Spicy, sticky Korean chicken drumsticks

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Spicy Korean chicken is the ultimate in Asian comfort food. Sweet, spicy and savoury flavours make them one of the most moreish dishes which is perfect for a quiet night in or a party with friends. Just be prepared for them to go down a storm so make more than one batch! Allow a little time for the chicken to marinade in the fridge before you need them so the flavours have time to infuse. The recipe can easily be multiplied depending on how many guests you are feeding and can be used for a whole range of chicken pieces from drumsticks to thighs to wings so get cooking!

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Ingredients- makes 12 drumsticks
12 chicken drumsticks
60ml dark soy sauce
3 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp gochujang

1. Crack on with the marinade in advance by simply combining the soy, honey, rice wine vinegar and gochujang. Simple! Place in a bowl or in a zip lock freezer bag along with the chicken pieces and make sure they are well coated. Chill in the fridge until you need them. A couple of hours is good but overnight is even better if time allows.

2. When you are ready to cook them, they will take around 20-25 minutes in the oven on 200c/ 180 fan. Make sure the chicken is cooked through and the juices should run clear when it is ready. Reserve the marinade and place in a small pan on the hob and gently heat until it begins to thicken. When it is ready brush the chicken drumsticks with the thickened sauce on each side before giving one last minute in the oven. You can also finish them off with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds if you like. The marinade makes the chicken deliciously sticky and irresistible. That’s all there is to it!

Spicy Korean chicken drumsticks- grab a pile of napkins and dive in!

 

Fragrant Asian salmon parcels

The idea of cooking ‘en papilotte’ (‘in parchment’) is quick and simple and keeps all the flavours locked in. Here delicate salmon is balanced with the aromatic flavours of Asia to bring a simple yet tasty meal. Monkfish or cod loin would also be perfect for this recipe if you prefer. I am a big fan of all Asian greens so I have used pak choi to layer the salmon on top of so it steams altogether.

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Ingredients- serves 2
2 spring onions- finely sliced on the diagonal
1 large garlic clove- crushed
1 2cm piece of fresh ginger- cut into thin strips
1 medium red chilli- deseeded and chopped
Juice of half a fresh lime
2 tbsp each of dark soy
1 tbsp rice wine
2 small heads of pak choi- shredded
2 salmon fillets

1. Start by preheating the oven to 190c/ 170fan. Take all the ingredients apart from the salmon and spring onions and combine in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

2. Grab a couple of lengths of foil which will be big enough for the fish to sit happily in and lay them out on the work surface. Lightly oil each piece. Divide the pak choi and spring onions slices between the two pieces of foil and place them in the centre. Place the salmon atop its leafy, oniony bed and pour the dressing over the fish. Add a splash of water into each parcel so it steams well before gathering the foil together to create a well sealed parcel.

3. Place on a baking tray and cook for around 12 minutes until the fish is tender. Remove carefully and serve with a side dish of jasmine rice.

Salmon parcels- the key to delightfully fragrant and straightforward midweek meal!

Asian spicy braised pork belly

Who can resist the tenderness of pork belly, the umami flavour of Asian ingredients and the punch of chilli in a recipe? Certainly not me! This sticky braised pork belly takes inspiration from Asia to give a straightforward meal idea that everyone can achieve.

This recipe cannot necessarily be pinned down to one specific Asian cuisine but I have mixed and matched my favourite ingredients to give the perfect balance of flavour. I have used gochujang which is a spicy paste made from fermented soya beans. You can buy this online at http://www.souschef.co.uk or find it at your local Asian supermarkets if you have one.

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Ingredients- serves 2-3 
300g lean pork belly
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons sake or shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
450ml water

1.To begin, cut the pork belly into inch sized pieces. Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the pork belly chunks for 2 minutes to draw out any impurities before removing from the pan with a slotted spoon and setting aside.

2. Heat a wok over a low to medium heat and add in the oil and sugar. Cook until the sugar is melting before adding the pork chunks. Cook until the pork is beginning to turn golden- remember to brown off on each side of the pork chunks for an even colour and flavour.

3. At this stage, lower the temperature of the wok back to low and add in both kinds of soy sauce, the sake or shaoxing wine (whichever you are using) and water. Cover the wok with a lid and simmer the pork for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes until the pork belly is meltingly tender. Remember to check the pork from time to time during the cooking process and add a splash more water if it starting to stick to the pan or becoming too dry. If, at the end of the cooking, you have excess sauce then simply remove the lid of the wok, increase the heat slightly and reduce so it ends up being a glossy, sticky glaze over the pork and that’s all there is to it! Serve with rice and Asian greens if you like and dig in!

Asian inspired sticky braised pork belly- a recipe you will come back to time and time again!

 

 

Beef chow mein

Chow mein is a staple of Chinese meal which is speedy to prepare and so delicious that you’ll never need to order it from your local takeaway again! I have used beef here but it can easily be substituted with pork, chicken or prawn- or perhaps even a combination of them all. Like most of the Asian dishes I cook, this takes next to no time to prepare and assemble but just make sure everything is chopped and shredded before you start to make it even easier.

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Ingredients- serves 2
100g medium egg noodles
2 minute steaks
1 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove- finely chopped
4 spring onions- finely sliced
1 small red pepper and 1 small green pepper- chopped
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine
1 large head of shredded pak choi and/ or 60g beansprouts
Handful of toasted sesame seeds

1.Start by cooking the egg noodles according to the packet instructions; drain well and set aside.

2. Slice the minute steak into thin strips or bite sized pieces depending on your preference. Heat the groundnut or vegetable oil in a large wok over a medium to high heat and cook the beef until it is catching some colour and starting to cook through.

3. Add in the garlic, spring onion and peppers to the wok and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Lower the heat and stir the egg noodles through. Pour in the dark soy and rice wine along with the pak choi or beansprouts depending on what you are using. I’m a fan of all Asian greens so pak choi or choi sum usually get my vote! I separated the leaves from the thicker stems of the pak choice; shredded the leaves and then cut the stems into thin strips to add extra texture.

4. Finish off by drizzling the sesame oil, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and toss well to combine just before serving. Make sure the noodles are heated through and serve in large bowls with chopsticks (or a fork if chopsticks equal horror for you!).

Speedy beef chow mein- a perennial Chinese favourite that you can whip up in minutes at home!

Spicy prawn noodle broth

Spicy prawn noodle soup is like a giant hug in a bowl for the soul and the stomach. It combines the sweetness of prawns, the freshness of vegetables, the lightness of broth with a punch! I made my own stock from prawn shells and a few additions as you will see however if you are short on time you could use a readymade stock but it really is worth the effort to do your own.

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Ingredients- serves 2-3
For the stock

250g shell on king prawns
Litre of water
Knob of fresh ginger
4 spring onions- cut into thirds
Fresh piece of lemongrass- left whole
1 red chilli- sliced and deseeded (depending on how spicy you like it!)
1 fresh lime
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2tsp palm sugar

For the noodles
150g rice noodles
Handful of sugar snap peas- sliced on the diagonal
Handful of bamboo shoots- sliced on the diagonal
2 heads of pak choi- white parts finely sliced and leaves shredded

1. Kick off by removing the prawns from their shells. Take a large, deep saucepan and add a splash of vegetable oil and heat this over a high heat. Cook the prawn shells until they turn pink. Add a litre of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave this for half an hour before straining and reserving the water- you can discard the shells at this stage. Add the water back into a clean saucepan and infuse with the ginger, lemongrass and spring onion; these will all be removed later and won’t be in the final dish so sling them in and off you go! Simmer again for at least 30 minutes but longer if you can so the flavours can develop.

2. When you are nearly ready to use the stock, remove the ginger, lemongrass and spring onion and discard the prawn shells. Skim off any impurities from the surface of the stock and strain well. Now comes the time to season the stock so you must taste as you go. Add the soy sauce, fish stock and palm sugar as stated in the ingredients list but tweak to suit your tastes. Fish sauce and soy will add the salty edge the broth needs so go easy. Give a squeeze of lime to add a little acidity.

3. In a separate pan, add a splash of oil and heat over a medium heat. Add the sugar snap peas, bamboo and the white part of the pak choi. If you like a spicy broth you should add the chilli in at this stage too; if you prefer it to be milder then add it in at the end to serve. Cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes before adding the broth back into the pan. Bring it back to a simmer before adding the prawns and pak choi leaves to cook. The prawns will go blush pink when ready.

4. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to packet instructions and drain well. I give mine a minute less than it suggests as it will be in the broth so you don’t want soggy noodles. Take large bowls for serving and divide the noodles between them. Ladle over the finished broth and finish with a little extra chilli or coriander if you like.

Spicy prawn noodle broth- the perfect meal for a chilly evening as autumn looms!

Slow cooked sticky Chinese pork belly slices

Forget your favourite Chinese takeaway this week and give this a try. The sweet pork belly meat is balanced with a savoury and punchy marinade which is a surefire winner!

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Ingredients- serves 4
8 pork belly slices
1 tsp five spice
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns- ground (optional)
2 tbsp dark soy
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 garlic clove- finely grated

1. This pork benefits from being marinated in advance, even the night before if you can so the meat can take on the different flavours. To make the marinade, simply mix the spice and wet ingredients before massaging into the belly slices. Cover and keep in the fridge before you need it.

2. When you’re ready to cook the belly, preheat the oven to 160c/ 140 fan. Place the belly slices onto a baking tray and cover with foil. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. As the pork cooks, check it occasionally and use the sticky juices to baste as needed. After the first hour, turn the oven up to 200c/ 180 fan, remove the foil and cook for a further half an hour.

Serve with long grain rice and a vegetable side dish. I served with a mixed vegetable stir fry of shredded pak choi, tenderstem broccoli, sugar snap peas and spring onion which was finished simply with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Unctuous pork belly- move over takeaways!