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Top 10 Shanghai Recipes (Eastern Chinese Cooking)


Despite being named after the bustling East China seaport, Shanghai cuisine really reflects the cooking styles of neighboring Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. It is characterized by a more liberal use of soy sauce and sugar than other parts of China. Red Cooking – slowly simmering poultry in soy sauce and seasonings – is a popular cooking technique. You’ll also find a greater use of alcohol: Drunken Chicken is a local specialty. Finally, Shanghai cuisine is famous for its exotic seafood dishes.

1. Beggar's Chicken

According to legend, this dish was invented by a starving beggar who baked a chicken he had caught by covering it in mud and cooking it over an open fire. In this simplified version of the recipe, the chicken is wrapped in aluminum foil before cooking.

Chinese Recipe Name Origins- Learn how other Chinese recipes came by their unusual names.

2. Lion's Head Meatballs

Oversized meatballs, meant to represent lion’s heads, are slowly simmered with bok choy in chicken broth. The shredded bok choy greens represent the lion’s mane.

3. Pearl Balls

Ground pork and seasonings are shaped into meatballs, rolled in glutinous (sticky) rice and steamed. Using glutinous rice makes the balls translucent and “pearl colored" after steaming. Pearl Balls makes an excellent appetizer or a main dish.

4. Drunken Chicken

Designed to be served cold, Drunken Chicken has been marinated overnight or longer in a combination of rice wine or sherry and seasonings. The key to preparing Drunken Chicken is to use a good quality of rice wine or a nice dry sherry.

5. Yangchow Fried Rice

What distinguishes Yangchow fried rice from Cantonese fried rice is that the individual grains of rice are cooked in the egg, and soy sauce, oyster sauce or other seasonings are not added. Cooked ham can be used instead of the roast pork.

6. Four Happiness Pork

Here is another example of red cooking, where pork is slowly simmered in soy sauce, sherry, and seasonings.

7. Soy Sauce Chicken

Soy sauce chicken is an example of "red cooking," where food is slowly simmered in a mixture of soy sauce and seasonings.

8. Shrimp With Green Tea Leaves

Shrimp is stir-fried with Dragon Well green tea leaves, harvested in the hilly regions of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. If Dragon Well is unavailable, substitute another high quality green tea.

9. Sizzling Rice Soup

A restaurant specialty, sizzling rice soup makes crackling sounds when crisp rice is added to the hot broth.

Learn more about how to make sizzling rice (also called crispy rice or rice crusts)

10. 1,000 Corner Shrimp Balls

This recipe can be found in "Everyday Chinese Cooking: Quick and Easy Recipes from the Leann Chin Restaurants," and includes a dipping sauce.

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