You wait ages for one, then two Chinese recipes come along. It’s almost as if I’d forgotten how to blog. In a way this is true. I’m pretty disgusted with the state of the blagging scene in Birmingham at the moment and the thought of being associated with it has made me, well, get my head down and actually do more good things with food this year. So more teaching, more popups, more food development work, more styling and photography. Less of the constant churning of idiot prose for idiot posers.
But then I’ve neglected for those of you who care about cooking good food, in particular Chinese food. So this for you then; a recipe for Chinese sausage. Of all my sausage recipes I’m most proud of this one. It’s the one most tinkered with, the most obscure (my middle name) and the most evocative for me. Continue reading →
Walking by the frozen meat at my local Wing Yip, the radar pinged as I scanned over the usual offerings of frozen duck and mystery meat. French squab pigeons were available for the first time. There wasn’t really any hesitation I knew exactly what I wanted to cook. Tea smoked pigeon is one of my favourite dishes, a must eat whenever I go back to Hong Kong. A dish I pine for whenever I think about the food of Asia, which is often, in fact most of my waking hours.
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Happy new year of the rooster everyone, may it bring health, wealth and prosperity. To ensure good fortune consume some chicken rice at your new year festivities. But even if you don’t believe in all that, make sure you eat it anyway because it really is the ultimate chicken dish. Continue reading →
Suckling piglet and rice £8.60
Chinese food, you’re probably getting bored of it by now. Takeaway sweet and sour pork comes way down the fast food list after curry, Nandos, KFC and new wave “streetfood”. Going out for a meal? Sesame prawn toast, chow mein, lemon chicken, shredded crispy duck and all the other Anglicised Chinese food is seen as the safe option for a crowd with fussy eaters. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The Chinese food that I know has never been like that anyway. With more and more mainland Chinese folk living in the city, the options are expanding beyond the watered down Cantonese fare we all grew up eating in the UK. Fiery mouth numbing dishes from Sichuan, mutton skewers from the North, hotpots and hand-pulled noodles. Never let them show you the English menu ever again. I’ve written guides about the great mainstream food you can get in Birmingham Chinatown but now here’s a guide to get really under the crispy crackling skin of Chinatown. Continue reading →
I remember the first streetfood experience we had in Taiwan were these Sheng Jian Bao. They are incredible pan fried dumplings filled with juicy pork. It set the tone really for what was an incredible eating holiday. Sheng Jian Bao are a Shanghai speciality related closely to the more famous Xiao Long Bao soup dumplings. The filling is identical, the difference is that the wrapping is a yeasted dough and they’re pan fried with a crispy bottom. Much more robust than XLB. So if you’re rubbish with chopsticks you’re less likely to burst them and lose Chineser points. Continue reading →
The nine step plan
Chinese fast food, a bowl of Dan Dan Mian, so simple yet utterly delicious. How fast and simple?
- Put sesame sauce, light & dark soy sauce, any chilli oil you like and ground Sichuan pepper into a bowl. All to taste and mix.
- Fry minced beef until brown with whole Sichuan pepper, dried chilli, light soy and Tianjian preserved veg (optional). Set aside.
- Cook noodles (or make them), add to the bowl, top with the cooked beef. Mix and devour.
- For a Nigel Slateresque twist replace beef mince with, er, any other mince you like.
Simples, faster than a takeaway but not as fast as this blog!
Happy new year! 恭禧發財
The window to my soul
I could probably eat a whole Cantonese roast duck by myself as my final meal, I’d slip away happy and content. It’s not an extravagance, all you’d have to do for me is go to any Chinatown and pick one up from a roast meat shop. But imagine if you went to the wrong shop, I’d curse you with my last breath. Real soul food is comfort food unique to oneself, only you know what makes that dish just right and satisfies your soul. So in as much as it’s in my own interests that you buy me the best roast duck you can possibly find on my last day (hopefully not soon) here’s an updated Birmingham Chinatown Roast Meat Battle. You might also find it useful when deciding where to eat the best dish Birmingham has to offer, triple roast rice 三燒飯, which includes crispy belly pork 火腩, char siu pork 叉燒 as well as roast duck 燒鴨.
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Kau Yuk is a classic Hakka Chinese dish, real soul food. It’s a tone of pinky brown that’s not immediately appetising to the uninitiated, like rhubarb in reverse, it tastes a lot better than it looks. Continue reading →
Homemade duck egg noodles
Ramen, at the moment it’s everybody’s favourite noodle. And why not? Cheap and delicious. An everyday Japanese dish with so much variation and endless refinement there’s something for every taste. For me, a bowl of Hakata style tonkotsu is my favourite ramen. Rich pork stock, marinated egg, sweetly soft slithers of chashu and of course those firm ramen noodles. You can get good tonkotsu in London now so I don’t have to go back to Kyushu for them. Though sadly Birmingham is still sorely lacking any, let alone good, ramen joints.
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A lorra duck
Tea smoked duck is a cold dish. A cheeky appetiser to go alongside other nibbley things at the start of a meal, maybe smacked cucumbers and marinated peanuts. Or to be stuffed inside fluffy gua bao. Here’s my recipe for them. I’ve gone proper Chinese and not given exact quantities, relax, it all depends on the size of duck breasts anyway. Continue reading →