Dumplings. Pork belly. A few stir-fried greens. Yes, you can cook up an authentic, satisfying Chinese feast, says our guest chef Kylie Kwong.
SCALLOP AND CORIANDER DUMPLINGS WITH SICHUAN CHILLI OIL
When dumplings are boiled, not fried, the result is like soft pillows. Chilli oil goes well with steamed fish or white-cooked chicken.
180g scallop meat (from about 16 fresh scallops)
1 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves
1½ tsp finely diced ginger
1 tsp shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbsp light soy sauce
¼ tsp white sugar
¼ tsp sesame oil
16 wonton wrappers, about 7cm square
Sichuan chilli oil
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp white sugar
Sichuan pepper and salt
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
3 tbsp sea salt
For Sichuan chilli oil, place chilli flakes in a heatproof bowl. Heat oil in a small heavy-based frying pan until it is very hot but not smoking. Carefully pour hot oil over chilli flakes in bowl, stir to combine, then leave to stand, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain cooled oil mixture and discard chilli. Stir in remaining ingredients, and set aside. (Makes ¾ cup.)
For Sichuan pepper and salt, dry-roast both ingredients in a wok or heavy-based pan until peppercorns pop and become aromatic. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. (Makes 2¼ tbsp.)
For dumplings, dice scallop meat and place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients, except wonton wrappers, combine well, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place a heaped teaspoon of filling in centre of a wrapper, then moisten edges. Gently fold wrapper over filling to create a triangle. Lightly press around filling and along edges to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
Cook dumplings in a large saucepan of boiling water, in batches, for 2 minutes or until just cooked through (cut into one with a sharp knife to see if scallops are cooked). Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and drain.
Serve immediately drizzled with chilli oil and sprinkled with Sichuan pepper and salt.
STIR-FRIED CAVOLO NERO AND OYSTER MUSHROOMS WITH GINGER
The dark green leaves of cavolo nero retain a wonderful meaty texture when cooked - just right for a simple stir-fry with oyster mushrooms and ginger. Simply add steamed rice to complete this home-made banquet.
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp peanut oil
5cm x 2cm piece ginger, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g oyster mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 bunch cavolo nero (about 300g), washed, leaves picked and stems discarded
3 tbsp shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add mushrooms and cavolo nero and stir-fry for 2 1/2 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly golden and cavolo nero is just tender.
Add wine or sherry to wok and cook for 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds, tossing to coat everything in sauce. Serve immediately.
You can strain and freeze the red braising stock to use again.
CARAMELISED PORK BELLY WITH LEMON
The belly of the pig is extensively used in Chinese cuisine, being highly prized for the flavoursome fat that runs through it.
600g pork belly, cut into 2cm cubes
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 3 lemons
Sichuan pepper and salt (see recipe, far left)
lemon cheeks, to serve
Red braising stock
1½ cups light soy sauce
1 cup shaoxing rice wine
1 cup brown sugar
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 8cm pieces ginger, sliced
4 green (spring) onions, trimmed and cut in half crossways
1 tsp sesame oil
8 star anise
4 sticks cinnamon
4 strips orange peel, white pith removed
To remove any impurities from meat, place pork belly in a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain. Rinse pork thoroughly under cold running water and drain again.
Place all stock ingredients and 3 litres cold water in a large, heavy-based pan or stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes to allow flavours to infuse.
Place pork in stock and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until pork is tender. Remove pork from pot and set aside on paper towel to drain thoroughly.
Place brown sugar and 1 cup water in a medium pan and bring to the boil to caramelise (this will take about 6 minutes). Add fish sauce and lemon juice. Add braised pork pieces to hot caramel sauce and mix well. Sprinkle with Sichuan pepper and salt, then serve immediately with lemon cheeks.
For these and more recipes, visit dailylife.com.au.
Photography by Vanessa Levis. Styling by Bhavani Konings. Food preparation by Kylie Kwong.
Patterned bowl (bottom right, opposite page) from Golden Brown Fox, goldenbrownfox.com. All other props, stylist's own. Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking Class (Lantern, $59.95) is out now.
From: Sunday Life