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5 superb Asian ingredients and how to enjoy them this summer


Sichuan Style Black Fungus – JinLi

Serves 2 as a side

Think of black fungus as a mushroom and you’re on the right track! This is a delicious way to enjoy it as a summery cold dish. The textures of the cucumber and fungus complement each other perfectly to create a taste sensation.


300-350g dried black fungus

Half a cucumber

20ml dark soy sauce

20ml white vinegar

15g sugar

Coriander to garnish


  1. Soak the dried black fungus in water for half an hour or so until rehydrated, then drain.
  2. Bring a suitable sized pan of water to the boil. Add the black fungus and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and transfer to a colander. Rinse with cold water and drain. Set aside.
  3. Whilst the black fungus is cooking, thinly slice your cucumber lengthways.
  4. Combine your soy sauce, white vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir well until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Add the black fungus and all your cucumber into a large bowl, and pour in the sauce.
  6. Mix well and leave to marinate for an hour or so in the fridge, and garnish with a sprig of coriander before serving.

Try it: JinLi and China Modern

Buy it: New Loon Moon



Fried turnip cake with X.O. chilli sauce – Orient London

Serves 4 as a side

A daikon, sometimes known as ‘Chinese turnip’ or ‘Chinese radish’ is a long, crunchy, white root vegetable which packs a peppery punch. One of the tastiest ways to enjoy it is as a ‘turnip cake’ – a traditional Cantonese dim sum dish. You can buy pre-made turnip cake, but to get the full experience (and make sure you get to try daikon, which you can enjoy raw), head to for a full turnip cake recipe.


1 loaf turnip cake (see for a recipe)

10ml vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, minced

4 tablespoons XO sauce

Half a carrot, peeled and julienne cut

2 spring onions, chopped lengthways

1 small handful beansprouts

2 eggs


  1. Slice the turnip cake into ½-inch thick pieces. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a pan over medium heat. Fry the cakes on both sides until golden and crispy.
  2. Once all the slices of cake are fried, put them to the side. Then, add a little more oil to the pan and add the garlic and XO sauce. Add the carrot, spring onions and beansprouts, fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the cakes back in to the pan and make sure they are coated in the XO sauce.
  4. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and whisk until yolk and white are combined. Then pour into your pan. Allow them to scramble around the cakes and vegetables, and serve.

Try it: Orient London and Plum Valley

Buy it: SeeWoo



Stir Fried Jie Lan with Ginger – Golden Phoenix

Serves 2 as a side

Jie lan (or gai lan, sometimes called ‘Chinese broccoli’) is one of the most versatile vegetables in an Asian ingredient roll call. Here, it’s simply boiled and fried with ginger and a delicious sauce, making the perfect accompaniment to a meal, or a great snack on its own!


500g jie lan

Pinch of salt

1tsp minced ginger

1tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine

½ tbsp sugar

2tbsp oyster sauce

½ tsp corn flour

2tbsp water


  1. Rinse the broccoli under a tap and then cut each piece in half lengthways.
  2. Boil a large pan of water, adding a pinch of salt and a splash of oil. Once boiled, reduce to a simmer and add the broccoli.
  3. Parboil the broccoli, and then strain.
  4. In a separate frying pan, add a little oil and bring to the heat. Add the minced ginger and stir fry until golden.
  5. Add the broccoli and continue to fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Mix the cornflour and water together to form a paste.
  7. Add the Shaoxing cooking wine, salt (to taste), sugar, oyster sauce and corn flour paste to the broccoli.
  8. Once the sauce starts to thicken, take off the heat and serve.

Try it: Golden Phoenix and Haozhan

Buy it: SeeWoo



Chayote Summer Salad – Baiwei

Serves 1 as a light meal

A refreshing, summery alternative to a more ‘traditional’ vegetable salad, chayote (which is somewhere between a cucumber and a potato) is the ideal base for this crunchy side salad. Chilli and black sesame seeds help to give it a bit of a kick!


1 chayote

1 tsp sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp white vinegar

A generous sprinkle of chopped red chilli

Black sesame seeds


  1. Peel the chayote and either spiralize, or julienne cut.
  2. Parboil in water for 5-10 minutes until tender, but still crunchy, then drain.
  3. Immerse in cold water to cool down, and then drain again.
  4. Combine the sugar, salt, white vinegar, and pour over the cooked chayote. Marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
  5. Bring out the chayote, and chop up your red chilli. Sprinkle both the chilli and the sesame seeds over, and serve.

Try it: Baiwei

Buy it: New Loon Moon



Spicy Lotus Root Slices with Chilli – Dumplings’ Legend

Serves 4 as a side

Lotus Roots, as you’d probably guess, are the root of the lotus flower. Whilst they look very similar to a potato before they’re prepared, once you slice them open expect to be surprised by their interior. They’re crunchy, tasty and incredibly versatile. Most commonly stir-fried, they can also be sliced thinly and turned into crisps, but this recipe makes the most of their flexibility by pairing with a delicious sauce and a bit of spice.


400g lotus root

1 stick celery, thinly chopped

1 shallot, thinly chopped

10 small red chilli, thinly chopped

5 spring onions, thinly chopped

1 small thumb ginger, peeled and sliced

4 garlic cloves, 2 grated, 2 whole

Pinch of sugar

1tsp light soy sauce

1tsp oyster sauce

Sprinkle of dry chilli

Chilli oil (to taste)

Pepper oil (to taste)

Sesame oil (to taste)

50ml chicken or vegetarian stock

100ml Tsing Tao beer


  1. Heat up a wok with a teaspoon of vegetable oil.
  2. Add the sliced celery, chopped shallot, and chopped red chilli, followed by the chopped spring onion, ginger slices, grated garlic and garlic cloves to the wok.
  3. Peel the lotus root and cut up into ½ inch thick slices. Fry in 1 cup of vegetable oil in a different pan until they just start to brown.
  4. Remove the lotus root from the oil pan, and add straight to the wok.
  5. Season and stir fry everything together, adding a generous pinch of sugar, the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, dry chilli, chilli oil, pepper oil, and sesame oil.
  6. Fry for around 5 minutes before adding the stock and Tsing Tao beer. Allow it to come to the boil and evaporate off much of the liquid. Serve immediately.

Try it: Dumplings’ Legend and Old Tree Daiwan Bee

Buy it: SeeWoo

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