Stew is one of the best hearty and warming winter foods, and North-Eastern Chinese (Dongbei) cuisine is full of these. Luan Dun (cooked here with ribs and winter vegetables) literally means messy stew, so as you can imagine, the recipe is far from precise. It also involves ripping as many ingredients apart with your hands as possible (instead of cutting it neatly with your cleaver/kitchen knife), so it’s a great way to relieve stress!
I won’t dwell too much on the name origin of this Italian classic recipe, for which many are the presumed stories , but none of them sure. What is certain is that this classic recipe from Lazio was popular only after the Second World War, it is one of the most famous recipes in the world, and also one of the simplest pasta sauces there are to make. However, you still find some recipes that get it completely wrong, by adding extra ingredients that are not necessary at all for this recipe. It is definitely a winner at dinner parties with Anglo-Saxon friends – who will wonder at how magically you pulled together their favourite breakfast ingredients in a dinner dish. Serves two people.
I’m a fan of Ikameshi (a Japanese dish from Hokkaido made from whole squids stuffed with glutinous rice), but as it’s part of a regional cuisine, it’s very difficult to find in restaurants here. There are many amazing recipes for Ikameshi, and this version I’m sharing is by no means the most authentic. I wanted to make it without using my rice cooker or pressure cooker, and more importantly, wanted to make the stuffing much heavier on elements other than rice.
There’s a story behind this imitated crab (sai pang xie) recipe, and it starts with the Empress Dowager Cixi craving crabs. Unfortunately, being based in Beijing means a lack of fresh crabs, so the imperial chefs found a clever way to cook eggs to make them taste as good as crab meat. I love this recipe because you can make a huge quantity of the “crab” without breaking the bank – and the bonus is that there’s no need to get fiddly with crab shells!
There are many variations of the recipe, starting with the poor-man’s version with just eggs. Others use white fish and a touch of prawns to achieve a texture closest to crab meat. I’ve used only prawns here, as I prefer that more seafood-y taste. I’ve also used a salted egg, as this adds a little extra punch to the recipe, but you can use normal eggs. If you’re using normal eggs, then make sure you add more salt in the egg white and egg yolk mixes.
Want a bit more bite to your pork belly? Then twice-cooking it might be the answer – as covering it in an egg and flour batter will make the texture a little crispier.
After the first round of frying, the pork belly is drained of oil on some tempura paper, ideally, to make it all less greasy, before you add in the spiralised carrots and coriander.
The whole thing is very fast and easy to cook, and prep only takes roughly 10 minutes, with around the same amount of cooking time. Continue reading “Twice Cooked Pork Belly Carrot and Coriander”
When you think of summer food, salad usually comes to mind (got to love a good summer salad). They are, actually, just as common in Chinese cooking, although instead of having a mix of different leaves, Chinese veggie cold dishes are usually made from a single ingredient. These are all very easy to make, so here are three salads with different flavours! They can all be prepared in advance and left in the fridge for dinnertime – no need worry about wilting leaves. Continue reading “Three Chinese Summer Cold Dishes – Tomato Cucumber and Wood Ears”
Summer has brought courgette spaghetti/noodles onto the shelves in some supermarkets here, so yes, this is another courgette recipe! If you can’t buy courgette spaghetti, then just spiralise a normal courgette.
Hu Ta Zi is a snack from Beijing, and is originally made with calabash (bottle gourd), but as that’s difficult to buy in many countries, I’ve adapted the recipe using courgette, and it’s just as delicious! The pancakes is best served hot, and usually dipped in a rice vinegar, soy sauce and garlic powder/chopped garlic sauce. However, they are also delicious by themselves.
Ideally, you’d have some tempura paper for this, as it absorbs excess oil, but if not, then you can use a clean piece of kitchen roll. Continue reading “Courgette Pancakes – a Hu Ta Zi Recipe from Beijing”