This weekend I knew I wanted to challenge myself to make three completely new dishes with ingredients I had never used before. Inspired by Gok Wan’s C4 show ‘Gok Cook Chinese’, I thought I’d spend my Friday night getting my personal challenge underway and try my hand at a cuisine I love dearly, Chinese food.
After flicking through my recipe books it was clear that I knew nothing about Chinese cooking, nor was I aware of some of the ingredients. List in my head, we went to a small Chinese supermarket on West Street, in Sheffield, and stocked up on some of the basic ingredients (at a very good price, I should add).
On my ‘basics’ shopping list was soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine – all of which appear in many of the Chinese recipes in my cookbooks. I’d never cooked with any of them before – that didn’t scare me. Throw in some ginger, chinese five spice and honey, and you have a… dish. I say a dish because I don’t really know what I made… I was supposed to make hoisin chicken, but I forgot the hoisin sauce – so I free-styled it. It turned out good. Here’s the recipe:
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of honey
1 table spoon of rice wine/vinegar
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 teaspoons of cornstarch (I used flour)
Crushed garlic clove
1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon of five spice powder
Chosen veg (I used beansprouts, mushrooms and peppers)
- In a saucepan combine soy sauce, honey, rice wine, sesame oil and a touch of water in a pan and bring to the boil.
- Add cornstarch/flour and a drop more water and stir for one minute, then keep to one side.
- In a wok, head some oil and add crushed garlic and ginger. Cook for one minute, then add chicken, five spice powder and cook until the chicken begins to seal.
- Add a touch more oil, add your chosen veg and cook for a few minutes on a medium heat, stirring every so often.
- Don’t forget to put your noodles on to cook – ours took 6 minutes – just enough time for our stir-fry to finish cooking!
- When your noodles are ready, drain them off, add them to your wok, add the sauce and mix.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
I loved both making and eating this dish and I’m already thinking up ways to use my new found ingredients. I’ve adapted the above recipe to account for the fact that I went a bit overkill on the old five spice. Also hold off on using too much water and use cornstarch if you can as ours was a little runnier than I would have liked.
Chinese cooking isn’t as hard as you think. Just a few simple ingredients added to some carefully selected flavours, can help you create a wonderful dish…
Ready for my next challenge.