Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake Recipe 鲜肉月饼

Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake Recipe 鲜肉月饼

It’s the Mid-Autumn festival this coming Sunday, and we have been busy perfecting the recipe for the Suzhou style meat-filled mooncakes that are popular in Shanghai. This seasonal treat has a rock-star status in the Shanghai street food scene; people would queue for up to 12 hours just to get their hands on them and have to fight off scalpers for spaces in the queue. Here is what the scene looks like. Suzhou mooncakes have a distinctly flaky pastry which is very different to the Cantonese style mooncakes that are prevalent here in the UK.  The stuffings can be savoury, sweet or a combo of both. The most famous and popular version is this pork-filled Xian Rou Yue Bing 鲜肉月饼。 Here is what you need to make 8 mooncakes. For the water dough: 100 g flour 30 g butter or lard 50 g warm water 5 g sugar 5 g salt Mix all the ingredients well until they are combined. The warm water helps to soften the butter/lard, so you don’t need to leave it at room temperature to soften. The dough feels sticky like bread dough, so you can throw it a few times onto the work surface to help work up the gluten. It helps the dough to be elastic and allows it to be repeatedly folded and rolled out without breaking apart. Wrap the worked dough in cling film and set aside for 30 minutes. For the oil dough: 100g flour 50g butter or lard, at room temperature Mix the flour and butter/lard well and wrap in cling film for 30 minutes For the stuffing: 200 g minced pork 1...
A take-out menu to celebrate turning 1!!

A take-out menu to celebrate turning 1!!

It was a year go this week I was sitting in my kitchen trying to hatch a perfect plan to start a new career doing something I’m passionate about – food! – while still giving me the flexibility to be a full-time mom when the kids get home.  A friend said to me:”Just cook something, and invite a few friends around. We will tell you honestly whether there is a market for Shanghai homecooking.”  So, I threw away the pen and paper, and picked up my knife and chopping board and started cooking. At the end of that lunch a week later, Shanghai Supper Club was born!! They gave me my first take-out orders based on that menu. So, to celebrate that life-changing lunch and a year of happy cooking, we are bringing you some of the favourites from last year’s take-out menus.   MENU Pork and Chinese cabbage pan-fried dumplings 白菜猪肉锅贴 with our homemade wrapper – 10 for £12 Braised pork belly 红烧肉 in a dark and treacly soy sauce. – £15 Spinach & tofu salad 马兰头 (v) with blanched and finely chopped spinach and tofu – £10 Steamed aubergines 清蒸茄子(v) Steaming makes the aubergines melt-in-your-mouth soft.  – £10 Stir-fried rice cake 炒年糕 (v) with Shiitake mushroom, Chinese cabbage and chicken slivers – £12 Onion oil noodles with dried shrimp 开洋葱油面 (v) This is the Chinese version of pasta aglio e olio. It looks simple but is full of flavours – £8 * (v) indicate dishes that are vegetarian or can be made as vegetarian. Serving suggestions: For a complete meal for 3-4 people, start with the dumplings, and follow with one vegetarian and one meat dish accompanied by the rice cake or the noodles....
The easiest dumpling to make

The easiest dumpling to make

For the second installment of our cooking lessons, we will be teaching you how to make the easiest dumplings there is: the Wonton. What you will make: Green pak choy and pork soup wontons Noodle salad with pepper and pork Vegetarian alternatives available What you will learn: The Chinese seasonings and their usage Basic knife skills How to wrap the perfect wonton Creating a stock for the soup Making the stuffing Cook the perfectly al dente noodle for the salad Stir-frying When and where: Wednesday 16 September, 11:00 – 14:00 in Marylebone Ticket price: £60 per person including lunch and Chinese tea Class information:  A small group of 6 people As hands-on (or off) as you like. You can make everything from start to finish or watch and sip tea while we show you how it is done. We aim to have plenty of leftovers for you to take home. To book, please email us for booking...
Mid-Autumn Festival: a supermoon, an immortal and lots of mooncakes!

Mid-Autumn Festival: a supermoon, an immortal and lots of mooncakes!

On the 27th September, Chinese people around the world will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 which is the second most important festival in the whole year.  It celebrates family gathering and reunion, thanksgiving for a good harvest (due to China’s agrarian roots) and affords people a celestially auspicious window to pray for material or spiritual blessings (with increasing fervency in modern times!). On the night, family members return home to have a big reunion meal. Mooncakes of various sweet and savoury fillings are given as gifts to friends and families leading up to the festival, as the round shape signifies completeness and unity in Chinese culture.  After the dinner, everyone would sit around to admire the bright moon, sip tea and enjoy the stacks of mooncake they surely would have accumulated by then. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar as the Chinese believe the moon appears the biggest on this date.  In a highly unusual culmination of events in the cosmos, there will be a supermoon and a lunar eclipse at the same time during the festival this year.  A supermoon happens when the moon reaches its peak while it is at the closest possible distance to the earth, making the moon’s diameter look up to 14 per cent bigger, according to Nasa. This September’s supermoon will also coincide with a lunar eclipse, making it a supermoon lunar eclipse – an event which has happened just five times since 1910. The last time the two events converged was in 1982 and the next time will be 2033.  However,...
Dragon boat & Zong Zi

Dragon boat & Zong Zi

  This Saturday is the Duan Wu Jie 端午节 or Dragon Boat Festival in China and across many Asian countries. Growing up in Shanghai, I didn’t see any dragon boats being raced down Huangpu River. Instead, it was a day forever etched into my memory with a spacial food: Zong Zi 粽子. Like all Chinese festivals, there is always a story or two to explain the origin of the event. The version I grew up with has to do with a poet named Qu Yuan 屈原 (c. 340–278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu during a period of wars between neighboring states. He was a minister in the Chu court and advised the king against an alliance with the increasingly powerful state of Qin. As often is the fate with straight talking and loyal subjects, Qu Yuan’s advice was ignored and he was banished from court with accusations of treason. Twenty-eight years later, Qin invaded the Chu capital and proved Qu Yuan’s worries a sad reality. In his despair at failing to stop the demise of the Chu state, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River. The local people raced out in their boats to to retrieve his body and hence the origin of the dragon boat races. When his body could not be found, they dropped balls of sticky rice, Zong Zi, into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan’s body.   Zong Zi is made with bamboo or reed leaves stuffed with sticky rice and a combination of savory or sweet ingredients. My favorite is the Shanghai...