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WhiteSnow

Xinjiang/Uighur Home Cooking

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Has anyone else here been to Xinjiang Province? I spent about 6 months there and from time to time I find myself craving the food I had. Unfortunately, since restaurants are cheap, the only food I learned to make was jiaozi. :sad:

I would be so very happy if anyone knows how to make any of the following foods, or could point me to a cookbook, website, etc. Or if anyone knows of a restuarant where I could buy it in Minnesota (doubtful) or Los Angeles.

nan (Uyghur style, Chinese=nang) ... flat bread, probably not reproducible in my oven, but so good ...

kawab (Uyghur style, Chinese=kao rou) ... mutton kebabs; the seasonings looked like cumin, cayenne pepper, and MSG--does anyone know what they actually are?

da pan ji (literally, "big plate chicken") ... one chicken hacked to bits and chunks of potato in a spicy sauce, noodles optionally served after the chicken and potatoes are gone to dip in the sauce

ban mian (Uyghur name is lahman, or something like that) ... noodle dish; most typical is the mutton, tomato, and onion variety, but pretty much any meat or vegetable can find its way there. My favorite was jiucai and egg, or when I was craving western food, beef and green beans

Also, I think this is not Xinjiang food, but I'd also love to find some ba si (se?) tudou ... caramelized potatoes, served with little dishes of water

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WhiteSnow, if you're in the New York area, there's a vendor who sells Xinjiang-style kebabs across the street from the Long Island Railroad stop in Flushing, Queens. I think he makes mutton, goat, chicken, and beef kebabs, $1 per skewer. He's quite popular with locals, but I have yet to try his stuff.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I mentioned in an earlier post that the most recent issue of Flavor and Fortune has an article comparing the food in Xinjiang with the food at a Uyghur restaurant in Brooklyn. The magazine had a few recipes. When I get home tonight I'll check it out and if they are recipes you want, I'll see what we can do. (The magazine is only available by subscription, unfortunately.)

[Aside to Pan: The earler post has the 411 on the Uyghur Restaurant, if you want to check it out.]

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If I am ever in the New York area, I will be sure to check out both of those places.

Gary, could you let me know what recipes are in the magazine? I can make the effort to track down a copy if they are ones I'm looking for. (It's not one that's readily available in small town MN)

Thanks

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WhiteSnow, the article has three recipes:

Manti (steamed dumplings)

Pilau (a pilaf-like fried rice dish)

Dried Lamb on Skewer, Uygur Style

The article contains an interesting discussion of "home-style" Uygur food in Xinjiang and describes a quite a few other dishes, including "Lagman", as they spell it. It's probably next to impossible to get this magazine anywhere except by mail. Although the article is well worth reading, the issue is probably not worth the $10 back issue price, because half of it is taken up by an index of the past five years' contents. If you're interested in the article, email or PM me a mailing address, and I'll snail mail you a photocopy of the article and recipes.

Incidentally, the spices in the skewered lamb (could be mutton, of course) are listed as pickled bamboo shoots (minced fine), cumin, rice vinegar, scallions, salt, sugar, carrots, and small onion. No pepper here, or MSG.

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There's a picture of people making "lagman" noodles in Kashgar (no, not Brooklyn) here. (The picture cannot be linked directly).


Edited by Gary Soup (log)

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It's probably next to impossible to get this magazine anywhere except by mail.

Maybe interlibrary loan.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I have never been to Xinjiang but hope to go some day soon (I am leaving for Beijing tomorrow so perhaps I'll have the chance to). Unfortunately the Uighyr village area in Beijing has long since been shut down, so for some relatively authentic Xinjiang food and an entertaining evening, one of my favorite spots in the city is Afunti.

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I have never been to Xinjiang but hope to go some day soon (I am leaving for Beijing tomorrow so perhaps I'll have the chance to). Unfortunately the Uighyr village area in Beijing has long since been shut down, so for some relatively authentic Xinjiang food and an entertaining evening, one of my favorite spots in the city is Afunti.

I keep telling my wife that one day I'm going to take the train from Shanghai to Urumuqi. It's the longest through train route in China. She always tells me that I'll have to do it by myself.

Ahfanti in Beijing was mentioned in the Flavor and Fortune article on Xinjiang food. Apparently they have a house special dish which is served on a flaming tray. Have you had it?

[Edited for typo]


Edited by Gary Soup (log)

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Have fun in Beijing!

In the bad old days when the Renminbi was not officially convertible, many of the black-market moneychangers in Beijing were from Xinjiang. I remember one strikingly good-looking woman moneychanger who looked like a Gypsy to me, which I thought was cool because I'm part Gypsy.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I keep telling my wife that one day I'm going to take the train from Shanghai to Urumuqi. It's the longest through train route in China. She always tells me that I'll have to do it by myself.

I remember taking a roughly 26 hour trip from Beijing to Xian.

I'm not sure if we did hard sleeper or really rough, hard seats

(there are 4 compartment classes for train travel:

soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seats, hard seats).

That was rough, either way. I definitely will either fly it or take soft sleeper next time.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Gary, the flaming dish (and everything else, especially the milk tea and Xinjiang beer) at Afunti is excellent. It is one of the few touristy places that I highly recomend. The flaming dish you are referring to (I think) is a mixture of shrimp, chicken, red and green pepper, onion and a few other vegetables that the


Edited by chengb02 (log)

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Have fun in Beijing!

In the bad old days when the Renminbi was not officially convertible, many of the black-market moneychangers in Beijing were from Xinjiang.

Nowadays, most of the marijuana pushers in Shanghai are from Xinjiang. One of the strangest experiences was walking down huahuai lu in the middle of the afternoon, one of the busiest areas in the city and having a few different Xinjiang guys within a mile radius walk up to me and offer me the chance to purchase their (very illegal) product.

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I keep telling my wife that one day I'm going to take the train from Shanghai to Urumuqi.  It's the longest through train route in China.  She always tells me that I'll have to do it by myself.

I remember taking a roughly 26 hour trip from Beijing to Xian.

I'm not sure if we did hard sleeper or really rough, hard seats

(there are 4 compartment classes for train travel:

soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seats, hard seats).

That was rough, either way. I definitely will either fly it or take soft sleeper next time.

Ahhhhh -- trains in China!! Love em! I was once on a real 'Choo Choo Train'! I've been on 'hard sleeper' and 'soft sleeper' and on 'hard and soft seats'. The hard sleeper was not bad at all, and the hard seat simply made you sit up straight. I liked the 'hard seat' because we were with the Chinese travelers, but they didn't let us stay there too long --- darn!!. I've had several train trips thru China, the biggest from Datong NW of Beijing and criss-crossing the country down to HK. A wonderful trip -- but we did stop over in many cities, so we didn't live on the train for the entire 3 weeks.

To go from Beijing to Urumchi would be wonderful. I wouldn't be able to stay away from the windows! But, alas, it probably will never happen.

There is a great movie about trains, entitled "Strange Friends". A love story, with train life and the clickety-clack always present.

To keep this on food --- The food on Chinese trains was not bad! I kept a log of it and had some pretty good food.

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Joanne, if you ever feel like posting some or all of your train-logs, I'd be interested in reading them.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Back in around 1989, the train ride in China for me was horrible. I remembered one time my parents went too late to get tickets so we had to stand for a 6 hours train ride(Actually an old couple felt sorry for me and my sister so they let us sit with them). Another time was sleeping over in the train station, there was no washroom so people was doing their business on the track. What bothered me the most was that people spitting everywhere....

I heard that train ride in China is much more pleasant now.

The only food that I remembered from China was the goat/lamb milk, freshly killed lamb, sizzling rice, Persimmon, and a type of biscuit that I could not bite into.

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There is a great movie about trains, entitled "Strange Friends". A love story, with train life and the clickety-clack always present.

Watch for a great movie called "Zhou Yu's Train" coming this summer (I've actually had the DVD for weeks). It features the lovely Gong Li (who ages better than fine wine or Sophia Lauren) shuttling back and forth on a train between two small south China cities to visit her lover.

What does this have to do with eating? Just let me tell you my fantasies about Gong Li.....

[Edited to say "that should be lover(s)". World of difference]


Edited by Gary Soup (log)

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I guess I should weigh in on long-distance trains and busses in China. I found my trips on long-distance trains and busses the most interesting thing I did during my 1987 trip to China. Since the people knew they'd be together for a long time, it seemed like they relaxed somewhat and there was a sense of community. We communicated as best we could, I lent them my cheap tape player and headphones for them to listen to their music (yes, they gave it back in the same condition), I played a game of bullshit with a girl from Toronto, one of her Cantonese relatives, and a boy from Beijing (bushi=no in Mandarin). And people shared their food with me. I shared a hard seat compartment with a family - a couple and their 4-year-old girl, who already wrote hundreds of characters along with doodles in her little drawing book. When it came time for breakfast, they shared some noodles and tea with me, that hit the spot. On my way back from Beijing, I made sure to bring some food on the train so that I had something to share - chocolate, pingguofu, etc. It was hard travelling (33 1/3 hours from Beijing to Guangzhou, a terrific dim sum breakfast in the station, then another trip to Shenzhen, through the checkpoint, then into Hong Kong), but it was worth it. Would I take such long train trips again? I'm not sure. But I'm not 22 anymore. :laugh:


Michael aka "Pan

 

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continuing on with this post having little to do with food and more to do with trains...well, let me at least mention some train necessities for me:

-Chinese sunflower seeds, potato chips (they not only taste so much better, but the different flavors are so interesting), ramen noodles, and beer (of course I'll also bring some tea)...

I actually had to see "Strange Friends" in a language class, it was somewhat funny, somewhat lame, and very Chinese (especially late 80s, early 90s Chinese sensibilities), very different from "Zhou Yu's train" which is a very good movie.

I haven't been on too many extremely long train rides, and when I do, I try to break things up a little (so on my normal route from beijing to harbin, i'll stop in shenyang for a day or two). I always go hard sleeper, unless the train ride is short enough to go hard/soft seater. When I was a kid and we didn't have as much money, we had to go hard seater on overnight trains, I don't want to relive those memories! Chinese trains are getting better every year, the big thing now is the working on a supersonic train to be opened in a few years that will travel from Beijing to Shanghai in only a few hours (probably around 4, as compared to the 12 or so it takes now)...The train is always a fun time, and not the white knuckle experience flying in China can be at times (the biggest mistake I have ever made was flying between Beijing and Hohhot, not only is the plane consistently delayed by a number of hours, but the 2 times I've been on the flight its been rough...

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Chinese trains are getting better every year, the big thing now is the working on a supersonic train to be opened in a few years that will travel from Beijing to Shanghai in only a few hours (probably around 4, as compared to the 12 or so it takes now)...

Wow...... I didn't know the train ride will take 12 hours from Beijing to Shanghai, no wonder my parents were against taking the train. But airplane is not much better, the time it takes to check in all of the luggages, going to the airport, making sure you actually get a seat(they sometimes overbook the plane), and finding your luggages afterward. Even if the actaully fight time is less than an hour, the whole trip will take 2-4 hours. I heard that China's commercial airplane companies hire retired pilot from the army. :wink:

How much does train ride in China cost? Do they still sell those lunch box that contains preserved vegetable, salty duck egg, fatty pork, and rice?

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Wow...... I didn't know the train ride will take 12 hours from Beijing to Shanghai

It used to be longer. In 1987, it took me 13 1/2 hours to go overnight from Wuxi to Beijing, though I think the train was delayed by 2 hours or so.

I had two skewers of lamb (the sign said mutton but the vendor said "lamb") kebabs from the Xinjiang-style barbecued meats vendor in Flushing for lunch today. At $1 apiece, naturally the lamb was not of very high quality, but the taste was pretty good. He used whole cumin seeds and a nice spice mixture he dabbed all over just before handing the skewers to me. I'd consider trying it again. Incidentally, he does not serve goat. It was "Mutton," "Mutton Chop," "Beef," and "Chicken," I believe.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Wow...... I didn't know the train ride will take 12 hours from Beijing to Shanghai

It used to be longer. In 1987, it took me 13 1/2 hours to go overnight from Wuxi to Beijing, though I think the train was delayed by 2 hours or so.

I had two skewers of lamb (the sign said mutton but the vendor said "lamb") kebabs from the Xinjiang-style barbecued meats vendor in Flushing for lunch today. At $1 apiece, naturally the lamb was not of very high quality, but the taste was pretty good. He used whole cumin seeds and a nice spice mixture he dabbed all over just before handing the skewers to me. I'd consider trying it again. Incidentally, he does not serve goat. It was "Mutton," "Mutton Chop," "Beef," and "Chicken," I believe.

I bet there is a sprinkle of MSG on the skewers of lamb too............

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I actually had to see "Strange Friends" in a language class, it was somewhat funny, somewhat lame, and very Chinese (especially late 80s, early 90s Chinese sensibilities), very different from "Zhou Yu's train" which is a very good movie.

I haven't been on too many extremely long train rides, ~~~~~~~~...The train is always a fun time, and not the white knuckle experience flying in China can be at times ~~~~~~~

The "Strange Friends" was also in a language class. In the story line, they stop at a station, and the 'hero' gets some dumplings, and if I recall correctly, they were 'Goubuli'. I kept looking at them to see if they looked different than regular dumplings. He was eating them with his hands.

Flying in China?? I'll take the train anytime!! I remember looking down, over some wild rocky mountains and wondering where the nearest airport was! People were walking the aisles on take-off and landings. Some of those planes were old British Tridents and Russian something that begins with "A". I guess things have changed lately. Hope so.

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Joanne, if you ever feel like posting some or all of your train-logs, I'd be interested in reading them.

Pan -- Here are the train menus:

Beijing to Xian: Dinner----Diced chicken & Peppers / Whole Baby Shrimp with Ham and Cucumbers / Sweet-Sour Meatballs / Stewed Beef Cubes / Stir-Fried Vegetables with Mu Er Mushrooms and Ham / Stewed Bamboo Shoots / Tomato & Egg-Drop Soup. Breakfast: Noodles in Soup with Tomatoes, Carrots, Meat and Hot Sauce / Toast / Apple Jam / Coffee.

Xian to Luoyang: Lunch - Pork Cutlet Battered & Deep-Fried with Sichuan Peppercorn / Stewed Pork and Potatoes / Braised Chicken with Green Peppers and 5-Spice / Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes / Pork with Garlic Stems, Sichuan Style / Sweet-Sour Bean Curd / Braised Buttom and Tree Ear Mushrooms / Green Peppers & Cukes with Tree Ears and Minced Pork / Thich Soup with Egg and Tomato / Noodle Soup.

Luoyang to Nanjing - Breakfast I didn't eat as I didn't feel well, but I heard the Noodles were really good!

Shanghai to Guangzhou: Lunch - Blanched Chives with Mushrooms, Ham and Chicken (comment - 'Good!') / Mollusks with Red and Green Peppers / Crispy Deep-Fried Battered Chicken Slices / Whole Shrimp in shell (Wonderful!) / Baby Bok Choy with Dried Mushrooms / Egg Drop Soup. Dinner - Deep-Fied Shrimp curls (Good!) / Stir-Fried Chicken & Broccoli with Mushrooms / Stir-Fried Chives with Fish Slices & Mushrooms / Scrambled Eggs and Ham / Broth with Egg Pancakes and Tomatoes. Breakfast - Noodles with Pork, Mushroom, Tomatoes, and Red Pepper (hot) Lunch - Deep-Fried Fish Strips with Garlic & Scallions / Stir-Fried Zucchini with Pork Strips & Onion / Braised Ginger Chicken (Fantastic sauce!) / Spich Hot Sweet-Sour Fisk Strips / Egg and Tomato Soup. Dinner

That was fun! Almost relived it!! LOL!

I had train meals in Germany, Russia and Mongolia and as soon as we changed to Chinese Trains, the food improved immensely!! Huge difference!

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