What we are cooking this week

What we are cooking this week

Some of you asked for drunken chicken and we heard you; it’s on the menu this week. But it takes a good few days to marinate it to get it properly “drunken”, so you must let me know by tomorrow morning IF you want it. For the rest of the menu, please email or text your order to me by end of Tuesday. Pick up is on Thursday from 12:30pm at 13 Montagu Place, W1H 2ET. Pork Sheng Jian Bao 鲜肉生煎 – £11 for a box of 5 cooked or a box of 6 frozen Drunken Chicken 醉鸡 – £15。 I use bone-in corn-fed chicken thighs. Must be ordered by Monday morning the 11th.  Steamed eggplants 凉拌落苏 – £11. It’s a cold dish you eat at room temperature and is light and refreshing. Soy beans & pickled garlic mustard 雪菜毛豆 – £11. The pickled mustard leaves used here is foraged near London and made by a friend of ours. It tastes just like the Xuecai mustard we have in Shanghai. Large wonton with a sesame dressing 麻酱菜肉大馄饨 – £11 for a box of 6. These large tortellini like wontons are stuffed with minced pork and chopped green pak choi This is also the last week we are making Zongzi 粽子 this year. Please get your orders in by Friday otherwise we cannot guarantee we will be able to make them for you.  There are 2 flavors: pork belly 肉粽 is £4 each and red beans 赤豆粽 is £3.5... read more
Zongzi Takeaway

Zongzi Takeaway

In Chinese culture, we make a lot of foods specifically as temple or ancestral offerings. I suspect they are all excuses to eat something that otherwise would be considered a luxury in an everyday diet. At Shanghai Supper Club we certainly love following these traditions as they are a perfect way to try different foods across different seasons. So for the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival on 18th June, we will be offering Zongzi for takeaway for the next few weeks. There are 2 flavours: pork belly at £4 each and red beans at £3.50 each. Minimum order is 4 pieces. They are available from Monday 21 May through Monday 18 June. Please place your order at least 24 hours in advance, as we make them fresh daily in the morning.  Pick-up is from W1H 2ET. Delivery can be arranged with a fee.  Please email us for a... read more
Happy New Year of the Monkey!

Happy New Year of the Monkey!

What are you doing to celebrate? Need a few ideas for London, New York and beyond? Check out the Telegraph’s guide for what’s happening in ten Chinese communities around the world.

If you are in London, also make sure to check out The Magical Lantern Festival, a dazzling extravaganza of lights, music theatre, culture and art that runs to 6 March at Chiswick House in west London. We are going on the 22nd Feb, come join us!

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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.

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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.

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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... read more
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,... read more
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.

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Jamon, Jamon!

Jamon, Jamon!

Recently, a friend came from Hong Kong and brought me a most fitting gift, a tranche of Jinhua ham 金华火腿, the most famous Chinese ham you’ve never heard of!  It brought back memories of childhood in Shanghai, when we had a relative who came to visit from the countryside who brought an entire leg of the Jinhua ham as a present. It hung on a bamboo stick in our living room next to our washings and I would gaze up at it longingly, taking deep breaths to enjoy its aroma. Slowly we would cut paper thin pieces from the leg and use them sparingly in the cooking, to give food an extra depth of flavor and to heighten the 鲜 (Xian) or unami taste.  We would never eat it raw like the Iberico ham.  With frugality, the leg seemed to have lasted years before it completely disappeared off the clothes line. Jinhua ham was first mentioned in written records in the early 8th century during the Tang Dynasty. Due to its red color, it was referred to as Huotui, or fire leg. It has been said that reports of its production spread and was eventually transmitted to Europe by Marco Polo. It is a type of dry-cured ham named after the city of Jinhua, where it is produced, in the Zhejiang province south of Shanghai. It is traditionally made using the hind legs of a breed of pigs native to China known as the “two ends black” 两头乌, which have black hair growing on their heads and hindquarters with white midsections.  It is chosen for its quick time to maturity, excellent meat quality, and thin skin. To make a traditional Jinhua ham, it takes 3 to 6 years, not unlike a well cured Iberico ham.... read more
Wonton recipe: Green pak choi and pork

Wonton recipe: Green pak choi and pork

Wonton is the most commonly eaten type of dumpling in Shanghai, and is typically served in a soup as a quick meal anytime of the day. It comes in two varieties: the large wonton with meat and vegetables stuffed in a satisfyingly chewy wrapper, and the small one with a dainty dollop of meat and shrimp stuffed in a papery thin wrapper. Unfortunately it’s difficult to find the chewy wrappers in London, so I use a wrapper that’s more commonly used in Cantonese cooking. It’s much thinner than I like but until I start making my owner wrappers, that’s the best alternative I’ve found. Ingredients: 250g minced pork 250g green pak choi (also kknow as qin cai) 50 wonton wrappers Seasonings: 20g minced ginger 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1/2 tbsp salt 1/4 tsp sesame oil 1/2 tsp sugar a small pinch of white pepper 1 tbsp of stock, optional Making the stuffing: Wash the green pak choi well to remove all dirt and sand. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes with 1 tsp of salt until the stems start to turn soft. Remove and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out some of the water from the green pak choi, and chop them finely. The left bunch in the picture shows what it looks like after squeezing. Mix all the seasoning into the meat evenly, add some of the liquid from the green pak choi if needed to make the meat into a liquidy paste.  Add the chopped green pak choi and mix evenly.   Wrapping: Put a small teaspoon of stuffing (roughly 15g) onto the wrapper.... read more
Celery and tofu salad recipe

Celery and tofu salad recipe

I admit, celery was not a vegetable high on my favourite vegetable list, until I rediscovered this simple dish.  When reminiscing with my mother about the homemade dishes we used to enjoy back in Shanghai, celery came up again and again as a dinner table stalwart.  In Shanghai cooking, celery has a bright green color, a crunchy texture without the stringy bits and a light fragrance. It is the quick blanching that transforms it from a side show to a main attraction. Combined with the protein rich tofu, it makes a satisfying main.  When I gave my 9 year old to taste without telling him it was celery, he ate almost a third of the bowl and declared he’s now a fan. So am I ! Ingredients: 5-6 stalks of celery 2 pieces of five spice tofu Seasonings: 1/2 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tbsp sesame oil or more if you like a strong sesame taste Steps: Boil water until it’s bubbling, turn off the heat, and put the tofu in and cover for 5 minutes.  This allows the tofu to soften and puff up a little. Wash and then cut the stalks of celery into the same length as the tofu, then slice thinly into sticks. Cut the tofu in half then cut it height wise into 3 pieces. Then slice into thin sticks similar in size to the celery. Heat up the water that’s used for tofu. When it’s boiling, blanch the celery sticks for 30 seconds then rinse to cool them down. To do this quickly, I put the celery in a strainer and dunked it in the boiling... read more
The dog ate the sun!

The dog ate the sun!

Total solar eclipses are thrilling to watch, and we will all have a chance to get in on the action this Friday! The Chinese was one of the earliest cultures to keep written records of solar and lunar eclipses. They were first recorded around 2400 BC on oracle bones made from tortoise shells and other animal bones (see picture). The eclipses were regarded as heavenly signs that foretell the future of the Emperor, and hence they were meticulously recorded. As a result, the Chinese has been credited with keeping the longest continuous watch of the sky since those oracle bones cracked onto the scene. The ancient Chinese believed that solar eclipses occur when a legendary celestial dog devours the sun. In the Chinese language, the term for eclipse was “chi” which also means “to eat”. One ancient Chinese solar eclipse record describes a solar eclipse as “the Sun has been eaten”. It was customary in ancient China to bang drums and pots and make loud noise by burning firecrackers during eclipses to frighten that dog away. Even more recently, in the nineteenth century, the Chinese navy fired its cannons during a lunar eclipse to scare the dog that was eating the Moon. But somehow, I don’t think my fellow viewers would appreciate me practicing these traditions on... read more
Wakey-wakey!

Wakey-wakey!

Looking at the high-rises in Shanghai, it’s hard to believe that not long ago, China was an agrarian society and the Chinese lived by the rhythm of changing seasons in nature rather than on the catwalks in London, Paris and Milan. To stay in tune with the seasons, the Chinese divides its traditional calendar into 24 solar terms with each of the points matches a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon. Last Friday, March 6, marked the third solar term, or Jing Zhe (惊蛰 ) this year. It literally means the spring thunder is waking up the insects that have been hibernating underground. I certainly felt hopeful that winter is finally coming to an end! To nourish the body for the spring awakening, the Chinese recommends a diet high in plant-based proteins and vitamins and low on meat. We believe a carefully followed diet in spring will ensure a healthy liver for the rest of the year. So, for those who shunned alcohol in January to detox your liver, try eating lots of soy beans, tofu and spinach next... read more
Sending off the Kitchen God in style

Sending off the Kitchen God in style

No take-out menu this week, as tomorrow is the “Small New Year” or 小年 (Xiao Nian) in the Chinese lunar calendar and we will send off our Kitchen God, 灶王爷 (Zào Wángye), to Heaven. The Kitchen God protects the family’s welfare as well as the kitchen, and is an important deity where the family’s fortunes are concerned. Throughout the year, he “sits” in front of the stove and keeps a tab on what the households get up to, and then reports their good deeds and misadventures back to the Jade Emperor 玉皇大帝 (Yùhuángdàdì). Depending on what’s in the dossier, the Jade Emperor will dish out rewards or punishments to the families accordingly. Since the Kitchen God’s words carry all the weight on a family’s fortune in the coming year, people take the farewell ceremony seriously. When I was growing up, my grandmother would light incense sticks and place them on a shelf directly above our stove, together with sweets, pastries, oranges and a red paper-horse as an offering. Back then, we didn’t have a picture or statue of the Kitchen God in our house, so I had to imagine this deity sitting “up there”. My grandparents would plead with him to “say more good things [to Jade Emperor], and do not say bad things”. To make his journey back comfortable and speedy, my grandmother made the red paper-horse for his ride, and would burn it at the end of her ceremony to signify the Kitchen God’s departure. The sweets are offered with ulterior motives: eating something sweet can make him “honey-lipped” (i.e., it might make him say good things);... read more
A Month Left till Chinese New Year

A Month Left till Chinese New Year

It’s only a month (minus a day) till the Goat trots onto the scene!  Do you know why the Chinese years are represented by 12 animals?    Well, it all started long long ago with the Jade Emperor in the great beyond in the West. He found the mortals on earth were mixing up years and couldn’t keep track of birthdays properly, so he came up with a brilliant idea to use animals to represent years. He announced a great race for all animals with the winning 12 to represent 12 years. Find out what happens next, click here. To celebrate, we Chinese, and many other eastern Asian countries like Vietnam, Korean and Singapore, all break into national feasting. If you’d like to get a taste of what that is like on a smaller scale, come to one of our two Chinese New Year supper clubs right here in Marylebone. ONLY 2 spaces left for each dinner, book... read more

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