Saturday, 5 March 2011

Making a jiān bing

As I witter on about often on this blog, I love Chinese street food. One of the things I would like to do, is get as much information about it as possible so that should one day it no longer be available to me, I can try and make it myself. Or at least approximate it in some way, with a feeling of authenticity :-)

I originally took a video of someone making one of these jiān bing (煎饼), but each vendor does it a little bit differently, and thinking about it pictures are less bandwidth and more instructive.

The first step is to spread the batter layer (probably just flour and water). I don't have enough chinese to ask about ingredients, although since I know the words for flour and water, I could probably ask if that was all it was. Anyway, the next step when it is no longer wet is to break an egg over it and spread that as another layer over the first.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 01 - Spread egg on batter layer

Then when that is spread, the first herb which I believe is coriander is sprinkled over.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 02 - Sprinkled herb possibly coriander

And after that, the second herb which I believe is green onion is sprinkled over.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 03 - Sprinkled herb possibly scallions

Next, the third herb (?) which is definitely pre-cooked garlic is sprinkled.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 04 - Sprinkled herb garlic

Then the "pancake" is scraped off the hot plate.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 05 - Scrape off hot plate

Until it can be folded over, and then the last half is scraped off the hot plate.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 06 - Fold and scrape more

A small amount of chilli paste is dropped on top, and then brown paste is smeared with the chilli paste and the result is smeared over the surface of the folded pancake.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 07 - Spread chilli paste and brown paste

The crispy wafer is snapped in half, and placed in the "inner" part of the half-circle folded pancake.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 08 - Add crispy wafer filling

The package is then wrapped up around the wafer, making a closed package out of itself.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 09 - Fold into wrapped package

Cut in half, to make two open sandwich-like sections.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 10 - Cut in half

Folded against each other, and placed in a bag open ends facing out ready to eat.

2011-02-19 - Jian bing - 11 - Picture of the resulting halfs folded into a bag

The price with my jiān bing guy has gone up. At 2 kuai 5 mao, he was pretty much as cheap as it gets and with one of the better products around. Now that he is back from Spring Festival, like as for other goods in China, his prices have gone up. So, 3 kuai it is now.

Friday, 4 March 2011

New Nanjing West / Chang De statue

During the expo, there was a large statue of a bull on the corner of Nanjing West Rd. Eventually it was hauled away and this one seems to be sitting on the corner now.

2011-02-19 - Nanjing West Rd Chang De Rd - Statue

It's got a kind of Alice in Wonderland meets.. well, naked angels in some hot place or something vibe going on with it. Beats me.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Paratha Garlic bready pancake things

As usual at the supermarket, I wander past a lot of things and try and find something Chinese that's remotely appealing to my western palate. In this case, some naan-like frozen prepared things caught my eye and I decided to give them a shot.

2011-02-05 - Paratha Garlic - 01 - Packet

Each pancake or naan or whatever has a sheet of plastic on each side. They're very easy to get into the frying pan.

2011-02-05 - Paratha Garlic - 02 - Uncooked piece

And cooked, they don't look that bad.

2011-02-05 - Paratha Garlic - 03 - Cooked pieces

These were okay. But the flavours are like commercial butter approximation and commercial garlic approximation, with both tasting chemical based. When I eat something, I want to think of sunlight and fields, not a laboratory.

Do not buy again.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Shanghai Museum

Ever been to People's Square? You walk past young couples who politely say hello and try and strike up a conversation, and as you respond continuing on, they from the distance behind you vainly try and continue it in order to get you to a tea ceremony scam. Moving along, you eventually reach the Shanghai Museum. It's free to enter.

But there's a reason for that.

2011-02-08 - Shanghai Museum - Too many pots

It's full of pots. They go on as far as the eye can see. And where there's no longer pots, there's calligraphy, and then there are seals. Not the cute kind the bounce balls, but turtle shaped ones that are dipped in ink to leave your mark. Now I find historical pots interesting, and I find calligraphy interesting, and I find seals interesting. However, once I've seen one I've seen them all and that leaves about three floors of five unique items duplicated many times.

Good for all the people who like this sort of thing. I only took the above photo because its dark and you're not allowed to have flash, and I expected to get some blurry mess out of my iPod Touch. Although, if I want to see a fancy pot, I'll go to Xi'an and see a cool soldier shaped one that will hold my limited attention span.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Supermarket potstickers

I was sitting in one restaurant or another and I was translating the menu. One item on it was these crispy dumplings, and it turns out the literal translation is "pot sticker". So being in the supermarket at their low quality in-house cooked goods table (do I even learn anything from these posts?), I noticed they had these potstickers. I could have sworn the label said beef meat, but now looking at the characters I can't see it. Looking as pallid as anything on that table, it looked like they had made an effort with the insect-looking-like black seeds, so for lack of anything actually appealing to buy I bought these.

2011-02-03 - China - Potstickers - 01 - Trays

They're not particularly flavourful, so I had to dress them up with Lee-kum-kee garlic chilli sauce..

2011-02-03 - China - Potstickers - 02 - Cooked

Do not buy again.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Paris Baguette snack selection #2

Was out and about near the Changshu subway stop, and needed to grab something to eat. Browsing the racks at Paris Baguette I ended up with the following.

My actual lunch, bacon egg sandwiches. I try and avoid eating bread, but since this is pretty much the healthiest thing Paris Baguette sell, decided to go for it.

2011-02-18 - Paris Baguette - 01 - Bacon egg sandwiches

A closer look.. The sandwich was actually pretty tasty, and well-balanced in terms of flavour, and I'd consider buying them again.

2011-02-18 - Paris Baguette - 02 - Bacon egg sandwich

This was okay. Not too greasy, some flavour, but nothing special. Should avoid buying again.

2011-02-18 - Paris Baguette - 05 - Vegetable cheese pannini

This was not bad. Would go nicely with a cup of tea, and it did :-) Buy again.

2011-02-18 - Paris Baguette - 03 - Raisin bread

My last experience with their twist doughnuts was demoralising. Greasy, flavourless and overly crispy. This however, was soft, tasty and just like I would expect a doughnut to be. Buy again, but poke with the tongs before choosing :-)

2011-02-18 - Paris Baguette - 04 - Twist doughnut