How to make jiaozi (Chinese dumplings)

Published on Yahoo Lifestyle UK & Ireland on 4th February 2013:

Dumplings by Qin Xie

There’s probably nothing more perfect than jiaozi for a Chinese New Year celebration – it’s the sort of dish that families make together and enjoy together.

Jiaozi, or Chinese dumplings as it’s more frequently known, are essentially little parcels of pastry wrapped filling. It’s traditionally considered a dish from Northern China although it’s enjoyed all over China.

The pastry is made with just water and flour while the filling can be almost anything you want. Most fillings are meat based and vary from region to region, like pork and garlic chives or beef and celery.

Here’s a recipe for pork and Chinese leaf dumplings:

Read more at Yahoo!

Chinese New Year with Ken Hom

Published on BespokeRSVP on 19th January 2012:

Billions of people around the world will be welcoming in the Year of the Dragon in Chinese New Year celebrations this year on the 23rd of January. The celebrations can go on for as long as 15 days, with different traditions followed each day, or can be as small as a family gathering on New Year’s Eve.

In my family the celebrations have always involved copious amounts of food, including dumplings and stir-fry (an amalgamation of our northern and southern China influences), and watching the CCTV (that’s China Central Television) New Year Gala.

Whatever the celebration though, it will always involve food – it’s just such an integral part of Chinese culture. So to celebrate a little on the Bespoke Blog, we decided to explore the Chinese New Year with Ken Hom OBE, one of the most internationally renouned personalities in Chinese cuisine.

Hom came to prominence in the UK when he was commissioned to do a TV series on Chinese cooking for the BBC in 1984. It was greatly received as it was the first time that food was cooked in real time and of course it was a very healthy and different way of cooking. The TV series was syndicated worldwide, with many more series and accompanying books produced since.

Hom took some time out from his busy schedule (currently in Brazil) to answer our questions…

What do you think Chinese New Year is all about? It is all about celebrating with family and friends, especially over meals. It is also a time of family reunion and looking forward to the New Year.

Do you have any family traditions when celebrating Chinese New Year? I remember we cleaned our house before New Year’s Eve and talked about planning the family dinner.

Are there any dishes that are Chinese New Year essentials? Yes, dried oysters with sea moss…. Good things and prosperity. A whole fish for prosperity and dumplings for good luck.

How are you celebrating Chinese New Year this year? With friends in London

What’s your outlook for the year ahead and are there any new projects coming up? So far it looks good as I am filming a new series for television. I am supporting Action Against Hunger, and I will be supporting the Prostate Cancer Charity for the London Marathon. And who knows what else the year will bring?

Are there any ingredients which are must haves for Asian inspired dishes for the Year of the Dragon? It would be the usual dishes but we are always weary about the Year of the Dragon because it will be a strong year with consequences for many years to follow! But I am positive!

Goldfish, Gresham Street

Published on Foodepedia on 20th July 2010:

46, Gresham Street, London EC2V 7AY

Given the mix of ramens and bentos with the dim sums and noodles, you could be forgiven for thinking that Goldfish, City, was just another pan-Asian restaurant. In some respects, it is. But it promises to serve modern Chinese cuisine and dim sum on their menu, a curious combination you might think. So just how “modern” is the latest offering from the Goldfish family?

Well, all the usual Chinese restaurant classics seemed to be present and correct but there was also a European twist about them.

Being particular about my Chinese, it wasn’t hard to whittle down the menu to a select few dishes. Not that the menu doesn’t offer a decent selection though, especially if you’re just popping in for lunch. The set menus were turned down for being too standard restaurant Chinese as I wanted to try anything that looked, well, different.

First up was the “Chew Yim” calamari. This bit of Cantonese meant nothing to me until a quick google told me that it’s the done thing for hip Asian restaurants these days. It turned out to be squid fried in super light batter tossed with a mix of chillies and spring onion. That’s right, they’ve put an Asian twist on the calamari by making it spicy and it was clearly done very well. Each piece invited me to eat another, savouring its subtle flavour cooked to tender perfection.

The calamari was polished off pretty quickly so it’s just as well that the dim sum platter came in a timely manner. I have to say that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and I felt a little duped. The selection offered three dim sum choices, all prawn based. The anticipation for Char Siu Bao in the dim sum platter got me excited but I was disappointed to discover the lack of variety. The calamari was a hard act to follow and the dim sum platter just didn’t do it for me.

Can mocha ribs, stir fry chicken, green fry rice with eggs and yuzu juice, or seasonal greens turn it around?

Well the green fry rice with eggs was just your bog standard egg fried rice with spring onion and coriander. There’s really nothing alien about the green bit although it does take the egg fried rice to the next level. The seasonal greens worked well as a side and the stir fry chicken was a little on the salty side.

The mocha ribs are what I really want to talk about. Red meat with chocolate sauce I know and love, coffee sauces match desserts splendidly, but mocha ribs? This was something new and it certainly brought intrigue to the table. Despite having eaten plenty of ribs before, sampling these felt like an initiation – I was entirely unsure of what to expect.

At first bite they tasted just like standard ribs: meaty, juicy, delicious. But hang on, where was the mocha? I felt cheated. Is this yet another ploy by those cunning marketeers?

I tried another just to make sure there was no “mo” or “cha”. There wasn’t.

I rolled my eyes and took a sip of the lemonade. Just then I got a little something, a hint of bitterness or just something unexpected, something that’s not quite the same. This warranted another examination of the sauce. Yes, there was definitely something, but is it mocha? Soon I had made my way through half a plate of ribs with the sole purpose of finding that elusive flavour on my taste buds. As it turns out, those were rather addictive in their own right. So what does it matter anyway?

All in all, Goldfish has done well. The modernity is perhaps only demonstrated through the westernised menu but the flavours aren’t bad at all. And if it’s good enough for the vicars of the local cathedral sitting behind me… One thing to note, if you’re considering lunch in an hour then expect to be asking for the bill before you finish the starters.