Sticky Post

Spinach and Chickpeas Tapa (Espinacas con Garbanzos)

This meatless dish with spinach and chickpeas is a popular Sevillian tapa, in which the cumin seeds and paprika will titillate your palate: these spices makes this very simple dish an unforgettable starter for your guests and a perfect dinner fix when all you have at home is cans and frozen spinach! Popular as a meatless mid-week meal option, we often have it with bread like a bruschetta, or on a bed of roasted potatoes, or just as it is, with a sunny side up on top!

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Dongbei_stew_luan_dun

Dongbei Stew – Luan Dun with Ribs and Winter Vegetables

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!

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Carbonara – the Italian Recipe

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.

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Stuffed Squid Chestnuts, Mushroom and Rice (Ikameshi)

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.

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Imitated_crab_Sai_Pang_Xie

Imitated Crab – Sai Pang Xie – a Beijing Imperial Recipe

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.

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Pork_Belly_Coated_Twice_Cooked

Twice Cooked Pork Belly Carrot and Coriander

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”

Three Chinese Summer Cold Dishes – Tomato Cucumber and Wood Ears

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”

Tofu and Chinese Cabbage

Tofu and Chinese Cabbage

Just home from a trip to Kyoto, the city of tofu, I’ve been thinking more about easy home-cooking tofu recipes, and this tofu and Chinese cabbage combo is a typical one to make at home. It’s not quite a completely stir-fry recipe, so I haven’t called it as such. You will need to drop the tofu and the cabbage leaves into boiling water to remove the slightly odd taste that tofu sometimes has when you just unwrap it, and will need to wilt the cabbage a little so that you don’t need to stir vigorously once it’s in the oil pan – so as not to break the tofu apart. Continue reading “Tofu and Chinese Cabbage”

Steamed_Sea_Bass_Fish

Steamed Sea Bass

As a continuation of our steamed recipes, here comes a really simple Chinese-style steamed fish recipe. The fish we’re using here is sea bass, though other kinds of thin white fish fillets such as sole will also work well.

Steaming fish is a bit different from steaming the veggies from previous recipes, as the timing and heat is important. Fish can easily get dry and overcooked. Make sure that the steamer is boiling before you put the fish in, and when it is in there, boil on high heat then mid heat. Continue reading “Steamed Sea Bass”

Corn and red kidney beans

Corn and Red Kidney Beans – a Staple Food from Northern China

When people think about the staple food in China, white rice usually comes to mind, but this is actually not true in Dongbei, the north east of China. Maize (corn) is the traditional staple there, and the most well-known version is a porridge made from maize kernels: Da Zha Zi.

Nutritionally speaking, corn tends to be a little richer than white rice in vitamins, and offers more fiber. To make up for the lower protein content in corn (which is also an issue, if not more so, with rice), this porridge/congee is usually balanced with red kidney beans, and you can also add peanuts to the mix. Continue reading “Corn and Red Kidney Beans – a Staple Food from Northern China”