Tag Archives: chinese

Kimchi – Korean Chilli and Ginger Cabbage Pickle

25 Mar

Korean Kimchi

I think Kimchi is probably one of those Love or Hate things, like Marmite. I’m definitely a lover not a hater of both. I can see why you would be put off I suppose. I mean it’s fermented cabbage for want of a better description. Kids will love it.

Chinese Cabbage & Korean Chiili Flakes

It’s my new favourite thing. If you have never heard of it, where have you been? It’s a spicy Korean cabbage pickle (or condiment really) that can be used to liven up a huge amount of dishes. There are recipes using it all over the internet for Kimchi Fried Rice and Kimchi Pancakes among other things. It is a really versatile thing to have in your fridge for those “What are we having for lunch/dinner that only takes 15 minutes” moments.

Kimchi

This recipe is healthier than most as it uses an apple for sweetness rather than the evil sugar monster. We like that.

Korean Kimchi

Korean Kimchi Recipe

Makes 1 large jar, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free.

Adapted from Dr Ben Kim & Centre Stage Wellness

  • 1 Chinese cabbage (aka napa cabbage) the long ones (about 500g)
  • 4 Tbsp sea salt
  • about 450 ml (2 cups) warm water
  • 4 Tbsp Korean red chilli flakes/kimchi chilli powder (buy from Asian stores)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 3-4 spring onions/scallions, sliced 
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 large apple
  • 1/2 onion

Discard any outer damaged leaves, separate off all the cabbage leaves, rinse and chop into bite-size pieces. Dissolve the sea salt in the bowl of warm water, pour it over the cabbage and mix it well. Leave it to sit for at least four hours.

Rinse the cabbage well to remove excess salt then put it in a large bowl. Mix the Korean chilli flakes with a few tablespoons of warm water to create a paste, add the minced garlic and ginger and stir together well. Pour this onto the cabbage, stir through the spring onions and fish sauce if using.

Blend the cored apple with the 1/2 onion and about 200 ml (3/4 cup) water then add this to the cabbage as well. Mix everything together really well with a wooden spoon or with your hands (using gloves) to make sure everything is well-distributed.

Transfer the cabbage with a clean spoon into a large sterilised glass jar or bottle, pressing it down well each time as you stack it up. Pour over any liquid remaining in the bowl but leave about 2 inches clear at the top of the jar/bottle before sealing it up. Leave the  kimchi to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

The kimchi is now ready to eat. Store it in the fridge and it will continue to ferment slowly over time. As long as you use a clean spoon every time you take some out, it should keep for up to a month in the fridge.

Korean KimchiAdd a big dollop of it to vegetable stir fries to add another level of flavour, or to this Soba Noodle Salad or this Mee Goreng. It’s great in Asian style soups with some miso.  I love it sautéed with some broccoli, soy sauce and sesame oil which you can eat with noodles or add the whole lot to an omelette made with a bit of soy sauce or even some scrambled eggs. It is a fantastic thing to have around for food emergencies.

Have I convinced you yet?

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Chinese Chilli Aubergine with Rice Noodles

17 Sep

This is the third and final recipe in the Aubergine series for this season. Designed to convert even the most stubborn of aubergine haters out there. The previous two recipes were Berenjenas con Miel (Andalucian Fried Aubergines with Cane Honey) and Curried Aubergine with Chickpeas & Tomato.

I have to admit that I have saved the best for last. I first saw this recipe on Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes Across China series. He visited  many different regions in China cooking their signature dishes. At the end of the series he cooked a banquet showcasing all of his favourite Chinese recipes. This was one of his favourites. It was from Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province.

“It is said that ‘China is the place for food, but Sichuan is the place for flavour’. Food from the region is famously spicy, and girls from the capital Chengdu are reputed to be the most beautiful in the country as the chillies purge their skin of impurities.

Sichuan is as large as France with a population that is almost twice the size of Britain’s. Bordered by the snow-capped Himalayas, the inaccessible region has developed a unique culture and distinct cooking style. Most local people ascribe the spiciness of Sichuan cooking to the muggy climate. The best way to drive out the cold and moisture is with a kick of chilli heat.”
 
Not surprisingly I love Sichuan food. As you may have noticed I am partial to a bit of chilli and I also love the fragrant, tingly, numbing heat given out by the Sichuan peppercorn. This dish doesn’t contain Sichuan peppercorns but it has reminded me how much I loved a Sichuan spicy peanut noodle dish we served at the restaurant. It made your lips go numb, in a good way. I’m definitely going to hunt down that recipe and share it with you.
 
Chinese Chilli Aubergine with Rice Noodles
 
serves 2-3, vegan gluten-free. Adapted from Gary Rhodes Across China
  • 225-250 gr rice noodles (I used medium)
  • 1 large aubergine (about 450 gr)
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 2 tbsp chilli bean paste
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (pickled chilli sauce)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped, green & white parts separated
  • a handful of fresh coriander, stalks and leaves separated and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 200 ml veg stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or kecap manis)
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 -3 tsp brown sugar
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp corn flour (corn starch) mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • sesame seeds

Peel the aubergine by cutting off the top and bottom and peeling with a knife from top to bottom. Cut in half lengthways and then cut into “chips” about 5cm x 1.5cm x 1.5cm.

Meanwhile cook the noodles in boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet, drain in a colander and rinse under the cold tap to stop them cooking and sticking together. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan until hot. Deep-fry the aubergine chips in about 3 batches until soft and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Carefully pour away all but 1 tbsp of the hot oil into a heat proof bowl and leave to cool before discarding. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in the wok and add in the chilli bean paste, sambal oelek, ginger, garlic, coriander stalks and the white parts of the chopped spring onion. Stir fry for about 30 seconds

Pour in the rice wine/sherry and stock, bring to the boil and reduce for 2-3 minutes. Then put the aubergine back into the sauce.

Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Taste for sweetness, it should be sweet, tangy and hot. Add more sugar, soy sauce or vinegar if necessary. Dissolve the cornflour in the water and add to the sauce, stir until thickened slightly.

Stir through the cooked noodles and reheat.

Serve in warm bowls garnished with the green parts of the spring onion, chopped coriander leaves and sprinkle over some sesame seeds.

This really is the best aubergine recipe out there. It converted me and I was a hater. Because the aubergine is peeled it melts right into the spicy sauce coating the noodles in beautiful deliciousness.

Try it!!

Things That Made Me Smile Today……

These beautiful hot pink flowers. I don’t know what they are but they look like bright pink feathery fans. The kind they use for Burlesque dancing…..

And these dying sunflowers look like those gorgeous big shower heads. I want…

Enjoy the rest of your weekend….

Chinese Mushroom, Pak Choi and Sesame Soba Noodles

6 Nov

We went to the chinese supermarket in Fuengirola yesterday to buy some noodles. Obviously we ended up buying loads more stuff. I love it there, there’s always something new and exciting to try- something you just have to have ! I love the packaging as well I am such a sucker for nice packaging it doesn’t matter what it is. I am always inspired by what is on offer and have to go home straight away to cook with it.

Yesterday we bought some lovely japanese buckwheat noodles in a gorgeous jade green packet.

We also bought an enormous pak choi, some dried shitake mushrooms & some fresh little oyster mushrooms.

This was the biggest pak choi I had ever seen, I just had to have it. They are normally small and slightly wilted looking and a bit disappointing really but this looked delicious. I think pak choi must be part of the Acelgas family because when I was walking Rufus this morning the acelgas growing looked really good as well, they must be near to harvesting them now. The Spanish call pak choi Acelgas Chinas which translates as Chinese Chard.

The Spanish cook the white stalks of the acelgas in butter first until tender and then add the leaves to wilt, which is how I am going to treat this huge pak choi but without the butter!

We also bought some fermented chilli bean paste which is one of my favourite asian ingredients. It gives a really spicy, savoury flavour to loads of dishes, essential store cupboard ingredient..

The other bottle is Shaoxing rice wine, another storecupboard favourite, it gives great authentic flavour but you can use sherry if you can’t get any. We also bought some new props for photos like the chopsticks, little rice bowl & spoon and a red painted white bowl. Asian supermarkets are great for props. They are cheap and look great in photos. Needless to say The Washer Up had to drag me out before I bought more stuff, I do get a bit carried away and excited…..

So those are the ingredients that inspired this dish, here’s how they come together..

Chinese Mushroom & Pak Choi Sesame Soba Noodles

Serves 2-3 Vegetarian

  • about 6 dried shitake mushrooms (or whatever dried mushrooms you can find)
  •  150-200gr oyster mushrooms
  • 1 large pak choi or 3 small
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 1/2 large spanish spring onion chopped finely (or 3 or 4 scallions)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • a handful of fresh coriander including stalks
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 or 3 tsp chilli bean paste (depending how hot you like it)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce (I use kecap manis its sweeter & less salty)
  • 1tsp brown sugar
  •  2tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2oo gr japanese buckwheat soba noodles (or your favourite noodles)
  • sesame seeds

First of all put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover them. Leave to rehydrate for about 20 mins. Meanwhile put the noodles in a pan of boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions (about 4 or 5 minutes), drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.

Pull away the pak choi leaves from the root and wash if necessary. Cut the green parts away from the white and set aside then chop the white parts into 1 cm slices. Slice the oyster mushrooms if they are big (I left mine whole as they where mini), then finely slice the rehydrated dried mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid to add to the dish when cooking.

Finely chop the coriander stalks and keep them separate from the leaves. Heat about a tbsp of veg oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the spring onions, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger paste then grind over some white pepper stirring constantly. Add the chilli bean paste, mushrooms and the white parts of the pak choi. Stir fry for 1 minute then add the soy sauce (or kecap manis), the sugar, rice wine, sesame oil and 2 spoonfuls of the reserved mushroom liquid. Stir fry for another minute before adding in the cooked noodles(a handful at a time), the green leaves of the pak choi and the chopped coriander leaves. Stir fry again to heat through then taste for seasoning you may need salt or more soy sauce.

Serve in warmed bowls sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds & coriander leaves.

Enjoy in your new asian bowls!!

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