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Archive for the ‘Chinese’ Category

There is a phrase used in our home when a dish truly kicks the posterior of our tastebuds: “I would pay good money for this!” And this dish, from a cookbook which is somewhat generic in appearance but which had enough interesting recipes for me to buy on the weekend, truly fits this criteria. The book this recipe is from was a cheapy, picked up at an A&R discount store, called The Wok Bible, and I’m looking forward to exploring other meals like this one from it. In this dish you have just-cooked pumpkin and onion, the perfection of thinly sliced eye fillet steak and a sauce whose inherent sweetness is cut through by the subtle bite of the chilli and ginger, the tantalizing warmth of the spices and the fresh zing of herbs only tossed through for a moment. It’s seriously filling – the only function of the rice or noodles you may choose to cook with it is to soak up that addictive sauce and you don’t need much. Remember that you’re using eye fillet here, so don’t overcook your meat – this is seriously good stuff and doesn’t need a lot of work in the wok for it to be fantastic! (more…)

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Richly flavoured yet light; salty with the goodness of that elusive umami taste but tempered with a subtle bite; slippery noodles and crisp-tender veggies – this dish has it all. Like all stir fries, you do have to chop everything up before you cook, but it’s all worth it five minutes later when you have such a delicious dinner. Black Bean Chicken is what I call a safe dish – this means that you can serve it to your spice-fearing inlaws, your vegetable-hating children and your chilli-loving foodies and they will all think that it’s tops! And yes, I have road tested it all all groups – the children may not be mine but coming back for seconds is always a good sign. A big bag of fermented black beans will set you back around $1.50 from an Asian grocer and will last forever; you only need a small amount to flavour a whole dish. Don’t be tempted to be heavy handed or you’ll end up with a salty disaster! At which point you have two choices depending on your mental state: A) cook something else as you’ve just wasted all those ingredients or B) have a mildly hysterical breakdown until your resigned husband offers takeaway and a large glass of wine.

This recipe is based on Barbara’s over at Tigers and Strawberries – and that woman knows how to cook! (more…)

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Hokkein Mee Too (2)

What wit! What a pun! I hope the title of this recipe is appreciated by all those with a suitably cutting edge – one might almost say avant garde – sense of humour. Truly, after destroying my car on Thusday I feel that my comic genius is rising to the surface to be shared with all those in the vicinity. (Be grateful that you don’t live with me.)

I already make a Kind of Hokkein Mee which is really good, but following some smashing successes cooking recipes from The House of Annie, I wanted to give this version a go also. Plus it’s yet another way I can play with my new best friend, thick soy sauce. I’ve altered the recipe just a little to suit our tastes and also to reflect that fact that due to my current car-less state I was unable to get to my usual Asian market so couldn’t get the fishballs etc I wanted for the dish. So chicken and lop cheong it is!

 This dish is simply good – it doesn’t have complex layers of flavours or subtle highlights, it just is what it is: a really quick, easy and very tasty dinner. Add more chilli to your taste when serving; we added our yummy home made chilli oil. (more…)

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Ah, Fuchsia Dunlop. Bringer of recipes of wonder and some fabulously simple techniques that yield truly smashing results like this. 

This is probably the most impressive rice I’ve ever cooked – or even seen. The loose grains are beautifully steamed; they’re light, fluffy and perfectly separated. The guo ba (which loosely translates as “kick-arse crunchy ricey bits which are deeply, deeply awesome”) looks and tastes amazing.

Pot-sticker rice is also about as easy as you can get to make – it involves about 5 minutes of actually ‘work’, and most of that is just waiting for the water to boil! Then you whack it on the lowest possible heat on the smallest possible burner and ignore it for around 40 minutes to an hour, which is perfect time to get your stir fry prepped and cooked. Make sure you do a dish with a yummy sauce for the fluffy rice to soak up! (more…)

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Just look at the crust on that rice...!

 

  Some meals are strictly utilitarian – more concerned with sustenance and the staving off of hunger than any particular gastronomic enjoyment. Some are yummy, satisfying the taste-buds as well as the stomach. And some – some fall into the realm of actual physical pleasure in which highly inappropriate noises are made, poor resigned husbands are completely ignored and bones are fought over to the death. This dinner was one of those experiences for me. Let’s start with the lamb – a bit of a luxury meat these days, these chops are cooked according to Fuchsia Dunlop’s recipe in her Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook and are a sensation on their own – they are charred on the outside and sweetly pink in the middle. You catch a whiff of sesame oil before the full smell of the cumin and chilli hits you, tempered and softened by the richness of the sweet bean paste and tang of light soy. Gnawing on the bones is an attempt to prolong the delicious mix of tastes and smells as well as a sensory pleasure in its own right that I’d almost forgotten about.

And the potsticker rice! Think of the best crispy claypot rice you’ve ever had and make it better – the photo above shows the delightful golden crust of goodness achieved with nothing but a cheap saucepan and a damp teatowel. There were actual “oooooh”s of appreciation as the crust layer came smoothly away from the pan. Then we measured it out by the gram on my electric weighing scales to make sure that the crust was evenly distributed. Ok, maybe we weren’t quite that extreme but it was pretty close! Read on for a delightfully simple and mouthwatering lamb dish – the rice technique is posted separately here. (more…)

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I’ve made a version of this classic Taiwanese dish in the past, but I confess to getting all excited when I saw this different recipe on the drool-worthy House of Annie blog. Annie’s recipe uses my new favourite ingredient – thick soy/caramel sauce – and whenever I have a new favourite ingredient I am always dying to see what I can use it for! Plus I think that this will work beautifully for soup kitchen next week for my final cook of 2009 as well, I’ll just need to cut out the chilli. The chicken will be cooked the day before and reheated with rice to serve – perfect. My only addition to the recipe is the Thai basil, as I think it’s the most beautiful flavour and I’ve only ever had this dish with it so I can’t imagine it without. This is a truly top recipe – it’s incredibly easy, economical (the rice wine only costs $1.50 for a 640ml bottle) and full of wonderful flavour – give it a go, you really can’t go wrong! For soup kitchen I will also toss throughs some unsalted cashews right at the end for a bit of extra crunch – its not a traditional ingredient but it will go beautifully.

Interesting note: the name of this dish is quite literal as you’ll find some recipes for Three Cup Chicken whose ingredients list (besides the chicken) looks like this:

1 cup oil

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup wine

Hmm. I think I prefer the look of this one… (more…)

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The Kway Teow Recipe Quest: Part 2

While eating dinner with a posse before catching a movie on Saturday night, I found myself introduced to a friend of a friend whose husband, it turned out, is from Malaysia. The poor woman, who quite possibly just wanted to enjoy a chilled night out at the movies sans hubby and kids, found herself shanghaied by a crazy blonde with manic eyes demanding what mix of sauce ingredients she uses in her Penang style Kway Teow. Despite her huddling away from me for the rest of the night, I consider the encounter a success – perhaps not socially, but most definitely culinarily! I discovered two things to aid me in my Quest: 1. the difference between Singapore Kway Teow and Penang Kway Teow (I’ve been trying to cook Singapore style when what I actually want is Penang style) and 2. the use of thick soy sauce as a key seasoning ingredient. You may remember my discovery in The Kway Teow Recipe Quest Part 1 that sweet soy sauce can also be called dark soy sauce in some recipes – well, when it comes to Penang Kway Teow, a recipe calling for ‘dark soy sauce’ may more often than not be asking for ‘thick soy sauce’, which is different again. Thick soy has an even thicker consistency than kecap manis and is also not as sweet but darker in flavour. It’s sold in large bottles (Cheong Chan Elephant Brand was the one I found) and was helpfully labelled as “Caramel Sauce”.

 So, the next recipe due to be tried is from  House of  Annie and insists that this should be cooked in single serve batches which makes sense but is a pain in the arse, not so much because of the extra time involved but because I want to eat it as soon as it’s out of the wok, not wait for another batch to cook! But I did end up doing it as per the recipe… how did it turn out? Is the Quest over? Read on for the recipe and the result… (more…)

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