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To kick off the Year of the Rooster, Fox New's Lilian Huang Woo speaks with best-selling authors Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan. The acclaimed husband and wife team from China sharing tips, recipes and stories from their latest book CHINA: The Cookbook.

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Potstickers from CHINA: The Cookbook/Phaidon photo credit DL Acken

POT STICKERS

Adapted from CHINA: THE COOKBOOK by Kei Lum and Diora Fong Chan

(Phaidon)

Region: Shanghai

Preparation time: 55 minutes, plus 15 minutes marinating time

Cooking Time: 20 Minutes

Makes: 24

INGREDIENTS

  • 11 oz/300 g ground (minced) pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 small napa cabbage (about 1 lb 5 oz/600 g), leaves separated
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 24 large dumpling wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • cilantro (coriander), to garnish (optional)

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons zhenjiang or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shredded ginger

INSTRUCTIONS 

Pot stickers, known as jiaozi in China, are a kind of meat or vegetable-filled dumpling, commonly eaten across Asia. While the dumplings can be boiled, steamed, or fried, the popular method is to fry the dumplings in a little oil, add a bit of water, and then cover to steam and cook the filling. Once the water has evaporated, the dumplings are pan fried on one side for a crispy outside texture.

Combine the pork, soy sauce, salt, sugar, and 4 tablespoons water, and marinate for 15 minutes.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the cabbage, and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Chop the cabbage and squeeze out most of the water. Mix thoroughly with the pork. Stir in the

cornstarch (cornflour) and sesame oil and mix well.

Fill a small dish with cold water and set aside. Lay a dumpling wrapper in your hand and place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle. Brush a little water on the edge of the wrapper, fold over into a semicircle, and seal the top by firmly squeezing the edges together. Start on one end of the semicircle and create pleats by pinching and pressing the edges tightly, about 10-14 pleats per dumpling. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

To make the dipping sauce, combine the vinegar and the ginger in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (frying pan) over medium heat, add the pot stickers and 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/120 ml) water, and cover the pan. Cook for 20 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the bottoms of the pot stickers are golden brown. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with cilantro (coriander), if using, and serve with the dipping sauce.

 

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CHINA: THE COOKBOOK credit DL Acken

FISH IN CHILI SAUCE

Adapted from
CHINA: THE COOKBOOK
by Kei Lum and Diora Fong Chan

Region: Sichuan

Preparation time: 15 Minutes, plus 20 minutes soaking time

Cooking Time: 25 Minutes

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 dried black mushrooms
  • 1 dried black fungus
  • 1 (1 3/4-lb/ 800-g) carp, cleaned and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 4 1/4 cups (34 fl oz / 1 liter) vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 5 oz/ 150 g ground (minced) pork
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 10 pickled red chiles, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pixian chili bean paste, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon black or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus extra to taste
  • 4 scallions (spring onions), chopped
  • 1 red chile, sliced, to garnish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Put the mushrooms and black fungus in 2 separate bowl and soak in cold water for at least 20 minutes, or until softened. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze dry, and discard the stems. Dice, then set aside. Tear the black fungus into small pieces.

Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to make 5-6 slashes on each side of the fish. Pat the fish dry using paper towels and sprinkle with the salt. Marinate for 10 minutes. Lightly dredge both sides of the fish with cornstarch (cornflour).

Heat the 4 1/4 cups (34 fl oz/1 liter) oil in a wok or large skillet (frying pan) to 350°F/180°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Add the fish and deep-fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the fish from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Add the garlic and ginger to the remaining oil in the wok, add pork, and stir-fry over medium heat for 1 minute until fragrant. Sprinkle in the wine, then stir in the pickled chiles, chili bean paste, mushrooms, fungus, soy sauce, and sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz/ 350 ml) boiling water and bring to a boil. Add the fish, reduce to medium heat, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes until cooked through. Flip over and cook for another 5 minutes until cooked through. Transfer the fish to a serving plate.

Bring the sauce in the wok to a boil. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Finally, stir in the vinegar, white pepper, scallions (spring onions), and sesame oil. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with scallions and red chile, if using.

 

photo credit DL Acken

WALNUT COOKIES

From China: The Cookbook By Kei Lum & Diora Chan

REGION: HONG KONG PREPARATION TIME: 20 MINUTES

PLUS 30 MINUTES RESTING TIME COOKING TIME: 30 MINUTES MAKES: 32

  • 1⁄2 CUP (4 OZ/120 G) BUTTER, ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 1⁄4 CUP (2 OZ/50 G) GRANULATED SUGAR
  • 1⁄4 CUP (2 OZ/50 G) BROWN SUGAR
  • 1 EGG, BEATEN
  • SCANT 2 CUPS (8 OZ/225 G) ALL-

PURPOSE (PLAIN) FLOUR

  • 1⁄2 TEASPOON BAKING SODA (BICARBONATE OF SODA)
  • 1 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
  • PINCH OF SALT
  • 1⁄2 CUP (21⁄2 OZ/65 G) SHELLED

WALNUTS, BROKEN, PLUS EXTRA TO DECORATE (OPTIONAL)

Preheat the oven to 350oF/180oC/Gas Mark 4. Beat the butter and sugars together until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons egg and mix until fully blended. Sift the flour, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Sift again. Add to the wet mixture, in batches, and mix into a dough. Stir in the broken walnuts. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet, shape into a disk, and let rest for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 32 portions. Roll each portion into a ball in your palms and flatten slightly into a small round cookie. Top each circle, if desired, with a piece of broken walnut and transfer to a baking sheet. Mix the remaining beaten egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Brush the tops of the cookies. Bake for 18 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325oF/160oC/Gas Mark 3 and bake for another 13 minutes until baked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

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