Possibly the world’s most famous body confidence guru, this year Gok Wan has been making a name for himself as the man changing the populist face of Chinese food in the UK into one of health and happiness …
“Some people remember football games, school trips or favourite songs when they think about their earliest memories. I don’t! Mealtimes have always been the main link to my childhood: tables overflowing with delicious food, pack-ups prepared by Momma Wan filled with Chinese surprises, or distinctive flavours that signified a celebration. This dish of deep-fried, paper-bagged chicken and prawns is so embedded in my memories, even the idea of eating it now makes me feel like I’m ten years old again. Dad would prepare this in the restaurant at Chinese New Year. Our customers would ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ as we placed plates full of wrapped-up presents in front of them as if it was Christmas morning. It was wonderful to watch them unwrap the parcels. My version of this very special dish has been baked in the oven – much easier to achieve at home, and much healthier too.”
– 4 Boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
– 4 Raw king prawns, de-veined and peeled, but tails still attached
– A 3cm piece of fresh ginger, bruised
– 3 Cloves of garlic, halved and bruised
– 4 Spring onions, halved and bruised
½ a fresh red chilli, finely chopped
– 1–2 Tablespoons fish sauce
– 1–2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
– 1 Tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
½–1 tablespoon sesame oil, to taste
– ½–1 Tablespoon groundnut oil
salt and ground white pepper
For the sauce
– 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
– 2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
– 2 Tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
– 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons runny honey
– ¼ Of a fresh red chilli, deseeded and chopped
– Lemon wedges, to serve
– Mix the chicken, prawns, ginger, garlic, spring onions, chilli, fish sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine and groundnut and sesame oils in a bowl or large freezer bag. Season with salt and pepper, mix well to ensure that the chicken and prawns are covered in the marinade, and put in the fridge to marinate for 45 minutes.
– When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°/gas 6. Cut four rectangles of baking or parchment paper so that each piece is just larger than a sheet of A4 paper. Place one prawn and a couple of pieces of spring onion inside each chicken thigh, and wrap the thigh around the prawn. Season with salt and pepper and draw the sides of the paper up. Add a spoonful of marinade to each parcel and then fold the sides over on each other, rolling the edges together and seal by stapling or using paperclips. Place the parcels on an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes.
– Pour any remaining marinade into a wok over a medium heat. Add the ingredients for the sauce, omitting the chilli, and bring to a simmer, stirring to melt the honey. Add the chilli to taste. When the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove and pour into a small bowl to serve.
– Remove the baking tray from the oven and serve the parcels for your guests to open themselves, with the sauce to pour over.
Enjoy it Spabreakers – let us know how your cooking goes … and for more of Gok’s recipes, check out his book!
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