Christine's Recipes: Easy Chinese Recipes | Easy Recipes

Baked Peanut Dumplings (Chinese New Year)

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Baked Peanut Dumplings01

Way back when I was small, I would consume quite a lot of deep-fried dumplings (you jiao 油角/角仔) during Chinese New Year (CNY). I still remember that my parents tried every effort to remind me not to eat too much as the deep-fried dumplings are “yeet hay” (“熱氣” in Cantonese Chinese, literally means “hot air”) which basically means not good for health. They didn’t want me to consume too many oily foods either. Since I moved into Australia, I haven’t bought any for celebrating CNY at all for so many years. Until a while ago, an idea of baking some CNY dumplings came from nowhere. Then off I went to test the idea and made these baked dumplings with desiccated coconut and roasted peanuts inside.

The traditional ones are mainly made of plain flour and lard. After deep-frying, the crust will turn golden brown, crispy, brittle, and a bit harder than cookies. I wanted to get my baked dumplings similar to the texture of deep-fried ones, thus I chose bread flour (i.e. high protein flour), adding a little of baking powder. The end results were satisfied. They were crunchy and delicious, yet guilt-free and less oily. Once the dumplings were out from the oven, my husband took three of them in a row and commended my efforts.
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Eight-Treasure Porridge (養生八寶粥)

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Eight Treasure Porridge01

Traditionally this healthy Eight-Treasure Porridge is eaten on the Laba Festival, the eighth day of the La Month (i.e. the twelfth month of the Chinese lunar calendar). As for myself, I love to eat it whenever I like throughout the year. Well, if you’re living in an area where it’s cold, this dessert soup is a good treat warming yourself up, as well as absolutely guilt-free. The ingredients used are nutrient-rich, good to our body. Chinese Yam can help lower blood sugar and blood pressure, sooth mood and get better sleep. Best of all, it’s very easy to make. Simply soak and wash the ingredients, then pop them in a large pot. There you go.
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Steamed Prawns with Garlic and Fermented Beancurd

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Steamed Garlic Prawns01

Way back many years ago, after tasting my mother-in-law’s steamed garlic prawns, I instantly fell in love of it, that’s totally different from the populated version. Without any hesitation, I asked my mother-in-law to teach me. I couldn’t imagine how easy it is to make this dish. Not very long, I took the trick back to my kitchen and replicated my mother-in-law’s dish for my daughter to run a taste test. Then guess what’s after? After that taste test, whenever my daughter sees me preparing some prawns, she would ask if I’m going to make this dish and wants to taste again. I’m so glad that her western palate also loves this unique Chinese dish. Best of all, she feels it’s comparatively easy to peel the shells on her own.
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Stir Fried Shiitake Mushroom with Chicken

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Stir Fried Shiitake Mushroom with Chicken01

The meaty texture of fresh shiitake mushrooms is very soft and smooth. It doesn’t take very long to be cooked through as the dried ones do. What will amaze you is that Shiitake mushrooms will take up all the flavours of the meat and sauce. This time I used mirin, one of the common staples in Japanese cooking to make the sauce, with a bit of soy sauce. The whole chicken dish turned out very flavoursome. The chicken meat was just cooked through and retained a tender texture. The highlight of the dish is the sauce that will make you don't want to waste a drop of it at all. This dish goes perfectly with a bowl of steamed rice.
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Stir-Fried Prawns with Sweet Soy Sauce and Basil

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Stir-Fried Prawns with Sweet Soy Sauce and Basil01

What I like making stir-fry dishes is that I can use endless combinations of ingredients. The stir-fried prawns were paired with some condiments often used in Asian cooking. If you have Thai or Taiwanese basil, feel free to use them. I just picked some sweet basil from my backyard. Its sweet fragrance penetrates the prawn meat and will make you feel very refreshing. The sweet soy sauce used is called ABC, has a unique malty flavour. Just browsing the ingredient list in the recipe, will it make you feel like to give it a go?
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Baked Chicken with Spicy Salt

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Baked Chicken with Spicy Salt01

To make this baked chicken, basically you only need two simple seasonings, salt and sand ginger powder, added the fragrance of star anise. Absolutely simple. After popping the marinated chicken into the oven, all you have to do is to wait. Keep in mind that every oven is very different and the temperature of each is not the same. When it comes to baking chicken, don’t leave it unattended towards the end, as you don’t want neither raw chicken nor over-cooked chicken. After an hour or so, you can’t find anywhere else to enjoy such a fragrant and juicy baked chicken dish. The chicken is butterflied and flattened before baking, so it’s easier to be cooked through. The browning of the chicken skin is more even as well. You don’t even bother turning the bird in the middle of baking process.
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