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3 Inspirational recipes from great British chefs

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3 Inspirational recipes from great British chefs
Go behind the curtain of some of the country's most exciting kitchens and try these inspirational recipes by three of Britain's most talented chefs
To the home chef, cooking a restaurant-quality meal can seem like an impossible task. You may feel as though you don't have the equipment or know-how to wow with your culinary creations, or you're not sure how to create the best flavours.
But fear not: Great British Chefs aim to remove this disconnect between the home cook and professional by sharing recipes devised by some of Britain's most talented chefs. Their latest book Open Kitchen contains 50 inspirational recipes from 30 professionals which celebrate Britain's diverse culinary nature. Try these three recipes by Andrew Wong, Stosie Madi and Helen Graham to provide a show-stopping meal at your next dinner party.

Mapo tofu by Andrew Wong

Andrew Wong’s recipe for this classic Sichuanese dish is deeply savoury and spicy. It layers different fermented ingredients like doubanjiang, black beans and pickled chillies and finishes with a dusting of crispy fried chilli and tingly Sichuan peppercorns.
"Andrew Wong's Sichuanese mapo tofu is deeply savoury and spicy with strong, punchy flavours"
Despite the strong, punchy flavours, tofu is still the star of the show, gently slipped in during the last five minutes to preserve its delicate texture. 
Mapo tofu, made with chillies, ginger, black beans and beef mince
Serves: 4 (as a side dish) 
Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Wok
  • Spice grinder
Ingredients: Seasoning powder 
  • 3g Sichuan peppercorns 
  • 10g dried chillies
  • 100ml vegetable oil 
Ingredients: Tofu 
  • 400g medium set tofu, diced into 2cm cubes 
  • 50g high-fat beef mince 
  • 20g chopped Sichuanese pickled chillies or Tantan Xiang chillies
  • 10g potato starch mixed with 20g water into a slurry
  • 15g ginger, minced
  • 10g hot pot paste 
  • 10g Shaoxing wine
  • 5g doubanjiang
  • 3g fermented black beans 
  • 2g oyster sauce
  • 2g sugar 
  • 1g ground white pepper 
Ingredients: To serve 
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped 
  • 2g sesame oil 
  • Sesame seeds for garnish 
Method: Seasoning powder 
  1. Heat the oil in a pan to 150°C
  2. Add the chillies and peppercorns and fry until fragrant and lightly toasted
  3. Carefully drain off the oil, and let the spices cool for 5 minutes
  4. Grind the fried chillies and peppercorns into a powder and set aside
Method: Tofu and beef 
  1. Blanch the tofu in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and chill in cold water
  2. Fry the beef in a wok until the fat begins to render 
  3. Add the doubanjiang and hot pot paste and fry until the oil turns red
  4. Add the pickled chillies, ginger and black beans, then mix
  5. Deglaze the pan with Shaoxing wine
  6. Add 200ml water and bring to a simmer, then add the oyster sauce, sugar and white pepper. Taste and add salt if needed
  7. Add the tofu to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes
  8. Add half the potato starch slurry then cook for a few minutes—if it doesn’t quite thicken enough, add the rest of the slurry
Method: To serve 
  1. Garnish with sesame seeds, sesame oil, chopped spring onion and the seasoning powder
  2. Serve with steamed jasmine rice

Peanut-crusted chicken brochette with pickled daikon by Stosie Madi

Inspired by Stosie’s love of Asian satay chicken and her memories of growing up on a peanut farm, this recipe combines a tangy tamarind-peanut sauce with peanut-crusted chicken and sharp pickled daikon. It makes a great starter or can be served with rice as a main.
Peanut-crusted chicken on metal skewers on a plate, served with pickled daikon and tamarind-peanut sauce
Serves: 4
Cooking time: 1 hour, plus overnight marinating and pickling time
"Stosie Madi's recipe is inspired by her childhood on a peanut farm"
  • 4 metal skewers
  • Barbecue
  • Stick blender
Ingredients: Chicken brochette
  • 600g chicken breast or skinless boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 80g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 40g crunchy peanut butter
  • 30g tamarind paste
  • 30g fresh ginger paste
  • 25g fresh red jalapeño chilli paste 
  • 15g fresh garlic paste 
  • 10g brown sugar
  • 50ml chicken jelly 
  • 20ml rice wine vinegar
  • 20ml vegetable oil 
Ingredients: Pickled daikon
  • 250g daikon 
  • 5g sugar 
  • 50ml rice vinegar
Ingredients: Peanut and tamarind sauce
  • 80g peanut butter
  • 50g tomato paste
  • 40g fresh tamarind paste
  • 25g vegetable oil 
  • 20g brown sugar
  • 20g onion paste 
  • 15g fresh chilli paste 
  • 15g fresh garlic paste 
  • 15g fresh ginger paste
  • 200ml chicken stock
Ingredients: Fried wild garlic
  • A few wild garlic leaves
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
Method: Chicken brochette marinade
  1. Blend together all the ingredients except for the chicken and roughly chopped peanuts
  2. Add the paste to the chicken, and mix well
  3. Leave to marinate overnight
Method: Pickled daikon
  1. Peel and thinly slice the daikon and toss with the sugar and 5g salt. Transfer to a colander and leave to strain for at least 2 hours
  2. After this time, strain and transfer to a bowl, add the rice wine vinegar, toss well and marinate overnight
Method: Peanut and tamarind sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the garlic, onion, fresh chilli, ginger and tomato pastes, and cook until fragrant and slightly softened
  2. Add the chicken stock and mix well, then add the rest of the ingredients
  3. Blend with a stick blender until smooth, then cook over a low heat until the sauce is reduced and, ideally, the peanut oil breaks out from the sauce
  4. Taste for seasoning and keep warm until ready to serve
Method: Chicken brochette
  1. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and prepare the barbecue for cooking the chicken
  2. Grill the chicken while constantly basting with the marinade, rotating constantly until tender—about 6 minutes
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, roll each skewer in the chopped peanuts, mixing well to cover
Method: Fried wild garlic
  1. Heat 1 cm oil in a small frying pan and briefly fry the wild garlic leaves for 30 seconds or so, or until they crisp up
  2. Drain on paper towels
Method: To serve
  1. Place a skewer on a plate and spoon a little warm sauce on the side
  2. Serve alongside the pickled daikon

Saffron-braised fennel, preserved lemon labneh and black olive salsa by Helen Graham

This saffron-infused dish from Helen Graham is a delicious way to serve fennel, as slow-braising mellows fennel’s aniseed flavour, rendering it sweet and tender. The labneh is made from scratch by hanging salted Greek yoghurt overnight, but you could use shop-bought labneh.
"Helen Graham is winning plaudits for showing how vegetables can play a starring role in every dish"
You won’t find any meat on executive chef Helen Graham’s menu at Middle Eastern concept Bubala in London. Instead, the former-Ottolenghi chef is winning plaudits for demonstrating how vegetables can play a starring role in every dish when treated with enough care and attention.
Saffron-braised fennel, served with preserved lemon labneh and black olive salsa
Serves: 6
Cooking time: 2 hours, plus time for the labneh to strain overnight
  • Muslin
Ingredients: Preserved lemon labneh
  • 500g Greek yoghurt 
  • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
Ingredients: Saffron-braised fennel
  • 2 fennel bulbs 
  • 125g unsalted butter, diced 
  • 100g sugar
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tbsp Muscatel or red wine vinegar 
  • Pinch saffron 
Ingredients: Black olive salsa
  • 100g black olives, de-stoned and finely chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated 
  • 1tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1tbsp Muscatel or red wine vinegar
  • 1½tbsp soy sauce
  • 1⁄4tsp black pepper
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 100ml olive oil
  • Zest of 1⁄2 orange (optional)
Method: Preserved lemon labneh
  1. Transfer the yoghurt to a mixing bowl and whisk in half a teaspoon table salt
  2. Set a colander lined with a J-cloth or piece of muslin above a bowl and transfer the yoghurt to the colander. Cover the yoghurt with another J-cloth or piece of muslin, and transfer to the fridge to drain overnight
  3. The next day, transfer the labneh back into a bowl and beat in the preserved lemon
  4. Set aside until ready to serve
Method: Saffron braised fennel
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Melt the butter with the sugar, half a teaspoon table salt, 500ml water, vinegar and saffron on a medium heat
  3. Whisk the mixture until the sugar and salt have dissolved
  4. Cut each fennel into quarters lengthways. Place the fennel cut-side-up in a deep oven tray
  5. Pour the butter mixture over the fennel and cover the tray with foil. Transfer the fennel to the oven and cook for 45 minutes, turning halfway through
  6. Remove the fennel from the liquid and set aside to cool. Reserve the liquid for serving.
Method: Black olive salsa
  1. Place the olives, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, orange zest, soy sauce, black pepper and parsley in a bowl and mix together
  2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then set aside
Method: To serve
  1. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan, then add the fennel
  2. Sear the fennel for a couple minutes on each side, or until golden
  3. Turn the heat up to high and add a few spoonfuls of the braising liquid. Cook until the braising liquid has been reduced by half—it should form a thick syrup that would coat the back of a spoon. Taste the syrup for seasoning, and adjust as needed
  4. Smooth the labneh onto a serving platter, then place the glazed fennel pieces on top. Pour the remaining reduced saffron caramel over the fennel
  5. Spoon over the black olive salsa and serve
Extracted from Open Kitchen by Great British Chefs (Clearview Books, £25).
Banner photo: Try these inspirational recipes to wow at your next dinner party (credit: cottonbro studio)
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