Qiang Cuisine: “韭菜炒核桃花” (Fried Pecan Flower With Garlic Chives)

The pecan flower of this cuisine actually doesn’t include the “flower and petal” parts. The cuisine uses the stem part that is very close to the flower. The fresh pecan flower stem is green. Usually, Qiang people will first dry the stem (sun-dried), and it will become black or brown. When making this dish, the dry pecan flower stem will become green again, or gray, after being put into boiled water. This is what it looks like after dried:

13690357281755

(Picture resource: www.cnqiangzu.com)

Ingredients needed:

  1. dry pecan flower stem, 350 g.
  2. garlic chives (Allium tuberosum), 150 g.
  3. slices of garlic, 15 g.
  4. chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum), 20 g.
  5. Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum), 6 g.
  6. salt, 2 g.
  7. starch powder, 12 g.

You may also need some garlic and camellia oil, and, if you like, some chicken will also be good for this dish. For the steps to make this dish:

  1. wash the dry pecan flower stem and cook it with water for 30 minutes (small fire).
  2. after 30 minutes cooking, get the pecan flower stem out of boil water and put it into cold water for another half hour.
  3. when you are doing step 2, you will notice that the water may become black. Keep refilling new water and let the black water out till it stops getting black again. And then get rid of all the water from the pecan flower stem.
  4. Boil the pecan flower stem with water (already boiled) again. Big fire and only 10 seconds this time.
  5. Put camellia oil, slices of garlic, Sichuan pepper into a pan and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Then put the rest of ingredients into the pan – the pecan flower stem, garlic chives, starch powder, (and, chicken, if you want), and salt – for about 3-5 minutes, and it’s done.

images

(Picture resource: www.book-hotel.cn)

-Culture Fanatic-

 

Advertisements

Qiang Cuisine: “蕨菜山药煲排骨汤”

Another good Qiang cuisine is “蕨菜山药煲排骨汤”. If I translate it directly into English, it’s “eagle fern (Pteridium aquilinum) Chinese yam (Dioscorea polystachya or cinnamon-vine) pork soup” so I didn’t write it in the title of this blog post. By the name of this cuisine, we know that we need Pteridium aquilinum, Chinese yam, and pork to make this cuisine. By the way, Pteridium aquilinum is proved to be somehow carcinogenic to our esophagus (gullet) and stomach, so you can either choose to replace it with another type of vegetable, or simply just remove it away from this cuisine (even without putting Pteridium aquilinum into the soup, it is still very common in China).

For ingredients of the soup, besides pteridium aquilinum (eagle fern), Chinese yam, and pork, some ginger, Jew’s ear (wood ear or jelly ear), and salt are also needed. The eagle fern needs to be put into water for one night before it is used to make the soup. After that, the following steps will be:

  1. put the Jew’s ear into water for minutes (not into pot yet), and then cut it into slices.
  2. peel the Chinese yam, cut it into slices too, and just leave it away in water (not into pot yet)
  3. cut the pork into slices and boil it with water (the water is not for soup) (don’t let it stays in the boiled water for too long, just need to make sure the pork is cooked)
  4. Now you can put all the stuffs and water together into the pot, cook it with small fire and it will be done in two hours. The amount of salt and ginger is based on personal preference (don’t recommend putting too much salt).

13771374713419

(Picture resource: www.cnqiangzu.com)

-Culture Fanatic-

 

Qiang Cuisine: “凉拌苦菜” (Patrinia Scabiosaefolia)

“山苦菜” (Patrinia Scabiosaefolia), or 败酱草, is used in one of the Qiang’s famous cuisine. It is called in many different ways in China, like “黃花龍牙”, “黃花苦菜”, “山芝麻”, etc.

13746324932398

(Picture resource: www.cnqiangzu.com)

This plant usually can be found in the areas higher than 500 meters in altitude, with high adaptability to its environment. And, yes, it is edible.  It tastes like regular vegetable when in regular condition, and will become bitter after being dried. “山苦菜” is also a common type of Chinese medicine.

So, how to do a Qiang cuisine with this plant?

  1. After wash it, cook “山苦菜” in boiled water for two minutes.
  2. Cool it down with cold water
  3. Choose the condiment you want (soy sauce, salt, garlic, sesame oil, and vinegar are usually used for this dish)

Not too difficult actually, just to cook vegetable.

13746325433054

1374632715934

(Picture resource: www.cnqiangzu.com)

For medical value, “山苦菜” is good for our eyes and stomach, and it’s a ideal food choice in summer time, or whenever the weather is hot. It is also can be used for some small wounds in Chinese medical clinics and hospitals.

-Culture Fanatic-

2008 Sichuan Earthquake

2008 Sichuan Earthquake, also named Great Sichuan earthquake, or Wenchuan earthquake, happened on May 21, 2008 in Sichuan. It is the 21st deadliest earthquake of all time, and nearly caused more than 80,000 deaths (69,197 confirmed deaths, 18,222 still missing, and 374,176 injured). The direct financial damage caused by the earthquake was roughly 845.1 billion RMB (about 130 billion USD). Sichuan was not the only state that was badly affected by the earthquake in China, Gansu and Shaanxi were also included.

U660P1T1D15545800F21DT20080515131603

(Picture resource: big5.3mt.com.cn)

The magnitude of 2008 Sichuan Earthquake is about 8.0 surface wave magnitude and moment magnitude scale is about 7.9. The earthquake caused about 19,000 death and missing of Qiang, and 97% of the Qiang civilian’s buildings were ruined, so were the most of stored historical documents about Qiang. In 2008, the total population of Qiang was about 306,100, and about 80% of them lived in the area that the earthquake affected directly. A museum in Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County was severely damaged and about 400 pieces of Qiang’s symbolic antique were destroyed. The earthquake really brought Qiang culture a catastrophic lost.

t017e56d62608fd4ba6

(Picture resource: baike.so.com)

Yun Duo, a Qiang singer, and her music teacher, who also lived in Sichuan, released a song called “吾愛” for those who had fortunately survived yet lost their loves in the earthquake. Well, if I translate the name of the song to English, it should be something like “My love”.

Video

 

-Culture Fanatic-

Embroidery of Qiang (刺绣)

Qiang people has a long tradition of creating their own artifacts, their artifacts contain many various forms. Among those forms, embroidery of Qiang people is the most prominent and exquisite thing.

Embroidery is a kind of traditional Chinese handicraft that using needles to draw various color threads go between fabrics and created drawings on it. The various embroidery patches and embroidered image patterns on Qiang nation people’s apparels are all belong to the traditional Qiang’s ethnic folk arts and crafts, which has a long history.QQ截图20160324202142.png

Qiang’s ethnic embroidery works upon artists’ imagination. In the history of development, Qiang’s ethnic embroidery formed its unique aesthetic styles, color patterns and functional forms naturally, also folk and self-embodied with national folk art rules which has aesthetic values.

QQ截图20160324202258.png

Qiang’s ethnic embroidery mainly serves as a function used for decorating people’s coats and skirts, shoes, head towels, belts, ribbons, bands, straps, cuffs, pants, trousers bodies, shoe-uppers, insoles, pillowcases, handkerchiefs, clothing edges, sleeves and sachets, from these art patterns we can view the history line of Qiang’s ethnic costume culture.

As long as to do a bit statistics, we can learn that there are over 100 kinds of embroidery patterns merely in Qiang’s ethnic apparels, that is really colorful! Containing Qiang nation people’s fine aspirations for a better life, these exquisite embroidery works created by fine techniques are simple, rigorous, arranged ingenious and reasonable, also using moderate colors, thus to integrate the aesthetic forms and functional forms naturally: Not only for wearing beautiful, but also wearable, and the use lift extended consequently.

QQ截图20160324202723.png

As the visual patterns Qiang’s embroidery selected: fishes, flowers and birds, worms, fowls and beasts, figures, fruits and melons, flowers, ‘Fortunes smile upon and Favor you’, Treasures Fill the Home, Hundreds of birds visit Phoenix, all these designs are profound and lifelike. Although done with some geometric or other forms of transforming treatment, but are closely related to their lifestyle all along, and the starting point of their ideas for a better life is just existed in such a lifestyle of survival.

QQ截图20160324202856

 

QQ截图20160324202947

 

-By Yang

Food of Qiang Minority Group

Unlike many Chinese people who are belonged to Han Group having rice and wheat as their daily food intakes, Qiang People’s most frequently food source is from corn. Corn are planted in Si Chuan  province as a source of food, both temperature and climate are good for corn growth, Qiang people will utilize corn to make various food including corn pancakes, corn soup, corn with vegetables.

QQ截图20160324184110.png

(Source: gettyimages)

Eating corn is a tradition for Qiang people way back to their ancestors, there are also lots of artifacts of Qiang People depicting this long-lasting tradition. QQ截图20160324184125

Except from corn, Qiang People also love to have various meat including pork, beef, mutton, fish and chicken. Unlike many minority groups in China, Qiang people do not have a taboo of consuming meat.

Wine is also a crucial part of Qiang People’s culture. Qiang people has its own specially fermented wine, and they put honey in this wine what is suitable for children and women to drink. Adult male of Qiang Minority Group all have a great capacity of drinking harsh liquor and most of them drink on a daily basis. QQ截图20160324192137.png

(source: gettyimages)

Qiang people also has a very interesting habit of drinking wine and liquor, they tend to use bowls instead of glasses and cups, as shown in the picture above, among older people, it is even more surprising that people sitting around a bucket of wine and sucking wine from a very long straw.

QQ截图20160324192057

This has been a very unique experience that many travelers want to participate when they are in a Qiang village as well.

-By Yang

White Stone- Qiang Religion 2

Here is another important element in Qiang’s religion, white stone. You can find white stone every where in Qiang People’s territory:  In the peaks of the mountains, in the middle of the forest, on the roof of the buildings or in the rooms of a house. They are a symbol of the respect of the Qiang people for all their gods (except the God of Fire who never is represented with a white stone).

QQ截图20160323153219.png

On the roof of every Qiang religious tower usually there are five white stones. They separately symbolize the God of Heaven, God of Earth, God of the Mountains, God of the Trees and Goddess of the Mountains. God of Heaven is usually the most important god among all of gods, and people will put white stones in shrines at home as well. QQ截图20160323153838.png

In these shrines are also revered the gods of the family: the ancestors’ god, the goddess of the women, the gods of the men. And in some places gods are also worshiped in these homely shrines: the Gods of the Domestic animals, of Richness and Fortune, the God of the Barns, Gods of the Gates…

Below this sacred shrine, usually there is a fire, with a tripod over it. One of the feet of the tripod has a small circle that represents the God of Fire.

QQ截图20160323154036.png

White stone gives Qiang People a way to express their worship and salute towards Gods and they exist as very important aspect in Qiang People’s religious life.

 

-By Yang