After the excess of the Christmas period this is a light yet comforting Chinese steamed fish recipe. I use cod but you could use any firm white fish such as bream, snapper or ling.
2 tbs light soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
5 cm piece root ginger, peeled
4 x 200 g white fish fillets, such as cod, snapper or ling
100 ml chicken stock
3 tbs Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
4 baby pak choi, quartered
4 large spring onions, very thinly sliced
2 tbs peanut oil
coriander leaves, to garnish
plain boiled rice, to serve
Combine the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a jug. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and set aside.
Cut the peeled ginger into thin slices and then into thin strips or julienne. Place the fish on a deep heatproof plate (an enamel plate is ideal – or use foil to shape into a bowl) set in a large bamboo steamer. Scatter over half the ginger and pour in the stock and rice wine.
Top the steamer with a lid and place over a saucepan of lightly simmering water. Cook for 5 minutes and then carefully pop the pak choi into the steamer over the fish. Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Place the peanut oil in a small pan and heat gently until the oil is hot and starting to shimmer.
Transfer the fish and pak choi to serving plates, scatter over the remaining ginger and the spring onions and immediately pour over the hot oil, to soften the ginger and onions. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with small bowls of rice.
It is a great time of year for shellfish and here clams and crab combine with chorizo and potato in a warming seafood chowder.
Crab and clam chowder with chorizo
1 kg clams, scrubbed
100 ml dry white wine
600 ml chicken or fish stock
25 g butter
150 g chorizo, sliced
1 onion chopped finely
1 stick celery, sliced
250 g potatoes, peeled and diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
600 ml milk
250 g cooked crabmeat
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
single cream, to serve (optional)
Rinse the clams, shake well and then place in a saucepan with the wine. Bring to the boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 5 minutes until all the shells have opened. Strain the liquid into jug and add the stock (discard any clams that remain closed).
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the chorizo and stir-fry over a medium heat for 5minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the onion, celery and potato to the pan and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
Stir in the milk, crabmeat, clams and the chorizo and heat through for 5 minutes without boiling until everything is heated through. Serve in bowls with chopped parsley and the cream, if wished.
For my final slurp I wanted to share two more recipes from my book, Oodles of Noodles. Deciding which recipes to choose was quite hard, but in the end I have opted to blog a recipe from the remaining chapters in order to give you a good balance of just what to expect from the book. So we have a pretty, Japanese-inspired noodle salad with shredded chicken, fresh cool vegetables and a traditional sesame dressing. It is an explosion of textures and flavours and the overall impression you get with the first mouthful is one of freshness and well being; perfect for a light lunch.
In contrast my second choice is a far punchier and full-on crab noodle stir-fry. I love this recipe with it’s robust sweet, hot sauce, big chunks of delicious fresh cooked crab and wonderfully slippery egg noodles. It really is worth sourcing a good seafood supplier so the fresher the crab the better. If you don’t fancy preparing the crab yourself most fishmongers will happily do this for you and as long as you keep the crab well chilled and cook the dish the same day, the crab will be fine.
Let me know how you go, I’d love to get some feedback.
Chicken noodle salad with sesame and soy dressing
This summer salad can be made using any Japanese noodles. When researching this book I came across these black rice noodles, which make a startling contrast to the different vegetables and micro herbs. The end result is striking.
250 g dried black rice noodles
250 g cooked chicken breast fillet
100 g radishes, trimmed
2 carrots, trimmed
125 g mange tout, trimmed
1/2 cucumber, seeded
Japanese micro herbs
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dashi stock (see recipe page)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated root ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Make wafu dressing
Place all the dressing ingredients in a screw top jar and shake well until amalgamated. Use as required.
Plunge the noodles into a large saucepan of boiling water. Return to the boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes until al dente. Drain noodles and immediately refresh under cold water, washing well to remove any remaining starch. Drain again and dry thoroughly on a clean tea towel. Place noodles in a large bowl.
Shred the chicken into pieces and add to the noodles. Prepare the vegetables. Thinly slice the radishes, thinly slice and then shred the carrot into strips, thinly shred the mange tout. Cut the cucumber into thin batons.
Arrange all the ingredients on a plate, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well together. Scatter over micro herbs and sesame seeds. Serve at once.
Crab and noodle stir-fry (Malaysia)
This Malay version of Singapore crab was served to me on a trip to a small island, rather unattractively named Mud Island. However where there’s mud there are mud crabs and this tiny island on stilts, just off the west coast of Malaysia, is home to thousands of crabs and almost as many restaurants serving delicious platefuls of crab any which way. This was my choice and it was awesome.
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
3 cm piece root ginger, peeled and chopped
2 small red bird’s eye chillies
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
50 ml Shoaxing rice wine
250 ml tomato passata
250 ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoons ketchup manis
1 kg fresh crab, prepared (see tip)
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
400 g fresh egg noodles, or 200 g dried
shredded spring onions, to garnish
Place the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies in a blender and puree to make a smooth paste, stir in the shrimp paste. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry the paste for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add the rice wine and simmer for 1 minute then stir in the passata, stock, soy sauce and ketchup manis and cook for 10 minutes until thickened.
Add the prepared crab and spring onion, stir well, cover the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the crab is cooked through. Meanwhile, plunge the noodles into a large saucepan of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes until al dente. Drain the noodles, shake well to remove excess water and transfer to a large platter. Spoon the crab sauce over the top and serve sprinkled with extra spring onions.
Tip: Its best to use a live crab for this, so ask your fishmonger to kill the crab for you and if possible to cut the crab up ready to stir-fry. Alternatively view the process online to see how to do it yourself. If you can’t face this use 1 kg cooked crab claws, cracking the shells with a hammer and continue as above
Quinoa pronounced kin wah, is the seed of a grain-like crop grown in South and Central America and is closely related to species such as beetroot and spinach. It originated in the mountainous regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Peru where it has been grown for human consumption for over 3000 years. Its nutrient composition compares favourably with other cereals and is higher in essential amino acids such as lysine, making it a complete protein source. It also contains good levels of calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is gluten free and easy to digest. In its natural state the outer case of the seed is very bitter making it unpalatable but this is removed during processing. Despite this quinoa should always be well rinsed and soaked briefly before cooking. It is cooked rather like rice and once cooked it has a light fluffy texture and delicious nutty flavour. It can be cooked in either water or stock, flavoured with herbs and spices and combines well with vegetables, fruits and nuts. It is great in salads, as a side dish and provides a wonderfully power packed breakfast dish. Available as red, black or white quinoa, white tends to be the more widely available, and it can be found in health food stores and now in many larger supermarkets.
Grilled tuna steaks with preserved lemon quinoa salad
Tuna is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acid and although it is recommended to eat fish twice a week (being a high source of protein but low source of fat) tuna does contain mercury it is best to only eat tuna (and other fish high in mercury such as swordfish and mackerel) once a week.
250 ml water
80 ml orange juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon
50g toasted pistachio nuts
6 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp each chopped fresh coriander and parsley
4 x 200g tuna steaks
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tsp caster sugar
salt and pepper
Place the quinoa in a bowl covered with plenty of cold water and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve and transfer to a saucepan, add the water, orange juice, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, remove from the heat but leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. Fluff up the grains and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Combine all the remaining ingredients except the tuna in a large bowl, stir in the quinoa. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour over the quinoa and stir well until evenly combined.
Brush the tuna steaks with a little oil, season lightly and sear on a preheated ridged grill pan for 30 seconds each side or until cooked to your liking. Rest briefly and serve with the quinoa salad.
Quinoa bircher muesli
Bircher muesli is given an extra protein boost with the addition of quinoa making this delicious breakfast dish the perfect choice if you are planning a hard work out or have a busy day ahead.
150g cooked quinoa (about 60 g raw quinoa)
90g rolled oats
50g mixed nuts, roughly chopped
25g sunflower seeds
50g mixed dried fruits, such as craisins and blueberries
1 apple, cored and gated
375 ml organic apple juice
125 ml Greek style yogurt
100 g frozen mixed berries
2 tbsp clear honey
Place the oats, nuts, dried fruits grated, apple, apple juice and yogurt in a bowl, stir well until evenly combined and set aside to soak for 4 hours or overnight.
Defrost the berries and blend together until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and stir in the honey.
Divide the soaked quinoa mixture between bowls and top each with a drizzle of the berry sauce and serve with extra yogurt.