Chicken and Cabbage in Silky Egg Sauce

silyeggchicken

Do you like Chinese chicken and sweetcorn soup? This is a similar deal. Egg is stirred through the sauce at the last moment to create silky ribbons that hold all the flavour of the sauce. The ingredient list and instructions might look long but I just wanted to give you all the details so that it’s all ready to go when you get your wok on the heat. I’ve got a kick butt burner that hooks up to a gas bottle, once it’s going I can’t leave it alone so organisation is key (cue laughter from anyone who knows me!). If 4 tbsp of cornflour isn’t enough to thicken your sauce, mix more cornflour into cold water then add to your sauce. It might seem counter-intuitive to add more water but if you add the cornflour straight into the hot sauce it cooks into little lumps that are not fun to eat. I cooked this as part of a mid-week Chinese feast that included this Morning Glory Stir Fry, it takes about a minute to cook in the wok and is a great companion dish if you want to get some more veggies in.

Chicken and Cabbage in Silky Egg Sauce

Adapted from Chinese Cabbage With Chicken Slices In a Silky Egg Sauce over at 3 Hungry Tummies.

1/4 wombok cabbage, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

4 cm knob of ginger, grated

3 chicken breasts

dash of sesame oil

dash of  Chinese cooking wine

pinch of white pepper

1 tsp cornflour

6 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp caster sugar

1.5 L chicken stock

4 tbsp cornflour

3 spring onions, sliced

3 eggs

Place the cabbage in a bowl, set aside.

Place the prepared garlic and ginger in a bowl, set aside.

Slice the chicken breasts across the grain as thin as possible then place in a bowl with the sesame oil, cooking wine, white pepper, the first lot of cornflour and 1 tbsp of the oyster sauce, mix until the chicken is evenly coated then set aside.

In a large jug mix together the rest of the oyster sauce, soy sauce, caster sugar and chicken stock, set aside.

Mix the 4 tbsp of cornflour with 1/4 cup water, set aside.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together, set aside.

Arrange all of your prepared ingredients near your wok.

Heat your wok until smoking then add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, add the cabbage and half of the garlic and ginger, toss for 2 minutes then transfer to a bowl or platter large enough to hold the finished dish.

Heat up the wok again and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and the rest of the garlic and ginger, cook for a few seconds.

Pour in the stock mixture and bring to a simmer, add the chicken and stir slowly as it poaches, it should only take a few minutes (depending on how strong your wok burner is).

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and place on top of the cooked cabbage in the serving bowl.

Add in the cornflour mixture and spring onions, simmer until the sauce reaches desired thickness then turn off the heat and pour in the eggs, stir gently to scramble it into thin ribbons.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and cabbage, serve immediately with rice.

Hong Kong Milk Tea Ice-cream

milktea

If you have been to Sunnybank (or most Chinese restaurants?) you might be familiar with Hong Kong Milk Tea, Chinese black tea sweetened with condensed milk and served hot or cold. As a group my household is addicted to the cold version and are sure to order it when we venture out there. I’m a little proud of this recipe because I came up with the idea and developed the recipe by myself like a big girl, although the ice-cream base is still my favourite one from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. You could use loose leaf black tea if you have it but you’ll need to do a bit of research to figure out the conversion measurements. Are you sick of me posting ice-cream recipes yet? At least it isn’t another lime one.

Hong Kong Milk Tea Ice-cream

Recipe by Ainsley Badman, adapted from Jeni Britton Bauer’s Ice Cream Base from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

2 cups milk

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornflour

12 black tea bags

1 cup thickened cream

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsp glucose syrup

big pinch of salt

Take 2 tbsp of the milk and mix it with the cornflour in a small bowl to make a slurry, set aside.

Place the rest of the milk in a medium saucepan with the tea bags, bring up to a bare simmer then cover and allow to steep off the heat for 1 hour.

Take out the tea bags, squeezing them to remove as much liquid as possible.

Whisk the cream, condensed milk, glucose and salt into the milk mixture.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 4 minutes then take off the heat and whisk in the cornflour slurry, return to the heat for 1 minute, stirring with a heatproof spatula.

Pour into a medium mixing bowl and cover with cling film, pressing it down onto the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin forming.

Chill overnight in the fridge.

Churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions then transfer to a 1L capacity container.

Freeze for 4 hours before eating.

Crispy Sassage Stir Fry

sassage

This recipe has similar flavours to my Chinese Duck Stir Fry but the Chinese sausage brings its own unique taste. It is quite sweet and is a perfect match with crunchy onion and any mild flavoured vegetables. The vegetables are cooked in the fat that renders out of the sausage, helping the flavours to meld. Unfortunately this fat does not have a high smoking point like vegetable or peanut oil, so whenever I used to make this I would set off the smoke alarm, even with all of the doors and windows open. The plus side is you get a lovely smokey flavour that can be so elusive in home cooked stir fries. I now have my hardcore three ring gas burner set up in the garage for stir fries (woop woop!) so I don’t have to stop mid stir fry to frantically bat at the smoke alarm with a pillow.

The Sassage Flare! Chinese sausage (lap cheong) is sold at all Asian supermarkets and butchers but I have also found them at my local Coles. There are 6 sausages per vacuum sealed packet and they will keep forever in the pantry, making this a great store cupboard ingredient. The ones I am using at the moment are from a Chinese butcher in Sunnybank and are quite large so I just use three but if you can only find the small ones use all six.

Sometimes I add soaked shiitake mushrooms but most vegetables will work with these sausages so use whatever you have in your fridge. In the original recipe Ching uses Sichuan peppercorns but I prefer to use the powder because crunching on whole Sichuan peppercorns isn’t high on my things-to-do-list. As with any stir fry have all of your ingredients prepared and laid out in the order that you will need them. This meal comes together really quickly in the wok because the sausages are pre-cooked.

Crispy Sassage Stir Fry

Adapted from Ching’s mala Crispy Sichuan sausage with pickled chillies and wood ear mushroom over at BBC Food.

3 lap cheong

2 small zucchinis, de-seeded, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 large handfuls green beans, trimmed and chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp Chilli and Bean paste

1 tbsp Chilli paste

1 tbsp hoisin or kecap manis

1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorn, ground

Boil the lap cheong whole in water for 15 mins, drain and allow to cool.

Slice lap cheong on an angle into bite sized pieces.

Heat wok on high until smoking and add sausage.

Stir constantly until crispy then transfer the sauasge to a bowl, keeping all of the fat that has rendered from the sausage in the wok.

Heat wok back up and add the zucchini, onion, green beans and garlic and cook in the sausage fat for 2 mins, stirring constantly.

Add the sausage back in to the wok and add all of the sauces and ground Sichuan peppercorn, stir to combine.

Serve with rice.

Chinese Duck Stir Fry

Chinese roast duck.

Chinese roast duck.

I’ve always found Chinese food mysterious and a little scary but lately I’ve been diving in head first. My momentum came from a beautiful four part food documentary called Exploring China, made by the BBC. It’s hosted by two talented chefs, Ken Hom and Ching He Huang who both grew up outside of China but have deep roots there. Exploring China is the story of their return to the country that they were born in and their re-connection with Chinese food and culture. This duck stir fry is one of the first recipes I can claim completely as my own and its inspiration I fully attribute to those two passionate people.

Please don’t be put off by the whole roast duck, it’s a little bit confronting but easy enough to get used to once you taste how good it is. I buy mine from Burlington’s in the Fortitude Valley and they will cut it up for you if requested but I find it easier to strip the meat from the whole carcass. Not a fan of duck? Chicken would work beautifully, as would pork. I think this stir fry would be a great way to use up left overs from a roast and the vegetables can be adjusted depending on what you have on hand. If you use raw meat rather than something pre-cooked, just cook it for slightly longer to account for it.

Secret weapons.

Secret weapons.

It’s slightly embarrassing but I don’t actually know the name of the sauces pictured above. We first came across it at the dumpling stall at our local Farmer’s Markets and memorised the picture on the label. I found it in a little Chinese supermarket in Fortitude Valley and now every time I go into an Asian supermarket I come across it. There are quite a few different flavours, some of which include chicken and pork but I stick to the Chilli Black Bean and the pure Chilli. Thankfully the store I go to has the ingredients list in English on the back but if you can’t eat meat just be careful and make sure you don’t end up with a mouthful of pork. The sauces themselves are so delicious, they are salty, sweet and oily and can be used for anything. I find myself putting a little spoonful of the Black Bean sauce in every Asian dish I make and the oil from the sauces gives a great background hum of warmth to salad dressings.

Crispin' up the duck.

Crispin’ up the duck.

I have an electric stove top that is absolutely useless when it comes to using my wok so we bought a cheap butane camp stove and it is much better, although still not as hot as I would like. I have a three ring gas burner on my birthday wish list and hopefully then I can get the smoky flavour from the wok that so far has eluded me. I’ve had my wok for about a year (I think?) and it is finally seasoned enough to start becoming non-stick. Exciting times!

A quick sear of the vegetables.

A quick sear of the vegetables.

Cooking the different elements of the dish separately is very important, especially if you aren’t able to get a very strong heat under your wok. I’ve had a lot of issues with my food getting too soupy while I’m cooking and the dish braising in its own liquids, rather than frying. An easy way to around this it to cook your food in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. I used to be impatient with this and always regretted it when my food turned into a wet mess. Cooking the vegetables separately also gives you more control over keeping them crispy, which is super important because Chinese food is all about contrasting textures. The crunchy green beans and onions are highlights in this dish, not just background players to the duck (and that’s saying something, this duck is insanely tasty).

The final product!

The final product!

This recipe makes a lot of food, so if you are cooking for two just halve the recipe and you’ll still have some for lunch the next day. Use the other half of the duck to have in salad or with steamed Asian vegetables. So versatile! Or just freeze it for the next time you make this stir fry (I can guarantee there will be a next time, that’s how much I love it). This is a favourite and much requested dish at my house, meaning that when I cook it I’m beating back hands trying to get at the little bits of crispy duck skin (she knows who she is!) and although I might feign annoyance, it always gives me the warm and fuzzies knowing that people can’t resist something I’ve cooked.

Chinese Duck Stir Fry

Recipe by Ainsley Badman, that’s me!

1 Chinese roast duck

2 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp vegetable oil

250 g green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces

1 brown onion, peeled and sliced

1 large handful bean sprouts

4 spring onions, white parts chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp light soy sauce

3 tbsp Chilli Black Bean sauce

2 tbsp Chilli sauce

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

Strip the duck of meat and skin then cut into bite sized pieces.

Toss duck in a bowl with cornflour until evenly coated. Set aside.

Place the green beans, onion and garlic in a bowl together.

Gather all ingredients and arrange close by to your wok, putting the sauces in a bowl together if desired.

Heat your wok on high until smoking then add the vegetable oil and the duck.

Cook for 5 mins, constantly moving, until the fat has rendered and the duck skin gets crispy.

Remove duck to a bowl but leave the fat in the wok.

Add the bowl of vegetables to the wok and cook for 2 mins, scraping the bottom of the wok to prevent the garlic from sticking.

Add the duck back into the wok, as well as the bean sprouts and spring onions.

Mix briefly, then add all of the sauces.

Stir to evenly coat everything, taste, and add a little more hoisin if it isn’t sweet enough.

Transfer to a serving dish and eat with Jasmine rice or as part of a Chinese style banquet.