Celebrate the start of the Year of the Dragon with these Chinese-inspired recipes.
Sesame chicken skewers with sweet chilli dip
Add some crunch to Chinese chicken kebabs by coating them in sesame seeds. Makes 8.
• About 500g chicken thigh fillets (bones and skin removed)
• 1 egg, beaten with a splash of soy sauce
• 50g plain flour
• 150g sesame seeds
• 8 bamboo skewers
• Vegetable oil
• 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
• ¼ tsp sesame oil
• 1 spring onion, washed, trimmed and chopped finely
1. Preheat the grill to a medium heat and line the grill tray with foil.
2. Measure out the flour and sesame seeds and place in separate bowls. Crack the egg into another bowl and splash in the soy sauce.
3. Slice the chicken into 3cm wide strips. Dip each piece in the flour, then the egg and then in the sesame seeds and thread onto the skewers. Tip: cover the tip of the skewer with chicken so it doesn’t burn.
4. Arrange skewers on the grill tray and brush with 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Grill for 5-6 minutes, turning once. Check the chicken is cooked by cutting into a piece. Arrange the cooked skewers onto a clean board or platter and scatter with all but a teaspoon of the spring onions.
5. To make the dip, combine the sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl and stir in the remaining spring onion. Serve alongside the chicken.
[See also: How to make delicious spring rolls]
Chinese vegetable parcels
These crispy parcels are perfect for a party. If you have any leftover, they’re also great in the kids’ lunchboxes the next day. Makes 10-12.
• 200g beansprouts
• 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
• 2 spring onions, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• A handful frozen peas
• 1 carrot, grated on the width, to make short, stubby ribbons
• 270g pack filo pastry
• 100g butter, melted
• Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
1. Drizzle a little oil in a frying pan or wok and add the vegetables and the 5-Spice. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked. Check for seasoning; remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
2. Melt the butter and put to one side. Preheat your oven to 200C.
3. Open the pack of filo pastry and place on a board, with the long side facing you. Cut down into strips 8cm wide.
4. Layer three individual strips of pastry together and brush with the butter. Take a teaspoonful of the stir fry mixture and place at the top right hand side of the strip and fold down diagonally to make a triangle shape at the top. Fold down again, and keep folding, forming a triangle shape until you get to the bottom of the strip. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the pastry and vegetables.
5. Brush the parcels with the melted butter, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for about 15 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.
Chinese marinated lamb with garlic pak choi
Lamb chops are quick to cook, but marinate them overnight if you can, for the fullest flavour. Serves 4.
• 4-6 lamb chops
• 1 ½ tsp Chinese 5 Spice
• 60ml Hoisin Sauce
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp ground cumin
• 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
• 2 tbsp light brown sugar
• 2 tbsp runny honey
• 1 tsp grated ginger
• 2 heads of pak choi, separated and washed
• 1 large clove garlic, chopped
1. Combine the Chinese 5 Spice, Hoisin sauce, cinnamon, cumin, soy, sugar, honey and ginger in a large bowl. Add the lamb chops and coat with the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour, or overnight, if possible).
2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the grill to a medium heat.
3. Line your grill tray with foil, arrange the lamb chops on top and slide under the grill. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side.
4. While the lamb’s cooking, prepare your pak choi. Heat a little oil in a frying pan or wok on a medium-high heat. Add the pak choi and garlic and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the leaves have wilted and the white stalks are tender. Add a splash of water to create some steam to help it cook. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
5. When the lamb is cooked, serve on a platter over the garlicky pak choi.