Offering these mouth-watering dishes at your next family dinner will likely earn you bouquets aplenty!

Chinese Cabbage and Chive Flower Salad
Serves 5

500ml cooking oil
55g skinned peanuts
6 chive flowers, rinsed
375g Chinese cabbage leaves, julienned
1 chilli, julienned
A handful of coriander, roughly chopped

1 tsp blended sesame oil
1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp rice vinegar
½ tbsp light soy sauce

1. Put oil in a wok, then add the peanuts ― don’t heat the oil, fry the peanuts in cold oil as the peanuts will taste better and crunchier. Fry the peanuts over medium heat.

2. Tear the chive flowers into small pieces.

3. Mix the seasoning and the remaining ingredients together.

4. Place on a serving plate. Serve.

Next: Why not make a yummy lychee stuffed chicken wings side dish.

Deep-fried Lychee Stuffed Chicken Wings

Makes 12 to 15 chicken wings
140g skinless boneless chicken breast, remove all excess fat
12 to 15 chicken wings
6 to 8 lychees, peeled and stoned, then finely chopped
2 eggs, reserve 1 egg white for mixture.
750ml oil
340g plain flour
100g panko bread crumbs

½ tsp salt
½ tbsp rice wine
½ tbsp ice water
¼ ground white pepper
1 egg white

1. Using a food processor, process the chicken breast, 1 egg white and the seasoning. Process until the chicken breast is finely minced.

2. Add the lychee and mix evenly.

3. Separate the chicken wings into three sections ― mid-joint, drumlets and tips. Run a knife on both sides of the bone that runs through the middle of the drumlet. You should have a clean view of the bone.

4. Using the edge of the knife, scrape the meat away from the bone, then use your thumb to push the bone away from the meat. This will leave an indentation in the meat that you can fill with the ingredients

5. Stuff the mixture into the chicken wings. Coat the chicken wings with plain flour, eggs and panko bread crumbs.

6. Heat the oil in a wok or deep saucepan to 180 deg C (350 deg F).

7. Gently place the chicken wings into the wok or saucepan and turn off the heat for 1 minute.

8. Turn the heat back on and fry the chicken wings over medium heat until the chicken wings are golden brown.

9. Serve.

Looking for a dish that’ll give your plain rice a flavourful upgrade? Read on…

Dongpo Pork
Serves 4

1.5kg pork belly
Cooking oil, as needed
5 garlic cloves
3 spring onions, sliced into 3cm lengths
3 ginger slices
1 dried tangerine peel
2 licorice root
1 star anise
5cm cinnamon stick

125ml light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
100g rock sugar
90ml rice wine or Shaoxing rice wine
625ml water

1. Clean the pork belly. Boil a large pot of water and blanch the pork belly briefly to remove any impurities. Drain, then rinse immediately with cold water. Pat dry and cut the pork belly into 5cm square cubes and tie the cubes with some string, so that it looks like a parcel.

2. Heat some oil in a wok over medium heat. Place the pork belly skin side down and cover the lid. Fry the pork belly until the skin turns golden. Be very careful with this procedure as the pork skin will cause the oil to splatter. If you would like to check on the pork skin, do turn the heat down before checking.

3. Heat a little bit of oil in a stockpot over medium heat and stir-fry the garlic, spring onions, ginger and all the spices for 30 seconds. Add water and seasoning and bring to a boil.

4. Lower the heat and add the pork belly. Bring back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for one and a half to two hours.

5. Check if the pork belly cubes are soft. Simmer a little longer if the meat is still slightly tough. If the sauce is too watery, allow it to reduce slightly to thicken.

6. Dish out. Serve the pork belly with rice and vegetables.

Recipes from Home-style Chinese Cooking by Tsung-yun Wan, $32 (before GST), available at all major bookstores.

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