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.

Continue reading “Carbonara – the Italian Recipe”

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.

Continue reading “Stuffed Squid Chestnuts, Mushroom and Rice (Ikameshi)”

sesame_tuna_sauce messine_recipe

Sesame Tuna and Modified Sauce Messine

Just as much as I easily find good cuts of meat in the Haringey wing of Seven Sisters, well sourced tasty fish is equally as impossible to find. So when I crave it, I make it a proper treat, spending a bit more, but trying to find some sustainably sourced fish. In this case, I got a chunk of tuna from Wholefoods, together with some sea asparagus, and I planned to make something very special with them.  Sauce Messine is a traditional French sauce used for fish – it’s in Elizabeth Davis’ book and I’ve made it a few times, although I almost never have the exact ingredients needed. As usual, I have allowed myself to make some adjustments and the result was simply delightful. This recipe serves two.

Continue reading “Sesame Tuna and Modified Sauce Messine”

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.

Continue reading “Imitated Crab – Sai Pang Xie – a Beijing Imperial Recipe”

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”

Koushui_Ji_Chicken_Salad_Sichuan_Spicy_Recipe

Koushui Ji – a Spicy Sichuan Chinese Chicken Salad

For something a bit different from your standard chicken salad this summer, there’s always the spicy sichuan koushui ji, which is also very easy to make. You can use either one whole chicken, or, as I’ve done here, use only chicken thighs. I’ve also used boneless pieces in this recipe, as I find it easier to eat.

You can make this the night before and store it in the fridge – after all, it’s supposed to be eaten cold – and prep time is minimal, while cooking time is roughly 30 minutes. It really is very simple, despite the long list of ingredients.

Continue reading “Koushui Ji – a Spicy Sichuan Chinese Chicken Salad”

Sinigang_Knorr_mix_Ribs_Recipe

Sinigang soup from Knorr Mix – a Filipino Sour Soup

Having a sour soup can be very refreshing for the summer, and you will find the Knorr Sinigang Mix from most Asian supermarkets. The sourness comes from tamarind, and other essential ingredients include tomatoes, a meat of some sort and, often, green beans. In this version of the recipe using the Knorr Mix, we are going to use pork ribs, and to make them extra tender, we’ve included cooking it with an electric pressure cooker. Continue reading “Sinigang soup from Knorr Mix – a Filipino Sour Soup”

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”

Courgette pancakes hu ta zi

Courgette Pancakes – a Hu Ta Zi Recipe from Beijing

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. Continue reading “Courgette Pancakes – a Hu Ta Zi Recipe from Beijing”

Steamed Enoki Mushrooms with Garlic – a ‘Cooked Salad’ Recipe

In hotter weather, salads are a go-to food. This enoki mushroom recipe is a Chinese cooked salad, which means that like last week’s aubergine recipe, the mushroom is steamed before the sauce goes on, and the mushrooms soak up the flavours as it cools with the sauce.

You can also look into using other sorts of mushrooms, like oyster mushrooms, although it would be best to slice them thinly, as enoki mushrooms are naturally so thin and absorb the flavours easily. Continue reading “Steamed Enoki Mushrooms with Garlic – a ‘Cooked Salad’ Recipe”