My First Three Months Of Learning Mandarin

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Sunday, 4 October 2009 9 comments

Three Months of Learning Mandarin

I started writing this blog just after I decided to commit and start learning Mandarin. In the three months since, I feel like I have made good if a little slow progress. Before people jump up and tell me off for thinking that I have made slow progress. It is not that it is slow, so much as, I haven’t spent and dedicated enough time (that I told myself I would) revising the things I have learnt.

I have certainly thrown myself in at the deep end by starting this blog and forcing myself to keep up with the goals I set myself. Yet, I still find myself wanting to know more, a real craving and frustration that I can’t say anything I want to.

So What I Can Say After Three Months Learning Mandarin:

Basic Greetings,
Basic Colours,
Basic Numbers,
Days of the week,
Basic Foods,
Basic Drinks,
and some basic actions (eating / running / cooking etc)
Most recently some basic items of clothing, and basic household items.

I can say : thank you, I want, I like, I love etc.

And about 70 Daily Proverbs... Although I would certainly not claim that I remember them off the top of my head.

And this is my current problem, I am learning a lot, but the memory recall of it isn’t strong currently. Hopefully it will get better with time.

Discovering Mandarin:

I intended this blog to be a collection of the things I had learnt as a reference point for myself, and for other people who are learning too. It has turned out that through the daily updates and being busy that I haven’t had time to update with things I have learnt quite as often as I had hoped.

I started out writing this blog because I did not have anyone to practise my Mandarin with, and my housemates were both learning Japanese. Truth be told, they haven’t stuck at Japanese at all and my motivation has sunk a little. The people I have met through this blog are very inspiring and have made me continue with my dream and I want to thank you all for the little bits of help you give me daily.

Learning Mandarin - What Now?

The three months I have been learning Mandarin I have learnt more than I have ever learnt in French that I learnt for four years at school. This is largely due to the fact I wanted to learn Mandarin and never wanted to learn French.

I want to carry on learning and actually stick to my commitment of daily learning. I think I am also going to try out the much talked about Heisig method of learning characters. Although, many of the drawbacks are outlined well in Chris' Mandarin Student blog post. I think I would like the ability to know that I can understand a large amount of characters much like Greg’s experience of the theory in Mandarin Segments blog.

I intend to carry on using Rosetta stone for my basic vocabulary and helping to build it up bit by bit, alongside my other research. Also using Heisig as mentioned to increase my knowledge and recollection of Chinese characters I hope that my writing and reading ability will increase with my spoken Mandarin.

So here is to another three months of Mandarin learning, and to hopefully many years of learning Mandarin happily and as excitedly as these first three months.

Daily Chinese Proverb: Love Everything...

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 0 comments

This Chinese proverb is one that is said to warn someone that if they want to be in a relationship with you, they must be willing to accept everything about you.

ài wū jí wū
love the house and its crow

English Variation:
Love me, love my dog

Photo Source:

Sticky Lemon Chicken & Egg Fried Rice: Recipe

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 0 comments

Sticky Lemon Chicken & Egg Fried Rice
Serves 2

This is a simple recipe for sticky lemon chicken and egg fried rice. I served it as you might find in a restuarant. It is a tasty dish and very more-ish, both my girlfriend and I loved this recipe and will certainly be cooking this lemon chicken recipe again. The sweet honey and lemon flavour mixed with the flavour-some egg fried rice is very refreshing.

Prep time: 35 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins

You Will Need:
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 Boneless Chicken Breasts
4 tbsp Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
3 Lemons (2 squeezed, 1 Sliced)

Sticky Lemon Chicken Marinade:
4 tbsp Cornflour
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp Water

For Egg Fried Rice:
1 cup. Rice
2 egg whites
2 Spring onions
handful of peas

To Serve:
1 sliced lemon
1 Spring Onion

How To Cook Sticky Lemon Chicken & Egg Fried Rice:

1. Boil rice until cooked then leave to the side to cool down. Whilst boiling the rice (about 10 minutes), separate the 2 egg yolks and whites. Combine cornstarch, water and the egg yolks in a bowl; whisk until smooth. Add chicken breasts, coating each piece well.

2. Once the rice has been cooked, place rice aside to cool ready for egg fried rice later.

3. Heat oil in a wok for frying chicken; until sizzling. Fry chicken breasts, part at a time, on both sides until brown and tender. Remove to paper towels and keep warm.

4. Add the wine vinegar, ginger, garlic to the wok and bubble until reduced by half. Add the soy sauce and honey and shake the pan to mix. Add the chicken back to the pan.

5. Pour in a splash of hot water and add the lemon slices. Let the liquid bubble and reduce down until syrupy, which will take about 10 minutes or so. By that time the chicken should be cooked through.

6. Whilst cooking the lemon chicken in the sauce. Heat some oil in another wok. Fry egg until it starts to group together. Add spring onions to the egg for a minute, and then add the rice and peas for a minute making sure to separate the rice as you put it in.

7. Add oyster sauce and soy sauce to the fried rice and fry for one minute longer. Now the chicken should be fully cooked, and (I forgot to do this, this time) add some lemon juice to make the caramalised sauce pourable. Lemon chicken and egg fried rice is now ready to serve.

As I Served it:

(Arrange Chicken breast slightly over lapping on serving dish. Place rice in a cup and flip upside down on the plate. Serve with slices of lemon and sprinkle with scallions.)

You can add the sauce over the top as mentioned above.

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