Twice-Cooked Stir-Fried Lotus Roots Recipe

So with the lotus root salad I made last week only using a third of my lotus root, I figured I’d better churn out a few more lotus-based dishes pronto before Fen has a go at me for wasting food. Cue twice-cooked stir-fried lotus! This dish just goes to show how versatile lotus root actually is. If you’re like me and Fen and find a salad on it own doesn’t quite hit the spot, this dish cranks up the Chinese-o-meter by drenching things in oil and turning lotus roots into the base ingred... Continue Reading

Vegetarian Mapo Tofu Recipe (Mapo Dofu)

Previously my only experience with tofu was it being a rather plain substitute for meat. Handy for vegetarians, yes, but if you had a choice of beef tofu or the real thing, there was no direct comparison. Then along mapo tofu… The Chinese know how to do tofu. Whether it be silken tofu, knotted tofu, or stinky tofu (yes, really), tofu isn’t sidelined into the role of healthy alternative - it is the main event itself, being as nuanced and versatile as any meat you would care to mention. ... Continue Reading

Sesame Spinach in Ginger Sauce (Jiang Zhi Bo Cai)

You’ve probably picked up on the fact that me and Fen are meat eaters, so it wouldn’t surprise you that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of spinach. However I’ve always reserved a place in my heart for sesame spinach in ginger sauce, which is a common and much-loved dish in Chinese home cooking.  Alongside smacked garlic with cucumber, this is a cool, refreshing starter than can be made in advance and given to guests whilst you stir-fry the main course. Unlike the cucumber dish ... Continue Reading

Chinese Steamed Egg Custard with Pork Recipe (Zheng Shui Dan)

Ever since we visited Gold Mine last week and tried their amazing (and badly spelt) ‘Three Kind of Eggs’, Fen and I have had a hankering for more Chinese steamed egg custard. Fen had a go filling the void the other night by cooking her version of the dish. It was good, but I think I’ve gone one better with my version. How? Well by adding meat of course. Whilst I’ve read the dish (also named zheng shui dan) originates in northern China,  it is ubiquitous throughout the whole ... Continue Reading

Gold Mine, Bayswater Review – London’s Best Cantonese Duck

I complain a lot about London’s bad Cantonese food on this blog, so I should make it clear I have nothing against Cantonese food itself - just its insipid, gloopy, underwhelming western equivalent. Real Cantonese food is just as diverse and colourful as anything you’d find in China’s other regions, which is something that is fully represented at Gold Mine. Me and Fen haven’t intentionally been going exclusively to east London Chinese restaurants like My Old Place and Liao Wei Fang. ... Continue Reading

Silken Tofu with Avocado Recipe (E’li Dou Fu)

Fen Loves tofu. That's a Fact. Plus she’s more than a little partial to the odd avocado, making silken tofu with avocado a dish made in heaven. Okay, it seems like an odd combination admittedly, but you’ll be surprised by how well the slippery slices of tofu go with the delicate, creamy avocado, all of which are drowned with soy sauce mixed with a hint of sesame seed. If I haven’t convinced you by my vegetarian  mapo tofu recipe, then this is the dish that will surely make you a bean ... Continue Reading

Shuang Shuang – Hotpot Meets the 21st Century in Chinatown

I was originally set against the idea of going to Shuang Shuang - an innovative Chinese hotpot restaurant in Chinatown - due to hearing complaints about the high prices.  As ever though it takes more than a hefty price tag and my own reluctance to stop Fen getting what she wants, so down we went last Saturday. I’m going to go against the grain here, because critics have been lambasting Shaung Shuang ever since it opened in December. Jay Rayner from the Guardian complains the amount of ... Continue Reading

Hunan Beef with Cumin Recipe (Zi Ran Niu Rou)

Whilst researching Hunan beef with cumin, I was really surprised to find cumin isn’t a typical spice in China. Going through the streets of towns and cities in almost any province, I was so used to the air being filled with the smell of cumin-infused vegtables, squid and lamb being barbecued (well lamb if you were lucky - I had a Shanghainese friend who was very suspicious of the lack of roadkill seen around the city, if you catch her drift). My cumin eating days where (naturally) at their ... Continue Reading

Local Friends Review – Hunan Cuisine in Bethnal Green

Valentine’s day presents? Check. Tickets to a West End show? Check. Plans for a sophisticated night of fine dining? Erm…  My decision to take the lady out to Local Friends on Valentine’s day was a little last minute. Like, decision-not-made-until-we-are-actually-walking-there last minute. To be fair though I had already gone overboard on the show tickets, and whilst Local Friends may not exactly be Alain Ducasse, it does serve some ruddy tasty Chinese food. Just to back up for a ... Continue Reading

Chinese Lotus Root Salad Recipe (Mei Wei Ou Pian)

Honesty time: we’re not huge salad eaters, but we can always make an exception for lotus root salad. If you’re looking to get away from the usual greens and rabbit food and mix a salad with a bit more bite, this unique looking dish is sure to steal the spotlight at the dinner table. I first encountered lotus roots when staying with Fen’s dad in Jinan, Shaanxi province - an ancient  city famous for its natural springs, and even more famous for its lotuses. I vividly remember being ... Continue Reading