Saturday, 26 September 2020

Sweet Hoisin Sauce; Three Recipes (Paid Partnership with Lee Kum Kee)

What do you associate hoisin sauce with? For me, it’s duck and pancakes and summer roll dipping sauces. I love it with rich meat and I love it with peanut - it's sweet and it's intensely savoury. 

The name “Hoisin” has so many interpretations, and one of the most popular is that the sauce was originally often paired with seafood, which is called “Hoisin” in Cantonese. It originated from the south of China and has a savoury soy-bean base, with a hint of sweetness and spice.


I’ve been using Lee Kum Kee sauces for as long as I’ve been cooking Chinese food, so when they asked me to develop some recipes for them, I had a lot of fun thinking of ways to use their new Sweet Hoisin Sauce. It is made from soybeans, sesame seeds and sweet potatoes - perfect for dipping, dressing and stir frying. I always prefer dishes you can share, that everyone can help themselves to - it’s the most Cantonese way of eating. Hands coming in at all angles, lazy Susans swinging round for chopsticks to pluck at dishes was the way I grew up around the dinner table. 

My first recipe is the Sweet Hoisin Roasted Cauliflower with Lettuce Cups. It’s a riff on the Cantonese Sang Choi Bao and I love the combination of charred, sticky cauliflower with the freshness of lettuce and a drizzle of rich peanut dressing.  Glazed with Lee Kum Kee’s Sweet Hoisin Sauce, the cauliflower is piled into lettuce cups with glass noodles.  I’ve also used their Seasoned Rice Vinegar, made from Zhenjiang vinegar which can be used on its own as a dipping sauce or in recipes to give some tang. This is a great DIY dinner, perfect for sharing. 

Serves: 4 


Prep time: 10 mins


Cook time: 25 mins



·       1 large cauliflower, broken into even sized florets

·       2 tbsp cooking oil

·       4 tbsp smooth peanut butter

·       2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Rice Vinegar

·       100ml boiled water

·       1 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chilli Garlic Sauce

·       120g Lee Kum Kee Sweet Hoisin Sauce

·       2 cloves of garlic, minced

·       100ml water

·       2 spring onions, sliced finely

·       1 cucumber, top, tailed and halved, and sliced thinly into 4cm lengths

·       Pickled red chillies 

·       140g dry weight glass noodles, cooked as per packet instructions

·       1 tsp Lee Kum Kee Pure Sesame Oil

·       2 heads of Little Gem lettuce, leaves kept whole but separated



1.     Preheat oven to 220°C / 200C fan / gas mark 7. Line a tray with baking paper, add the cauliflower and drizzle with oil. Toss with your hands and roast for 15 minutes.

2.     Mix the smooth peanut butter with the Lee Kum Kee Seasoned Rice Vinegar and slowly add 100ml boiling water, stirring it thoroughly until you get to the consistency of double cream. You may not need all the water. Set aside.

3.     Mix the Lee Kum Kee Chilli Garlic Sauce, Sweet Hoisin Sauce, garlic, and water together. Toss in the cauliflower and return to the oven, turning it down to 200°C / 180°C fan / gas mark 6 and roast for a further 10 minutes. 

4.     Remove cauliflower from the oven, garnish with spring onions and serve with cucumbers, peanut sauce, pickled chillies, glass noodles tossed with sesame oil and lettuce leaves.


Sweet Hoisin Chicken Wings with Picked Red Chilli; These chicken wings combine my two must-have aspects of a decent wing; a crisp bite, and a sticky glaze. They’re cooked in the oven for ease and are even better than fried. I used Lee Kum Kee’s new Sweet Hoisin Sauce for the ultimate balance of sweet, savoury and tangy. This sauce uses a mix of spices, soybeans, sesame seeds and sweet potatoes to create a savoury sauce with a hint of sweetness and spice.

Serves: 4


Prep time: 10 mins


Cook time: 40 mins




·       1kg free-range chicken wings, jointed and wing tips removed

·       120g self-raising flour

·       2 tbsp baking powder

·       Egg fried rice

·       Cucumber 




·       3 long red chillies, sliced into rings

·       2 tbsp rice vinegar

·       A pinch of sugar

·       A large pinch of salt


Sauce Mix:

·       120g Lee Kum Kee Sweet Hoisin Sauce

·       2 tbsp tomato puree

·       80g unsalted butter

·       2 cloves garlic, peeled & minced

·       1.5 tbsp rice vinegar



1.     Preheat the oven to 230°C / 210°C fan / gas mark 8.

2.     Mix the chillis with 2 tbsp vinegar, sugar and salt. 

3.     Add the flour and baking powder to a large bowl, add the chicken wings and toss well until coated.

4.     Place the chicken wings on a baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving a space between each. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake for another 20 minutes.

5.     Meanwhile, add all sauce mix to a saucepan. Place on a medium heat and stir every 30 seconds until the butter has fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Bubble gently for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.

6.     When the wings are ready, place them into a large mixing bowl. Add the sauce incrementally, tossing the wings in between, until they are glossy and glazed. Drain, then spoon the pickled red chillies over the wings. Serve with egg fried rice and a cucumber salad.

These Pork and chive moneybags with Sweet Hoisin dip make a quick and easy starter or canape. Lee Kum Kee’s Sweet Hoisin Sauce can be used in so many ways –  and these moneybags are especially good during celebrations, as their gold pot symbolism will ensure you eternal wealth. Rope in someone with some dexterity to tie those chives 😉


Serves: 4 as a starter / canapé 


Prep time: 30 mins


Cook time: 12 mins



·       190g minced pork

·       2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

·       1 spring onion, sliced finely

·       3cm ginger, peeled and minced

·       4 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and diced finely

·       1 carrot, peeled and diced

·       A large pinch of white pepper

·       A pinch of sugar

·       1 Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce

·       1 packet of filo pastry

·       1 packet of chives 

·       50g unsalted butter, melted

·       4 Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Sweet Hoisin Sauce

·       1 Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chilli Garlic Sauce

·       4 Tbsp water

·       1 Tbsp rice vinegar



1.     Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / gas mark 4.

2.     Mix together the pork, 2 cloves of garlic, spring onion, ginger, mushrooms, carrot, white pepper, sugar and Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce.

3.     Cut a sheet of filo pastry into eight 10cm x 10cm squares. Brush four squares with the melted butter and lay the other four squares on top of each offset in a diamond shape.

4.     Add 2 tsp of mixture in the middle of the pastry. Gather the opposite edges together, until they’re bunched. Tie with a chive and place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining filo pastry and mixture aiming for 16. 

5.     Brush the outsides of the filo pastry with melted butter and bake for 12 minutes, until golden.

6.     Mix together the Lee Kum Kee Sweet Hoisin Sauce, Chilli Garlic Sauce, water and rice vinegar and spoon into a dipping bowl to serve. 


Lee Kum Kee’s Sweet Hoisin Sauce is available at Tesco.


Keep up with Lee Kum Kee’s culinary adventures on social media:

Twitter: @LeeKumKeeEurope

Instagram: @LKKEurope

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Fried Rice with Wild Garlic Kimchi

H-hello? Is this thing on?

I'm slightly over-come with nostalgia, logging back in to this. Writing has taken something of a nose-dive since I was seduced by glitzy short-form instant gratification; hours and hours of scrolling, of 'liking', favouriting, instantly forgetting. Over the last week I have spent 8 hours and 14 minutes on Instagram, and I can't tell you a single remarkable thing I found that I can recall to you right now. That's not to say I don't enjoy it - it's a visual tool,  and I must've been enjoying it as I was scrolling, otherwise I would have put it away. But I also really like words. I loved writing, of noting down recipes, of reading recipes back some time later and seeing how they've evolved when I cook them now and I am now actively depriving myself of this. A picture won't tell me what I specifically did differently, and why.

That's how I got onto this, then. As I was frying rice for lunch, I started wondering when it was that I feel so deeply in love with this dish. It wasn't from when I was a child, I have no particular nostalgic memory of it. When was it that I developed a set of rules for frying rice? It wasn't in 2015. It definitely wasn't in 2008 (the state of it! Honestly.) They must have been picked up in between and on the way to present day, because here are my new rules:

- Fried rice is not the 'every single odd and sod you find in the veg drawer' (I have said this before. I am ashamed.). No no no. Stay minimal, stay chopped small. Capsicums are not allowed. Peas and sweetcorn can stay.

- The rice, cold from being cooked the day before and stored in the fridge, needs to be separated and goes into hot oil on a high heat. After a little press down with a spatula  to ensure evenness, it gets left there until you can se individual grains jumping a little. Then you can start stir-frying.

- Forget garlic and ginger. This does not go into my fried rice (though Filipino garlic fried rice is different). The only alliums allowed are spring onion - the whites in short length, just after the rice, the greens slivered finely to garnish. This one slightly deviates, what with the wild garlic but it was used for it's pickled, rather than garlicky quality.

- Egg is now cracked straight into the wok, the rice having moved to one side first. After a brief sizzle, you furiously mix everything together for a minute or two before taking off the heat. This is always done last. Always allow an egg per portion.

Egg Fried Rice

Serves 2

150gr cooked, cold jasmine rice
1 cured Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced diagonally 1/2 cm thick
2 eggs
2 spring onions, white and greens separated, whites cut to the 1/2 inch length and greens slivered
150gr frozen peas, thawed in cold water
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp wild garlic (or any other) kimchi
4 tbsp cooking oil
Chilli oil, to serve

Heat your wok up to a high heat, add 1 tbsp oil and swirl around the sides. Turn the heat down to medium high so the oil isn't smoking, and add the sweetcorn kernels and the sausage slices. Stir fry occasionally, so the kernels are bronzed, then remove to a bowl.

Re-heat on medium high, add another 2 tbsp cooking oil, then using wet hands break the rice up from clumps on its way to the wok. Press down lightly with a metal spatula so it all sits even, then leave it and watch it. When you see individual grains jumping, after 40 or so seconds, give the rice a mix and a toss. Add the spring onion whites, sweetcorn and sausage mixture back in, then the wild garlic kimchi and continuously stir-fry. Add the light soy and mix well, then add the peas. Continue for a one minute. Then push the rice to one side and add another tbsp oil, and crack two eggs into the space. After 10 seconds, vigorously mix the rice back into the eggs, keep going for a minute, then take off the heat. Garnish with the greens of the spring onion and serve, with chilli oil optional.

To make wild garlic kimchi, I salted about 500gr wild garlic for a couple of hours, rinsed, then mixed it with a paste made with whisking together 40gr glutinous rice flour with 200gr water and simmering until thick. I waited for that to cool, added 100ml fish sauce and an inch of ginger grated and 2 tsp sugar. Then I squeezed the water out of the wild garlic, mixed with the rice flour mixture, and placed in a sterilised jar with a loose lid for three days at room temperature, and then placed in the fridge. Mine was good to eat after 3 days. I omitted chilli flakes from this as I fancied a white kimchi. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Stuffed Chicken Wings

While cooking for our charity supperclub last weekend, we discovered what is possibly the holy grail of chicken wings, and it is not in buffalo form. I do love buffalo, don't get me wrong, but this transcends it. It takes the wing tip and uses it as a sticky handle, and using it you can lever it to your face to bite into. A sweet salty glaze, made using fish sauce and sugar and dark soy, coats the wing to make sure you cannot come away cleanliness intact. It is also a fact(oid) that pork and salt and sugar are the holy trinity of flavour. 

Fatty pork mince - crucial for juiciness - is mixed with red curry paste for heat and fragrance, and within it slivered lime leaves to add some extra oomph. Woodear mushroom and glass noodles snipped through help lighten the mixture as well as an added texture contrast. 

In short, they're fucking awesome. 

They're an amalgam of several peoples' thoughts, recipes and experiments and they lean most heavily on Oishin Boy's and Pok Pok's. I first tried Lap's a couple of years ago at Grillstock in Bristol; he smokes his stuffed wings over coconut until they're beautifully bronzed. Pok Pok's famous wings are sticky goodness, and worth a go if you can't be arsed with deboning them. The glass noodle idea came from my friend's Thai mum - I'd been uhming and ahing over lightening the density with some medium-firm tofu, and I might still yet but the glass noodles are a marvellous texture. So, a group effort really, with ideas borrowed from here and there, which is how I believe most of the great recipes come from. 

You need the pickled cucumbers. The mint, coriander and chopped red chillis help too. You might need a beer after the de-boning. 

Stuffed Chicken Wings

Stuffs 9 wings, so feeds 3 as a starter / snack

9 chicken wings, wing tip and winglet de-boned only - here's a video on de-boning, we took the drumette off 
150gr fatty minced pork
1 heaped tsp red curry pasted (I used Mae Ploy cos I had enough going on here to make it from scratch) 
A hefty pinch of salt
A smaller pinch of sugar
5gr shredded dried woodear mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water and drained
10gr dried glass noodles, rehydrated in hot water, drained and snipped into 2cm pieces
3 lime leaves, rolled up and shredded finely 
2 stalks of spring onions, minced finely 
500ml cooking oil
300gr cooked glutinous rice flour

For the glaze: 

100ml fish sauce (I used Three Crabs - other brands may be saltier so be warned) 
400ml water
200gr caster sugar
1 tbsp dark soy 

For garnish: 

Pickled cucumber spears 
(de-seed cucumber, slice into spears and soak in a solution of rice wine vinegar, salt, sugar and water - it should be heavy on the vinegar as you want these to be tart. Make these at least 4 hours in advance or the day before) 
Picked mint leaves
Picked coriander leaves
Fried garlic - mince 6 cloves of garlic and fry in 1cm of oil until golden, then drain) 
Chopped red chillis

Mix the pork with the red curry paste, salt, sugar, wood ear mushrooms, glass noodles, and spring onions. Using a teaspoon, gently stuff into the chicken wing, using your fingers to press it in snugly. full to the top of the wing, do not over-stuff. Roll in the cooked glutinous rice flour, shake off and deep fry for 9 minutes until lightly bronzed. Set to one side. You can deep fry the chicken wings in advance and keep in the oven in a low heat (70 degrees C) if desired.

Meanwhile, combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan, whisk until the sugar has dissolved, and then simmer together until syrupy - about 15 minutes but eyeball it. Also taste it - if it's too salty add more sugar, too sweet add more fish sauce. You want it to be on the sweet side. 

In a large wok or non-stick pan, on a low heat combine the chicken wings with the glaze and toss well. Pile the chicken wings on a plate, tuck the cucumber spears around it, and throw herb leaves, fried garlic and chilli at it. Then serve with many napkins. 

(Thanks to Theo Tennant for the pictures taken from our Supperclub - you didn't think I got suddenly nifty with the camera, did you?)