Fried Aubergine Pockets (炸茄盒 – zhá Jiā hé)

IMG_3866I’ve had some good feedback for my dumpling recipe and I’m glad to hear so many people have been inspired to make it for themselves. In particular an office competition for the best dumplings. The result ranged from 60 plus dumplings following the recipe to just 2 whole dumplings (very high standards) including ones the size of cornish pasties. The general feedback is making the skin and filling it seems to be the most difficult part.

So here is a simple solution to avoid the pesky dough, and it’s more healthy for you! I still love the classic dumpling but this one comes pretty close and it’s much quicker!


For the ‘dough’:

2 aubergine (Serves 4 people)
200 ml vegetable oil
4 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp water

For the filling:

See the various recipes in the dumplings page;饺子-jiao-zi/

For the sauce:

2 crushed garlic
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 parts balsamic vinegar
3 parts rice wine vinegar
1 part all purpose Kikkoman gf soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
1 part water
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white sugar
1 chilli finely chopped (optional for extra kick)


1 chopping board
1 sharp knife
1 flat based frying pan


  1. First chop both ends of the aubergine, then cut 5 mm from the end vertically down but don’t cut through. Leave about 5mm at the end. Then move 5 mm horizontally back and down again this time all the way. This creates a pocket to hold the filling. IMG_3837
  2. Fill the aubergine pocket with filling, then press together making sure the filling doesn’t spill out.IMG_3839IMG_3849
  3. Heat the pan on high heat with a thin, 5 mm deep, layer of vegetable oil.IMG_3850
  4. Dunk the aubergine dumpling in the cornflour mix.IMG_3853
  5. Place batches into the pan and fry each side for 3 minutes or until browned and thoroughly cooked.

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  6. Move the cooked aubergine dumplings onto a plate with kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.IMG_3862
  7. In the meantime make the sauce, by finely slicing the chilli, spring onion and garlic mix together with the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water and sesame oil.
  8. Plate the aubergine dumplings and pour the sauce on top.IMG_3866
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Fast Stir Fry Pork (过油肉 – Guò Yóu Riu)

IMG_3778This is another favourite of my childhood years in China. It originates from the ShanXi region of China and the making of it can vary quite a lot even within the province. This is my take on it and although it doesn’t compare anywhere near some of the best I’ve had, it’s close enough to make me miss them. The key to this dish is plenty of oil and high heat, everything should be done in as little as 5 minutes! In Chinese the name literally means meat passing through oil by oil they mean very hot oil!

There’s two new ingredient introduced in this recipe which might not be familiar with everyone, I certainly don’t see them in the supermarkets of the UK. So you’ll probably have to pay a visit to your nearest Chinese supermarket with a decent vegetable selection.

The first is garlic shoots, it is absolutely delicious! I can just eat it in everything and as the name suggests it tastes kind of garlicky! Take care when taking this on a bus as the smell will make everyone within a 2 meter radius look at you with suspicion. If it doesn’t smell then it might not be the freshest stuff.

The second ingredient is wood ear. It’s a fungi like mushrooms, but unlike mushrooms, I love this stuff! It adds a very interesting taste and texture to a dish. Due to its large surface area, it’s amazing at absorbing a lot of taste. It usually come dehydrates and will require soaking in warm/hot water for 30 minutes before use.



200 g pork shoulder finely sliced
10-20 fresh garlic shoot shopped in 3 cm chunks (I love it so the more the merrier) if you can’t find it then replace with roughly chopped onion.
1 spring onions roughly chopped
1 large handful of wood-ears soaked and with the slightly hard knobbly bit removed
2 medium tomatos sliced
1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced into strips
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large egg
3 tablespoon corn flour
1 tsp black pepper
3 tablespoon all purpose Kikkoman gf soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
2 tablespoons Sanchi gf soy sauce (dark soy sauce)
2 tablespoons rice wine
3 tablespoon rapeseed oil or groundnut oil/vegetable oil


1 medium flat pan


  1. Thinly slice the pork shoulder.IMG_4414
  2. Marinate the pork in egg, corn flour, back pepper, rice wine and light soy sauce for at least 30 minutes (ideally longer).IMG_4415
  3. Cover the bottom of the wok with plenty of oil (essential for this dish) then add the pork and fry until browned. whilst frying, prepare the garlic shoot, spring onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and woodear. Once the meat is done, set aside for later.IMG_4417IMG_3760IMG_3764
  4. Heat the pan with some oil and add the spring onion, ginger and garlic. Fry for 2 minutes until fragrant.IMG_3766
  5. Add the fresh garlic shoot and fry for another minute.IMG_3770
  6. Add the woodear and stir together.IMG_3771
  7. Add the pork, tomatoes and salt and dark soy sauce to taste. Stir everything together on a high heat very quickly.IMG_3774
  8. When everything is hot and mixed, add the corn flour mixed with 4 tablespoons of water.IMG_3775
  9. Stir fry for another minute and serve!

Stir Fried Potato Slivers (炒土豆丝 – chǎo tǔ dòu sī)

IMG_9902It has been a while since the last post as I’ve been away on a culinary journey in Morocco and also distracted by the occasional sun, which despite what people say, does appear in the UK.

I’ve chosen to returned with another classic chinese dish which is so common and popular it is often referred to as China’s national dish (by mainland chinese people at least)! The history of this probably dates back again to the days of the communist revolution when food was scarce, a situation which didn’t change much even decades afterwards. So people had to make do with what was available, and once again the potato comes to the rescue. Due to the wide availability of potatoes, this dish became a hit! To this day you can find it on most restaurant menus and frequently eaten at home as an accompaniment to rice.

So enjoy this chinese take on the world’s most popular tuber.


2 or 3 medium potatoes (depending on how hungry you are) cut into thin slivers
1 fresh red chilli (optional for Sichuanese style)
4-6 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 spring onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn
2 tablespoon all purpose Kikkoman gf soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
1 tablespoon Sanchi gf soy sauce (dark soy sauce)
3 tablespoon groundnut oil or vegetable oil


1 medium flat pan/wok
1 large bowl/sieve


  1. Peel the potatoes, and prepare the spring onion, garlic and chillies.IMG_9881
  2. Cut the potatoes into fine slivers, ~ 1.5 mm wide if possible.IMG_9883
  3. Place the potato slivers into a sieve and wash under cold water thoroughly to remove the surface starch. Let aside for later.IMG_9886
  4. Add the oil to the pan and warm on a medium heat. When hot, add the Sichuan peppercorns and heat until the aromas are released. You can remove the peppercorn at this point to avoid eating them later, but this is often not done in China.IMG_9888
  5. Add the dried chillies and heat for 2 minutes.IMG_9889
  6. Then add the spring onions and heat for another minute.IMG_9893
  7. Add the potato slivers to the pan and turn up the heat. After 1 minute add the salt and soy sauce.IMG_9896
  8. Fry until the potatoes softens and goes slightly opaque. Add the fresh chillies and cook for another minute.IMG_9898
  9. Finally remove from heat and add the garlic and vinegar. Mix well in the pan whilst still hot.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Stir Fried Green Beans (炒豆角 – chǎo dòu jiǎo)

IMG_9304Another staple on every dinner table or restaurant table alike! It is usual when ordering at restaurants to have a few vegetable accompaniments after ordering all the meaty mains and I always pick this one! It’s becoming less popular at banquets as it is seen as a rather cheap and simple dish but that’s all the better! Like many ‘vegetable’ dishes in China nowadays, it has quite a bit of meat. This seems like a trend on the up as peoples craving for meat is increasingly satisfied and surpassed into pure indulgence.

This puts my recent recipe for everyday mince to good use. It looks and smells absolutely delicious and of course that’s all a prelude to how fantastic it tastes! I can eat this all day and it’s so simple to make! Warning, if you add the garlic people may avoid you, but it’s so worth it!IMG_9289


200 g green beans (fine beans) trimmed
1 fresh finger chilli (optional for Sichuanese style)
150 g everyday cooking mince
3 tablespoon all purpose Kikkoman gf soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
5 tablespoon Sanchi gf soy sauce (dark soy sauce)
3 tablespoon groundnut oil or vegetable oil
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped as garnish


1 medium flat pan


  1. Trim both ends of the green beans.IMG_9292
  2. Add to the pan the everyday cooking mince on medium heat for 2 minutes until sizzling.IMG_9295
  3. Throw in the green beans and stir occasionally to make sure they cook evenly. Leave them on a medium heat for 6/7 minutes (depending on personal preference, but I love to leave the beans just a little crunchy… so good!).IMG_9297
  4. In the meantime finely chop the garlic.
  5. Serve the green beans and throw on the garlic.
  6. Enjoy!