1. Salt and Pepper Prawns
  2. Stir-Fried Chicken Slices with Mangetout
  3. Chicken Rice Congee (Soft Rice)

The people of the Lower Yangtse are fond of sharptasting food, such as the Salt and Pepper Prawns, which is served with mild flavoured dishes such as the chicken and the rice. Rice Congee is a kind of gruel, often eaten as a snack, or for breakfast.

1. Salt and Pepper Prawns ()
    4 tablespoons vegetable oil
    450 g (1 lb) uncooked prawns, peeled and deveined
    2 spring onions, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    2 small chillis, sliced into long shreds
    2 pieces star anise
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
    1/2 teaspoon Szchuan peppercorns, freshly ground
    3/4 teaspoon salt

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 5 minutes

1. Heat the oil in a wok. Add the prawns and stir-fry for about 1 1/2 minutes. remove the prawns and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.

2. Add the other ingredients except the salt and pepper. Stir-fry for two seconds, then return the prawns to the wok. Add salt and pepper and stir. Turn out onto a heated serving dish. This is very good served as a starter.

2. Stir-Fried Chicken Slices with Mangetout ()
    450 g (1 lb) chicken breasts, skinned and cut into thin slices
    pinch of freshly ground white pepper
    pinch of MSG
    4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 1 teaspoon
    1 teaspoon cornflour
    1 egg white
    225 g (8 oz) mangetout, stringed and cut in half on a slant
    25 g (1 oz) petits pois
    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    Preparation time: 15 minutes plus marinating
    Cooking time: 7-8 minutes

1. Marinate the chicken breast slices in the mixed 1/2 teaspoon salt, white pepper, MSG, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, cornflour, and egg white for 30 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a wok. Drop in the managetout with a pinch of salt and stir-fry until they are cooked slightly yet still crunchy. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and reheat the wok.

3. Add the remaining vegetable oil, and when hot add the chicken slices. Separate the slices, and stir-fry gently until the chicken slices change to a white colour. Drop in the petits pois and stir all together for about 1 minute. Take the wok off the heat and stir in the teaspoon of sesame oil. Toss together and then arrange on the serving dish. Serve immediately.

3. Chicken Rice Congee (Soft Rice) ()
    1.75 litres (3 pints) chicken stock
    100 g (4 oz) pudding rice, washed and drained
    freshly ground white pepper
    2 egg whites, lightly beaten
    100 g (4 oz) chicken breast meat, skinned and finely minced
    To garnish:
    2 slices of ham, finely minced
    2 spring onions, finely chopped

    Preparation time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: 2 hours

1. Pour the chicken stock into a large pan and bring to the boil. Stir in the washed rice while still boilling and then reduce the heat so the stock is just simmering. Let the stock and rice simmer for about 2 hours with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. When ready to serve, mix the egg whites with the chicken meat and stirinto the rice gruel. Serve immediately. The heat from the congee will cooking being needed. Spoon the congee into bowls, and sprinkle the minced ham and spring onions on top, to garnish.

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