Bang Bang Chicken

Bang Bang Chicken

bang bang chicken

Is everybody feeling the heat lately? Recently Edinburgh has been getting a lot warmer. It’s great weather when I have a day off but it’s really horrible when I have to work under this kind of weather because the temperature can easily reach 40~50 degree.

So today I share with you the recipe of this Bang Bang Chicken. This dish is great for hot weather. I always love to have this dish during the summer and it’s healthy and low fat as well. Especially the green bean noodle is really low in calories and fills you up quickly. It’s a great food for people who want to lose some weight ready for wearing their summer bikinis.

In this particular method of preparing bang bang chicken, I chose to steam the chicken rather than use traditional way of boiling in water because I think steaming the chicken helps keep the texture and taste better. I actually made the sesame paste myself at home because I was too lazy to go to Chinese supermarket just for a bottle of sesame paste. So I went to Sainsbury and bought two small bags of white sesame (for some reason I can’t find any where in the Edinburgh that sells black sesame!! Please contact with me if you know where you can buy the black sesame in Edinburgh and Glasgow), sauté them and use my food processor to grind them into a paste. It’s not difficult at all and taste even better than the sesame paste you bought in the market and cheaper as well.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

 

Bang Bang Chicken

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

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 chicken leg including thigh. You can use chicken breast if you're on a diet
  • 1/2 cucumber julienne it
  • Handful bean sprouts blanched
  • 3 bunches green bean noodles available in Chinese supermarkets
  • 1 chili julienne it
  • 1 tsp spring onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper saute for 20 seconds before grinding it

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp sesame paste
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili oil

Instructions

  1. Use a tablespoon of rice wine, 1 teaspoon grind Sichuan pepper, 1 teaspoon salt to marinade the chicken breast and leg for 30 minutes.
  2. Use a steamer to cook the chicken with a little bit of ginger slice and spring onion. After it cook just leave it to cool down.
  3. Peel the chicken with your hands after it’s cool down.
  4. Soak the green bean noodle into a bowl of warm water for 15~20 minutes until it’s soft. Cook the green bean noodle in a pot of boiling water for 5~10 minutes and soak in the cold water.
  5. Mix all the seasonings with 1 teaspoon finely chopped spring onion, 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon finely chopped ginger and leave it for 20 minutes and stir it a few times every few minutes to help the sugar, salt to dissolve in the sauce.
  6. Plate up all the vegetables, chicken, green bean noodle into a plate and sprinkle the sauce on the top.

 

Authentic Tang Yuan Soup recipe

Authentic Tang Yuan Soup recipe

Tang Yuan

The other day I read about Ching He Huang’s recipe for this Tang Yuan soup on the good food channel and she mentioned this dish is specifically for Chinese new year which is not right.

Chinese and Taiwanese people eat Tang Yuan during the Yuan Xiao Festival (Lantern festival) and also Winter solstice. This is a very old tradition in both China and Taiwan.

The pronunciation of Tang Yuan also has a meaning of family reunion so when we eat Tang Yuan we are thinking about our friends and family who work or live far away.

My family didn’t have money for me to learn piano or painting, drawing when I was a child so I remember I always pulled a chair into the kitchen and stand on the chair where I would watch my grandfather cook.

I used to help him cook rice and wash vegetables when I was young but although he passed away some 10 years ago I still think about him all the time, especially when I’m cooking.

I think cooking for me is not just a job or daily routine for me. It’s also my childhood memory. I hope I can share more recipes and show that Chinese and Taiwanese culture and food is not the typical stereotype. Sadly a lot of people thinking all Eastern people eat dogs, cats and anything that moves. These people are of course narrow minded idiots.

I always remember one of the head chef I worked for before shook a goose gut in front of my face and asked me: “Do you Chinese all eat this kind of stuff??” However I already told him a million times that I’m not Chinese. But I think to a lot of people if you’re “Yellow” you must be Chinese.

So today I share with you my version of Tang Yuan recipe with you and I hope you will like it. I hope one day if you see a yellow person like me you can be a bit more welcome to them. They might be a nice person and a good friend in your life. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

Tang Yuan meatballs

 

Tang Yuan

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 5 portions

Ingredients

Ingredients for Tang Yuan pastry

  • 400 g glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tbsp potato starch
  • 200 g water
  • 20 g oil

Ingredients for Tang Yuan filling

  • 250 g pork mince try to use pork belly or fatty pork as it will improve the texture and taste
  • 30 g fried shallots
  • 1 spring onion chop finely
  • 1 thin slice ginger chop finely

Seasonings for Tang Yuan filling

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Couple pinches white pepper

Instructions

Tang Yuan pastry procedures

  1. Mix everything together and knead it until it’s smooth.
  2. Take 15% of the mixture and separate them into 2 or 3 small balls and flatten them by hand. Boil some water in a small saucepan and cook those flatten mixture until it flow on the water.
  3. Mix the cooked mixture with the other raw mixture together evenly and separate the mixture into 25g each small balls.

Procedures for Tang Yuan

  1. Mix all the ingredients and seasonings for filling together evenly and leave it on aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Separate the filling into small balls and freeze them until they are hard. (It’s easier to make Tang Yuan if the filling is hard.)
  3. Use the pastry to cover the filling and make it look like a round shape.
  4. Boil some water to cook the Tang Yuan and when they float on the water they are cooked.
  5. Use another soup pot to cook stock and when it’s boiling add some chopped celery and dried shallots into the stock and season the stock with a bit of salt and sesame oil.
  6. Place the Tang Yuan into the soup and cook them for 1 more minute. You can also put some vegetables into the soup such as Bok Choy or any green vegetable.

 

Dongpo Pork Recipe

Dongpo Pork Recipe

Dongpo Pork

I haven’t cooked this dish, called Dongpo, pork for a really long time. Dongpo pork is one of the first dishes I ever cooked for Chris and to this day it’s one of his favourites. I remember just after we married I cooked this dish a lot and really spoiled him.

But sadly we ate this dish too many times (literally every few days for a few weeks) and we got a bit tired of it, so it’s really nice for both of us to come back to it and eat it again. Every bite of this meat is so amazingly tasty and if cooked right the pork will literally melt in your mouth.

Dongpo is the name of a great and famous writer in Chinese history. Su Dongpo was a great writer, poet, artist, calligrapher, pharmacologist and statesman of the Song Dynasty. He loved not just writing but also food.

There are many different versions of stories for this pork dish but I will only introduce the version of the story I like in my blog today. This pork dish was created when Su Dongpo worked and lived in Huang Zhou. One day he decide to make stewed pork and one of his old friend suddenly visited him during cooking. He challenged Su Dongpo to a game of Chinese chess and Su Dongpo had totally forgotten he had a pork stew on the stove. He found out he had this stewed pork cooking on his stove until the end of the game and the amazing fragrant smell from his kitchen reminded him of it. He tasted the pork with his friends and shockingly found out how wonderful taste of this dish is. This is how Dongpo’s pork been created. It’s a wonderful accident.

Here is my recipe for this Dongpo’s Pork and I hope you will enjoy this dish with your family and friends.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

 

Dongpo Pork

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 500 g pork belly cut into 5cm squares
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 2 spring onions cut into 3cm lengthways
  • 4 cloves garlic remove the skin
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 slice dried liquorice
  • 1 slice dried tangerine skin

Seasonings

  • 3 tbsp crystal sugar available in Chinese supermarkets but you can use brown sugar
  • 2 cups Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Use the string to tie the pork up like a parcel and blanch the pork in the boiling water with another couple thin slices of ginger. After just rinsing under cold water and leave it on aside.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in the wok and sauté the spring onion, ginger, garlic first and add all the spice into the wok and keep sauté it until the fragrant smell comes out.
  3. Place the step 2 into a small stock pot and re-heat the wok from step 2 again with a little bit of oil.
  4. Add crystal sugar into the wok and stir it until the crystal sugar caramelized and add soy sauce and a bit of water to boil it.
  5. Place pork into the stock pot from step 2 and make sure the pork is on top of the spring onion, ginger and garlic.
  6. Add the sauce from step 4 into that stock pot and make sure the sauce have to cover over the pork and add Shaoxing rice wine.
  7. Cook the pork in strongest gas power and after it boiling turn the gas power to the lowest and simmer it for a couple hours and it’s ready to serve.

 

Beijing Roast Duck

Beijing Roast Duck

Beijing Roast Duck

Due to the recession Chris and I had a really tough year in 2009. Chris was out of work for around nine months and I had three months off work sick following working part time for several months, so things were difficult.

Finally we both now have full time jobs and we’re earning fairly good money between us. So, I decided to cook one of our absolute favourite things, Beijing roast duck.

Duck has always been one of my favourite foods, especially Beijing roast duck. We went to a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai called “Duck King” before and they service this amazing Beijing roast duck. The roast duck there is incredibly juicy and tasty but not too rich.

I searched for many recipes for this roast duck and I changed it a little to make it easier to cook at home for both myself and you.

One of the most difficult parts of Beijing roast duck is the preperation of it. In China they block air between the skin and duck to make the skin really crispy. But there are no restaurants in the UK that do this and it’s certainly impossible for us to do this without a considerable investment.

This might sound a little crazy but I was thinking about buying a pump to help roast this duck.

A lot of the recipes I read however did say that for those who are unable to blow air between the skin and meat you can pour boiling

As I read a lot of recipes and they said people who don’t have the right tool to blow the air into duck can pour the boiling hot water onto the skin to make it crispy.

After making this dish I think the skin was pretty crispy but definitely not as crispy as the duck skin in China. However, my roast duck is still really tasty and both Chris and I love it. I hope you will enjoy my roast duck recipe and have fun cooking it.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

Beijing roast duck wrap

 

Beijing Roast Duck

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 duck
  • 1 orange only use the juice

Seasonings

  • 1 leaf tangerine peel
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 slices dried liquourice
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbsp maltose
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine

Ingredients for Beijing Duck Wraps

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup cold water

Instructions

Procedures

  1. Wash the duck and use kitchen napkin to dry the duck and stuff a wine bottle into duck and make it can stand up.
  2. Pour the boiling water on the duck for a few times and leave it on aside.
  3. Use a small sauce pan to cook sugar (the way I prepare this duck preparation is a bit like prepare caramel for cream caramel) and when you cook the sugar use a wooden spoon to gently stir it to help the sugar melt quickly and then add maltose and all the spice into the sauce pan when the sugar turn into a nice caramel colour and start to add a little bit of orange juice, rice wine and vinegar each time (please stand a safe distance as the sugar will splash when you pour the liquid onto it and can be incredibly hot) Make sure the mixture of sugar looks a bit runny but still dense.
  4. Brush the sugar mixture we made in steps 3 on to duck and make sure you brush every inch of the duck skin. Leave it to dry for 1 hour and we brush again. Do this procedure for 3~4 times at least.
  5. Preheat your oven to 240℃ and roast the duck for 20~25 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on your duck in case it burns. Turn the oven temperature down to 160℃ and roast for another 20~30 minutes (I put a rolling pin into the duck and hang the duck in the oven).
  6. Serve with some Beijing duck wraps (Dan Bings), hoisin sauce, cucumber or any kind of salad leafs you like. I used a bit of watercress as I like the taste of watercress. We also serve the roast duck with spring onion as well but we only use the white part of spring onion. I personally don’t like my duck wrap with spring onion in it because I can’t stand the taste of raw spring onion.

Procedures for Beijing Duck Wraps

  1. Place all the flour into a big mixing bowl and pour 1 cup of boiling water in the flour and use a pair of chopsticks or a spatula to mix them evenly.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of cold water into step 1 and knead the dough by your hands until the dough is smooth.
  3. Leave the step 1 for 15~20 minutes and cover by a wet kitchen napkins.
  4. Use a knife to separate the dough we made into small balls (Depends on what kind of size of pancake you like) and use a rolling pin to roll it to thin and flat.
  5. Heat a non-sticky frying pan with lower heat without oil to bake the pancake until the surface get bubbles and turn it over to bake again. This procedure will take 20~30 seconds for each side.

Recipe Notes

We call the Beijing Duck Wraps Dan Bings in Chinese. They're like a cross between a pancake and a crepe but for simplicity I've just called them Beijing Duck Wraps for this recipe

 

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

chicken chow mein

My friends and family are always fascinated to know what kind of food Chris and I eat at home. Most people think we eat really posh Chinese food, like we have a large feast with peking duck, dumplings and so forth, but actually most of the time we eat fairly simple food and often a lot of junk.

While we both love eating Taiwanese and Chinese food, especially Chris, usually once a week we eat an amazing 14” pizza from Asda but the rest of the time we eat things like chow mein.

Listening to people while I’ve been living in the UK, a lot of people are really fascinated about chow mein and think it’s a really complicated dish, but for me it’s a simple, tasty and quite importantly, a cheap meal.

Chow mein in my country is like chicken and mushroom pie here. It’s just normal food. So, for my loyal readers, this is what we eat on a very regular basis. If it’s not this, it will be something equally simple like fried rice or Korean fast noodle. Sadly Taiwanese fast noodles, which are simply awesome, are very difficult (if not impossible) to buy here.

 

Chicken Chow Mein

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Carrot
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1/2 Chili chop really finely
  • 2 Spring Onions chop finely
  • 1 thin slice ginger chop finely
  • 1 pepper any colour, I used green
  • 50 g Chinese white chive cut 2cm lengthways
  • 150 g Chinese dried noodles available in any Chinese supermarket

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Couple pinches Black Pepper

Marinade for the chicken

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breast into fine stripes and marinade for 30 minutes at least.
  2. Julienne the carrot and green pepper.
  3. Cook the Chinese dried noodle in a pot of boiling water until al dente and rinse under cold running water and drain again. Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil and toss through to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
  4. Heat a frying pan with some oil with full strength gas power to fry the chicken breast until the meat turned white colour and turn off the stove and leave it on a side. (At the time of writing this article I haven't found a good wok in the UK. I tried a Ken Hom wok but every time I try to stir fry of food with a bit of potato starch in it it always sticks to the wok really badly, effectively ruining the wok). These woks are completely useless.
  5. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry chilli, spring onion, ginger and garlic first then add all the vegetable. Stir fry all the vegetables until it’s soften.
  6. Add noodle and chicken into wok and keep stir fry for a couple minutes then add all the seasonings for chow mein and give it a good stir fry for another couple minutes.
  7. Place it into a plate and serve.