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Superior Stock (Shang Tang 上汤)

28 Aug

As the weather turns grim and the colds and flus begin their seasonal rampage, there is just nothing better than a hot, warming bowl of Chinese soup. Full of nutrients and flavour, these soups are the perfect antidote to winter blues that you certainly won’t find at your local Chinese take-away!

This stock provides the basis of many delicious soups so it’s a good place to start to make an authentic and nourishing soup.

Superior stock or shang tang is a popular stock in Cantonese cuisine. It is a light flavoursome broth with a colour that resembles Chinese tea.

The Cantonese cooks add this stock to many dishes from shark fin soup to vegetable soup.

The recipe below makes about 10kg of this Chinese soup stock. Reduce the amount according to your needs.

5kg Chicken
3kg Pork leg/shoulder with bones
1kg Chinese ham
1kg chicken feet
150g dried scallops
50g dried longan                                                                                      
200g rock sugar
25g white peppercorns
100g ginger
20 litres water (preferably distilled)


  1. Chop the Chicken, Pork, Chinese ham, and Pork bones into big pieces
  2. Place them into a big pot, add water and parboil them
  3. Remove them and rinse thoroughly
  4. Place the meats into a big stock pot, add the distilled water, ginger and white peppercorns
  5. Bring to a boil and lower to medium heat
  6. Cook for 6 hours
  7. After 6 hours, add the dried longans and rock sugar
  8. Cook for another 2 hours
  9. If possible, strain the stock before use
Recipe source:

THAI: Duck Green Curry

27 Aug

This is a flavoursome dish, prefect for warming up cold evenings. The green curry spices compliment the flavour of the duck and add an aromatic taste. Try this recipe for a delicious way to enjoy the Thai green curry.



Serves 4-6

To make the green curry paste:

2 Green chillies chopped and de-seeded

2 Tbsp Galangal chopped and peeled

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 Tbsp Coriander or Thai sweet basil chopped

1 middle section of Lemongrass

3 Kaffir lime leaves (remove spines)

4 Garlic cloves, minced

4 Shallots, chopped

1/2 Tsp Ground cumin

A pinch of ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon and ground cardamom.



Heat the oil in a frying pan, over a medium heat.

Add the chillies, galangal, garlic, shallots, and cook for approx. 6 mins.

Place in food processor or blender and add the remaining ingredients and spices.

Blend into a smooth paste – adding water if necessary.

Alternatively, you can use ready made pastes which taste just as good!


For the Curry

1 Roasted duck

2 Potatoes or sweet potatoes

5 Small Thai aubergines, quartered

500ml Coconut milk

2 Tbsp Fish sauce

1 Tbsp Tamarind paste

1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

1 1/2 Tbsp Palm Sugar (chopped)


Instead of roasting a duck yourself, you can find frozen and freshly prepared roasted ducks in-store.



Prepare the duck by carving the meat off the bone and into bite-sized pieces.

Peel and cube the potatoes

In a wok or large frying pan heat the oil over a medium heat.

Add the curry paste and cook for approx. 3mins or until fragrant.

Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and add 250ml water, tamarind paste, lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and simmer.

Add the potatoes and simmer for 10mins, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the duck and aubergines and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Add more coconut milk or water if necessary.

Serve immediately on steamed Jasmine rice.



Dim Sum at Home!

5 Aug


We all love to eat Dim Sum, but sadly we can’t make enough excuses to eat it all the time. Someone might get suspicious… But don’t fret! Central are always fully stocked with all your favourite Dim Sum dishes. Many people do not attempt to make Dim Sum at home as it is very time-consuming and involves a lot of complicated techniques – so we have left all the hard bits to the professionals, to bring you the finest Dim Sum ready to be steamed at your convenience or when you get those Dim Sum withdrawal symptoms.

So what exactly is Dim Sum?

Aside from being our favourite food in the entire world, Dim Sum comes from the age-old tradition of ‘Yum Cha’ which means tea tasting. Traditionally, travellers and local farmers would stop at tea houses located on the Silk Road to rest after a hard day’s work.  After realising that tea was beneficial to digestion, the tea shops started serving small snacks with the tea. The tradition of Yum Cha was transformed over centuries from being a relaxing affair, to a loud and joyful one, as it became a widely popular dining experience all over China, enjoyed at all times of the day. In some areas of China, Dim Sum is enjoyed as a weekend treat with the family. In other regions it is enjoyed as a tasty snack in the morning.

Types of Dim Sum

There are a large range of Dim Sum dishes but the most popular, staple dishes are:


Har Gau (Prawn dumpling wrapped in translucent rice flour skin)

Siu Mai (minced pork and prawn wrapped in won ton pastry and topped with crab roe)

Jiaozi Dumplings (Won ton pastry filled with pork, prawn or vegetables, pan-fried and steamed)

Fung Chaw (Chicken feet marinated in black bean sauce)

Char Siu Bao (Sweet and fluffy bun filled with honeyed roast pork)

Cheong Fun (Wide rice noodles filled with prawns/minced beef/roast pork and rolled)

Lo Mai Gai (Glutinous rice filled with egg yolk, dried scallop, mushroom, water chestnut and meat- usually pork and chicken)

Deep Fried

Taro Dumpling (made with mashed taro, stuffed with diced shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and pork, deep-fried in crispy batter)

Won Ton (Thin pastry filled with meat/or fish and vegetable)

Daikon Cake (Shredded Daikon also known as turnip, mixed with shredded pork or shrimp and pan-fried )

Congee (A thick soup with a variety of meats and fish , with peanuts, ginko nuts, shredded scallop, ginger)


Custard Tarts (Small, sweet custard egg tarts)

Dou Fu Fa (Silken Tofu with sweet ginger syrup)

Jin Deui (Especially popular at Chinese New Year, chewy dough filled with red bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds, and deep fried)

Steamed Sponge Cake (Sweet, soft sponge cake flavoured with Molasses)

HOW-TO: Prepare restaurant quality Dim Sum at home

For those of us who were unsure about how it’s done – here is Dim Sum at its simplest. All you need is a steamer and water! You can use any kind of steamer, but for an authentic feel (and to impress your friends) you can use bamboo steamers.


TIP: Cut out a circle of baking paper on the base of the bamboo steamers to keep the food from sticking to them.

Heat a saucepan of boiling water and simmer. Make sure your saucepan fits the steamers on    top so that no heat can escape. Following the cooking times of each Dim Sum dish, put each ingredient into a bamboo layer, and place over the saucepan, with the longest cooking times on the bottom layers.

TIP: Place a penny in the boiling water. If you hear it knocking around after a while, it means you need to add more water!

Now it’s time to sit back and relax for about 20 minutes and let the steam work its magic…

The delicious results


Ha Gow, Siu Mai, Pork and Vegetable Bao and Mini Glutinous Rice!

Carefully remove the steamers and serve immediately with your favourite sauces


So now you’ve seen just how simple and easy it is, you can throw an easy and delicious dinner party or just spice up your Sunday lunch!


22 Jul

Everyone’s favourite and if you haven’t tried it – you are missing out!

Tempura is a popular Japanese dish where seafood and vegetables are deep fried in a light crispy batter.

Common ingredients in traditional tempura include:

  • Seafood: Prawn, shrimp, squid, scallop, anago (conger eel), ayu (sweetfish), crab, and a wide variety of fish
  • Vegetables: bell pepper, kabocha squash, eggplant, carrot, burdock, green beans, sweet potato, yam, potato, renkon (lotus root), shiitake mushroom, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and okra.
  • But you can use most vegetables like courgettes, aubergines are particularly delicious and potato too.

Here’s an easy recipe for a quick tempura treat!

Tempura carrots, courgette, prawns, potato, cod and spring onions

All you need for the batter mix is:

  • 1 packet of Japanese Tempura Batter mix
  • Ice
  • Water

Follow instructions on the back of the batter mix packets. Mix together with chopsticks only for a few seconds. Leave some lumps in the batter to keep it light and crispy.

Dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3/8 cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 4 tsp White Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Spring Onion (thinly sliced)


  • Heat a pan and stir in the soy sauce, water, rice vinegar. Add sugar to this concoction and stir until it gets dissolved.
  • Before serving, add the spring onion and serve hot.

Then just choose any vegetable and slice medium/thin, and any seafood you like.

Sprinke some of the batter mix onto a plate and coat each ingredient before putting it into the batter

Half-fill a large saucepan or wok with vegetable oil and sesame oil; heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 30 seconds). When it’s ready, prepare the batter.

Take each ingredient, dust in flour, dip in the batter, then drop into the oil. Repeat: fry in batches for 3-5 minutes each, depending on the vegetable and size/thickness until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the sauce.

TIP: Make sure the batter is ice cold so that the batter stays light and not chewy.


Chilli Crab Recipe

20 Jul

Find all the ingredients for this delicious dish at Central!



1 Dungeness Crab (about 2 lb size)
1 sprig of coriander (chopped for garnishing only)
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of tamarind juice
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1/4 cup of water


8 dried red chilies (soaked in hot water and deseeded)
1 tablespoon of taucheo (soy bean paste/sauce)
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger


5 seeds of tamarind


  1. Clean the crab and chop it into pieces. Save the green and juicy stuff inside the shell and set aside.
  2. Pound the spice paste with a mortar and pestle or grind them using a food processor. Make sure that the spice paste is finely blended or pounded.
  3. Soak the tamarind seeds in some warm water for 15 minutes. Extract the juice and discard the seeds.
  4. Heat up your wok and add cooking oil.
  5. Stir fry the spice paste until fragant and spicy.
  6. Add the crab and 1/4 cup of water and do a quick stir. Cover the wok with its cover for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the green and juicy stuff from the shell and stir well.
  8. Add in sugar, tamarind juice, a little salt to taste and continue stirring for about 2 minutes or until all crab pieces turned red.
  9. Dish up, garnish with chopped scallions and serve hot.


  1. If you are not sure how to clean the crab, you should get the Dungeness crab in Asian stores. They usually provide the cleaning and chopping services.
  2. Use a mortar (or other similar kitchen tools) to crack the shells of the crab before cooking.
  3. You can also use this recipe for cooking crab claws. If you do, make sure you crack the claws before cooking so the spices infuse the meat.

Thanks to for this delicious recipe!