Slurrp Exclusive: Chef Zhang Hong Sheng Of 'The China Kitchen' Compares Indian And Chinese Food
- Sushmita Sengupta
Updated : January 20, 2022 05:01 IST
The Sichuan food would be slightly spicier than Cantonese for their generous use of Sichuan pepper, in any case, none of these delicacies quite resemble the ‘Desi Chinese’ variants we have grown up eating.
I proudly called myself an admirer of Chinese food for the first fifteen years of my life, only to realise that the ‘Chinese food’ that I had been having was, in fact, not Chinese at all. It was largely a local adaptation of a cuisine mind-bogglingly diverse and rich. Much like India, Chinese cuisine can also be categorised on basis of the province they hail from. For instance, the Sichuan food would be slightly spicier than Cantonese for their generous use of Sichuan pepper, in any case, none of these delicacies quite resemble the ‘Desi Chinese’ variants we have grown up eating.
In my riveting chat with Chef Zhang Hong Sheng Of The China Kitchen, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi, I learned a fair share about Sichuan food and staple ingredients in a typical Chinese kitchen. Chef Zhang also launched a new menu as a tribute to the flavours of Sichaun at The China Kitchen recently, and some of his favourites from the menu are sweet pumpkin cake dumplings and wok tossed black fungus. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
1. Tell us something about the new menu
The new menu mainly focuses on the Sichuan flavours while keeping the dishes medium spicy. I drew my inspiration from the Sichuan province of China where I spent 2 weeks last year at the starting of 2020. I had the opportunity to try the Sichuan cuisine and when I came back, I thought of recreating the same dishes for the new menu back here in New Delhi.
2. How do you relate Chinese food with Indian, what are the common elements?
Traditional Chinese cuisine does not have any similarity with Indian cuisine, the only ingredients that are common are salt and sugar. However, both the cuisines have a very rich history and a remarkable journey of their own.
3. List 5 ingredients that we must have at home at all times before cooking Chinese Some ingredients that make all the difference in a dish are salt, sugar, chicken powder, dark & light soya sauce and chilli flakes.
4. What do you like to cook in your free time
When I am in China, I actually like to cook Indian cuisine as my wife loves Indian cuisine, especially dishes like chicken tikka, masala chicken and masala lamb. Over here in India, I love making milk tea and I make milk tea for everyday for everyone in the morning at the restaurant.
5. What is the easiest and toughest thing to make for you
The easiest cuisine for me to cook is Chinese cuisine and I have the most difficult time cooking Indo- Chinese cuisine as it is very different from traditional Chinese cuisine.
6. A compliment you treasure the most
‘I like your food’ – This is the most satisfying compliment for me as it shows that my guest had a good time and enjoyed my food, and I could contribute in making their day better.
7. What impresses or appeals you the most about a dish.
For me, first impression is the last impression. It is essential for the dish to look beautiful to appeal to me and that is exactly what we try to do here as well. We make sure that the dish looks beautiful besides being replete with flavour.
8. Please share a recipe that you enjoyed cooking the most recently.
Wok-Tossed Black Fungus
- 80 g Zucchini green
- 80 g Zucchini yellow
- 50 g Black fungus
- 05 g Chopped garlic
- 10 ml Oil
- 05 g Veg Broth powder
- 05 g Potato starch mix with water
- 500 ml Water
- In a pot, boil some water and blanch green zucchini, yellow zucchini, and black fungus.
- Next, you are supposed to heat oil in a wok, add garlic and sauté it nicely.
- Now blanch vegetables in wok and add salt and broth powder.
- Toss in the vegetables well and add potato starch.
- Serve hot in a plate. Make sure you garnish it with green and yellow bell pepper julienne.