April 10th, 2012


Day Five: Going Basic

The Chinese method of making mashed potato is radically different from the western way.

Potatoes are peeled with a cleaver, in small strokes, then sliced into circles, steamed in aluminum steamers over a boiling wok, flattened on the table surface with the flat side of the cleaver or a spatula and finally scooped into a bowl.

After the left hand dips the stuffed patty in beaten egg, the right hand rolls it in breadcrumbs.

The second course of the day were plain steamed buns from rice flour. Using chopsticks and the same universal cleaver, the dough was shaped into fancy knots with names like 'boats', 'as you wish' and 'chrysanthemum blossoms'. He also used a hair comb (not the one he uses daily, rest assured) to prick patterns on the surface.

Still, a bun is a bun.

During the practice, all teams independently decided to take the buns further.

We stuffed ours with sausage and mince; the team further down the table slathered theirs with chilies and bean paste.

Loading our upgraded 'as you wishes' onto the steamer.

Ten minutes later.

The potato patties were fairly close to the teacher's example. The secret of their savoriness is in their smart stuffing: half meat mince and half vulgar pink 'ham' that contains half a hundred ingredients and loads of MSG.