"The greatest Indian cook in Britain"Jay Rayner "The Observer"
"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Friday, 20 January 2012

Kung Hii Fatt Choi

These were the words with which I was greeted with when I celebrated Chinese New Year in Liverpool last year. According to Wikipedia they mean  "Congratulations and be prosperous!". As you can see, the festival is celebrated by the whole community in Liverpool - not just those of Chinese heritage. The lady in the centre of the picture wearing a chain of office was mayor of one of the Merseyside boroughs.  The mayors of all the other boroughs were also making merry. They really entered the spirit of the occasion. 

As the Chinese New Year falls on Sunday this year I visited Manchester which also has a well established Chinese community.  I had lunch at the Glamorous Chinese Restaurant on the Oldham Road where I took these photos.I am not a big fan of broccoli but I really love the way it was served today. Simply with a ginger and garlic sauce and straw mushrooms.  I ate it with steamed rice and a touch of chilli oil.. One of my favourite dishes.
Part of the fun of a Chinese restaurant is the drama.   What could be more dramatic than the picture of the dragon?  I asked someone what animal it was this year as last year was the year of the rabbit. She replied "Dragon, of course! Do you not see the pictures of the dragons everywhere?" "But there are always dragons every year," I protested.  "Isn't there always a dragon dance?"
However, I always feel sad when I see the Peking ducks hanging all in their shinny coats of sherry wine and honey glaze I imagine them crying as they were led to slaughter. Don't we do such terrible things to animals - all for our love of meat.And also those poor lobsters in their watery, condemned cell.

Just below the restaurant is the Wing Yip supermarket.
I bought all sorts of goodies such as sweet potato vermicelli, shrimp paste, lo mai kai steamed glutinous rice which I first got introduced to in China Town Manchester 25 years ago filled with pieces of pork shrimp and mushroom wrapped and steamed in a lotus leave, lilly flower stems and shrimp dumplings. I love experimenting with ingredients from other cooking traditions in my Gujarati dishes.

Today, for instance I made a 3 fish curry with smoked tofu and got creative with my spices to make a side dish of broccoli tossed in finely diced shallots,chilli, fish sauce, lime juice and sesame seeds which I shared with some of my friends. They all ate well.

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