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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

Kung Pao Chicken

The last time we had this famous Szechwan dish we’d just arrived on a stop-over in Abu Dhabi on our way to visit family in Melbourne. We arrived late and ordered room service and this truly hit the spot. A great combination of velvety chicken, roasted peanuts and a bit of spice. This recipe is from Yan-Kit’s fabulous Classic Chinese Cookbook. Serve with rice.

Wine Suggestion: our choice in Abu Dhabi was a Kirin beer, which was perfect that night. Similarly, choosing a wine this time we looked for a savoury dry texture and chose an Emilio Hidalgo La Panesa Fino Sherry which is kept under flor for 15 years and is outstanding; smooth and velvety even though completely dry and with a salty, nutty texture. A good match, but you needn’t find this exact example as any good Manzanilla or Fino works.

Kung Pao Chicken – serves 3

  • 350g chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and then cubes about 1cm square
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil or corn oil
  • 2-3 long dried red chillies or 4-5 smaller dried chillies, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 4 to 6 thin slices ginger
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 3 scallions, cut into small rounds
  • 50g roasted peanuts

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • third of tsp salt
  • 2 tsp thin soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaohsing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp egg white, lightly beaten

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp rice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp cornflour
  • 6 tbsp clear stock or water

Put the diced chicken into a bowl.

To prepare the marinade; add the salt, soy sauce, wine/sherry, cornflour and egg to the chicken. Mix well and leave to marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornflour and water together.

Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add the oil and swirl it around the pan.

Add the dried chilli, stir, then add the garlic and ginger and stir until aromatic. Add the chicken. Turn and toss for about 1 minute.

Splash in the wine or sherry, stirring and tossing continuously.

Add the scallions and cook for another 30-45 seconds by which time the chicken should be cooked.

Add the well-stirred sauce to the wok and keep stirring while it thickens.

Finally stir in the peanuts, then remove to a warm serving plate. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

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Spicy Sichuan-style Prawns

This is a delicious Chinese dish but definitely for chilli lovers as its not lacking in fiery heat. Serve with rice to serve 2 or with other dishes to serve 4.

Wine Suggestion: The heat will effect most wines so be careful with your choice here. Our choice was from Alsace, the Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Calcaire 2009 which had a  natural sweetness and a range of spices that really added to the dish.

Spicy Sichuan-style prawns – serves 4

  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 450g raw prawns, shelled and de-veined

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tsp chilli bean paste (buy in an Asian supermarket)
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • handful of coriander leaves and sliced scallion, to serve

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat.

Add the groundnut oil and wait until very hot and slightly smoking, then add the ginger, garlic & scallions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then add the prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce ingredients with the salt and pepper and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes over a high heat.

Serve immediately sprinkled with the coriander & scallions.

(Original recipe by Ken Hom IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2015.)

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Stir-fried Beef with black bean and chilli

This comes from a new discovery: Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop. We’ve been looking for a Chinese cookbook for some time and this comes up trumps. This beef dish tasted authentic and delicious.

Don’t be tempted to substitute the Laoganma black bean sauce with the more common black bean sauce, widely available in supermarkets, which is something completely different. Laoganma black bean sauce is a relish made from fermented black beans and dried chillies in oil. You can find it in any good Asian supermarket (where you will also find the Shaoxing wine and potato flour).

Stir-fried beef with black bean and chilli – serves 2

  • 300g lean beef steak, cut into 1cm thick strips
  • ¼ red pepper
  • ¼ green pepper
  • about 40g coriander
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2½ tbsp Laoganma black bean sauce
  • salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the marinade: 

  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1½ tsp potato flour

Stir the marinade ingredients with 2 tsp water, add to the meat and set aside.

Cut the peppers into strips similar in size to the beef and coarsely chop the coriander.

Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a high heat. When the pan is smoking hot, add the beef and stir-fry until the strips begin to separate out. Tip in the peppers and keep stir-frying until the beef is almost cooked.

Add the black bean sauce and stir, then add some salt to taste. When everything is hot and fragrant, stir in the coriander.

Take off the heat and add the sesame oil before serving with some plain white rice.

(Original recipe from Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

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Chilli & Salt Squid

Inspired by Gok Wan, this works a treat. We always found that getting fresh squid was difficult until we found great frozen ones: flash frozen as soon as they’ve been caught. A spanish chef Jono knows swears by them and we do too! This is a healthier take on the deep-fried salt chilli squid you get in restaurants.

Wine Suggestion: A fresh, light to medium-bodied white with good fruit works a treat here, but just make sure it’s not bone dry as you need to balance the chilli. We’d suggest either a good Albariño / Alvarinho [we drank the Saolheiro Alvarinho from Portugal) which complements the saltiness or a dry German Riesling from a good producer like Leitz in the Rheingau or Dönnhoff in the Nahe which will carry a good level of fruit and taste dry. These really balance fruit with acidity for perception as opposed to an Australian Riesling which really is bone dry and will fight with the chilli.

Chilli & Salt Squid with Cucumber Salad – serves 2

  • 2 medium squid (tubes and tentacles), cleaned – we used 500g baby squid
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • ½ a red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and ground white pepper

For the cucumber salad: 

  • ½ a cucumber, deseeded and sliced into thin ribbons
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • a pinch of caster sugar

Put the cucumber into a serving dish. Pour over the vinegar and sugar and set aside.

Slice the squid tubes in half lengthways and lay out flat with the inside facing up. Score the tubes at an angle about 5mm apart but take care not to slice the whole way through. Turn the squid 45 degrees and score again at that angle. Once scored slice the squid into 2cm wide strips. Cut large tentacles in half and leave small ones whole.

Heat a wok over a medium to high heat and add the oil. Add the chilli, garlic and spring onions and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until starting to dry out – take care not to burn the garlic. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Put the wok back on the heat and, when hot, add a splash of oil. Wait for the oil to smoke, then add the squid and stir-fry for a minute, or until half cooked and starting to char at the edges. Put the garlic/chilli/spring onion mix back into the pan and stir through, tossing over the heat until cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with the cucumber.

(Original recipe from Gok Cooks Chinese by Gok Wan, Penguin Books, 2012.)

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Crab & Sweetcorn Soup

This soup is absolutely delicious and super simple to throw together. We made a main meal out of it by serving it with some shop-bought spring rolls. Try and use freshly ground white peppercorns if you can as they give a subtle spiciness that works really well with the aromatic ginger.

Crab & Sweetcorn soup – to serve 4

  • 125g white crabmeat
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock
  • 2.5cm knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 225g tinned sweetcorn, pulsed to a rough purée in a food processor
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced

Lightly beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the egg whites to the crabmeat along with the blended cornflour and stir well.

Put the stock and ginger into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the sweetcorn and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for a few minutes. Add the crabmeat mixture and some seasoning. Let it simmer gently and keep stirring for a few minutes until the soup has thickened. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. Serve in warm bowls with the scallions scattered over the top.

Wine Suggestion: We didn’t actually try this but, having discussed it at length, we reckon an Austrian Grüner Veltliner might work here. Grüner has a savoury peppery character which should complement the peppery flavour of the soup. You don’t want it to be too heavy though so go for one that is no higher than 12.5% alcohol.

(Original recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen: Recipes From the F Word, Quadrille.)

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Gok Wan has reinvigorated our enjoyment of Chinese food. This is not the black-bean sauce we have been used to getting in restaurants and manages to be both light and have great depth with very distinctive Chinese flavours and aromas. Don’t be tempted to omit the pickled chilli as it really makes the dish.

Warning: this is nothing like the gloopy stuff you get from the Chinese take-away. Just so you know.

Beef in Fragrant Black Bean Sauce – to serve 2

  • 250g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 3 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • a 2cm pice of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans, soaked for 5 minutes in warm water and drained
  • 250 sirloin steak, fat removed and sliced into strips
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • light soy sauce, to taste

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED CHILLI

  • 1 red chilli, sliced into long diagonal strips
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp caster sugar

Firs make the pickled chilli by putting the strips of chilli into a bowl and cover with rice vinegar. Sprinkle with the caster sugar and leave to soak.

Blanch the broccoli in salted water for 2 minutes, then drain and season with a drizzle of sesame oil and some salt.

Heat a wok over a high heat and add a good splash of oil. Add the ginger, garlic and scallion and stir-fry for about 10 seconds, just to soften the garlic. Add the black beans and cook for 20 seconds more.

Add the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until sealed on all sides. Add the chilli, blanched broccoli and some salt and white pepper, along with the Shaoxing rice wine, 1 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp water. Toss together, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Drain the pickled chilli and serve with the beef and some rice.

(Original recipe from Gok Cooks Chinese, Penguin, 2012.)

 

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Chilli Cumin Lamb

A great introduction to an exciting chef, the winner of Australian Masterchef, Adam Liaw. He does some really exciting Asian food – well worth a trip to the Asia market! Lamb fried with cumin is a classic northern Chinese dish, Adam has given it a bit of twist and turned it into a warm salad with a peanut relish. You will need a thermometer for this, the sort that you use for jam, you can pick one up in a kitchen shop for under €10. We bought one to cook this dish and have already used it again for something else. If your peanuts have the skins on just blanch them for a minute in hot water and they will slip off easily.

Chilli cumin lamb with peanuts and herbs – to serve 2

  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry
  • 300g lamb topside, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp neutral-flavoured oil, like groundnut
  • 40g raw peanuts, peeled
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp caster sugar, plus an extra pinch
  • 5 dried chillies, stalks and seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 large handfuls mint leaves
  • 1 large handful coriander leaves
  • lemon wedges and cooked rice, to serve

Half-fill a wok with vegetable oil and heat to 180ºC. Toss the lamb in the cornflour and deep-fry for 3-5 minutes or until well browned. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Drain the vegetable oil from the wok.

Heat half the neutral oil in the wok and stir-fry the peanuts until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and roughly chop. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened and starting to colour. Add the soy sauce and sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Return the peanuts to the wok with the chillies and toss for about 30 seconds. Remove the mixture from the wok and set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in the wok and add the cumin and chilli powder. Stir-fry for 30 seconds (or until it starts to aggravate your nose). Add the lamb, the salt and a pinch of sugar. Toss for about 30 seconds and then add half the mint. Toss until the lamb is wilted, then remove the mixture from the wok.

Arrange a bed of coriander and mint leaves on a serving plate and top with the lamb mixture. Spoon the peanut and onion mixture on top of the lamb. Serve with wedges of lemon. Squeeze the lemon over just before eating and toss like a salad. Serve with rice.

Wine Suggestion: We have the old conundrum of chillies with wine – they don’t go. We’d probably go for a beer here (lager rather than ale)  but if you want wine, a Pinot Gris with a little sweetness and not too aromatic might be good.

(Original recipe from Adam Liaw’s Two Asian Kitchens, Ebury Press, 2011.)

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