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Spring rolls without the guilt!

3 June 2013 in Chinese, Easy to prepare, Economical

I shall lean closer to the screen so you can see the word ‘SUCKER’ stamped on my forehead. Princess Gilly (29) doesn’t live with us, but she does pass our house every day on her way to work, and one of us rushes out with her daily take-a-way. There’s usually yoghurt, fruit, something sweet like a cupcake/muffin and her lunch…..which cannot include bread.

I have become quite inventive and as such, have stopped eating quite so much bread myself. This cheese and grated veggie slice is a favourite.

Her Highness is getting a couple of these tomorrow.

I spotted the rice paper wraps in my local supermarket and decided to give them a go at the weekend, Himself and I thoroughly enjoyed them, you have to have them with the dipping sauce though, which isn’t quite so guilt free. OK I lied with the title….sous me!

They are so easy to prepare, you can use virtually any ingredient you fancy, I used some beef fillet and a variety of veggies. We enjoyed these for lunch but they would also make a great starter. I haven’t given exact quantities as it depends on how many rolls you are making, but I made 5 with the fillings I had.

First make the dipping sauce so that it can cool…

Dipping Sauce

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tsp grated garlic

1 tsp grated ginger

2 TBS fish sauce

2 TBS sweet chilli sauce

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

Put the sugar, water and vinegar in a thick bottomed saucepan.

Bring to a boil and turn the heat down a little so it’s still boiling but more of a rolling boil for another 5 minutes.

Take off the heat and add the fish sauce, garlic, ginger and chilli sauce, simmer for a couple of minutes, remove from heat and add the lemon juice.

Cool and put in the fridge where it will thicken, I made half this amount for the two of us and there is still half left to give you an idea of quantity.

The Rolls

Fresh green sprouts thinly sliced

Baby corn sliced into slivers

Fresh bean sprouts

Julienne of carrots and celery

Spring onions chopped into 4cm lengths

Snap Peas chopped finely at an angle

Thinly sliced cooked beef fillet (you could also use cooked chicken or prawns)

You need a bowl wider than the wrappers filled with warm water and a damp tea towel.

Take a wrapper and leave it in the water for about 30 seconds, remove it and place it at the edge of the tea towel and fold the towel to cover it, leave for at least another 30 seconds. Repeat with a second wrapper and so on, it’s important to keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out.

Take the wrapper and keep it on the towel (if you put it on the counter it will stick, trust me)

Place your ingredients on the wrapper as shown below, as you can see I kept everything in a line to make for easier rolling.

Roll as tightly as you can till about halfway then turn in the sides and continue rolling.

The roll will keep it’s shape, the spring onion tie is for effect only.

If you prefer your rolls deep fried, and let’s face it,  who doesn’t? then here are two options for you. The traditional deep fried way or using a Philips Air Fryer, which is a healthier version. Click on the photo to be taken to the recipe.

Spring rolls, deep fried and airfryer cooked

Mozambican Prawns with Fried Rice

22 April 2012 in Chinese, Easy to prepare, Sous Chef, Sous Chef South Africa

We don’t eat out very often, Himself maintains restaurant food upsets his stomach, I think it’s more the prices that upset him myself, that and the fact that he struggles to part with his dosh! *rolls eyes*

So I feel nothing about treating ourselves like we did today, to our credit we did invite our daughter Gilly to join us for lunch.

I was in Spar the other day and noticed this sauce/marinade that I hadn’t seen before and knowing I had some crustaceans languishing  in the freezer I decided to try it. I am so glad, because it was just the right amount of spice, it enhanced the flavour of the prawns without overpowering them. A lovely lunch washed down with a bottle of Sunday Sparkles on a sunny afternoon :)

The Prawns

1 kg headless cut and deveined prawns

1/2 bottle of Ruy’s Prawn and Crayfish Marinade

Butterfly the prawns and place flesh side down in the marinade and leave for a few hours.

Heat a thick based frying pan or use your  skottel, just get it to a really hot temperature. DO NOT ADD ANY OIL.

Add the prawns (straight from the marinade)  in a clockwise position so you know which to turn first, don’t try to cook all the prawns at once, do them in batches.  Make sure you have a warmed dish to put them into.

It does depend on size but I cooked these for a minute on each side.

Fried Rice

2 eggs beaten

2 cups cold cooked rice

1/2 onion thinly sliced

3 cups of various vegetables, I used red pepper, mushrooms, sliced green sprouts, carrots, cooked frozen peas and corn.

Chinese seasoning

2 TBS soy sauce

2 or 3 spring onion chopped


Fry the beaten eggs in a pan (like an omelette) and set aside, when cool cut into little squares.

Next stir fry the veggies that take the longest to cook, like the onions and pepper for a minute then add the remainder and the Chinese spice. don’t overcook them, another minute should be fine.

Add the rice and the egg and heat through, finally add the soy sauce.

Disclaimer: I have not been remunerated in any form by the manufacturers of Ruy’s Marinade, I simply saw it and bought it.



Chinese Plum Sauce

12 December 2011 in Chinese

As it’s our wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve, we tend to eat our Christmas fare then, although last year we were home alone and ate out for only the second time in *mumble* years.  This year the family is with us and our menu will be Prawn Spring Rolls, Whole Beef Fillet with Exotic Mushroom sauce and I have no idea what my daughter-in-law Mel will be bringing for pud.

I want to serve the Spring Rolls with a choice of dipping sauces and as plums are in season I decided that one of the sauces would be a plum sauce.

700g fresh ripe plums

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce

1 clove garlic crushed/grated

1 knob ginger grated

1/2 teaspoon Chinese spice

Wash the plums and then cut in half, twist and remove the stone.

Plums are in season

Chop the plums.

Place all the ingredients into a thick bottomed saucepan, bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes.

The sauce should look like this….

Allow to cool and then pour into a blender and blend away until it’s nice and smooth. This will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, you can freeze what you don’t use.

For my other yummy dipping sauce and my detailed step-by-step recipe to make your own delicious crunchy spring rolls click here it is dead easy!