Clams in Black Bean Sauce – Chi Zhi Chao Xian

Fen loves clams. In fact we’ve just come back from a holiday to Italy where she practically ordered clams or mussels with every plate of spaghetti. Couple that with her origins from the coastal province of Fujian, and you can see that clams in black bean sauce was destined to be a winner. This recipe is actually from Hong Kong, and like much Cantonese cooking the secret is in the simplicity of preparation and freshness of the seafood. Both mussels and clams are fine to use (I’ve actually ... Continue Reading

Stir-Fried Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms with Garlic – Su Chao Shuang Gu

Me and Fen visited the Henly Regetta over the weekend, but quickly found that sitting outside all day watching rowing is not fun if, well, you're not into rowing. Fen seemed satisfied though having had the chance to wear a nice dress and amble about on the riverside showing off her very best English decorum, and so it was with a warm middle class glow we set off at a mere 3pm to do something we would enjoy more - namely, eat. After a stuffy day of lounge suits and women wearing bird ... Continue Reading

Stir-Fried Cucumber with Wood Ear Mushrooms – Huang Gua Mu’Er

I didn't know what the heck wood ear mushrooms where when Fen first plonked them down in front of me. Small, black and leathery-looking once cooked, they weren't like no mushroom I'd seen before. As it turned out though they're very tasty and fairly common in Chinese cooking, forming the basis of many tasty stir-fries including this one: stir-fried cucumber with wood ear mushrooms. What are Wood Ear Mushrooms? Although native to China, wood ear mushrooms are common across many types of ... Continue Reading

Sichuan ‘Dry-Fried’ Green Beans (Vegetarian) – Gan Bian Si Ji (Su)

The fun run I mentioned in my stir-fry runner bean post may be over, but we still have stacks of beans left over, meaning Fen has the choice of either eating healthy, or not at all. Alright, so the usual method of cooking Sichuan dry-fried green beans isn’t all that healthy (most restaurant deep-fry the beans), but this lighter vegetarian recipe is a healthier and fantastically tasty variation. As with most recipes on this blog, Sichuan dry-fried green beans is a traditional Sichuanese ... Continue Reading

Runner Beans with Black Beans and Chilli (Jia Chang Dao Dou)

Me and Fen did a marathon today. Well I say marathon, it was actually a 5k - a distance so pathetically tiny it would be a mockery to even call it a ‘fun run’. Nevertheless, I wanted to make sure Fen was in tip top condition this morning - and surely there is no food more appropriate for running than runner beans? Runner beans are called knife beans in China (for reasons that seem to flummox both Google and I). Although a staple of my childhood, I never realised how well suited they are ... Continue Reading

Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles – Dan Dan Mian

I know I always say this, but dan dan noodles (担担面) are one of those great, quintessential Chinese foods that everyone needs to try at some point. It’s a dish that is ubiquitous - enjoyed all over the country in some shape or form, and eaten as comfortably on the streets as it is in a well-to-do restaurant. It’s messy, spicy, quick-to-make, and best of all stupidly tasty - no wonder Fen was so pleased when she saw I was making it. Let’s take a moment to talk about what this dish ... Continue Reading

Sichuan Saliva Chicken (Kou Shui Ji)

I spent a long time deciding what to call saliva chicken. Looking at menus in Chinese restaurants and around various sites across the internet, many people translate the Chinese to ‘mouthwatering chicken’ or even ‘drool-worthy chicken’. The original Chinese name though (kou shui ji - 口水鸡) literally translates to saliva chicken, so in the spirit of keeping things as authentic as possible I’ve stuck with that. And after all, what is Chinese gastronomy without a little grossness?... Continue Reading

Chinese Scallion Pancake (Cong You Bing)

I try and keep Fen on a healthy diet, I really do. But when it comes down to it, Fen doesn’t want fruit or salads or vegetables. Oh no. Fen wants something crispy, pan-fried, and dripping in oil. Case in point: Chinese scallion pancake.  There’s something deliciously naughty about this classic Chinese snack, also known as green onion pancakes of 'cong you bing'. They’re quick, dirty, yet oh-so satisfying. In China I used to pick up pancakes (known as ‘bing’) after work as they ... Continue Reading

Hangzhou Aubergines – Rou Mo Qie Zi

So it’s been a while since I’ve added any recipes to this blog due to us moving house and Fen chasing me around getting me to buy unnecessarily expensive furniture. Last weekend though I did find the time to take my nose out of the Ikea catalogue and get back into the kitchen. The result? A tasty portion of Hangzhou aubergines. I have fond memories of the food I ate in the city of Hangzhou, particularly a salted pumpkin dish whose name escapes me, as well as the famous long cun tea I ... Continue Reading

Recipe: Steamed Sea Bass with Ginger & Spring Onion (Qing Zheng Lu Yu)

I'm getting fat. It's official. After our trip to America Fen stated I have a stomach that resembles a watermelon, and although constant churlish rebukes have rendered me numb to her criticism, I fear she does have a point. It is perfectly feasible Fen is manipulating my mood in order to dictate what food I cook, but in any case it was on a Sunday when I was feeling particularly pitiful for myself and decided to rustle up this nutritious little number. A classic dish that embodies the ... Continue Reading