Chilli & garlic prawns; Sweet & sour pork

I received Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy cook book for my birthday a few weeks ago and so last weekend decided it was high time to try out a few recipes. For starters, I plumped for the “zesty chilli & garlic tiger prawns” followed by the sweet and sour pork.

The prawns are from the spicy sichuan section of the book, and were really flavoursome, tasty and juicy. I will definitely be making these again!

To serve two –

  • Around 200g raw prawns
  • 2 tbsps groundnut oil
  • 5 (yes, 5!) finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium red chilli, finely chopped (the recipe calls for it to be de-seeded but we left some in as we like a bit of a kick)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • chopped French beans
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • pinch sea salt

Before starting, butterfly the prawns (cut in half down the middle of the back), which somehow seems to make them more satisfying! Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry for the garlic and chilli. Add the prawns, rice wine and lime juice and keep stir frying until the prawns are beginning to turn pink. Add the beans (we had par-boiled ours just for a few minutes first). Once the prawns have cooked through, season with the salt and chilli flakes and tuck in! These were so tasty, really moreish, and the sauce that formed in the bottom of the bowl was eaten afterwards with a spoon!!

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Moving onto Ching-He’s Sweet and Sour Pork, the recipe calls for the following, to serve two;

  • 2 pork loin chops
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • few dashes light soy sauce
  • dash of rice wine
  • steamed jasmine rice

For the pork coating;

  • 3 tbsps roasted whole soya beans (Which we couldn’t get), or dry-roasted peanuts
  • Few pinches of ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed dried chillies

For the sauce;

  • 4oz tinned pineapple in natural juice
  • 4fl oz pineapple juice
  • 3 tbps freshly squeezed lime juice (we almost doubled this as it just tasted too sweet for our tastes)

Grind all the ingredients for the pork coating in a pestle and morter then sprinkle onto a plate or board and press the pork into the mix so that it sticks to the meat.

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Put the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce into a blender and blitz into a paste. Heat the oil in a wok on a high heat and add the pork. Cook on one side until browned then turn over.  Once cooked, remove the pork from the pan and keep warm. Pour the blended pineapple and lime into the wok and simmer for a few minutes until reduced and thickened, season with the soy sauce, rice wine, salt and pepper. We served this with pak choi stir fried with soy sauce, rice wine and a little garlic.

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This dish was nice enough, but, I have to say, a bit of a disappointment. I didn’t think the sauce was that great, maybe we did something wrong, but the flavour just didn’t seem quite right. Having tried a few of Ching-He’s recipes in the past I expected this to be as tasty as everything else of hers!

There are still plenty of great sounding recipes in this book though which I am looking forward to trying out!


Yoghurty Prawns on Toast

Last weekend I had some cooked prawns that needed using up, and also had nothing much in the house for lunch. Something to do with prawns for lunch it was, then! I was feeling quite lazy and was already pretty hungry so was wondering what I could do that would be quick and tasty without using many ingredients.

I took inspiration from something my mum often makes as a starter – prawns with creme fraiche and lemon served on crunchy lettuce leaves. I had also seen a recipe for something similar in my Jamie Oliver book, I think he uses sour cream, but served on a brioche. As I am a big natural yoghurt fan, I of course had some in the fridge, and so decided to mix the prawns with these. You might be forgiven for thinking, prawns and yoghurt… really?! But believe me, it really works! I thought this would be healthier than creme fraiche or sour cream but should still keep the zingy flavour. I chucked in some other bits and pieces and plonked the whole lot on top of a piece of toast. It turned out to be one of the nicest lunches I’ve had in a long time! There’s definitely something to be said for improvising with the sparse contents of your fridge and cupboard now and then! Especially if those contents include natural yoghurt, it’s so versatile! 🙂

To serve two;

  • 200g prawns
  • Around 4-5 tbsps natural yoghurt
  • juice and zest of one lemon (maybe a bit less if you don’t like things too zingy, I personally love lemonyness!)
  • Around a quarter of a red onion, finely chopped
  • Handful of freshly chopped dill
  • Toast to serve

I mixed the prawns in with the yoghurt, lemon juice and zest and the dill which was helpfully hanging around the back of the fridge. At the last minute I chucked in a little red onion too in order to replace the satisfying crunch that is usually provided by my mum’s lettuce.