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Posts tagged ‘Chinese’

Chicken with chilli, ginger and mushrooms

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This is a Ken Hom recipe which I have adapted and every time I cook it, I get compliments from our guests. The original version does not use chilli, so you can leave it out if you want to, but I think it adds a nice dimension. The chunks of chicken in my picture are quite large but if you are feeding a  lot of people, make smaller chunks so that it cooks more quickly and evenly.

If you want to serve it with special fried rice as in the picture, make sure that you have some cold cooked rice available. This is then fried in a wok in a little oil with onion, frozen peas and egg approx 4-5 minutes before serving the chicken. Fry the onion first so that it is soft, add the peas so that they thaw, then either add a pre-cooked one egg omelette that has been chopped into small pieces, or cook a raw egg in the oil and break it up with the spatula before adding the rice. Toss the rice around in the wok to distribute the onion, egg and peas, and keep going until it is heated through.

Another bit of prep to do at least 30 minutes before cooking is to take the dried mushrooms, put them in a bowl or jug, and cover them with boiling water to give them time to reconstitute. You don’t have to use dried mushrooms, but if you do, you get a real depth of flavour and you can use the mushroom water to make the stock.

For the Chicken, ginger and mushroom you need (serves 2-4 people):

Chicken – thighs are more juicy, but you can use breast if you prefer, 100-200g per person should be plenty. This should be filleted and cut into 1 inch chunks.

Chicken marinade – this is enough for 2-4 servings:
Light soy sauce – 2 teaspoons
Shaoxing rice wine (or sherry) – 1 tablespoon
Sesame oil – 1 teaspoon
Cornflour – 2 teaspoons
Black pepper – approx half a teaspoon

Other ingredients:
Dried mushrooms – 25g – make sure these are soaked at least 30 mins ahead of cooking.
Fresh mushrooms (get a nice exotic mixture if you can – shiitake, cloud ears, brown) – 25g
Chilli – 1 small chilli of any variety – regular (or jalapeno if you are a chilli fan)
Ginger – must be fresh – 3 tablespoons peeled and cut into shreds
Garlic – 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped
Shallots or red onion – approx 4 tablespoons finely sliced – this equates to about half a red onion
Fish sauce – 1 tablespoon
Oyster sauce – 1 tablespoon
Sugar – 2 teaspoons
Chicken stock – 150mls – you can buy this ready made or make it up with the mushroom soaking water and a heaped teaspoon of good quality chicken stock powder
Groundnut oil – for cooking – probably a few tablespoons, I always guess mine
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh coriander and spring onion for a garnish – if you have some handy – this is optional

Method:
Things to do 30 minutes before cooking:

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in water that you have just boiled in the kettle. They should be soft after about 30 minutes – leave them longer if not. Save the soaking water to make the stock (but remove any leftover bits from it by straining through a tea strainer). Remove the stalks and discard them, slice the mushrooms and set aside.
  2. If you haven’t got stock already made up, make up 150ml of chicken or vegetable stock by either a) using a stock cube or b) a heaped teaspoon of good stock powder with 150 – 200 mls of the mushroom water. Simmer in a little pan to dissolve all of the cube or powder and set aside. Bear in mind that some will evaporate so use more than 150mls of water and top it up if necessary.
  3. Marinate the chicken in 2 teaspoons of light soy, 1 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and some salt and pepper. Ken Hom says to use one and half teaspoons of salt, but I leave the salt out because the soy is quite salty. I do add about half a teaspoon of pepper though. Once the liquid marinade is mixed through, add about 2 teaspoons of cornflour and mix again – this will make the coating thicker and cling to the chicken, give it a good mix so that it isn’t lumpy.
  4. Prep all the ingredients – peel and finely slice the ginger, garlic and shallots, slice the mushrooms. Slice the chilli and remove the seeds if you don’t like your food too spicy.

Cooking the chicken for the first time (this can be done in advance if you are prepping this for a busy dinner party):

  1. This first cooking gives the chicken the flavour of the ginger and chilli and also makes the ginger and chilli lovely and crispy to add another nice texture to the dish.
  2. Put approx 2-3 tablespoons of groundnut oil in a pan or wok and heat it until it is just smoking.
  3. Add the chilli and ginger and fry for a minute until crispy.20180330_180742.jpg
  4. Add the chicken and fry for another 4-5 minutes until almost cooked. The time will depend on how big the chunks are – if in doubt slice a piece to see if it is almost cooked through – if it is too pink, leave longer.20180330_18083820180330_181442
  5. Drain the chicken and reserve approx 1 tablespoon of the oil. Keep all of the crispy chilli and ginger pieces. If you are clever in the way that you do this, you shouldn’t have to clean the pan.

Putting it all together:

  1. Reheat the wok or pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil (don’t worry if you lost it all, just add another tablespoon of fresh oil).
  2. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for a minute to soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms (dried and fresh), and continue to stir fry and soften.20180330_181801
  4. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, stock and sugar. Return the chicken to the pan.20180330_181848
  5. Leave to simmer for 3-5 minutes to make sure that the chicken is cooked through.20180330_182228
  6. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Serve with rice and garnish with fresh coriander and sliced spring onions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong Cuisine, Myaree

Hong Kong Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was really looking forward to this outing. Our friends Susie and Simon had been telling us for a while about this fabulous Chinese restaurant close to their home. It had been dubbed ‘Chinese in the Cave’ and I was curious to experience this food in an unusual setting.

The first thing that you notice as you walk in is that the decor is indeed very cave-like, but also the clientele is almost exclusively Chinese, and there are various notes on the window (probably special set menus) that are not in English. This was a good sign because if Chinese people are happy to eat here, it points towards it being very authentic.

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The menu is quite extensive and contains photos for some of the dishes, so that you know what to expect. We were certainly spoiled for choice because many of the dishes had our tastebuds tingling in anticipation.

We chose prawn toasts to start, quite good, but also quite a thin layer of prawns, and I would have liked them a bit fatter. Served with a sweet dip and very good on the crunch factor.20180209_195357.jpg

We also chose the fungus with chilli. This was a dish of cloud ear mushrooms served in chilli oil, and the waitress double checked with us because she knew that it would be spicy. It was spicy, but very very tasty, the only difficulty being that as you got nearer the bottom of the dish it was impossible to take a spoonful without scooping up a large amount of the super hot chilli oil. If you have ever tasted chilli oil, you will know that you only need a little !

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Next to arrive was the young chow fried rice, a very tasty and slightly smoky ‘special’ rice containing shrimps, pork, onions, egg and many other little flavour bursts.

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Next came the salt and spicy ribs.  These were the star of the meal with an amazing depth of flavour and a definite umami kick. I could have eaten the whole plate of these and nothing else, and I would have been very happy (but we had to share).

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We also ordered beef with ginger, another fabulous dish, full of flavour, with really good ‘melt in the mouth’ tender beef.

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Next to arrive was the fish – a whole halibut with ginger and spring onion. I couldn’t fault this – very fresh and with delicate flavours that complemented the fish perfectly.  Another star of the show.

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I chose a claypot chicken dish with soy and oyster sauce. This was a dish that was full of flavour but at the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat, I found it hard to eat. All of the chicken was on the bone and every mouthful was 50% bone and cartilage. Cooking meat on the bone definitely adds to the flavour, but there comes a point where the pleasure of eating it is slightly spoiled by the effort involved, so although I enjoyed the taste, I would probably not order this dish again.

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Rice can be ordered by the bowl, plate, or bucket. We ordered a bucket of boiled rice and found that the insulated bucket was very effective at keeping the rice warm.

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At the end of the meal, the waitress brought fresh melon (which we didn’t need to order), jasmine tea was also included.

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Well Hong Kong Cuisine was wonderful and I can’t wait to go back and have ‘Chinese in the Cave’ again ! I absolutely loved the fried rice, the ribs, the fish and the beef, and would probably order them again with a few different additional dishes. It was good value too, working out at less then $30 a head for such a huge amount of food. There is a tank of live lobsters at the back of the restaurant, so maybe lobster will be on the menu next time. Yum.

 

 

Toffee Fruits

One of my fond memories of UK Chinese restaurants is the toffee fruit dessert served with ice cream. You can get it in Australia, but it’s not quite as common or popular as in the UK. Most restaurants serve toffee apple or toffee banana, but I have seen lychee before and theoretically you can do it with any firm fruit that can withstand deep frying. Pineapple and pear would probably also be good options.

The recipe is not the easiest thing to do at first, but once you work it out, the results are so worth it. My first attempt does look a bit clumsy and messy, but the guests loved them. Now I know what to do, next time the presentation will be better.

Toffee Fruits

You can prepare and deep fry the fruits in advance to save time. The batter is enough to coat two apples, a banana and a  can of lychees, it is fairly thick and made up of:

100g plain flour

1 large egg – beaten

1 tablespoon of peanut (groundnut) or corn oil

120 ml water

I used a large high sided frypan to fry my fruits but you can also use a wok, saucepan or deep fat fryer.

To prepare the fruits:

Apples – peel and core the apple then cut into 8 wedges

Lychees – peel and stone fresh lychees, for canned lychees, drain them well (make sure there is no liquid in the centre) and pat them dry with kitchen paper.

Bananas – cut them into chunks – I used zig zag cuts along the length of the banana.

Coat the fruits in batter and deep fry them in an unflavoured oil e.g. corn oil or peanut (groundnut) oil. Make sure that the fruit is fully coated with batter – a thicker batter helps with this. Fry the apple and banana for about 4-5 minutes turning frequently until the batter is a light golden brown. The lychees take a bit less time. Drain them on kicthen paper to keep them as crispy as possible.

If you are not serving them straight away – once all of the pieces have been fried, allow the oil to cool, sieve it to get rid of any debris, and keep the oil for the second frying.

When you are almost ready to serve re-fry the fruit pieces in the hot oil for just a minute to warm them up and get them crispy again.

Now the tricky bit, have a bowl of iced water ready and some sesame seeds handy.

In a wok or saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of groundnut or corn oil. Add 9 tablespoons of white caster sugar and dissolve it in the oil over the heat. It may take on a strange appearance and look like white lumps, but persevere – keep stirring all the time and don’t overheat it. When it is ready it will turn a pale golden brown. Quickly coat the fruit pieces in the caramel, remember as you put the fruit into the caramel it will start to cool, so work quickly, then drop each piece into the iced water which will immediately set the caramel and then place the pieces on a serving plate.

Tips – if you are using a spoon to transfer your fruit from the caramel to the ice water, don’t let the spoon touch the ice water or your toffee fruit will stick to the spoon. Warm your spoon(s) first so that you are not dipping cold spoons into warm caramel. The Chinese use chopsticks to do this – so if you are a dab hand with chopsticks…maybe try them.

I am not quite sure if it is best to add the sesame seeds to the caramel  while the fruits are being coated, or afterwards when they are on the plate. I think that they stick better if you add them to the caramel.

I placed my platter on the table and everybody just used their fingers to serve the fruits straight to the mouth – it was a lovely communal food moment. They are delicious with vanilla ice cream. As you can see from my picture, some of my lychees popped out of their batter coating. I think this was because they were not 100% covered in batter, so next time I will make sure that they are fully coated.

 

 

The Red Teapot, Northbridge

The Red Teapot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had heard about the Red Teapot, but not actually seen the restaurant before. We intended to go to the nearby Four Seasons Roasting Duck House only to find that it had closed so we backtracked to the Red Teapot. Not the most noticeable establishment on William Street, it is a small canteen style Chinese restaurant, I counted only 35 seats. Luckily it was not fully booked, so we were able to spread out on a table for four. The menu has a good selection of dishes and as we were choosing from the menu, I was tempted by the sights and aromas of dishes being served around me.

We chose crab and prawn spring rolls to start – they were extremely tasty and served with a little dipping sauce.

Crab and prawn spring rolls

Crab and prawn spring rolls

Fir the main course we chose vegetable fried rice kung po beef and seafood with ginger and spring onion.

The seafood was very fresh, the squid extremely tender and the fish a nice texture. The beef was lovely, a nice cut of beef that melted in the mouth, watch out for the dried chillies in this dish though.

Seafood with Ginger and Spring Onion

Seafood with Ginger and Spring Onion

Kung Po Beef

Kung Po Beef

Vegetable fried rice

Vegetable fried rice

Yum what a lovely meal. I will definitely return.

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