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Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken

Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken

Hello everyone, I’m back!

It has been a very long time since my last blog post. I’ve finally completed my Lauriston Castle 2013 workshop brochure for Edinburgh council. That project went very well and I’ve learnt a lot and gained a lot of interesting and valuable experience working as an illustrator. Here is the link for the images I created for this brochure. Please have a look if you have interest.

My life has been very busy with Amelia, work, college and building up my freelance illustrator business. A lot of the time I really wish I have 36 hours in a day instead of 24 hours. Because of deadlines for various projects as well as work and family commitments I haven’t even been able to celebrate Chinese New Year this year. But even though I didn’t celebrate Chinese New Year in the traditional way I still managed to cook a couple really simple recipes, one of which I’ll share with you now.

Do you remember my Chinese new year dishes last year? I explained that Chinese people like  foods that have a lucky meaning behind them, especially when celebrating Chinese New Year.

Today’s dish is Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken. In Chinese language, chestnut is pronounced  “li-zi” (栗子) and “Li” sounds like the other Chinese word, which means “profit” also could mean “mean”. So people will feel really happy when they have this dish in Chinese new year dinner.

Here is the recipe for Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken and I hope you will be very happy, very healthy in this coming year.

braised chinese chestnut chicken

 

 

Braised Chinese Chestnut Chicken

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs de-bone and cut into big dice
  • 1 pack chestnut I like Merchant Gourmand whole peeled chestnuts
  • 2 pieces ginger
  • 3 spring onion
  • 3 cloves garlic

Seasonings

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup rice wine
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Heat up 1 table spoon oil in the wok and stir fry ginger, spring onion and garlic. Add sugar in the wok when you can smell the fragrant.
  2. Add chicken after the sugar is melted. Stir fry it until chicken’s colour turn into golden brown.
  3. Add all the seasonings and boil it. Add chestnut once the sauce is boiled.
  4. Reduce down the sauce until it’s nearly dry and it’s ready to serve.

 

Turnip Cake

Turnip Cake

It’s Chinese New Year, or as we say “Xin Nian Kaui Le” / 新年快樂!! For my last Chinese New Year I did some speeches in Glasgow but this year I neither planned to do speeches or really cook a lot of food as I’m 33 weeks pregnant.

It’s quite painful for me to stand for a whole day so big meals are completely out of the question right now. So this year I wanted to do something really simple but really delicious and so I decided to prepare some sweet rice cake and this turnip cake (the sweet rice cake will come in a later blog post).

I’ve always been a big fan of turnip cake. Yeah I know what a lot of people are thinking, turnip, gross(!), which is exactly how my husband described turnip. Whenever I eat dim sum at a Chinese restaurant one of the things I absolutely have to eat is turnip dim sum. There sadly aren’t any restaurants in Edinburgh that sell turnip dim sum and the one time we ordered turnip cake at a restaurant here it was really bad.

So this is my style of turnip cake. I took some influence from recipes I found online but also added my own touches to it. One of these touches was to use gammon steak instead of Chinese ham or Chinese sausage. These ingredients are quite hard to find here but they can also be expensive and as you can imagine with a baby on the way we’re trying to cut down on costs. Also as a note Chinese ham and sausage tends to have really strong flavours which take over the dish. This is something I don’t want.

The main ingredient of this turnip cake is white radish, which is available in most Chinese supermarkets. We believe white radish has a meaning of “lucky” and rice cake has a meaning of “get a promotion or good grade at work or through your studies”. So I hope this New Year dish will bring you good luck, promotion or good grade for your job or study in dragon year.

Just also a quick mention, of course it is now year of the dragon so I will be making some design changes to my website to reflect this really soon.

turnip cake
turnip cake

 

Turnip Cake

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 1 minute
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 400 g Thai rice
  • 600 g water
  • 100 g rice flour
  • 100 g raddish shred it
  • 1 handful dried prawns soften in hot water then drain. Chop finely
  • 6 dried shiitake mushroms soften in hot water then drain. Chop finely
  • 1 handful pork mince marinade with 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 slice gammon steak cut into tiny dice
  • 2 shallots chop finely
  • 3 cloves garlic chop finely

Seasonings for mince garnish

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch pepper powder

Seasonings for radish

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Soak the Thai rice in 600g water overnight (at least 6 hours) then use a  smoothie machine or blender to blend the rice and water until it looks like soy milk.
  2. Mix step one with 100g of rice flour and make sure there are no lumps at all.
  3. Heat some oil in the wok and sauté shallot and garlic first until the aroma comes out.
  4. Add shitake mushroom, dried prawn to stir fry it for a good 2~3 minutes.
  5. Add mince and gammon steak into step 4 and all the seasonings from mince garnish. Stir-fry it for another few minutes until the mince is totally cooked. Put the mince garnish on a plate and leave it aside.
  6. Use the same wok with a little bit more oil and cook the radish with seasonings. You need to cook the radish until it’s soft and the water comes out from the radish. If the water doesn’t come out it could affect the quality of the final turnip cake.
  7. Add mince garnish into step 6 after the radish is soft and mix them evenly.
  8. Combine step 2 with the radish and turn the gas power down. Keep stirring until it looks like “paste” and turn off the cooker. If you feel the mixture is a little dry or too solid, you can add some water.
  9. This recipe can make 5~6  (6”x4”x2”) tin foil boxes size turnip cakes. So brush thin layer of oil in the tin foil boxes and pour the rice cake mix into the box.
  10. Use a steamer to steam the rice cakes. If like myself you’re using a metal steamer, use a clean tea towel to effectively tie down the lid. This prevents water dripping from the lid onto the rice cake, which can affect the final result. Once the water is boiling under the steamer, steam for around 45 minutes.
  11. You have to wait until the rice cakes have totally cooled down to allow you to remove them from the tin (otherwise they stick). Cut your turnip cake into 1cm thick slices. Heat up a little bit of oil in a frying pan or wok and fry the cakes until it’s golden brown colour on both side. Serve with a little bit of soy sauce or sweet chili sauce. Note the sweet chilli sauce isn’t the traditional condiment to go with your turnip cake but Chris loves it!

 

Fortune Squid Blossom Chinese New Year Dish

Fortune Squid Blossom Chinese New Year Dish

lucky flower blossom squid

As you can probably tell from a lot of my posts I really love seafood and today I wanted to make a squid dish. I named this dish “Fortune Squid Blossom” because a flower blossom is regarded as a lucky thing in Chinese culture. Flowers in full bloom symbolize affluence and nobility.

As my previous post talked about there are no strict rules for Chinese new year dishes as long as they are pretty, well presented, taste good but most importantly have a lucky meaning. If a dish has all of these, then you have a great dish for your Chinese new year dinner.

I used part of a body of a squid for making the squid flowers and used the rest of the squid for making the fillings in the middle. I used an egg white when I made the filling but I kept the egg yolk for the steamed egg base. One medium sized squid can make around two squid flowers. Blance the squid flower in boiling for around 5 seconds only and definitely don’t over cook or the squid will turn really chewy.

It is important to not waste any food or ingredients. I always remember the first day I started leaning cooking at college and the teacher always taught us “Don’t waste any food or ingredients!!!”.

Here is my recipe for this Chinese New Year dish called “Fortune Squid Blossom”. I hope you will enjoy it.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

lucky flower blossom squid procedure

 

Fortune Squid Blossom Chinese New Year Dish

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for squid flower

  • 1 medium whole squid
  • 200 g prawns
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 carrot for garnish
  • 1 spring onion for garnish

Seasoning for filling

  • 1/2 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp potato starch

Ingredients for Steamed Egg

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder

Ingredients for sauce

  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp potato starch water 1/2 tsp potato starch mixed with 1 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Cut the squid into a flower shape as the photos show. Blanch in boiling salted water for no more than 5 seconds. Soak in cold water afterwards to cool it down.
  2. Process rest of the squid and prawn with all the seasonings.
  3. Rub some potato starch on the squid flower and put some of the processed squid and prawns from step 2 in the middle.
  4. Steamed it at full gas power for 8 minutes.
  5. Mix all the steamed egg ingredients evenly and pour into a soup plate, steamed for 3~5 minutes.
  6. Place the steamed squid flower on top of step 5. Boil 1 cup of stock with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and stir in 1 tablespoon potato starch and water to thick the sauce. Pour the sauce on top of squid flower and steamed egg. It’s now ready to serve.