UKook: Chinese New Year

It's UKook, the cooking show starring international students and their favourite foods from home. This week, Chinese student Mengqiu Ge prepares two traditional dishes: chicken with a spring onion sauce and Wuxi fried pork.

Dish 1: Chinese chicken with spring onion sauce
4 servings

1 chicken leg, with skin
1 teaspoon rice wine (or cooking wine)
3 to 4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tomato
8 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon flour (optional)
Chilli sauce (optional)

Dish 2: Wuxi fried pork
6 servings

500 grams pork (or spare ribs)
8 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon rice wine (or cooking wine)
8 to 10 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon starch
3 cups water

Mengqiu Ge is a 25-year-old master’s student in Supply Chain Management from Wuxi, China. Although she might be too humble to admit it herself, she’s also a great cook – as her friends and the UK can attest.

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Mengqiu prepared several traditional Chinese dishes: chicken with spring onion sauce, rice, spring rolls, pak choi (Chinese vegetables) with fried tofu, scrambled eggs with tomato and her speciality: pork with sauce, a traditional dish from Wuxi.

She learned this recipe from her father, but for UKook, she adapted the recipe to suit western tastes and a student budget, substituting ribs for whole pieces of pork and skipping the chicken feet. To make it more special, she decorated the table in red – a New Year’s colour – including a red envelope beside oranges and grapes, which symbolise prosperity in China. Today, you can enjoy some Chinese luck by enjoying these delicious dishes yourself. They’re both very easy to cook with only a few ingredients, and they’re perfect to eat with friends. Bon appetit!

Dish 1: Chinese chicken with spring onion sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Considerations: non-vegetarian/vegan

Debone the chicken and boil it in water with chopped ginger and a teaspoon of cooking wine. After ten minutes, check to make sure it is cooked: if so, drain the water and place the chicken on a plate. Let it chill in the fridge; if you prefer, you can also cool it down quicker in the freezer by placing it in a sealed plastic bag. Once the chicken is cool, cut it into long slices and set aside.

Warm eight tablespoons of cooking oil in a small pan – don’t let it boil. Meanwhile, chop the spring onions and the garlic, then place them in a bowl with one tablespoon of sesame seeds. Pour the warm oil over the mix and stir properly. Add the soy sauce and chilli sauce according to your own taste. Other spices can be added if you really like it hot.

Place the chicken strips on a flat plate and pour the sauce over the chicken until it is fully covered. It is a cold starter with a fresh flavour that’s not too spicy.

Dish 2: Wuxi fried pork
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Considerations: non-vegetarian/vegan

Cut the pork meat into thick strips or cubes. Warm the oil in a large pan until it starts boiling, and then add the meat and stir. While frying, add the soy sauce and the wine and stir again. Wait one to two minutes until the sauce turns darker, then add the sugar, salt and water (until it is level with the meat). Stir everything properly and cover it with a lid to cook for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.

Mix a teaspoon of starch and one cup of water in a bowl then add it to the meat to thicken the sauce. Mix it properly until the sauce becomes dense and dark.

You can serve this dish with fresh chopped spring onions and rice. Eet smakelijk!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Do you like cooking, too? If you are a RUG student, this is your chance to show off your culinary skills! Contact us at [email protected] with the name of the dish you’d like to make and your availability!