The Epitome of Chinese Cuisine

SEAFOOD: Widely heralded since days long past as an epicurious delicacy in the foods of various cultures, it is a symbol of prosperity in Chinese cuisine, much loved by those who enjoy the crisp, clean and fragrant aroma that is reminiscent of the fresh, open sea. Much like its people, Chinese cuisine is multi-faceted, often employing a myriad of cooking styles and tastes that range from deep-frying, stir-frying, boiling, roasting, poaching and steaming. The gastronomic wonders of Chinese cuisine bear fruit from where their roots originate, their points of creation. Most well-known Chinese dishes hail from some province or another in the mainland—and even then, much of it has been adapted to Western cultures, where the cuisine is well-loved even amongst those who are more accustomed to steak and potatoes. The very essence of Chinese cuisine, however, is simple, despite the complex range of tastes and flavours so eminent in the food culture: treating your food with respect and care whilst maintaining its colour, nutrients, and natural freshness.

 

Lobster and Tropical Fruit Salad

This is a wonderful salad thanks to the clean and distinctive flavour of the Canadian lobster. The chef has combined it with interesting tropical fruits like melons and mango, with a touch of lime juice to bring out the sweetness of the crustacean meat.

 

INGREDIENTS:

100 g rockmelon, cubed

100 g honeydew, cubed

1 mango, cubed

1 lime, juice only

2 canadian lobster tails, cooked and sliced

2 tbsp mayonnaise

 

METHOD:

Put everything in a salad bowl. Give the ingredients a good toss. Cover with cling wrap and chill for at least an hour. Serve cold.

 

Classic Cantonese Steamed Seven Star Grouper

In Chinese cuisine, there are many methods of cooking a fish. It can be pan-fried, deep-fried, steamed, heavily sauced, stewed or cooked in a broth. And, to cook something as delicate as the Seven Star Grouper, it's hard to conceal a chef's favouritism towards the technique of steaming, in which the chef uses nothing more than a little of the basic aromatic condiments to bring out the freshness of the fish.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1.2 kg whole ‘seven star’ grouper

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp garlic oil

3 tbsp finely chopped ginger

2 stalks spring onion

2 tbsp superior light soy sauce

1 tsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp castor sugar

300 g water

 

GARNISH

4 stalks spring onion, julienned

5 sprigs coriander, sliced

 

METHOD:

1. Thoroughly clean the fish. Rub salt all over the fish including the cavity. Place in a heat-proof dish with slightly raised sides.

2. Make the steaming sauce by cooking ginger in garlic oil and adding in the spring onions, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and discard the solids by straining through a sieve. Cool down.

3. Place a steamer in a wok or a deep pan. Fill the pan with water to just below the steamer and bring to boil. Pour the sauce over the fish. Place the dish in the steamer and steam over high heat for 3 – 4 minutes (depending on the circulation of the steam, the cooking time may vary), or until cooked.

4. Remove the fish from steamer and scatter spring onions and coriander over it as garnish. Serve immediately.

 

Braised Australian Abalone with Jing Hua Ham, Old hen and Superior Stock

This dish can be considered the quintessence of fine Cantonese cuisine, especially under the expert hands of Executive Chef Lam Fook Koai of Moon Palace. He uses Australian abalones and braises them in flavourful stock and ingredients such as Jin Hua Ham. The long braising tenderises the resistant texture of the abalones and allows them to fully take on the flavours of the braising ingredients. The final rich, flavoursome stock serves as a sauce that further imparts the melded essence of the ingredients over cooked tofu and broccoli and, of course the beautifully braised abalones.

* For Halal version, replace pork and ham with dried marine scallops (conpoy).

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 large frozen Australian “green lipped” abalones

130 g lean pork meat

60 g jing hua ham

1/2 old hen

1 inch ginger root

5 stalks scallion

4 sprigs coriander

100 g top quality light soy sauce

1 tbsp cornstarch

10 broccoli florets, blanched

8 pcs egg tofu, deep fried

superior chicken stock to cover the ingredients

 

METHOD:

1. Thaw the frozen abalones completely in the refrigerator. Clean the black film on the sides and bottom of the abalones by scrubbing with a clean kitchen brush.

2. Line the bottom of a wok with a lattice bamboo mat specifically designed for braising quality seafood. Arrange the abalones right on the mat and cover them with lean pork, jing hua ham, chicken, ginger, scallion, coriander, soy sauce and chicken stock. Cook until the liquid starts to boil.

3. Turn down the heat and simmer slowly, skim off any scum that surfaces on top of the liquid. Cover and slowly braise for another eight hours. Be sure to check the liquid level and add in more chicken stock from time to time.

4. After eight hours, there should be about one third of liquid left. Turn off the heat and remove all the ingredients except the abalones. Reserve the sauce by straining through a fine sieve.

5. Bring the strained sauce to a boil to reduce further, thicken the sauce with a slurry of cornstarch and cold water.

6. Meanwhile, arrange the broccoli and the egg tofu on a serving plate.

7. Return the abalones to the liquid and simmer for another minute. Place the abalones on top of the egg tofu and ladle hot sauce over.

 

Cuttlefish Served Two Ways

Home cooks are often stumped when it comes to cooking cuttlefish. One rule to remember is that this fleshy mollusk must be cooked fast over high heat or simmered a long time to avoid being tough and chewy. In this recipe, Chef Lam shows us two interesting ways of presenting the cuttlefish: flash-frying cuttlefish slices with a special shrimp paste and made from scratch into delicious steamed cuttlefish balls.

 

INGREDIENTS:

STIR FRIED CUTTLEFISH

2 tbsp peanut oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp Hong Kong-style shrimp paste

1 large cuttlefish, sliced

1 tsp white pepper

 

GARNISH

red chilli, diced

 

METHOD:

1. Heat some oil in a wok over medium heat, add in garlic and shrimp paste.

2. Add the sliced cuttlefish and stir fry until cooked, add in white pepper. Garnish with diced chili and serve hot.

 

CUTTLEFISH BALLS

1 large cuttlefish, cut into smaller pieces

3 tbsp peanut oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

200 g shrimp, cooked

3 tbsp tapioca flour

1 tsp chicken stock powder

2 tsp ginger juice

2 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

extra peanut oil

 

GARNISH

3 – 4 capsicum strips, minced

1 tsp minced scallions

 

METHOD:

1. Poach the cuttlefish pieces in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and set aside to cool. Sauté garlic in 3 tbsp peanut oil till lightly browned. Keep the oil but discard the garlic.

2. Combine the cuttlefish, garlic flavoured oil and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor. Add in a little extra oil to lighten the mixture.

3. Stop the food processor when the mixture forms a large ball. Remove and form into a dozen of small olive shaped balls. Garnish the cuttlefish balls with minced capsicum and scallions, place the balls in a steamer and steam until cooked.

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