Roasted Soy Chicken with Spring Onion and Ginger Sauce酱油烤鸡jiàng yóu kǎo jī

This beautifully-charred Cantonese-style chicken is full of flavour and easy to make at home. The meat stays juicy and tender. You will love the aroma of the spices coming out of oven and filling in your kitchen.

Serve 4

  • I whole chicken, 2.25 kg (5 lbs) or 4 to 6 chicken leg quarters

Marinade

  • 25g                              brown sugar红糖
  • 30g (3-4 sprigs)     spring onions香葱,crushed and tie into knots
  • 20g                             ginger (crushed to loosen the fiber)生姜
  • 3 star anise      八角
  • 2 clove丁香
    1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch length) 桂皮
    2 tablespoons          Chinese cooking wine. Either Shaoxing wine or Chinese Rose wine is fine.
  • 3 tablespoons           light soy sauce生抽
  • 3 tablespoons          dark soy sauce老抽

Spring Onion and Ginger dipping sauce:

  • 10g     ginger, skin removed and minced
    1 spring onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons, cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon, salt
  • ½ teaspoon, sesame oil (optional)

Method:

  1. Use a Chinese cleaver to smash the spring onions and ginger to loosen the fibres. Tie the spring onions into knots (this makes it easier when you tuck them into the chicken cavity.)

2. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a deep bowl which the whole chicken can fit in with.

3. Plunge the clean chicken into the bowl. Let the bird sit in the bowl a few hours. Flip the chicken a couple times so the entire chicken is evenly soaked with liquid.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 425F°/210C°. Dab an roasting pan or metal baking dish with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and place the chicken inside it Close the oven.

5. Bake the chicken till the skin becomes golden or for about 55 to 60 minutes. Rotate the pan during baking process once or twice to allow for even cooking. How long does it take to cook a chicken? Generally, it takes between 10 minutes to 12 minutes per pound. The chicken is done when the juices from the thigh run clear (about 165 F°). A 4 to 5 pounds chicken would need to cook about 60 minutes in the oven of 425 F°. Move the chicken out of the oven. Let the chicken to sit for about 5 minutes.

6. In the meantime, prepare the ginger and spring onion dipping sauce, place minced ginger, spring onion, salt, and into a small bowl. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok until it starts to smoke. Pour the oil into the small bowl and blend well. Set aside.

7. Carve the bird. Enjoy the chicken with dipping sauce.

Tips:

  1. When the sugars caramelize, the chicken does take on a dark, almost blackened, hue. It won’t taste that way, though. If it starts to get too dark while cooking, simply tent the chicken loosely with foil and let it continue to cook. Or you can place the roasting pan in the lower rack of the oven for the first 30 minutes then move the pan to the middle rack for the remaining 20 to 30 minutes.

Avocado, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

coverLoaded with veggies, this refreshing and flavorful salad can be made all year long, but it’s especially delicious this time of year when cucumbers and tomatoes are in season. The salad has a slight Asian touch with honey, lime juice, light soy sauce and sesame oil added into the dressing.

Serves 2 to 4

 2 to 3 plum tomatoes or ½ pound Roma tomatoes, cut into bite size

  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced, (try to find those creamy ones!)
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced
  • ½ bunch (1/4 cup), cilantro

 For the salad dressing

  • 2 tablespoons     extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon                  honey
  • 3 tablespoons                lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon                  light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon                    sesame oil (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon                    saltIMG_6667

Method

  1. Place chopped tomatoes, diced cucumber, avocado, sliced red onion and cilantro into a large salad bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, using in a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, lime juice, light soy sauce, sesame oil and salt
  3. Pour the dressing on top of the salad bowl. Toss and Coat. Serve.

 

Beef Chow Fun干炒牛河gàn chǎo niú hé

coverThis Cantonese dish is made from stir-frying beef and wide rice noodles. You will find it in any Dim Sum restaurants. You can certainly make it at home. Try to get the fresh rice noodles at your local Asian markets. But if no luck, you can also substitute dried rice noodles, similar to what you would use for pad Thai.

An important element in beef chow fun is to get that elusive wok flavor镬气(huò qì)or 锅气 found in Chinese stir-fried dishes. It refers to the “breath of the wok” when cooking over very high heat, and the unique umami flavor that results. If this sounds difficult to achieve at your home kitchen, you can get close to it by separating the chow fen into small batches to really get the full effect of the Cantonese street food vendors who make chow fen to order one serving at a time.

The other tip is to use chopsticks to toss the noodles instead of spatula to keep the noodles from getting stuck together without breaking them. 

Serves 3-4

  • 150g                               dried wide rice noodles or 400g fresh wide rice noodles
  • ½ pound or 220g         beef (sirloin steak or any cut good for stir fry), thinly sliced and cut for bite-size
  • 2 tablespoons              cooking oil
  • ¼                                     medium size yellow onion, sliced
  • A small bunch of Chinese green chives or spring onions韭菜
  • 1 cup               mung bean sprouts,washed and drained, 豆芽

Marinade sauce for beef

  • 1 tablespoon                  Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon                      light soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon                 oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon                       sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon                  corn starch
  • A pinch of white peppercorn powder

Stir-fry sauce

  • ½ tablespoon                           light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon                               dark soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon                               caster sugar
  • 1 cup stock or waterIMG_6733

Method

  1. Soak the wide rice noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes, and drain in a colander. If the noodles are in really long strands, you will want to cut them into 10- to 12-inch lengths, or you will end up with a huge noodle ball when cooking. And nobody wants a huge noodle ball. If you use fresh rice noodles, you can skip this step.
  2. In the meantime, cut beef into thin slices, put into a bowl. And then add all of ingredients for marinade sauce. Stir until well combined and set aside for around 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the stir-fry sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.IMG_6737
  4. Heat up 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok. Add beef slices in to cook around half minute or just until the color of beef slices changes. Transfer the beef slices out but leave the residual oil in.
  5. Add into the sliced onion over low heat till soft and fragrant. Then stir in the rice noodles. Use chopsticks and stir in for 1-2 minutes. Then add into the stir -fry sauce. Keep tossing your pan or wok until the noodles are well coated with the sauce. Gradually add into 1 cup of water or stock till absorbed by the noodles. The process takes about 5 minutes.
  6. Return beef slices, bean sprouts and 2/3 of the chives and fry for another 1 minute. Keep tossing the noodles with chopsticks to avoid noodles stick together.
  7. Transfer the noodles into a serving plate. Garnish with the rest of the chives. Serve hot!

Napa Cabbage and Tofu Slaw凉拌白菜心liáng bàn bái cài xīn

coverThere are times you would just want nothing more than a pile of vegetables with simple dressing, after days of rich meals. A very minimum preparation time involved, this Asian-style slaw comes to the rescue with crisp Napa cabbage and chewy extra firm tofu The result is the fresh, light and nutritious salad good for both cool and warm weathers.

Serves 2-4

  • 7-8 pieces, roughly 200g Napa cabbage, thinly sliced大白菜芯, use the good and tender part of the cabbage stalk (they look like yellow not green) and use the stem part only
  • 1 spring onion
  • 120g or 2 small pieces Extra firm tofu豆干, sliced and blanched
  • 3-4 sprigs          Coriander, roughly chopped, 香菜
  • 4 or 5 Thai bird chili  or 1 big red chili
  • 1 tablespoon        skinless peanuts
  • 1/3 to ½ teaspoons            salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon     caster sugar白糖, optional
  • 1 tablespoon     white rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon         sesame oil香油IMG_9273

 Method

  1. Prepare all the ingredients. Thinly slice the Napa cabbage. Remove the leaves and save it in the fridge for future use. Slice the spring onions. Soak the sliced cabbage and spring onions in the water in a big bowl for about 20 minutes.IMG_9274
  2. Sliced the tofu. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add into the tofu. Once the water becomes boiling again, transfer the tofu out, dry them with kitchen towel. Place it in the salad mixing bowl.IMG_9277
  3. Use a colander to drain the cabbage and spring onions. Use kitchen towel to dry them then transfer to the same salad mixing bowl. Add into chopped coriander, sliced bird chili and peanuts. Add into peanuts, salt, sugar vinegar and sesame oil.IMG_9278
  4. Toss well. Serve in a half hour later. This allows the cabbage to absorb the dressing well.