The Yangshao Cooking School is fantastic and has been one of the highlights of my trip so far.
The school is located right on the banks of the river, which flows in front of picturesque mountains and grazing water buffalo.
We started off by preparing steamed chicken with mushrooms and goji berries. This was simple and even I couldn't screw it us. We simply sliced the chicken and the mushrooms, then placed them into a wooden steamer where they slowly cooked through the rest of the lesson.
Next we prepared egg rolls with pork.
We took minced pork, added salt, pepper, oyster sauce and chopped mint and mixed it together with soy sauce. Next we took a beaten egg and spooned it into a hot wok to make small omelette like pancakes. Into this we spooned the pork, before folding over and cooking through.
Our first dish prepared, we all retired to a large table outside where we ate our efforts. My own were a bit of a mixed bag presentation wise, being an assortment of shapes and sizes. However, despite the first bite being with the eye, the second is with the mouth and these passed the taste test. I would probably not order these in a restaurant as I'm not keen on egg, but I would like to try making them again only this time replacing the egg pancake with a traditional batter pancake - I think it would work pretty well.
Next up was a traditional stir-fried pork, with ginger, chillies and garlic. This was nice and simple to make, and I'd be confident in making it again.
Our next dish was stir-fried aubergines with seasoning. Another nice and simple dish, although you need to be careful with the temperature. Too hot and they burn, too cold and the aubergine soaks up the oil making them soggy.
The last dish was a very simple green leaves stir-fried in garlic. The name is both accurate and also pretty much sums up the cooking process.
We then gathered our dishes and returned to the table for the feast, where they were joined by the chicken that we prepared earlier and sticky white rice. Of the dishes, my favourites were the pork and the aubergine. I wasn't overly keen on the green leaves which I found bland, but all the others I really enjoyed.
Given my talents for cooking do not really extend much further than the microwave, I was pleasantly surprised that my food tasted as good as it did.
I have a little recipe book from the school, and I look forward to giving them another go.