This is the second (or third) time I write about Red ‘n’ Hot on this blog. It is one of the Sichuanese restaurants in London that I visit on a regular basis. They consistently serve good quality Sichuanese food and they keep it authentic, if it says spicy it is spicy and no bell peppers or other random vegetables here. It’s always packed with (young) Chinese people, not perhaps the most cosiest and romantic of restaurants – then again, who needs romance when you can have Sichuan pepper?
Here’s pictures of some of the food I have had there this autumn.
Hot and sour vermicelli soup. This is an interesting and very tasty dish, I love the dried soy beans (I think it’s soy beans) that they top this soup with.
Dan Dan Noodles. This is very different from the other Dan Dan Noodles you get in London,the noodles are thinner and it’s more mild.
Here we have the same noodles, this time cold served in a hot and sour cold broth (under the noodles). This is topped with cucumbers and sugar! Mix it together and enjoy. Love the vinegar on this one!
Pork Dumpling with Chili Oil, very nice and tender.
Wonton noodles in chicken broth, these are so soft and velvety, lovely!
Water cooked pork, a favourite of mine. This comes in a very spicy and flavourful broth (not a broth really). Generous amount of Sichuan peppers and chillies. I really love this!
Mapo Tofu. There is something with this dish that makes me go crazy. The tofu, the leek and the minced pork in the very spicy sauce. I LOVE MAPO TOFU! I’d have children with mapo tofu, I’m not sure it’s possible though.
I’d love to be in a Chinese kitchen to see how they prepare their fish because it is so different from what you would get in any fish restaurant. Extremely soft, delicate but yet firm. The fish is always expensive (£15+), you do get a decent amount though. This was a white fish served with some green leaves and tomato skins. Wonderful!
Wontons, please God bless these small wonderful creations. I love wontons, that is no secret. I bought a bamboo steamer and needed to try it out and wontons were the obvious choice for me. This time around I made mixed meats wontons.
The meats are pork, shrimp and chicken. Start of by mincing these using a Chinese cleaver or any type of knife you have at home. Basically, attack the meat like a ninja until it finely chopped.
I added some minced ginger and garlic for flavour. I also seasoned the mix with Chinese soy sauce, sesame oil and Chinese rice wine. Add some salt and white pepper. Finally you also need to add some starch, I use corn flour. This will create a velvety coat on the meats when they are steamed.
Start folding the wontons, I buy my wonton skins frozen. There are several different techniques, you can find many good videos on youtube.
Arrange the wontons in the bamboo steamer. Make sure to oil the steamer so that wontons do not stick to the surface. Actually, the amount of wontons in the picture is not ideal since they will stick to each other. I was not that fussy about that since I knew that they would be inside my tummy in a couple of minutes so I wanted to get them done in one go. If you want to go fancy, steam about 10-15 at a time and make sure there is enough space between the wontons.
Fill a pan with plenty of water and add the steamer on top. Turn up to high heat and boil away for about 10-15 minutes depending on how many wontons you are making and how much filling you are using. Serve with a dip sauce of your choice or add to a soup. Enjoy bitches!
Ok, so let’s talk a bit about wontons. I love wontons, God bless these fabolous dumplings! Order them in Chinese restaurants, buy them ready-made in Asian groceries or make your own. You can have them in soups, boiled with a great dip sauce or fried crispy golden crazy!
These are the ingredients that I used. From top left: light soy sauce (I use Thai soy sauce which is a bit sweeter), pure sesame oil, leek (spring onions would be a better choice), ginger, garlig, wonton pastry, minced pork.
Start off with mixing the pork with the soy sauce and the sesame oil, add very finely chopped ginger, garlic and leek. This is your basic filling.
Be sure that the wonton pastry has had time to defrost. Start folding your wontons using the basic technique shown in the pictures below. Take about 1 tsp of your gorgeous filling and place it in the middle of your wonton sheet.
The wonton is ready! Repeat 50 times and you have enough wontons for 3-4 people.
The next part is easy. Bring loads of water to a boil. Add the wontons, make sure they do not stick to the bottom. The water cools down a bit at this stage, wait for it to boil again and just leave it for some minutes.
When the wontons are ready you can add them to a soup base with some basic veggies. I had mine with a dip sauce made with chinese black vinegar and garlic – grrreat!