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Need help cooking "Western" dishes in China

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm a student studying abroad in China for the year and I love the food here but I need some western cuisine in my life. We have a few western restaurants but they're super expensive and not very good. I'm not much of a cook but I have really got into cooking since I came here and want to make some westernized dishes for my Chinese friends to try. However, lots of western cooking materials are super hard to find here so i'm pretty limited unless I go to an import store and spend a ton of money (I made taco salad yesterday for 8 people and it cost me 70$USD).

 

When it comes to meat, I'm pretty much stuck with pork and chicken. I also don't trust using chicken right now because of a bird flu scare we have going on. I can get beef but it's way to expensive to buy for the average meal. A pound of beef is about 8$ compared to a pound of pork for 3$. I can get most vegetables. Spices and other cooking stuff is kind of limited. I can get salt, msg, numbing pepper, crushed red peppers, garlic, chicken flavoring thingy, black pepper, cumin, and some other random things. I can't get cheese, or pretty much any dairy products. We have milk but it's a little weird, it's boxed, unrefridgerated and tastes a little different but i doubt you'd taste a difference in food. My oil is limited to fish oil although I have some olive oil. It's super hard to find lots of stuff. I don't have an oven but there is a toaster oven.

 

Can anyone recommend me dishes and stuff I can make with what I have available? I'm really missing western food. I especially miss western breakfasts because chinese breakfast is super different and weird. Eggs are super easy to get but I don't know what else to make besides scrambled eggs lol.

 

There are a bunch of things I can't get so ask me if I have it and I can check the food market next to me.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 7

Can you get your Mother to make a shipment to you of oils and spices?  Can you get pasta and canned tomatoes?  If not have her ship those too.  Do you have access to bread and bacon for sandwiches?  You could always make your own pasta from scratch, visit our pasta thread to find out how.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 7

Off the top of my head...

 

Fritatta. I know it's Italian, but it's definitely west of China. Great for breakfast. 

 

Grilled/pan seared boneless pork chops with roasted potatoes/ green beans. How big is your toaster oven? Maybe fries. You can make those in a wok. Once you've seared both sides, lower the heat and cover until done since you have no oven. Make a sauce with the fond from the pan you seared the pork in. Put a small bit of stock, or water, even a splash of wine, if you can get it. Rice wine will do. Deglaze, meaning stir the liquid around until it picks up the fond = the brown stuff on the pan. Any rosemary or thyme available? Can you get chicken bullion cubes?

 

Can you get heavy cream?  Butter? If you can get heavy cream but no butter, make your own butter. It's used in a lot of western dishes and sauces. It's easy : 

 

 

Too bad you can't get cheese, but as Koukouvagia suggests, have it sent to you. $, but at least you'll have some - and it might ship well if you send hard aged cheeses. 

 

Flour? You can make pancakes with home made jam. All you need is fresh fruit and sugar - or macerated berries (sugar, water, berries and heat to simmer until everything breaks down. Chill and serve). What about bread? 

 

You could conceivably chop up beef and make burgers, if you want to spring for the beef and you can find some sort of bun. Not exactly the same but you can use an egg to bind the minced meat if it doesn't hold together. You'll need some fatty beef and chop the hell out of it, form into a patty and pan fry.  

 

You can use the milk for a variety of vegetable soups. 

 

Look up some recipes for the above for specifics. Good Luck!!

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

They said they would ship me a couple things but it takes a couple weeks and they can only ship so much because the stuff weighs a lot and will cost a ton in shipping. I'm more-so looking for things I can make daily with the stuff I have available for cheap here. I can actually make my own tomato sauce. I have never done it before but I have tomatoes, olive oil, a little basil seasoning, and salt. As for pasta, I'd have to make it myself because I'v only seen roman noodle type noodles here except for a few places that make thicker pasta like noodles. But those places make it themselves as well, they don't buy already packaged noodles.

 

Also, I can get bread but I don't really know what to make with bread besides a peanut butter and jelly sandwich haha. Don't have deli meat or cheese for sandwiches. I haven't seen heavy cream anywhere but I can get butter at a decent price.

 

Here's a couple dishes I can make pretty cheap based on what I have available.

 

Deviled eggs: eggs, mayo, mustard, white vinegar

 

Stuffed potatoes: Cut potatoes in half, scoop a little out so it's like a boat and then add in some type of filling. Right now the only filling I can think of making without cheese is ground pork mixed together with green peppers, red bell peppers, and onions.

 

Stuffed Bell Peppers: Pretty much the same stuffing as stuffed potatoes but maybe I'll use beef instead of switch it up.

 

Stuff Mushrooms: Same concept as previous 2 lol.

 

Omelette: A basic omelette minus the cheese.

 

Burritos: Make shift burritos. I don't have burrito seasoning to season the meat and I have to use just normal white rice. And no cheese or beans. They're okay but nothing to special.

 

Quesadilla: I have butter and tortillas but again no cheese. I'm made some decent cheeseless quesadillas but if you have any better use for tortillas than let me know.

post #5 of 7

Peanut butter and jelly?  Come on now.  What about french toast?  Milk, eggs, some vanilla extract and cinnamon.

 

Bread pudding likewise.

 

You can make turkey sandwiches for sure, or grilled chicken sandwiches.  Or chicken salad sandwiches with chicken, onion, celery, mayo type dressing.  If you have flour and water and egg you can make pasta.  Here's a recipe for taco seasoning http://www.food.com/recipe/taco-seasoning-budget-friendly-seasoning-for-tacos-burritos-166030

 

And you DO have the ingredients to make mexican rice http://mexican.food.com/recipe/mexican-rice-117892

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 7

Check the refrigerated cases in your local market. There should be fresh-made wheat and egg noodles there that will do very nicely for more western-style pasta dishes. Every Chinese market I've ever set foot in has them in various widths--like spaghetti or fettucine--in bags. You don't need to cook them for more than a minute or two, because they are not dried. 

post #7 of 7

Your main difference is in the herbs and spices and these are light if you want them flown in.

Assuming that you can get peper and salt, I would look at oregano, bay, rosemary, thyme and maybe mixed herbs. Most other dried herbs don't have much taste.

Can you get paprika powder? If not order some or buy bell peppers and let them dry. After that you can grind them.

 

Like Koukouvagia. I was going to suggest french toast.

 

But there is plenty more:

The Chinese like belly pork, slice some thin pieces and fry it as if it is bacon

The green part of the spring onions taste like chives, delicious in scrambled eggs.

If you can get wheat flour, you can make pancakes. If you can't, then try making them from rice flour.

You can make your own pizza.

Finely chop some pork and beef (50/50) and make burgers, or make bolognesa.

As said above, you can use wheat noodles instead of pasta.

And then there are soups: tomato soup, vegetable soup, chicken soup etc etc

Can you get potatoes?

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