COLD PLATE APPETIZER

CHINESE COLD APPETIZERI’m not exactly sure how to name this dish. This is called 冷 盤 (len phan) at my home town, which literally means cold plate in Chinese. This cold plate appetizer is a popular dish in Asia. Usually serves during wedding banquet or even for celebration like Chinese new year. During wedding banquet when they serve 10-course meal, this Chinese cold appetizer is the first course. As the title implies, the dish is served cold and consist of several different items. Most common ones you will find being served are:

1. Century eggs or 皮蛋 (phi dan) – literally means century-old egg, black in color from preservation of duck, chicken or quail eggs

2. Jelly fish salad – The Jelly fish is dressed with sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and a bit of chili oil if you like it at a hotter side

3. Steamed drunken chicken or duck – Drunk because the chicken or duck is steamed in shao xing wine, soy sauce, ginger, scallions, star anise, etc and dressed with sesame seeds

4. Sweet mayonnaise prawns – The prawns are breaded and deep-fried and then coated with sweetened mayonnaise sauce. This is one of my favorites among the cold appetizer

5. Seasoned chicken livers and gizzards (not included in this recipe) – I know you might gagged on this one, however this is quite popular at my hometown too. The boiled livers and gizzard are seasoned with some sesame oil and soy sauce

One of the what to cook today’s fans was asking me about this dish and so I decided to prepare it after consulting my mom :) Thank you for reminding me of this dish. I haven’t had it for such a long time and eating them the other day just brought so much good memories and celebrations inside my head :)

CHINESE COLD PLATE APPETIZER (4-6 servings)
 
What you will need:
  • About 3 lbs whole chicken
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground toasted Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 (1½-lbs) Rock Cornish game hens, cleaned
  • 2 (2½-inch-square) pieces dried tangerine peel or fresh tangerine or lemon peel
  • 6 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 6 slices ginger, lightly crushed
  • 2 whole star anise pods
  • ¼ cup Shao Xing wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 century eggs (available at Asian grocery stores in the refrigerator section)
  • 2 package of jelly fish (this is also readily availabe at Asian grocery stores in the refrigerator section)
  • 1 Tbsp of sesame oil
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • Dash of black vinegar
  • 1 tsp of chili oil (optional)
  • Cilantro leaves (for garnish)
  • 1 lb of jumbo prawns (shelled and deveined- keep the tail on the prawns if you want as part of presentation)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp condensed milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Instructions:
  1. Combine salt and ground Szechuan peppercorns in a bowl
  2. Rinse the chicken with cold running water and pat dry. Rub hens inside and out with salt mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes
  3. If using dried tangerine peel, soak in warm water to cover until softened, about 20 minutes; drain
  4. Place tangerine peel, garlic, ginger, and star anise in a bowl; stir to combine. Place one-half of seasoning mixture inside each game hen
  5. Combine rice wine and soy sauce in a bowl. Brush wine mixture over game hens
  6. Place water, oil, and green onions in a 6-cup (or larger) electric rice cooker. Place game hens, breast sides up, in rice cooker. Press dial to cook; cook until meal near thighbone is no longer pink when pierced, about 15 to 20 minutes. If you don't own a rice cooker, set up a steamer using a large pot with a water (bring a water). Place the chicken in a large bowl or heatproof container and steam for about 30-35 minutes or until cooked through
  7. Reserve the cooking juice to dip the chicken later. Cut chicken into halves or quarters or slices, place on a platter
  8. PREPARING THE JELLY FISH SALAD:
  9. I purchased a ready-prepared jelly fish and add seasonings like soy sauce, sesame oil, dash of soy sauce, black vinegar and chili oil (if using). Toss to mix everything. Taste to your liking and adjust seasoning as you like. Put cilantro leaves on top for garnish
  10. Rinse the prawns briefly with cold water and then pat them dry with paper towel and set aside
  11. Preheat the oil in a medium or large deep pot for deep-frying. Prepare the mayonnaise sauce by mixing the mayonnaise with condensed milk, lemon juice. Mix well and set aside Put the egg white, self-rising flour in a bowl and mix well. The batter should be of a thick pancake batter. If you find it to thick, you can thin it a bit with few drops of water. Dip each prawns into the batter. When the oil is ready, place the coated prawns into the oil and fry until they are golden brown and then turn to the other side and fry for another minute or so. They whole process shouldn't take more than 5 minutes, as prawns get cooked pretty quickly
  12. Remove the fried prawns from the pot and place on paper towel briefly. Pour the mayonnaise sauce over the prawns and lightly toss to coat each pieces. Transfer to a serving platter

CHINESE COLD APPETIZERCHINESE COLD APPETIZERCHINESE COLD APPETIZERCHINESE COLD APPETIZER

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