What we've been up to
October 2015 Archive
Chinese Winter Solstice
The Winter Solstice is a celebration of the lunar calendar and generally falls on the 22nd or the 23rd of December, which marks the day in the year with shortest daylight and longest night time in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Winter Solstice Festival is heavily influenced by the Chinese concept of yin and yang which symbolizes the balance of life. According to Chinese astrology yin represents negativity and darkness which is most prevalent during this day, the shortest day of the year. Yang represents the opposite, light and optimism. From this point onwards the day light begins to last longer so it is seen as a time for celebration, positivity and new beginnings
On this day Chinese families gather together to share a meal, in the North they generally celebrate by eating dumplings. While in Southern China it is custom to eat a dish made of red-bean and glutinous rice which is believed to drive away ghosts and other evil things.
If you want to celebrate the winter solstice at home try out our delicious dumpling recipe:
• 200g (7 oz) pork, minced
• 100g (3½ oz) carrot, finely chopped
• 100g (3½ oz) mushrooms, finely chopped
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 25-30 round dumpling wrappers (won ton wrappers)
• 2 spring onion, finely chopped
• 1 egg, beaten
• oil for pan frying
1. Combine mince meat, onion, carrots, mushroom, spring onions and SpicePaste© in a bowl. Mix well.
2. Place 1 tbsp of meat filling onto centre of the dumpling wrappers. Brush the edges of the wrappers with egg. Fold wrappers in half to form a crescent shape. Press edges firmly to seal.
3. Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Pan fry the dumpling on each side for 3-5 minutes or until cooked. Serve warm.
Variations: You may steam the dumplings instead of pan-fry.
Top 3 Things to See in Thailand
1. Phi Phi Islands
There is a reason why the Phi Phi islands are one of Thailand's top tourist attractions, with pristine turquoise waters, white sands and spectacular rock formations the view looks like something straight from a travel magazine. A 90 minute boat ride from Phuket will take you straight to this paradise where you can kayak, snorkel or just lay by the beach and enjoy the relaxed, tropical atmosphere.
2. Khoa Yai National Park
Khoa Yai National Park is Thailand's second largest, but most visited national park. Located 3 hours out of Bangkok, Khoa Yai boasts breathtaking views of the lush, mountainous jungle and magnificent waterfalls. It is home to 100's of native plants and animals including monkeys, elephants and exotic birds.
This historic city was once the country's bustling capital, Ayutthaya now provides tourists with a glimpse in to the past. The ruins of elaborate temples, statues and fascinating architecture serve as a reminder of a dark time in Thailand's history. Ayutthaya is only a short bus ride from Bangkok, making it the perfect location for a day trip to immerse yourself in Thai history and culture.
To bring the taste of Thailand home to you, try out our Thai curry paste, available in red, yellow or green. With dishes like our Thai Spicy Basil Stir Fry and Pad Thai Noodles, you'll be transported to Thailand without ever having to leave your kitchen.
Five Foods You Need To Try In Japan
Unagi is the Japanese term for freshwater eel, and is seen as quite a luxury dish in Japan. The most common way it is eaten is in a meal called Unagi-don, which put simply is unagi (often glazed with a type of barbeque or teriyaki sauce) served on a bed of rice.
Possibly one of the most popular Japanese dishes outside Japan, the word "sushi" refers to rice that has been seasoned with vinegar. This rice combined with raw fish and bound with nori, (roasted seaweed) is what generally makes up this traditional Japanese dish. Today there are so many different types of sushi available, which often vary from region to region.
Shabu-shabu is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced beef boiled in broth. This is a meal usually shared communally, the beef is brought to the table where diners cook it themselves in boiling water provided, and then flavour it with a variety of dipping sauces. The word shabu-shabu is onomatopoeia for the sound the meat makes when it is stirred through the bubbling broth.
Japan's answer to deep frying, tempura involves coating seafood or vegetables in a light batter of water and flour. When fried this batter creates a texture which is both crisp and fluffy. Tempura is so loved that is has now become quite popular in western countries, a guaranteed crowd favourite being tempura prawns!
Japan's favourite meal, ramen, is an imported dish that they have made their own. With the two main components of ramen being noodles and soup, it is inexpensive and incredibly easy to make. It can also be packed full of extra deliciousness by adding ingredients such as beef, pork, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots. Ramen is usually categorised according to its soup base, of which there are four main types: tonkotsu (pork bone), miso, soy sauce and salt.
Indonesian Cuisine: Beef Rendang
Traditional Indonesian food is packed full of flavour and colour, it is so diverse and varies between regions of Indonesia which is made up of over 6000 populated islands. In 2011 it became apparent just how popular Indonesian cuisine is when CNN released a list comprising the World's 50 best foods
as picked by the public. After approximately 35,000 votes were tallied from all over the world, Indonesia finished with three dishes in the top 15. Satay came in at number 14, nasi goreng number 2, and voted the most popular food in the world was Rendang. Rendang involves slow cooking beef in a coconut milk sauce with a combination of herbs. When the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened this delicious dish is then served with rice.
Not only is this traditional Indonesian meal mouth-wateringly good but it is also simple to make. If you want to try this at home the easiest way is to use our Indonesian Rendang curry paste
. Although this dish is traditionally served with beef, it can also be served with chicken or lamb. For a vegetarian option, replace meat with vegetables of your choice.
National Day of China
The October 1st National day or otherwise known as "golden week" is the biggest week for tourism in China, when people have a week off to reunite with families and take trips together to celebrate. In ancient China, the National Day usually fell on the day when the emperor ascended the throne or was born. Nowadays, it is celebrated on October 1st throughout mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau every year to commemorate the founding of People's Republic of China.
In places like Tian'anmen Square, there is a special flag raising ceremony. The square will be decorated festively with flags and various portraits. Exactly at sunrise, uniformed troops march out to start the flag raising ceremony. If you are thinking of travelling to China during this busy time, here are some tips to avoid big crowds:
- Avoid travelling to popular places during this period
- Book tourist attractions early
- Book hotels/flights/trains early
- Transportation is very crowded in popular areas
Whether you are looking to experience the authentic tastes of renowned and well-loved recipes across Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine, or in the mood to create a dish of your own with sauces that are staples of Chinese cooking, Asian Home Gourmet will have something to offer you. With Asian Home Gourmet's range of Cantonese and Szechuan products, bringing the delights of Chinese cuisine into your home has never been easier. Check out our products today and try your hand at Chinese cuisine.