Tag Archive for: chinese food

Learn more about Asian food and celebrate the Chinese New Year with Lemongrass & Ginger by Leemei Tanvibrant, a book that includes a stunning collection of recipes inspired by China, Thailand, India & Sri Lanka, Vietnam & Cambodia, Japan & Korea, Malaysia & Singapore, the Phillipines, and Indonesia. Follow the recipe below if you want to try a delicious Cantonese steamed fish. In China, the whole fish symbolizes abundance, and steamed whole fish is a must during Chinese New Year, as it symbolizes a wish for abundance in the New Year. 


Winner of the World Gourmand Award for Best Blog Cookbook, Leemei Tan’s debut book offers up vibrant, modern Asian food. Asian cooking combines wonderfully pungent, aromatic spices, herbs and flavourings with imaginative methods, a wide array of ingredients and tastes that explode in your mouth. For many people, though, these hugely enjoyable dishes seem too complicated to make at home. Leemei shows that this isn’t the case, and that anyone can master the art of cooking Asian food.

Cantonese steamed fish
Steaming is one of the most important techniques used in Chinese cooking, and is a very healthy way to cook that retains the flavours of the food, too. A bamboo steamer is ideal, but if you want to steam larger items, such as whole fish, then a wok is handy. You can serve it with a bowl of steamed rice.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 45 minutes soaking and marinating time
Cooking time: 10 minutes

1 x 800g/1lb 12oz whole red snapper, sea bream, sea bass or any other white-flesh fish, scaled and gutted by your fishmonger
1 tomato, sliced
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
30g/1oz dried mushrooms, such as shiitake, porcini or Chinese mushrooms, soaked, drained and thinly sliced
1cm/½in piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
2 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
freshly ground black pepper



  • Rinse the fish inside and out under running cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Using a sharp knife, make three diagonal slits on both sides of the fish. Arrange the tomato on the base of a heatproof platter that will fit inside a wok. Lay the fish on top.
  • Mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and rice wine in a small bowl and season with pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and sprinkle over the mushrooms and ginger. Cover with cling film  and leave to marinate in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  • Place several round cookie cutters or a wire cooling rack with legs  at least 2.5cm/1in tall inside a wok. Leaving a minimum gap of 1cm/½in below the steamer, add water to the wok and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Set the heatproof plate with the fish on the rack and steam, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the flesh separates from the bone easily and looks opaque when a fork is inserted. Keep an eye on the level of the water, adding more boiling water if necessary. Two minutes before the end of cooking, sprinkle over the spring onions. Serve immediately with boiled rice.

Lemongrass & Ginger by Leemei Tan is available from Nourish Books, online and in the good stores.

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Asparagus and ginger make for a delicious filling for these typical Chinese potstickers. You can adapt this recipe according to your own preferences, adding pork instead of asparagus. Nicola Graimes‘ non-vegetarian version also for you below to try.

‘Potsticker’ is another name for a Chinese dumpling and this tempting version makes a great precursor to a vegetable stir-fry or can be served as part of dim sum. The great name derives from the way the dumplings are cooked. First they are fried to give a crisp, golden base – take care as they can stick to the pan, hence the name – followed by steaming in a little water or broth.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes

20 round wonton wrappers (for frying), defrosted if frozen
plain/all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra if needed
1 tbsp finely snipped chives, for sprinkling

Asparagus and ginger filling:
235g/8½oz bunch asparagus, stalks trimmed and very thinly sliced, tips halved lengthways
1 spring onion/scallion, finely chopped
2.5cm/1in piece of fresh root ginger, coarsely grated (no need to peel)
140g/5oz tofu, drained well on paper towels and coarsely grated
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soy and ginger dipping sauce:
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
½cm/¼in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely diced
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

Method:Asparagus and Ginger Potstickers

  • Mix together the ingredients for the dipping sauce, adding just half of the chilli, then leave to one side.
  • Reserve the asparagus tips, then mix together the remaining ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Place 2 teaspoons of the filling mixture in the centre of a wonton wrapper. Moisten the edge of the wrapper with a little water, fold in half and pleat the edge to seal to make a half moon-shaped dumpling with a flat bottom and rounded top. Place the dumpling on a floured board, cover with a damp dish towel and repeat to make 20 dumplings in total.
  • Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan. Arrange half the dumplings in the pan, flat-side down, and cook for 2 minutes until the base of each dumpling is golden and slightly crisp. Remove from the pan, leave to one side and repeat with the second batch of dumplings, adding more oil, if needed.
  • Return the dumplings to the pan if they fit in an even layer.
  • Add 4 tablespoons water to the pan and scatter over the asparagus tips, immediately cover the pan with a lid and steam  for 2 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Serve the dumplings scattered with the asparagus tips, chives and reserved chilli with the dipping sauce in a small bowl by the side.

PART-TIME VARIATION: Pork and ginger potstickers

  • To make the potsticker filling, mix together 150g/5½oz minced/ground pork, 1 finely chopped Chinese cabbage leaf, 2.5cm/1in piece of fresh root ginger, grated, 1 finely chopped spring onion/scallion, 1 tbsp light soy sauce and 1 tsp sesame oil in a bowl.
  • Make and cook the dumplings as described above, adding 6 tablespoons water to the pan.
  • Cover with a lid and cook for 6 minutes.
  • Serve scattered with chives and chilli with the dipping sauce.


Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from Nourish Books




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