Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 26 January 2012 Contents WHAT’S COOKING
Page 12 | 26 January, 2012
The Chinese calendar – based
on lunar cycles beginning with
the second new moon after the
northern hemisphere winter begins
– is divided into 12-year cycles
with each year representing different animals. The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit,
dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar impose
their personalities on their allocated years. 2012 is the Year of the
Dragon with celebrations commencing on January 23 and continuing for
Because the dragon is a mythical creature we can expect a year
of surprises marked by excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration
and intensity. Hence, this week, I’ve experimented with some Asian
ingredients with a difference.
XO Sauce: Developed in the 1980s in Hong Kong for Cantonese cuisine,
it is made of roughly chopped dried seafood including scallops, dried
fish and shrimp and cooked with chilli peppers, onions, garlic and oil.
Once a prestigious concoction confined to gourmet seafood restaurants,
XO sauce can now be found in jars in Asian food stores and some
supermarkets. It was named after XO Cognac to symbolize wealth and
Use XO sauce as you would hoisin sauce or a chilli paste. Add a
tablespoon to stir-fries, noodle dishes, steamed veggies or stews. It has
a characteristic fishy taste with chilli highlights and a little goes a long
Dried shiitake mushrooms: Available from most good supermarkets,
dried shiitake mushrooms add depth of flavour to recipes. Prior to using,
soak the mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. Squeeze dry and
chop – and try to use the soaking water in the same recipe as it is full
of flavour. Dried shiitake mushrooms are normally sold thinly sliced in
Edamame beans: These green soybeans (called edamame in Japan and
mao dou in China) are harvested at the peak of ripening just before they
start to ‘harden’. Beans in pods look similar to small broad beans and
the podded ones look similar to podded and skinned broad beans. They
are available frozen from Asian food stores and supermarkets.
Edamame in pods are usually simmered in well-salted water for three to
four minutes then eaten as a snack by squeezing the beans out of pods
with your fingers. It’s a great appetiser to serve with beer.
The attractive, bright green podded beans can be boiled, seasoned and
tossed with butter and lemon juice to serve as a side dish or added to
stews, salads, pasta dishes and stir-fries.
The Year of the
Sauce: 1⁄4 cup each: lime juice,
avocado oil, light soy sauce
1⁄2 cup chopped coriander
1-2 teaspoons diced green chilli
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon XO sauce
Tuna: 4 medium tuna steaks
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 ripe avocados, halved stone and
Combine the sauce ingredients in
Season the tuna on both sides
with black pepper.
Heat the oil on medium-high.
Pan-fry the tuna for 1-2 minutes
each side. The tuna should be rare
in the centre. Too much cooking
will make it dry and tough.
Pour 3 tablespoons of the sauce
over the tuna.
Transfer to serving plates.
Serve the avocado on the side
drizzled with the remaining sauce.
Asian-style tuna with avocado
1⁄2 each: red, green and yellow
2 tablespoons sesame oil
400g shelled raw prawns
pinch each: sugar, white
1 tablespoon XO sauce
finely grated rind 1 lime
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 tablespoons water
Seed and thinly slice the
Heat half the oil in a large
wok over high heat. Stir-fry
the peppers for 1 minute.
Remove to one side.
Heat the remaining oil and stir-
fry the prawns, sugar and white
pepper for 3-4 minutes, until the
prawns are cooked.
Return the peppers to the wok
together with the XO sauce, lime
rind and juice.
Combine the cornflour and water
and stir into the wok.
Continue stirring until thickened.
Great served on rice or noodles.
Serves 4 as a light meal.
XO stir-fried prawns
1 tablespoon each: soy sauce,
brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame
250g shelled edamame beans
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Combine the soy sauce, brown
sugar, rice vinegar and sesame
oil. Bring the beans to the boil in
salted water and simmer for about
Drain. Stir in the combined
ingredients and heat through.
Serve sprinkled with sesame
Serves 2-3 as an accompaniment.
1⁄2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1⁄4 cup each: soy sauce, mirin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 onion, thinly sliced
300g skinned and boned chicken
breast, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups hot cooked rice
flat leaf parsley to garnish
Soak the mushrooms in hot water
for about 30 minutes. Drain and
chop. Reserve the soaking water.
Combine a 1⁄4 cup of the soaking
water, the soy sauce, mirin and
sugar. Bring to the boil in a
25cm wide frying pan. Add the
mushrooms, onion and chicken.
Simmer for about 3 minutes, until
the chicken is cooked. Pour the
eggs over the chicken. Cover and
cook on low heat until the egg is
Place the rice in four deep bowls.
Serve the chicken mixture on top
and garnish. Serves 4.
Chicken and shiitake rice
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