This Friday lots of people will be marking Chinese New Year. It’s out with the old and in with the new and if you’re up for a spot of Chinese-themed celebrating, there’s plenty out there to be enjoyed. Last year we took the children into Chinatown in London to show them some of the Chinese festivities and symbols – red lanterns and flags, Chinese dragons and very loud drums. We also enjoyed a tasty Taiwanese meal in a surprisingly authentic restaurant called Leong’s Legend, which had a very simple interior (based upon a Chinese tea house) but some really great food and was much less busy than the main streets in China Town. Try the ‘pork buns’ or Taiwanese mini kebabs, as recommended by Jay Rayner in The Observer.
I’ve written about what we’ll be doing this year along with some recipe suggestions in my weekly blog for Jamie Oliver. In the meantime, I’ve also come up with a family-friendly starter – a simpler (and slightly healthier) version of crispy duck pancakes made with shredded chicken. I know, I know, it’s not authentic and there’s no crispy skin to feast on, but my kids are a bit picky when it comes to duck fat so I’ve gone with shredded chicken (from a leftover roast) instead. Thankfully, they like the Hoisin sauce and the building aspect of this for tea keeps them extra quiet.
I’m hoping to be able to pop into Chinatown at some point over the weekend to hunt for some more steamed buns and to stand by the windows watching homemade dumplings being crafted by hand.
Time for a little link-love. Firstly, I’m joining in with Extra Veg, a new monthly blog event hosted by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy – lots of raw sliced carrots, cucumber and spring onions here. I’m also sending this to January’s Feel Good Food Challenge over at A Kick at the Pantry Door, which has a theme of tasty and inexpensive – this is both, especially by using chicken instead of duck and adding lots of raw veggies. For the same reason, January’s Four Season’s Food Winter (co-hosted by Eat Your Veg and Delicieux) gets a hit too, with a theme of virtuous food – less duck fat! I’m also linking up to Credit Crunch Munch, also jointly hosted by Camilla at Fab Food 4 All and Helen at Fuss Free Flavours – leftover chicken, a substitution for duck and lots of veggies. And finally, to my own Simple and in Season – the carrots, cucumber and spring onions are all British and in season in January!
- 200g shredded leftover roast chicken (around two breasts)
- Half a cucumber
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 4 spring onions
- 12 Chinese pancakes
- 80g Hoisin or plum sauce
- Shred the chicken with two forks - preferably whilst its still warm.
- Finely slice the cucumber, carrots and spring onions and warm the pancakes slightly, if you like.
- Set out the chicken, sliced vegetables and Hoisin or plum sauce. Fill each pancake with the prepared ingredients, roll up and eat.
Let me know if you get up to anything exciting for Chinese New Year!