Char sui pork

My great Char sui Pork Recipe – Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Wish

It is Chinese New Year and I am celebrating by posting some more of my favourite Chinese recipes and information about Chinese Cooking. One of my personal favourites is Cantonese food the most international of the different styles of Chinese cuisine. Cantonese food is all about letting the flavour of the key ingredients shine through with a few additional flavourings including garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and spices such as star anise and Chinese Five Spice.

Char sui pork
Char sui – Cantonese BBQ Pork

This is my oven baked version of the classic Cantonese BBQ Pork recipe or Char sui with its distinctive colouring, sticky sweet marinade, and succulent melt-in-the-mouth texture.  This recipe is made using belly pork, you can make Char sui with tenderloin for a less fatty finish but you need to reduce the cooking times. You will need to plan a little ahead for the best results and prepare the night before and the meat requires quite a long cooking process, but I guarantee you will not be disappointed with the end result. My recipe for Char sui includes a little Muscavado sugar not authentic I know but think it adds to the liquorice aniseed flavour. I like to serve Char sui simply, as the Chinese do, with any cooking juices on a bowl of perfectly fluffy plain boiled rice with maybe a few finely sliced spring onions or you can pile the sliced meat into steamed Bao buns with quick pickled mooli and carrot and fresh coriander.

Char Sui – Cantonese BBQ Pork

1 kg rindless Belly Pork

( ask your butcher to remove any bones and cartilage )

5 tablespoons of Tomato Ketchup

5 tablespoons of Hoisin Sauce

2 tablespoons Honey

2 tablespoons of Dark Soy Sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar

1 heaped tablespoon Dark Brown Muscovado Sugar

1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil

1 tablespoon Sesame Oil

4 large cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped

4 – 5 cm piece of fresh Ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice

Place all the ingredients excluding the pork into a medium sized mixing bowl and thoroughly blend. Place the pork into a deep sided baking tray and pour over the marinade. Work the marinade into both sides of the pork with you finger tips then cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat your oven to 160 C / 325 F / Gas Mark 3. Place a piece of baking paper over the pork and then a double layer of aluminium foil sealing the edges. Place the tray in the oven and cook for three and a half hours, carefully removing the tray and basting the pork every hour, then resealing and placing back to continue cooking. Remove the foil and baking sheet and turn the oven up to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4, baste the pork again return to the oven and continue to cook for around another forty minutes while it caramelises around the edges.

Remove the pork from the tin and set aside on a clean tray covered in foil to rest for twenty minutes. Transfer the sauce to a small pan and spoon off any excess fat and bring to a gentle simmer. Slice the pork, it will be very tender and fall apart as you cut into it, and serve it on bowls of boiled rice with the remaining sauce poured over.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Sesame Seeds    Flour

There will be Soya and may be gluten in your Soy Sauce

Please see the Allergens Page

Red Lantern

Sesame Chicken Wings

Spicy Sesame Chicken Wings

Chinese New Year Wish

I love any food you eat you eat with your fingers, prawns in their shells, ribs, it is great fun and so tasty. No surprise then that I’m such a fan of chicken wings maybe with a Crispy Salt and Pepper Crust, American BBQ style Buffalo Wings with a cooling Blue Cheese Dip or Asian style hot Wings with Sesame Seeds. To celebrate the Chinese New Year today’s recipe is my version of the last dish, which I would serve with a bowl of perfectly fluffy boiled rice.

 

Sesame Chicken Wings
Spicy Sesame Chicken Wings

Spicy Sesame Chicken Wings

For the Chicken

20 trimmed Chicken Wings

( you can ask your butcher to do this,

freeze the wing tips until you are making a stock )

3 tablespoons Cornflour

1 teaspoon Paprika

½ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Onion Powder

¼ teaspoon White Pepper

A splash of Vegetable Oil

For the Sauce

3 tablespoons Ketchup

2 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce

2 tablespoon Sesame Oil

2 tablespoons Honey

1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar

2 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely chopped

To Garnish

2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds

3 Spring Onions, washed and finely sliced

1 sliced Red Chilli

Preheat the oven to 425 F / 220 C / Gas Mark 7. In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the chicken thoroughly then toss in the chicken wings and coat evenly. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper about a centimetre apart and drizzle with the oil. Place in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes then carefully turn over with a pair of tongues. Return to the oven for another fifteen to twenty minutes until chicken is fully cooked.

In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot, add all ingredients for the sesame sauce except sesame seeds. Gently bring the sauce to a boil, stirring regularly and simmer the sauce over a low heat for ten minutes. If you want the sauce spicier, add more of the hot sauce to your taste. When the chicken wings out from the oven, carefully tip onto kitchen paper to drain off any excess fat then place into a bowl and add the sauce. Toss chicken wings to coat evenly with the sauce then place into a serving dish, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, spring onions and chilli slices. Enjoy.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Sesame Seeds  Flour

There will be Soya  and may be gluten in your Soy Sauce

Please see the Allergens Page

Red Lantern

Xin nian kuai le – Happy Chinese New Year – Slow braised Lamb with Ginger and Spring Onions

Chinese New Year Wish

There are up to two weeks of celebrations for the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. This year is the year of the Dog. In China and the Chinese diaspora there are visits to family, fireworks, and feasts and so I thought appropriate over the next ten days to post some more of my favourite Chinese dishes. I am also building up a database of some of the ingredients and base recipes which you can find on here. If you want to know more about one of my favourite styles of Chinese cuisine you can read my post on Cantonese food.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with the following Recipes;-

Crab and Sweetcorn Soup

Spicy Sesame Chicken Wings

Shanghai-style Red Braised Pork Belly

Cantonese Pork

King Prawn Chow Mein

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

General Tso’s Chicken

Char sui – Cantonese BBQ Pork

Perfectly fluffy Boiled Rice

Egg Fried Rice

In China lamb or mutton is eaten mostly in the north and north west and is especially favoured by the Muslim and Mongol populations but it is available everywhere. The most popular street food in China are Xinjiang lamb skewers with fiery and fragrant with chilli and Szechuan peppercorns, which you can find in every major city throughout China. Chinese recipes mostly call for mutton or substitute goat rather than lamb mainly because traditionally lamb was scarce, and the cooking times would be longer.  This is rather a generous recipe best eaten with friends, serve with some perfectly fluffy boiled rice. Now may I wish you all prosperity for this Year of the Dog and Enjoy – Gong xi fa cai

Slow cooked Lamb and Ginger
Braised Lamb and Ginger

 

Slow Braised Lamb with Ginger and Spring Onions

1.5 kg to 2 kg boned Shoulder of Lamb

10 Banana Shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 large bunches of Spring Onions, washed, trimmed and cut in 3 centimetre pieces

500 gr Sliced Button Mushrooms

1.5 ltr good quality Lamb or Veal Stock

100 gr Rock Sugar ( you can substitute Demerara )

1 large 6 centimetre piece of Ginger, peeled and very finely sliced

6 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely crushed

6 tablespoons Dark Soy sauce

4 tablespoons Rice Wine or Dry Sherry

4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

2 tablespoons Sesame Paste

1 tablespoon Tomato Puree

6 Star Anise pods

4 Cloves

2 large pieces of Cassia Bark

Cut the lamb shoulder into large five centimetre dice. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and blanch the lamb by plunging it into the boiling water for five minutes. Strain out the meat and discard the water. Heat a wok or a large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the pieces of lamb and stir-fry them until they are brown.

Add the shallots, spring onions, mushrooms and ginger to the wok and cook for five more minutes before placing into a large casserole or heavy-bottomed pan and stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring up to the boil and carefully skim off any fat from the surface, then turn the heat down as low as possible. Cover with a lid and gently simmer for around one and a half hours or until the lamb is cooked and tender, skimming occasionally to remove any more fat. When cooked remove the star anise, cloves and cassia bark and serve in bowls with steamed rice.

Wine and Beer

What to Drink? Matching wine with Chinese food used to be considered impossible but more modern sommeliers are making innovative pairings try your lamb with a fruity, Chilean Pinot Noir or off-dry Rosé and why not try a refreshing Continental wheat beer with citrus and coriander seeds as your beer choice.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Sesame Seeds    Flour

There may be gluten in your Soy Sauce

Please see the Allergens Page

Red Lantern

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Mousse

Valentines Cover

So, you have successfully shucked the oysters, the steak was cooked to perfection and you matched your meal with a perfect bottle of wine, Valentine’s Day is going according to plan now you need something simply stunning to finish the meal. I have chosen something stunningly simple to make, that can be kept in the fridge and will wow your dinner companion. And the bonus, there will be a couple left over for the morning.

Dark Chocolate Mousse
Dark Chocolate Liqueur Mousse

Many chocolate mousses are made with a mix of cream and eggs and often use gelatine as a setting agent so they can be quite heavy, this recipe is lightness itself relying on the flavour of the dark chocolate, the liqueur, and the airy whipped egg whites. The squeeze of lemon helps stabilise the egg whites when they are being whipped and prevent over whisking, if you over-whisk the egg whites they will collapse and separate and you will lose all the air that you have whisked in and the resulting mousse will be very heavy.  Follow the instructions carefully and be patient whilst folding in the whipped-up egg whites so that you lose as little volume as possible and you will be rewarded with light, fluffy chocolate mousse.

For your chocolate mousse, you can use a choice of liqueurs, but my favourites are orange or coffee based which are natural partners with dark chocolate.

Chocolate Liqueur Mousse     makes 4

200 gr premium Dark Chocolate ( a minimum 60 % cocoa solids )

7 free-range Egg Whites ( use the egg yolks in your Bearnaise Sauce )

50 gr Caster Sugar

4 tablespoons of Coffee or Orange Liqueur

A squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice

Place a medium glass or metal bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water) and add the chocolate. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, meanwhile put the egg whites and lemon juice into a second large, clean bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks. Sprinkle over the sugar and continue to whisk until firm peaks form when the whisk is removed. Do not whisk beyond this stage.

When the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add one-third of the egg whites, and whisk them into the hot chocolate very quickly. This is important as the cool eggs can cause the chocolate to start to set if not mixed in speedily and the resulting mousse will be lumpy.

Using a spatula or the side of a large metal spoon fold the remaining egg whites and the liqueur into the chocolate mixture, the egg whites need to be totally incorporated but not over mixed as this will start to knock out the whisked in air bubbles. Carefully spoon the mousse mixture into four glasses or serving dishes and place in the fridge for at least a couple hours to set.

Wine and Beer

 

What to Drink? Chocolate mousse pairs well with sweet dessert wines and more unusually fruity Australian Barossa Valley Shirazes. For a beer why not try a Cherry or Raspberry Kriek beer.

Allergens in this recipe are;

     Milk   Eggs

Please see the Allergens Page

Valentines Cover

Valentine’s Day Oysters Blonde and Blue

Valentine’s Day Cooking the Perfect Steak

Valentine’s Day Bearnaise Sauce

Grilled Sirloin Steak

How to cook the Perfect Steak

Valentines Cover

What can be more romantic on Valentine’s Day than to cook and share a delicious steak with your partner, served with a rich buttery Bearnaise Sauce, some thick cut chips, and a crisp green salad? Here are the steps you need to prepare a fabulous steak just like a professional grill chef;

Grilled Sirloin Steak
Char-grilled Sirloin Steak

Buy the Best Meat You Can

You need to find a butcher who knows the provenance of his supplies, even better a farm shop or butcher who breeds his own cattle. Well hung ( matured ) grass fed beef is best. Good meat is expensive, but you are better buying less and better quality than more of an unknown piece of meat. The choice of cut will affect the flavour of your steak, rump and flank are very tasty but require perhaps a little more skill to cook correctly, a fillet is the most expensive cut and very tender but perversely not as flavoursome as the cheaper pieces of meat. I would settle in the middle for a piece of rib eye steak with some nice marbling of fat. The best ever Rib eye I have tasted is from the tiny island of Alderney and the grass-fed, twenty-eight day aged beef from Kiln Farm.

Aged Rib eye Steaks
Well marbled Kiln Farm Rib eye Steak

Fat is your Friend

Marbling is the small specks of white to yellow fat you can see in some cuts of meat they will render down during cooking and help keep the meat moist. Most importantly remember fat adds flavour to any cut, this is why beef joints such as silverside are often wrapped in fat by the butcher for a roasting joint.

Buy a Big Steak

For maximum flavour we want to get a good char on the outside of your steak while keeping the meat juicy and tender inside and this can be difficult with a thin cut for even an expert. The solution is one supersized steak to share, instead of two 350 gr steaks get one thick cut 750 gr steak.

Thick Steak

Cook from Room Temperature

It can be difficult to cook a steak and raise the temperature in the center if it comes straight out of your fridge at three to five degrees. Take your steak out of the fridge at least an hour before you want to cook it.

Hot, Hot, Hot

This is very important if you are barbecuing, using a griddle pan or just a big old heavy-bottomed cast iron frying pan, the choice of award-winning steakhouse Hawksmoor, it needs to be hot. Very hot. You don’t want to be able to hold your hand close to the grill or pan. Barbecuing over charcoal will give the steak a lovely smoky finish.

Charcole

Seasoning

If your steak is in a plastic bag or container, remove and pat it dry with kitchen paper.  Immediately before serving generously season with sea salt and pepper. Chef’s season meat exceedingly well it is probably the biggest difference between them and a home cook so don’t be afraid. I would use about a four to one ratio sea salt to fresh roughly ground black pepper. You don’t need to add anything else unless you want to add a little freshly ground coriander or smoked sea salt for a little extra flavour.

Oil and Butter

You don’t need any oil in the pan but if you want you can add butter towards the end of cooking and turn the heat down to stop burning. You can add a few thyme sprigs and a crushed clove of garlic for extra flavour if you desire. This will give your steak a buttery, creamy finish but you can finish the steak without the butter maintaining the extra crisp finish.

Cooking

Carefully place the steak on the grill or in the pan and leave it for a couple of minutes and then using a pair of tongues turn over. As long as the pan or grill is hot enough you should have no problem with sticking. WARNING you may get some smoke so open a window the pan needs to be hot enough for your steak to develop a delicious crust, so don’t overcrowd the grill or pan. Carry on turning the steak to prevent burning. If there is a thick layer of fat on your steak, hold it vertically, with tongs, to brown the fat. For cooking times follow this link, remember your steak will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat.

Resting

When the steak is ready it is vitally important to let it rest, at home place it on a warm plate cover with foil and wrap in a couple of T-towels and leave for at least five minutes this allows the meat to finish cooking and suck all the juices back, otherwise they will leak as soon as the meat is cut, and it will be dry.

 Steak 3

Slice the meat against the grain, rather than parallel to the fibers in the meat and serve with Bearnaise Sauce.

Wine and Beer

What to Drink? Steak and Bearnaise Sauce requires some out of the box choices to match the richness and slight acidity of the sauce try a bold, slightly acidic Chilean Cabernet or a big, bold in your face oaked Californian Chardonnay if you prefer beer try a hoppy English IPA beer.

Allergens in this recipe are;

 Milk    If you use butter

Please see the Allergens Page

Valentines Cover

Valentine’s Day Oysters Blonde and Blue

Valentine’s Day Bearnaise Sauce

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Mousse

Whisking Bearnaise Sauce

How to make a great Bearnaise Sauce

Valentines Cover

A Bearnaise sauce is simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar, and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect.”

Fernand Point, French chef, and restaurateur

Bearnaise is a classic accompaniment for a Valentine’s Day steak particularly a Côte de bœuf or Chateaubriand, the rich luxurious sauce pairing excellently with the meat, it can also be served with fish such as Brill and Turbot. Bearnaise was most likely created by chef Collinet who also graced the culinary world with pommes de terre soufflées. The sauce is believed to have first been served at the 1836 opening of a restaurant near Paris, named after King Henry IV of France, who was born in the Béarn region, hence the name.

Whisking Bearnaise Sauce
Bearnaise Sauce

Bearnaise is a derivate of the master sauce Hollandaise, an emulsion of beaten egg yolks and warm butter and distinctively flavoured with the aniseed like Tarragon ( some recipes also contain Chervil ). You can use a good quality white wine vinegar, Champagne vinegar for fish or for an extra hit of tarragon use some homemade tarragon vinegar.

Bearnaise Sauce                     for 4 to 6

300 gr Unsalted Clarified Butter

4 fresh free-range Egg Yolks

2 largish Banana Shallot, peeled and finely sliced

5 tablespoons White Wine, Champagne or Tarragon Vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh chopped Tarragon, reserve the stems

1 Bay Leaf

3 of 4 crushed White Peppercorns

Sea Salt and Cayenne Pepper

First clarify the butter by gently warming it in a small, heavy-bottomed pan. When the butter starts to foam, remove from the heat and leave it on the side to cool and for the buttermilk and impurities to sink to the bottom of the pan. Carefully ladle out the butterfat and pass through a fine sieve and discard the solids.

Clarifying Butter
Clarified Butter

Pour the vinegar into a small aluminium saucepan and add the shallots, tarragon stems, bay leaf and crushed peppercorns. Place on a medium heat and bring up to a gentle simmer and reduce the amount of liquid by half. Remove from the heat and allow to completely cool then strain.

Reduced White Wine
Tarragon infused White Wine Reduction

Lightly beat the egg yolks with a splash of cold water in a medium glass or metal bowl, then whisk in the infused vinegar. Carefully suspend the bowl over a pan of simmering water ( do not allow base of the bowl to touch the water as this will overcook the eggs and cause them to quickly scramble). Whisk the egg yolks continuously until they have thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon and they have tripled in volume.

Remove the pan from the heat leaving the bowl suspended over the hot water and slowly pour in the clarified butter in a thin stream, whilst whisking continuously until the mixture is thick and smooth. Fold in the tarragon leaves and season, to taste, with salt and a pinch of Cayenne pepper.

Whisking Bearnaise Sauce
Bearnaise Sauce

Your Bearnaise will keep warm set above the warm water covered lightly with tin foil for fifteen to twenty minutes. If your sauce splits or curdles you have probably tried to add the butter too quickly, a couple of teaspoons of freshly boiled water whisked vigorously into the split sauce may help retrieve it. If this does not work, you can whisk up a further egg yolk in a fresh clean bowl then slowly add the split hollandaise whisking all the time.

Allergens in this recipe are;

 Milk Eggs   There may be Sulphites in Vinegar

Please see the Allergens Page

Valentines Cover

Valentine’s Day Oysters Blonde and Blue

Valentine’s Day How to Cook the Perfect Steak

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Mousse