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”

Steamed Eggs, Tofu, Fish and Prawns – a Protein-Rich Recipe

Egg whites, tofu, white fish and prawns – it’s a protein fix! This recipe is inspired by Chinese steamed eggs, which every child with Chinese parents has probably had. I’ve made this many times, and used to make the consistency a lot smoother by increasing the number of eggs used compare to the fish and prawns, for example, but really prefer this firmer version. Also, this is a steamed recipe, and the taste is a lot lighter and more subtle compared to stir-fries and stews, so I really recommend using some Japanese ingredients such as tsuyu soup stock and mirin. Continue reading “Steamed Eggs, Tofu, Fish and Prawns – a Protein-Rich Recipe”

Peperonata, More Than a Side Dish

I love this dish because it requires few ingredients and provides a lot of flavour. It is a great side dish to present at a dinner party – but I love it solo or with a naughty slice of cheese on top – just like how I’m making it today, with my favourite smoked provola sarda (which I’ve imported from home). I often use bell peppers for this, mixing all colours in, but this time I’m making it using these long red and green peppers, very sweet flavoured and comforting to the palate. This recipe makes enough for two.

Continue reading “Peperonata, More Than a Side Dish”

Chinese Big Plate Chicken Stew (Dapanji) with Homemade Flat Noodles

A big plate of chicken is a great dish to share for a festive gathering, and for winter, this stew really warms you up! The name, Dapanji, literally means a big plate of chicken, and, as you can probably imagine with a name like that, there are many variations of this recipe. Dapanji is actually a fusion dish between Sichuan and Xinjiang cuisine, so it’s definitely spicy! We’ve made it here with a poussin as we didn’t have that many mouths to feed, but as you can imagine, it’s easy to scale up. Continue reading “Chinese Big Plate Chicken Stew (Dapanji) with Homemade Flat Noodles”

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Christmas means plenty of gingerbread – gingerbread men, gingerbread house… I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread cake, as I like the flavours in there more so than Christmas pudding, and wanted a scrumptious gingerbread-like dessert to wrap up Christmas dinner.

This year, I found the favourite old fashioned gingerbread recipe and decided to adapt it by reducing the sweetness and doubling the spice, and also adding a layer of mascarpone cream icing on top. The result? Delicious! The cream and gingerbread taste worked really well together! Continue reading “Old Fashioned Gingerbread”

Partridges_Ombar chocolate

Partridges with Ombar Chocolate Sauce

We love Chocolate – this delicious ingredient, source of endorphins and serotonin. Today we are partnering up with Ombar, who have created raw cocoa chocolate bars that preserve all the nutrients of chocolate. Is it really raw? Of course not. The cocoa beans are processed at a slow temperature, but not roasted, and that is why they can be called raw.
I got a 90% raw cocoa bar and decided that instead of putting it in a smoothie or a cake, I wanted to cook something with it. Finding the partridges was just what I needed – now that autumn is coming along with chilly evenings, a strongly flavoured game casserole is just what you want to be cooking on the stove. This recipe serves four.

Continue reading “Partridges with Ombar Chocolate Sauce”

prawn_seafood_curry

Ken Hom’s Fragrant Prawn Curry Recipe

This week, I had some pre-prepped prawns and mixed seafood left in the fridge, and most of the other ingredients needed in this recipe (such as chopped garlic, chillies, ginger, coriander, madras curry paste, spicy bean paste, soya sauce and Shaoxing rice wine) are all part of my spice cupboard/standard fridge stock, I decided to try this recipe. The recipe is from Ken Hom’s My Kitchen Table: 100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes. You can find the full Fragrant Prawn Curry recipe in Google Books. Continue reading “Ken Hom’s Fragrant Prawn Curry Recipe”

Lion_Head_Pork_Meatballs

Giant “Lion Head” Meatballs (Shi Zi Tou)

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Time to bring out the mooncakes and watch the full harvest moon – as we say, may the flowers be beautiful and the moon be round. This week’s Chinese recipe is also round! These pork meatballs are roughly the size of tennis balls, and are called lion heads or sixi (lucky four) meatballs, as you’d usually make four.

If you’d like a further touch of the autumn, you can also add a few chopped water chestnuts to the mix. The most important thing is to use minced pork belly and not a leaner mince, as it really makes a difference to how light and tender the meatballs turn out in the end. Continue reading “Giant “Lion Head” Meatballs (Shi Zi Tou)”

Shredded_Potato_strips_Stir_fry_with_vinegar

Shredded Potato in White Vinegar (Cu Liu Tu Dou Si)

Potato is such a versatile ingredient – boil it, bake it, mash it, make chips with it… or shred it for this stir fry recipe. This simple recipe tastes just as good once the potatoes have gone cold, so it’s a refreshing one to try (despite the spice) now that the weather’s hotter. What gives this its refreshing nature is the vinegar. Usually in Chinese cooking, when you mention vinegar, you’d automatically think of black vinegar from Zhenjiang. However, here you should go for white wine vinegar instead. Continue reading “Shredded Potato in White Vinegar (Cu Liu Tu Dou Si)”