Thursday, 30 July 2009

Corned beef stir fry


I am not ashamed to say I love tinned corned beef as much as I love Spam or Chinese luncheon meat. I don't like plain corned beef straight from the tin for sandwiches. We always had it stir fried with onion. Every time I make this I can always eat a big bowlful of hot steamy rice. It's trashy but tasty comfort food, sometime it's what I need. Any leftover I normally make sandwiches.

This recipe is what my mum used to cook for the family since I was a kid. I reckon similar recipe is common to many S E Asian Chinese.


Ingredients:

1 tin (about 350g) of tinned corned beef
2 medium onion, sliced
1 - 2 chilli, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp kecap manis
1 heap tsp sugar
1 - 2 egg, beaten (optional)
2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil
handful of chopped coriander


Method:
  1. Stir fry onion with cooking oil till onion is soften.
  2. Add corned beef, mash it with the cooking spatula/spoon. Add kecap manis, soy and sugar to taste. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, keep stirring to avoid sticking till the corned beef is quite dry. Stir in the chilli.
  3. Add in the beaten egg, do not stir till the egg is beginning to set, stir to combine.
  4. Stir in coriander.

Beaten egg absorbs the moisture from the corned beef mixture making it drier.

You may have noticed from the picture I did not add egg because I ran out and I was too lazy to go to the shop. It was still as nice.

If you like this stir fried corned beef a bit more spicier, add a tablespoon of hot curry powder/curry paste when frying the onion is also very nice.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Mango salad


I bought some green mango hoping to make Malaysian mango sambal, but found out it has already gone semi ripen with a slight sweetness but still hard. Not sour enough to make sambal so decided to make Thai mango salad.

I don't mind shredding the mango because I have a much loved gadget i.e. this Japanese mandoline I had for over 10 years. Shredding vegetable is child play.


Thai style mango salad is lovely and refreshing. Green mango is nice so is semi ripe mango but must remain very firm. This salad is similar to green papaya salad.


Here is what I usually do.


Ingredients:

1 large green or semi ripe mango
1 large shallot about 50g or half a medium red onion
1 large red and juicy tomato
1 - 1.5 red chilli (as hot as you like)
2 tbsp dried shrimps
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp grated palm sugar
small handful fresh mint
small handful coriander
few tbsp crushed roasted peanuts


Method:
  1. Slice shallot very thin. Chop chilli. Rinse and soak dried shrimps for few minutes then chop. Mix this together with lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar for about 10 - 15 minutes. Shallots taste better after marinated with lime juice.
  2. Roughly chopped tomato add this to shallot mixture.
  3. Shred mango. Chop coriander and shred mint. Mix this with the other ingredients above.
  4. Plate up and sprinkle on crushed peanuts.


For a change, sometime I will use half mango half mooli which is also very nice.

If you like to make this salad suitable for vegan, use fish sauce substitute like a very light soy sauce and leave out dried shrimps.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Coca-cola wings 可樂雞翼


Coke is not only a refreshing fizzy drink, it's quite a nice marinade for meat. Many people are familiar with ham cooked in Coke, famously introduced by Nigella few years back.

There are also Chinese recipes related to Coca-cola. When getting a cold, many like a hot flat ginger-lemon-Coke 薑檸樂, a lovely drink and quite an effective cure. Coke is really nice to go with ribs, pork chops and chicken wings recipes Chinese style.

Coke wings are lovely, a favourite with many Chinese especially children. The sweet dark and spicy sauce coated on chicken wings is sticky fingers licking good.


The recipe is really simple, just chicken wings, Coke, few spices, soy sauce and cooking wine.


Ingredients:

about 1 kg chicken wings
4 - 5 tbsp light soy
4 - 5 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (like Shaoshing)

2 tbsp cooking oil
1 small chunk ginger
2 stalk spring onion, use only the white part
1 large clove garlic
3 star anise
1 small piece cinnamon stick or cassia bark
1 red chilli (option, leave out if you don't like spicy or cater for children)
2.5 - 3 tbsp light soy
1 tsp dark soy
2 tsp honey
3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
About 300 - 350ml or 1 standard size can of regular Coca-cola (not diet)


Method:

Cut wings into sections. Marinate with soy and wine for few hours, turning few times during marination. Drain off marinade. I don't like to use this marinade for the sauce, it draws out juice/impurity from the meat and makes the sauce cloudy.


Fry the wings without oil till golden brown all sides. Set aside.

Bashed the garlic, no need to chop. Slice the spring onion. Ginger no need to peel just sliced.

Clean wok, heat oil then fry the spices till fragrant.


Add in the Coke and the rest of the ingredients let this bring to the boil, then add in the chicken wings. When the liquid starts boiling simmer at medium high heat till the liquid is reduced to a thick and syrupy sauce coating the chicken pieces. Stirring more when the liquid is drying up.


If you like a zingy taste you can add in some lemon/lime juice towards the end of the cooking.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Apam balik (Turnover pancake)


Pancakes are multi racial and international. Every country has their own different pancake recipes.

I have posted quite a few Chinese style pancakes.

Now lets return to a traditional Malay recipe. This pancake is Apam Balik, translated as turnover pancake.

There is a thin and crispy version and a thick and fluffy one like this post. This thick pancake is similar to American thick pancake with a sweet filling. Traditional filling is peanut with some cream style corn.



Ingredients:

This recipe makes about 6 pancakes.

Batter:
150g plain flour
2 tbsp custard powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
250ml milk or water (I used milk)
2 tbsp melted butter or cooking oil


Fillings:
3/4 cup roasted peanuts
2 tbsp sugar
about 1/2 cup cream style corn

Method:
  1. Mix the batter dry ingredients together then add in beaten egg, milk and butter/oil, mix till no lumps.
  2. Ground the peanut using a food processor with sugar.
  3. Use a good non stick frying pan. Heat the pan without any oil till quite hot, pour in some batter about 3mm thick evenly. Let the mixture bubble without touching. When the pancake is almost dry on top and crispy brown on the bottom, sprinkle on some peanut mixture and about 2 - 3 tsp of cream style corn. Fold over.
Cut into half and serve.


For an alternative filling try a few sliced banana and some finely chopped milk chocolate or some chocolate sauce.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Steamed aubergine with a spicy tomato sauce



If you like fish fragrant aubergine you will like this recipe. I have made this several times. No meat at all and it's quite yummy.


Ingredients: enough for 1 - 2

2 small or 1 large western aubergine (egg plant)

sauce:
3 cloves garlic
1 large red chilli (less or leave it out if you don't like too spicy)
2 tbsp fermented black beans (dried beans not sauce)
1 large red juicy tomato
2 - 3 stalks spring onion
1.5 tbsp chilli bean sauce
2 - 3 tsp sugar
1 - 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
1 - 2 tsp light soy sauce
3 - 4 tbsp cooking oil


Method:
  1. Semi peel the aubergine (like tiger stripes) then cut into long thick strips. Steam for about 20 minutes or till very soft.
  2. While the aubergine is steaming prepare the sauce. Rinse and roughly chop the black beans. Chop the garlic, chilli and spring onion. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes.
  3. In a frying pan or wok heat the oil then add garlic, stir fry at medium heat for about a minute then add black beans and stir till fragrant. Then add the chilli bean sauce follow by sugar, wine, vinegar and a little soy sauce to taste. Reduce the sauce to quite thick. Then add in the tomato, quick stir then leave it alone, the tomato will give out quite a lot of liquid. Heat high to reduce the liquid. When the liquid has reduced to about half or less, add chilli and 3/4 the spring onion. Stir. Sauce is ready.
  4. When the aubergine is cooked, take it out of the steamer and pile the strips neatly on a plate. Remove any liquid. Spoon on the sauce. Then sprinkle with the remaining spring onion.

I had this with rice or plain noodles.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Vietnamese noodle salad with lemongrass pork


Vietnamese salad is always refreshing and appetising. Nuoc cham sauce is so simple to make but so delicious to accompany any Vietnamese dishes.

Lemongrass flavoured pork noodle salad is popular in all Vietnamese Cafes or restaurants in Hong Kong. I love it. It's called 'Huon mau gee pa dung mung 香茅豬扒凍檬' in Cantonese. No sure whether this is authentic Vietnamese or what it is called in Vietnamese.

The recipe is simple, consists of some char grilled/oven grilled pork marinated with lemongrass, some salad vegetables, herbs and rice vermicelli all dressed with nuoc cham sauce.


Ingredients:
(for 2)

Pork and marinade:
about 400g pork chop (2 pieces)
2 tbsp finely chopped shallot (about 1 walnut size shallot)
2 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass (about 1 - 1.5 stick of lemongrass)
1 fat clove garlic, chopped
1 - 2 tsp finely chopped red chilli
2.5 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil


Salad and garnish:
few lettuce leaves
some raw beansprouts
some shredded cucumber
some roasted peanuts
some chopped coriander and mint
a few sprig of mint or coriander for garnish only


Noodles:
170 - 180g rice vermicelli (glass noodles is great too)


Nuoc cham sauce:
1 - 1.5 tbsp minced red chilli, for a fiery heat add a few bird's eyes
1 clove garlic, chopped or minced
50 - 60ml lime juice
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 heap tsp sugar (more if you like a sweeeter taste sauce)
60 - 70ml hot water


Method:
  1. Put pork in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin to loosen the meat fibres to tenderise pork and to absorb more marinade.
  2. Finely chop all the spices/herbs for the pork marinade. For the lemongrass use only the last few inches tender part and remove the first/two wooden layers, cut lemongrass into paper thin rings then finely chopped. Mix this with the rest of the ingredients and marinate the pork for at least 1 - 3 hours.
  3. Soak rice /glass noodles in warm water till softened, then drained.
  4. Make the nouc cham sauce. Put in a serving bowl.
  5. Char grill or oven grill the pork till golden brown. The left ovcr marinade I did not throw away but brown with some oil till caramelised, quite nice with the noodles.
  6. Prepare the salad and garnish
  7. Blanch the noodles in boiling water till soft. Rinse with cold water then drain thoroughly.
  8. Put noodles on the serving plate, garnish with salad and peanuts. Slice pork and put on noodles.
  9. Ready to serve. Drizzle nuoc cham sauce all over.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Spinach and glass noodles salad 粉絲菠菜塔


Here is another Sichuan style salad with spinach and glass noodles, eaten warm or cold.

Simple and refreshing vegetarian. Moulding with a cup makes a nice presentation as a starter.

This recipe is enough for 2.

Ingredients:


40 -45g glass noodles or bean thread or fun see
300g spinach (better use young spinach with stalks), very cheap from Asian or Chinese supermarket

1 tbsp grated ginger
1.5 tbsp sesame oil

dressing:
1.5 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
few drops of chilli oil
0.5 tsp chicken or vegetable stock granules or powder (optional)
3 tbsp water

garnish:
a little grated ginger
a little chopped chilli

Method:
  1. Soak glass noodles then blanch in boiling water briefly till softened. Drain and cut with scissors into shorter length.
  2. Blanch spinach till wilted. Drain and lightly squeeze to release water. Cut into shorter length if necessary.
  3. Mix spinach and noodles with ginger and sesame oil.
  4. Stack all in one bowl or individual bowl. For a nicer presentation, mould with a cup first. I used a yogurt cup as mould.
  5. Pour the dressing on and sprinkle with a bit more ginger and chopped chilli.7


Glass noodles. I always buy the LungKow brand, with two red dragons logo.
Various packings. These are what I got in my cupboard now. One large, one multipack (as opened) and one individual wrapped multipack. For this recipe I used just one small bundle.

Cantonese (Hong Kong) style chilli oil 辣椒油


In Hong Kong and UK, Chinese restaurants always offer a dish of fiery chilli oil to eat with the meal or dim sum.

I have already posted a recipe for Sichuan style chilli oil. Sichuan Chilli oil is fragrant but does not have a savoury taste.

Cantonese chilli oil is slightly different, usually has dried shrimps, shallot and garlic which give it a savoury taste. The solid is as nice as the oil.

Here is a recipe if you like to make some at home.





Ingredients:

makes 2 x 1 lb jars

125g shallot, peeled and cut into small pieces
40g garlic, peeled
40 -50g fresh red chilli, remove stalk and cut into small pieces
50g dried shrimps, soaked for few minutes then drained

50g crushed chilli or chilli flakes
1 tbsp red chilli powder (deeper red the better)
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp Knorr chicken stock powder or 1 tsp msg (optional), I used chicken stock powder
500ml cooking oil

5 - 6 tbsp cooking oil to be added after cooking


Method:
  1. Put garlic, shallot, fresh chilli and dried shrimps in a mini blender/food processor and chop to a medium coarse texture.
  2. Tip this mixture into a sauce pan and add remaining ingredients (except the last few tbsp oil).
  3. Cook this mixture with medium heat till the oil is hot and bubbly. Turn the heat down to minimum and let it simmer gently and bubble away for about 35 - 40 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent catching or burning the solid part.
  4. Once the solid has turned a dark rich brown colour and fragrant, heat off. Add the last few tbsp of oil to cool the mixture and stop further cooking. Let this cool down slightly and spoon into clean jars.
This chilli oil will last for months in the fridge.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Spring onion pancakes 蔥油餅


Spring onion or scallion pancakes (chung you bing 蔥油餅) are delightful flaky pancakes, similar to Indian paratha. There are various ways of making these pancakes. This is my favourite method.

These pancakes can be eaten on its own with any favourite dipping sauces, or as a wrap like this egg filled pancakes or eaten with a meal. No bad with curry if you don't mind fusion.

Here is the recipe, makes 6 medium size pancakes.


Ingredients:

300g plain flour
180 - 190ml water
1 tsp salt

3 - 4 tbsp fat/oil (melted lard/vegetable oil/sesame oil), I used 50:50 lard and sesame oil
1 cup of chopped spring onion
some salt
some raw sesame seeds (optional)
more flour for dusting

cooking oil for frying



Method:
  1. Dissolve salt in water, then mix with flour to form a dough with a pair of chopstick. No need to knead. Leave to rest for about 20 -30 minutes then knead till smooth. Use more flour if dough is sticky.
  2. Leave to rest for few minutes. Then sprinkle flour on working area, roll the dough out very thin.
  3. Brush with oil/fat evenly. Then sprinkle on spring onion and a little salt, leave one side of the pastry without spring onion.
  4. Roll the dough up. If the dough sticks, lift it up with a spatula. Once rolled up, mark into 6 equal parts. Twist off each piece.
  5. Lightly dust each piece of dough with flour. Twist each piece lightly then press from both ends into a disc. If using sesame seeds, dampen the dough lightly and stick on some sesame seeds.
  6. Then roll each disc into a thin pancake, dust with more flour if required.
  7. Fry the pancake with a touch of oil. Flip over when golden.
  8. When nearly ready, squash the pancake from the side towards the centre to loosen the layers. This step is very important if you like the pancake quite flaky.

Ready to eat straight away while hot.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Colourful sweetcorn stir fry 玉米雞丁


Feeling a bit run down today and too lazy to cook anything labourous. I got some chicken and sweet pepper to use up. Don't fancy chicken & pepper in black bean sauce. Finally decided on my old time student favourite, i.e. sweet corn stir fry. Sweet corn is not something common for stir fry but this recipe is quite nice with rice.


Ingredients:

1 chicken breast about 200 - 250g
300 - 350 of mixed sweet pepper
1 medium onion
about 275 - 300g of sweet corn, tin/frozen/fresh
1 tsp of chopped chilli (optional)
1 - 2 clove garlic

oyster sauce
soy sauce
dash of Chinese cooking wine
cornflour
ground pepper
salt
sesame oil/ fried shallot oil
cooking oil

Methods:
  1. Dice chicken then marinate with a little light soy, 1 tsp of cornflour, pinch of pepper, dash of cooking wine and a little sesame oil/shallot oil. Leave aside for about 15 minutes.
  2. Dice sweet pepper and onion. Chopped garlic and chilli.
  3. Heat the wok with about 3 tbsp of cooking till red hot, add chicken and stir fry for about 1 minutes. Take it out.
  4. Without washing the wok fry the onion, garlic and chilli, add a little oil if necessary. When fragrant, add pepper and sweet corn, stir fry for a while then return the chicken to the wok, stir till piping hot.
  5. Mix 1 heap tsp of cornflour with 3/4 cup of water. Add this to the stir fry. Then add 2 - 3 tbsp of oyster sauce, pinch of pepper and pinch of salt to taste. Wait till the sauce is thickened and hot. Add a dash of sesame oil or shallot oil.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Muah chee 麻芝


Muah chee is a Malaysian-Chinese snack originated from Penang. This is made with small lumps of glutinous rice dough coated with a ground peanut mixture, soft and chewy similar texture to Japanese Mochi or Cantonese sticky rice balls (lui sa tong yuen 擂沙湯丸 or lo mai chee 糯米糍).

Not the prettiest snack but yummylicious. It's easy to make. Best eaten within few hours at room temperature, if keep in the fridge the dough texture will turn hard.


Ingredients:

dough batter:
200g glutinous rice or sticky rice flour
2 tsp of sugar
0.5 tsp of salt
250 ml water
1 tbsp cooking oil or shallot oil*

1 tsp of oil or shallot oil for brushing the cooked dough

150g roasted peanuts
40g dry roasted sesame
75g sugar

Brush the steamed dough with shallot oil and leave to cool slightly.


scoop small pieces of dough onto the peanut mixture.


Method:

  1. Make the peanut mix by putting peanuts, sesame and sugar in a food processor and blitz to a fine mixture.
  2. Mix the dough batter ingredients together. Pour into a deep dish and steam for about 25 minutes. Test the centre to make sure it is cooked through before taking it out of the steamer.
  3. Brush the dough with a little oil. Leave to cool down slightly.
  4. Spread the peanut mix on a tray. Scoop small pieces of the dough onto the peanut mix then toss to thoroughly coat them. Can press the dough pieces lightly to coat with more peanut mix. Ready to enjoy.


* to make shallot oil, thinly sliced one or two shallots. Fry with 2 parts the oil to 1 part shallot till golden brown.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Carrot and daikon soup 紅白蘿蔔羹


Carrot and daikon thick soup (hong bak lo bak guern 紅白蘿蔔羹) is quick and simple with few ingredients, nice steaming hot or warm. Perfect for lunch or light meal.

This recipe makes 3 large bowls of soup.

Ingredients:

Meat and marinade
140 - 150g minced pork or beef
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine (shaoshing)
1 tsp sesame oil
0.5 tsp chicken granule powder, like Knorr (optional)
1 heap tsp cornflour


300g carrot
300g daikon or mooli
5 cups vegetable/chicken/pork/beef stock (homemade or from stock powder/granules)
a little salt
2.5 - 3 tbsp cornflour slackened with 1/4 cup of water
pinch ground pepper
2 - 3 stalks spring onion
1 tsp sesame oil


Methods:
  1. Mix minced pork or beef with marinade. Leave aside for 15 - 20 minutes.
  2. Dice carrot and daikon.
  3. Put stock, daikon and carrot into a saucepan, cover and simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes till carrot and daikon are tender.
  4. Add meat. Use a spoon scoop tiny bit of meat into the hot soup to form tiny meatballs before adding to soup. Simmer for a little while till pork/beef is cooked.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Add in slackened cornflour to thicken.
  6. Stir in sesame oil and spring onion.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Macanese style Portuguese chicken (Po Kok Gai 葡國雞)


Macau is part of China now, it was the first and last European colony within China. Portuguese traders had settled and colonised Macau from the 16th century till its handover to China in 1999. Because of this, Portuguese had strongly influenced Macau's architectural buildings, culture and food. Macau has long famous for its tourism, gambling and food.

I'd been to Macau few times while I was working in Hong Kong. It's easy to get there from Hong Kong, just hop on the ferry. I love this place a lot. Every time we went there we were food crawling all day and all night till we dropped. My favourite Macanese food are fried pork chop buns, crab congee (rice soup), Portuguese style egg custard tart called 'po tart', all the Macanese snacks, Macanese chilli crab, African Chicken and Portuguese Chicken.

Macanese food many are Chinese - Portuguese fusion. I am very surprised not to find many Macanese recipes in books and on the internet.

Portuguese chicken (Po Kok Gai 葡國雞) is Chinese - Portuguese fusion. I don't think anyone can find this recipe in Portugal. This dish is like a mild chicken curry with Portuguese/Spanish ingredients like chorizo and olive. Very unusual combination, it works and delicious.




Here is the recipe, will feed 5 - 6 people. Can reduce quantity to make a smaller portion.

Ingredients:

900g chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken stock powder (bouillon)
pinch of pepper

50g (about 0.5 cup) plain flour
1.5 tbsp turmeric
2 - 3 tsp paprika
2 - 3 tbsp water
0.5 cup cooking oil

450 - 500g potato, cut into small chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
125g Chorizo, sliced
70g pitted black olive
2 large tomatoes, about 350g, cut into bite size
2 - 3 bay leaves

200ml or more fresh milk (for richer flavour can use evaporated milk)
175ml coconut milk
1 tsp salt
0.5 - 1 tsp chilli powder

few tbsp dessicated coconut


Method:
  1. If chicken pieces are large cut into half. Season chicken with salt and pepper and leave for 30 minutes - 1 hour. Then mix with plain flour, turmeric powder, paprika and some water to evenly coat chicken.
  2. Boil potatoes for few minutes till almost cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat wok with oil. Fry chicken pieces in two batches till brown for few minutes. Do worry if not cooked through. Take them out to drain off excess oil on kitchen paper. Remove oil from wok and clean wok.
  4. Use 1 - 2 tbsp of the chicken frying oil and stir fry onion, garlic and chorizo till onion is softened. Then add chicken, bay leaves and potatoes. Then stir in milk, coconut milk, chilli powder and enough salt to taste. Stir and cook for a minute or two till the sauce is hot and thickened, if sauce looks too thick add some water or more milk. Then stir in tomotoes and olive.
  5. Put all this in a large baking dish. Sprinkle with dessicated coconut. Sprinkle a little water on the dessicated coconut to prevent coconut browning too quickly. Bake at around 170 - 175 deg C for about 30 - 40 minutes till the whole dish is hot and bubbly and coconut is browned.

Serve this chicken with plain rice, egg fried rice or bread.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Chicken noodle salad 雞絲拌麵


I still got a piece of chicken breast left from the roast chicken the other day. Looking for something quick and easy with noodles.

To follow the same sort of salad like bang bang chicken, I thought of Beijingnese style chicken noodles (ji se pun mien 雞絲拌麵) . This is normally eaten warm or cold.

Recipe will feed two.

Ingredients:

150g dried noodles (I used Shanghai noodles like this picture on the right)
dash of sesame oil

1/3 cucumber
1 small carrot
1 chicken breast (I used roast chicken)


dressing:
4 - 5 tbsp chicken juice from roast chicken (if not use chicken stock)
2 tbsp warm water
0.5 tsp chicken stock powder (optional)
2 - 2.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1 - 2 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
1 - 2 tsp sugar
1 - 3 tsp chilli oil
2 - 3 tsp sesame oil
0.5 tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper


1 fat clove garlic, finely chopped
1 - 2 stalk spring onion, chopped
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 - 3 tsp chopped red chilli
few sprigs of coriander, chopped


Method:
  1. Cook the noodles. Rinse with warm water, drain thoroughly. Mix noodles with a dash of sesame oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Shred chicken. Cut cucumber and carrot into fine shreds.
  3. Prepare the garlic, spring onion, ginger and chilli.
  4. Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together. If chicken juice has solidified in the fridge just warm to dissolve. Add most of the garlic, ginger, spring onion, coriander and chilli to the dressing and leave some for garnish.
  5. Pile noodles on the dish. Scatter on carrot, cucumber and chicken.
  6. Pour the sauce over. Garnish with the rest of ginger, garlic, spring onion, coriander and chilli.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Egg filled pancakes 雞蛋灌餅


Egg filled pancakes (ji dan guan bing 雞蛋灌餅) are Beijingnese breakfast sold mainly by street food vendors. It's cheap and tasty. Similar to Indian roti or tortilla wrap with a difference.

Need a bit of practice to get it right how to fill the pancake with egg. Here is how I make them.




This recipe makes 5 pancakes.

Ingredients:

A. pancakes

150g plain flour
75 - 80ml water
1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp of sesame oil
about 3 tbsp of plain flour

3 - 4 beaten eggs

B. Filling
1 heap tbsp hoi sin sauce 海鮮醬 or sweet bean sauce 甜面醬
1 - 2 tsp chilli sauce
a little chopped spring onion
about 8 - 10 lettuce leaves (Romaine or other green crispy lettuce)


Method:
  1. Dissolve salt with water then stir into flour to form a dough. Leave dough to rest for about 20 - 30 minutes. Then knead till smooth.
  2. Divide dough into 5 equal parts.
  3. Mix 2 tbsp sesame oil with enough flour to make a sticky paste.
  4. Dust dough with flour. Spread it out to form 1 cm thick disc. Then add about 1 tsp of the oily paste, spread it on the disc. Wrap this up and seal like a filled bun. Then flatten it, dust with more flour and roll it out into a very thin about 15 - 16 cm round pancake.
  5. Heat a pan till quite hot, brush with cooking oil and put the pancake on. Heat till lightly brown underside and top of pancake beginning to puff up. Turn over the pancake. The pancake should puff up quite quite high very quickly. Using a pair of chopsticks, punch the puffed ball, lift up the top layer with the chopsticks and pour some beaten egg inside the pancake very quickly before the pancake collapses. Let the pancake fry a little bit longer then flip over. Fry the pancake till both sides are brown and quite crisp.
  6. Mix hoi sin sauce and chilli sauce together. Spread a thin layer on the pancake (not too much sauce, hoi sin sauce is quite salty), then sprinkle on a little chopped spring onion and put 1 - 2 lettuce leaves, wrap up and enjoy while hot.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Bang bang chicken 棒棒雞


Chinese usually prefer food hot then cold. There are exceptions like Sichuan 'liang pun 凉拌' which are salad style dishes, one of these is the well known bang bang chicken (or more correctly pronounced as 'bung bung ji' 棒棒雞).

The name bung bung ji came from the way the chicken was prepared. Traditionally the cooked chicken was bashed with a wooden stick before shredding. In Chinese wooden stick is called 'bung 棒' and chicken is 'ji 雞'.

Chicken for this dish is normally breast and poached. Leftover roast chicken is perfect for this dish.

I have seen many westernised versions of bang bang chicken. Peanut butter is most common. Traditional bang bang chicken only use roasted sesame paste similar to tahini to make the sauce, the sauce is spicy with chilli oil and Sichuan pepper.

Mung bean sheet or 'fun pei 粉皮' is commonly eaten with this chicken salad. I love this it's like rice noodles but texture is slightly crunchy similar to jelly fish. This fun pei is available from many Chinese supermarkets and online store like this. Fin Pei can be in large round sheet or sliced into noodles. If not available can use glass/cellophane noodles.


This the the sesame sauce I was using.



Ingredients:

1 - 1.25 large cooked chicken breast
125g Chinese mung/green bean sheet or in strips (fun pei 粉皮)
or glass/cellophane noodles (fun see 粉絲)
or half an iceberg lettuce
1/2 cucumber, cut into very fine strips
dash of sesame oil
dash of light soy sauce

sauce:
3 tbsp Chinese roasted sesame paste (tahini is good substitute), incl. the oil in the jar
3 - 4 tbsp chicken stock or water
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 - 3 tsp sugar
1 – 3 tsp hot chilli oil (much as you like) or hot chilli sauce
0.5 tsp toasted and ground Sichuan pepper
1 tbsp good quality sesame oil

a little roasted sesame seeds
some chopped spring onion

Method:
  1. If using mung bean sheets, follow the packet instruction cook with boiling water in a large pan till really soft for about 6 - 8 minutes. Test a bit before taking out then rinse, drain then cut into thick strips. If using glass noodles, soak with boiling water till soften, then rinse and drain. Mix mung bean sheet or glass noodles with a little sesame oil and soy sauce. If using lettuce, just cut into fine strips.
  2. Shred the chicken into fine strips.
  3. Cut the cucumber into fine strips.
  4. To make the sauce, mix the sesame paste with some warm water or stock to thin it down, then add remaining ingredients together. Taste to see if you need to adjust any ingredients.
  5. Spread the cucumber and mung bean strips (or cellophane noddles, or lettuce) on a dish.
  6. Scatter on the shredded chicken.
  7. Drizzle on the dressing.
  8. Sprinkle sesame seeds and spring onion on top.

Here is picture with everything mixed together, not so pretty but still tasty.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Roast chicken

Oriental style roast chicken

When I roast chicken I normally like to marinate it for a while to give it a nice flavour. This oriental style recipe isn't anything from a known recipe. It's tried and tested, I have repeatedly made this for years.

For the chicken I normally use a medium chicken, amount of marinade adjusts to the size of the chicken.

First spatchcock the chicken. Cut the chicken open along the centre backbone using a meat scissors/shear. Then open up the chicken like a book, and using a large knife gently crack the centre top of the breast bone without cutting into the meat, this helps the chicken to lay flat without using force to press the chicken breast flat from the skin side.

Then take 1 fat clove of garlic, 1 stalk of spring onion and 1 small piece of ginger, crush them to a rough paste using a pestle and mortar. Add this to a mixture of 0.5 tsp of salt, 1 heap tsp of five spice, 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of mushroom dark soy or normal dark soy. Put the chicken in a large plastic bag or a roasting tin, rub the marinade all over the skin and bone, then leave the flavour and colour (soy) to penetrate for 3 - 4 hours.



Scrap off bits of marinade on the chicken. Put a wire rack on a roasting tin follow by some water* then rest the chicken skin side down on the rack. Roast at 190 - 200 deg C for about 30 minutes, turn over skin side up and roast for another 30 minutes till golden brown. If using a small chicken total roasting time is about 50 minutes, for a large roaster around 1 hour 10 minutes.

*Add enough water to the roasting tin to about 1cm high will help to avoid chicken juice hitting the red hot roasting tin and spit all over the place, making such a mess to the oven. Also the juice collected using this water method will not burn or char.

Rest the cooked chicken before cutting into pieces.

The juice collected on the roasting tin can be reduced to serve as a sauce. Do skim off the fat.

I find roasting chook using this recipe has always been very juicy and tasty, far better than roasting it the traditional English method.


** This marinated chicken is suitable for bbq too.


I always serve this roast chicken with a ginger chilli sauce from this recipe.


Ginger chilli sauce


40 - 50g medium hot red chilli (add a few bird's eyes if you like a fiery hot sauce)
1 chunk of ginger, about 30 - 40g
1 large clove of garlic
4 - 5 tbsp lime juice
4 - 5 tbsp water
2 tsp of light soy
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar

Blend all the ingredients together in a mini blender till smooth.
This chilli sauce is quite hot when freshly made, if you have enough left over can keep in the fridge for few days, the longer you keep it the milder it gets but still nice.


Here is the meal with my oriental roast chicken, ginger chilli sauce, egg fried rice and stir fried cox lettuce with oyster sauce.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Hunan hot & sour noodle soup 酸辣湖南粉


Hunan hot & Sour noodle soup is very similar to Sichuan hot and sour soup. This soup is not thickened with cornflour but rice noodles are added to bulk up the soup. Either serve this as soup with a meal or full meal on its own.

Quick and simple recipe. This recipe is enough for 2 -3 as full meal, or 4 people as a meal with other dishes.

Ingredients:

150 -160g pork, cut into very fine slivers/strips
dash of light soy
1tsp of cornflour
dash of shaoshing wine

3 shitake mushroom (about 50p size), soaked and cut into thin slices
125g bamboo shoot, cut into matchstick size
1 medium carrot, cut into fine matchstick size
2 medium size pak choi. sliced (I don't have this when making this soup, so left it out)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
a little cooking oil
1.5 - 1.7 litres of diluted stock or water
1 tsp of chicken stock powder (optional can leave out if using stock)
2 - 3 tbsp chilli bean sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp Chinese chilli sauce/paste in a jar or minced fresh chilli (optional if you like spicy)
1.5 - 2 tbsp light soy
2 - 3 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 tsp of sesame oil
ground pepper (much as you like, more if you like spicy)

250 - 280g thick cut dried rice noodles

2 stalks of spring onion, chopped


Method:
  1. Marinate pork with soy, cornflour and wine for about 20 minutes.
  2. Fry the garlic with a little oil, then add pork stir till turning brown then add chilli bean sauce and fresh or bottled chilli paste/sauce/minced chilli. Stir fry till fragrant.
  3. Add mushroom, carrot and bamboo shoot, stir then add stock/water and stock powder.
  4. Bring this to the boil. Add soy, vinegar, sesame oil and ground pepper.
  5. Add the dried noodles straight in the soup without soaking. Boil till noodles beginning to soften. If using pak choi add this now. Continue boiling till noodles and pak choi are cooked.
  6. Add in spring onion. Ready to eat.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Tainan coffin board (bread) 台南棺材板


Coffin board (棺材板 'guan chai bun') is a popular snack from Taiwan. When I first heard of this recipe, I was intrigued by its unusual name wondering how superstitious Chinese can be and how many people can get offended by its name. Coffin board resembles American's chowder filled bread bowl. Instead of crusty bread, coffin board uses fried bread similar to English fried bread but much larger chunk. The filling is also western with meat/vegetable mixed with a basic roux bechamel sauce.

Not sure how this recipe was invented, I know it is from Tainan, Taiwan. I believed this was invented by some street food vendor, the original recipe used chicken liver as filling now anything goes. This recipe is really a take on Western taste than Chinese. I reckon this probably comes from a huge Taiwanese immigrant population in USA and bringing back chowder filled bread recipe and adopted from it.

For the filling anything you like, prawns, crab meat, chicken, chicken liver and vegetables like carrot, peas, onion, sweet pepper, sweet corn, button mushrooms etc...in a white sauce. I am sure any creamy chowder is good for this.

** For vegetarian version just use any vegetables or even add tofu pieces if you like.

I am not one favour east meets west recipes much. The Taiwanese has triumphed with this recipe. It really is delicious. I am sure this will be a great hit for Halloween, especially if the bread is cut into real coffin shape.

Here is what I do, recipe for one. Enough for one full meal.



Ingredients:

1 block of stale bread, white or wholemeal, homemade or bought, cut into square, rectangular or any shape you like. I preferred a very thick slice about 7 - 8 cm thick which can hold more filling.

enough oil for shallow or deep frying or a little melted butter for brushing the bread if baking. I like the baking method better.


Filling:

1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp of butter
about 1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup of peeled prawns (raw or cooked)
2 - 3 crab sticks cut into chunks or 1/4 cup real crab meat
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup peas
1/3 cup of diced pepper (red, yellow or orange or mixed)
a little cooking oil
dash of white wine or light sherry or Chinese colourless rice wine (optional)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
a little bit more milk if required

few coriander leaves for garnish

Method:
  1. Make the bechamel sauce. First cook the flour and butter together for about 1 minute then heat off add milk a little at a time and whisking till no lumps. Heat the sauce till thicken. Set aside.
  2. Heat a little oil then fry the onion then add remaining vegetables till soften and heated through. Remove then stir fry the prawns till they turned milky white, add crab stick or crab meat, vegetables, wine and white sauce. If the sauce is too thick add a touch more milk. Season with pinch of salt and pepper. Keep warm
  3. The bread is normally deep fried or shallow fried till golden. I changed this by brushing the bread with melted butter and bake at around 200 deg C for about 15 minutes, turning the bread once or twice till all sides are golden brown.
  4. Let the bread cool a bit, then cut out one side for the lid. Scope out enough of the soft bread inside then trim the lid. Then fill with the creamy filling and garnish. Put the lid on top or on the side. One delicious filled coffin board is ready to enjoy.

* Can use the bread trimmings for bread pudding or breadcrumbs for other uses.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Lo Mai Gai 糯米雞 (lotus leaf wrapped chicken rice)

I love anything with glutinous rice. One of my favourite dim sum is lo mai gai 糯米雞 which is a steamed glutinous rice parcel with assorted filling.

It's very easy to make, essential item is lotus leaf which is available in many Chinese supermarkets which looks like brownish green paper and fan shape. Lotus leaf is not expensive, one pack lasts a long time. Lotus leaf gives a unique flavour to the rice parcel no other wrapper can be substituted.

This recipe will make 5 parcels.

A. Rice
500g glutinous rice, soaked
2 tsp light soy
pinch of salt
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup of water

B. Filling
400 - 450g chicken (better use leg meat more flavour)
2 sticks lapcheong (Chinese dried sausage)

5 - 6 large shitake mushroom (over 1" wide)
2 tsp of cooking oil

1 tbsp of light soy
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp cornflour
pinch of pepper
2 tsp sesame oil

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
a little cooking oil
3 tbsp shaoshing wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
a little slackened cornflour


C.Wrapper
3 lotus leaves (select leaves without too much damage)



Method:
  1. Soak rice for 4 - 5 hours. Drain.
  2. Line a steamer with parchment paper. Put the rice on and steam for about 15 - 18 minutes till rice looks translucent.
  3. Take the rice out. Mix the rest of the ingredients for rice together and mix into the hot rice till all the liquid is absorbed. Cover and leave to cool.
  4. Cut the chicken into chunks, with or without bone. Marinate with soy, sesame oil, ginger, pepper and cornflour. Leave to marinate for about 20 -30 minutes.
  5. Soak the mushrooms with hot water till softened, cut into smaller pieces. Clean and mix with 2 tsp of cooking oil. Steam for about 20 minutes. (steaming with oil will soften the mushrooms more than without). You can leave the steaming if you can't be bother.
  6. Cut the sausage into 1 cm thick slices diagonally.
  7. Heat the wok, add a little oil and fry the garlic then add the chicken, mushroom and sausage, stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add shaoshing wine and oyster sauce, stir and add a little splash of water then finally thicken with slackened cornflour. Remove and leave to cool down a bit.
  8. Heat a large pan or wok with water. Add the lotus leaf one at a time, slowly pushing it into the water, careful dried leaves are brittle. Boil for about 10 minutes till the leaves are soft and supple. Rinse and clean the leaves. Cut off the hard centre stem. and cut the leave into half with scissors, each piece looks like a large fan.
  9. To wrap the parcel. Lay a piece of leaf, smooth side on top, on the woktop. Put on a lump of rice, spread it out a bit, then put on the filling and a little of the sauce. Then add another lump of rice on top to cover the filling. Wrap the rice like a parcel, trim of excess leaf if necessary. If there are big holes on the leave, making the rice sticking out, just patch them up with another small piece of leaf. If the rice sticks to your fingers and spoon too much just dampen with a little water.
  10. Put the parcel in a steamer with opening side facing down and steam for about 20 minutes on high heat.
  11. Ready to eat on its own, or with some chilli sauce/chilli oil and maybe a dash of soy.

This parcel can be frozen after steaming. Defrost and re-steam for 15 -20 minutes till heated through.

** If you have some char siu (chinese bbq pork) or soaked dried scallop, these can also use as filling.

Pandan Kaya (pandan coconut curd)


Kaya is Malaysian/Singaporean/Bruneian coconut jam similar to lemon curd. Instead of lemon juice and butter, we use coconut milk. For a nicer flavour I love to add pandan leaf juice and palm sugar.

To make this I have always followed my mum's method of cooking the mixture using a double boiler or bain marie. Kaya cooked by this method is far superior and smoother. Many people for convenience and saving time (fuel), cook the curd directly over heat. This way the curd is usually coarse and lumpy, some people rescue this by blending the curd after cooking which I am not too keen.

The flavour of kaya is lovely. Nice spread on fresh bread, toast or even make cake and use it as bread bun filling.


Here is the recipe. It's very easy, just need a bit of patience and time. This recipe makes around 1kg of curd, about 2 x 1 lb jars

15 pandan leaf
1/4 cup water

Blend this to pulp then squeeze out as much juice as you can


6 large eggs
400 - 450ml tin coconut milk
250 - 300g palm sugar or jaggery (Thai light palm sugar is great for this)
pandan leaf juice as above


Method:
  1. Whisk the eggs then strain with a sieve. Chop the palm sugar. Then add remaining ingredients.
  2. Fill the double boiler with boiling water. Cook the mixture over water, quick whisk with a ballon whisk every 10 minutes for 2 - 2.5 hours till the mixture thicken.
  3. Bottle with sterilised jars. Will keep for several weeks in the fridge. Once opened use within a week.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Kimchi chigae/jjigae (kimchi stew)


I am currently having a Korean food craving. Since I have quite a bit of homemade kimchi and homemade tofu sitting in the fridge, it's best I do something with them. The obvious recipe is kimchi chigae or jjigae, which is a spicy soupy stew with kimchi, tofu, meat or seafood. Very easy recipe just put everything together and simmer in stock or water.

For the kimchi best use old kimchi which has a more complex flavour which gives a better flavour to the stew.

This chigae I used pork slices, other meat is also ok including sliced pork belly, sliced beef, minced pork or beef, shellfish. I guess if you are vegetarian you can use vegetables and mushrooms like button mushroom, enoki, oyster mushroom, shitake etc.

Recipe is dead easy.

Marinate a handful of sliced lean pork of belly about 150g with some light soy, sesame oil and some sugar for a while.

Brown the meat in a claypot or stove top casserole pot with a little oil.

Add in lots of tofu, I used about 400g.

Then add 1.5 cup of kimchi with the juice.

Mix all the ingredients together.

Then add enough stock to cover all the ingredients, usually dashi stock or korean anchovy stock, can also use any stock you got incl. vegetable stock. If no stock just use water.

Stir and simmer for a while then taste if spicy enough if not add some Korean hot pepper paste (Kochujang), which is a very thick and red spicy paste.

Then add some Korean or Japanese soy if not salty enough.

Continue simmering till all the ingredients are bubbly hot and meat is tender.

Finally add a dash of sesame oil and chopped spring onion.

One piping hot stew ready to enjoy with plain rice.


** If you use sliced beef and seafood add this at the end of the cooking, don't overcook it.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Kimchi

I love Korean food. One of the favourite is kimchi. I have always wanted to know how to make kimchi. Recently made a batch it was a success and to make sure it is safe to eat. I tried it, it was fine. Now I am confident to share a fresh batch with you.

This recipe is a Chinese cabbage (leave) or Napa cabbage Kimchi.

To make kimchi there are several essential ingredients. For the chilli powder must be Korean chilli powder which is mild and very deep red in colour, other chilli powder just won't do. I bought this from Chinese supermarket, also available in all Korean supermarkets.


Many kimchi use raw oysters for fermentation and flavour. I won't dare yet not sure if I will get food poisoning using raw seafood to ferment food. Instead I used another Korean ingredient i.e. salted baby shrimps I bought from a Korean supermarket in London. Salted shrimps give a nice (savoury/seafood) flavour than without. This bottle of salted shrimps looks similar to Malaysian salted and fermented shrimps called cincalok. Korean salted shrimps smell a lot fresher and less pungent than cincalok.

Another flavouring is fish sauce either Korean or Thai. I used Thai fish sauce.



**Vegetarian Kimchi is feasible but not as flavourful, just sub fish sauce with light soy and leave out the salted shrimp.


Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

2 heads of Chinese leave (napa cabbage) around 1.2 - 1.6 kg
1/2 cup of any salt (but not table salt)

40g of sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
4 - 5 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce

300g daikon radish or mooli, peeled & coarsely grated
1 large Korean or Chinese pear, peeled & coarsely grated

1 bunch of spring onion, sliced into long thin strips
30g garlic, finely chopped (less if you don't like very strong garlic taste)
40g ginger, grated
2 tbsp salted shrimps, pounded or mashed (if you cannot find this, can leave out)
80g of coarse Korean chilli powder (less if you like less spicy, mild use 2 - 3 tbsp)


Method:
  1. Cut the cabbage into quarter. Sprinkle with salt all over and in between the leaves. Leave for 3 - 4 hours till the cabbage is soft and limp. Rinse with water to remove the salt. Squeeze to remove excess water. Cut the core off and cut the leaves into 2 inches long.
  2. Grate the mooli and Chinese pear. Squeeze out the juice. Keep the pulp with the rest of the vegetables. Measure the juice and top up with water to 1 cup. Stir into the glutinous flour till no lumps. Cook this gently till the mixture thicken to a paste. Leave to cool slightly then add fish sauce and sugar, stir.
  3. Prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Mix all the ingredients together with a large mixing bowl. Gloves are strongly recommended.
  5. After mixing, store in containers.





This kimchi is ready to eat straight away, very fresh like a spicy salad. No acidic taste. Freshly made kimchi is quite dry. After a day or two it should give a liquid juice. Can keep in fridge right away.

To give a more acidic flavour, leave the kimchi to ferment at room temperature for few hours up to 1 day. Then keep in fridge for as long as you like. It's very tasty don't think it will stay very long in the fridge before you are ready to make another batch.

This kimchi has been left on the worktop for about 6 hours, looks a lot more juicier and tastier.