According to the Chinese calendar, it’s the year of the Dragon today (23rd January). The dragon is the only mythical creature amongst the 12 animals of the zodiac and it is revered for its strength and intelligence.
So we got creative and thought to ourselves… how can we symbolise the year of the dragon to give you some Chinese recipe ideas this Chinese New Year.
We realised that it’s difficult to cook a dragon as they’re rumoured to be too chewy and don’t sit so well in soup.
So we searched for the next best ingredient, something as magnificent and mighty as a dragon but with the added value of being down-right delicious.
That perfect ingredient this Chinese New Year is, would you believe it, the mushroom!
Chinese mushroom recipes
Chinese mushroom recipes traditionally involve mushrooms such as shitake and oyster mushrooms as they have subtle flavours that combine well with other ingredients.
But you wouldn’t expect a dragon to roll over and be dominated now would you?
No, you wouldn’t, so we suggest combining the Chinese mushrooms with field mushrooms, such as the fearless Portobello, or the courageous white closed cup mushroom to ensure you lose none of the meaty texture.
Sticky spiced mushroom skewers – serves 2
What you’ll need…
250g Portobello mushrooms
noodles, griddled vegetables to serve
For the marinade
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp clear honey1 tsp vegetable oil
2cm piece root ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, crushedhalf tsp
Chinese 5 spice
Mix the mushrooms with the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the mushrooms and stir well until they are coated. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Drain the marinade into a small pan and simmer for 1-2 mins until syrupy. Thread the mushrooms onto skewers then cook over a griddle or under a hot grill for about 10 mins, turning frequently and brushing with more of the marinade. Serve hot with noodles, char grilled peppers and courgettes.
Mushrooms with chicken and black bean sauce – serves 2
What you’ll need…
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 chicken breast fillets, sliced
5cm piece root ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 spring onions, trimmed
200g baby pak choi, trimmed
Chinese cooking wine
350g open cup mushrooms, halved
4 tbsp black bean sauce
rice or noodles to serve
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, add the chicken and stir fry over a high heat for 5 mins or until pale golden. Add the garlic, ginger and mushrooms and stir fry for 3-4 mins.
Cut the spring onions in half lengthways then each into 4cm lengths; cut the pak choi in half lengthways.
Add the onions and pak choi to the pan along with the wine and black beans sauce. Stir fry for 2-3 mins or until the pak choi stems are tender.
Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
So there you have it, let’s make 2012 the year of the mushroom!