Today Celebrates the Chinese New Year, we are leaving the Year of the Dragon behind and moving into the Year of the Snake. Apparently those who were born in the year of the Snake are regarded as intelligent, but can also be somewhat unscrupulous!
Having never really cooked any Chinese food (except for the odd stir fry!) I decided to take this opportunity to cook two of my favourite dishes from scratch – Vegetable Dumplings and Crispy Chilli Chicken
140g Plain Flour
125ml Very Hot Water
2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
50g Pak Choi, finely sliced
50g Shitake Mushrooms, finely sliced
1 small Red Onion
50g Bean Sprouts
Small handful of Fresh Coriander
1 Red Chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
The Dipping Sauce
3 tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce
1 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tsp. Chilli Oil
For the dough, put the flour and hot water in a bowl and mix until a dough ball is formed
Knead the dough until it is smooth, and leave to rest covered with a damp tea towel for about 20 mins
For the filling, heat some vegetable oil in a wok and add all the vegetables and cook until soft
Remove from the heat and add the coriander and chilli. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool
Now take your dough and shape into a long roll about 25 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. Cut into 16 equal pieces
Roll each piece into a ball and then use a rolling pin to roll out the pieces into a circle about 8 cm in diameter
Arrange the dough on a lightly floured tray and cover with a damp tea towel until ready to use
Place 1 tsp. of filling in the centre, fold the dough in half and pinch together with your finger (repeat)
Heat a lidded-pan until its very hot, add some oil and place the dumplings in the pan and cook until lightly brown and then flip them over until the other side is golden.
Then add 75ml of water to the pan and place on the lid. Cook for 12 minutes or until the water has all been absorbed.
Uncover the pan and cook for another 2 minutes
For the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.
Crispy Chilli Chicken
The actual recipe for this from BBC Good Food is for Beef, but I just did a direct swap for chicken! This recipe serves 2 hungry people!
2 Chicken Breasts very thinly sliced into strips
3 tbsp. Cornflour
2 tsp. Chinese Five-Spice
100ml Vegetable Oil
1 Red Pepper , thinly sliced
1 Red Chilli , thinly sliced
4 Spring Onions , sliced, green and white parts separated
2 Garlic Cloves , crushed
Thumb-sized piece of Ginger , cut into matchsticks
4 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 tbsp. Sweet Chilli Sauce
2 tbsp. Tomato Ketchup
Put the chicken in a bowl and toss in the cornflour and five-spice.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan until hot, then add the chicken and fry until golden and crisp.
Scoop out the chicken and drain on kitchen paper. Pour away all but 1 tbsp. oil.
Add the pepper, half the chilli, the white ends of the spring onions, garlic and ginger to the pan.
Stir-fry for 3 mins to soften, but don’t let the garlic and ginger burn.
Mix the vinegar, soy, chilli sauce and ketchup in a jug with 2 tbsp. water, then pour over the veg.
Bubble for 2 mins, then add the chicken back to the pan and toss well to coat.
I served the chicken on rice with prawn crackers, scattered with the remaining chilli and the green parts of the spring onions.
These were both super tasty, and they didn’t really take that long or much effort to make. It has made me think of rustling this up in future instead of reaching for the takeaway!