Chinese New Year 2019
2019 is the Chinese Year of the Pig, and why not celebrate Chinese New Year with a tasty, nourishing meal? Supermarkets have a great range of veg*n friendly Chinese-inspired products but you can also create some easy dishes at home.
Here’s a recipe I created after watching a chef in my local takeaway create mock duck. It’s super easy and can be enjoyed by everyone!
Mock Duck with Pancakes
Serves 4 as a starter. Vegan, NOT gluten free
This is a really easy yet tasty dish. Using tinned mock meat can work out quite cheap too!
1 can mock meat (found in most Chinese supermarkets)
1 tbsp olive oil
Hoi sin or plum sauce
16–20 Chinese pancakes
4 spring onions, cut thinly length ways including dark pieces
1 cucumber, cut into julienne pieces with soft centre removed
- Preheat oven to 190°C/374°F/gas mark 5. Lightly grease a roasting tin with olive oil.
- Remove the mock meat and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds and then drain. Chop into long pieces and use ½ tbsp hoi sin and ½ tbsp olive oil to coat. Place in a roasting dish in the centre of the preheated oven.
- Roast for 30–40 minutes or until crispy. Stir half way through.
- Once cooked, remove from roasting dish and using two forks shred the mock meat.
- Serve hot with steamed pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and sauce.
Crispy Chilli Tofu
Serves 2–4 as a main
This is one of my favourite crispy tofu dishes. It’s an amalgamation of recipes I’ve come across over the years and something I keep changing depending on what I have in the fridge. This is a filling and warming dish that is great to eat in the cold winter months. If you’re not a fan of too much heat then remove the fresh chilli garnish.
800g firm tofu (I use Cauldron), drained, pressed and cut into 3cm cubes
3 tbsp cornflour for dusting
1 tsp Chinese five spice
Vegetable oil for frying
2 tsp cumin seeds, bashed
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 green finger chillies finely chopped, or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or apple cider vinegar
2 tsp caster sugar
¾ tsp salt
2 large peppers sliced (1 green and 1 red)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
Additional extras: Bamboo shoots, fresh pineapple, water chestnuts and cashew nuts can be added towards the end.
- Drain and press the tofu to make sure most of the liquid has been drained. Cut into cubes and cover and dust in the cornflour and Chinese five spice.
- In a deep-frying pan add around 1-inch vegetable oil and put on a medium heat. Check oil is ready by dropping in a piece of the tofu. If ready then add ⅓ of the tofu so not to overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches and allow to drain in kitchen towel.
- In another drying pan, add 1–2 tbsp oil and slowly fry the cumin seeds and onion until onion is translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for another couple of minutes before adding the tomato purée, ketchup, soy sauce, rice wine sugar, salt and pepper.
- After a couple more minutes add the peppers and around 100ml water. Allow to cook for around 5 minutes then add the tofu back into the pan. The sauce will be thick and you can just coat the tofu.
- Serve with rice noodles, sticky rice or udon noodles. Garnish with spring onions and fresh chilli.
Note that this recipe should be served and eaten straight away because the crispy tofu will become soggy if left for next day.
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