Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cooking Class at The Hutong

Now that we are on the countdown to moving back I am beginning to check off my Beijing Bucket List. Hence the reason I was thrilled when a friend invited me to go to a cooking class with her at The Hutong. A hutong is the courtyard style dwellings that are traditional to China. Many people live in one hutong and share a community bathroom. Although Beijing is modern, there are still many hutongs being lived in. Also, many businesses set up shop in the hutongs which makes them quaint and historical. The Hutong is a cultural establishment which teaches many classes, especially chinese cooking classes. So much fun!

The pictures are courtesy of my friend, Alice. The three of us met at The Hutong. I took the subway, and although it can be a bit confusing at first, once you get there it is really quite simple to know how to get back. Our meal was going to include traditional hand pulled noodles. Despite my best intentions of learning, I knew right off the bat that I was there for the experience and not to  try to reproduce it at home. Although I did learn quite a few tips of the trade that I have already used in my own kitchen. I quickly realized that I would much rather talk and socialize, while the teacher is talking. It brought me right back to high school and it dawned on me that this behavior is pretty consistent in every class I have ever taken. Not a good trait for a teacher!

Back to the cooking!

Making our dough was first on the agenda. Flour and salted water. Knead in a special way.
After working your dough it will be the consistency of play dough. Then you drench it in oil.

After making a flattened ball you slice it into strips and roll thinly.

After you have oiled strips it is time to pull. My friend, Becca, had it down!
Swing down trying to not break them.

I, on the other hand, did not have it down quite right. But I sure had fun trying.
 By this time I was just ready to cook them and eat! Check out my tan!

While a convenient ayi cooked our noodles, we began on the sauce. It would include onions, celery and cherry tomatoes as the base. Then herbs, spices and chicken would be added. Delicious!

Ready to be CHOPPED. I now want a chinese cleaver.
 I learned how to cut like a pro!

Another thing I learned was how to season your oil. Using a  strainer with a handle makes it simple to add lots of flavor to your cooking oil. 
Cooking down cherry tomatoes became the base for our delicious sauce. 
Our teacher, Sofia, was very knowledgable and spoke great English.
She had just returned from her first trip to America. It was fun to get her perspective of the US.
The set up of the professional kitchen, in the ancient hutong, was interesting and made me really want my very own kitchen soon! What we have in our apartment can barely be classified as a kitchen. Although I am even lucky as many chinese kitchens do not have an oven.

They teach classes from all the regions in China.

This sauce was so good! Since I am not much of a noodle/pasta person I really ate mostly this yummy sauce. It was so plentiful it could be considered a stew. 
The ayis also prepared a cold cabbage salad for us. It was tangy and delicious and the perfect compliment to the heat of the noodle sauce.

Our finished product! Very tasty!

The group in our class. 

 I would, whole-heartedly, recommend The Hutong for a fun morning of food and eating! 
I can't wait to go again, next time with the hubby and kids! 

Bon Appetit! 
(by the way, that is not Chinese:)

1 comment:

Amy said...

How cool; your pasta looks delicious!!
And you do look tan!! Haha
Loving and missing you all greatly -- but looking forward to when we can all spend some time together again.