Friday, 3 January 2014

Sockeye salmon poached in Chinese tea and glass noodles with cucumber chilli dressing

Salmon poached in Lapsang Souchong tea with glass noodles and cucumber chilli dressing
Happy New Year everyone! Sorry for the mouthful of a post title, I couldn’t really find a way to sex it up (well, shorten it at least). Maybe it’s my two week Christmas break and the fact that I have gravy and meat practically running in my veins that has led to an inept ability to stir up any sort of a witty sentence? Anyway, I’ve been itching to get back to Lolo’s Little Kitchen as I’ve been up in Leeds with my family. Mama and Papa Lo arrived from the motherland, and we’ve had a gout inducing couple of weeks eating. It doesn’t help when your brother has a metabolism of a racehorse and your parents want to eat ‘traditional’ Western food like fish and chips, scotch eggs and full English breakfasts every day. That blueberry and pomegranate muesli will have to wait.
In a rather depressing come down of fatty Christmas food and sweets last week I was determined to try a few tricks for a bit of a cleanse to my system. In traditional Chinese medicine, there isn’t anything that you can take to ‘detox’, as it is too much of a shock to your body, but a more gentle and long standing ‘cleanse’ is recommended. An easy place to start would be to swap my copious cups of Yorkshire teas with Chinese tea. Oolong tea is great for January, as it is full of antioxidants to help fight high blood pressure, diabetes and liver damage. But more exciting than that, it promotes weight loss by increasing your metabolism if you drink it regularly. 
Sockeye Alaskan salmon complemented by a smoky Chinese tea

In this recipe, all the ingredients have great health benefits - salmon for its Omega-3 and vermicelli/glass noodles are made from the starch of mung beans and are a healthier, lighter and gluten free alternative to wheat noodles. Eating chilli helps lower cholesterol, improve circulation and lowers blood sugar levels, and gives the vermicelli a punchy ‘POW’ in flavour with the ginger and cucumber. I’ve tried this recipe with Oolong, and it works with green tea also, however recently good old Heston did a Lapsang Souchong infused smoked salmon over the holidays for Waitrose. It has a very distinctive smoky strong flavour (as well as many benefits of black tea) as pine wood is used to smoke the leaves, and so has just enough of a festive aroma to remind you of Xmas. I thought it was almost too smoky for an already smoked salmon, but poaching a salmon fillet in tea works wonderfully. This recipe barely needs any real cooking, it’s really simple (despite the overworked title description).

Ingredients (serves 2)
Tea poached salmon
2 salmon fillets (I love the texture, colour and flavour of Sockeye, but any good quality salmon does the trick)
5 tsp of Lapsang Souchong loose tea (or any other Chinese tea if this tea is too strong for you, Oolong or Green tea also work well)
Pinch of salt
500ml of water
Glass noodles with chilli cucumber dressing and edamame beans
2 packets of glass noodles
1 inch of ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
125ml rice wine vinegar
125ml water
1 tbs of palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
Quarter of a cucumber, grated
2 red chillies, finely chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
Generous handful of edamame beans
Prepare the fish: Pat one teaspoon of the tea leaves on each salmon, sprinkle the salt and leave the fish for 10 minutes until room temperature. Meanwhile, bring to the boil in a pot the 500ml of water and remaining 3 teaspoons of tea. Once boiled, keep it simmering on high for 2 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and add the salmon. Leave this, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes, depending on how firm/cooked you like your fish.
For the chilli and cucumber dressing: In a pan, bring to the boil the rice vinegar, water, sugar, ginger and garlic. Leave to cool and chop the remaining ingredients: cucumber, chilli, spring onions. Add these into the dressing and let the flavours soak in.
Noodles and edamame beans: Soak the noodles in boiling water for 15 minutes until soft. (yep, it’s that easy). Cook edamame beans in boiling water for 3 minutes and mix into the noodles alongside your fresh dressing and salmon.
Cucumber and chilli dressing adds a great kick to the noodle salad

What are your fresh start recipes to 2014? I’d love to hear them – make sure to follow me on twitter and Instagram too!

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