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Milk used in Chinese cuisine?


Ce'nedra
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I remember coming across one recipe in a Chinese cookbook (I believe it was a noodle dish) which incorporated fresh milk and it struck me as odd. Why? Mainly because I've never heard of milk in Chinese cuisine before. But that's purely because I'm admittedly (and ashamedly) quite ignorant to alot of Chinese traditions :unsure:

So what other Chinese dishes make use of milk and how common is this practice (I'm guessing not very?)?

Which brings me to another question, I don't really hear about Chinese people (in China) drinking fresh milk (comparatively to other countries anyway), until recent years.

I've heard it was common practice once upon a time but no idea what happened there...soooooooooooooo, enlighten me please! :biggrin:

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

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A friend of mine uses milk in some ground meat preparation like dumplings as a tenderizer I believe.

I am not sure about this but I though that one of the only group of people who had the genetic capability of assimililating milk proteins (or sugar?) as adults were Europeans. This means that until the enzyme which can help people digest milk is available, people almost all over the world would suffer unpleasant effects if ingesting too much milk. This enzyme is now widely available which allows more people to drink milk easily... maybe this explains part of this new trend.

But then, Chinese did not drink wines made from grapes a few years back and many fruits and vegetables were also added recently to their diet... this might be explained in th same way we can explain why North American now eat lichee or sechuan pepper.

I guess I'm adding more questions than answers...

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Hahhaa don't worry Magictofu, this is a discussion, not a one-ended question and answer routine so no problem at all! :)

Does that friend live in the West (so Oz, the US, etc) by any chance? That may explain why since many o'seas Chinese blend in different ingredients they learnt in the 'new' country.

Or was this traditional in your friend's family? Could have well been passed down for generations. I'm guessing you wouldn't know hehe..

Btw, are you talking about lactose intolerance? My dad is lactose intolerant and I've heard alot of Chinese (and some other Asians) are as well...I wonder if there is any truth in this..and why?

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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I remember coming across one recipe in a Chinese cookbook (I believe it was a noodle dish) which incorporated fresh milk and it struck me as odd. Why? Mainly because I've never heard of milk in Chinese cuisine before. But that's purely because I'm admittedly (and ashamedly) quite ignorant to alot of Chinese traditions  :unsure:

So what other Chinese dishes make use of milk and how common is this practice (I'm guessing not very?)?

Which brings me to another question, I don't really hear about Chinese people (in China) drinking fresh milk (comparatively to other countries anyway), until recent years.

I've heard it was common practice once upon a time but no idea what happened there...soooooooooooooo, enlighten me please!  :biggrin:

Hi Ce'nedra,

The short answer is "yes", most Asians are indeed lactose intolerant. That could explain the lack of dairy in Asian cuisine. Check out the links below for further explanation.

Hope this helps! :smile:

(Edited to clean up urls)

Identification of a variant associated with adult-type hypolactasia

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?c...l=pubmed_docsum

A definition from U Cal Davis along with a chart depicting the percentage of the lactose intolerant grouped by Race, Ethnicity and/or Country of Origin

http://nutrigenomics.ucdavis.edu/nutrigeno...C7007B71CC9959A

Edited by jbzepol (log)

Eat Well,

-jbl

The Postmodern Soapbox - NominalTopic.blogspot.com

Twitter: jbzepol

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Btw, are you talking about lactose intolerance? My dad is lactose intolerant and I've heard alot of Chinese (and some other Asians) are as well...I wonder if there is any truth in this..and why?

Lactose intolerance is very real, and some (a lot) Asians have it. Some, like me, can and do overcome that with constant and long term exposure, allowing our gut time to develop the necessary microbial flora to process dairy products.

As for dairy products in Chinese cuisines, I would tend to believe that its use is limited to certain dessert type dishes (mango puddings, dan tarts). But then, the north and northwest Chinese and Mongolians certainly were milk using societies as they were nomadic herdsmen. I would imagine that Old Genghis and Kublai and the hordes introduced a lot of their culinary preferences to their newly conquered land, China, and by osmosis over the centuries there would be some cross pollination.

But what do I know, I come from the south of China and we have the idea that all those northerners are "furriners". :raz::laugh:

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In general, fresh milk is not found in Chinese cooking.

But there is one dish called "Dai Leung Chow Seen Lai" [Cantonese]. Dai Leung is the name of a city (I think???). Chow Seen Lai means "stir-fried fresh milk". I used to see this dish offered in many restaurants in Hong Kong but have never tried it. It struck me as odd too how can fresh milk be "stir-fried".

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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In general, fresh milk is not found in Chinese cooking.

But there is one dish called "Dai Leung Chow Seen Lai" [Cantonese].  Dai Leung is the name of a city.  Chow Seen Lai means "stir-fried fresh milk".  I used to see this dish offered in many restaurants in Hong Kong but have never tried it.  It struck me as odd too how can fresh milk be "stir-fried".

Yep - Da Liang and Sha Wan are both famous for their milk products. From stir fried milk to sheung pei nai and gurng nai (ginger milk). Whenever I'm in the area I always try to make a pit stop to have one of the aforementioned desserts. Only about 5 RMB per bowl (about 70 cents USD), so I usually treat whomever I'm with! :raz:

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Hey, I just read a book by Ken Hom with a recipe for stirfried milk in it.

The best commercially available milk in China isn't anything like you'd find in major milk-drinking countries. Not the same at all. Not very good. Most milk is that long-life stuff, lasts forever, doesn't need refrigeration. Often flavored. Usually drunk warm. Advertised and thought of as healthy and modern. If your auntie is in the hospital, you bring her a box of zao-flavored milk pouches. The cool thing about China and milk that you can get it delivered, everywhere.

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I did notice there was a lot of yogurt consumption up in the Northwest (Xinjiang.) The runny, tart yogurt was served often with pilau (the yummy saffron-mutton-rice dish often served in the area.) It was really good stuff. However, Uighur culture and food is very different indeed from that of the rest of China.

While I was in Beijing, it seems that those super sugary yogurt drinks are becoming popular - the little breakfast joint on the corner where I was staying seemed to sell out of them in a flash every morning. They came in little ceramic containers....I never tried them because 1. I didn't trust dairy at all and 2. I heard they have enough sugar to kill a horse, but they were popular.

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This photo post features that fried milk dish. It's not really "fried milk" as much as it's a milk pudding (with cornstarch, and probably some eggs too) that's fried up like scrambled egs.

Also, although nobody really drinks fresh milk in HK, steamed milk (with egg) pudding is popular... I'm sure some pictures of it will appear in that thread eventually...

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Long, long, loooong ago, the idea of milk consumption came to Japan from northern China, maybe via Korea - only for the very rich, mostly the Imperial family - one record of a fermented drink, probably alcoholic. Mostly recorded as a health and stamina supplement, and seems to have been evaporated milk, or some kind of solid preserve made from evaporated milk.

Sounds pretty much like the Chinese uses of milk, in fact! No wonder evaporated milk is so popular in Asia, it's a continuation of tradition.

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Also, although nobody really drinks fresh milk in HK, steamed milk (with egg) pudding is popular... I'm sure some pictures of it will appear in that thread eventually...

I don't think this is entirely correct. The new generation of kids in HK does drink fresh milk. I used to drink a bottle of milk or chocolate milk from Dairy Farm everyday when I lived in HK. And I am sure there are people like myself. Dairy Farm has been doing fairly well.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I would say that milk is a popular drink here in Beijing - judging by the types that are available in the supermarket! Lots of people seem to like the 'Breakfast Milk' which has some sort of malty extract and egg added to it. I once put it in my coffee by mistake and nearly gagged.

Next time I'm at the Supermarket, I'll try and do some phone-shots of all the types of milk.

Yoghurt is, of course, HUGELY popular here (corn yoghurt.....bleuch!).

I'd love to know more about the history of soured milk consumption here because it does seem very well entrenched - I used to love the little clay pots that they sold it in and that you would have to drink from the spot or pay the shopowner for the little pot!

The consumption of ice cream is massive here as well - with Baxi brand offering local competition for the Walls Empire.

I have never heard any Northern Chinese said that they are lactose intolerant - but then these Northern types tend to eat meat 'n' potatoes, bread and yoghurt, and drink vast amounts of 56% alcohol liquor..... mad 'furriner' habits :biggrin:

[i've just learnt recently the hard-core Northern drinking style of shots of erguotou (56% distilled sorghum spirits) interspersed with glasses of raw egg...... It is truly horrible.....]

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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There's also a dish of "deep fried milk" which is seriously rich and delicious. Milk is mixed with something to help it set up solid when it's chilled then it's cut into large piece, battered and fried. It has a very tender, custardy texture. I love it but can only eat one piece because it's so rich. It's eaten as a savoury dish although it's slightly sweet.

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Ce'nedra, I'd have to ask my friend about the origin of his recipe but I think he got it from China.

As for yogurt, they generally cause much less discomfort to people with lactose intolerance... maybe another explanation for their popularity? Well maybe not, the yogurt in China, at least from what I remember, is so good that taste alone can probably explain this :wink: .

I also recall I kind of cheese from Tibet and Yunan. Can't remember the name but its quite dry.

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I have never heard any Northern Chinese said that they are lactose intolerant - but then these Northern types tend to eat meat 'n' potatoes, bread and yoghurt, and drink vast amounts of 56% alcohol liquor.....  mad 'furriner' habits  :biggrin:

If you are referring to my post, please re-read what I wrote, to wit: that Northerners were probably milk consumers.

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Why don't Chinese folk eat or drink dairy products? There seems to be such a wealth of lovely grasslands that I'm sure I must be missing something obvious.

Like I said before, there is a segment of the Chinese population that do eat and drink dairy products, those of the northern and western parts of the country. China is such a vast country, mass shipments would be an almost insurmountable obstacle for perishables. (That is one of the main reasons for so many dried and dehydrated foods found in Chinese grocery stores, but that's another story).

Other than the Mongolian Steppes, there is very little grassland in China that is used for grazing. Any type of arable land in the rest of China is intensively cultivated, and I mean really intensively!!! In the overall scheme of things, raising cattle is a tremendously inefficient (wasteful) use of resources.

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I have never heard any Northern Chinese said that they are lactose intolerant - but then these Northern types tend to eat meat 'n' potatoes, bread and yoghurt, and drink vast amounts of 56% alcohol liquor.....  mad 'furriner' habits  :biggrin:

If you are referring to my post, please re-read what I wrote, to wit: that Northerners were probably milk consumers.

I'm sorry - I thought it was clear that I totally agree with your point :sad:

I guess my sense of humour didn't come across well. . .

I just wanted to add the points that most things that people think about Chinese in the West (i.e. they don't eat a lot of potatoes or roast meat, they don't drink very much, they don't have dairy products, rice is the main starch, etc...) are really not true for a vast segment of the population here in the northern reaches of the country.

I didn't intend to offend or upset you in any way :sad: - I just wanted to agree with you! :smile:

Anyway to go back to the topic, I've been buying an artisanal Gouda-style cheese here which is made by some mad chap out in Shanxi.

He's got together with the local danwei (unit) which has dairy herds and is producing quite a nice amount for the market here. We will be opening it on Christmas, so I will report on the taste then and also take some pictures of the packaging (if I can figure out how my new camera phone works!).

And - I went to the Whampoa Club Beijing for dinner last weekend and they had developed some chinese wine-based icecreams! I was far too full to order them, but they certainly looked fascinating!!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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I've been buying an artisanal Gouda-style cheese here which is made by some mad chap out in Shanxi.

If you are referring to Yellow Valley Cheese, then I can assure you that it is very good.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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I've been buying an artisanal Gouda-style cheese here which is made by some mad chap out in Shanxi.

If you are referring to Yellow Valley Cheese, then I can assure you that it is very good.

Yep - it was the Cumin Flavoured (but in Chinese 茴香味..it wasn't fennel, so that was a bit misleading...). Made by Shanxi Windmill Farmhouse Foodstuff Co. :biggrin:

It was really nice - a very young Gouda-type cheese with good flavour and the cumin seeds added a great zip to the flavour!

Sorry there aren't pictures but we tore it open. And the price...was 70RMB for the smaller sized whole cheese. How does that compare to Liuzhou prices?!?

{I won't try any irony today :raz: }

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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