Yunnan cuisine, also known as Dian (the Chinese abbreviation of Yunnan Province) cuisine, is a combined effort and food wisdom of the Han ethnicity and the many other ethnic minority groups in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
As the province with the largest number of ethnic minority groups, Yunnan cuisine has numerous unique features. Here, we introduce three of them, all originating from Yunnan and popular across China.
Stir-fired Er Kuai
Er Kuai is made of rice.
It is rarely available in northern China, therefore people in north use rice cakes instead. The procedure of making it and the taste are basically the same, though.
To create this dish, we need to make the fundamental ingredient first.
To make er kuai, or rice cakes, sticky rice is preferred. Wash and steam the rice, then mash and make them into shapes of pancakes or cubes.
For Yunnan stir-fired Er Kuai, ingredients typically used are cabbage, meat, chives, spice, pickles, as shown in the picture. But with fine rice cakes and probably one of the easiest cooking techniques ever, feel free to stir-fry them to your own taste.
In Yunnan, especially in Yunnan's provincial capital Kunming, stir-fired Er Kuai can be found in both fancy restaurants and streets. It is a snack commonly seen in Kunming's morning food markets.
Guo Qiao Mi Xian
"Guo Qiao" means to cross a bridge. "Mi Xian" means rice noodles, "mi" meaning rice, and "xian," a line.
The story behind this dish is about a woman crossing a bridge to deliver food for her husband every day, as the husband was busy with his work. The food gets cold every time upon arrival. When there was heavy oil in her noodle soup, she realized that the temperature of the food was finely locked beneath the thick oil at the top. Clear away the oil, and everything beneath still maintains the taste and hot temperature though it has been a long time since it was cooked.
As the method of cooking spread around, the story of this couple, as well as the name of the story and the dish, "Guo Qiao Mi Xian" were preserved.
Dai Bamboo Rice is one of the things the Dai ethnic group in China is famous for. Its popularity is found mostly in the Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna, Dehong Autonomous Prefecture, Puer City, and Lincang Prefecture City in Yunnan Province.
It isn't hard to DIY should you have easy access to bamboos that can be used as containers.
Ingredients needed are glutinous rice, cooked meat, peanuts, peas, mushrooms and carrots.
I. Wash the glutinous rice and soak it in water with peanuts for three to four hours.
II. Find bamboos that are about 4 to 7 cm in diameter, and cut the bamboo to about 25 cm long. Bamboo that has grown for more than two years is not recommended.
III.Mix diced bacon, or meat to your flavor, mushrooms, carrots, together with soaked glutinous rice, peanuts, peas, and an appropriate amount of salt.
IV. Roll a banana leaf and insert the washed rice and all the other ingredients into the bamboo. Then rub the banana leaf and make it a plug to seal the bamboo tube.
V. Put a little water in the bamboo tube and steam it for about 20 minutes. Note that the whole bamboo tube should be heated evenly. Steaming time can vary between three and 15 minutes, depending on how you like it.