5 easy, super tasty chinese recipes that you can cook at home {no, really}..

Crispy Aromatic Duck

Crispy aromatic duck

You may be surprised to learn that the roots of this dish are not to be found in the Forbidden City in Beijing, but in the kitchens of 1960s north London. A former chef from the Chinese embassy, who was a master in the traditional methods of making Peking duck, set up his own London restaurant. As there was little demand for whole ducks, the chef devised this technique of braising then deep-frying portions of duck to serve with the traditional condiments of pancakes and hoisin sauce. It was an instant hit.

Serves 8
duck legs 4
star anise 6
Sichuan peppercorns 1 tbsp
cloves 1 tsp
cinnamon sticks 2
salt 4 tsp
spring onions 4, white parts
fresh root ginger 4 thumb-sized pieces
Shaoxing rice wine 6 tbsp
chicken stock 2 litres
vegetable oil for deep-frying

To serve
Chinese pancakes shop bought, steamed
spring onions 1 bunch, finely sliced
cucumber 1, finely sliced
hoisin sauce (use ready-made but temper the sweetness by stirring in a little lemon juice or grating in some preserved plums)
ginger and spring onion sesame oil (see below)
five-spice salt (see below)

For the ginger and spring onion sesame oil (makes 280ml)
fresh root ginger 1 tbsp
vegetable oil 225ml
sesame oil 1 tbsp
salt 2 tsp
sugar 1 tsp
spring onion greens 3 tbsp, finely chopped

For the five-spice salt (makes 150g)
Chinese five-spice powder 100g
salt 50g

For the ginger and spring onion sesame oil, mix all the ingredients except the spring onion greens together in a bowl until well combined. Store in a sterilised airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to a month, adding the spring onion greens to the oil just before serving.

For the salt, mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place, for up to a month.

Run a knife around the bottom of each duck leg to free the skin from the bone. This will allow for shrinkage.

Use a pestle and mortar to crush the whole spices, then dust lightly over the duck legs with the salt. Lay the legs flat on a tray and refrigerate for six hours.

Dust off the excess salt, keeping the spices in place, and transfer the duck legs to a saucepan with the remaining ingredients except the oil. Bring to a gentle simmer – the secret is not to boil the duck for it to remain moist.

Transfer the duck legs and cooking liquor to a steamer and steam over a low heat for four hours or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. Or, keep the legs in the saucepan and braise over a low heat for three hours. Leave to cool in the cooking liquor.

Lift the duck legs out of the cooking liquor and remove the thigh bone only from each leg by gently teasing it away with your hands, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Chill the duck until needed – it helps the deep-frying process if left to dry out overnight.

When ready to serve, heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer to 180C. Dry the legs again to minimise spitting, then deep-fry, in two batches, until crisp – place skin-side down in the oil, then turn once when the underside is crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.

To serve, scrape the meat off the bone and serve with the accompaniments.

Sichuanese aubergines

Sichuanese aubergines.

Serves 2
baby aubergines 300g
vegetable oil 3 tbsp
fermented chilli bean paste 1½ tbsp
ready-made black bean sauce ½ tbsp
dried red chillies 3-4, cut widthways into 2 lengths
chilli flakes a pinch
Shaoxing rice wine 2 tbsp
Chinese red vinegar 2 tbsp
vegetable or chicken stock 100ml
sugar 4 tsp

Remove the tops from the aubergines and cut them in half lengthways. Add the oil to a hot wok and lightly fry off the chilli bean paste, black bean sauce, dried chillies and chilli flakes – you want to get the oil to change into a glowing red colour.

Add the aubergine halves and lightly fry before adding the wine, red vinegar, stock and sugar. Cook until reduced slightly before serving.

Chilli barbecued five-spiced Dover sole

Chilli barbecued five-spiced Dover sole

Serves 2
Dover sole 1, about 900g
vegetable oil 1 tbsp
plain flour for coating
unsalted butter 100g
five-spice salt ½ tsp (see crispy duck recipe)
chilli flakes a pinch
lemon juice 2 tsp

Ask your fishmonger to remove the skin from both sides of the fish.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Lightly dust the fish with flour and fry for 6 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 55C. Alternatively, test for doneness by using a knife to try and pull a piece of the flesh off the bone – if you succeed, the fish is ready.

Remove the fish from the pan and place on a warmed serving plate. Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat until it turns nut brown in colour, then season with the five-spice salt and chilli flakes. Pour the seasoned butter over the fish and squeeze over the lemon juice before serving.

Michie’s sweet and sour ribs

Michie's sweet and sour ribsA Wong - The Cookbook

Serves 4
vegetable oil for deep-frying
toasted sesame seeds 2 tbsp
sesame oil 2 tbsp

For the ribs
pork ribs 500g, in individual ribs
spring onion 10g, roughly chopped
fresh root ginger 5g, peeled and sliced
fermented black beans 5g
Shaoxing rice wine 1 tbsp
light soy sauce 1 tbsp
dark soy sauce 2 tsp
salt 3g

For the sticky sauce
sugar 500g
water 800ml
Chinese red vinegar 150ml
malt vinegar 150ml
star anise 5g

For the ribs, mix all the ingredients together and steam over a low heat for 2 hours or until the ribs are tender but just holding on to the bone. Remove from the steamer and leave to cool and dry.

Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer to 180C. Deep-fry the ribs, in batches, until they darken slightly in colour. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.

For the sticky sauce, bring all the ingredients to the boil in a large pan, stirring, and cook until the mixture reduces to a honey-like consistency. Add the deep-fried ribs and cook until the sauce sticks to the ribs. Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil to finish.

Salt and pepper tiger prawns

Salt and pepper tiger prawns

Serves 2

tiger prawns 4 large, in their shells
vegetable oil for deep-frying, plus 1 tbsp
spring onions 2, white parts finely sliced, green part of 1 finely sliced
red chillies 2, finely sliced
Shaoxing rice wine 1 tbsp
five-spice salt ½ tsp (see crispy duck recipe)
sesame oil drizzle of

Remove the black thread from the prawns using a pair of kitchen scissors to cut through the shell down the back of each prawn. Then use a sharp knife to make an incision 1mm deep down the spine and pull out the thread.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C. Deep-fry the prawns until the internal temperature reaches 45C, when they will be 80% cooked and will have just turned pink. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Add the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a hot wok, and when the pan starts to smoke a little, add the spring onion whites and greens, and chillies.

Add the prawns, followed by the wine and mix well in the wok. This won’t take longer than a minute. Finish with the five-spice salt and sesame oil and serve immediately.

Char siu roasted pork

Char Siu roasted pork

Although this dish is universal to all Chinese restaurants, very few go to the trouble of making it as special as it deserves to be. Chinese love fat, and this dish requires the fat that marbles through the neck of the pork to ensure the meat remains moist and succulent after roasting.

Serves 2-3
neck end of pork 600g slice, 3-4cm thick
char siu sauce ½ quantity of recipe below

For the sugar syrup
water 1 litre
sugar 500g

For the char siu sauce (makes 410g)
sesame paste 100g
hoisin sauce 100g
yellow bean sauce 100g
sugar 100g
salt 10g

For the char siu sauce, blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Store in a sterilised airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Add the pork to the char siu sauce and turn to coat, then cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 6 hours.

Preheat your oven to its highest setting. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and place this at the bottom of the oven to catch any drips.

Brush off the excess marinade from the pork and hang from the top shelf in your oven using a metal hook. Cook the pork until you begin to see charring on the outside. If at this stage the internal temperature has not reached 63C, turn the oven down to 160C/gas mark 3 and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the sugar syrup, bring the water and sugar to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool until warm.

Remove the pork from the oven, add to the warm sugar syrup and leave at room temperature for 6 hours or until the meat has been candied. You’ll know it’s ready when the inside of the meat is darker in colour and firmer in texture, indicating that the syrup has penetrated all the way through.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Lift the pork out of the syrup into a roasting tray and heat through for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the syrup in a pan on the hob. Spoon a little of the syrup over the top of the pork and serve.

Dry-fried French beans with minced pork

The secret to this dish is to ensure that you don’t overcook the beans when deep-frying them before adding them to the wok.

Serves 2
vegetable oil for deep-frying, plus a drizzle
French beans 300g
minced pork 100g
fermented chilli bean paste 1 tsp
Shaoxing rice wine 1 tbsp
preserved vegetables 15g
salt a pinch
sesame oil a drizzle
Sichuan peppercorns 1g, ground and toasted, or more if you like the mouth-numbing sensation

Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer to 190C.

Meanwhile, top and tail the beans. Deep-fry the beans until they are 80 per cent cooked – when the surface of the beans just starts to wrinkle. Remove them from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.

Add a drizzle of vegetable oil to a hot wok and stir-fry the minced pork until brown and dry, then stir in the chilli bean paste.

Add the wine and then the beans and mix through before adding the preserved vegetables and salt.

Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil and the ground Sichuan pepper before serving immediately.

A. Wong: The Cookbook by Andrew Wong (Mitchell Beazley, £25). Click here to order a copy for £20 from the Guardian Bookshop

via theguardian.com

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