GOOD OMENS: A lucky cat stands watch over good forune. COLOURFUL: A dragon dance troupe performs during an annual Chinese New Year parade.
IF you visit a Chinese restaurant during the next couple of weeks you’ll experience the rich taste of the Orient with an abundance of fire crackers and colourful noisy lion and dragon dances.
Each Chinese year is represented by one of the 12 creatures of the Chinese zodiac and in 2013 the snake will be celebrated.
It’s Chinese New Year this weekend so invite a few friends around, cook these fabulous dishes and welcome in the longest and most important festival of the Chinese calendar.
PEKING DUCK PANCAKES
1 Chinese barbecued duck (available at Chinese barbecue shops)
8 green onions
2-3 Lebanese cucumbers
30 Peking duck pancakes, warmed (available at Asian food stores)
1 jar hoisin sauce
❏ Using a sharp knife, remove meat with skin from duck in large pieces then cut into smaller strips. Cut each green onion into about 5 centimetre lengths, then lengthways into strips. Cut unpeeled cucumbers into matchsticks about 5 centimetres in length.
❏ Spoon a little hoisin sauce on each pancake and place a piece of duck in the centre of each. Top with a few strips of green onion and cucumber and roll up.
❏ Place the pancakes on a platter, join side down and serve with a small bowl of extra hoisin sauce. Makes 25-30.
Peking duck pancakes
Call in to a Chinese barbecue shop and pick up some barbecue pork and this fresh and luscious noodle dish will only take a few minutes to cook. The noodles are available at supermarkets as are the water chestnuts to add a wonderful crunch.
350g Singapore noodles
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small onion, sliced
3cm piece ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp green curry paste
200g Chinese barbecue pork , sliced
230g can water chestnuts, rinsed, drained, coarsely chopped
250g green (raw) king prawns, shelled, deveined and halved
2-3 tbs water
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
❏ Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Rest for 1-2 minutes then separate with chopsticks and drain.
❏ Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat, add eggs and cook until set. Remove, roll tightly and slice thinly. Add remaining oil to wok and stir-fry onion for 2-3 minutes, add ginger and garlic and cook a further minute.
❏ Add curry paste and stir-fry for 1-2minutes or until aromatic. Add pork, chestnuts, prawns and water and stir-fry until prawns just change colour.
❏ Add noodles and sauces and toss gently until heated through. Serve topped with green onions. Serves 4.
MUSHROOM FRIED RICE
Entertaining calls for dishes that can be prepared ahead and re-heated and this rice dish is perfect warmed in the microwave. The mushrooms can be varied if fresh shiitakes are not available and you could toss some snow peas or bok choy into the wok if you don’t have any fresh asparagus. Teams well with stir-fried chicken.
1 cup (200g) long-grain rice
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
75g fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
150g button mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-3cm lengths
3-4 tsp soy sauce
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
❏ Cook rice in two cups of lightly salted boiling water for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool, then refrigerate.
❏ Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat, add eggs and cook for about 1 minute until just cooked. Remove and chop.
❏ Heat remaining oil in wok over medium heat, add mushrooms and asparagus and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add eggs and cold rice with soy sauce and toss to heat through. Serve sprinkled with green onions and sesame oil. Serves 4.