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Sweet and sour pork

28 Feb

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The final Chinese dish and I’m pleased to announce that the month ended on a high,  9 out of 10.

First I coated pork fillet in a batter made from cornflour and beaten egg. Then I fried the pork until golden and crispy.  I put the pork to oneside whilst I made the sauce.

Ginger and peppers were fried together for a few minutes.  Then tinned pineapple and it’s juice were brought to the boil with the other ingredients.  Soy sauce and white wine vinegar went in to give the sour, followed by cornflour to thicken.  The meat went back in to heat through.  Mr M assisted by providing egg fried rice to accompany it.

Pluses for Chinese month, food was quicker and easier to make than Indian.  Downsides,  all the frying.  Plus,  fortune cookies 🙂  Plus plenty veg.  Downer the lack of bread. So far Indian is winning,  but I feel Polish is going to put up a good fight. 

In a change to our normal routine Mr M and I are starting the month with takeaway from our local purveyor of speedy Polish noms. 

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Honey and yellow bean pork

27 Feb

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Today we made a tangy pork dish accompanied with our attempt at one of my take away favourites; crispy seaweed.  The pork dish was pretty simple,  first the meat marinaded in honey, yellow bean paste, soy sauce, brown sugar ginger and garlic.  Then it was stir fried until cooked (most of the marinade was kept to one side and added later.  Then sugarsnap peas and Chinese leaf were cooked with garlic and chilli til done. Meat, marinade and vegetables were then all cooked for a few minutes until the sauce reduced.

Meanwhile Mr M had finely chopped curly kale.  He then deep fried it until crispy. Except it went just a touch too far,  so tasted a little burnt 😦 Anyhow we carried on and after resting the kale on kitchen roll to drain excess oil,  it was sprinkled with sugar and salt.

Results: the pork was tasty,  I enjoyed it.  The seaweed was almost there, I’ll try again sometime. It was a shame that it didn’t quite work, but cool to know that just adding sugar and salt is what gives it the moreish taste.  Mr M voted 8 out of 10. With just one more day of Chinese before we go to Poland,  hope we can go out on a high 🙂

I’m looking forward to sweet and sour pork already….

Peking Duck

26 Feb

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This was something we had been looking forward to since the beginning of the month and had planned for the weekend to allow for the extra preparation time.

We had a duck in the freezer which Mrs M had found in the local farm shop, shot wild for only £5. On the down side, we did have to chew and swallow carefully to find all the bits of shot!

The duck marinaded in a coating of honey, brown sugar, soy sauce and Chinese five spice. It was then placed into a hot oven for an hour or so.

Meanwhile, a sauce, some pancakes and some egg fried rice were readied. The pancakes had come from one of our local Asian food shops and these were steamed for a few minutes in a colander over a pan of boiling water. The sauce was some more sugar and soy sauce combined with hoi sin sauce and some cornflour.

Quite a lot of effort, but well worth it. It tasted just like the versions served at all Chinese restaurants and scored a well deserved 9 out of 10.

Mr M

Juicy chilli chicken without cashews

25 Feb

As I was left to my own devices this evening, I decided to (as usual) amend the recipe to suit my own tastes. So I dropped the cashews from tonight’s dinner as I don’t like cashew nuts very much (and I couldn’t find them in the cupboard anyway).

A simple chicken dish was accompanied by some plain white rice and some strips of cucumber. To make the chicken I skinned and boned several legs and coated these in a mixture of water, cornflour and five spice. I then added the chicken peices to a hot pan, in which szechuan peppercorns had been frying briefly in some vegetable oil and chilli infused oil. The chicken was cooked in just a few minutes.

Simple, tasty and quick. Not too much hassle, even if I had been left to cook just for myself. Still enough left over for lunch too. 8 out of 10.

Mr M

Crispy Mongolian Lamb

23 Feb

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Tonight’s dinner was another simple one, though done (mostly) without the aid of a cookbook.

I had intended to use lamb breast for this, having worked in a butchers and sold many lamb breasts to the local Chinese restaurant for the same or similar dish. Unfortunately the stock of our local supermarket didn’t include this, so I plumped for some bones shoulder instead. This was sliced thinly and sprinkled with spices, then placed in a hot oven. The spices included a couple of dried whole chillies, star anise and a large amount of szechuan peppercorns.

With the lamb in the oven for almost an hour first hot and later at a low temperature to hopefully crisp up, it was time to consult the recipe book for the egg fried rice recipe.

The lamb did come out nice and crisp and full of flavour and went well with the rice. Some bits of lamb might have had rather generous allocations of chilli, but our training in January means that wasn’t a problem! Score: 8.5

Mr M

Red pork stew

22 Feb

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Today’s dinner was a nice variation of the red beef stew earlier in the month.

Super easy, nearly one pot cooking if it weren’t for the accompanying sweet potato mash.

Into a large pan went cinnamon, star anise, dried chillies, fresh ginger and a tablespoon of szechuan peppercorns. A litre of water and many teaspoons of light and dark soy sauce provided the sauce. To all of this was added chunks of belly pork with the skin removed.

And then to cook? Stick it on the hob and ignore it for 45 minutes.  Easy peasy. 8 out of 10.

Mr M

Aromatic beef noodle soup

21 Feb

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Scores on the doors? 8.5. I have returned to form 🙂  I refuse to believe that the high score is a response to not having to eat more tofu. Today’s dinner was genuinely nice!

Beef was boiled with garlic, ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon, star anise, soy sauce, rice wine and water for an hour until the beef was tender. Ready to eat udon noodles and Choy Sum were added and cooked for 5 minutes. Dinner was served garnished with spring onions, chilli oil and sesame oil.  Tasty noms. 

Very similar to the red beef stew I made for Chinese New Year,  but without the smokiness from the tea bags and chilli heat.  Tomorrow we’re having red cooked pork, so I think there might be some repetition here…

Mushrooms and Tofu in black bean sauce

20 Feb

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So my last experience with Tofu was in Japan about 5 years ago, but I’ve never cooked it.  So thought it was time to give it a go.  I think I’m quite motivated by texture in food,  so Tofu with its jelly like ways isn’t something that I particularly like.  I can confirm that my own attempts to cook with it haven’t improved my view of this Asian staple.

Tonight’s recipe was quick and simple. A selection of mushrooms (shiitake, oyster and others)  were cleaned then fried with the Tofu for a few minutes.  Then black beans, soy sauce, red chilli, garlic were mixed into a sauce and added to the pan.  A few minutes of cooking,  then stock and cornflour were added to make a thick rich sauce.

The dish was ok, aromatic enough and the mushrooms were nicely cooked. The tofu soaked up the flavour from the sauce, but kept its slimey texture.  Mr M voted just 5, the lowest score so far 😦

Hopefully the rest of the week will be onwards and upwards.

Spicy Chinese Lamb

18 Feb

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Today we are heading to the countryside for the weekend, so I thought I should post about yesterday’s meal before a short break.

Lamb was a welcome break from the porkfest China month has become. According to the recipe book, the dish is more akin to what Chinese Muslims eat.  It reminded me of the Indian food we ate in January. 

First lamb was marinaded in a paste made from turmeric, fresh and dried chillies, curry leaves and oil.  Onions were briefly fried then the lovely yellow lamb was stir fried for a few minutes.  Rice wine was stirred in with a handful of chopped peppers.  A few minutes of cooking to reduce the wine and dinner was served with brown rice.

Results? I was underwhelmed, it was tasty but lacked punch. Garlic or ginger would have made for a more flavourful meal.  With the lack of soy it didn’t have the salty tang I’ve come to expect from my meals. 7 out of 10.

I’m being brave and cooking Tofu on Sunday so not sure that the scores will go up anytime soon!

Wuxi Ribs

16 Feb

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First of all I’d like to say Mr M has given this a 9. Woohoo.

So you ask how do I make this tasty treat?  Take some pork ribs.  Marinade them in yellow bean sauce,  soy sauce and garlic for 30 minutes.  Then fry them for about 5 minutes. 

Next make a sauce of soy,  honey,  balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.  Then in a wok add the fried ribs and sauce,  cook until reduced and sticky.  Served with noodles and stir fry veg.  Garnish the ribs with chopped spring onions.

Super tasty, sticky ribs.  Tasty little morsels of meat and tangy sauce.  Food you can eat with your fingers.  Yum.