I have been to many Fine Food and Dining classes, I must admit, but this was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most. Chinese food is one of my favorites, butmy typical fare is generally of the American variety, so I was excited to learn how to create some authentic cuisine.
Our menus had an assortment of recipes, ranging from entrees to dipping sauce, and from the get-go I was ready to start on all of them! We began with a highly interactive recipe: authentic Chinese dumplings. All of the class came up to the front to create their own. Our instructor, Maddie Ng, illustrated how to create the tiny pockets. We all tried to emulate her efficient dexterity (some much better than others). After everyone had their fill (no pun intended), we left the remainder of the mixtures – one a pork and cabbage, the other an egg and butternut squash – and the committee members finished making the rest of the dumplings.
Next up was a minced beef and tomato congee. Congee is like a Chinese version of porridge, and it makes a great breakfast meal or a warm pick-me-up for sick days. The recipe is simple and perfect for students, as it is basically rice with whatever sort of fillings you would like. Also, the fact that the recipe calls for the rice to be overcooked with extra water is perfect for me, as I am always mucking that up on my own!
Throughout the class we chatted amongst ourselves and marveled at the amount of food that was being brought out. After we had had our share of our first course of ramen noodles with individual sauces, I was already stuffed, and we all realized we needed to pace ourselves. From beginning to end, class teachers and assistants were carrying out plates piled high with dumplings, and we students were thankful we had brought our Tupperware.
We then enjoyed some delicious veggie-based dishes, including a wonderful Sichuanese-style cabbage. Another favorite was the fried rice with shrimp, of which I definitely had two servings. Our instructors kept us entertained during the periods between dishes, always inviting us to try some ingredients or come up and take a stab at preparing the dishes. We also were taught some interesting facts about China. I was surprised to learn that Chinese wine is up-and-coming due to climate change, and I am looking forward to quizzing the staff at Luvians about their stock!
The class finished off with an array of fruit as a palate cleanser, but many stuck around afterwards to ask questions and to make sure to grab as many leftovers as possible. As usual, the Fine Food and Dining society put on a wonderful class, and I cannot wait to head to my next one!
Photo Credit: Hannah Risser