VISITING Hong Kong might be off the agenda for now, but if you yearn for its food, here's the answer.
From breakfast staple congee and sweet Chinese donuts, to Hong Kong-style milk tea, steamed scallops, steamed pork ribs and spicy chicken hot pot, it's all there in Archan Chan's new book Hong Kong Local - Cult recipes from the streets that make the city.
Flicking through the pages of this wonderful cookbook is sure to bring back the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Hong Kong.
There are 70 delectable recipes that define the city.
Of course, there are dumplings - pork and cabbage, pork and mushroom, shrimp. And wonton noodles, prawn toast and HK-style French toast.
When it comes to succulent chicken dishes you're spoilt for choice - poached, baked, fried, salted, stir-fried.
Beef, pork and seafood lovers are not forgotten with delicacies such as fried pork ribs with salad sauce, braised beef short ribs with daikon, and salt and pepper squid.
When it's time for dessert, turn your hand to sago, ginger custard or smiley cookies.
Chan also shares her recipes for HK cooking basics including XO sauce, dumpling dipping sauce and sweet and sour sauce. She also has tips on how to cook rice perfectly.
Best of all, you'll already have many of the ingredients in your pantry.
Hong Kong-born Chan's love of food developed while watching her grandmother prepare meals bursting with flavour.
After relocating to Melbourne, she worked in some of the city's top restaurants before being appointed head chef and Ricky & Pinky's. She currently heads the kitchen at Singapore's LeVeL 33.
Here's just one of the delicious recipes you'll find in Hong Kong Local:
Hong Kong-style Poached Chicken with Sand Ginger
This is another simple and clean-tasting way to prepare chicken, this time poached in a fragrant stock flavoured with sand ginger.
100 g fine sea salt
1.2 kg whole chicken, well washed
2 litres iced water
1 teaspoon sand ginger powder (see Notes)
Spring onion and ginger sauce (recipe below), to serve
Steamed rice, to serve (optional)
Sand ginger poaching stock:
180 g sand ginger powder (see Notes)
250 ml (1 cup) fish sauce
2 star anise
2 whole cloves
10 white peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
4 cm piece ginger, sliced
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 spring onion, roughly chopped (or use any trimmings you have)
1 - Dissolve the salt in 2 litres water. Add the chicken and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
2 - In a saucepan large enough to fit the chicken, bring 2 litres water to the boil. Prepare the iced water in a similar-sized container.
3 - Put the chicken in the boiling water for 1 minute, then put it straight into the iced water. This step will tighten the skin.
4 - To make the poaching stock, pour 2 litres water into a saucepan that will fit the chicken. Bring to the boil over high heat. Blend the sand ginger powder and fish sauce to a paste and stir into the boiling water Add the remaining ingredients and return to the boil, then reduce the heat to low.
5 - Holding the neck of the chicken, lower the body into the water until fully submerged. Lift the chicken out of the liquid, then lower it back in again. Repeat the process five times. The purpose of this is to raise the internal temperature of the chicken to a similar temperature to the poaching liquid.
6 - Leave the chicken in the pan and bring the poaching liquid to a simmer (around 80-85°C), then turn the heat off. Let the chicken sit in the liquid for 20 minutes.
7 - Take the chicken out. Bring the stock to a simmer again, then return the chicken to the pan and poach for another 20 minutes.
8 - Take the chicken out of the poaching liquid, transfer to a plate and cool to room temperature in the fridge before chopping.
9 - Meanwhile, stir the sand ginger powder through the spring onion and ginger sauce. Serve with the chopped chicken, and some steamed rice (if you like).
SAND GINGER POWDER - Sand ginger powder is made from dried Kaempferia galangal, which is a little closer to galangal than it is to ginger. Confusingly it is, however, sometimes labelled as ginger powder. Ask the staff at your Asian supermarket if they can help you find the right one. You can substitute galangal or ginger powder, but the flavour won't quite be the same.
Another way to serve this is to put the chopped chicken in a heatproof shallow bowl. Bring the poaching liquid back to the boil, ladle it over the chicken, then pour the liquid back into the pan. Repeat this about ten times to warm up the chicken. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
SPRING ONION AND GINGER SAUCE
This is the best thing to serve with chicken, especially white cut chicken. It's funny, if you've grown up with this sauce (as I have) it feels like you're eating chicken even if the sauce is being served with other meat! Or is that just me?
Makes 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup)
60 g ( cup) grated ginger
1/2 bunch spring onion, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
80 ml ( cup) vegetable oil
1 - Mix together the ginger, spring onion whites and salt in a small heatproof bowl.
2 - Heat the oil in a small saucepan until smoking hot, then pour over the ginger mixture and stir to combine. Mix in the spring onion greens and serve.
3 - This sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Recipes extracted from Hong Kong Local by ArChan Chan, published by Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99.
Photography (c) Alana Dimou, Food Stylist (c) Bridget Wald
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