Saturday, 7 February 2015

Simple Chinese Cooking Class with Kylie Kwong

Don't be deceived. Kylie's innocent smile, academic glasses and silken black hair will draw you in, make you feel at ease and pow she will kick your arse with chinese cooking that will make you question why there needs to be any other cuisine on earth.

Growing up in rural Australia where every street is adorned with ubiquitous Chinese restaurants it was not till a trip to China in my early 20's that I fell head over heels for this cuisine. It's diversity, technique and ever present melding of flavours that will make you want to cry with joy won me over and as I have discussed many times on this blog became my life's mission to re-create here in Australia.

Despite the fact that Kylie Kwong has been producing books for more than a decade I only recently laid my hands on one of her cookbooks with a recent purchase of "Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking". Whilst the book presents a style of Chinese cooking that differs from the cuisine of the Sichuan province I fell in love with in China it is a stunning presentation none the less. The moody photography of ingredients and dishes will have your mouth-watering and the step by step technique guides will have every home cook cheering.

My first foray into the world of Kwong was with her Crispy Orange Peel Beef. Always in search of new and interesting flavours I was intrigued by the heavy handed use of orange peel in many of Kylie's recipes. Myself always being a child who shunned anything with peel in it I now find myself as an adult chasing after what I use to shun and this recipe was a total banger (yes I know that is a music term but you know what, recipes can be bangerz too!). Beef brisket slow cooked in master stock, pulled into tender chunks, battered in egg white, deep fried and tossed in a dressing of blackened chilli's, chilli flakes, ginger, garlic and orange peel. Wow what a combination and the seasoning of Sichuan pepper adds that mouth watering tingle that you long after time spent in China.

For my second journey into Kwong's world I could not go past the stunning seafood recipes this book presents and "Fish Fillets with Chinese Mushrooms and Lup Cheong Sausage" seemed to fit nicely with Martin's deep love of Lup Cheong and my need for mushrooms. This recipe was also one of the shortest in the book and what could be more perfect for a Sunday night. To be honest the simplicity of the recipe was almost disturbing. You basically take Chinese mushrooms, fish, lup cheong, ginger, shao hsing wine, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Put it all in a bowl in a steamer and steam. Dear god is cooking really this easy? You know what, when you have your flavours right and with quality ingredients it really can be that easy.


I was a little worried at first that this dish was too subtle and Martin would be wondering where that punch of flavour was hiding. But surprisingly it did not need a punch. The blending of flavours was subtle but intriguingly moreish and the better quality of fish you invest in the better this dish would get as the fish really is the stand out here.

This book is as close as you will get to having Kylie come to your kitchen to give you a masterclass in Chinese Cooking. The flavours are as far from small town Chinese cooking regularly found across Australia as you can get. No disrespect to those establishments as they are my go to eat out food on the cheap but if authentic Chinese flavours backed by amazing Australian produce is what you want you must get your hands on a Kylie Kwong cookbook.
Originally posted on Saturday, 7 February 2015 by

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