Cooking in the Chinese Countryside (includes Recipes)

I’m not sure why, but taking a Chinese cooking class in the Chinese countryside, was one of the things I was most looking forward to before our trip to China and it did not disappoint! If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I can’t/won’t cook, so I’m as surprised as the rest of you that I was excited about this!

We took the cooking class in Yangshou, which was probably my favourite place on our entire trip, read all about our trip here. The food was absolutely gorgeous and some of it was easy to make. We’ve even made these at home since, so I thought it would be good to share these recipes with you, you can’t get anymore authentic than recipes straight from the Chinese countryside!

A Trip to the Local Food Market

Before we headed to the restaurant, where we had the cooking class, our instructor brought us to the local food market. You’ll notice that I only have pictures of the vegetables.

I was not happy at all seeing the animals that they had for sale. They killed them in front of the buyers, so they were fresher. It was a harsh reality seeing dead bunny rabbits and baby turtles ;(

Recipes from the Chinese Countryside

All of these recipes are courtesy of Linda at the Cloud 9 Cooking School in Yangshou.

Cucumber in Vinegar & Chilli Sauce

This little concoction was my favourite thing that we made. So simple and so tasty. I love this and would eat bowls and bowls of it. It’s healthy too!

Note: The below recipe serves 1 person, adapt it as needed.

Ingredients

  • Cucumber (as much as you like)
  • 3 Gloves of garlic
  • Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of chilli oil or some chopped chilis

Instructions

  1. Chop the cucumber into small cubes (about 5cm)
  2. Cut the garlic cloves and then pound them with the side of the knife
  3. Chop the chillis into small pieces (if you opt for chillis)
  4. Separately, mix the vinegar, soy sauce, salt, sugar and chilli oil into a bowl and add the crushed garlic
  5. Add the cucumbers and enjoy!

Fried String Beans with Garlic & Chilli Sauce

Note: The below recipe serves 1 person, adapt it as needed.

Ingredients 

  • Green beans
  • Spring Onion/Scallions
  • Garlic cloves
  • Chilis
  • Sichuan pepper or ground black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Sesame oil (or any other cooking oil)

Instructions

  1. Remove the veins from the green beans and cut them into small pieces (about 5cm)
  2. Chop the spring onions into small pieces (about 2cm)
  3. Cut the cloves of garlic and then crush then with the side of the knife
  4. Chop the chilis into small pieces and remove the seeds (leave the seeds if you like really spicy food)
  5. Heat a wok/pan on medium heat with 3 tbsp of oil
  6. Add the green beans and leave them until they are soft and a light brown colour
  7. Remove the beans and let them rest on a plate
  8. Fry the the chilis, pepper, garlic on a low heat
  9. After a couple of minutes add in the green beans and 2 tbsp of water
  10. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of soy sauce and fry on a high heat until the water dries up
  11. Add the spring onion, a few drops of oil and 1/2 tsp of pepper
  12. Enjoy, they’re delicious!

Note: Ignore the fact that I burned my chilli! They were still delicious.

Gong Bao Chicken

Note: The below recipe serves 1 person, adapt it as needed.

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast
  • Red and green peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic cloves
  • Chilis
  • Spring onions/scallions
  • Peanuts (Optional: I leave them out)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Cooking oil of your choice
  • Corn starch
  • Egg White (use egg replacement and water if allergic/intolerant)
  • Ginger
  • Light soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chicken stock
  • Sichuan pepper/ground black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. To make the marinade: mix in a bowl, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of corn starch and 1 egg white and 1/2 tbsp of cooking oil (last).
  2. Heat the wok/pan with 3 tbsp of oil and add the chicken
  3. Remove the chicken when it’s a bout 80% cooked and leave it to the side
  4. Add the garlic, ginger and chilis to the oil (still in he wok) on a low heat
  5. Put the peppers and cucumber in and when they’re about 50% cooked, add about 3tbsp of water
  6. Add 2 tsp of soy sauce, 2 tsp of oyster sauce, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of chicken stock and a pinch of sugar
  7. Put the chicken back in and add 1 tsp of the pepper of your choice
  8. Add the spring onion, peanuts, 1/2 tsp of pepper and a few drops of oil
  9. Leave it for 1 minute and then serve!

Steamed Dumplings with Pork & Vegetable 

You can use any kind of meat and any vegetables you fancy!

Note: The below recipe serves 1 person, adapt it as needed.

Ingredients

  • Pork
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Cooking oil of your choice
  • Chicken stockSalt
  • White pepper
  • Oyster sauce
  • Dark soy sauce or chilli sauce or dark rice vinegar
  • Dumpling dough (or you can make it from scratch)

Instructions

  1. To make dumpling dough (I would just buy them readymade) just mix wheat flour and water and leave it for 2 hours. Then add salt
  2. Cut small square shapes
  3. Add the fillings of your choice
  4. Fold over the dumpling into a half crescent
  5. Wet your finger with water and rub it along the inside edge of the dumpling. They will then stick together
  6. Bring the 2 edges together to make a circle shape
  7. Place them into the steamer or in a container on top of a boiling pot
  8. Cook for wo minutes and voila!
  9. Serve with dark vinegar, soy sauce or chilis sauce

Note: I recommend watching a YouTube video on how to fold the dumplings. I found it really hard but I am challenged in the kitchen!

Happy eating pals! If you want to read more about China, you can read the following posts:

Carly xxx

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A Lifestyle Blog by Carly Colgan Bates