejskal