Flavors of China > Anhui Cuisine or Hui Cuisine
Anhui cuisine is, fragrant and fresh, simple and substantial. It represents three styles coming from Yangzi Jiang, Huai river and the south of Anhui.
Geographically, Anhui is a province and part of the East China region. Located across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny section in the north.
Duration and degree of cooking is unique to keep original flavors of the food. Chefs attach great importance to the maintenance of good health through the intake of nourishing food, with less spices and less frying method.
Cooking techniques: cooking with medium-heat oil, boiling in clear soups and smoking of raw materials. Seafood is virtually non-existent due to the lack of a coastline. As it has always been a poorer region with a lack of access to supply routes, mountain foods play a much more prominent role here: think game, pangolin, frogs, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and other wild vegetables. Chefs excel at roasting, stewing and braising. Thickening with a mixture of cornstarch and water is frequently used in préparations.
In the West, fresh bamboo shoots are almost never available and canned ones are always a let down. In hui cai, the shoots grow widely.They are typically cut into diagonal strips and cooked with umami-rich ingredients such as cured ham and dried mushrooms.
This is essentially a deliciously aromatic soup, which is expensive to put together due to the "exotic" ingredients required, the three first ones coming from the sea: fish maw, sea cucumber, dried scallops, cured ham, chicken breast and so on.
Spring and summer is the prime foraging season for wild vegetables, which are either served as a salad – Chinese style, with a medley of soy sauce, salt, sesame oil and sometimes sugar as the sauce base – or as a stir-fry. Baby daffodil leaves are a favourite in Anhui and are typically served as a tossed salad.
Braised masked civet
Steamed turtle with ham
Stewed honeycomb-like beancurd
Wuwei smoked duck, etc.
Photo and collaboration : Time out Beijing
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