2016/01/10

Dough Flowers (Mianhua)

 Dough Flowers (Mianhua)


Dough flowers are not only a food but a work of art nice to look at. As the name implies, they are made of wheat flour, though sometimes mixed with gluti-nous rice flour for greater stickiness.

They are very popular in the Chinese countryside, and those made in Luochuan in northern Shaanxi Provice, called huamo(or "flowery bread") by the local people, are particularly well-known. On the eve of festivals or ceremonial occasions such as a wedding or a funeral, the local womenfolk will inevitably turn their thought to preparing dough flowers. No patterns are needed, bur their nimble fingers can in no time shape a ball of dough into a flower, a bird, a chickor a duckling. A blossoming flower is made by cutting out the petals with scissors, the flumage of bird wings by pressing with a comb, and black or green beans will make the eyes of little animals. Then the modelled figures are cooled by steaming and brightened up with colouring Peaches made of steamed dough, a symbol of longevity for birthday parties of elderly people,are ususally dyed red and yellow after the natural ones.

Dough flowers are normally sweet in taste and served at dinners between the dishes. Some are prepared by mixing natural, colourful vegetable juices into wheat flour, and they look particularly delightful and appetizing.