Chinese New year
It was only yesterday we were saying Happy New Year and making New Year resolutions. Now it is the turn of the Chinese to say Xin Nian Kuai Le (Mandarin) or Hei Fard Choy (Cantonese).
The first thing that comes to mind when you talk about Chinese New Year is “what animal is this year going to be?”
Well wonder no more. 2014 is the year of the Sheep.
I was born in the year of the Dog; I guess that makes me a bitch by birth. If you want to know what animal you are below is a chart for you.
Rat1900 1912 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
Ox 1901 1913 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
Tiger 1902 1914 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
Hare 1903 1915 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
Dragon 1904 1916 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
Snake 1905 1917 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
Horse 1906 1918 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
Sheep 1907 1919 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
Monkey 1908 1920 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
Rooster 1909 1921 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017
Dog 1910 1922 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
Pig 1911 1923 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019
A lot of people think I am Chinese. My nickname at my last job was Jackie Chan because they thought I was Chinese and my name was Jackie. How clever! I did not mind the name in fact I grew to love it. I have stayed friends with most of them and I am still Jackie Chan, JC or Chan to them.
Just to be clear I am from Thailand and am not Chinese.
Now, Chinese food. What do I know about it? Apart from that I love it, not much really. I think it has been one of the cuisines that I would go to a restaurant to eat rather than trying to cook it myself.
When I think of Chinese New Year all I could think of are those little baskets of heaven. Dim Sum.
I would happily live off them. Like its cousin Tapas and Mezzo. Dim sums are just bite-size portions of food served in small baskets or plates to share.
Armed with my limited Chinese cooking skills I have to use my love of the food to write this blog. I’m thinking I have eaten enough of the food too do it justice. Same as when I applied for my first pub job and was asked if I knew how to pull a pint? I said “yes” on the bases that I have drunk enough of it.
Now, what Chinese dish should I use and what western dish should I match it up with? I thought long and hard about this (i.e. eat more Chinese food) and this is what I have come up with. Your alternative to Chinese Dim sum. Hope you like it.
Sausage spring rolls
You will need:
6 pork and leek sausage
1/50g small pack vermicelli
2 Carrots – grated
1 onion – sliced
50g cabbage – finely sliced
2tbs oyster sauce
Salt and pepper
50 Spring rolls pastry – defrosted if frozen
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1/2tbs Sriracha chilli sauce or your favourite chilli sauce
First cut the skin of the sausages and take out the meat.
Heat up a drop of oil in a wok/pan and fry the sliced onion till soft but not brown.
Break in the sausage meat and stir well so that the meat is broken up.
Add carrots, cabbage, vermicelli, oyster sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Cook until the meat is cooked and the vegetable are soft.
Leave the filling to cool in a colander.
Once cool take 2 sheets of the pastry (you want a double over lap layer) and place in front of you in a diamond shape, i.e. with a corner towards you.
Keep the rest of the pastry wrapped up in a tea towel because it dries out really quickly.
Place the filling on top leaving enough room at the edge.
Make the spring roll by folding in the corners and rolling once, then folding in the two sides as tightly as you can. Brush the remaining corner with water then roll to seal it up.
Repeat with the rest of the filling it should make about 24. (You can freeze them)
Heat up the oil in a saucepan to medium heat. Fry till golden brown and drain on paper towel.
Serve with chilli ketchup made by mixing the ketchup and chilli sauce together.
Please take care when cooking with hot oil.
Sesame prawn scotch eggs
One of the first things that comes to mind when you are talking about Chinese food is Sesame Prawns on toast (unless you don’t like prawns)This recipe might not be traditionally Chinese or traditionally scotch eggs but as you might have guessed by now I don’t do things traditionally.
You will need:
225g raw prawns
1tbs chopped fresh coriander
2 spring onion – chopped
1 clove garlic
1tbs oyster sauce
1tsp light soy sauce
1tsp sesame oil
75g bread crump
75g sesame seeds
12 quail eggs
1lt vegetable oil for deep fried
Make the prawn mixture by blending together garlic, coriander, spring onion, prawns, 1 egg, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a food processor.
Boil the quail eggs by placing the eggs in cold water and bring to the boil fast. As soon as the water is boiling turn the heat down and simmer the eggs for 2 minutes.
Removed the eggs and cool in cold water. Once the eggs are cool, peel them.
Make patties in your hand with the prawns mixture put the egg in the middle of the patties and wrap the prawn mixture around the egg. Making sure there are no holes.
Make a production line of flour, beaten egg, and a mixture of bread crumb and sesame seeds.
First dip the prawn coated egg in the flour, then beaten egg and then dip and roll in the sesame bread crumb covering completely.
Heat the oil in a saucepan, test the temperature by dropping a breadcrumb in. It should sizzle and brown. Carefully place each scotch egg into the hot oil and deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden and crisp and the prawn is completely cooked.
Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with sweet chilli sauce
Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended
Char Siu Dutch Kroketten
I do love this Dutch snack so. I love the soft filling inside the crunchy bread crumb coating. I must admit that I have mainly eaten this snack when I have had a few drinks and out from the vending machines that are dotted all over the streets of Amsterdam. It does make me smile every time I think about it, great memories.
You will need:
445g diced pork shoulder
2tbs oyster sauce
1tbs light soy sauce
1/2tbs dark soy sauce
1tbs rice vinegar
30g plain flour
20g corn flour
1 egg (separated)
Put the first 7 ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is soft and falls apart. Drain the pork out and keep the stock. You should still have about 400g of stock left.
Melt the butter in a saucepan then add in the plain flour and corn flour. Stir well for a few minutes on a low heat. Once you have a roux, gradually add in the stock. Turn the heat up slightly. Keep stirring until you have a smooth and thick sauce. Adding more flour if you need to.
Leave the sauce too cool slightly then add the egg yolk. Tear the pork up; add to the sauce and mix well. Once the sauce is cool you should have a firm mixture.
Once it cooled thoroughly, roll out the mixture in to a size of a golf ball.
Beat the egg white in a dish that you will be able to roll the mixture in. Fill another plate with breadcrumbs.
Roll the mixture in the egg white then the breadcrumbs making sure you have cover all the holes and no meat is sticking out.
Deep fry in a saucepan until they are golden brown about 3-4 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with Sriracha sauce.
You can make these ahead of time and freeze them. Cook from the freezer do not defrost.
Oh yeah and oil is hot, so take care