Sunday, 19 January 2014

Chinese savoury pancakes and shakshuka

Pancakes with Chinese sausage, prawns and carrots...and oozy poached egg
Enough with the healthy stuff. It’s time to get back to a more carby reality . Well, it didn’t take long to break my health kick, which, I had forewarned you would be shattered (I’m still drinking the healthy tea… that totally counts). And what better way to shatter it with a weekend to the country for what can only be described as the ‘weekend of gout and gorge’. Tartiflette, slow cooked ox cheeks, dauphinoise, cheeseboards, bacon and pancakes…and it was the last bugger which got me thinking. Butter, carbs, sugar and meat. How to combine them all into one rebellious ‘up yours, health January’ recipe? Pancakes.
I’m an avid believer of brunch, even though the Chinese haven’t quite hooked on to it. Early dim sum doesn’t quite fit brunch requirements, however on scouring through Mama Lo’s old and weathered Chinese cook books I saw a savoury Chinese pancake recipe. A little dated and too afraid of some of the preserved ingredients in there, I’ve taken inspiration from a few places to create a rich, Asian pancake. The only ingredient you may not have come across is Lap Cheong. It is a pork sausage which is marinated and preserved – a near relative to chorizo. It’s sweet and salty, in the same way many of us have taken to dousing bacon in maple syrup for pancakes. Now that’s a sweet meat.
Little jewels of Lap Cheong and prawns
The mix of little diced sausage, spring onion, carrot and prawns makes a rich pancake that yearns for a wingman. I just picked up Ottolenghi’s great book ‘Plenty’ (I know I’m late to the game on this one) and a great shakshuka recipe stood out to me. Could it complement my jam packed uber Asian pancakes? Fantasising about this all week, it was put to the test. Sunday mornings is one of the most precious times you can ask for. Snoozy Sunday cuddles in bed, reaching out for the cold side of the pillow for another snooze and then plod down to the kitchen for fresh juice and a relaxing recipe to gear you up for the day. Sorted.

Pancakes (makes about 10)

140 grams of plain flour
½ tsp baking soda
½  tsp shrimp paste
1 tbs sugar
300ml water
30 grams of melted butter
80 grams of Lap Cheong Chinese sausage, diced (available from most Chinese supermarkets)
80 grams of prawn
2 small carrots, diced and par-boiled
1 tbs sesame oil
2 spring onions, chopped
-Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the shrimp paste and sugar to the water and slowly add to the flour, mixing constantly. Beat the mixture until there are no more lumps.
-Gently fry the sausage and prawns – once the prawns are pink, remove and dice and return to the pan and mix. Add this into the pancake batter, alongside the carrots, butter and sesame oil.
-Leave to stand if you have the time (preferably a few hours, but not the end of the world if not)
-Prepare the pan with a little butter on a medium heat. Drop in two spoonfuls or so of the batter and leave until it bubbles and is golden brown underneath. Flip, and cook the other side. Repeat.

Simple Shakshuka (adapted from Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’ book)
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tbs groundnut oil
1 small red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 tsp of dark brown sugar/palm sugar
3 large on the vine tomatoes
150ml water
1 tbs soy sauce
3 eggs

-In a dry frying pan, heat up the 5 spice for 30 seconds and then add the oil. Fry the onions for 5 minutes and then add the red pepper and sugar for a further few minutes.
-Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan. Gradually add the water and soy sauce and simmer on a low-medium heat for 5 minutes
-Drop in your eggs and cover with a lid on a low heat. They should set in about 7 minutes or so. Serve up with some chopped spring onions and pancakes.



  1. These look amazing! I love Asian food but have never found uncomplicated recipes - until now! Lucy xx

    1. Thanks Lucy! Just posted up a new blog post which is one of the easiest I've done so far - I hope you try it! Love your blog xx

  2. Those look amazing! And carbs 5ever, am I right? ;) love the oozy egg photo by the way!

    1. CARBS for life indeed! Thanks for the comment lovely.