Anyone who ever visited Xi’an and stayed in Hanwood would generally complain to me about the extremely spicy taste of the food here.Last time,when I was talking about the HUGE PANCAKE,I mentioned people eating the pancake with all chili inside.Yeah,you are right.The chili plays quite important role in Shaanxi culture and cuisine.It is generally regarded as an one-dish meal if coupled with a bowel of noodles or a gigantic “Guokui”
“The ballad is the following: don’t say the people in Sichuan and Hunan like eating capsicum, Shaanxi people like eating more which frightens people. The salty capsicum powder is cooked by hot oil which can be eaten with noodles and steamed bread.
Mentioning the area where the people like eating hot pepper, maybe all of us will put forward Sichuan and Hunan. However, the Shaanxi people also like eating hot pepper. What’s more, it has been formed a kind of culture that Shaanxi people eating hot pepper daintily which can not be matched by the people in Sichuan and Hunan. Generally speaking, the fancy of eating hot pepper has something with Shaanxi people’s character whose love and hate is sharply divided.
As an offspring of farmer, I grew up in the country. I remembered that when I was young, people always threaded the capsicums with needle one by one and hanged them under the eave where the wind can go through. Therefore, there were always strings of red capsicums hanged under eave after the autumn. In addition, more capsicums show a family must be rich. Therefore, some girls having a traditional blind date before engagement always saw the capsicums hanged under the eave to judge their future family’s economy.
It can be forgiven that there isn’t fine wine and meat to feast the gusts at usual. However, the dishes are lack of hot pepper that will cause the gusts to feel unsatisfactory and be jeered. They must complain about this to everyone’ this family is so mean that there isn’t any capsicum when having a meal’.
In Shaanxi, the authentic oiled capsicum is made like this: firstly air-dry the capsicum, then cut it into small parts about 1.5 centimeters long, finally put the parts into pot for heating and drying. It is very important to control the duration at that time., because if the duration is long, the capsicum will be burnt and taste bitter; if it is short , the capsicum will not be crisp and hard to mash without any spiciness. After getting the hot pepper out of the pot, people put it into a iron jar and beat it strongly with a pestle until it turns into powder. Certainly it can’t be too small lest the taste is affected. Now people feel the capsicum milled by beater not spicy for it has already lost its flavor.
The capsicum is pressurized in the glass bottle after it turns into powder. When people want do eat it, they firstly blend the powder with some salt, then heat some colza oil and pour it on the powder as soon as possible. The capsicum oil can be eaten after it is cooling.
The local people in Shaanxi can’t be without capsicum oil. They not only eat it with noodles but also nip it between the cake and steamed bread which is a unique characteristic of Shaanxi people. Break off the hot steamed bread with hands, nip several scoops of capsicum oil and have a bite, then a spicy feeling beyond the power of the word ‘cool’ will go through your body.”
At first,I was used to this spicy culture,but after 5 years staying here,I already fell in love with this and could not do with chili for meals.