One of the things I perhaps miss the most about home (apart from family and friends obviously) is the food, and not just good old British grub either! We are extremely lucky in the UK to have a massive cultural mix of ethnic restaurants of all varieties. Where we used to live we were spoilt for choice with Southall “up the road” in one direction – with it’s amazing Indian and Pakistani eateries. And then “Little Korea” “up the road” in the other direction with New Malden – which is now famed for its streets lined with bulgogi and kimchi joints. One of my pregnancy cravings with my son (there were several!) was Bibimbap, the traditional Korean rice dish served in a blisteringly hot stone bowl topped with various meat and vegetables and a spicy sauce. It’s still one of my favourite foods, and I think I ate it in one particular restaurant so many times that the owner told me in no uncertain terms that I would have a big fat baby. Luckily he wasn’t too much of a big fat baby, but the 6 Year Old does like spicy foods, which I like to think is more than a coincidence!
He celebrated his first birthday at a newly opened and pretty fabulous Chinese restaurant just around the corner from our old house. To me it’s always a good indicator at how the food is in a restaurant like this when the streets are lined with the cars of the Chinese community who travel far and wide to visit this place. To this day I dream about the exquisite dim sum served in steaming hot bamboo baskets that we would stuff our faces with for Sunday brunch, followed by the most delectable Peking Duck.
Peking duck is a little different to Crispy duck in that it’s roasted rather than fried, and then served sliced alongside the traditional accompaniments of sliced cucumber, spring onion, hoisin sauce and the all important flour pancakes. Which leads me on to this recipe! We can buy duck here from time to time, it’s usually pretty good and locally sourced and if you don’t mind the hassle, it’s great to make Peking Duck with (a topic for another Expat Essentials post perhaps!?) but this post is about the all important pancakes – whether you are making duck or pork Chinese dishes. This simple recipe is great fun for the kids too (if you do the initial boiling water part!), as I am sure you will notice the small hands in the pics! I got to do the final cooking bit too though!
Ingredients – Makes 14-16
8oz Organic White Plain Flour;
3 quarters of a cup of boiling water (around 177 millimetres);
In a bowl, add the boiling water to the flour. Bring together and knead for around 3-5 minutes and leave it to rest for half an hour. Roll into a sausage shape and cut into 14 1″ pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Do the same with another and paint the surface of the first pancake with sesame oil, place the other on top and repeat until you have a mini tower of pancakes. The theory is that you will be able to peel them apart easily thanks to the oil, and it does actually work. Like the Tortillas, cook in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes per side.
Don’t forget to check out Deanna’s Cooking for Expat Series over at Casinos to Castles. This week’s recipe looks goood….