Crispy Char Siu Puffs脆皮叉烧酥cuì pí chā shāo sū

They can be found at any dim sum restaurant. This China southern style puff pastry is folded around the sweet and meaty filling, brushed with an egg wash, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Can be oblong or crescent shaped.

Traditional southern style pastry is shaped by making and combining low-fat and high-fat dough which requires good amount of work. I took a short cut using the store-bought puff pastry and came up with a cheater’s version. With this hassle-free recipe, you can skip all the fussy steps and make some awesome and flaky char siu pastry on the go. They are perfectly served when they’re still hot, with a cup of your favorite Chinese tea.

Makes 6

Filling

  • 1 tablespoon               cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon                  minced shallot小红葱头
  • 1/4 yellow onion         about 40g 洋葱, minced
  • 80g                              char siu pork, diced叉烧肉切小粒 (click here for homemade char siu pork)
  • 1 tablespoon               hoisin sauce海鲜酱
  • ½ tablespoon             caster sugar (optional)白糖

Thickening (simply mix all the ingredients below in a bowl)

  • 1 tablespoon       corn starch玉米淀粉
  • 3  tablespoons      water
  • ½ teaspoon         sesame oil
  • 1 packet store-bought frozen puff pastry block, 375g, (you will need have it thawed in the fridge overnight.)
  • whisked egg, for egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon               white sesame seeds

Method

  1. Make the thickening by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2. Heat oil in a frying pan. fry the minced shallot over medium-high heat until aromatic. Add the minced onion and cook until soft and translucent, followed by the diced char siu. Stir in the char siu sauce with the water. Cook until it starts to boil. Add the thickening and cook to your preferred consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool down. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 400F / 200C. In the meantime, lightly sprinkle flour on a clean surface. Roll out the puff pastry into a 32cm x 22cm (12.5inch x 8. 5inch) rectangle sheet with a rolling pin. Use a 10-cm (4-inch) cookie cutter (or use any round shape plate or bowl available in your kitchen) to trim out 6 circles.

4. Place a heaped tablespoon of char siu filling in the middle of each circle. Damp the sides with water and seal tightly. Repeat this step with the remaining fillings. Carefully transfer the char siu pastry on a lined baking tray. Lightly brush egg wash on pastries. Cut 2 to 3 slits in the middle of each pastry surface. Sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Supreme Soy Sauce Fried Noodles豉油皇炒面chǐ yóu huáng chǎo miàn

You will find the supreme soy sauce fried noodles at most of the Cantonese dim sum restaurants. A traditional Cantonese fried-noodle dish, it can be made at home within minutes. Every strand of the noodle is evenly coated with the savory and sweet soy sauce, mixed with the crunchy bean sprouts and chives.  It’s simple, yet delicious.

Serve 2

  • 2 tablespoons      cooking oil
  • 200g                              egg noodles (100g per serving) 全蛋面 (click here for homemade fresh egg noodles)
  • 100g                              chicken breast, sliced
  • ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced洋葱
  • 5 stalks                        Chinese chives韭菜, cut into small pieces, separate white and green parts
  • 50g                                                mung bean sprouts绿豆芽
  • 1 tablespoon                        white sesame seeds 白芝麻

Marinade

  • 1/4 teaspoon                     salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorn powder 白胡椒粉
  • 1/2 teaspoon                     corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon      sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon                     Chinese cooking wine

Seasoning sauce

  • 1 teaspoon                         caster sugar白糖
  • ¼ teaspoon                        white peppercorn powder白胡椒粉
  • 2 tablespoons    light soy sauce 生抽
  • 1 tablespoons                   dark soy sauce老抽
  • 1 teaspoon                         sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons                   water
  1. Add all the marinade sauce in the chicken slices. Mix well. Let it stand for about 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, prepare the seasoning sauce by mixing all the ingredients of sugar, white peppercorn powder, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil and water.

2. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, add in egg noodles. Use chopsticks to loosen the noodles to prevent them from sticking together. If the noodles are freshly made, cook for about 3 minutes to al dente (80% cooked). Remove and rinse with running tap water. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat up the 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok, add into the marinated chicken over medium heat. Fry for 1-2 minutes once the chicken turns pale (80% cooked). Remove the chicken by leaving the residual oil in the wok. Add into sliced onions and white parts of the chive. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add into mung bean sprouts, cooked chicken and noodles. Pour into the seasoning sauce. Mix and stir fry for about 3 to 4 minutes till sauce absorbed by the noodles.

4. Stir in the green part of the chive. Turn off the heat.

5. To serve, place the noodles in a big serving plate. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds.

Tips:

  1. There are often two kinds of egg noodles available at Asian grocers. One is for making noodle soup, the other for stir fry. Get the one for stir fry to make this dish as it won’t easily break apart while stir frying.
  2. Bean sprouts and chives cook very fast. Make sure you do not toss them in the wok too early.

Egg Noodles全蛋面quán dàn miàn

This recipe calls for only 2 ingredients but makes excellent Chinese southern-style noodles. Tensile and golden, they are great with stir-frying and in just about any kind of soup.

Yields about 450g noodles

  • 2.5 cups (about 300g)   all-purpose flour 中筋面粉
  • 3 large eggs, about 180g
  • Additional flour for dusting

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add flour and eggs. Use chopsticks to mix the flour.

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it until smooth for about 5-6 minutes. Cover the dough with clingy film. Rest for 30 minutes.

3. Roll the piece out. Dust the dough thoroughly with flour and roll it up around the rolling pin. Use your hand press down the middle and push to both ends. You will now get a much bigger sheet. Dust the sheet thoroughly again. Then roll it up around the rolling pin again and gently press down the middle and push to both ends while roll it back and forth. Dust the sheet. REPEAT the process a couple of more times till you get desired thickness of the dough sheet. Each time you roll out, your sheet will become thinner and bigger.

4. Fold the sheet (for easy cutting), dust between the layers to avoid sticking. Use a knife to slice the layers of dough whichever width you wish.

5. The noodles can either be cooked immediately or placed in a sealed bag in fridge.

Tips:

  1. You will need a long rolling pin. If only have small-size rolling pin, just cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Work 1 piece at a time.

Battered Pork Tenderloin Fries软炸里脊ruǎn zhà lǐ jǐ

These golden pouches, filled with lightly seasoned pork, have airy, soft and chewy shells and are very juicy on the inside.  I originally intended to make this Beijing-style dish as an appetizer, but after snacking on a couple of them I literally couldn’t stop and before I knew they became an entire meal. So, appetizer or main course, these are apparently good for any level of hunger!

I have tweaked the traditional recipe a bit by adding baking powder into the batter. Baking powder helps create tiny air bubbles on the surface of the battered meat when it is placed in hot oil. The bubbles expand the surface area of the batter, breaking up its thickness, which results in a soft and chewy fried battered pork loin.

This batter also goes well with shrimp, fish fillet and chicken breast.

Serving 4-6

  • 400g                         pork tenderloin/pork loin, cut into 3-cm-long strips
  • 2 cups                         cooking oil for deep fry
  • Ketchup or Tabasco (any spicy sauce) for dipping sauce

Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons             Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon             Maggi seasoning sauce (or simple use light soy sauce)美极鲜或者生抽
  • ½ teaspoon                 salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon               white peppercorn powder白胡椒粉
  • 1 tablespoon              cooking oil

Batter

  • 200g                           all-purpose flour中筋面粉
  • 2 medium-size eggs
  • 1 teaspoon                  salt
  • 1 teaspoon                  baking powder泡打粉
  • 220g                           water

Method

  1. Clean the pork, cut into long strips and put in to a mixing bowl. Add all the seasoning ingredients except 1 tablespoon of cooking oil.  Use your hand to ‘massage’ all the pork strips to ensure seasonings are well absorbed. Toss in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Mix well.  If done properly, you will not see any liquid left on the bottom of your mixing bowl. Marinate for 20 minutes.

2. In the meantime, let’s make the batter. Place flour in a mixing bowl. Place into the rest of the ingredients except water. Adding water gradually while using chopsticks to stir and mix. Stir in one direction till smooth and no dry flour in the bowl. The batter should be able to thinly hang on the chopsticks.

3. Heat the two cups of cooking oil to about 320°F/160°C.

4. Dip the pork strips in the batter in small batches. Make sure the pork strips are well coated with batter. Slide the pork strips into the cooking oil. Fry for around 3 to 4 minutes over medium fire until slightly browned. Transfer out in a kitchen towel-lined plate. Remove the burned batter bits from the oil pot before cooking a new batch of battered pork loin.

5. If you prefer a crispier shell, you can quickly deep fry the cooked pork strips again. Simply reheat the oil to 200°C/400°F (almost smoky), place the pork strips in. Quickly fry for 20 to 30 seconds until golden brown. Transfer out.

6. Serve hot.