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A Taste of the Orient - Chinese Food Ideas

A Taste of the Orient - Chinese Food Ideas

Issue 73 October 2010

Savour the aromatic flavours of the Far East and join emel in a taste of the Orient.


Clay pot chicken

4 chicken thighs, cubed
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy
2 tbsp light soy
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp cornflour
1 inch ginger, julienned
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 spring onions, chopped finely
5 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
210g rice
236ml chicken stock


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Mix the chicken with all the ingredients except the rice, mushrooms, spring onions and stock. Leave to marinate for at least half an hour.
Heat one tbsp oil in a wok and stir-fry marinated chicken meat for one minute. Add mushroom slices, cook for a few minutes and then dish out and put aside.
Put the rice and chicken stock in the cold clay pot and place it over a medium heat with the lid on. Bring to the boil and immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer, then leave the rice to steam for 15 minutes. The rice should be nearly cooked, with little holes in the flat surface.
Spread the chicken mixture all over the top of the rice and put the lid back on. Continue to steam over a low heat for another 15 minutes, until the chicken is white and cooked through.
Give it a few stirs and sprinkle the spring onions over the top and serve piping hot.


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Prawn Dumplings



225g fresh water prawns, peeled
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp honey
5 canned water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 egg white, lightly beaten
Dumpling wrappers
115g plain flour
Pinch of salt
125ml cold water

Make an incision down the back of each prawn and pull out the digestive cord. Rinse the prawns under the cold tap and pat dry before chopping roughly.
Place in a bowl with the spring onions, ginger, soy sauce, honey, water chestnuts and egg white. Mix thoroughly, then cover and chill for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Continue by making the dumpling wrappers. Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Measure out 125ml cold water and mix in enough of it to make a stiff but pliable dough. Then, knead until it is silky smooth and pliable. Cover with clingfilm and rest for 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 30 walnut-sized balls. Flour your working surface and liberally flour a tray that will fit in the fridge.
Take a ball, lightly flour and flatten it out in the palm of your hand before rolling it out into a thin, 7-8cm diameter disc. Lightly flour and lay on a plate. Continue until all are rolled.
Then place a teaspoon of the prawn mixture in the centre of the first disc. Fold over and pinch together the edges so that they encase the filling and form a half moon-shaped dumpling. Place on a floured tray and continue until you have finished the filling.
Chill and lightly cover until you are ready to eat.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat. Drop in a couple of handfuls of dumplings and gently stir to prevent them sticking to the bottom of the pan.
As the water returns to the boil, add a small cup of cold water to lower the temperature to a simmer. Repeat the process when the water returns to the boil again. This will prevent the dumplings breaking apart by boiling too vigorously.
As the dumplings cook they will float to the surface. Check they are cooked by removing one and cutting it in half. Remove the cooked dumplings with a slotted spoon and keep ready to serve.


How to fold a dumpling


1. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of the round wrapper and moisten the edge with water. Holding the filled circle in one hand, pinch the dough shut on one side with the thumb and index finger of your other hand.


 2. Still using that thumb and index finger, continue to pinch the dough to form pleats along the back edge, pressing the pleats against the front edge firmly to eventually seal the dumpling wrapper around the filling.


3. Pinch the dumpling shut to completely enclose the filling. To cook the dumplings, pan-fry or steam for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately with a chilli oil dip and soya sauce. 



Steamed sea bass


5 salad onions, trimmed
45g fresh root ginger
1 sea bass, about 700g, gutted but with head and tail intact
4 tbsp groundnut oil
3 tbsp light soy sauce


Cut four of the salad onions into 6cm lengths, then cut these lengthways into fine strips, keeping the green and white parts separate.
Wash and peel the ginger, retaining the skin. Slice the peeled ginger lengthways, then cut the slices into long strips.
Shortly before cooking, rinse the fish in cold water and pat it dry. Crush the remaining two salad onions with the side of a cleaver blade. Make three or four shallow diagonal slashes on each side of the fish.
Rub it inside and out with a little salt. Place the ginger skin and crushed salad onion in the cavity and leave to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
Discard any juices, pat the fish dry, then steam over a high heat for 8–10 minutes until just cooked and the dorsal fin pulls away easily. Transfer to a serving plate.
Heat the groundnut oil until smoking hot in a wok or small pan. Scatter the fish with the sliced ginger, then the sliced green salad onion and the sliced white salad onion. Drizzle over the hot oil, a little at a time. Pour over the soy sauce and serve immediately.


Cucumber & Black Bean Salad


I large cucumber
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp black bean sauce
400g of shredded chicken or lamb
3 large eggs, whisked
nut oil
salt & pepper to taste

For the egg pancakes, heat a frying pan adding a little oil, using a ladle add some of the egg mixture to the frying pan.
Remove the pan from the stove and coat the pan with the egg mixture. You should end up with a thin layer of egg almost resembling a pancake.
Repeat this method with rest of the whisked eggs and leave to cool.
 Heat a wok, add some nut oil and throw in the shredded meat. Fry for a minute and  then add the black bean sauce. After another minute, remove from the stove.
Take your egg pancakes, roll into a cigar shape and slice across the length. You should end up with something resembling taglietelle.
 With a bowl, start the dressing with the cucumber strips at the bottom. Then add egg strips and finish with the shredded meat and garlic on top.
Serve immediately


Chinese greens with oyster sauce


Selection of Chinese greens, e.g 6 baby bok choy
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp sugar
2 dashes of white pepper powder
Garlic Oil
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 tsp oil

Prepare the garlic oil first by heating up your wok and stir fry the minced garlic until they turn light brown. Dish out and set aside.
Heat up a pot of water and bring it to boil. Add two small drops of cooking oil into the water.
Drop your vegetables into the boiling water and quickly blanch them for about 20-30 seconds. As soon as they turn slightly wilted, transfer them out and drain the excess water off the vegetables. Then arrange the vegetables on a plate.
In a wok, heat up the cooking oil and then add the oyster sauce, water, sugar and white pepper powder. As soon as the sauce heats up and blends well, transfer and drench it over the blanched vegetables.
Top the vegetables with the garlic oil and serve immediately.


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