A Chinese Dinner for 6

lychini pork bean curd wraps crayfish and spring onion
szechwan pepper chicken garlic beef and tofu unsuccessful dessert

I like Chinese. The problem is that it’s an open ended dinner that doesn’t necessarily have to stop at three dishes, particularly as I usually decide that all major meat groups must be addressed, so it became five. They were:
Pork and Mushroom Steamed Bean Curd Rolls; Crayfish with Spring Onion; Szechwan Red Pepper Roast Chicken with Chinese Sausage Stuffing and Chinese Greens; Slow Cooked Beef and Tofu with Fried Rice; Unsuccessful Annin Dofu.

Afraid I won’t be listing all the recipes (I do have a life you know, no really, well lazy’s a bit harsh, I did make a garden bed the other week, no I know it’s not finished) but would like to point you in the way of Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook. It’s comprehensive, well detailed, and most of the recipes follow similar principles so it’s easy to adapt and improvise to use what you have. This allows you to have a rough idea of what you want to cook, go shopping with a bit whimsy, and nlow you’ll be able to make something. A few points.

Tapioca chips are great for pre-dinner snacks as an alternative to prawn crackers. All natural Maxi from Indonesia.

The pork and bean curd rolls were my own creation after I noticed some sheets of bean curd at the Asian grocery store and thought I could do something. It was pork cut into “matchsticks” and marinated in rice wine-splash, peanut oil-splash, sesame oil-teaspoon, soy sauce-splash, and potato flour-teaspoon. Next was a couple of sliced chinese sausages. They come in plastic packs and are sweet and tasty. Very roughly chopped Straw mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and spring onions. All ingredients cooked together in a wok with some cooked glutinous rice mixed in for volume. Now lightly steam or moistened the bean curd sheets and cut into 15cm x 15cm, place a heaped tablespoon of the mix in the middle and roll like a very fat spring roll. Steam in a steamer for 10 minutes and serve. Very tasty but the mix of chewy, crunchy and soft textures is marvellous.

Hmm think I’ll finish this later. Tata! back later
Ah yes. The Szechuan chicken recipe is here. However this time I kept it whole and gave it a stuffing of chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, glutinous rice, garlic, and spring onions. Cooking it flat seems to get a better response but the stuffing was good. Forgot to put oyster sauce on the bed of steamed chinese greens which made them a little dry.

Glutinous rice is great but needs to be soaked for the good part of a day so keep that in mind. Otherwise leave to soak in hot water. I cooked one lot in the steamer to go with the beef and tofu, just wrap it in a towel. After drying a batch out on a tray and stir-fried it with garlic and spring onions in the fat from the chicken’s roasting tray. Yum. Beef cooked slowly with garlic for two hours, well you can imagine how good that was. And the fried tofu held up well.

Crayfish (from Rottnest from Doctor A) matched well with the spring onions, ginger, and rice wine and I like the idea of deep frying the crayfish pieces for 10 seconds before stir frying them.

Finally the Unsuccesful Annin Tofu started as a simple condensed milk and almond essence “tofu” became coconut milk thanks to the free banana giving shop lady’s persuasive powers. Then layers of kiwi fruit and passionfruit but I read that agar agar gives a tougher jelly so I backed off a little and ended up more on the soup end. Ah well.*

As for the dinner, well it was fun. Chris and Crafty came along. As did the doctor and Anna. A thank you to them all for the drinks, gifts and company. A diverse night of chat, neighbourhood yoof threatening (bone tweezers!), and an altercation with a coffee plunger.

dinner party seating

* feck!
Note: Those paying attention will have noticed that many of the ingredients are remarkably similar. Hey? Hey? See what I’m getting at here?

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  1. Stephanie’s avatar

    I think Matt wants to come to your house for dinner…

  2. Santos’s avatar

    i’m sure chinese like you, too.

    your chinese food looks so japanesy!

  3. bramble’s avatar

    An inspired use of bean curd sheets; I keep buying them and chucking them out 5 years later. The lychini looks interesting too.

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    I dunno, is he kinda cute? (did I just ask that?)

    Well I’m sure some might.

    Touchy geopolitical point at the moment.

    Know what you mean, usually for me it’s vine leaves. Lychini was a bit hoo! harsh being straight vodka neither shaken nor stirred with a lychee in it.

  5. Nicole’s avatar

    I can make you all envious and let you know that me and my partner Chris were there. My favourite was the pork and bean curd rolls and the crayfish…and your entertaining friends!

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    Was fun. You were indeed, agreed on the order of bestness, and yes I’ve still got tinnitus.

  7. Helen (AugustusGloop)’s avatar

    Not. Fair.
    In. Pain.
    Choking on dust from licking my monitor.

  8. Santos’s avatar

    just what you are getting at?

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Lick ’em, lick ’em real good (apologies to Serial Mom)

    Foods of the same type seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public…

    Yes that’s right. Conspiracy.

  10. Anthony’s avatar

    and that you can make a lot of different dishes with not that many different ingredients.

    Meat, glutinous rice, spring onions, greens, chinese sausages and a few condiments.

    => 4 dishes not really that hard.

  11. Santos’s avatar

    conspiracy of…similarity? taste? theory? are you thumbing your nose at the five elements theory and just going straight for umami? is this what culinary globalization has brought us?

  12. Anthony’s avatar

    The five elements were always a distraction from the real game…MSG.

  13. Santos’s avatar

    ah, so you’ve just done away with everything but the msg. cool.

  14. Anthony’s avatar

    They had no idea.

  15. Santos’s avatar

    can’t wait for the incriminating evidence to show up on flickr.

  16. Anthony’s avatar

    We’ll see.

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