Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

liuzhou

Sugar in China

Recommended Posts

Thank you dcarch and liuzhou for those photos and video.  I felt like a child again looking at it all.  Wonderful.  Magical.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Darienne said:

Thank you dcarch and liuzhou for those photos and video.  I felt like a child again looking at it all.  Wonderful.  Magical.

 

I also saw this:

 

 

dcarch

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While sugar is an ingredient in this, it is more of a candy than a sugar. It also contains fat and usually peanuts. As I said before, both terms 'sugar' and 'candy' translate the same into Chinese.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dcarch: the video was wonderful.  I notice that the older man was more careful in his rolling process than the younger.  Perhaps  pride in a job well done for the older man...simply a job to endure for the younger.  Or perhaps I am way  off base.

I love how the hands and fingers know what to do and how to do it.  I am an artisan in a totally different medium and after some years of practice, my fingers do the work without my brain having to be very engaged.  And after many years I am still fascinated by the process.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fascinating! I kept watching the linked videos on YouTube long enough to see that the fine threads are hand pulled sugar syrup done like Chinese hand pulled noodles, the process/recipe is at least 2,000 years old and is also popular in Japan. I never, in my wildest imagination, have ever conceived that you could make a cotton candy-like product without the machine. Very cool!

 

If you are interested, wait for about the third auto-load video where the sugar puller describes in English what he's doing, and the exponential math that makes it work. He makes it look so easy, but I'm sure from reading the I Will Never Again ... thread, that any attempt by me would probably result in a trip to the emergency room before I ever got to the pulling step. :/ :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 14/10/2016 at 6:27 PM, Anna N said:

One thing I found in one of our Asian stores that I haven't seen elsewhere is cubed brown sugar.

 

Brown sugar cubes are available here, but are imported (and so, expensive). The Perruche brand is available online. I've never seen in supermarkets, though.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I have put together a kind of summary of the Chinese sugars which may be available in your local Asian store, along with their Chinese names in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese (although most are the same). You can save, print or share this image if you find it useful. Note the English is my explanation rather than a real translation of the Chinese. For the literal meanings see up thread.

 

Sugar.jpg

 


Edited by liuzhou typo (log)
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I came across these in a local supermarket today.

 

sugar.jpg

 

E-jiao (阿胶 ē jiāo) is a form of gelatin made from the skin of donkeys and used in traditional Chinese medicine.

 

Hee haw.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What an interesting thread! I used to work in a Chinese grocery when I was a student, and some of those sugars I haven't seen since! I remember the owner's wife sometimes making flowers of tofu with natural rock sugar syrup as a Friday night treat.

We have some of those sugar types in Japan, but not as many.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/10/2016 at 11:15 AM, andiesenji said:

I have some antique sugar "snips" and graters - inherited from my great grandmother from the days when sugar was sold in "loaves" (actually cones).  It was snipped off in chunks and then pounded in a mortar if a lot was needed.  If only a little was needed, they just grated what they needed off the loaf or cone.  sugar was expensive and kept locked up and used sparingly.

 

Came across this fascinating website today. Lots of culinary (and other) gadgets from history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/26/2016 at 2:47 AM, liuzhou said:

I came across these in a local supermarket today.

 

sugar.jpg

 

E-jiao (阿胶 ē jiāo) is a form of gelatin made from the skin of donkeys and used in traditional Chinese medicine.

 

Hee haw.

I could see that the other two might have culinary uses, but I'm not sure about donkey skin gelatin sugar. What would someone do with it? Would the sugar be medicinal, or is it the equivalent of all the recipes that hide vegetables in kid-friendly foods?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

I could see that the other two might have culinary uses, but I'm not sure about donkey skin gelatin sugar. What would someone do with it? Would the sugar be medicinal, or is it the equivalent of all the recipes that hide vegetables in kid-friendly foods?

 

Sugar is considered to have medical benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but so does almost everything else!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 03/12/2016 at 10:55 AM, liuzhou said:

 

Came across this fascinating website today. Lots of culinary (and other) gadgets from history.

 

Oh dear, another rabbit hole. That's the problem with working at my computer all day...all of my worst temptations are just a tab away. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/10/2016 at 8:24 PM, MelissaH said:

Does the sugar cane juice get fermented (and distilled) or is it always drunk fresh?

 

It's a long time since you asked me this, but I did ask around at the time and all I got was blank stares. However, yesterday afternoon I was talking with a colleague who works on a wine magazine that I contribute to and she mentioned sugarcane. She comes from a small rural area also here in Guangxi. So, I asked her your question. She didn't know either.

Later last night,she called me and said she has asked her father and he said he remembered his father, her grandfather, talking about it. From grandfather's story, it seems sugarcane juice was fermented and distilled in the Mao era. At that time, there wasn't enough rice to eat, never mind making rice wine, China's tipple of choice. So, instead they used the sugarcane.

 

The resulting brew looked more like beer with a frothy head on top. He recalled that it "wasn't tasty at all", but with nothing else available, they had to make do. After Mao's death and the end of the cultural revolution, sugarcane wine apparently disappeared.

I then put a general message on WeChat, China's top social media platform, to all my friends there asking for any information. Only one friend replied (I do have more than one friend!), suggesting that her sister had heard it is still made in Sichuan province. Details were scant.

I then searched in Chinese on Baidu, a Chinese Google clone, for "sugarcane wine in Sichuan". And found one forum conversation (in Chinese) which pretty much echoed what the first friend's grandfather had said.

So, it seems the answer that it was once used to make "wine" but perhaps no longer. I do have a couple of  Sichuan friends who may know more, but I can't contact them for another week. They are away for the holiday period which ends this coming weekend.. May get back to you !

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just found out yesterday that "bagasse", the residue after extracting sugar cane juice is used as a fuel but also as a smoking medium for meat and sausages etc.

 

58a9669c0acf3_sausageandbacon.thumb.jpg.1cd8423459c4d10c61e6c8e08ecc8e8e.jpgBagasse smoked sausages and bacon


Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting - does it have a noticeably different smell or flavor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, KennethT said:

Interesting - does it have a noticeably different smell or flavor?

 

They don't smell any different to me. Don't know about taste. I was only given them yesterday and haven't eaten any yet. I'll get back to you when I have.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Chopped Beef (sorry about the picture quality - I don't know what happened)
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
    • By liuzhou
      I’m an idiot. It’s official.
       
      A couple of weeks back, on another thread, the subject of celtuce and its leafing tops came up (somewhat off-topic). Someone said that the tops are difficult to find in Asian markets and I replied that I also find the tops difficult to find here in China. Nonsense. They are very easy to find. They just go under a completely different name from the stems – something which had slipped my very slippery mind.
       
      So, here on-topic is some celtuce space.
       
      First, for those who don’t know what celtuce is, let me say it is a variety of lettuce which looks nothing like a lettuce. It is very popular in southern mainland China and Taiwan. It is also known in English as stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. In Chinese it is 莴笋 wō sǔn or 莴苣 wō jù, although the latter can simply mean lettuce of any variety.

      Lactuca sativa var. asparagina is 'celtuce' for the technically minded.
       

       
      Those in the picture are about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and have a maximum diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The stems are usually peeled, sliced and used in various stir fries, although they can also be braised, roasted etc. The taste is somewhere between lettuce and celery, hence the name. The texture is more like the latter.
       
      The leafing tops are, as I said, sold separately and under a completely different name. They are 油麦菜 yóu mài cài.
       

       
      These taste similar to Romaine lettuce and can be eaten raw in salads. In Chinese cuisine,  they are usually briefly stir fried with garlic until they wilt and served as a green vegetable – sometimes with oyster sauce.
       
      If you can find either the stems or leaves in your Asian market, I strongly recommend giving them a try.
    • By Duvel
      “… and so it begins!”
       
      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×