Last week the flu bug got to me, high temperature, sore throat and runny nose – the works. What followed is an onslaught of medication and most of the week seems like a blur. All I know is that in the fever-induced delirium, I tried every possible home remedy that my mother and grandmother have tried on my sister and I growing up.
Now along with Chinese New Year and Valentines, my husbands birthday and our anniversary follow in quick succession. Imagine spending all these wonderful shivering under a duvet sniffling into a tissue. Tough, eh?
So when Blue Dragon sent me this fabulous bunch of ingredients as part of a Chinese new year challenge, I really could only think of one thing – a grand 3-course home-cooked Chinese meal which is not just ready in 30 minutes flat but incorporates a delicious and healthy flu-fighting soup and healthier options for popular Chinese dishes.
Having had every possible type of mild soup under the sun in the past few days, I am finally starting to get my taste buds back. Some fiery chilli to fire up my wok was definitely in order.
If you like me are looking to create a healthy 3-course Chinese meal along with a flu-fighting formula using just one wok and some basic kitchen equipment then look no further. Why? Because – The comforting combination of soupy noodle broth and chicken with vegetables is sure to go down a treat – whether you really are fighting the flu or simply looking for a boost to your immunity. This soup will not let you down.
The Egg fried rice with candied salmon chunks is a treat minus the guilt of a greasy takeaway. Stir-fried vegetables in black bean sauce are amongst the most popular items in any menu and serving them with smoked tofu is one of my favourite treats. I make this stir fry very often and having Blue Dragon black bean sauce on hand is very handy as it gives a very authentic taste to this popular dish.
This meal can be prepared in 30 minutes flat if you ensure that all the prep is done beforehand. The best part is if you have trusty good wok then you can literally breeze through this process with thanks to the handy products from Blue Dragon.
Flu-fighting Chinese chicken noodle soup
- Blue Dragon light soy sauce – as per taste
- 2 nests Blue Dragon wheat noodles
- 500 ml good quality fresh Chicken stock
- 250 gm Chicken thigh pieces – cut into long thin strips
- 1/2 Carrot peeled and chopped
- 2 leaves Cavolo nero
- 1 handful Baby Spinach leaves
- 4 large green Pak choi leaves
- 3 large bulbs of Garlic chopped fine
- a stub of garlic about half the size of your thumb slit into thin long strips
- 1/2 Lemongrass stalk separated
- 4-5 strips of a spicy red chilli
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- some fresh Coriander for seasoning
- Boil approximately 2 large mugs full of water in the kettle
- Place the Blue Dragon wheat noodle nests in a saucepan and pour the boiling water onto it, bring to a boil on a medium flame
- Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt while the noodles are boiling.
- Cook until a little more than al dente’
- Strain and wash under cold water and set aside, use the same saucepan to start boiling the rice for the egg fried rice. This allows you to save time.
- While the noodles are cooking, fire up the wok
- When it begins to smoke, lower the heat, and add the sesame oil
- Sauté the chopped garlic, ginger, and chillies – the holy trinity of Chinese cooking along with the lemongrass just until the fragrance is released.
- Now add the Cavolo Nero and pak choi and stir for a few seconds allowing the fragrant spices to the greens and the oil to coat them
- Then add the stock and the chicken strips and carrot. Add some water to allow a proper broth to form for all the ingredients.
- Add salt to taste
- Cover and the wok and cook on medium-high until the chicken is cooked through
- Remove the soup into another saucepan and wipe down the wop using kitchen roll
- Set wok aside to cool
- When ready to serve, refresh the noodles by pouring some boiled water onto them
- Add noodles into each bowl and ladle the steaming hot soup onto the noodles
- Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander and serve immediately
Black bean tofu and green veggie overload stir fry
- 120 gm Blue Dragon stir fry sauce – 1 pouch
- 220 gm of mixed green vegetables
- 3 large bulbs of garlic chopped fine
- 1/2 Ginger – thumb-sized -slit into thin long strips
- 1/2 Lemongrass stalk separated
- 1 Red chilli strips
- 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
- 6 – 8 bite-sized chunks of smoked tofu
- 1/4 tsp white sesame seeds to garnish
- After thoroughly wiping down the wok, place on high heat and add the sesame oil
- Flash fry the ginger, garlic, and chillies
- Turn the heat down to medium and stir continuously so to not allow the spices to burn
- Stir fry the smoked tofu pieces for about 2 – 3 minutes and remove the tofu into a bowl
- The mixed green vegetables I used included- green Pak Choi (5-6 small leaves), Cavolo Nero (2 big leaves), sugar snap peas and green beans -about a handful, 2 large sprigs of broccoli
- Fold the Cavolo Nero leaves into half and cut into long horizontal strips
- then add the entire contents of the Blue Dragon black bean sauce pouch
- Stir in the sugar snap peas, broccoli, and green beans, cook for about two minutes
- Then add the Pak Choi and Cavolo Nero and stir fry so that the leaves still remain crunchy, do not overcook as the stir fry will loose its essence if you do
- Transfer from wok to a serving plate, top with the fried smoked tofu
- Set wok aside to cool
- Sprinkle some white sesame seeds to garnish
Mirin Soaked Salmon steaks in sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tbsp Blue Dragon sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 fillet of salmon cut into 4 big chunks – approximately 130 gm
- Leave the salmon chunks to soak in a generous amount of mirin before starting out on the soup
- After the stir fry is done, wipe down the wok with kitchen towels and place it on low heat.
- Cook the salmon in the hot oil until each side is down, should hardly take 30 seconds each side, given that the wok is already hot and the delicate fresh fish cooks very quickly too
- Pour Blue Dragon sweet chilli sauce on the fried salmon chunks, the heat of the wok will partly caramelise the sauce of the salmon forming a thin crispy crunchy coating
- Remove immediately into a clean bowl and set aside until ready to serve with the egg fried rice
- Set wok aside to cool
Chinese egg fried rice with peas
- 1/2 cup brown rice and wild rice mix
- 1 medium egg
- 1/2 a shallot sliced lengthwise
- 1 heaped tbsp green peas
- Water to boil the rice
- In the same saucepan used for cooking the noodles, rinse and cook the washed rice. The trick to cooking perfectly fluffy rice each time is to use exactly double the amount of water to the quantity of rice used. That is my thumb rule and it never fails me
- Once the rice is done set the saucepan aside
- Wipe down the wok after preparing the fish, you may need to use another wooden spatula to scrape off the sticky bits from the wok before starting out with the fried rice
- Crack an egg into the wok set on a medium flame
- Stirring continuously scramble the egg and add the chopped shallot, spritz some oil onto the wok to cook the shallots
- Ensure you keep stirring so that the egg doesn’t get lumpy and overcooked and the shallot doesn’t burn
- Add Blue Dragon light soy sauce and stir well
- Then add the cooked rice, season with some salt and stir and mix well
- Cook for under a minute on high heat and add in the peas and mix
- Take the wok off the heat and set aside
After the soup, to assemble the meal, plate the rice and garnish with some spring onion greens, string one large juicy piece of salmon onto a small wooden skewer and place on the rice.
Top with a side of the stir-fried greens and smoked tofu in black bean sauce.
Serve the flu-fighting Chinese Lemongrass chicken noodle soup in generous amounts – piping hot. For me, the noodle soup was a meal on its own. But for my husband, the stir-fry and egg fried rice with a juicy and crunchy chunk of salmon made his day!
I truly believe that to be able to create some magic in your kitchen with the right ingredients and some basic tricks under your hat is not as difficult as it may sound. I am so happy that I was able to create a 3-course delicious meal in 30 minutes flat – but am most proud of my flu-fighting soup recipe. This one is going to appear on my weekly menu throughout winter now. After all, who can deny that warding off the flu bug cannot be done in a more delicious and fun immune boosting way?!
*This post is an entry to the Foodies100 Chinese New Year recipe challenge sponsored by Blue Dragon. The range of Blue Dragon products is available in all major supermarkets at an RRP from £0.69. To find out more, visit www.bluedragon.co.uk
*With thanks to Blue Dragon for sending me samples for review. No request was made for a positive review. Sponsored post. As usual, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.