Tag Archives: chinese

The Sichuan, Moorgate

I love Sichuan food.

I wasn’t always a big fan of Sichuan food from the start.

I remember thinking the distinctive Sichuan food smell was a bit strange – pungent and nauseating, but not in an entirely bad way.

I remember thinking how can anyone in their right mind eat a dish that’s either swimming in a gallon of oil or a bucket of dried chillies.

I remember disliking that numbing sensation in your mouth that would not go away after eating a sichuan peppercorn.

…. and then

I don’t even know how it happened

… but I started having cravings for Sichuan food

The smell of Sichuan peppercorn and now sends me salivating

The sight of a wasteful amount of dry-fried chillies now gets me so excited.

The bucket of oil part still gets to me… and it still leaves me feeling a bit gross afterwards…. but that’s not enough to put me off Sichuan food

I’m now its biggest fan

The Sichuan is half way between Moorgate and Old Street stations

And they serve delicious delicious delicious Sichuan dishes

Here’s their numb & spicy beef jerky

It  numbs, it tinkles, it’s spicy, it’s chewy, and it’s delicious

Aubergine in spicy sesame dressing

Delicious & refreshing

Cold chicken, in spicy sesame oil dressing

Look at all that oil lol

Pig’s ear in chilli oil

This is one of my favourites.

I love the texture of thinly-sliced pig’s ear, and their dressing is so moreish

Dry-wok lotus roots

…with plenty of Sichuan peppercorn

Stir-fried pork with green peppers

Thinly sliced (I think twice cooked) pork belly in fermented black bean and chillies!

Dry fried green beans with minced pork

Our Chinese-food ordering staple – can’t go wrong with these

Morning glory, stir-fried with fermented bean curd and chillies

…and last but not least

my favourite!

Water-boiled fish

Tender pieces of fish in some magic-seasoning broth… and a litre of hot oil

…with loads of dry chillies and peppercorn

The fish are so delicate and has a hint of smokiness when you eat them

I’m not usually a fan of fish – but this, I love

If you like Sichuan food, these guys will not disappoint

Menu, location, etc: http://www.thesichuan.co.uk/

Dim Sum Style Steamed Pork Spare Ribs (ซี่โครงหมูนึ่งเต้าซี)

We always order this when we go to yum cha.

When you first start steaming, it’ll look quite dry. But by the end of steaming time, they should be swimming in amazing flavoursome sauce!

Serves: 2-3

What you need:
  • 700 g Pork spare ribs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp White pepper powder
  • 3 Tbsp Corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Salted black bean
  • 1-2 Fresh red chillies, de-seeded, and cut into small pieces
How to put this together:
  1. Mix together pork ribs + sugar + salt + sesame oil + white pepper powder + corn flour + water. Marinade overnight (or at least a few hours).
  2. The next day: take the pork ribs out from the fridge 30 mins before you’re ready to cook.
  3. Soak salted black bean in hot water for 5 mins, drain, then chop roughly
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add garlic + salted black bean. Fry until fragrant.
  5. Add marinated pork ribs. Fry briefly until they’re well mixed. Transfer to a plate you’ll use for steaming.
  6. Steam the pork ribs (high heat) for 30-45 mins (the longer steaming time = more tender meat). Give it a stir every 10-15 mins to ensure even steaming (and make sure the water has not gone dry). On the last stir, sprinkle over chopped red chillies.
  7. Serve immediately.

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Dim Sum Style Steamed Pork Spare Ribs

We always order this when we go to yum cha. When you first start steaming, it’ll look quite dry. But by the end of steaming time, they should be swimming in amazing flavoursome sauce!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Chinese, Pork, Spare Ribs, Steamed
Prep Time 12 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 700 g Pork spare ribs cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp White pepper powder
  • 3 Tbsp Corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp Salted black bean
  • 1-2 Fresh red chillies de-seeded, and cut into small pieces

Instructions

  • Mix together pork ribs + sugar + salt + sesame oil + white pepper powder + corn flour + water. Marinade overnight (or at least a few hours).
  • The next day: take the pork ribs out from the fridge 30 mins before you’re ready to cook.
  • Soak salted black bean in hot water for 5 mins, drain, then chop roughly
  • Heat oil in a pan, add garlic + salted black bean. Fry until fragrant.
  • Add marinated pork ribs. Fry briefly until they’re well mixed. Transfer to a plate you’ll use for steaming.
  • Steam the pork ribs (high heat) for 30-45 mins (the longer steaming time = more tender meat). Give it a stir every 10-15 mins to ensure even steaming (and make sure the water has not gone dry). On the last stir, sprinkle over chopped red chillies.
  • Serve immediately.

Dry Fry Green Beans with Salted Black Bean (ถั่วแขกผัดพริกแห้งใส่เต้าซี)

What you need:
  • 400 g Green beans, cut to 1.5 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 5-10 Dried chillies, cut into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Salted black bean, soaked in hot water for 5 mins, then roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • Oil
How to put this together:
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pan until hot. Add beans. Stir-fry until the beans are cooked. Try and get some charred marks on them.
  2. Transfer cooked beans to a plate
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add garlic + dried chillies + salted black bean. Fry until fragrant.
  4. Add cooked beans. Mix well
  5. Season with soy sauce + shaoxing + sugar. Mix well.
  6. Taste & season.
  7. Drizzle with sesame oil. Mix well.
  8. Serve immediately
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Dry Fry Green Beans with Salted Black Bean

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Beans, Black Bean, Chicken
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 400 g Green beans cut to 1.5 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic minced
  • 5-10 Dried chillies cut into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Salted black bean soaked in hot water for 5 mins, then roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • Oil

Instructions

  • Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pan until hot. Add beans. Stir-fry until the beans are cooked. Try and get some charred marks on them.
  • Transfer cooked beans to a plate
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add garlic + dried chillies + salted black bean. Fry until fragrant.
  • Add cooked beans. Mix well
  • Season with soy sauce + shaoxing + sugar. Mix well.
  • Taste & season.
  • Drizzle with sesame oil. Mix well.
  • Serve immediately

Easy Chilli Oil

What you need

  • 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp salt

How to put this together

  1. On medium heat, pan roast star anise + cinnamon + sichuan peppercorn until fragrant
  2. Grind them into powder (I use magic bulet)
  3. Mix together chili flakes + salt + powdered spices
  4. On medium heat, heat oil in a pot until hot
  5. Turn off the heat, and leave to cool for 3 mins
  6. Pour hot oil over the mixture. Mix well.
  7. Store in a glass jar

 

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Easy Chilli Oil

Course None
Cuisine Chinese, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Chilli Oil, Chinese, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • On medium heat, pan roast star anise + cinnamon + sichuan peppercorn until fragrant
  • Grind them into powder (I use magic bulet)
  • Mix together chili flakes + salt + powdered spices
  • On medium heat, heat oil in a pot until hot
  • Turn off the heat, and leave to cool for 3 mins
  • Pour hot oil over the mixture. Mix well.
  • Store in a glass jar

Beef Balls (ลูกชิ้นเนื้อ)

What you need:

  • 500 g lean beef mince (it’s very important the mince is as lean as possible, 0% fat would be perfect, otherwise do not buy anything with more than 5% fat content)
  • 1/4 cups ice-cold water
  • 1/4 cups crushed ice
  • 2 Tbsp corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (or 1.5 tsp table salt)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 cup ice cubes

How to put this together:

You’ll notice the theme in making this is cold temperature. It’s important the process uses everything as cold as possible.

  1. One hour before you begin, put beef mince in the freezer. You want the mince to be firm and very cold, but NOT frozen (otherwise you’ll kill your food processor). This depends on your freezer, our current freezer is a bit temperamental so sometimes it takes 1.5 hours to bring it up to the right texture. If you have an amazing freezer (I envy you) you may only need to wait 30 mins.
  2. In a food processor or a stand mixer (I use the flat beater on my KitchenAid), process the mince for 5 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, mix together 1/4 cup water + corn flour + soy sauce + salt + baking powder + sugar + oil + pepper powder
  4. Slowly add this to the mince. Continue to process for another 5 minutes (I alternate between speed 2 and 4).
  5. Slowly add half (1/8 cups) crushed ice. Continue to process for another 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly add the remaining crushed ice. Continue to process for another 5 minutes. Note: total = 20 minutes.
  7. The mixture should become a smooth pale paste. The mince-y texture is gone.
  8. Put in a container and put in the freezer for 1 hour (refer to freezer notes in step 1)
  9. Boil hot water in the kettle, then pour it into a pot. Put the pot on the lowest flame. IMPORTANT: you want the water to keep hot, but NEVER BOILS. If your water has boiling bubbles it’s too hot!
  10. Have a small bowl of cold water and a metal spoon ready.
  11. Take the mixture out from the freezer.
  12. Dip your hand in cold water, then take a handful in your hand (I wear disposable gloves because it’s easier than washing my hands, but it’s optional).
  13. Squeeze the mixture in your hand (like you would a victory hand clinch “YES!!!” but slowly & more gracefully), and pushing a little bit out through the little opening of your index finger. I normally have to do a few re-shuffle before I get the right size “popping” through. I normally try to go for about 1.5 cm, but it doesn’t really matter!
  14. When you’re happy with the size, grab the spoon with the other hand, dip it in cold water, and scoop it off your fist, and drop it into the hot water pot.
  15. Repeat until the mixture is all used up.
  16. When you’ve dropped in the last ball, keep them in there for 15 mins
  17. In the meantime, prepare a large bowl of water with ice cubes
  18. Drain the meat balls and immediately dunk them into ice water
  19. Drain and pack in an air-tight container. They also freeze well so can be made in advance.

Print

Beef Balls

Course None
Cuisine Chinese, Thai
Keyword Beef, Beef Balls, Chinese, Thai
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 portions

Ingredients

  • 500 g lean beef mince less than 5% fat content
  • 1/4 cups ice-cold water
  • 1/4 cups crushed ice
  • 2 Tbsp corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt or 1.5 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Instructions

  • One hour before you begin, put beef mince in the freezer. You want the mince to be firm and very cold, but NOT frozen
  • In a food processor or a stand mixer (I use the flat beater on my KitchenAid), process the mince for 5 minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix together 1/4 cup water + corn flour + soy sauce + salt + baking powder + sugar + oil + pepper powder
  • Slowly add this to the mince. Continue to process for another 5 minutes (I alternate between speed 2 and 4).
  • Slowly add half (1/8 cups) crushed ice. Continue to process for another 5 minutes.
  • Slowly add the remaining crushed ice. Continue to process for another 5 minutes. Note: total = 20 minutes.
  • The mixture should become a smooth pale paste. The mince-y texture is gone.
  • Put in a container and put in the freezer for 1 hour
  • Boil hot water in the kettle, then pour it into a pot. Put the pot on the lowest flame.
  • Have a small bowl of cold water and a metal spoon ready.
  • Take the mixture out from the freezer.
  • Dip your hand in cold water, then take a handful in your hand
  • Squeeze the mixture in your hand, pushing a little bit out through the little opening of your index finger.
  • When you’re happy with the size, grab the spoon with the other hand, dip it in cold water, and scoop it off your fist, and drop it into the hot water pot.
  • Repeat until the mixture is all used up.
  • When you’ve dropped in the last ball, keep them in there for 15 mins
  • In the meantime, prepare a large bowl of water with ice cubes
  • Drain the meat balls and immediately dunk them into ice water
  • Drain and pack in an air-tight container. They also freeze well so can be made in advance.

Braised Pork with Chinese Spices (หมูตุ๋น)

Serves: 6

What you need:

  • 1-1.2 kg pork (I use 500g thick-cut pork steak + 700g pork ribs)
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 tsp black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp sechuan peppercorn
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • Few coriander roots (optional)
  • Salt
  • Light soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sweet soy sauce

How to put this together:

  1. On medium heat, pan roast the dry spices: star anise + black peppercorn + sechuan peppercorn + coriander seeds
  2. Put pork + ribs + star anise + black peppercorn + sechuan peppercorn + coriader seeds + garlic + coriander roots + 2 tsp salt in a pressure cooker pot. Add 1.5 litre water. Bring to boil, and pressure cook for 20 mins. Or simmer slowly until tender (2-3 hrs)
  3. Remove pork & pork ribs from the soup
  4. Drain the soup through a sieve to remove spices bits
  5. Add 0.5 litre of water (or more if you simmered instead of using pressure cooker). You want enough soup for 6 bowls of noodle soup
  6. Season with light soy sauce (start with 3 Tbsp) + Oyster sauce (start with 2 Tbsp) + Sweet soy sauce (start with 1 Tbsp).
  7. Taste, and add more seasoning if required. You want the soup to be a combination of sweet & salty.
  8. Put pork back into the bits-free soup
  9. Simmer for another 5 minutes
  10. Eat with steamed rice (and chilli sauce) or make Thai braised pork noodle soup. Recipe is coming!

Print

Braised Pork with Chinese Spices

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Chinese, Pork, Soup
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1-1.2 kg pork I use 500g thick-cut pork steak + 700g pork ribs
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 tsp black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp sechuan peppercorn
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • Few coriander roots optional
  • Salt
  • Light soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sweet soy sauce

Instructions

  • On medium heat, pan roast the dry spices: star anise + black peppercorn + sechuan peppercorn + coriander seeds
  • Put pork + ribs + star anise + black peppercorn + sechuan peppercorn + coriader seeds + garlic + coriander roots + 2 tsp salt in a pressure cooker pot. Add 1.5 litre water. Bring to boil, and pressure cook for 20 mins. Or simmer slowly until tender (2-3 hrs)
  • Remove pork & pork ribs from the soup
  • Drain the soup through a sieve to remove spices bits
  • Add 0.5 litre of water (or more if you simmered instead of using pressure cooker). You want enough soup for 6 bowls of noodle soup
  • Season with light soy sauce (start with 3 Tbsp) + Oyster sauce (start with 2 Tbsp) + Sweet soy sauce (start with 1 Tbsp).
  • Taste, and add more seasoning if required. You want the soup to be a combination of sweet & salty.
  • Put pork back into the bits-free soup
  • Simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Eat with steamed rice (and chilli sauce) or make Thai braised pork noodle soup. Recipe is coming!

Hutong, London Bridge

It’s certainly not cheap dining at Hutong, and the food will not be the bestest Chinese food you’ve had in your life (despite a few outstanding dish). What you do pay for is the atmosphere, the decorations, the service, and most importantly the sky-high view of the beautiful London.

We were there for a Peking duck special menu, which was part of MasterCard Priceless promotion. It was an extremely expensive lunch, but we haven’t been to the Shard before, and figured now is as good a time as ever.

Pretty right?

Four yummy dumplings per person:

  • Rosé Champagne shrimp dumpling
  • Scallop and pumpkin dumpling
  • Crystal crab meat dumpling
  • Vegetable & bamboo pith dumpling

We were given the drink choice of either:

  • Lychee cocktail – with squid ink!
  • Lychee mocktail – withOUT squid ink. Really nice and refreshing. Mine. Good choice.

Peking duck arrives! Carving happens right in front of our eyes. A “proper” Peking duck ritual, one may say?

Alas, my high hopes of the duck were not lived up to. The skin was not crispy, the pancake not soft, the condiments – well, you can’t possibly screw up hoi sin sauce and slicing up cucumber & spring onions.

The duck meat makes up the second course of Peking duck – stir-fried with red onions and capsicum, served with fresh lettuce leaves. Yum.

Egg white fried rice with scallop and spring onion. So good I wish I could pack the leftovers home.

Wunan-style cod fillet, served with crispy soya beans and chilli. O. M. G. AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. The fish fillets are so tender, the texture contrast perfectly well with the crispy soya beans, and the chilli sends it home. So good I volunteered to eat the last unwanted piece (we were all too full at this point).

Hutong was great fun, and a great experience. Would I return to this place? Highly unlikely – my eyes are watering just thinking about the bill.

p.s. I didn’t end up taking any photos of the glorious views we paid the hefty price tag for. Funny that.

Menu, location, etc: http://www.hutong.co.uk/

Mapo Tofu, Vegetarian version

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 300g Silken tofu, cut into 12 chunks
  • 6 Shiitake mushroom, stem removed, diced (I use fresh ones if available, otherwise soak dry ones overnight then squeeze out water before dicing)
  • 1 tsp Roasted peanut oil, or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, pounded
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger, pounded
  • 2 Tbsp Chilli Bean Sauce. I use Lee Kum Kee brand.
  • 1 cup Water (or 1 cup water mixed with 1 tsp Bouillon powder)
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Tapioca powder, mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame oil

How to put this together:

  1. Heat roasted peanut oil in a pan, add garlic + ginger + chilli bean sauce. Fry until fragrant.
  2. Add shiitake mushroom. Fry for a few minutes until mushroom is cooked.
  3. Add water. Bring to boil.
  4. Add Shaoxing + soy sauce + sugar. Taste & season.
  5. While continuously stirring the sauce, slowly add in tapioca powder water. You must be stirring constantly, otherwise the sauce will become lumpy
  6. Add in tofu chunks. Gently cover the tofu with the sauce. Be very gentle so you don’t break up the tofu too much.
  7. Serve with spring onions to garnish & drizzle with sesame oil

Serve with steamed Thai jasmine rice

Print

Mapo Tofu, Vegetarian version

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese, Vegetarian
Keyword Chinese, Tofo, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 300 g Silken tofu cut into 12 chunks
  • 6 Shiitake mushroom remove stem & dice
  • 1 tsp Roasted peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic pounded
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger pounded
  • 2 Tbsp Chilli Bean Sauce. I use Lee Kum Kee brand.
  • 1 cup Water or 1 cup water mixed with 1 tsp Bouillon powder
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Tapioca powder mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame oil

Instructions

  • Heat roasted peanut oil in a pan, add garlic + ginger + chilli bean sauce. Fry until fragrant.
  • Add shiitake mushroom. Fry for a few minutes until mushroom is cooked.
  • Add water. Bring to boil.
  • Add Shaoxing + soy sauce + sugar. Taste & season.
  • While continuously stirring the sauce, slowly add in tapioca powder water. You must be stirring constantly, otherwise the sauce will become lumpy
  • Add in tofu chunks. Gently cover the tofu with the sauce. Be very gentle so you don’t break up the tofu too much.
  • Serve with spring onions to garnish & drizzle with sesame oil

Chicken in Lettuce Cup (San Choi Bau)

This is a very healthy, tasty, and refreshing dish.

Serves 3-4 as main, or 5-6 as starter

What you need:

  • 1 head Lettuce, peel off each individual leaf, wash and let drip dry
  • 500 g Chicken mince (or pork mince)
  • 10 Shiitake mushroom. If dried mushroom is used then either soak in a bowl of water for a few hours, or simmer for 10 mins, then squeeze out water. Cut into small pieces.
  • 1 can Water chestnut (225 g net weight, 140 g drained weight). Cut into small pieces.
  • 4 cloves Garlic, pounded
  • 1 c Beansprouts
  • 4 Tbsp Spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp Coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Soy sauce + 1 tsp for mushroom stir-fry
  • 2 Tbsp Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • White pepper powder
  • Oil

How to put this together:

  1. Heat 1/2 tsp oil, add shiitake mushroom + water chestnut. Add 1 tsp Soy sauce. Stir-fry for few minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Heat 1/2 tsp oil, add garlic. Fry until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken mince + oyster sauce + 3 Tbsp soy sauce + shaoxing + sesame oil. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Add pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning
  4. Add the pre-fried shiitake mushroom & water chestnut. Mix well.
  5. Add beansprouts + spring onions + coriander leaves. Mix well. Take off heat.
  6. Sprinkle with white pepper powder.
  7. Serve immediately with lettuce leaves

Print

Chicken in Lettuce Cup (San Choi Bau)

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Chicken, Chinese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 head Lettuce peel off each individual leaf, wash and let drip dry
  • 500 g Chicken mince or pork mince
  • 10 Shiitake mushroom. If dried mushroom is used then either soak in a bowl of water for a few hours or simmer for 10 mins, then squeeze out water. Cut into small pieces.
  • 1 can Water chestnut 225 g net weight, 140 g drained weight. Cut into small pieces.
  • 4 cloves Garlic pounded
  • 1 cup Beansprouts
  • 4 Tbsp Spring onions finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp Coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Soy sauce + 1 tsp for mushroom stir-fry
  • 2 Tbsp Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • White pepper powder
  • Oil

Instructions

  • Heat 1/2 tsp oil, add shiitake mushroom + water chestnut. Add 1 tsp Soy sauce. Stir-fry for few minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • Heat 1/2 tsp oil, add garlic. Fry until fragrant.
  • Add chicken mince + oyster sauce + 3 Tbsp soy sauce + shaoxing + sesame oil. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Add pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning
  • Add the pre-fried shiitake mushroom & water chestnut. Mix well.
  • Add beansprouts + spring onions + coriander leaves. Mix well. Take off heat.
  • Sprinkle with white pepper powder.
  • Serve immediately with lettuce leaves

Pearl Liang, Paddington

Pearl Liang is our favourite Chinese restaurant in London. They serve tasty food with a great level of service (not that we care much about service – but it’s nice to have) at a reasonable price (which we care about very much). They also do amazing yum cha (a.k.a. dim sum) – but that’s for another time.

First thing first, Peking duck:

This is my husband’s absolute favourite food in the whole world. His birthday meal request often suggests us going to a Chinese restaurant and order two Peking ducks. “One for you, and one for me”. Yup, he loves them.

The highlight of the show is the thinly-sliced-super-crispy duck skin. Some restaurants leave some meat attached to the skin, while others serve JUST skin (and the fat beneath it). You don’t get a say in how much meat you want or don’t want. Like most Asian restaurants, you eat what you get given, and love it. These crispy skins are served with thinly sliced spring onions and cucumber, hoisin sauce (this is the highlight for me, I LOVE hoisin sauce), and freshly-steamed “pancake”.

You simply take a pancake, smear some hoisin sauce on it (go easy first, they’re quite strong), top it with a skin or two, a few strands of spring onions, and a few pieces of sliced cucumber. Wrap it up like you would a spring roll. Pop it in your mouth and let the flavour-texture combination work their magic. The crunchy texture of the duck skin, the salty smoky hoisin sauce, the refreshing spring onions & cucumber, the grease running down your arm. HEAVEN.

IMPORTANT: we find ordering Peking duck in London can be confusing, and extra care MUST be taken. You see, back in New Zealand (where I’m from, not originally originally, but originally enough) when you order Peking duck, you get Peking duck. But in London, we’ve made the mistake of ordering something that SOUNDS like Peking duck in the menu, which turned out to NOT be Peking duck (i know, it should be made illegal) but some deep fried shredded duck meat instead. Please please double check with the waiter when you order and make absolutely sure it IS Peking duck you’re ordering.

One more thing, Peking duck in NZ gets the option of: 1, 2, or 3 courses. One course = duck skin with pancake. Two course = one course + duck meat cooked to your liking, typically stir-fried and wrapped with lettuce. Three course = two course + duck bone soup. This concept also doesn’t widely apply here. Either London hasn’t quite caught up with the program, or NZ has made up these course system themselves.

Ok, we can now move on to…… LOBSTER!!!

Now, we don’t normally order lobster (or any super expensive food items) – but we fell in love with the lobster we had here at Pearl Liang. And now we always look for an excuse to go here for a celebratory lobster. It’s fairly expensive (almost £40) and we’re not even sure if it’s “the best” lobster you can get or not (because we haven’t had lobsters anywhere else), so don’t take our words for it.

However, if you don’t know better, not a lobster guru, have spare cash, and not allergic to shellfish, then I highly recommend you try it. There are a few flavours you can order (black bean, garlic and chilli) but we always order ginger & spring onion gravy, served on a bed of egg noodles. Basically, we tried this variation and liked it, and don’t want to risk £40 on a flavour we may not like.

If you order lobster here, you immediately get a special weapon to help make your meal more enjoyable/practical:

You use the pointy bit to hook onto meat inside the shells and yank it out. I recommend pulling gently first and watch with immense satisfaction when the whole blob of lobster meat glides out in one piece from the shell. If that doesn’t work, repeatedly fluff out the meat instead. It’s more time consuming and you won’t get all the meat out, but you’ll have something to eat. Whatever you do, don’t try to crack the shell with your teeth. Just don’t.

Here are the noodles beneath the lobster pieces, soaked in a thick heavenly sauce of ginger & spring onion. The waiting staff will divide the portions equally between the diners. This prevents you from fighting for your favourite piece.

Here are some of the other dishes we’ve ordered here. But just take a pick from the menu, I’m sure it’s all good.

Menu, location, etc: http://www.pearlliang.co.uk/