Typhoon Shelter Shrimp避风塘炒虾bì fēng táng chǎo xiā

coverServes 4-6,

The romantic name of this stunning dish was originated from Hong Kong’s boat people or fishermen.  The sweetness of the shellfish contrasts beautifully with a crunchy layer of garlic, bread crumbs studded with chillies and black beans. This dish does not even have to involve shrimp. Vegetarians could use deep-dried bean curd – it would still be fantastic because the element that you truly appreciate is not necessarily the protein but the brittle, spicy, garlic-laden blanket.

  • 600g                            shrimp with the shell on, deveined
  • ¼ cup                           corn flour玉米淀粉

The crunchy stuff

  • 1 cup                           coarsely cut garlic, minced蒜末
  • 2 cups                         cooking oil
  • 1 cup                           bread crumbs (Japanese panko)面包糠
  • 1 tablespoon               fermented black beans, minced豆豉
  • 1 or more                     hot green pepper, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons              spring onions, minced, 香葱末
  • 1 tablespoon                dried red chili, roughly chopped干红辣椒
  • ½ teaspoon to taste      salt
  • 1 teaspoon                  caster sugar白糖
  • 2                                spring onion for garnish(optional), cut into 5-cm length

IMG_4378.JPGMethod

  1. Clean and devein the shrimp. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Place them in a bowl. Toss the shrimp with the corn flour and mix well.IMG_4412.JPG
  2. Chop the garlic. Place it in a bowl and cover it with cool tap water. Rinse the garlic thoroughly in a fine sieve and dump it out onto a couple of sheets of kitchen towel to dry completely. This process helps reduce the overwhelming flavour of the large amount of the garlic which is required for the recipe. It also helps get rid of the stickiness that makes the garlic clump together.IMG_4413.JPG
  3. Set a drying pan over high heat and pour in the oil. Add the chopped garlic. When the oil starts bubbles around the edge of the pan, reduce the heat to low to medium-low, and stir often so the garlic browns evenly. Don’t rush this step, since gently fried garlic is the most important component in this dish. When the garlic turns a pale brown and floats to the surface – which means all of the juices have transferred from the garlic into oil, making the garlic nice and crunchy when it has cooled – empty the garlic and oil into the sieve. You will be left with about ½ cup of fried garlic. Shake the oil off so that the garlic drains completely and turns crispy. Place the garlic in a bowl. Set aside. Transfer the garlic oil into a separate bowl. Save it for later use.IMG_4414.JPG
  4. Now, let’s brown the bread crumbs. Place a clean pan over high heat. When the pan gets hot, add the bread crumb. Turn to medium-low heat. Use a spatula and push around the bread crumbs so they brown evenly. Turn off the heat when it becomes golden. This takes about 4-5 minutes. Transfer it into a clean and dry bowl.IMG_4396.JPG
  5. Next, cook the seasoning ingredients. Place 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add black beans, green pepper, dried chilies, Fry for a few minutes until aromatic. Transfer it out into a small bowl. Set aside.IMG_4415.JPG
  6. Immediately rinse and dry the frying pan. Place it over high heat and then add ¼ cup of the garlic oil. When the oil becomes very hot, add into the shrimp. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. (I would split the shrimp and fry two batches.) Then dump into fried garlic, bread crumbs and cooked seasoning ingredients. Add ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Quickly toss everything together to combine. Then immediately plate on a large serving platter.IMG_4416.JPG

Tips
1. When you fry garlic, don’t overdo it. Garlic quickly turns from aromatic to acrid in hot oil., so fry it over a low temperature until it is a light golden brown, then scoop it out with a fine sieve and let it cool down in a wide work bowl. It will continue to cook in the residual heat.

2. Home kitchen stove does not produce heat as high as the commercial kitchen. So it is important to cook batches. I would split 600g shrimp and cook two batches.

 

Chinese Coleslaw白菜沙拉bái cài shā lā

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Described as a Chinese-style coleslaw, this dish is distinctively Chinese. Instead of using mayonnaise, for example, it is seasoned with a light, palate-cleansing vinaigrette. and rather than carrots, it features chopped coriander, minced garlic, sesame oil  and a touch of rice vinegar. Just like coleslaw though, the dish is a perfect accompaniment to barbecue or roast meats which you will enjoy a lot during the holiday season.

Serves 4-6

  • 500g   Napa cabbage, thinly sliced大白菜
  • 3-4 sprigs      Coriander, roughly chopped, 香菜
  • 3 tablespoons    cooking oil
  • 2 dried          dry chilies干辣椒
  • 1 tablespoon                   Szechuan peppercorns花椒
  • 2 cloves         garlic, minced
  • 2                      Thai bird chili (optional)

 Vinegar Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons   Chinese rice vinegar or Balsamic vinegar米醋或者意大利香醋
  • 1 tablespoon                   caster sugar白糖
  • ½ tablespoon                   salt or for taste
  • ½ tablespoon                   sesame oil香油IMG_4146.JPG

 Method

  1. Prepare all the ingredients. Thinly slice the Napa cabbage. Roughly chop the coriander. Place them in a large salad bowl. Mince the garlic. Place the minced garlic onto the cabbage.FullSizeRender.jpg
  2. Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt and sesame oil in a bowl to make a dressing.IMG_2033
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok and add dried chilies and Szechuan peppercorns. Heat over low heat until fragrant. Then remove the Szechuan peppercorns. Pour infused oil over the minced garlic. Mix the salad well.IMG_4148.JPG
  4. Serve in a half hour later. This allows the cabbage to absorb the dressing well.

 

Dry-Fried Chicken with Chili Peppers 辣子鸡丁là zǐ jī dīng

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There is a lovely description of this crispy, hot and numbing dish saying that you need to find  the chicken among chili peppers. This shows people’s love toward those savory chicken cubes and also how many chili peppers will be used in this dish. That’s 100% true when you visit the most authentic Szechuan restaurants. For homemade version, feel free to adjust the amount of the chili peppers so that we do not need to work so hard to finding the meat.

Dry-drying is a unique Chinese cooking method. The texture of dry-fried meat is similar to that of grilled ones, with a hint of smoky flavour. Seasonings are added after dry-frying. The method works to remove the initial water content in the ingredients and help them to absorb the seasonings.

Some restaurants may call it Chongqing Chicken since it is thought to be quite popular in Geleshan (歌乐山) area in the city of Chongqing. Although this one is less famous outside Szechuan, it is considered even better than kung Pao Chicken for many Szechuan people.

Serves 3-4,

  • 500g                                  chick thigh with bones removed (this call for about 700g drumsticks)
  • 2-3 cups                       cooking oil for deep-drying
  • 1 and half cups              dried red chili, roughly chopped干红辣椒
  • 1 and half tablespoons               Szechuan peppercorns四川花椒
  • 1/2 tablespoon                         garlic, minced蒜末
  • 1 tablespoon                 ginger, minced姜末
  • 2-3 spring onions (cut into 5cm long, white and green part separated)
  • 1/3 teaspoon                 salt
  • 1 teaspoon                  caster sugar白糖
  • 1 tablespoon               white sesame seeds (optional)

 Marinade 

  • 1 tablespoon           light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 tablespoon          Chinese cooking wine料酒
  • 2 teaspoons                   corn flour玉米淀粉
  • 1/3 teaspoon                 salt
  • ¼ teaspoon                    white pepper powder 白胡椒粉

ingredients.JPGMethod

  1. Cut the dried chili peppers and then soak the peppers in water for 15 minutes. Soak the dry chilies in the and then fry over slow fire for a short time can greatly reduce the raw spiciness and improve the aroma.FullSizeRender.jpg
  2. Remove the bone of the chicken thighs and then cut into small cubes. In a large bowl, marinate the chicken cubes with all the marinade sauce. Mix well and set aside for around 15 minutes.IMG_4108.JPG
  3. Heat up oil in wok or pan for deep-frying. Heat until really hot (you can see bubbles when you put a chopstick in). Add the chicken cubes in and fry until golden brown.  Transfer out. Fry the chicken by batches – it uses less oil.  After add the chicken cubes, let it stay for a short time (possible about  1- 2  minutes) until one side is browned and then slightly stir the chicken and fry the other side. for the same amount of time. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from wok and place the cooked chicken on the kitchen towel. IMG_4110.JPG
  4. Transfer dry chilies out of water. Get a clean wok and add only 1/2 tablespoon of oil (used deep-frying oil is perfectly fine.) and then fry the peppers for 1-2 minutes over slowest fire until most of them becomes dark red. Add Szechuan peppercorns in and continue frying for another 1 minute over slowest fire. Push the spices to one side and add 1/2 tablespoon of oil in wok and fry ginger, scallion white and garlic until aromatic.IMG_4111.JPG
  5. Return the chicken cubes, add roasted white sesame seeds (optional), sugar, salt and scallion green sections. Mix well and serve immediately.IMG_4112.JPG

 Tip

  1. I would use chicken thigh for this dish because of it is the most tender and juicy part of the chicken.  You can cook them with bones if you do not mind separate the bones when enjoying the dish. Chicken breast is not recommended.
  2. You can adjust the amount of chilies depending on the level of your tolerance of the spiciness. Reducing the chilies will not influence the taste very much.

 

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.