Two Favorite Chinese Dishes – and Sherry Cream Dessert

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 11 – Dōngzhì Festival

Tasks for Dōngzhì Festival: If you like Chinese food, tell us your favorite dish – otherwise, tell us your favorite dessert.

Alright, I admit I haven’t made these in a while (so the pretty pics aren’t mine), but the Chinese recipes are from a cookbook I brought from a trip to Hong Kong, and which I used to cook Chinese meals for my friends after my return, and the dessert recipe was a runaway success in our family for years after I’d discovered it in one of the first cookbooks I ever owned.

(Note: metric conversions are rounded to the nearest semi-decimal.  Trust me, they work well enough on that basis.)

Chinese Food
Cha Shiu Buns

Yeast Dough
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup (ca. 120 ml) warm water
6-7 oz (ca. 170-195 g) plain flour

10 oz (280 g) yeast dough (see above)
3 oz (ca. 85 g) sugar
1/2 tsp ammonia powder
1/4 tsp alkali water (or just salted water)
1-2 tbsp water
1 tbsp oil
4 oz (ca. 110 g) flour
1 tsp baking powder

6 oz (ca. 170 g) roast pork (= cha shiu)
1 tbsp finely chopped chives or spring onions

1 tsp oil
1 tsp white wine
1/2 cup (ca. 120 ml) stock
1 tsp oyster sauce (optional)
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornflour mixed with
1 tbsp water

Yeast Dough
Dissolve the dry yeast and sugar in warm water and leave for 10 minutes to prove.

Stift the flour on to a table and make a well in the centre to pour in the yeast solution.  Work in the flour to knead into a soft dough.  Place in a greased mixing bowl and cover with a towel.  Leave to prove for 10-12 hours.

Place the yeast dough, sugar, ammonia powder and alkali water in a big bowl.  Add the water and oil to the mix into a thick cream.

Sift the flour and baking powder together on a table and make a well in the centre.  Pour in the yeast cream. Slowly work in the flour and knead into a soft dough.

Dice or shred the cha shiu.

Heat the oil in a hot wok (or frying pan).  Sizzle wine and pour in the stock.   Season to taste and thicken the gravy with the cornflour solution.  Remove wok (pan) from the stove and stir in cha shiu and chopped chives / spring onions to mix well.  Dish and put into refrigerator to chill.

To complete:
Roll the soft dough into a long strip and cut into 24 equal portions.  Flatten each portion into a small round.  Place a tsp of filling in the centre of the round, then draw in the edges and form small pleats to wrap up the filling.  Stick a small squre piece of grease proof paper to the bottom of each bun.

Arrange the buns in a steamer, then steam over high heat for 8 minutes.  Remove and leave to cool.  Steam a second time for 2 minutes, then serve hot.


Lemon Chicken

2 boneless chicken breasts, about 6 oz. (ca. 170 g) each
2 lemons
1 beaten egg
1 cup (ca. 235 ml) cornflour oil for deep frying
2 parsley sprigs or chunks of broccoli


Chicken Marinade
1 tbsp ginger juice
1 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 pinch of pepper

1/2 cup (ca. 120 ml) stock
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp wine
1 pinch of pepper

Gravy Mix
2 tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp cornflour
3 tbsp water

Wash and trim the parsley / broccoli and set aside for later use.
Mix all the ingredients of the marinade.
Slice the chicken breasts into large thin pieces, then immerse in the marinade for 30 minutes.
Toss the chicken in the beaten egg, then coat evenly with the cornflour.
Heat the wok (or frying pan) until very hot and pour in the oil to bring to the boil.  Slide in the chicken to deep fry until golden brown.  Drain, cut and dish.
Squeeze out the juice of one lemon and mix with all the seasoning except the wine.
Heat another wok (or frying pan) and bring 2 tbsp of oil to the boil.  Sizzle the wine, then pour in the lemon mixture and season to taste.  Mix the custard powder and cornflour with the water, then stream into the sauce to thicken.  Blend in the last tbsp of oil and mask over the chicken. Slice the other lemon and arrange on or around the platter with the parsley / broccoli.



Dessert: Sherry Cream

1 lime (or small lemon)
75 g (ca. 2 1/2 oz) icing sugar
125 ml (ca. 4 fl oz) sherry (preferably Amontillado or Oloroso)
300 g (ca 10.5 oz) double cream or crème fraîche (not: sour cream!)
2-3 drops of essence of vanilla or orange
a few slices of orange

Brush clean the lime / lemon in running water, then dry and julienne the peel (cut into thin tiny slices).  Squeeze out the juice of the lime / lemon and blend with the icing sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Then mix in the sherry.

Whisk double cream / crème fraîche until foamy, then slowly mix in the lime juice and sherry blend, as well as the essence of vanilla / orange.  Fill cream into large serving bowl or small dessert bowls, sprinkle with lime / lemon peel juliennes, and decorate with orange slices.

(Note: This also works with port or madeira, if your taste runs more that way.)


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