Chinese Easter dinner

I cooked this at Easter for some friends, it made a good alternative to roast turkey which no one likes anyway! You may need to go to a Chinese supermarket for some of the ingredients.

Faux Duck Pancakes
Two tins of faux (veggie) duck
½ tsp five spice
Readymade Chinese pancakes (look in freezer)
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
A dash of sesame oil
½ a cucumber
1 bunch of spring onions

Drain the ‘duck’ and cut into strips the size of your little finger. Toss it in five spice then fry in sesame oil for a few minutes. Coat the duck with the hoisin sauce then roast in a medium oven until crispy (10-15 mins). While the duck is roasting, chop the cucumber and onions into two inch long chunks then thinly slice – thin as you can! Then briefly steam the pancakes (in a traditional bamboo steamer if you have one). Take the warmed pancakes and roast duck to the table with the shredded vegetables so that your guests can assemble their own crispy duck pancakes – good fun and tasty!

Hong Sao Beef
½ tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
5 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
4cm ginger, sliced
100ml light soya sauce
50ml dark soya sauce
1 whole dried red chilli
70g soft brown sugar
1 Lapsang Souchong teabag
A dash of sesame oil
2 boxes of Fry’s vegetarian beef-style strips
300g tenderstem broccoli
1 large red pepper, sliced

In a large pan, boil 1 litre of water and add all the ingredients except the ‘beef’, tea, brocolli and pepper. Cover and simmer on a low heat for two hours. 15 mins before it is ready add the teabag. Then heat the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan. Stir-fry the ‘beef’, brocolli and pepper briefly until just cooked then add to the pan, cook for five mins then serve. The pepper leaves an amazing zingy feeling on your tongue!

Yellow Pepper, Tofu and Blackbean Stir-Fry
2 tbsp blackbean sauce
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp sesame oil
I packed tofu (smoked if you can find it), chopped into chunks
3 yellow peppers, sliced
2 red onions, chopped into wedges
Small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)

Mix the blackbean sauce, vinegar, sugar, soya sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Stir-fry the tofu until golden then add peppers and onions. Add the sauce and continue cooking for five mins. Garnish with coriander and serve hot!

Mini vegetarian spring rolls

Get the mini ones as they are more fun when you have lots of other stuff to eat… You can buy large boxes of these in the freezer section of most Chinese supermarkets. They are usually very cheap (just a few quid for loads!). Fry them at home just before your guests arrive and keep them warm in the oven. They are nice served on a plate of julienned carrots and shredded lettuce (if you can be bothered!).

Prawnless crackers

Again, you can find these in large Chinese supermarkets, fry up a big bowl full, they will be eaten!

Rice

Cook a large bowl of rice to accompany the ‘beef’ stew. I like jasmine rice – available in some large supermarkets, but you can cook your favourite.

Banana Fritters

These are great – chewy and crunchy at the same time!

Vegetable oil for deep frying
5-6 bananas
Icing sugar to dust
100g rice flour
100g cornflour
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp 5 spice
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
250 ml cold water
Ice-cream (Swedish Glace vanilla or if you are feeling decadent, Booja-Booja Feisty Winjin Ginger)

Mix all the dry ingredients then add the water. Dip chunks of banana in the batter and fry until golden. Drain and keep warm in the oven on a low heat. Dust with icing sugar and serve with ice-cream. These are so good you may have to make a second batch!

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