Jennifer’s book, My Asian Kitchen, pays homage to the Asian classics, both new and old.
Her recipes are clean, fresh and easy to follow, and each recipe’s introduction gives us a glimpse into her past and her love of Asia’s cuisines and cultures. It even features brilliant illustrations for techniques like wrapping spring rolls, temaki hand rolls, and gyoza. The photography is enticing and will inspire you to want to cook everything!
INGREDIENTS | Makes 12 Pieces – Prep 10 Minutes + 2 Hours Marinating, Cook 5 Minutes
– 6 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 2 tbsp Japanese light soy sauce
– 4 cm (11/2 inch) ginger, grated
– 175 g (6 oz) cornflour
– 1 tbsp togarashi spice mix vegetable oil, for frying
steamed Bao buns (see page 116)
– 2 tbsp hot chilli sauce
– 2 tbsp rice vinegar
– 1 tbsp caster sugar
– Red onion, thinly sliced
Halve the chicken thighs and place in a bowl with the garlic, soy and ginger and mix well. Cover, refrigerate and ideally leave overnight or for at least 2 hours.
Remove the chicken from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to bring up to room temperature.
Whisk all the chilli sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside for serving.
In a shallow dish, mix the cornflour with the spice mix and some sea salt.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep medium saucepan until it reaches 180–190°C, or when a small piece of bread instantly sizzles. Arrange a wire rack over a baking tray ready for draining the fried chicken.
When the oil is ready, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess, and drop five or six pieces into the oil. Fry until golden, adjusting the heat so the oil isn’t too hot. You want the chicken to fry slowly enough to cook the inside flesh without the crust getting brown too quickly. Drain on the wire rack to keep the outside crisp.
Serve the fried chicken inside the buns with the pickles, red onion, chilli and coriander, with the lemon wedges and chilli sauce to pass around.
THAI SHUMAI DUMPLINGS
Both the Thais and Chinese serve these open top dumplings. I prefer the Thai rendition as they eat them with fried garlic and sweet soy sauce. Much easier to prepare than gyoza or wontons, shumai can be assembled in moments.
INGREDIENTS | Makes 20 Fat Dumplings – Prep 30 Minutes, Cook 8 Minutes
– 200 g (7 oz) raw peeled prawns
– 150 g (51/2 oz) minced pork
– 8 water chestnuts, chopped
– 1 garlic clove
– 1 cm (1/2 inch) slice ginger
– small bunch coriander (cilantro)
– 2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced, plus extra to serve
– 2 tsp cornflour
– 1 tsp egg white
– 2 tsp fish sauce
– 2 tsp soy sauce
– 20–25 wonton or gyoza wrappers
– 2 tbsp vegetable oil
– 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
SWEET SOY DIPPING SAUCE
– 60 ml (2 fl oz) sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
– 2 tbsp lime juice
– 1 thumb-sized red chilli, diced
Roughly chop half of the prawns and place in a bowl with the pork and water chestnuts. Place the garlic and ginger in a food processor and chop until fine, then add the coriander, spring onion and remaining prawns and pulse until chunky. Add the cornflour, egg white, fish and soy sauces and pulse again to mix. Pour into the bowl with the pork and chunky prawns. Mix well and season with freshly ground black pepper.
If using wonton wrappers, snip off the corners of the squares so that they are more round and keep the wrappers covered with a tea towel so that they don’t dry out.
Place a wrapper in your hand and spoon 1 heaped tablespoon of the mixture into it. Wrap the wrapper around the filling so that it’s pleated round it and the filling comes up nearly to the top. Tap it on the work surface so that the bottom becomes flat and run a knife across the top to smooth over. You want it to be a tight, compact dumpling. Continue with all the wrappers and filling, then place on a plastic tray.
To make the fried garlic, add the oil and garlic to a small frying pan and cook for 1–2 minutes over low heat until golden.
To make the sweet soy dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Fill a pot or wok with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil. Place some baking paper with holes cut through in the bottom of a bamboo steamer. Arrange the dumplings, in batches, so that they are not touching each other, then cover and steam for about 6–8 minutes. Place on a serving dish, scatter with the fried garlic and extra spring onions and serve with the dipping sauce.
Note: If you’re making the dumplings in advance, arrange on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Top with more paper and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours ahead of steaming. You can also freeze the dumplings raw and steam from frozen.
SPICY XIAN PORK NOODLES
This northern Chinese noodle dish is served with a meat sauce that’s not shy on the chilli oil, garlic or Sichuan peppercorns. Traditionally lamb is used, but hand chopping the shoulder meat can be laborious, so I’ve used minced pork. Feel free to use any fat noodles like udon or even pappardelle, which mimic hand-cut noodles.
– 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
– 2 tsp cumin seeds
– 2 tsp coriander seeds
– 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
– 2 tsp cornflour
– 4 tbsp roasted chilli flakes in oil, drained, plus 2 tbsp oil
– 3 cm (11/4 inch) ginger, chopped
– 5 spring onions (scallions)
– 3 garlic cloves, chopped
– 400 g (14 oz) minced pork
– 4 tbsp light soy sauce
– 5 tbsp black vinegar
– 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
To make the Sichuan sauce, in a small frying pan toast the spices until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove and roughly grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Set aside.
Dissolve the cornflour in 1 tablespoon water.
Heat a large wok. Add the roasted chilli oil and sauté the ginger, chopped white spring onion parts and the garlic over medium heat until cooked, about 3 minutes. Add the pork and brown for about 4 minutes until crisp, breaking up the pieces. Add the soy, chilli flakes sediment, black vinegar, rice wine, cornflour water and toasted spices. Keep stir-frying until sticky and the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat.
Boil a large pot of water. If using the fresh noodles, boil for
2–3 minutes – they are done when they start to float to the top of the water. Drain and set aside. If using dried, boil for 6–7 minutes and then drain. Give them an extra rinse of hot water to remove any extra starch.
Add the noodles to the sauce and stir-fry over medium heat using two long spoons. When everything is hot and sticky, pour into four large bowls and top with the chopped green parts of the spring onion, sliced red chilli and toasted sesame seeds.
Note: Warning – not all roasted chilli flakes in oil are created equal! Most Asian shops sell various brands of chilli oil or crispy chillies in oil, typically with the flakes, garlic and black beans (basically all the sludge) beneath the oil. My favourite brand is Lao Gan Ma, packaged in a red jar with a photo of a Chinese lady on the front (the name translates to ‘old lady’). It has a cult status around the world and once you’ve tried it, you might find yourself stockpiling extra jars in your cupboard.
Images & recipes from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce via Let’s Cook That Book. Photography by Phil Webb.