Make a tasty start to the Chinese New Year

FOOD

Today we celebrate Chinese New Year. Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one.

2018 is the year of the dog. Anyway, it got me thinking about Chinese food and how easy and delicious it is to prepare, so here are a few of my favourite dishes.

Sweet and sour sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is a favourite where I work and features on many a lunch menu. It is so easy to make, why not give it a go?

Ingredients

Splash of malt vinegar

2 tbsps brown sugar

1 green pepper diced

1 red pepper diced

1 onion diced

2 garlic cloves – crushed

1 piece of ginger – finely chopped

Splash of soy sauce

Honey to taste

Tomato ketchup to colour

Water

Cornflour to thicken

Method

It is really simple, bring everything to boil in a pan and simmer until the vegetables are cooked, use the corn flour to thicken the sauce and taste to see if it is too sharp or sweet. Serve over chicken pieces on top of fluffy rice, delicious!

Egg fried rice

Egg fried rice is so easy to make and you can use up any meats and vegetables that you have in the fridge so it can be a different meal every time. Here is a basic recipe for four people.

EFR12

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil or garlic butter

1 onion diced

1 red pepper diced

A handful of frozen peas

Cooked leftover chicken diced

2 slices of ham diced

2 eggs

600g cooked rice (approx )

1 splash of soya sauce

Method

This is a lovely recipe that takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, and is a filling supper in our house. Heat a frying pan, add the oil/garlic butter and then the onion, pepper, peas, ham and chicken. Stir fry together for about two minutes then break in the two eggs and mash them into the meat and vegetables.

Quickly add the rice and keep stirring until everything is mixed together and the rice is piping hot. Add the splash of soya sauce to season it all, then divide it on to four plates and tuck in, delicious.

Sticky barbecue pork ribs

One of my favourite starters is Chinese sticky barbecue spare ribs.

STICKY

Ingredients

3kg baby back pork ribs

2 onions (peeled and sliced in half )

1 bulb of garlic – peeled and crushed

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of smoked paprika powder

1 star anise

For the barbecue sauce:

2 tbsp smoked paprika powder

60g demerara sugar

4 tbsp dark soy sauce

4 tbsp tomato ketchup

4 tbsp honey

4 garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped )

1 tbsp dried English mustard

2 tsp tabasco sauce

Method

Cut the strips of ribs into nice size pieces, with about three to four ribs to each piece, then put the ribs in a large saucepan with the onions, garlic, a pinch of salt, a pinch of smoked paprika, the star anise and enough cold water to cover.

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 60 to 90 minutes until the meat is tender. Shortly before the ribs are cooked, preheat the grill to medium or light a barbecue.

Whisk all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce together in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes until you have a thick sauce.

Remove the ribs from the pan and place in a large baking dish or roasting tray, then coat with half the barbecue sauce. Cook under the hot grill or on the barbecue for five minutes on each side and then serve with the rest of the barbecue sauce (reheat if necessary ) and enjoy!

The meat will literally fall off the bones, and there is nothing as comforting as great Chinese comfort food! If you do celebrate Chinese New Year, “g?ng x? f? cái,” which translates to “Congratulations and be prosperous,” and even if you don’t celebrate it, why not try out these easy recipes at home.

If you would like a specific recipe you can contact me at [email protected] and I will do my best to help you and explain how to cook it as easily as possible. Talk to you all next week.

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