Gung Hay Fat Choy

3 Feb

We’ve posted a ton of hoarded Chinese New Year recipes.

And still, there’s no shortage of exotic dishes we’d like to tackle this year.

We’d like to use more tea to poach fish and steam chicken.

Other goals: make sticky rice stuffing for a small roasted chicken.
Throw another dumpling party.
Try our hand at some sweets: ginger, almond or peanut cookies, pear and ginger pound cake. Or these five-spice cookies with candied orange.
Master our favourite cold noodles — two more highly regarded recipes below.

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Peanut Pesto Over Pasta
The New Basics Cookbook. (Russo & Lukins) 8 ounces spaghetti

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup hot water

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions: Mix peanut butter with ingredients in a food processor, toss pesto with hot pasta and garnish with chopped scallions or cilantro.

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China Moon’s Dragon Noodles
1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon Chinese chili sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons juice from pickled ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 pound very thin fresh Chinese egg noodles

Grated rind of l lemon

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted in a dry, heavy skillet until fragrant

3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

For the garnish:

Grated red radish

Julienne of scallions (both green and white)

Toasted black sesame seeds

In a bowl combine the oil, chili sauce, soy sauce, pickled ginger juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Whisk to blend and set the bowl aside.

In a colander fluff the noodles to separate and untangle the strands. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and swish them gently with chopsticks. Let them cook for 2 minutes or until the noodles are tender but still have some bite. Drain them, plunge them briefly into ice water, then drain again. Shake the colander to remove excess moisture and transfer the noodles to a bowl.

Whisk the dressing again to combine it. Toss the noodles with just enough of the dressing to moisten them well, using your fingers to coat and separate the strands. Let the noodles sit for 10 minutes.

Taste the noodles. If they seem dry, add a bit more dressing and toss again. Add the lemon rind, black sesame seeds and scallion rings and toss well.

Taste the noodles again. They should be bright and sparkly. Cover them tightly and refrigerate up to one day.

To serve: Bring the noodles to room temperature. Mound the noodles in a bowl or twirl them in individual bowls. Garnish each dish with grated red radish, scallion and black sesame seeds.

Serves 2 or 3 as a main course; 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal.
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Chinese Five-Spice Cookies with Candied Mandarin Oranges
Makes about 24 round cookies or 18 rectangles
This recipe is adapted from the shortbread recipe in Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of two mandarin oranges (about 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Powdered sugar for rolling out the dough
Muscavado sugar for sprinkling on the cookies
roughly 24 slices of candied mandarin oranges (see recipe below)

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue creaming another 3-4 minutes. Mix in the egg yolk (reserve the white), five-spice, vanilla, and zest until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides as needed while mixing.

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, mix the flour into the butter mixture. Scrape down the sides occasionally and mix just until the dough comes together and the flour is incorporated.

Press the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Dust the work surface with powdered sugar and lay the disk of dough on top. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top and rub some into the rolling pin. Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thick. Cut the dough into circles or rectangles, as desired. Gather and re-roll the scraps until all the dough is used. (If the dough becomes too soft, refrigerate it for a few minutes before rolling it out again).

Transfer all the cookies to the baking sheets and place them about an inch apart. Brush the surface of the cookies with a thin layer of egg white and sprinkle with muscavado sugar. Place one candied orange in the middle of each cookie.

Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for 18-20 minutes, until the edges start turning golden. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining sheets of cookies.

Store cookies between layers of wax paper in a sealed container. They will stay crisp for the first 24 hours, but begin to soften after a few days. (Softened shortbread is still a mighty delicious cookie, FYI!)

Candied Oranges
Makes 25-30 candied orange slices

3-4 mandarin oranges or clementines
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup water

Scrub the oranges thoroughly to remove as much of the wax coating as possible. Use a very sharp knife to slice them crossways into slices 1/8″ thick.

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to medium and slip the orange slices into the liquid. Use a spoon to make sure all the slices are submerged.

Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice during. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid, and let the oranges cool in the syrup for about ten minutes. Transfer the oranges to a wire cooling rack to finishing cooling and drying. They are ready to use immediately or can be kept refrigerated for several days.

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