Consort’s Chicken Wings贵妃鸡翅guì fēi jī chì

cover.JPGLegend says that these chicken wings were one of Consort Yang Guifei;s favorite things to eat along with fresh lychees. It can actually be cooked in a fuss-free way, entirely in the oven for only 30 minutes! I’ve removed red wine in the traditional recipe by using simple marinade ingredients – rice wine, spring onions and soy sauce, the pantry staples in any Chinese kitchen. It tastes deliciously like BBQ chicken wing, perfect for home meals, potluck and dinner party.

Serves 3-4

  • 15 pieces (500g)             chicken wings (middle part only)

Marinade sauce

  • 3 tablespoons    light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon    dark soy sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons    Chinese rice wine
  • 4-5 (50g)           spring onions

1 tablespoon     honey (optional)

1 tablespoon       white sesame seeds (optional)

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Method

  1. Pat dry the chicken wings with kitchen towel.
  2. Use a Chinese knife to smash the spring onions on the cutting board to loosen the fiber. Cut the spring onions into 5-cm long small pieces. In a large bowl, mix into soy sauce, cooking wine and the spring onions. Add the chicken wings. Mix well. Marinate for 30 minutes.IMG_4025.JPG
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200℃. Place aluminum foil in a baking tray (I would do 2 layers as it helps keep the tray clean for easy cleaning later), arrange the wings in the tray and grill for 30 minutes.IMG_4026.JPG
  4. Brush honey on the wings or/and sprinkle some sesames seeds a few minutes before the wings are moved out of the oven.

 

Beef Steak in Thai Inspired Sauce泰式牛排tài shì niú pái

coverWhip up this Thai inspired sauce to go with your perfectly cooked steak. The characteristic Palm sugar gives a caramel kick to the balance of the savory-sour-sweet taste. Molasses, brown sugar or maple syrup are the good substitute if palm sugar is hard to come by.

Serves 3-4

  • 300g – 400g     beef steak (1-inch thickness/a piece, 2 pieces)
  • Salt and Pepper

Thai Inspired sauce

  • 1 tablespoon    cooking oil
  • 100g                French Beans or Yalong Beans, minced
  • A half of the Red Bell Pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons  light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons  Lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon    palm sugar or brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon   corn starch (optional, it helps thicken the sauce)IMG_3502

Method

  1. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan. Grill the steak over low heat. Grill one side for 6 minutes. Flip over and grill the other side for another 5 minutes.IMG_3670
  2. In the meantime, let’s make the sauce. Heat the oil in another frying pan, fry ¾ of the minced beans and pepper for 2 minutes over low heat. Add light soy sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Pour the sauce into a bowl.IMG_3669.JPG
  3. Remove the steak from the frying pan. Let it sit on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Then slice it into small pieces of bite size.
  4. Plate the sliced steak. Add ¼ of the raw minced beans and red peppers. Then pour sauce atop of the plate. Enjoy!IMG_3659

Pandan Chiffon Cake 班兰戚风蛋糕bān lán qī fēng dàn gāo

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The celebrity chef Nigel Lawson was recently quoted that Pandan leaves are the next big food craze in the US and UK. This unique Southeast Asia plant, which are found in the backyards of many Malaysian homes, has a sweet fragrance that is likened to vanilla. Its extracted juices are the natural food colouring that is commonly used in some popular Southeast Asia desserts. It is also an essential ingredient for making the famous Singapore Chicken Rice.

 Makes one cake (use 25cm cake tin),

 For batter,  

6                          egg yolks (use very fresh egg weighting at 60g each, room temperature) 蛋黄
100g                    caster sugar 白砂糖
2 tablespoons     pandan juice (freshly made from pandan leaves + 2 tablespoons water)新鲜班兰汁
1 teaspoon          vanilla essence 香草香精
1 teaspoon          pandan essence斑兰香精

115ml                 sunflower oil (canola oil or corn oil is good too)植物烹调油
140ml                  coconut milk 椰奶
200g                    cake flour 低筋面粉
2 teaspoons         baking powder 泡打粉
1/4 teaspoon       salt

For meringue 蛋白糖霜,

9                   egg whites (use very fresh egg weighting at 60g each, room temperature) 蛋白
100g             caster sugar 白砂糖
1 teaspoon    cream of tartar 塔塔粉

IMG_3400Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170℃. I use an oven thermometer to make sure to get the exact temperature. Use oven function of ‘Fan Plus’. Place the rack at the LOWEST level of your oven.IMG_3500.JPG
  2. First let’s make the pandan juice. Pandan leaf is not a juicy plant. To ‘squeeze’ the juice as much as you can, thinly cut the leaves then add them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water. After it comes a paste, place in a cheese cloth. Then squeeze the juice out in a bowl.IMG_3455.JPG
  3. Now let us cream the egg yolks. Place egg yolks into a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the yolks on medium speed (30 seconds). Gradually add into sugar and beat on high speed until the eggs have tripled in volume resulting a nice and light batter. This takes about 5 minutes.IMG_3456.JPG
  4. Add into wet ingredients Mix into the corn oil, coconut milk, pandan paste, vanilla essence. Sift into the dry ingredients of cake flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold them into the beaten eggs until you can’t see flour anymore. IMG_3459.JPG
  5. Now let’s make meringue. Use an electric mixer, beat the egg whites over medium speed for one minute. Then add cream of tartar and whisk for one more minute. Then gradually add the sugar and beat over high speed for about 5 minutes. IMG_3460.JPG
  6. Now that the batter and meringue is done, It is time to mix them both together. Add one third of the meringue to the batter and mix it with a spatula so that you get a light green batter which is easy to fold. Then add rest of the meringue into the batter and GENTLY fold the mixture in. IMG_3462.JPG
  7. Before you pour the mixture into the tin, give your batter bowl a few sharp blows by banging it on the table. This will get the big bubbles to rise to the top and burst.IMG_3437.JPG
  8. Now pour the mixture into the cake tin slowly making sure that as many of the big bubbles burst while the batter flows over the rim of the cake tin. Remember pouring the batter into the same portion of the tin and you will see that the batter flows around the tin without trapping more air.IMG_3463.JPG
  9. Now put the cake into the oven. Make sure that the oven thermometer shows 170 °C and put the cake tin as lowest in the oven as you can. It is critical to have more heat at the bottom than the top or else the top will brown, crack, become dry and start to sink before your baking is done. At around 15 to 20 minutes, your cake would rise and start to crack. The entire baking time takes about 55 minutes.IMG_3464.JPG
  10. Once baking is done, overturn the cake and let it cool. Use a funnel to elevate the cake. This is important because if the cake is too close to your tabletop, condensation takes place and you will spoil the surface of the cake. To speed up the cooling process, you can drape a wet towel over the cake tin – this cooling process takes about 60 minutes.FullSizeRender.jpg
  11. Once your cake is cooled, it’s time to remove it from the tin. Use a sharp knife and with one movement separate the sides of the cake from the tin, pressing your blade as firm as possible on the cake tin.IMG_3493.JPG

Kung Pao Shrimp 宫保虾球gōng bǎo xiā qiú

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The emphasis on flavour makes Sichuanese food a robust and confident cuisine. The Szechuan cuisine boasts 24 different types of ‘complex flavours’复合味. The Kung Pao taste (the sweet-sour-scorched chili flavour) is obviously the most beautiful one. The two spices (Szechuan Peppercorns and Dried Chillies) are sizzled in oil until the chillies are darkening. Throw in a bit of sweet and sour. And you have Kung Bao Flavour, a truly marvellous taste.

Serves 3-4,

  • 500g                            shrimp, peeled and deveined (this calls for about 1000g fresh shrimp)
  • 1 teaspoon                  salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons           Chinese cooking wine料酒
  • 1 teaspoon                  corn flour玉米淀粉
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons               Szechuan peppercorns四川花椒
  • 1.5 tablespoons           garlic, minced蒜末
  • 1 tablespoon                ginger, minced姜末
  • 10g                               dried red chili, roughly chopped干红辣椒
  •  60g                              leek (only white part), cut into small sections. Try to get 2 small-size of leek if possible. If not, just use 1 big-size one. Slice them into small pieces of 1.5 cm in length. Split the big-size one then slice it into the same length. 大葱切宵 段(只用葱白)

 Seasoning Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon                 dark soy sauce老抽
  • 2.5 tablespoons           light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 tablespoon               Chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋
  • 2 teaspoons                caster sugar白糖
  • 1 tablespoon                 corn flour玉米淀粉

Coriander                       for garnish(optional)

IMG_3339Method

  1. Peel and devein the shrimp. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Place them in a bowl.
  2. Marinate the shrimp with salt, cooking wine and corn flour for about 10 minutes.IMG_3340.JPG
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients of seasoning sauce (dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, Chingkiang vinegar, caster sugar and corn flour.) Stir and mix well to make sure sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
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  4. Add 8 tablespoons of cooking oil in the work over high heat. When the oil is heated, add Szechuan peppercorns in the wok over LOW heat. Stir fry for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Skim and remove the cooked peppercorns if you feel them annoying when enjoying the food later. (Be sure of using low heat and be patient. Over-fried peppercorns bring a bitter taste.). Pour the oil in a bowl. Set aside.IMG_3384.JPG
  5. Now place 1/3 of the peppercorn oil in the wok, turn up the heat to medium heat, add garlic, ginger, leek and cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Then add dried chili and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the seasoning sauce. Mix well quickly. Move all the sauce out in a bowl. Set aside.IMG_3385
  6. Add rest of the oil in a clean wok, turn up the heat over high heat. When the oil becomes very hot, add into the shrimp. Stir fry for about 20-30 seconds. (I would split the shrimp and fry two batches.) Mix the shrimp with the cooked seasoning sauce. This process should take about less than 1 minute. You will need to move fast to avoid the shrimp being overcooked.IMG_3386
  7. Transfer out on a plate and serve with rice.

Tips
1. Home kitchen stove does not produce heat as high as the commercial kitchen. So it is important to cook batches. I would split 500g shrimp and cook two batches.

 

Amaretti Cookies意大利杏仁饼

IMG_3332When the Amaretti cookies are fresh out of the oven, they’re are soft and airy, with a slight bite to them. As they sit and dry, they become crunchier and chewier, like the store-bought ones. You shouldn’t expect them to melt in your mouth like their French cousins, the Macarons. Instead, they have a slight crust on the outside and a dense, chewy center. These simple and easily-made cookies are like the happy medium between macarons and biscotti. They are the most perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea. You might wanna double the batch, because they usually go very quickly!

Make  15 cookies

  • 2 eggs whites (about 60g)   from medium-size eggs蛋白
  • 120g                                        ground almonds (note: you may want to use the grainy kind NOT the too fine kind. Otherwise, it may cause the amaretti to go flat)杏仁粉
  • 2 tablespoons                        plain flour (or 1 tablespoon plain flour +1 tablespoon corn flour)中筋面粉
  • 40g                                          caster sugar白糖
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional) 新鲜橙皮末

For rolling:

  • 2 tablespoons                         caster sugar白糖
  • 1 tablespoon                           icing/powdered sugar糖粉

IMG_2409 Method

  1. Line 1 baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 170 ℃. Sift (过筛)the dry ingredients (ground almonds and plan flour). Separate egg white from egg yolk. IMG_3329.JPG
  2. Using a electronic whisk, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. This takes about 10 minutes. Gradually add the 40g caster sugar. Fold in the sifted ground almonds and orange zest to make a dough. The dough will be very sticky though.IMG_3330.JPG
  3. Now let’s roll the cookies. Place the caster sugar on a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a chunk of the cookie mixture and roll it into a ball in your hands (about the size of a small walnut). Roll it in the caster sugar then place on the baking tray.  Repeat with the remaining dough until you’ve used it all up. Leave a bit of space between the cookie balls as they will expand slightly during baking. Use your finger to press the cookie balls down just a tiny bit, then sprinkle the icing sugar.IMG_3331.JPG
  4. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Take out of the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes then remove from the baking tray. You can serve them warm, or allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack.

 Tips

  1. These cookies can be stored in a sealed jar at room temperature. They should be eaten in 3-4 days.

Chinese Pumpkin Pastry 万圣节南瓜饼wàn shèng jiē nán guā bǐng

 coverTrick or Treat! Make these together with your kids or just for yourself to get you into the Halloween spirit! The recipe originates from a traditional Chinese pumpkin pastry – nán guā bǐng, but was given a modern twist with the cooking method of oven-baking. It is made from fresh pumpkin. No single drop of oil used. It offers a nice texture of crunchiness of the breadcrumbs contrasting with the softness of the mixture of the pumpkin puree and glutinous rice flour.

Yields 10 pieces of the pumpkin pastry,

  • 200g           pumpkin purée (you will need 300g fresh pumpkin available at any grocery store) 新鲜南瓜
  • 90g               glutinous rice flour糯米
  • 10g                Rice flour粘米粉
  • 60g                 caster sugar白糖
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup             breadcrumbs (I like to use Panko, a Japanese style breadcrumb made from white bread without crusts)面包糠
  • 1                     egg (beaten)
  • 1-2 sheets         seaweed 海苔ingredients.JPG

Method

  1. To make the pumpkin purée, remove the skin and seeds, thinly slice it then cover the bowl with cling wrap and put in microwave in high heat for 4 minutes. IMG_3173
  2. Add into sugar when the puree is still hot. Mix well. Let the puree cool it off. Combine the puree with dry ingredients of glutinous rice flour and rice flour. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of milk.IMG_3174.JPG
  3. Cover the dough with a plastic bag and rest the dough for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into 10 pieces, roll each piece into a small ball, use your palm gently press down each ball to make a disc.IMG_3175
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Dip each disc in the beaten egg. Dredge in the breadcrumbs. Repeat the process for the rest of the discs. Place them all in the baking tray. Move the tray onto the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.IMG_3176.JPG
  5. Use a scissor to cut the seaweed into small decoration pieces to make the “scary face”. Remove the tray from the oven and place on the decoration pieces of seaweed. Thick or treat! Enjoy!IMG_3178.JPG

 

 

Barbecued Beef Short Ribs 韩式烤牛仔骨

IMG_2269.JPGA fun and tasty way to enjoy the beef. The secret to this dish, or called Galbi in Korean, is to marinade the beef overnight to allow the flavour to infuse. The natural fluid acidity in the pear helps to tenderize the meat while sake/rice wine adds a slightly sweet edge.

Serves 6-8

  • 900g                beef short ribs or boneless short ribs

Marinade sauce

  • 4                       spring onions, thinly sliced
  • ½                      medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1                       large Asia pear, core and chopped into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon      ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2                       garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon   light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons  dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons  sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons   Japanese sake or high quality Chinese rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon       sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons       freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons  caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon       sesame seeds

Dipping sauce

  • 2                      Spring onions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon   Korean chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon   rice vinegar

IMG_0747Method

  1. To make the marinade sauce, place the sliced spring onions and yellow onions in a large bowl. Core and chop the Asian pear, being careful to save the juices. Then add into the bowl. Combine rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.
  2. Add the short ribs pieces to the marinade, stirring to coat them, leave to stand for at least 2 hours (ideally overnight) to allow flavours to permeate and the meat to soften.IMG_2270
  3. Heat a heavy griddle pan or frying pan and add the ribs. Keep turning them to cook the meat evenly. When they become dark brown, serve immediately with the dipping sauce.IMG_2271.JPG

Tips

  1. Butchers should be happy to prepare the short ribs  pieces for you; ask for pieces approximately 5cm in square.