Emily Reason and WVU stop by for a Xinjiang meal

I spent a great evening this weekend with Emily Reason and a group of West Virginia University ceramic students heading to Jingdezhen. Emily will be one of the guest instructors during the three month study abroad program. WVU has a studio on the campus of the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute making it the only American art program with a permanent footprint in China. (Click here for more information on the program and its founder Bob Anderson.)

The group came for a studio visit before we headed across town for a Xinjiang meal. This style of food comes from the mountainous far western province that shares borders with RussiaMongolia, India and the Stans ( KazakhstanKyrgyzstanTajikistanAfghanistanPakistan). The food is similar to the middle east both in flavor and texture. My favorite dishes of the night were the roasted lamb and the lightly fried chick peas. The peppered flavors were spicy but not so much that they overwhelm the combination of cumin, ginger, and garlic.

The second picture from the top shows our dessert of candied yams. For this dish boiled yams are soaked in a hot sugar sauce. As the yams cool the sauce hardens into a thin sweet coating. You must quickly dip the pieces in water before the mixture hardens into one solid mountain of candy. The sweetness and soft texture of this dish complement the robust spice of the meat and vegetables. 

Here is a recipe for making the spice powder that is frequently used on grilled meat and veggies. Enjoy!

  • 1/4 cup cumin seed
  • tablespoons dried szechuan chile flakes
  • tablespoons black pepper
  • tablespoon szechuan peppercorns
  • tablespoon ground ginger powder
  • tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

    1. 1. Toast Sichuan peppercorns til fragrant. Toast cumin until lightly browned.
    2. 2. Grind Sichuan peppercorns, cumin, chili flakes and black pepper in a spice grinder.
    3. 3. Stir in remaining ingredients.

    Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/xinjiang-spice-mix-348504#ixzz1Xhlgj1p0

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