Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Chicken Fried Noodles (雞炒麵)

The children (and I, and husband) love noodles, especially the Nissin sesame ramen, which have formed many a comfort snack in years gone by. When we were at university, I would buy a box of 30 as a token of love for then-boyfriend (now husband), in beef or pork, every term. Before that, he was eating Batchelor's Super Noodles..... As I write, I'm panicking slightly as there is only one packet left in the house. Bags and bags of rice vermicelli, mung-bean vermicelli., udon, shrimp noodles, cup noodles etc., but only one packet of Nissin sesame ramen.

We try to go for dim sum, but it isn't as often as I would have hoped. Maybe as they get older, it will become easier, and they aren't too adventurous at the moment. So dim sum for the children tends to consist of steamed custard buns, egg tarts, maybe some congee, some cheung fun rice rolls, and 肉炒麵, fried fine noodles with shredded pork and stir-fried greens. Whilst I sit happily eating my chicken feet, curried whelks and the rest of what makes a marvellous lunch experience.

On Sunday night I had a final defrosted chicken breast to use up, so I promised the children I'd do noodles, I was going to do mung bean vermicelli, but soaked them for too long and ended up with a mush that fell through the colander. I used Blue Dragon medium egg noodles instead, which were soaked in boiled water for about 5 minutes. Taste the noodle to make sure they've softened adequately, then try and get rid of as much water as possible before frying them. Ideally there would have been a better noodle:other stuff ratio, but I was down to my last nest of dry noodles too!



  • 2 nests of dried medium egg noodles (or use fresh noodles as an alternative)
  • 1 chicken breast, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted for a couple of hours in boiling water (keep the water) and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 Chinese leaf, sliced into 1/3rds widthways then sliced lengthways to give thinnish slivers
  • A shake of sesame seeds
  • 1 dessert spoon of yellow bean sauce
  • 2 spring onions, sliced finely
  • Sunflower oil for frying
Chicken Marinade:
  • Light soy sauce
  • Lea and Perrins Worcester sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, bashed with the flat of a cleaver
  • 2cm cube of peeled raw ginger, grated finely
Serves 2



  • Marinade the chicken - place the sliced chicken in a bowl, add a couple of shakes of the light soy sauce and the Lea and Perrins, the sugar and the garlic. Take the grated ginger and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Mix to combine, cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes
  • Boil the kettle and pour the boiling water over the dried noodles. Cover and leave for 5 minutes. Test a piece to make sure it is completely softened, and drain the noodles when ready
  • Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or non-stick frying pan. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken and stir-fry rapidly, so that the chicken browns and takes on a lovely colour
  • Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms to the pan and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes
  • Add the Chinese leaf to the pan and stir-fry until the leaves start to go glossy and soften
  • Turn the heat up to very high and add the noodles to the pan. Stir-fry quickly, so that the noodles start to crisp up a little and take on some colour
  • Add a little of the mushroom-soaking water, and 1 dessert-spoon of yellow bean sauce and mix into the noodles, continuing to stir-fry for a few minutes
  • Add the sesame seeds and chopped spring onions, then continue to stir-fry until the spring onions are cooked through
  • Remove from the heat, drizzle over a few drops of sesame oil, and serve immediately

Chicken fried noodles (雞炒麵)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Pesto Chicken and Potato Tray-Roast

I've been a bit down recently about the food that I'm cooking and eating with the family. This is due to a combination of being heinously busy at work, being unwell and unable to shake off a current infection, and just not having the energy or imagination to think of anything new (or the patience to deal with the noisy criticism of 3 small fussy people).

On Friday I said to my husband that I just wanted to sit and eat a grown up meal with him, and left him to deal with baths, tantrums and bedtimes. I wanted to create something with a range of tastes and textures, but minimal washing up. Jamie Oliver has always been very good at putting everything into one roasting tray and cooking the lot together, and that night, I drew some inspiration from him.

My heart says mozzarella for this recipe. However, my head told me that there were 4 blocks of halloumi also in the fridge (damn Costco and their free tasting), and the halloumi gave a pleasing crispy texture to the finished dish. I think the dish works with both - for something more soft, oily and comforting, go for the mozzarella. For something a bit sharper, crispier and more interesting, go for the halloumi.



  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes - keep them on the vine if you like
  • 2-3 tablespoons of pesto sauce - you can see my recipe here
  • 2 dessert-spoons of pancetta cubes or sliced, streaky bacon
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • A handful of grated halloumi or mozzarella cheese
  • Ground black pepper to season
Serves 2



  • Place the chicken breasts facing down on a board, and if there isn't already one, slice a small "pocket" into each. Put the pancetta and basil leaves into the pockets, grind some black pepper over, and fold the pockets back over. Place in the middle of a roasting tray

Chicken breasts with pancetta and basil leaves
  • Slice the potatoes into 3mm thicknesses and scatter around the chicken breasts in the roasting tray. Add the cherry tomatoes
  • Spoon the pesto sauce over the chicken, potatoes and tomatoes, ensuring it is well spread over the mixture. Add the grated halloumi and grind over some black pepper

  • Place in the oven at 185 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove after the cooking is complete, and let stand for a couple of minutes

Halloumi gives a crisper, less oily texture to the finished dish
  •  Serve with some simple greens, such as broccoli, courgettes or beans

Pesto chicken and potato tray-roast

Friday, 21 June 2013

Roasted Tomato and Sweet Potato Soup

No photo for this, unfortunately. It's one that I started as I prepared breakfast at 6.30am, then left on the hob for the children to have for their dinner, with sandwiches. It has a lovely sweet, but tangy taste, and can be made more substantial with the addition of red lentils.


  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes, sliced in half
  • A few pinches of dried, mixed Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, marjoram etc.)
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
  • (Optional) 2 tablespoons of red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 350ml chicken or vegetable stock (I use Kallo organic chicken stock cubes)
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 1 small potato, roughly diced
  • 25g butter
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • (Optional) spoonful of creme fraiche
Serves 3-4


  • Place the tomatoes onto a baking tray, cut side up. Grind a twist of salt, pepper and a sprinkle of dried herbs onto each one, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place in the oven at 185 degrees for 35 minutes
  • Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and add the onions, potato and sweet potato. Stir for 5 minutes until the onion is softened
  • Add the tomatoes and all the baking tray juices (and optional the red lentils), and heat until bubbling
  • Add the chicken stock, so that the vegetables are just covered. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle boil, cover the pan and leave for 30 minutes
  • Once the cooking is finished, blend to a smooth consistency, and swirl in the creme fraiche, if desired
  • Serve with thick, buttered toast - even better if there are poppy or sesame seeds involved

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Stir-Fried Potatoes

This is another dish from my childhood, which my 婆婆 used to make. She would use very white, floury potatoes, and quite a lot of oil to fry, and the result was really rather delicious - crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. In the pic, I think I didn't really use enough oil, and I did not let the potatoes crisp up enough, so will improve upon this next time.


  • 4 large, floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4mm slices
  • 2 spring onions, sliced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 slices of peeled, raw ginger, smashed with the flat of a cleaver
  • A shake or two of light soy sauce
  • Ground black pepper to season,
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil for frying
Serves 4-6


  • Soak the potato slices to get rid of any excess starch, and drain
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil, put the potatoes in and parboil for 4-5 minutes
  • Drain the potatoes well, and put to one side
  • Place about 1cm depth of sunflower oil in a wok and heat until a wooden chopstick placed in the pot begins to bubble
  • Add the slices of ginger and stir-fry vigorously for 30 seconds, to infuse the oil. Take care not to let the ginger burn. You can remove the ginger at this stage if you like
  • Add the drained potatoes and shuffle them around in the pan for about 5 minutes  - don't disturb them too much, let them colour and crisp up a bit.
  • Add the sliced spring onions and garlic. Reduce the heat so that the garlic doesn't burn, and stir-fry for 1 minute until the spring onions and garlic are cooked
  • Add the soy sauce and stir to ensure it is evenly spread through the dish
  • Remove from the heat, add a couple of drops of sesame oil, then use a slotted spatula to serve onto a warmed serving dish (so leaving behind some of the oil)
  • Serve as an accompaniment to rice, other dishes might include fish or green vegetables

Stir-Fried Potatoes

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pseudo Egg Foo Yung (芙蓉蛋)

I thought I was making foo yung, but a quick trawl of Google tells me this isn't anything like it (apart from the egg bit!). Foo yung is supposed to look a bit more "pancake-y", but I was being stingy with the eggs and using up a load of leftovers, so didn't really add enough egg to hold everything together. I was also supposed to combine all of the cooked ingredients with the egg before adding it to the pan, and make up a sauce to go with it. So I'm not entirely sure whether to call it a foo yung, a scramble or an omelettey-type thing.

We had it with rice, accompanied by tomato and potato soup.


  • 5-6 eggs
  • 2 spring onions, chopped finely
  • A handful of frozen petits pois
  • 2 slices of streaky or back bacon, chopped finely
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Few drops of sesame oil
  • Dash of light soy sauce
  • Ground white pepper
  • (Optional) 1/2 tsp of chicken powder
Serves 2


  • Beat the eggs lightly and season with the pepper and (optional) chicken powder
  • Heat a little sunflower oil in a wok, and when hot, add the bacon pieces. Don't stir too vigorously, and allow to brown and crisp up
  • When the bacon is crispy, add the petits pois and spring onions and stir-fry quickly for 30 seconds, to heat through
  • Lower the heat to medium and pour the beaten egg into the wok
  • Let the egg begin to cook on the bottom of the wok, and occasionally fold the cooked edges into the middle of the mixture, allowing the uncooked egg to dribble to the bottom of the wok. Try not to break up the mixture too much
  • When the egg is nearly all set, remove from the heat and sprinkle over a few drops of sesame oil
  • Check for saltiness (the bacon will be saltier than if you use other meat such as chicken or prawns), and if desired, add a splash of light soy
  • Serve with rice
Pseudo Egg Foo Yung

Sunday, 16 June 2013


I don't make a lot of lasagne, as I find it a bit of a faff. However, we'd been eating spaghetti bolognaise for a few days, and we still hadn't finished that massive tub I'd taken out of the freezer. I made up the leftovers into a lasagne on Sunday night, for the children to have for their dinner on Monday. Then, shame of shame, instead of leaving it assembled in the fridge for our nanny to cook the next day, I cooked it in advance at 1am, just so that I could get the photo for my blog! Luckily, it wasn't too shrivelled up by the time the children got round to eating it, and they gobbled it up without complaint.

I find that the best way to get a lump-free bechamel sauce is to use a silicone whisk, which really gets into the edges of your saucepan.

To make a really lovely bechamel sauce, you could infuse your milk by heating it in a pan with some chopped onions, carrots, celery, a bay leaf and some peppercorns. Heat to just below boiling point, leave it to cool, then strain and use in your sauce. If you could be bothered, of course...


  • A quantity of bolognaise sauce (5-6 ladle-fuls) - you can see my recipe here
  • 40-50g of butter
  • 2-3 heaped dessert spoons of plain flour
  • Approx 3/4 to 1 pint of milk
  • Approx 6-8 dried lasagne sheets
  • A handful of grated cheese (I used cheddar)
  • (optional) Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Serves 2-3


Bechamel Sauce
  • Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan until just beginning to bubble. Add the flour and stir to combine to a roux
  • Add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly. The roux will absorb the milk and get quite lumpy to start with, but keep whisking and eventually it will begin to flow
  • Once you have a glossy, thick sauce, lower the heat and stir occasionally, whilst you are building up your lasagne
Building the lasagne
  • Take a lasagne dish and start with a thin layer of bolognaise sauce in the bottom. Dribble a layer of bechamel sauce over, and top with a layer of dried lasagne sheets
  • Repeat with the bolognaise, bechamel and lasagne sheets until you have built the lasagne
  • Finish with a covering of bechamel sauce, the sprinkle some grated cheese over the top

Lasagne ready for the oven
  • Place in an oven at 190 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and serve - a simple salad with a vinaigrette makes a nice accompaniment
Fresh out of the oven (at 1 in the morning...)


Friday, 14 June 2013

Tomato and Potato Soup (番茄土豆湯)

Chinese soup is tricky. I remember my 婆婆 used to have great glass jars of weird and wonderful things in her cupboards, looking like roots, shoots, bits of bark, dried fruits, nuts and (eek) crucified lizards. She would take a bit of this, a bit of that, mix it all and create a soup. And as a child, I hated soup. Hated it. It was always scalding hot and full of weird slimy things. And I wasn't allowed to leave the table until I'd finished it!

Nowadays, I love soup. Whenever I see my parents, they usually give me a flask of the stuff to take away, which is a good thing because I never get round to making it myself. It's much easier now, as you can buy a packet soup mix in the Chinese supermarket, add a bit of meat and water, boil it for several hours and forget about it.

Chinese Soup Mix Example
Tomato and potato soup is dead easy and doesn't require a trip to the Chinese supermarket. It takes about an hour to cook and can be eaten with rice for a light supper, or accompanied by other dishes. My parents would be horrified if they knew I only had soup and rice for dinner sometimes!


  • 3 large tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 2 floury potatoes, peeled and sliced into large chunks
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 2-3 slices of peeled, raw ginger
  • A handful of pork ribs, or a pork loin steak (substitute vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
Serves 4


  • Place the ribs or loin steak in a pan, fill with water and bring to the boil for 5 minutes, to remove the scum. Drain, rinse the meat and pan, then replace the ribs in the pan and add the ginger, onions and tomatoes
  • Fill the pan with water (around 1-1.5 litres) and bring to the boil. Put the lid on and boil gently for 30 -40 minutes
  • After 30-40 minutes, add the potatoes, then boil for approx. 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft
  • Season to your taste with salt and ground white pepper and serve

Tomato and Potato Soup

Friday, 7 June 2013

Steamed Pork Ribs (蒸排骨) - Two Variations

These steamed ribs are one of my eldest's favourites, although she recently lost her two front teeth so they might be off the menu for a while. I asked my butcher to chop them for me into 4 cm lengths (2kg, 10 minutes before closing time, I bet he loved that!). However, I've since learned from my friend, Kit, that I need to ask for the meaty ribs, as the ones I got were a bit on the skinny side. For supermarket ribs, I would go out of my way to buy Waitrose's free range pork ribs - my Mum made a lot of these for me after my eldest was born, and recommends them highly.

Chu Hou (柱侯) sauce is a soybean sauce, which can be found in Chinese supermarkets. An alternative could be hoisin sauce, maybe with a little more garlic and ginger.

Chu Hou Sauce
Because my parents do it, I soak the ribs for a few hours, which makes them lovely and soft. You can make batches of these and freeze them in their marinade. Once defrosted, they sit in a steaming basket above your rice while it cooks, for a hassle-free dinner.

Ingredients (with Chu Hou Sauce)

  • Approx. 500g pork ribs, chopped into 4cm lengths, soaked for a few hours and drained
  • 4-5 slices of peeled, fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2-3 dessert spoons of chu hou sauce
  • Few drops of sesame oil
Serves 2


  • Place the ribs, ginger, cornflour, chu hou sauce and sesame oil into a large bowl and combine thoroughly
  • Let marinade for at least 30 minutes, ideally overnight
  • Place in a steaming dish and steam for 20 minutes
  • Serve with rice

Variation (with Black Bean, Garlic and Chilli Sauce)

A tasty variation is to replace the chu hou sauce with black bean and garlic sauce, and add a sliced red chilli. If you don't like too much spice, de-seed the chilli before adding it to the mix.

Lee Kum Kee Black Bean and Garlic Sauce

Steamed Pork Ribs with Black Bean, Garlic and Chilli

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Spanish Omelette (of Sorts)

I adapted this recipe from The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book, which my dear colleagues bought for me when I left my job in 2005 - they knew me well! Of the shelves and shelves of cookery books I own, this is probably one of the most well-thumbed. I made it with what was available in the house, and the result was rather tasty - filling and comforting. My kind of food.


  • 5 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
  • A couple of handfuls of waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced 5mm thick
  • 1-2 dessert spoons of pancetta cubes, or sliced streaky bacon
  • A handful of basil leaves, torn
  • A handful of grated cheddar cheese
  • Sunflower oil for frying
Serves 2-3


  • Place the potato slices in a pan and pour over boiling water. Boil for 3-4 minutes and drain thoroughly. Set to one side.
  • Heat a spoonful of oil in a frying pan (suitable for use under a grill) and fry the pancetta until browned and crispy. Put to one side, then add the sliced onions to the pan, turn the heat to medium and gently fry for 5-6 minutes until softened. Put to one side
  • Pre-heat the grill to high
  • Add a little more oil to the pan, then layer the onions, potatoes and pancetta. Pour in the beaten eggs, turn the heat to medium and cook for 5-10 minutes until the omelette is firm underneath, and still slightly runny on top
  • Add the grated cheese to the top of the omelette and place under the grill for 2-3 minutes until the omelette is set, and the cheese is beginning to brown and bubble
  • Remove from the grill, scatter over the basil leaves and serve (some tomato and green salad would make a lovely accompaniment)

Spanish Omelette (of Sorts)

Spanish Omelette (of Sorts)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Steamed Salmon with Lemon, Ginger and Soy (檸檬豉油蒸三文魚)

This one probably gets cooked at least once a fortnight, if not weekly. It's another "in the top of the rice cooker" dishes and the children love it mixed in with their rice, with plenty of sauce. Go easy on the lemon - 2-3 thin slices should be enough - anything more will overpower the dish. I think this dish needs the seasoned soy sauce for seafood, rather than normal light soy - use a Japanese soy sauce such as Kikkoman if you don't have the seafood soy sauce.


  • 2 salmon fillets or salmon steaks
  • 3-4 slices of peeled, raw ginger
  • 2-3 thin slices of lemon
  • Seasoned soy sauce for seafood


  • Wash the salmon fillets, pat dry and place in a steaming dish
  • Place the ginger evenly on top of the salmon fillets, then place the lemon slices on top of the ginger
  • Pour over the seasoned soy sauce for seafood - my children love this so I normally have up to 1cm depth in the dish
  • Steam for 10 minues. If you are using a rice cooker, place in the steaming basket just before the button comes back up and allow to steam for 10-15 minutes
  • Serve with rice and green vegetables such as broccoli, choi sum, courgettes etc.

Steamed Salmon with Lemon, Ginger and Soy

Monday, 3 June 2013

Moroccan Lamb and Couscous

This is the perennial nursery favourite. The cook at nursery always has to make extra, as so many of the children ask for second helpings! I've adapted it a little - to make the lamb mince go further I sometimes pulse the equivalent volume of chick peas in a food processor and add to the mix. Because we rarely had lamb at home growing up, I've added some grated raw ginger to take away some of the mutton-y smell.



  • 350g lamb mince
  • (Optional) Equivalent volume of cooked chickpeas - whole or pulsed in a food processor
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 carrots, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme, marjoram etc.)
  • 1 lamb stock cube
  • 2cm pc. raw ginger, peeled and grated finely
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 150-200g couscous
Serves 3-4



  • Dry-roast the cumin and coriander in a frying pan until the aromas are released - take care not to burn. Crush to a powder using a pestle and mortar, then mix with the ground ginger, cinnamon and mixed herbs
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the onions. Fry for 3-5 minutes until softened, taking care not to burn
  • Add the lamb mince and grated ginger and brown all over
  • At this stage I tip the whole lot into a sieve and drain any excess fat. Give the pan a wipe, return the onions and lamb and put back onto the heat
  • Add the crumbled stock cube, carrots, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and spice mix, stir and bring back to the boil. Add water if your mix looks too dry
  • Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are softened. Add black pepper to taste
  • Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over boiling water until 1cm above the top. Cover and leave for 10 minutes
  • Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve with the lamb mixture in warmed bowls

Moroccan Lamb and Couscous

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Basic Congee Recipe (粥)

I am on my own with three children this weekend, and the toddler is in full-on toddler mode. When I was away a couple of weekends ago, my husband solved mealtimes by taking them out to eat for every meal that wasn't breakfast (and they loved it). Last night I started my easy planning by making a batch of congee for lunch, using the slow cooker.

Congee is a mainstay of the Chinese diet, for those regions which are rice-based. It is typically eaten at breakfast, although it can also be found on dim sum menus as a dish for lunch. In poorer communities, congee would be eaten as an alternative to a bowl of rice, as a smaller amount goes further. It's also the food that our mothers would cook us if we were unwell. It would start off plain, then you might get a bit of white fish and you knew you were on the mend when the fried cubes of luncheon pork appeared.

In its simplest form it is a rice/water "porridge". It can be flavoured with all sorts of things, and I find it a useful way of getting rid of leftovers. Typical additions might include:

Meat and fish: Bacon ribs, the leftovers of a ham shank, cooked chicken, fish (although only added at the end), beef slices, scallops (also conpoy (幹瑤柱) - a dried scallop to be used in small doses), pork slices.... anything really. Just beware of anything with small bones, as everything will fall apart during the cooking process

Vegetables: Sweetcorn, chopped carrots, peas, green veg, pickled vegetables

Other: Century egg (皮蛋), that green and black egg which is definitely an acquired taste, but makes one of my favourite congee dishes of all, 皮蛋瘦肉粥 - congee with lean pork and century egg, salty duck eggs, fried peanuts

For ultimate ease, you can put all the congee ingredients into a slow cooker at night and it will be ready by morning. If you don't have a slow cooker, you can make it in about 90 minutes in a pan on the hob.

The rice:water ratio is around 1:10. For 2 medium bowls of congee, I would use one handful of rice and 4 rice-bowls of water.


  • 2 handfuls of rice
  • 8 rice-bowls of water
  • 1 large slice of peeled raw ginger, about 2mm thick
  • 1 dried conpoy, soaked in hot water and broken apart
  • 1-2 bacon ribs (I had some salted cooked chicken in the freezer, but I'd normally use bacon ribs)
  • 1 corn on the cob
  • Salt or chicken powder to season
Serves 2-3

Instructions (Slow Cooker)

  • Put everything in the slow cooker and place on low for 8-10 hours
  • Separate the corn from the cob by running a knife down the sides, and put the corn to the congee
  • Remove the bones from the bacon ribs, shred the meat and return to the congee
  • Season with salt (or chicken powder) to taste
  • Garnish with spring onion, roasted peanuts and white pepper and serve with fried youtiao (油條) dough sticks 

Instuctions (Hob)

  • Put everything into a large pan (the water should come to no more than halfway up the pan), and bring to a rolling boil
  • Boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to its lowest setting. cover and simmer for 90 minutes - stir occasionally to prevent the congee sticking to the bottom
  • Separate the corn from the cob by running a knife down the sides, and return the corn to the congee
  • Remove the bones from the bacon ribs, shred the meat and return to the congee
  • Season with salt (or chicken powder) to taste
  • Garnish with spring onion, roasted peanuts and white pepper and serve with fried youtiao (油條) dough sticks

Congee with Leftover Chicken and Sweetcorn

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Stir-Fried Scallops with Asparagus (蘆筍炒帶子)

It's the 1st of June and I still haven't cooked any asparagus. Argh. Normally I'd go to Hawarden Estate for their own grown asparagus, but just haven't found the time this year. Picked up a bunch from Sainsbury's on Wednesday then fretted quietly about leaving it for 3 days before cooking. Grim faces all round from the children tonight, but they had their steamed salmon and corn on the cob, so I ended up eating the whole lot myself (not that I'm complaining!).

Scallops and asparagus make such a nice combination, I was wary of dressing it up with too much flavour. The jury's still out on the inclusion of garlic - I used the smallest clove in the bulb and it was not too overpowering. This dish takes literally 6 minutes to cook from start to finish - throw it all together once your rice and other dishes are ready and serve immediately.


  • 250g asparagus
  • A handful of scallops - maybe 8-10
  • 2 spring onions, sliced diagonally in 3cm lengths
  • A tiny clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • A slice of peeled, raw ginger, bashed with the flat of a cleaver
  • 2-3 lugs of oyster sauce
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil for frying
Serves 2


  • Slice off the woody ends of the asparagus, and slice diagonally into 1/3rds - approx. 3-4cm lengths
  • Slice the scallops through the middle, so that you end up with 2 thin discs per scallop
  • Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and add the ginger (it should start to bubble in the oil). Stir to infuse the oil for 30 seconds
  • Add the asparagus and stir-fry quickly for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the scallops and garlic and stir-fry quickly for 30 seconds
  • Add 2-3 lugs of oyster sauce to the pan and stir to make sure everything is coated. Loosen with a little water if desired
  • Remove from the heat, add a few drops of sesame oil and serve immediately in a warmed dish

Stir-Fried Scallops with Asparagus