1. Velvet Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup
  2. Quick-Fried Beef in Black Bean Sauce
  3. Prawn Noodles

A well-balanced meal for 4. the highly savoury taste of the beef comes from the use of salted black beans, which are first soaked and drained, then mashed into the cooking oil over a high heat. begin with the delicate, creamy soup - a favourite soup of the region and one which is often served at banquets.

1. Velvet Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup ()
    1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken stock
    1 x 225 g (8 oz) can creamed sweetcorn
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    pinch of MSG
    2 tablespoons cornflour
    4 tablespoons cold water
    2 spring onions, finely chopped
    2 egg whites
    2 tablespoons milk
    50 g (2 oz) chopped ham

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 10 minutes

1. Put the stock in a pan and bring to the oil. Add the creamed corn, salt, MSG, and the cornflour blended with the water. Stir until the soup thickens and comes back to the boil. Sprinkle on the spring onions, then turn off the heat.

2. Beat together the egg whites and milk and pour on the soup in a thin stream.

3. Pour into individual bowls and sprinkle on the chopped ham. serve immediately.

2. Quick-Fried Beef in Black Bean Sauce ()
    2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    450 g (1 lb) beef steak, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) slices
    3 teaspoons salted black beans, soaked in 3 tablespoons water for 20 minutes
    1/2 teaspoon chilli sauce
    2 red or green peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) squares
    1 tablespoon cornflour
    3 tablespoons water or beef stock
    1 tablespoon Chinese wine or sherry

    Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus soaking
    Cooking time: 6 minutes

1. Heat the oil in a wok until smoking and add the beef. Stir-fry quickly for about 1 minute, then remove and drain on paper towels.

2. Add the black beans and the soaking water to the wok. Mash the beans in the wok then add the chilli sauce and peppers. Stir all together and return the beef to the wok.

3. Blend the cornflour with the stock and stir into the wok to thicken the sauce. Add the wine and stir to mix until the sauce has thickened.

3. Prawn Noodles ()
    100 g (4 oz) uncooked prawns, peeled and deveined
    1 egg white
    1 teaspoon cornflour
    350 g (12 oz) egg noodles
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    3 spring onions, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths
    2 tablespoons soy suace
    1 tablespoon Chinese wine or dry sherry
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    Preparation time: 12 minutes
    Cooking time: 5 minutes

1. Mix the prawns with the egg white and cornflour.

2. Put the noodles in boiling water, boil for about 5 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

3. Heat the oil in a wok, add the spring onions with the prawns, soy sauce, wine and sugar and stir-fry for 1 minute. add the noodles to the wok and mix well. cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the sesame oil.

<>   Xiaoniu SuChu Hsu (p) 1998    suchu@techart.nia.edu.tw