24 Jun 2013

an Asian-themed dinner

Last Sunday, I mentioned that I was in charge of cooking a dinner hosted by my family. Because I love talking about food and cooking for others, I thought I'd do a 'show and tell' post about the dinner.

It was originally meant to be for eight people but that number decreased to six and so that meant the dish of steamed fish was no longer on the menu. Nonetheless, I still had to cook four other dishes (I originally thought it was five, but it was actually four... my bad!) and here is what I ended up placing on the table in the end (the only dish that wasn't mine was the one on the right - the pepper, courgette and chicken in black bean sauce.

So, clockwise from top left: Korean chicken wings, Chinese chicken wings, a dish brought by one of the guests, asparagus and prawns in white sauce, beef bulgogi and brocolli and roast duck in the middle  (we cheated and bought this from a local restaurant).

The night before, I marinated all the meat as it gives more time for the flavour to develop. I will run through each dish and how I marinated them - but if you want to replicate these dishes, you can tailor the amount of each ingredient to your own tastebuds.

First: beef bulgogi. I don't think this is the proper way to marinate it but even so, it tastes pretty good.

Cut the beef into strips or small-ish slices and then put it all in a bowl. Depending on how much beef you have (I had quite a lot), you'll want to decrease or increase the following amounts of seasoning. I added:

- two tablespoons of light soy sauce,
- one tablespoon of dark soy sauce,
- two heaped tablespoons of spring onions (chopped finely),
- half a tablespoon of chopped ginger,
- one tablespoon of minced garlic,
- two tablespoons of pure sesame oil,
- one tablespoon of sesame seeds,
- two tablespoons of white sugar,
- half to one tablespoon of ground black pepper

Mix thoroughly and leave overnight in the fridge for best results. In the past, I have marinated this dish for two hours and that is also okay but it tastes even better if left overnight.

I served the (cooked) beef on some steamed broccoli and poured the sauce over the broccoli so that it had some taste. Here is how it looked:

Next up, Korean chicken wings. I wouldn't call this proper Korean chicken wings but it is my (poor) interpretation.

Like the beef, marinate these the night before. Here is what I used for ten chicken wings:

- half a tablespoon of red pepper paste,
- two tablespoons of soy sauce,
- half a tablespoon of sugar,
- one heaped tablespoon of spring onions, chopped finely

Cover and leave overnight in the fridge. To cook them, just put them in the oven for 190 degrees celsius for about 50 minutes. Serve on lettuce leaves and sprinkle some fried onion over them:

My Chinese chicken wings were a bit of a disaster aesthetically (read: I burnt them slightly!) but they tasted better than they looked which was a relief. To marinate them:

- two tablespoons of soy sauce,
- two tablespoons of honey,
- half a tablespoon of ground black pepper,

Leave this overnight. Put these in the oven for 50 minutes at 190 degrees celsius. After 25 minutes in the oven, take them out and smear half of them with a thin layer of char siu sauce and the other half with a thin layer of hoi sin sauce. Resume cooking for the rest of the 25 minutes - watch them carefully as the mixture of sauce and honey can burn easily.

My fourth dish was asparagus, prawns and straw mushrooms in white sauce. No marinating required here.

Steam the asparagus until it is half done, then leave them on a plate. Stir fry the prawns until they are just done and then put them on a plate with the asparagus. Now, it's time to make the white sauce! You'll need to throw these all together in the wok (amounts depending on how much asparagus and prawns you have):

- 6 tablespoons of water,
- 1 tablespoon of cornflour,
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce,
- half a tablespoon of salt,
- half a tablespoon of sugar,
- 1 tablespoon of whisky,
- 1 tablespoon of pure sesame oil.

The sauce recipe is loosely inspired by Rasa Malyasia so I can't take credit for this sauce! When the sauce is done, add in the mushrooms, asparagus and prawns and stir to ensure that all of the food is coated in the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes, et voila:

I'm not the best cook out there but I'm really willing to try new things. I could have stuck to where I'm most comfortable in the culinary world - in simple Chinese food - but I wanted to cook something that we and others don't eat on a regular basis. The food is also a bit saltier than usual but I wanted to ensure that the food was seasoned well enough for the guests.

I don't cook for a crowd often as I prefer to go out for dinner if there are a number of us but I actually enjoyed planning the meals, preparing them and also cooking and serving them. It was stressful but the food went down very well with the guests and needless to say, I slept very well that night (probably exhausted from all the planning, cooking and eating!).

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the dinner we had just over a week ago! :)


  1. yummy yummy yummy! I'd love to try all these meals :)

    1. Hehe, they are so simple to make as all you really need to do is marinate. They are brilliant for freezing or lazy days as well (because they are so quick) x

  2. Oh Em Gee!! This looks super duper good!!

    1. Thank you! It definitely tasted pretty decent - my belly was quite content that evening! x

  3. These dishes look delicious! Going to make a menu around these for next week.

    1. Thank you :) do let me know how you get on :D x

  4. I'm so hungry now. lol I love bulgogi!

    1. Haha, I was salivating when proof-reading this post! Bulgogi is one of my absolute favourites hehe x

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! :) I'm not really a culinary genius but these dishes are so simple to make, that it gives the illusion that I am one ;) x

  6. Oh wow! These dishes look sooo good. I bet they tasted even better. Will try my hand at these one day. Ta for sharing the recipes!

    Mo x


    1. Aw thank you! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did hehe x