Chinese Mushroom Pancakes

Chinese Mushroom Pancakes (21)

Next week the stars are aligning in a very special way, as Chinese New Year and Pancake Day coincide.  Fortunately, good old Simon Rimmer has foreseen this event and prepared a dish that covers both occasions in one happy union.  Since I first moved to Asia in 2007 I’ve had a great fondness for Chinese New Year.  Of course, this is partly because of the public holidays, but it’s also a genuinely lovely celebration.  Locals feel about it the same way as I feel about Christmas, and I adore the pretty little trees, the communal spirit and the general excitement and optimism.  And of course I love Pancake Day because pancakes are yummy.

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I’ll be spending the holiday in Thailand, frolicking with elephants and cooking up a spicy storm.  Hopefully I’ll manage to find some pancakes over there, but I’m getting these ones in early.  They do need some ingredients that might warrant a trip to Chinatown (for those readers not living in Hong Kong), but they’re worth the effort.

Chinese Mushroom Pancakes

Serves 6 as starter, 3 as main, from Simon Rimmer’s The Accidental Vegetarian

Ingredients:

100g plain flour

100g five spice powder

18 Chinese pancakes

400g oyster mushrooms

1 cucumber, cut into batons

6-8 spring onions, finely sliced

vegetable oil, for frying

For the plum sauce:

2 shallots, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

splash of dry sherry

450g plums, halved and stoned

100ml stock

vegetable oil

Method:

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1.  To make the sauce, fry the shallots in a little oil for about 5 minutes until soft.

Chinese Mushroom Pancakes (2)

2. Add the garlic and sherry and let it bubble for about 1 minute until slightly reduced.

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3.  Add the plums and cook over medium-high heat until they begin to go mushy (it takes about 10 minutes with some vigorous stirring).

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4.  Add the stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

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5.  Pass through a sieve into a bowl – use your spoon to help push the mixture through.

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6.  Mix the flour and five spice together with some seasoning.

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7.  Toss the mushrooms in the mix to coat well, and shake off any excess.

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8.  Heat some oil in a large pan and deep fry the mushrooms in batches for about 3 minutes until crisp and brown.

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9.  Drain on kitchen paper.

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10.  Warm the pancakes, either in a microwave for 20 seconds or in a steamer over simmering water for 1 minute, and prepare the cucumber and spring onions to serve.

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11.  Serve up:  spread plum sauce on a pancake, lay a strip of mushrooms down the middle, top with onion and cucumber, then roll up.

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