When I first decided to take a detour through the different Chinese cooking cuisines, I had no clue that this was going to take up a total of nine posts…what started as one post, soon led into about two or three weeks on my blog.
And all this time I have been thinking back on those times as a kid playing the game of Risk with my brother…fighting over who holds what territory.
But Chinese regional cuisine also poses a risk of a sort…the risk of cooking with the wrong methods and ingredients for taking care of a diabetic…as well as the risk of standing at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet debating between getting Sichuan chicken or Hunan chicken for about twenty minutes and then settling for the orange chicken of the sweet-and-sour chicken like most of us do anyway…
Anyway, on to the next province…
The Hunan Province is a land-locked agricultural hub in south-central China that produces a broad range of vegetables and herbs.
And Hunan cuisine takes advantage of the great variety of ingredients that its rolling hills and beautiful valleys that the region provides.
Hunan cuisine is very similar to Sichuan food, but even hotter.
But the fact that the spiciness is derived from chilies makes it even more delicious because you can actually taste the ingredients, instead of only being able to taste mouth-numbing peppercorns.
Hunan cuisine is not only known for this spicy flavor, but also for its deep colors, oily texture, and fresh aromas.
Another characteristic of Hunan cuisine is an emphasis on sourness. All shapes, sorts, and sizes of pickles are popular in the Hunan region.
As far as meat, Hunan cuisine uses lots of peppered and smoked meats, such as cured hams
As far as spices, people in the Hunan region can’t even begin to imagine life with without chilies. In fact, no dish is complete without chilies…kinda like no dish is complete without sour cream to many people, including me..
As far as other ingredients, Hunan cuisine uses heaps of garlic, shallots, and tofu, fermented bean curd.
Examples of foods that you might find in the Hunan region include…