Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad. Quinoa has become a really popular grain/food in recent years. There are more and more talking about quinoa so I decided to get my hands on some of these little seeds. Yes, quinoa is actually a “seed” and it’s not to be confused with any kind of cereal.

Here are some of the health benefits of quinoa:

  1. Quinoa is a nutritious dense grain.
  2. Quinoa is gluten-free
  3. Quinoa contains high levels of protein and is one of a few plants to do so
  4. Consuming Quinoa regularly can help your body to reduce the risk of inflammation
  5. Quinoa is also high in fibre so it can also help your body to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar
  6. Consuming Quinoa in your diet regularly can also help your body reduce the risk of allergies
  7. Lower your cholesterol and help maintain HDL cholesterol level.

Quinoa is also high in iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and Vitamin E. So it’s no wonder people often called quinoa a superfood.

Before writing this blog post I had never eaten or cooked quinoa before so to be honest I just followed the instructions from the packaging on how to cook. Turns out it’s a really easy thing to cook.

I just love the texture of quinoa. i think it tastes better than cous cous and if you like your quinoa quite soft then you can add a bit more water to cook but if you like it a little al-dente then reduce the amount of the water you use to cook it.

Quinoa is not a typical food in Chinese cooking so I will say this dish is a bit like Chinese meats Western type of food. I use the marinade in this post for chicken legs really often and you can use the marinade with pretty much any kind of meat. You can also coat the meat with some flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs to deep-fry the chicken after marinading. You can also roast it in the oven and either way will taste really good. If you’re not a fan of chicken legs then you can use chicken breast instead.

What I will often do to save time and hassle is buy a few chicken legs or chicken breasts, depending on what I fancy, and marinade in this way then separate into smallish portions. I’ll bag them in a freezer bag, free them and that’s dinner sorted out for at least a couple meals.

This is an ideal week day dinner or lunch for any household.

chinese garlic chicken and quinoa salad

Ingredients

chinese garlic chicken and quinoa salad

How to Debone a Chicken

chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad
chinese garlic chicken with quinoa salad

 

Simple Chinese Garlic Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken de-boned, including thigh and drumstick
  • 100 g white quinoa
  • 500 ml boiling water for cooking the quinoa
  • 100 g cucumber cut into half then slice 0.5cm thick
  • 8 cherry tomatoes cut into half
  • Coriander and mint finely chop

Marinade for Chicken legs

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Seasonings for Quinoa Salad

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lime zest and juice
  • 1/2 tsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Instructions

  1. De-bone the chicken legs and marinade with all the seasonings from the light soy sauce to coarse black pepper for at least 30 minutes. I would recommend you marinade overnight if you can as everything will taste much better.
  2. Follow the instructions on the packaging of the quinoa. I rinsed the quinoa under cold water a few times to wash away the bitterness of the quinoa.
  3. I soaked the quinoa in cold water for five minutes and drained the water completely. Put boiling water and quinoa in a saucepan and bring it to a boil first. Then turn to lowest heat, simmer and cover the quinoa until the water is nearly dry and the quinoa is tender. Then it’s ready (this will take around 15-20 minutes).
  4. Use a fork to loosen up the quinoa and mix with all the seasonings from salt to olive oil. Then leave aside to cool down.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 200c.
  6. Heat up some oil in frying pan or skillet. Place the chicken legs skin side down and fry each side for 2 minutes then put in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
  7. Use the remaining oil in the frying pan to quickly fry cucumber and cherry tomatoes for 20 seconds.
  8. Mix step 6 cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped coriander and mint with the quinoa.
  9. Let the chicken legs cool down a little bit then slice and serve with some quinoa salad.
  10. You can garnish this dish with some chopped coriander, mint and some lime.

Salt and Pepper Squid

salt and pepper squid

This salt and pepper squid is one of my favourite Chinese Taiwanese snacks and appetizers. On a hot summer’s day I especially enjoy paring this with a nice iced cold beer.

Preparing this dish is very simple. You only need a few ingredients then you can make this dish but please be very careful when you fry the squid as the oil can explode (water on oil effect) and potentially burn you. I personally pad the squid dry after cleaning and washing it because I coat it with corn flour and normal flour.

I personally like to cross-cut the squid because it makes the squid look prettier but if you think cross-cutting is too much hassle then you can either cut it into rings or pieces. Either method is fine.

How to cross-cut squid:

  1. Place the squid tube flat on a cutting board, with the inside facing up.
  2. Score the squid tube with a criss-cross pattern. Cut into rectangular pieces.

How to clean and prepare squid video

Squid health benefits:

  1. Squid contains high levels of copper that can fulfill 90% of the body’s requirements.
  2. Eating squid can relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
  3. Squid is high in proteins
  4. Squid is high in Vitamin B2, which also can prevent migraines.
  5. Eating squid can help to stabilize sugar levels in your blood because it contains high levels of vitamin B3.
  6. Squid is a good source of Zinc which can help strengthen the immune system.
  7. Squid is a very good source of vitamin B12, which can lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Even though squid has many health benefits please remember to eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you have any medical issues please consult a medical professional.

If you like this recipe please have a look of my cookbook “Home-Style Taiwanese Cooking“.

 

salt and pepper squid

 

 

Salt and Pepper Squid

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 370 g squid tubes cross cut a medium to large squid. I only use squid tubes but you can use the whole squid
  • 85 g corn flour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 750 ml oil for the squid
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 chili sauce
  • basil for garnish

Ingredients for Squid Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp rice wine

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper

Wasabi mayo dipping sauce ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp wasabi
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

Procedure for salt and pepper squid

  1. Clean and wash the squid under running cold water. Pad dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Cross-cut the squid and cut into 3-4 cm (on each side) squares.
  3. Marinade the squid with all the ingredient for marinade for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix corn flour, plain flour and all the seasonings.
  5. Heat up oil in a wok or a deep saucepan to around 180C.
  6. Coat the squid with step 4 corn flour mixture.
  7. Gently slide the squid into the hot oil. Please keep your distance and be very careful just incase the hot oil splashes or spits on you.
  8. Deep fry the squid for 30 seconds. You will see the squid curl up and turn a beautiful golden colour.
  9. Put a couple sheets of kitchen towel on a plate and take the squid out of the hot oil and place onto the kitchen towel to get rid of the oil.
  10. Mix the squid with spring onions and chilli. Place on a serving plate and garnish with some basil leaves. Ready to serve.

Procedure for Wasabi Mayo

  1. Mix wasabi with lemon juice first until there are no lumps of wasabi left.
  2. Mix step 1 with mayonnaise until it’s perfectly combined together.

Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork

It’s very likely at some point in your life you’ve eaten something sweet and sour. If you’ve eaten sweet and sour you’ve almost certainly eaten Cantonese style sweet and sour and it had either pork or chicken. But have you ever tried “Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork”?

Shanghai style sweet and sour pork is one of my all time favourite dishes and is a dish my grandfather used to cook for me when I was a child. My grandfather was a great cook and this combined with all of his love made me madly fall in love with this dish.

To be very honest with you I’m not really a fan of sweet and sour pork that is made with ketchup (Cantonese style). I just think ketchup based sweet and sour pork is too strong for me but I love this Shanghai style sweet and sour pork.

This dish uses “black vinegar” instead of rice vinegar and you can use any kind of sugar you want for this dish. I personally prefer to use demerara sugar or rock sugar for this dish because these two types of sugar have much more flavour than caster sugar.

You can use pork ribs cut into small cubes if you want to (I cooked this dish with pork ribs for my upcoming cookbook “Home-Style Chinese Cooking”) or you can use pork belly (my favourite), pork loin or shoulder roast. If you don’t like pork at all you can substitute pork with diced chicken breast.

As of June 2016 I’m finally finished with studying at university and my life over the last five years has been absolutely manic. My illustration business is really busy at the moment and it looks like I’m going to be very busy until next Spring at least. This is making me immensely happy and with my four year old daughter at nursery four whole days a week I’m now making time to update this food blog again. A lot of my illustration work and a lot of my work in general is because of food and I love updating this blog when I can so I’m back.

I also have a third cookbook which I’m going to have published soon. The title of the book is “Home-Style Chinese Cooking” and I have to admit it’s been bloody hard work combining working part time, working and studying as an illustrator as well as raising a four year old energizer bunny but I’m proud of what I’ve created and can’t wait to see the book. Please stay tuned!

 

shanghai style sweet and sour pork

 

 

Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 800 g pork belly skinless and cut into cubes
  • 1.25 litres water for cooking the pork belly
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 750 ml oil for deep frying the pork

Ingredients for marinading the pork belly

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for batter

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Seasonings

  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp demerara sugar you can use caster or rock sugar instead
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp black vinegar

Instructions

  1. Marinade pork belly with marinade for couple hours.
  2. Boil 1.25 litres water and 2 slices of ginger in a stock pot and add pork belly. Bring it to a boil first then simmer for 40 minutes. Drain the water.
  3. Mix step 2 pork belly with all the ingredients for batter.
  4. Heat up 750ml oil in a wok or deep saucepan. Deep fry the pork belly until it’s golden colour, take it out from the oil and drain the oil.
  5. Heat up 3 tablespoon water and 3 tablespoon demerara sugar and cook until the water and sugar turn into thick syrup.
  6. Turn the fire to medium temperature. Add pork belly in and keep stirring for a couple minutes until the syrup looks like it has coated the pork belly.
  7. Add light soy sauce and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add black vinegar and keep stirring for 1 minutes. Ready to serve.

 

Cockle Meatballs Recipe

cockle meatballs recipe

Today’s recipe is a Chinese cockle meatballs recipe I learnt whilst I lived in Shanghai but before that a little update about things.

I really expected when I quit my job working as a chef my life would become quieter and while it’s an awful lot less stressful I’m busier than ever with my freelance illustration work. I’ve picked up a few commissions recently, two of which came from my home country Taiwan. One job is to initially create 6 illustrations based on popular tourist spots in Taiwan for a Taiwanese souvenir company. The other is to illustrate a children’s interactive book this time for a publisher in Taiwan. I’m also working on a top secret commission job which I can’t discuss right now but this is also something I’m really excited about. One thing I will say, my illustration for the last project will be viewable in supermarkets soon.

Back to the food, I made these cockle meatballs around a month about but due to Chris and myself having absolutely tonnes of work to do we literally haven’t had time until now to sort out the photos and type up the recipe.

I ate these cockle meatballs while I lived in Shanghai but in Shanghai restaurants they use clams (蛤) instead for making this meatballs dish and they cook this dish with super sweet soy sauce, which is a bit too sweet for me. But in general, I really like this dish no matter the flavour or the presentation. So I remade this dish at home myself based on my memory of this dish but turn down the sweetness. Also, I found cockles are quite salty, so please be careful with the the seasonings.

cockle meatballs recipe

 

Cockle Meatballs Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 14 meatballs

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 14 cockles shelled
  • 250 g pork mince you can also use beef mince
  • 1 tsp ginger chop finely
  • 1 tbsp spring onion chop finely
  • 1 egg white

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for sauce

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 150 ml stock vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce or sticky soy sauce
  • 1 tsp potato starch mix with 2 tbsp water. Makes potato starch water

Instructions

  1. Leave the cockles to soak in water for a couple hours to get rid of any dirt.
  2. Pick the cockles meat out. Keep both meat and shells.
  3. Mix the mince, ginger, spring onions, egg white and all the seasonings in a big bowl. Use your hand to mix it evenly in the same direction for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Chop the cockles up and mix with step 3.
  5. Roll the mixture into small balls and put back into the cockle shells.
  6. Steam the meatballs for 7-9 minutes until the meat is cooked all the way through.
  7. Pour the oyster or stocky soy sauce, sugar and stock into a small sauce pan and boil at first then reduce down the liquid to about half the original amount. Gently stir the potato starch water into the sauce and keep the stove at a lot heat. Keep stirring while cooking and turn off the fire after the sauce has started to boil.
  8. Place the cockle meatballs on a plate and pour the sauce on it. The dish is ready to serve.

cockle meatballs recipe

Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes

deep fried prawn balls with almond flakes

Today’s recipe is Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes but before I get onto the recipe I’ve now been back in the UK from Taiwan for a month now and my life has been very busy but I’m really happy I’ve finally quit my job as a chef. Sometimes you just have to take a jump from one career to another and now I’ve quit working as a chef I’m suddenly got a lot of illustration enquiries so it’s perfect that I’m now working for myself.

I’ve also finally caught up with most of then projects I have been working on but I’m still struggling to find enough time to balance studying, commission projects and family. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to work in a kitchen and do all my other work as well.

With regards to my cookbook, I am always monitoring stock levels of my cookbook on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com so I can get an idea of how well the book is selling (it appears to be selling well). It also allows me to chase up my editor to make sure there is enough stock.

So back to today’s recipe for Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes, this is a dish really suitable for banquets and special events. I’ve always loved seafood, especially prawns, and the deep fried almond flakes are crispy and delicious. Prawns and almonds are a great combination both in terms of texture and flavour and if you put these Deep Fried Prawn Balls together properly they both look and taste great, making them perfect for banquets and special events. So maybe you can make this dish to treat your friends and family.

deep fried prawn balls with almond flakes

 

 

Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 13 balls

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 380 g prawns peeled
  • 120 g fatty pork
  • 75 g onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp spring onions finely chopped
  • 150 g almond flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 600 ml oil for frying the prawn balls

Seasonings

  • 1/2 tbsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to process the fatty pork first. Process the pork until it looks like fine mince.
  2. Add the prawns to the mix and process for a further 1-2 minutes. Move everything into a big bowl once the prawns and mince are finely minced.
  3. Add all the seasonings, onion and spring onion. Mix the the mixture clock wise for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Roughly chop the almond flakes and spread onto a plate. This way the almond is smaller and easier to stick to the prawn balls.
  5. Wet both hands with cold water and take a little bit of mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat this procedures until all the mixture has been rolled into balls.
  6. Coat the prawn balls with almond flakes.
  7. Heat up the oil in a wok and fry the prawn balls at the lowest heat for 3-4 minutes. Moving the prawn balls around gently will help the prawn balls keep a nice round shape. After 3-4 minutes turn the stove to the highest temperature and try the balls until they turned to a nice golden colour.

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew. One day while back in Taipei, I was watching TV with my grandmother and smelt this really awesome dish coming out of a neighbour’s home. So I asked grandma to make this dish for me. I know people might think I’m horrible asking my grandmother to cook for me but grandma is a very old fashioned traditional Eastern lady.

Few things make her happier than cooking a big meal for her family. She loves cooking for he children and grandchildren and when we say something along the lines of “Oh grandma, the food you made is so DELICIOUS! We love it!” you can often here her giggling. For a lot of older Eastern ladies, most of them are housewives their whole lives. They sacrifice themselves to their family and children so the “kitchen” is their stage. When my grandmother came to the UK in 2012 she brought her rubber gloves with her and when she was cutting vegetables she refused to let me help her, even though I’m a trained chef. This kind of thing always makes me laugh.

I cook most of the meals at home for my husband and daughter but a lot of times I really don’t know what to cook. I’m used to people ordering food from me at work so I guess this carries over at home so I usually present Chris with the question “Eastern or Western food” “noodles or rice?” then I have a pretty good idea about what to cook. I believe for a lot of mums who cook most of the food at home they must have the same feeling so whenever I go back to Taipei I always prepare a “list” of food for my grandma or my mum. This way everyone is extremely happy.

While I was back in Taipei recently dealing with the death of my father, I was away from home sorting things out and grandma, being the cute old lady she is, even phoned me to ask me if I want her to put tomatoes in this beef stew she was cooking. I told her to cook it anyway she likes, which she will really love hearing but in all honesty the addition of tomato was perfect. It made the beef stew less fatty/greasy. I cooked a very similar dish in my cookbook without tomato and I have to admit this recipe tastes so much better.

So this is my grandmother’s recipe for Chinese Daikon, carrot and tomato beef stew:

Chinese Daikon Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

 

 

Chinese Daikon, Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 kg beef flank or shin or any slow cook beef, cut into big dice
  • 480 g vine tomato chop roughly
  • 120 g onion or 1 medium size onion, chop roughly
  • 10 g ginger slice thin
  • 200 g carrot peel and slice 2cm thick
  • 600 g daikon peel, slice 2cm thick and cut into quarters
  • 1 ltr boiling water

Seasonings

  • 200 ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 70 ml rice wine
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick you could add tangerine peel for extra flavour

Instructions

  1. Boil a big pot of water and add the beef. Boil for 5 minutes to clean any dirt off the beef. After 5 minutes, use cold water to wash away any dirt on the surface of the meat and drain the water. Leave the beef aside for later
  2. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the ginger and onion until the fragrance comes out. Add the beef and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes
  3. Pour the rice wine in and cook for 30 seconds. Add light and dark soy sauce and boil
  4. After step 3 has boiled, add tomato, water, star anise, cinnamon stick and tangerine peel (optional)
  5. Cook for 1.5 hours. The beef should be nearly soft and then add the carrots and daikon. Cook until the carrots and daikon are soft. Check the seasonings to suit your taste before serving