Red Wine Teriyaki Steak Donburi

This variation on my easy homemade teriyaki sauce uses red wine instead of sake, so it’s a great option if you can’t get hold of many Japanese ingredients. A donburi is a rice bowl and it’s just as it sounds – rice with a simple topping that makes a easy one-bowl meal. This version is slightly fancy with garlic chips and chopped wasabi stem, but you could use a little horseradish or ordinary wasabi instead.

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil

400g good quality sirloin or scotch fillet steak

salt and pepper, to season

3-5 cups cooked Japanese rice

1 piece nori, cut into fine shreds

1/2 tsp wasabi or horseradish, or 1 tsp prepared wasabi stem, to serve

Red wine teriyaki (Makes 600ml)

250ml light soy sauce

200ml Australian shiraz

200ml mirin

80g sugar

Method

To make the red wine teriyaki, combine the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to an empty wine bottle and store in the pantry until ready to use.

Heat a frying pan over low-medium heat and add the oil and garlic. Fry the garlic, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Remove the garlic from the pan, leaving the oil in the pan. Increase the flame to high. Season the steak with salt and black pepper, and fry the steak until cooked to your liking. Remove and set aside to rest.

Add about 1/2 cup of the red wine teriyaki sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the sauce until it is the consistency of maple syrup, then return the rested steak to the pan and turn briefly to coat.

Place the rice into a serving bowl and scatter with the nori. Slice the steak and place it on top of the nori, pouring over a little more of the reduced sauce. Scatter with garlic chips and add little wasabi or horseradish on top of the beef.

Top Tips for Red Wine Teriyaki

  • I used a shiraz for this but any dry red wine will work perfectly well.
  • The key with all teriyaki is controlling the reduction. If it is too reduced, it will be too thick and salty. If it is too thin, the sauce will be insipid. Luckily, it’s easy to get it right. If it’s too thin, keep simmering. And if it’s too thick, add a little extra teriyaki sauce to thin it out.
  • Of course, you don’t need to search for wasabi stem for this. A little ordinary wasabi (like for sushi), horseradish or even English mustard would be totally fine. You just need something a little pungent to lighten the dish.
Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt and pepper squid might be the most popular dish in Australia. With origins in Cantonese cooking, it’s a dish that has moved from Chinese restaurants to everything from local pubs, Italian cafes, Thai or Vietnamese restaurants and the corner fish and chip shop.

It’s simple to make at home, too. It’s a double cooking process, which has the squid being deep-fried first and then stir-fried with aromatics and tossed with salt and pepper.

Ingredients

500g squid tubes, cleaned

¼ cup plain flour

¼ cup potato starch or cornflour

about 2L vegetable oil, for deep frying, plus extra for stir-frying

4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large red chilli, sliced

2 spring onions, sliced

½ tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

lemon wedges, to serve

Method

Score the squid in a cross-hatch pattern, taking care not to cut all the way through. Cut the squid into bite-sized pieces and toss in the plain flour and potato flour.

In a wok, heat the oil to 180C. Shake off any excess flour and deep fry the squid in batches for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Drain well and remove the oil from the wok.

Brush out the wok and return it to medium heat. Add about 1 tbsp of clean oil to the wok and add the garlic, chilli and spring onion. Fry for about 2 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Return the squid to the wok, season well with salt and plenty of ground black pepper and toss to combine. Remove from the wok and serve with lemon wedges.

Tips for Salt and Pepper Squid

  • Try to use fresh squid rather than frozen. Frozen squid can retain too much water, meaning that when you fry it it will be a little more soggy.
  • If you want really crispy squid make sure the squid is golden brown before removing it from the oil.
  • You can use other flours if you prefer. Rice flour works well, as does sweet potato starch or corn starch.
  • You can add dried spices to the salt and pepper mix if you want to be a little more adventurous. Spices like fennel and Sichuan peppercorn work well.
Shandong Roast Chicken

Shandong (or Shantung) chicken is a popular Chinese restaurant dish. Despite the name, however, it is not really a dish from Shandong Province. Shandong’s Lu cuisine is often considered the most famous and influential in China, known for its refined technique and balance of tastes – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. It is also famous for its fragrant dark vinegars, and it is the balanced taste of the vinegar that gives this dish its name.

The dish itself is a combination of a fragrant sweetened vinegar sauce characteristic of Shandong’s Jinan style of cooking, with a crisp-skinned fried chicken, more common in Cantonese cooking. It was in Cantonese restaurants that this dish was popularised.

Deep-frying a whole chicken at home can be difficult (and dangerous). My version uses a roast chicken topped with the same sauce. It makes life a lot easier and tastes fantastic.

Ingredients

1 whole free-range chicken, about 1.6kg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tsp grated ginger, juice only

Shandong sauce

1/4 cup black vinegar (see Tips below)

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp sugar

2 bird’s eye chillies

1 coriander root, stalk and root finely chopped, leaves reserved

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Method

Rub the chicken all over with salt, inside and out, taking care to exfoliate to remove any dead skin from the chicken. Pour boiling water all over the skin of the chicken to tighten it. Combine the dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, ginger juice, and rub all over the chicken as well. Marinate uncovered in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, use a hairdryer to blow to skin of the chicken until it is dry and tightened.

Heat your oven to 200C. Place the chicken on a sheet of baking paper in a roasting pan and roast the chicken for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes.

For the Shandong sauce combine all the ingredients together and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add a few spoons of the rendered chicken oil and juices from the pan. Cut the chicken into pieces and serve smothered in the Shandong sauce.

Tips for Shandong Chicken

  1. For a super easy version of this you can just buy a pre-roasted chicken (without stuffing), make the sauce and pour it over the top.
  2. The most popular Chinese black vinegar is actually Chinkiang vinegar from Jiangsu province, not Shandong. Most Shandong chicken recipes will use this vinegar, but if you can find an authentic Shandong-made vinegar it will be a little bit more interesting. You may need to adjust the proportion of sugar.
  3. If you do want to make a deep-fried version of this, poach the chicken first in a soy-based stock, then hang it to dry completely so it won’t spit when it’s deep frying.

 

Homestyle Omurice

Omurice is one of the most popular Japanese home-cooked dishes. A simple fried rice known as “chicken rice” is covered in a soft-set omelette and demi-glace sauce. There are three main styles of preparing the omelette for the omurice, and I’m going to show you the most popular style.

Ingredients

2 tbsp canola oil

1 small onion peeled and finely diced

½ cup sliced mushrooms

1 small carrot, finely diced (optional)

1 small chicken breast, cut into 2cm cubes

¼ cup frozen peas

salt, to season

4 cups cooked koshihikari rice, chilled overnight

1 tsp soy sauce

1-2 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)

5 eggs, beaten

¼ cup demiglace (available from Japanese grocers)

2 tbsp beef or other stock

1 tsp finely chopped parsley, to serve

Method

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Fry the onions for about a minute until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and carrot and fry for a further 2 minutes until the carrots are softened. Add the chicken and peas, season with salt and fry until the chicken is just cooked through.

Add the rice to the frying pan, along with the soy sauce and ketchup. Fry for about 3 minutes until the rice is warmed, softened and well mixed. Remove the rice from the pan and divide it between two bowls. Press the rice to the side of the bowl at a 45 degree angle, so that he rice forms a half-football or “torpedo” shape rather than a round dome. Turn the rice out onto two separate plates and keep warm while you cook the eggs.

For the demi-glace sauce, combine the prepared demi-glace and stock in a small saucepan and mix well over medium heat until hot and combined.

Heat a clean frying pan (around the same size as the plate the rice is on) over medium heat and add about 1 tbsp of oil. Add 2-3 beaten eggs and with a gentle pushing motion, push the egg from the edges of the pan to the centre as the egg slowly cooks. When the egg is set at the base but still quite wet on top, remove the pan from the heat and slide the egg over one plate the rice. Pour over the demi-glace sauce and sprinkle with a little parsley to serve. Repeat for the remaining egg.

Top Tips for Omurice

  • There are three main ways of making the egg to go with this dish. Firstly an egg skin is cooked firm and used to wrap the rice. This is a common way of doing this, but the drawback is that the egg is usually fully set rather than soft. Secondly, a soft-centred French omelette is placed on top of the rice and cut so that it opens over the rice. This method is very difficult to achieve unless you are very good at making French-style omelettes. This is how omurice is served in many specialist, higher-end omurice restaurants. The third and most popular method is the one in this recipe, where a soft, unfolded omelette is draped over the rice on the plate. This is the most common way the dish is served at home in Japan.
  • Without the egg, this dish is called “chicken rice” and is a very popular kids dish in Japan. Of course, omurice with the egg is popular too.
  • You can leave off the demiglace if you prefer and just top the rice with a squirt of tomato sauce (ketchup).
Nasi Goreng – Indonesian Fried Rice

Nasi goreng literally just means ‘fried rice’ in Bahasa and the key to this dish is the aromatic rempah made from eschallots, garlic, chilli and shrimp paste. It can be as simple as rice fried with the rempah and topped with a fried egg, or you can add other ingredients to it like I have here, with chicken, prawns and green beans. This is the third instalment of Fried Rice Fridays on my YouTube channel. Check out the video below.

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, peeled

2 eschallots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp belacan

½ cup canola oil

4 eggs

1 large red chilli, seeds removed (or other chillies as you prefer)

1 chicken breast, cut into 2cm cubes

10 medium prawns, peeled and butterflied

12 green beans, cut into 1cm pieces

4 cups cooked Jasmine rice, chilled overnight in the fridge

1 tbsp kecap manis

To serve:

prawn crackers (keropok udang)

sliced cucumber

sliced tomato

Method

Combine the garlic, eschallots, belacan and chilli in a small food processor and process to a coarse paste (rempah).

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the eggs one at a time until puffy, and browned and crisp around the edges. Set the eggs aside. You can use this oil to fry your prawn crackers if you like. Remove the oil from the wok, leaving about 2-3 tablespoons for further frying. Return the wok to medium heat.

Add the rempah to the oil and fry, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or until the oil separates from the solids and they are darkened and fragrant. Increase the heat under the wok and add the chicken breast, prawns and beans and toss for a minute or two until the chicken and prawns are barely cooked through. Add the rice and toss well. Drizzle over the kecap manis and mix until the rice is uniformly coated and lightly toasted. Remove the fried rice to a plate and serve with the prawn crackers, sliced cucumber and tomato, and top with a fried egg.

Top Tips for Nasi Goreng

  1. Try this with dried shrimp or topped with fried dried anchovies (ikan bilis) for a different twist.
  2. You can adjust the spiciness of the dish by the kind of chillies you use. Hotter chillies will obviously produce a hotter dish.
  3. Don’t skimp on the accompaniments. All fried rice dishes are a combination of egg and rice at a minimum, but the best thing about nasi goreng is the contrast of textures you get between the soft, oily rice, the soft, oozy egg, the fresh cucumber and tomato, and the crunchy prawn cracker.
Hokkien Fried Rice

Hokkien Fried Rice is a Taiwanese dish with origins in the Hokkien people who originally came from Fujian Province in China. It’s different to other fried rice dishes in that a simple egg fried rice is topped with lightly braised ingredients. In true Hokkien style, the dish often contains a mixture of dried seafood, as well as ingredients from the land and mountains, but you can use any ingredients you like, really.

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 chicken thighs, cut into 3 cm pieces

3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups hot water for 20 minutes and sliced

¼ cup dried scallops, soaked in hot water

4 tbsp canola oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups day-old cooked Jasmine rice, preferably cooked in chicken stock

salt, to season

2 cloves garlic

4 cm ginger, cut into thin matchsticks

2 chicken thighs, cut into 3 cm pieces

4 spring onions, cut into 5cm lengths

1 small carrot, cut into 3 cm pieces

2 tbsp bamboo shoots, cut into matchsticks

2 pieces Taiwanese five spice tofu, cut into 1.5cm pieces

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

a pinch of sugar

½ cup raw prawns, peeled and butterflied

1 tbsp cornflour

 

Chicken marinade

½ tsp cornflour

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp Shaoxing wine

Method

Combine the chicken with the ingredients for the chicken marinade and set aside. Heat your wok over high heat and add half the oil. Add the eggs and stir well. When the egg is nearly set add the rice and toss well to coat with the pieces of egg. Separate the clumps of rice by pressing them against the side of the wok with the back of your wok spatula. Season with salt and remove from the wok to a bowl.

Return the wok to the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the garlic and ginger and toss for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the chicken and toss to coat in the fragrant oil. Add the onion, carrot, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, scallops and tofu. Toss for a minute or two and then add the reserved liquid from soaking the mushrooms and scallops, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar and enough chicken stock to make a braising base. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the prawns and simmer for a further minute. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Mix the cornflour with some cold chicken stock or water and stir the mixture through the braise to thicken it to a silky consistency

To serve, pack the egg fried rice into a bowl and invert it onto a plate. Pour the braised ingredients on top and serve.

Top Tips for Hokkien Fried Rice

  1. Make sure you season the rice as  well as the braised component. You want the rice to be flavourful on its own.
  2. Always taste the braising mixture and adjust the seasoning if required. A little more salt or soy sauce it it does not have enough depth or saltiness, or a pinch of sugar if it tastes too savoury.
  3. When thickening the sauce, add the cornflour mixture in three batches. This will stop you from adding too much at one time, which can make the mixture gluggy. Remember, the silky texture you need is a mixture of oil, liquid (stock) and the cornflour so don’t skimp on the oil at the beginning.
Yangzhou Fried Rice

Yangzhou fried rice from Jiangsu Province is the most famous variety of fried rice in China. Known for the fine knifework in cutting the ingredients, it has been the model for “special fried rice” or “house fried rice” dishes found on Chinese restaurant menus in the West. The ingredients added can vary greatly but the key is the careful preparation of ingredients. You can use rice cooked in chicken stock if you want an even more flavourful result.

The patron of an excellent restaurant in China once told me that the secret to a really good fried rice is finding a really good chicken, and really the origins of fried rice celebrate the connection between chicken and rice. The rice is cooked in chicken stock (less common these days, as chicken powder is often used), some of the chicken meat and offal is used as an ingredient, and then egg is mixed with the rice. Almost all fried rice recipes around the world still use a combination of chicken, egg and rice.

Ingredients

3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups hot water for 20 minutes

1/3 cup canola oil

4 spring onions, cut into ½ cm slices

2 cloves garlic, minced

50g cured Chinese-style ham (or substitute Italian cured ham)

1 small carrot, cut into ½ cm pieces

2 tbsp bamboo shoots, cut into ½ cm pieces

¼ cup green peas

¼ cup cooked chicken thigh, cut into ½ cm pieces

2 tbsp cooked chicken gizzard, cut into ½ cm pieces

¼ cup small raw prawns, peeled

about 1 tsp salt, to season

3 eggs, lightly beaten

5 cups day-old cooked Jasmine rice, preferably cooked in chicken stock

Method

Remove the stems of the soaked mushrooms and cut the caps into ½ cm pieces. Heat a wok over high heat and add about half the oil. Fry the spring onion and garlic for about 30 seconds and then add the shiitake mushroom, carrot, and bamboo shoot and fry for a further minute. Add the chicken thigh, chicken gizzard, peas and prawns, season with a little salt, and toss until the vegetables are softened and prawns just barely cooked. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Return the wok to the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the egg and stir vigorously to break it apart. When the egg is nearly set add the rice and toss well to coat with the pieces of egg. Separate the clumps of rice by pressing them against the side of the wok with the back of your wok spatula. Season generously with salt. You can add a little more oil if necessary. Return the fried ingredients back to the wok and toss to mix well.

Top Tips for Yangzhou Fried Rice

  1. You can use any ingredients you like for fried rice although the basis is usually chicken, egg and rice. Bear in mind, though that you want a mix of sweeter vegetables (like carrot and peas) and savoury meats (like cured ham), as well as a mix of textures for a truly great fried rice dish.
  2. Jasmine rice is the most popular but you can also use other kinds of rice is you prefer. I often make this with Japanese short grain rice.
  3. Fried rice uses more oil that you might think. A good amount of oil ins necessary to separate the grains.
Prawns & Snow Peas with XO Sauce

This dish is ready in the blink of an eye and really drills home the benefits of having a good homemade XO sauce in the fridge. This is the kind of thing that would cost you $30 in a restaurant, but you can make it yourself in less than 10 minutes. Instead of homemade XO sauce you can use a good-quality store-bought variety, but for the reasons I explained in my previous post and video, I think it’s much better to make your own.

Ingredients

approx. 12 large prawns, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp vegetable oil

a pinch of salt

1 tbsp XO sauce, preferably homemade

10-15 snow peas, topped and tailed with threads removed

1 tsp cornflour mixed into 2 tbsp  water

Method

Butterfly the prawns by cutting through the back about half the way through and flattening with the flat of a knife.

Heat your wok until very hot and drizzle the oil around the edges. Add the prawns to the wok, season with a pinch of sea salt and fry for about 30 seconds until starting to colour. Add in the snow peas and stir fry for a further minute. Add in the XO sauce and toss through for another minute or so until the prawns are just cooked and he snow peas tender but still crunchy. Drizzle over the cornflour mixture, toss for a further 30 seconds and transfer to a plate to serve.

Top Tips for Cooking Prawns with XO Sauce

  • Butterflying the prawns may seem unnecessary, but the light and crunchy texture it gives to the prawns is certainly worth the 5 minutes of effort.
  • The quality of prawns is all-important for any simple prawn dish. Try to use large fresh, certified sustainable raw prawns that you peel yourself. Peeled frozen prawns may be cheaper, but there are serious environmental and humanitarian concerns that need to be addressed with a lot of cheap prawn production.
  • Drizzling over the cornflour mixture helps to “stick” the XO sauce to the prawns and will be a huge boost to flavour. Don’t just dump the whole amount of the cornflour mixture into the wok, shake the wok and drizzle in only as much as you need. Watch the video for the technique.
  • If you’re still on the fence about whether to make your own XO sauce, maybe give this a go with a store-bought version first. If you like it, then move on to making your own.
  • The same technique can be used for making the classic pippies with XO sauce.
Homemade XO Sauce

XO Sauce only appeared in Cantonese cuisine as a result of the boom times of the 1980s. It’s a collection of the most prized ingredients from around China, and it was named after XO cognac – a status symbol of decadence and sophistication in Hong Kong at the time. The dried scallops are a little expensive, but that’s kind of the point.

Ingredients

2 cups peanut oil

6 large garlic cloves, minced

4 large red or golden eschallots, peeled and minced

6 large red chilies, deseeded and minced

50g dried scallops

50g dried shrimp

50g Jinhua ham, Yunnan or prosciutto, finely shredded

1 tsp salt

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tbsp chili powder (preferably Korean)

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

Method

Soak the scallops and shrimp separately each in 1 cup of hot water for at least 1 hour. Drain well and shred the scallops by pounding them in a mortar to separate the fibres. Roughly grind the drained shrimp in a mortar and pestle as well. Reserve the strained liquid.

Heat your oven to 100C. Heat a little of the peanut oil in a medium, oven-proof saucepan over low heat and fry the garlic, eschallots and chillies for about 10 minutes until they are fragrant and softened. Add the shredded scallops, shrimp, ham or prosciutto, salt, sugar, chilli powder, soy sauce and a little of the reserved soaking liquid from the scallops. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the liquid is evaporated or absorbed (this may take 15-20 minutes). Add the remaining oil and reduce the heat to very low. Allow the oil to infuse on the stovetop, stirring regularly for about an hour or two. Make sure the heat is very low or the sauce will burn before it infuses. Alternatively, if you’re using an oven-proof saucepan you can transfer to the oven uncovered for 1-2 hours (or even more) until the colour of the sauce intensifies and the sauce is thick, oily and jammy. Transfer to clean jars and refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep for about 6 months.

Top Tips for XO Sauce

  • I use this all the time so I make a double or triple quantity of this every time I make it. It’s great with dumplings, stir-fried with prawns or with noodles or fried rice.
  • The goal with cooking the XO sauce is to drive off as much of the watery liquid as possible, leaving it oily and jammy.
  • You can substitute or add all kinds of ingredients into this. A chef of a three-Michelin starred restaurant in Hong Kong told me he always adds lemongrass to his. Try it with salmon floss or other dried seafood.

 

Crispy Teriyaki Chicken Burger

This simple teriyaki chicken burger recipe is really the best. Simple to make and absolutely delicious. The key is reducing the teriyaki sauce enough so that it doesn’t make the fried chicken soft when you coat it.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 -3/4 cup homemade teriyaki sauce

4 chicken thigh fillets, skin on

1/2 cup potato flour (or cornflour)

1-2L oil, for deep frying

4 hamburger buns of your choice

1 sheet nori, cut into thin strips

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise

butter (optional)

shichimi togarashi, or chilli powder (optional)

Japanese pickles, to serve (optional)

Method

Place the teriyaki sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce is thick and reduced.

Coat the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess. Heat the oil to 175C and fry the chicken for around 5 minutes until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the oil and immediately dip it into the reduced teriyaki sauce to coat.

Toast the buns on the inside only (you still want the outside to be soft) and layer with the butter (if using), nori, chicken, lettuce and mayonnaise. Sprinkle with a little shichimi togarashi or chilli if you wish. Serve with pickles if you like.

Top Tips for Teriyaki Chicken Burgers

  • Make sure you use chicken thighs with the skin on. This recipe will not be good with chicken breasts, or chicken without skin. The skin is needed to get a really crispy result.
  • Choose buns that are around the same size as your chicken, but remember that the chicken will shrink slightly during cooking.
  • You can add many more ingredients to this if you wish – pickles, cheese, tomatoes, onion, pineapple etc. – but I prefer to keep it simple.
  • Cut the nori into thin strips instead of leaving it as a sheet, as it will be much easier to bite and eat in strips.