Pork & Shiitake Wonton Soup

The base of this soup utilises the leftover stock from my Chinese Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly.

First you need to make the wontons and then you can either boil them in the leftover stock like in this recipe, make a fresh batch of stock or fry in oil and serve with a dipping sauce of your choice such as Nuoc Cham.

Pork and Shiitake Wontons

Ingredients

Wonton skins

250g pork, minced

5 Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated & minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2cm fresh ginger, minced

1 spring onion, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Method

Mix together all the ingredients except the wonton skins.

Place a small amount of the filling in the centre of a wonton skin. Moisten the edges with water. Fold over and then using a chopstick gently press the centre of the filling inwards bringing the two sides together. Pinch the sides together to close (use a little water to help the ends stick together). Repeat process. You can also scrunch the sides together to form moneybags fold them into simple triangles or form into a myriad of different shapes.

Pork & Shitake Wontons

For the Pork and Shiitake Wonton Soup

Ingredients

Leftover stock from Chinese Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly

1 Tbsp. Chinkiang Vinegar

Pork and Shiitake Wontons

2 handfuls bean sprouts

1 Carrot, julienned

1 spring onion, sliced

Method

1 Heat leftover stock. If the stock is too concentrated and intense you can water it down with some water.

2 Add wontons cook for 5 minutes or until they have floated to the top of the soup.

3 Add carrot and spring onion and cook for 1 minute if you like crunchy vegetables or longer if you don’t.

Pork & Shitake Wonton Soup

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Chinese Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly

Pork belly, when done correctly, can be a melt in your mouth experience. This recipe requires gently boiling with plenty of aromatics and then glazed and finished off in the oven.

The resulting stock from cooking the pork is perfect to use as a base for any asian inspired soup such as Pork and Shiitake Wonton Soup or Asian Style Chicken and Noodle Soup.

You can decide to remove the top layer of fat and skin after boiling the pork in order to make pork crackling or leave it as it is.

To cut down on cooking time you could use a pressure cooker.

Ingredients

1kg pork belly

4 garlic cloves, bashed

6cm piece ginger, peeled and bashed

2 whole star anise

2 Tbsp. Chinese Five Spice

3 spring onions

4 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine

2-3 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce

Glaze

4 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2cm fresh ginger, finely diced

1 Tbsp. Chinese Five Spice

2 tsp. red chilli powder (optional)

Method

1 Place pork belly, garlic, ginger, star anise, Chinese Five Spice, spring onions, Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce and light soy sauce. Boil water in a kettle and pour over the pork until it is completely covered. Once boiling, simmer on a low heat for 2 hours. During this time turn the pork every half hour and add extra water if the pork is not submerged in liquid throughout the cooking process.

Chinese Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly 1

2 Remove the pork from the pan and remove the top of layer of fat. This step is optional but I prefer it so I can then make pork crackling.

3 Make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients together and then pour over the pork. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast in a preheated oven for 20-30, turning over often and basting the meat with the glaze every now and again.

Chinese Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly 2

Suggestions: Serve with a Egg Fried Rice and Asian Style Gem Lettuce

Chinese Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly 3

Asian – Style Steamed Seabass

I know a lot of people like to eat their fish in fillets without evidence that it did once have bones and a head but I prefer eating fish whole. You could make this recipe with fillets but for those who are not squeamish, I’d definitely recommend using the whole fish.

I normally eat seabass mediterranean style with lots of garlic, parsley and lemon but I wanted to shake things up today and have been in an Asian mood. Thus this seabass was born. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

I wanted to use my Thai-stacked steamer for this recipe but the fish was so massive that it didn’t fit so I had to settle for using a baking tray and covering it with aluminium foil instead.

Ingredients

1 whole seabass, gutted and scaled

5cm piece ginger, cut into strips

1 – 2 spring onions, cut lengthwise into strips

1 red chilli

1 Tbsp ajo y perejil (or sliced garlic)

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp light soy sauce

1 Tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

2 Tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine

Dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in cold water

Shiitake Dashi (water from rehydrating the shiitake mushrooms)

Garnish:

1/2 spring onion, cut lenghwise into stips

1cm fresh ginger, cut lenghwise into stips

1/2 red chilli, cut lenghwise into stips

Method

1 Place the whole fish on a bed of ginger and spring onions to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the baking tray and also to give it that all important fragrance. Make incisions all along the fish and then massage on some ajo y perejil into all the nooks and crannies.

2 Dress ginger, red chilli and spring onions with garlic, sesame oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese 5 spice and Shaoxing rice wine. Insert this mixture into the incisions and then pour over the sauce. Throw in some shiitake mushrooms into the pan and top with shiitake dashi to allow steam to be created inside the tray.

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3 Cover with aluminium foil and steam in the oven for 10 – 15 mins, depending on the size of the fish. To check if it is ready make sure the skin and flesh pull away easily from the bone.

4 Garnish with fresh ginger, chilli and spring onions.

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Serve with Shiitake and Wakame Rice

Shiitake & Wakame Rice

I’ve always wanted to experiment with seaweed so I went down to my local Asian Supermarket and finally located wakame seaweed; all other seaweeds I found were just labelled “seaweed” and to be honest I didn’t really trust them till I found the words wakame written on the package.

For those readers in Valencia (Spain) there are 3 main Asian Supermarkets I go to: Yuen Tong (Calle Pelayo, 30), Zhong Hua (Calle Convento de Jerusalén, 12) and Supermercado Diario (Calle Convento de Jerusalén, 37). I bought this particular wakame in Supermercado Diario; in all the others I couldn’t figure out what particular seaweed was in the package.

The way I normally cook rice is rather unconventional so feel free to use which ever method you prefer. I use a microwave as it keeps the washing-up to a minimum and is easy as pie.

Take into account that before embarking on this recipe you’ll need to rehydrate the dried shiitake mushroom. To do this wash the mushrooms and soak them in a jug of cold water, preferably overnight. Do not throw away the water they have been soaked in as this can be used as the liquid to cook the rice. This byproduct of soaking the shiitake is known in Japanese as dashi.

Ingredients

10 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced

3 Tbsp dried wakame seaweed, rehydrated

2 cups rice

4 cups liquid (shiitake dashi + extra water if needed)

Method

1 Wash and rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms in a jug of cold water overnight.

2 Pour rice and shiitake slices into a microwave resistant bowl and top up with the liquid (dashi) from soaking the mushrooms plus extra normal water if necessary. Make sure the rice is fully covered.

3 Microwave for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked through.

4 Meanwhile rehydrate the wakame seaweed in hot water for 5 minutes. Plunge into cold water immediately and drain excess liquid. Set aside.

DSC04719_Fotor_Collage

5 When rice is ready add the wakame. Mix thoroughly. Season with light soy sauce if necessary. Take into account that the seaweed is already quite salty.

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Chinese Steamed Chicken Balls

I must admit that these chicken balls do not look particularly tasty but fear not as appearances deceive.

These steamed chicken balls are what I would use inside a wonton although in this case I have substituted the pork for chicken to make them healthier. I didn’t have any wonton wrappers so I thought to myself how the filling would taste on its own; turns out pretty damn good and thus this recipe was born.

Personally, I prefer to mince my own chicken as that way I know exactly what is in it and I can keep the fat to a minimum but you can just as easily use store-bought chicken mince or any other protein you prefer; meat or fish alike.

Chinese-Style Steamed Chicken Balls

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, minced

6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cm fresh ginger, minced

1 ½ Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Method

1 If mincing your own chicken, place in a food processor and pulse a few times. Empty into a bowl and then process the garlic and ginger. Combine the processed chicken, ginger, garlic along with the rest of the ingredients.

Chinese Steamed Chicken Balls_collage1

2 Form this mixture into rugby shaped balls and place on a plate inside a steamer basket. Have a bowl of cold water handy so that you can wet them once in a while to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.

3 Prepare a steamer and cook for 10 minutes.

Chinese Steamed Chicken Balls_Collage

 

Chinese Steamed Chicken Balls2

Chinese-Style Pork Ribs

Who doesn’t love a plate of ribs? Dig in!

Ingredients

700g pork ribs

3 tsp. Chinese 5 spice

2 tsp. chilli powder

3 Tbsp. honey

4 Tbsp. dark Soy sauce

2 Tbsp. light soy sauce

1 Tbsp fish sauce

1 red onion, sliced

2 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine

Method

1 Marinade the ribs with all the ingredients and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

2 Put in an oven dish and add a few tablespoons of water. Leave some of the marinade to baste later on.

3 Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, baste and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Chinese-style ribs

Serving suggestion: Egg-Fried Rice

Egg-Fried Rice

This rice dish is normally made with leftover rice but it can just as easily be made expressly for whenever you want it. I normally make the rice in the microwave as it is the quickest and most hassle-free method. All you need to do is cover the rice with water (don’t need to measure exactly as long as the water completely covers the rice) and cook for 10-12 minutes. Times may vary according to the type of rice you use. Wash the cooked rice and let it cool. It is paramount that the rice is cold otherwise the dish will become mush.

Ingredients

Rice, cold.

2 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp. milk

Salt and pepper

3 garlic cloves, sliced

Method

1 Make rice in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

2 Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper.

3 Heat oil and fry garlic and then the egg mixture.

4 When the egg is practically cooked, break it up and add the rice and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

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UPDATE OCTOBER 2016: If you want to elevate this dish to new heights use Ninniku-Shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce Infused Garlic) instead of normal garlic cloves; it really makes a difference!