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Meal ideas: Chinese meal weekend garden dinner for 4/5


If the forecast does not lie :), it is likely that we are going to have very warm weekend, starting from tomorrow lunch time. :)) So we can enjoy the summer for 2 -3 days!! I am getting excited just by seeing the ‘sun’ sign on the forecast page. So, I imagine you are going to have a good garden gathering with friends, having some beer, soaking into the sun, chatting, eating…

In Chinese custom, you cannot only take drinks without having some dishes in front of you. :)) There are some dishes that are actually called ‘Xia Jiu Cai’, which literally means ‘the dishes going down with Alcohol. Probably you already noticed that in some recipes I mentioned that ‘this dish is good to go with beer’. ‘Alcohol’ with Chinese dishes  normally refers either to Chinese beer (which is a very light beer), or to Chinese rice wine (never to red / white wine).

The meal idea for this weekend is for either 4 or 5 people, (with beef and lamb dishes), if you will have beer or other soft drinks with them, rice is not necessary. It is only a suggestion, and I chose the dishes from the recipes I put out already, it is easy to explain.

The meal consists of two meat dishes –‘lamb pieces on toothpicks’(Ya qian rou) Soysauce beef salad’ (jiang niu rou); two salad (liang cai) dishes –mungbean starch salad (la pi liang cai) black fungus with cucumber salad (Mu’re ban huang gua); one stir fried green dish – stir fried mange tout (qing chao he lan dou), and just five spice adame beans for filling the gaps in between the meals, and it is the season now, too good to miss. :)

In hot weather, (or when having beer, which can be heavy already), I prefer something light, (I don’t drink), but with enough proteins and vitamins to give me enough energy to go through the day. So, this meal provides enough proteins from the meat, (having one type of meat can be a bit boring when chatting with a few friends), iron from black fungus, fibre from mange tout and adame beans. And there is not much fat in any of the dishes, (apart from ‘toothpicks lamb’, which can contain some).

Another advantage of this combination is that you don’t have to worry about the dishes getting cold since they are all good even if they are not warm, including the lamb (not too cold though). So, you can spend longer time drinking, chatting, and eating. However, for making preparation easy, it is good to do a little bit work the night before, for example, boiling the beef, soaking the seasonings with lamb and inserting the toothpicks, and soaking the black fungus, or even fry the peanuts.

After these preliminary steps, the actual cooking will take probably one hour: I would boil the adame beans first, and soak the mung bean starch. Meanwhile, chopping and mixing the beef, and making the black fungus salad. … By now, you have half of the table ready already. Then I would stir fry the mange tout, while it needs to be in the wok for a little bit, shred the cucumber and making the mung bean starch salad. I leave the lamb at the last, as it is still better if it is hot or warm. :)

Am I talking sense? For the details of each meal, check the original post.

I think it is a good table of food accompanying the sun, do you agree? :)

Enjoy the sun and weekend! — I am off to prepare grilled lamb leg for our friends’ gathering tomorrow, and it will be Sunday’s recipe. :))

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