My Citizens, there are few things more annoying to the proud and monomaniacal Emperor of Eatery – the all-knowing TFD! – than finding someone who outguns even my own encyclopædic knowledge of Chinese cuisine. As a renowned raging egomaniac, this irks me to no end – while I’m being (slightly) facetious here, the truth is that Li Ziqi is one of those very, VERY rare vloggers that have impressed me and she is both humble and patient in sharing her life’s work. Unlike me. 😉
You don’t know her, you say? That’s not overly surprising, Citizen – she isn’t well known (yet) outside of China, but she has more than 58 MILLION followers there (and with damned good reason).
Her amazing Sichuan recipes, the incredible cinematography of her stately and flowing videos, her ethereal/otherworldly presence and the unmatched authenticity of her lifestyle have made her the toast of China. Her beauty has assuredly helped as well, but don’t be fooled – she is much more than a pretty face.
This woman knows her rural Chinese cuisine better than anyone, and it is my deep honor to acknowledge her as a peer and equal and introduce you to the recipes that have enthralled China!
This recent article from the South China Morning Post is a very rare interview with her in English – I suggest you start there.
A very lengthy blog post (still worth reading) detailing her life, how she shoots her videos and more is here – it’s a Master-class on the subject of her recipes, philosophy and more. The blog author also sells handcrafted Chinese cleavers and knives of the utmost quality – I recommend any of them heartily, check them out here.
When I first discovered her YouTube channel a few months ago, I was enthralled at the extraordinary authenticity of her work, lifestyle and the breadth of her knowledge of Chinese cuisine. As it happens, this was the first Li Ziqi video I watched of hers and it captivated me – and inspired me to try and put the recipe into English for you to try yourselves!
It wasn’t easy – but I have at last done it and I hope you will see fit to try this most authentic set of recipes for yourselves! This will not be the last of her videos I will try and make more broadly available to the English-speaking world, of that I can assure you!
As Li Ziqi herself noted:
“’Small snowy day to make dry vegetable, heavy snowy day to make dry meat’. After a heavy snow day, every family started to prepare dry meat and sausage for (Chinese) New Year. Now I am sharing the recipe we have used for several decades to make dry meat and sausage.”
Wait until it’s cold and dry outside if you’re going to make this in the traditional way, or if you are using modern techniques and a cold room, you can make them anytime! The Kaoliang liquor used in Li Ziqi’s recipe is basically Chinese hootch – at 116 proof, it’s strong enough to (literally) take the paint off a wall from your breathing on it after a snort. It’s also a necessity in Li Ziqi’s recipe – that high-proof booze helps keep things from spoiling. You can buy it here.
As noted on thewoksoflife.com:
Dried Sand Ginger (shā jiāng or shānnài) is different from your regular variety of Chinese ginger and is part of the galangal family and sometimes referred to as aromatic ginger. A side-by-side comparison of sand ginger powder or shā jiāng fěn (沙薑粉) with ginger powder, jiāng fěn (薑粉) will find that they taste and smell quite different as they are different varieties of ginger.
You can buy sand ginger powder of top-quality here.
Citizens, I hope you enjoy the recipes and videos of Li Ziqi as much as I – her recipes are truly world-class and never-before-seen in the West! 🙂
Battle on – the Generalissimo
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