Unusual Fact: Fortune cookies are not a traditional Chinese custom. They were invented in early 1900 in San Francisco. China uses 45 billion chopsticks per year.
I have been both nervous and excited for China. China is such a diverse country with many regions which have many different flavours. My original idea was to have a dish from each of the main regions in China: Hunan, Sichuan, Tibet and Beijing. But then I found some recipes that sounded delicious. I don’t know where these recipe are from in China. They are not like your average Chinese take away. They are much better. We served all of the meals with green tea.
This blog is about learning and growing in my cooking. Many dishes that we made had components that I had never done before. Such as deep frying, making my own dumplings, flavouring my own oils and smoking meats.
This was a Chinese feast. Firstly entrée, we had home made dumplings/wontons in a broth. I have had amazing dumplings before, but never in a broth. These used frozen wonton wrappers but you could make your own if you wanted. Mum and I agreed that the frozen ones tasted fine and were really easy to use and fold. For this recipe we used a mixture a mixture of two different recipes. We used this one for the dumplings and this one for the broth. Both the broth and the dumplings were amazing. It is incredible how much flavour 1tsp of sesame oil can give to that much broth. The flavours in the broth are incredible, the ginger, stock and and spring onion all gave really fresh flavours.
As a part of the main course we had smoked chicken. This chicken first marinated in sichuan peppers, then boiled up in some soy sauce, ginger, spring onion and some spices finally smoked in the barbecue with tea. This chicken had incredible flavours and colour.
To smoke something you have to line you roasting pan with foil and place a cake rack over the top and place your meat on this. Make sure you wrap the whole thing with foil for the first half to three quarters of the cooking otherwise you meat ill go dry, like ours did! The recipe says to cook the chicken in an oven but you can do it just as easily in the barbecue.
As an accompaniment to the chicken we made a Lijiang cold noodle salad. This salad is very light and fresh, a great side dish to the chicken. The recipe asks for you to make your own chilli and sichuan oils. If you watch the video which I have linked in the recipe you can see how he does it. Make sure that you don’t pour in too much hot oil to start with as it will bubble up a lot. I don’t want you getting burnt. These oils give an amazing taste to the dressing, especially the sichuan oil. Although Luke Nguyen does say it in the video, the traditional noodles cannot be purchased in Australia, I am sure that you could get them in Asia but I am not sure about anywhere else. We used thick rice noodles instead.
Along with our noodle salad and our chicken we served some Chinese greens. These were steamed so that they were still a little crunchy but soft enough to chew. The sauce over the top was sweet and sour and an amazing complement to the bitter greens. We used a mix of bok choy and pak choy.
When I watched the video on how to cook this recipe. I instantly fell in love. I know I had to make these. I am so glad that I did. The crunchy toffee and batter and the creamy bananas are a match made in heaven. You really do need the toffee on the outside. Otherwise add some sugar into the batter.
We had two friends join us for this chinese feast. Anita, who is malaysian said that the bananas were better than her mums! And Heidi who lived in HOng Kong for many years said that the chickens flavour was amazing. We rated the company as a 10!
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 200g pork mince
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 4 water chestnuts, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- pinch of white pepper
- 24 wonton wrappers
Make wontons: Place mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze excess liquid from mushrooms. Trim and discard stems. Finely chop mushrooms.
Place mushrooms, pork, onion, water chestnuts, soy sauce, sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Season with salt and white pepper. Mix until well combined.
Place 1 wonton wrapper on a clean surface. Place 1 heaped teaspoon pork mixture in centre. Brush edges with water. Fold wonton over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Press edges together. Fold base corners of triangle up and around filling. Press to join. Repeat using remaining wrappers and pork mixture.
- To cook wontons, place in simmering stock until they float then another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot
- 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
- 3 spring onions, green part coarsely chopped, white part finely chopped (reserve for wontons)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1½ cups shredded Chinese cabbage
- 1 tbsp julienned ginger
Place chicken stock, green part of spring onion, soy sauce and sesame oil in a saucepan over high heat, bring to the boil, add cabbage and ginger, then remove from heat and keep warm. Serve with dumplings
Smoked Chicken Beijing Style – Xun Ji – Recipe from the World Cookbook for students
2 Tbs whole sichuan pepper
2 Tbs salt
4 chicken breasts
1 green/spring onion
3 slices fresh ginger
2 star anise
1x 1-inch long cinnamon stick
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 black tea leaves
2 tbs sesame oil
3 sprigs fresh coriander for garnish
large sheet of foil
Over low heat dry fry the sichuan pepper and salt in a skillet for 1-3 minutes until aromatic
Crush this mixture coarsely and tub all over chicken, inside and out
Place in a covered container and refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight
In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil
Add spring onion, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and soy sauce; simmer fofr 10 minutes
Ass chicken; let simmer for 10 minutes. Make sure the chicken is completely immersed
Take chicken off and let cool
Preheat oven to 190˚C
In a metal or preferably disposable roasting pan (it will be scorched), lay a large sheet of foil, enough to generously overhang sider of pan
Place sugar, tea leaves and flour on foil
Put the roasting pan over low heat, until sugar and tea mixture starts to scorch and copiously smoke. It is this smoke hat will flavour the chicken.
PLace the chicken on a roasting rack over the smoking mixture
Bring foil over chicken and fold to seal
Place chicken in the oven and bake for 30 minutes
Unwrap chicken, brush with sesame oil, turn over and return to oven, uncovered
Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until browned
Brush with more sesame oil and cut into 2 inch portions
Arrange on a serving plate. Serve hot with fresh coriander
Lijiang Cold Noodle – Recipe SBS
4 tbsp Sichuan peppers
4 tbsp flaked dried chilli
½ cup peanut oil
1 tsp sesame oil
400 g cooked Chinese rice noodles (at room temperature)
½ carrot, julienne
1 handful of daikon, julienne
5 garlic chive stems, sliced into 4 cm lengths
1 handful bean sprouts
4 coriander stems, roughly sliced, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts, to serve
½ tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black vinegar
1 tbsp chilli oil
1 tbsp Sichuan pepper oil
½ tbsp garlic water (chopped garlic infused with water overnight)
To make the oils for your dressing, place the Sichuan peppers and flaked dried chilli in separate bowls.
Heat the peanut oil to 170°C. Divide the hot oil among the bowls of Sichuan peppers and flaked dried chilli. Set aside to cool. Add the sesame oil to the chilli oil.
To make the dressing, place the brown sugar, soy sauce and black vinegar in a bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 tablespoon each of the chilli oil and Sichuan pepper oil. Add the garlic water. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes.
Place the noodles in a bowl. Add the carrot, daikon, garlic chives and bean sprouts. Add the coriander. Add the dressing and mix well.
Garnish with coriander and peanuts to serve.
Chinese Vegetables – Recipe from the Essential Asian Cookbook
500g Chinese green vegetables
2 tsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 TBS oyster sauce
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 TBS water
1 tsp sesame oil
Bring a large pan of water to the boil
Wash greens and remove any tough leaves, trim stems and chop into 3 equal portions
Add greens to a pan of boiling water (we steamed ours)
Cook for 1-2 minutes or until just tender but still crisp
Use tongs to remove greens from pan, drain well and place on a heated serving platter
Heat peanut oil in a small saucepan, cook garlic breifly
Add oyster sauce, sugar, water and sesame oil and bring to the boil
Pour over greens, toss to coat, serve immediately
Toffee Bananas – Recipe Food Safari
- elf-raising flour
- 25 gcornflour, plus extra for dusting
- 90 mlcold water
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 2bananas, thickly sliced diagonally
- 120 gwhite sugar
- black and white sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- ice-cream, to serve
To make the batter, whisk together the self-raising flour and cornflour, then add the water and mix until smooth. Stir in 1 tsp of vegetable oil.
Fill a wok or deep-fryer one-third full of vegetable oil and heat to 190°C. Toss the banana slices in the extra cornflour to lightly coat. Using a bamboo skewer, dip each banana slice in the batter. Cook in the hot oil, in batches, until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel.
Place the sugar in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until a caramel forms. Remove from the heat, then working quickly and one at a time, add the fried banana to the caramel and turn to coat. Drop into a large bowl of iced water to “set” the caramel. Drain immediately, then sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds. Serve with ice-cream.