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Stir Fried Beef with Thai Chive Flower and Bean Curd

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Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

fish fragrant tofu

I’ve mentioned so many benefits of tofu in my previous blog post and here is another tofu recipe that I want to share with you today.

“Fish fragrant tofu” (魚香豆腐) is one of many famous dishes from Sichuan cuisine. It has “fish” in the name of it but without fish in this dish. It’s called “fish fragrant” because the ingredients for this dish are usually used when cooking fish but people use it for cook tofu, eggplant and other dishes.

There is a story about this fish fragrant dish. A long time ago in Sichuan, there was a family who were really serious when It came to cooking fish. They will use ginger, spring onion, garlic, mince, chilli bean sauce and other ingredients to cook with fish. One day, the lady of this family didn’t want to waste the ingredients so she used the ingredients to cook another dish. She was however realy nervous that it wouldn’t taste nice and her husband wouldn’t like it.

Her husband came home while she was thinking about what she should explain to her husband later about this dish. Her husband was so hungry from work he didn’t wait for dinner to start and literally just took a few bites of this dish. He asked his wife: ”Oh, this dish is the most tasty dish that I ever had in my life, how did you do it?” She told him how she cooked it and they gave the name of this dish “fish fragrant fry (魚香炒)”. This is how “fish fragrant” this name came from.

People who are vegetarian can also cook this dish but just without using any mince. You can adjust the amount of chilli and chilli bean sauce if you prefer your food more or less spicy.

As people who follow my Facebook page will know, I recently bought a pink knife bag. I really like anything that’s pink and when I saw this bag online I just had to buy it! Here are some of photos of my new pink knife bag.

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

pink knife bag
pink knife bag
pink knife bag

Don’t you think this is the cutest knife bag ever!

 

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes tofu around 692g, I bought it from a regular supermarket
  • 1 spring onion chop finely. I used half for the sauce and the other half for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 slices ginger chop finely
  • 1 chili chop finely
  • 100 g beef or pork mince I used beef mince in this dish

Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops sesame oil approximately
  • 1 cup water

Marinade for mince

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

Instructions

  1. Marinade mince with sugar, soy sauce, salt and white pepper powder for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the packaging from the tofu and cut it into 1.5 cm thick pieces.
  3. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilli for 30 seconds.
  4. Add mince into the wok and keep stir-frying it until the mince is cooked.
  5. Add chilli bean sauce to stir-fry it for 30 seconds. Add rest of the seasonings into wok and bring it to boil.
  6. Add tofu into wok and gently push them into seasonings and turn the gas power to the lowest and simmer it for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the tofu onto a plate and pour some sauce on top. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped spring onion on top and it’s ready to serve.

 

Steamed Tofu with prawn

Steamed Tofu with prawn

steamed tofu with prawn

Yesterday I went to the supermarket opposite my house, Sainsbury’s, and was really happy to find that they are now selling tofu. One of my favourite things to cook with but one of the more inconvenient things is Tofu, inconvenient as it means I have to go to the Chinese supermarket. Tofu is one of the greatest things to come out of Chinese cuisine. It’s incredibly health and has high protein, vitamins, calcium and minerals but it’s also low in calories, sodium and fat.

Research has also shown that tofu is great for combating heart disease and is good for ladies when they’re going through their menopause.

So, with all those great benefits, why can’t we buy tofu in every supermarket in the UK? I think it’s because people don’t know how to cook tofu or they had bad experiences with a tofu dish that has been cooked incorrectly. For example, my husband was talking to his colleagues and they said when they tried to cook tofu it turned into a sloppy mess. Cooked properly it should keep it’s shape and texture.

Tofu is a very common ingredient in Chinese and Taiwanese cooking. We cook Tofu in many different cooking ways including stir-fry, pan fry, steam, stew, deep fry and more.

So, here is my recipe for my tofu dish today. It’s called “steamed tofu with prawn”. The preparation time for this dish is around 20 minutes. It’s quick to make, simple, healthy and cooked without any oil at all. How great is that?! Next time people who try to call Chinese food unhealthy might start thinking again. People in western society often think Chinese food is about sweet and sour, prawn toasts, msg, fat etc but in actual fact good Chinese food is nothing like this.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

steamed tofu with prawn

 

Steamed Tofu with prawn

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 250 g prawn
  • 500 g tofu
  • 1 piece ginger chop finely

Seasonings for prawns

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder

Seasonings for sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 stock cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato powder

Instructions

  1. Take out the tofu from package and dry it. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt on the tofu and leave for a couple minutes.
  2. Cut the tofu into 1 cm thick pieces.  Use a cookie cutter to cut the tofu and use a teaspoon to dig a small hole in central of tofu.
  3. Use a food processor to process the prawn with all the seasonings.
  4. Roll the prawn mixture from step 3 into a small ball and put in the central of tofu.
  5. Steam the tofu with full power for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix all the seasonings for sauce in a small saucepan and bring it to boil. You must stir it occasionally while it cook.
  7. Pour appropriate among of sauce on top of tofu and ready to serve.

 

Crystal Dumplings

Crystal Dumplings

crystal dumplings

Crystal dumplings are a unique kind of dumpling that takes the name crystal as it looks a bit like a crystal on the outside with it’s almost translucent skin. Obviously this dish doesn’t contain a crystal.

Sometimes Taiwanese families will cook crystal dumplings around Chinese New Year because both the look and name of this dish sounds pleasant. You will find often in Chinese, Cantonese and Taiwanese cuisine people love to serve food with a name like dragon, phoenix, pearl, gold, diamond, crystal or something else.

I tried using a couple different recipes for the pastry in this dish but in the end I found the easiest but best recipe is simply to use potato starch and sweet potato starch. If it’s too difficult for you to find sweet potato starch then just potato starch on it’s own is fine.

For the filling I used beef mince instead of pork mince for a change. An awfully large number of Chinese and Taiwanese dishes use pork or chicken as their main meat ingredients but I don’t always want to use this ingredients. My work partner told me “change is the spice of life” last week and that has stuck with me. I really dislike falling into a certain cooking pattern so for this and my new few blog posts I’ll be using completely different ingredients.

crystal dumplings

Another thing I’m thinking about doing is expanding my website to include some western dishes that I have learnt over the years. Through college, eating out in different cities, friends and working as a chef I have learnt a lot of really tasty Western recipes.

So here is the recipe for today. It’s not pork or chicken and also it hasn’t been deep-fried. I hope you will enjoy it and remember give me some feedback.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure
crystal dumplings procedure

 

 

crystal dumplings
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Crystal Dumplings

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for filling

  • 500 g beef mince
  • 1 small carrot chop finely
  • 2 stalks celery chop finely
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 slice ginger chop finely
  • 2 shitake mushrooms soften in hot water and chop finely
  • 1 tbsp deep fried shallots

Seasonings for fillings

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tbsp rock sugar

Ingredients for pastry

  • 1 cup sweet potato powder
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup hot water around 95 degrees
  • Few drops Vegetable or sunflower oil

Taiwanese sweet chili sauce ingredients

  • 3 tbsp miso sauce
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour

Instructions

Procedures for filling

  1. Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons oil. Stir fry the onion and ginger until onion gets a little bit golden and brown colour.
  2. Add mince and keep stir-fry it until outside of mince cooked.
  3. Add celery and carrot and keep stir-fry it for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add all the seasonings and water. Bring it to the boil first then turn the gas power down to medium and reduce down the sauce until it’s nearly dry.

Procedures for pastry

  1. Add salt, sweet potato powder and potato starch into a big bowl and pour the hot water a little bit once.
  2. Add some oil to knead the mixture until it’s not sticky anymore.
  3. Cover a wet clothes on top of the mixture and leave it for 10 minutes to relax the mixture.

Final procedures for crystal dumplings

  1. Separate the pastry mixture to appropriate size of small balls and flatten it by your hand.
  2. Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle and close tightly by your hand.
  3. Use your fingertips to change the shape from a ball to a triangle shape.
  4. Boil a pot of water and cook the crystal dumplings in it. They are cooked when the dumplings float on top of the water.

Sweet chili sauce procedure

  1. Mix everything evenly in a small pot.
  2. Bring the mixture to boil and turn to low heat to cook it until the mixture turns fairly sticky.

Recipe Notes

** You can use soy sauce as dipping for crystal dumplings or you can also try to make this Taiwanese sweet chilli sauce at home.

Fried Wonton authentic recipe

Fried Wonton authentic recipe

fried wonton recipe

Wontons are a very popular dish in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Even different provinces in China have different names and different cooking styles for this popular dish.

There are many different stories about Wontons. My favourite story is about how Xi Shi created this dish. Xi Shi is one of the four most beautiful women in Chinese history. She originally comes from Kingdom of Yue during period of time called Spring And Autumn.

During a war with King Fuchai of Wu, King Goujian of Yue was imprisoned after he was defeated. After his imprisonment, King Goujian of Yue secretly planned his revenge. He trained beautiful women and offered them to Fuchai as a gift and Xi Shi was one of those beautiful women.

Xi Shi created Wonton during her mission for which she was to seduce King Fuchai. One day, during a big party, King Fuchai became sick of all of the food at his party and became annoyed. Xi Shi ran to the kitchen in a panic to try and find food to please King Fuchai. King Fuchai took one bite of her Wonton and was surprised by the taste of it. He asked Xi Shi “what is this tasty dish?”

Xi Shi thought King Fuchai was a completely ignorant, chaotic, stupid pig. In Chinese language, there is a word which sounds very similar to wonton which translates to chaotic, so she decided to call this dish Wonton.

So, this is basically how Wonton was created. Even though the name for this dish isn’t that affectionate it doesn’t affect the taste. I deep-fried the wonton today instead of serving it in more traditional wonton soup as I really like the crunchiness of the batter. I have to say I really love wontons whether they are in soup or deep-fried but my personal preference is for deep-fried.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

fried wonton procedure
fried wonton procedure

 

Fried Wonton authentic recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 25 wontons

Ingredients

  • 250 g prawn
  • 100 g pork shoulder meat cut into small dices
  • 3 spring onion chop roughly
  • 2 slices ginger chop roughly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 30 sheets wonton pastry

Instructions

  1. Process half of the prawn, pork, spring onion, ginger and all the seasonings in a food processor.
  2. Roughly chop the other half of the prawn and mix evenly with step 1 (this ensures the filling texture tastes better).
  3. Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the centre of the pastry and use your fingers to gently close the pastry tightly as shown in the procedure photos.
  4. Heat a wok with some oil at full gas power. Put the wontons into the wok and turn off the gas and let the wonton fry until the wonton turns a nice golden colour.

Recipe Notes

** Oil temperature is about 180 degree. Turn off the gas after placing the wonton inside so it cooks through. This will ensure the outside doesn’t burn but the inside isn’t raw.

 

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

crispy chicken with chili sauce

Crispy chicken with chili sauce, known in Chinese as 椒麻雞 is a dish that my grandpa cooked for me often when I was young. I always helped grandpa to grind the Sichuan peppers for this dish with a mortar and pestle. This dish always brings back my earliest kitchen memories. Grandpa used to pan fry the Sichuan peppers first and then give to me to grind. He always told me this method of preparing Sichuan peppers will make the flavour of the pepper stronger and taste much better.

Even now, mortars and pestles still play a very important part in my cooking. It’s a versatile tool and is much cheaper than a hand grinder. You can buy it in a lot of shop.

As you can imagine with the Sichuan peppers, this dish tastes a little bit spicy. You can adjust the percentage of Sichuan peppers and chilis if you can’t eat food that’s too spicy. Here is my little suggestion before you start grinding the Sichuan pepper. Heat up a frying pan or wok without oil and stir-fry the Sichuan pepper at the lowest heat first. Once you start to smell the fragrance then turn off the gas and start grinding it. Don’t burn the Sichuan pepper or the sauce will taste bitter and damage the whole dish.

People boil the chicken for this dish in real Sichuan cuisine but grandpa knew I loved fried chicken (You know, kids love fried chicken. I’m not exceptional lol) so he always fried the chicken for me. This dish works both ways, but I chose fried chicken today because my husband loves it too.

Credits:  Photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken legs de-bone them
  • 2 spring onions chop finely
  • 1 fresh chili remove seeds then chop finely
  • 2 cloves garlic grate finely
  • 1-2 fresh coriander bunches including leaves and stalk. Chop finely
  • 2 tbsp sweet potato starch or potato starch and 2 tbsp flour. Your choice

Seasonings and ingredients for chicken marinade

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 spring onion chop finely
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop finely
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Seasonings for chili sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar add 1/4 tsp more sugar if you use white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. De-bone chicken leg and marinade with the seasonings and ingredients for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix all the seasonings for spicy sauce with spring onion, chilli, garlic, coriander. Mix them evenly and leave for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Coat the chicken with sweet potato powder. Heat up a wok with 2~3 cups of oil. The oil temperature should be around 150℃ and deep fry the chicken at a low heat for 5 minutes. Take out the chicken and heat up the oil again with full gas power. Deep fry the chicken until it’s crispy with a slightly golden colour.
  4. Place the chicken on a plate and pour the dressing on the top to serve.