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EGG NOODLE SALAD WITH CHINESE BARBECUE PORK AND PICKLED CARROTS

This dish is inspired by a Chinese noodle salad my uncle Jimmy brings to Kwong family gatherings. The Chinese barbecue pork pieces and pickles are my addition. My uncle uses freshly made thin egg noodles, which I prefer for this recipe because they are delicate in texture and not so filling. But feel free to choose your favourite, including Hokkien or Shanghai noodles. Look for fresh thin egg noodles in the refrigerated section of the Asian grocer.

Serves 6 - 8 as part of a banquet

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Ingredients

2 large celery sticks, finely sliced on the diagonal

1 tbsp vegetable oil

500g fresh thin egg noodles

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp light soy sauce

250g Chinese barbecue pork, warm or at room temperature, finely sliced

90g (1 cup) bean sprouts

60g (½ cup) drained pickled carrots* (recipe below)

80ml (⅓ cup) liquid from pickled carrots*

50g (½ cup) fresh black fungus

2 tsp sesame oil

Method

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Blanch celery for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. Refresh under cold running water and drain well. Pat dry.

2. Add vegetable oil to same pan of water and bring back to the boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.

3. Heat sugar and soy sauce in a nonstick frying pan until sugar has dissolved. Add pork and heat through for 45 seconds or until slightly sticky.

4. Add pork and remaining ingredients to noodles and toss well using your hands. Arrange on a platter to serve.

Tip: I always have a bit of barbecue pork in the freezer. It's fantastic not only for a quick, flavoursome fried rice, but also great added to noodle dishes or finely sliced and added to wonton soup.

If you don't eat pork, you could add fried egg ribbons and fresh Asian herbs to make this a substantial vegetarian dish or swap the pork for cooked tiger prawns.

*Remember to make the pickled carrots a day ahead (recipe below).

 

CHINESE PICKLED CARROTS RECIPE

When I was growing up, Mum used to buy Chinese pickles in Chinatown that gave instant depth and character to dishes. But these days I like to make my own – they are easy and fun to make, and enhance dishes instantly. Add these pickles to other dishes or serve alongside any meal as a condiment.

Makes: 300g (about 2½ cups) drained

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Ingredients

3 carrots (about 300g in total)

1 tbsp salt flakes

5cm x 2cm knob (20g) ginger, thickly sliced

1 whole star anise

¼ tsp Sichuan peppercorns

Pickling liquid

1 litre (4 cups) white vinegar

295g (1⅓ cups) white sugar

Method

1. To make the pickling liquid, combine vinegar and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered and without stirring, for about 30 minutes or until reduced by one-third and slightly syrupy. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

2. Meanwhile, peel each carrot and cut in half crossways. Cut each piece into slices two millimetres thick, then into matchsticks. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, drain the liquid from the carrots, squeezing well with your hands. Place carrots in a 1 litre capacity airtight jar or container, pour pickling liquid over to cover, add ginger, star anise and peppercorns. Refrigerate for one day to allow flavours to develop before using. The pickled carrot will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.

 

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CELEBRATING AUSTRALIAN-CHINESE NEW YEAR

SO EXCITED about celebrating our family’s ‘Australian-Chinese New Year’ beginning this Friday 16th Feb! Thank you so much to Good Food for capturing the spirit and energy of my beautiful mother Pauline and the delightful and charming stories relayed to me by one of my favourite aunties, ‘Aunty Connie’ and our friend Jeanette Cumines in today's article. Such rich family memories and deep tradition which my enormous extended 'Kwong and Fong Kee Clan’ can all hold onto forever and cherish. It is such a pleasure to be able to share my family with yours, enjoy this story and see my recipes below which I will also be offering at Billy Kwong as of this Friday 16th for two weeks, throughout the Lunar New Year Festival. Happy Australian-Chinese New Year everyone, KK! XX

  Photo: Anna Kucera

Photo: Anna Kucera

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CHINESE NEW YEAR GOOD LUCK SALAD (YEE SANG)

This salad is also known as yee sang. The higher you toss this salad, the more good luck you'll have for the New Year!

Serves 6 as an entree as part of a banquet

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

INGREDIENTS

65g dried glass noodles

120g sashimi-grade ocean trout, sliced finely (or use sashimi-grade kingfish or snapper)

2 lebanese cucumbers, julienned

1 small carrot, peeled and julienned

100g white radish, peeled and julienned

40g munyeroo (native purslane), leaves picked (or use coriander leaves)

30g Bower spinach, picked (or use baby English spinach leaves)

10g pickled ginger, julienned

½ cup roasted macadamia nuts, finely crushed in a mortar and pestle

100g fresh black fungus

70g fresh bean sprouts

1 large red chilli, finely sliced

3 tbsp freshly squeezed finger limes (or use cheeks from 2 fresh limes)

300ml ginger and tamari dressing (see recipe below)

METHOD

1. Make the ginger and tamari dressing (see below)

2. Soak noodles in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain thoroughly.

3. Arrange all ingredients on a large round platter in separate piles, with the noodles in the centre, and the sashimi slices arranged on top of the noodles.

4. To serve, place platter in the centre of the table, make sure all guests have a pair of chopsticks, and pour 300ml of the dressing over the salad. Everyone must reach into the salad to mix and toss it with their chopsticks, saying very loudly "loh hei" (literally "to move upwards"). The higher you toss the salad, the better your New Year luck.

Serve alongside my recipes featured on goodfood.com.au; crab and ginger dumplings and deep-fried duck as part of a Chinese New Year banquet.

 

GINGER AND TAMARI DRESSING RECIPE

This versatile dressing is perfect with salads, steamed greens, roast chicken and grilled or barbecued seafood. It keeps for about three days in the fridge.

Makes about 730ml

INGREDIENTS

175ml malt vinegar

125g brown sugar

50ml water

175ml tamari

2 tsp sesame oil

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp finely grated white onion

1 tbsp finely grated ginger

METHOD

1. To make the dressing, pour vinegar into a heatproof bowl. Place sugar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil then turn the heat down to medium and allow sugar to caramelise until it is dark brown (about 2-3 minutes).

2. Just before caramel begins to smoke, remove from the heat, quickly pour into the vinegar bowl and whisk well. Add tamari and sesame oil and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, whisking continuously, then stir through onion and ginger.

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SPANNER CRAB AND GINGER DUMPLINGS WITH SICHUAN CHILLI OIL

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Serves 4 as part of a banquet

INGREDIENTS

about 160g fresh picked spanner crab meat

2 spring onions, finely sliced

5cm x 1cm knob (15g) ginger, finely diced

1 tsp light soy sauce

½ tsp white sugar

½ tsp sesame oil

16 fresh round or square wonton wrappers (about 8cm across)

Sichuan chilli oil (see recipe below) 

10g picked native sea blite leaves (or use fresh dill)

pinch of Sichuan pepper and salt (see recipe below)

For the Sichuan pepper and salt

1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns

3 tbsp sea salt

For the Sichuan chilli oil

2 tsp dried chilli flakes

½ cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tbsp hot water

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tsp white sugar

pinch of Sichuan pepper and salt (see recipe above)

METHOD:

To make the Sichuan pepper and salt dry-roast peppercorns and salt in a heavy-based pan. When peppercorns begin to "pop" and become aromatic, take off the heat. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder in mortar and pestle or spice grinder (makes four tablespoons; store in an airtight container).

To make the Sichuan chilli oil place chilli flakes in a heatproof bowl. Heat oil in a small heavy-based saucepan until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Carefully pour hot oil over chilli to release the heat and flavour. Stir to combine and set aside for at least 30 minutes to cool.

Strain cooled oil mixture over a bowl through a fine sieve and discard chilli flakes. Stir in remaining ingredients, including a pinch of Sichuan pepper and salt, to combine and set aside. 

To make the dumplings

1. Place all the dumpling ingredients (except wonton wrappers, Sichuan chilli oil and Sichuan pepper and salt in a bowl and combine well.

2. Next, fill and shape the dumplings by placing a rounded teaspoon of the filling in the centre of a wrapper. Dip your finger in water and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Gently lift one side of the wrapper and fold in half over the filling to the opposite side. Lightly press around filling and along edges to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Set the 16 dumplings aside in a single layer on a tray lined with baking paper.

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Drop dumplings into the water a few at a time and boil for 2½ minutes or until cooked and wrappers are translucent. To test that the dumplings are ready, remove one and cut into it with a sharp knife to check that the filling is hot. When dumplings are ready, remove with a slotted spoon and drain onto a plate.

4. Arrange dumplings on a platter and serve immediately dressed with Sichuan chilli oil, garnished with the native sea blite and sprinkled with the Sichuan pepper and salt.

Serve alongside my recipes featured on goodfood.com.au; deep-fried duck and good luck salad as part of a Chinese New Year banquet. 

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GOOD FOOD RECIPE

STIR-FRIED ASPARAGUS WITH GARLIC

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a banquet

The season of spring at Billy Kwong always calls for an asparagus stir-fry, sliced and cooked very lightly and quickly. It is interesting to use salt sometimes as the flavour enhancer, rather than using soy. This method is also great with fresh snowpeas, zucchini flowers, bok choy or Chinese white cabbage.

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

INGREDIENTS

2 bunches green asparagus (about 500g)

2 tbsp peanut oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp salt flakes

2 tbsp shao hsing wine or dry sherry

⅓ cup vegetable stock or water

1 tsp sesame oil

METHOD

1. Wash asparagus, trim and discard woody ends. Peel lower parts of stems, if necessary, and slice stems in half on the diagonal. Wash and drain well.

2. Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add garlic and salt and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add asparagus and stir-fry for one minute. Add wine or sherry and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Pour in stock and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds or until asparagus is just tender. Lastly add sesame oil and serve immediately.

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GOOD FOOD RECIPE

STIR-FRIED SCALLOPS WITH SNOWPEAS & GINGER

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a banquet

I usually try to source Queensland saucer scallops for this dish, with their firm-medium, flavoursome flesh. Be sure to pat the scallop meat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture before cooking and only cook this dish "a la minute" – the scallops should be rare and the snowpeas bright green and crunchy. You could of course substitute fresh green prawns for the scallops. If you are allergic to peanuts, use vegetable oil.

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp malt vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

½ tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp peanut oil

24 scallops, removed from their shells (about 240g scallop meat)

120g snowpeas, topped and tailed

3 spring onions, cut into 7cm lengths

4 ginger slices

2 tbsp shao hsing wine or dry sherry

METHOD:

1. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add scallops to wok, in two batches if necessary, and sear for 30 seconds on one side, then turn over and sear the other side for 10 seconds so they are nicely caramelised. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

3. Add snowpeas, spring onions and ginger to wok and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add wine or sherry and cook for 10 seconds.

4. Return scallops to wok, add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

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GOOD FOOD RECIPE

CHILLI SALT & PEPPER SQUID WITH FRESH LIME

Serves 4 as a starter

This dish is best cooked "a la minute" so make sure you have all of your ingredients prepared, your serving plate with lettuce cups and fresh herbs ready to go, and your guests seated before you begin frying the squid. It only takes a few minutes to cook and is so delicious eaten piping hot.

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

INGREDIENTS:

500g squid

1 ½ tbsp  cornflour

1 ½ tbsp plain flour

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp crushed Sichuan peppercorns

vegetable oil for deep-frying

4 small iceberg lettuce leaves, chilled

2 limes, halved

handful coriander sprigs

handful mint leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METHOD:

1. First, clean and score the squid (see step-by-step guide below).

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, chilli powder and Sichuan pepper. Add squid and toss to coat, shaking off any excess flour.

3. Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add half the squid and deep-fry for about 1½ minutes or until just tender and beginning to colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper. Repeat process with remaining squid.

4. Arrange chilled lettuce cups on a platter and top with squid. Serve immediately with lime halves and fresh herbs.

How to clean and score squid

1. Gently pull the head and tentacles away from the body and discard the entrails.

2. Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. Reserve the tentacles and discard the head.

3. Remove and discard the fine, purplish-black membrane from the body.

4. Trim the side "wings" from the body and set aside.

5. Pull out the clear "backbone" (quill) from inside the body, then rinse body, tentacles and wings thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen paper.

6. Cut squid down the centre so that it will open out flat.

7. Using a sharp knife, score shallow diagonal cuts in a crisscross pattern on the inside surface, taking care not to cut right through the squid. Scoring squid makes it curl on contact with hot oil, while also allowing flavours to penetrate into the squid.

8. Cut the scored squid in half and then into four-centimetre strips.

9. Trim the reserved "wings", then cut in half.

 

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GOOD FOOD RECIPE

SLOW-COOKED RED-BRAISED PORK BELLY WITH CARROTS, EGGS & SHALLOTS

With a bowl of steamed rice, this Chinese casserole-style dish provides a delicious, flavoursome and substantial meal during cooler months. It can be made the day before then simply reheated to serve.

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

INGREDIENTS:

3.5 litres red braise master stock (see below)

450g free-range boneless pork belly, skin on, at room temperature, cut into 2cm pieces.

4 free-range eggs, at room temperature

3-4 carrots, halved if large

4 red shallots, peeled but left whole

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp malt vinegar

¼ tsp sesame oil

For the red braise master stock

4 spring onions, trimmed and halved

80g ginger, thickly sliced

6 garlic cloves, crushed

4 strips (about 6cm x 1cm) orange peel, white pith removed

8 star anise

4 cinnamon quills

375ml (1½ cups) light soy sauce

250ml (1 cup ) shao hsing wine

185g (1 cup) lightly packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

3 litres cold water

 

 

 

 

METHOD:

1. Make the red braise master stock (see recipe below) in a large stockpot that will later fit the pork, eggs, carrots and red shallots.

2. Meanwhile, place pork belly in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain. This will remove any impurities from the meat.

3. Place eggs in a small saucepan of boiling water and cook for seven minutes (or eight minutes if using eggs straight form the fridge). Remove eggs using a slotted spoon and refresh under cold water. Carefully peel eggs and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess liquid.

4. When the stock is ready, return to the boil. Add pork, eggs, carrots and red shallots, cover the entire surface with a round of baking paper and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until pork is tender. There should be no more than an occasional ripple breaking the surface; adjust the temperature, if necessary. To check it's ready, pierce the pork with a small knife – you should meet no resistance.

5. When the pork is just about cooked, scoop out 250 millilitres (1 cup) stock from the pork and place in a small saucepan. Add sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and cook over medium-high heat for five minutes or until sauce is reduced by half and syrupy.

6. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the pork belly, carrots, shallots and braising aromatics from the stock pot and place on a large platter. Scoop out the eggs and cut in half.

7. Spoon the sauce over the pork and arrange the egg halves on top to serve.

8. Strain and freeze the master stock to use again.

Red braise master stock

1. Place all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 25 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

2. Use as directed in recipe or cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or strain and freeze to use again.

Makes 3.5 litres

Tips: Feel free to add exotic Asian mushrooms such as shiitake, shimeji or oyster mushrooms. If you do not eat pork or are a vegetarian, omit the pork entirely and add your favourite vegetables – thick slices of white radish and cauliflower florets plus chunks of zucchini, potatoes or fennel. For a less hearty version, simply omit the boiled eggs.

After cooking with the stock, you can strain it and freeze it indefinitely to use again. It will develop a stronger flavour each time you use it.

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GOOD FOOD RECIPE

STIR-FRIED EGGPLANT WITH CHILLI & GINGER

We Chinese cooks love to prepare eggplant in many different ways: braised, pickled, steamed, grilled, smoked, roasted or simply stir-fried, as in this recipe. Roughly sliced regular eggplants are fine to use instead of Japanese eggplants.

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

INGREDIENTS:

400g Japanese eggplants 

3 tbsp peanut oil

5cm piece ginger, finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, roughly crushed

¼ cup shao hsing wine

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp malt vinegar

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 large red chilli, finely sliced lengthways

METHOD:

1. Remove stems from eggplants and cut into one-centimetre slices on the diagonal.

2. Heat two tablespoons of the peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add eggplant and stir-fry for about 2½ minutes, being careful not to let it burn.

3. Add remaining peanut oil to wok with ginger and garlic and stir-fry for one minute.

4. Add shao hsing wine and sugar and stir-fry for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir-fry for a further minute. Serve immediately.

This rich and intensely flavoured dish makes a great accompaniment to a more delicately flavoured dish such as steamed snapper with ginger and shallots, or alongside fried rice for a simple and quick meal. You can substitute a splash of leftover red or white wine for the shao hsing – a hint of alcohol adds depth and character.

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VILD MAD

Feeling SO inspired by René Redzepi and MAD's newest endeavour VILD MAD which launched recently. VILD MAD ( "wild food" ) is a comprehensive and free resource designed to help the Danish public sustainably explore and cook with wild food. Watching the VILD MAD video on the MAD Feed I felt so energised - I loved it when René Redzepi likened being in nature to being in a 'supermarket' - it instantly reminds me of a time some years ago, when 'Uncle Max' ( as he is widely known, or Max Dulumunmun Harrison, an Aboriginal Elder of the Yuin people, who lived throughout the south coast of NSW ) took a group of us on a tour of the bush, as part of a Zen Buddhist retreat which Nell introduced to me. As we walked, Uncle Max spoke about 'Mother Earth, Father Sky, Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon' and pointed out all of the delicious edible native plants and seeds. In 2009, Uncle Max and photographer Peter McConchie published a special book, 'My People's Dreaming' ( Finch Publishing Sydney ). As Uncle Max conveyed to us over that amazing weekend, and as he writes; "We are not following the sun, we are following the crops. Following the cupboards or the aisles of what I call the ancient supermarkets of the bush ... It is so important to read the land, to be observant of the changing colour of the leaves, and the changes in behavior of the animals, so we become aware and recognise the messages the land is sending us." Initiatives that deepen our understanding of where our food comes from are crucial. Thank you René Redzepi and the MAD team for your meaningful work with VILD MAD and, back here on our own shores, again, the deepest bow, especially to Mike and Gayle Quarmby of Outback Pride Fresh for providing we Australians the opportunity to cook and learn about the precious native foods of this country. 📸For Australian native plant stockists head to Wholefoods House and Outback Pride Fresh.

 Image - Alfred Caliz & www.madfeed.co

Image - Alfred Caliz & www.madfeed.co

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'A MUSHROOM OF ONE'S OWN'

The MAD Feed recently posted 'A Mushroom of One's Own' by Nancy Lee, a reflection on the work of Chido Govera and her trip to Australia earlier this year.  Thank-you very much to Nancy for this great read - "MAD seeks to encourage change through conversation and nurturing ideas, but they also realize that there are practical aspects to enabling action. Chido Govera is changing the lives of women through mushroom farming. A scholarship from MAD facilitated her trip to Australia in April 2017 to share some of her work in Sydney and Melbourne. MAD hopes, with the right support, to fund more such scholarships in the future." 

Click on 'A Mushroom of One's Own' to read Nancy Lee's words on one of the most inspiring women I have ever met, Chido Govera. For more on Chido and her work head over to The Future of Hope Foundation.

 Image www.madfeed.co

Image www.madfeed.co

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GOOD FOOD RECIPE

STEAMED SNAPPER FILLETS WITH GINGER & SHALLOTS

It's not unusual for me to eat seafood five times per week, so I make the most of the fresh fish we have available in this country. The wonderful smoky-nuttiness of the hot peanut oil brings this classic Cantonese recipe together, infusing the aromatic ginger, soy and sugar.

  Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

Photography: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem

INGREDIENTS:

4 x 100g snapper fillets

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp shao hsing wine

2 tbsp ginger julienne

1 Chinese cabbage (wombok) leaf

1/2 tsp white sugar

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/4 tsp sesame oil

1/2 cup spring onion, julienned

1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil

1/4 cup coriander leaves

METHOD:

1. Place fish in a shallow heat proof bowl that will fit inside a steamer basket. Pour water and wine over fish, then sprinkle with half the ginger. Place bowl inside steamer and position over a deep saucepan or wok of boiling water and steam, covered, for 5-6 minutes.

2. Cut Chinese cabbage leaf into four squares and slip inside steamer. Cover and steam for a further 2-3 minutes, or until cabbage has warmed through and fish is just cooked. The flesh should be white; if it is still translucent, cook for another minute or so.

3. Remove cabbage from steamer and arrange on a serving plate. Using a spatula, carefully remove fish fillets from steamer, and place on top of hot cabbage.

4. Pour any liquid left in bowl over fish, sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with combined soy sauce and sesame oil, then sprinkle with remaining ginger and half the spring onion.

5. Heat peanut oil in a small frying pan until moderately hot, then carefully pour over fish. Sprinkle fish with remaining spring onion, coriander, and serve at once.

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