Sanya has the best climate, soil, air and water quality in China and I couldn't resist buying a fridge full of produce! Even though there were plenty of restaurants on our doorstep, I must have made some of the tastiest dishes purely down to the quality of the produce there. Here are some pictures of my staple dishes home cooked dishes - Scrambled egg & chinese chives and sesame buckwheat noodles - for this dish I did find a small store within a department store that sold olive oil at £10 for 250ml bottle and a jar of sundried tomatoes at £8 a jar! I also cooked up some Sichuan Pickled Radish & Kohlrabi, Wok Fried Garlic Shitake Mushrooms and also Sundried Tomatoes with Soy. And the two recipes below are for you - enjoy! SU AI NI PAI HUANG GUA - SMACKED CUCUMBER My mother used to make this "quick pickle" and place a few pieces in my Chinese lunchbox alongside some rice with sesame seeds and fried pork chop cutlet and half a braised soy egg during my early school years growing up in South Africa. The chilled cucumber is the perfect appetiser to get your tastebuds going - the slight tang of the vinegar, against the soy sesame flavour of the dressing and the delightful fresh crunch that comes from buying the best seasonal cucumber will leave you wanting more! SERVES 4 TO SHARE PREP TIME: 35 MINUTES COOK TIME: 0 Ingredients 1 plump juicy cucumber in season, smacked, sliced down the middle, sliced into 1 inch chunks on the diagonal. 1 tablespoon chilli oil Dressing: 2 cloves grated garlic 2 tablespoon light soy sauce 2 tablespoon rice vinegar 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon mirin 1 teaspoon caster sugar Method: 1. Prepare the cucumber – chill for 30 minutes. 2. Just before serving, make the dressing. 3. Toss the cucumber in the dressing & serve in small bowls to share. WOODEAR FUNGUS IN SOY SESAME DRESSING TOSSED IN FINELY CHOPPED CORIANDER In China you would get a series of “leng cai” ie. cold appetisers that consist of rare or prized vegetables, either pickled, steamed or bathed in a variety of Chinese marinades. This is one of my favourite recipes to make and my version of a grand “leng cai”. The woodear fungus is a superfood. It has many nutrients and the Chinese believe it is a great detoxifier and aids weight loss. They come dried and you need to pre-soak them in some warm water to rehydrate them, then finely slice them. These are also great in soups, salads and stir fries and give a delicious crunchy texture. Toss them in a simple soy, sesame oil, rice vinegar dressing – my favourite – for a salty, sour, nutty flavour. Keep in the fridge so its super refreshing when serve chilled, toss in finely chopped coriander, garnish with freshly sliced red chilli for hot spicy kick. You can’t get healthier than this! SERVES 4 TO SHARE PREP TIME: 40 MINUTES COOK TIME: 0 Ingredients 50g of Chinese black woodear mushrooms 2 tbsp of light soy sauce 2 tbsp clear rice vinegar 2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil Pinch of caster sugar 1 small handful of coriander, very finely chopped Juice of half a lemon 1 tsp of chilli oil Method: 1. Pre-soak the woodear fungus in warm water for 20 minutes then finely slice into "shreds" 2. In a bowl, add the light soy, clear rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and sugar and mix well. 3. Place the shredded woodear fungus in a serving bowl. Dress with the soy sesame vinegar dressing, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 4. Before serving, toss in finely chopped coriander, dress with juice of half a lemon, drizzle with some chilli oil and garnish with some freshly sliced chilli.
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