When I opened up my mail and found this inside I immediately thought ‘Oh no! Not another celebrity cookbook from a celebrity that isn’t even famous for cooking!’.*
Pessimistic. I know.
But then a funny thing happened. As I flicked through, I found myself furiously bookmarking and becoming more and more excited to get cooking.
So then I had to eat my words.
*Gok is a fashion stylist and UK TV star.
The reason the recipes appealed to me so much was because they were rustic family ones, with names like Grandma’s Eggs and Poppa Wan’s Simple Soy Glazed Chicken.
Speaking of Poppa Wan – his recipes feature heavily in the book, and they are absolute crackers! I am seriously salivating to make Poppa Wan’s Show-stopping Twice Cooked Melting Pork. Doesn’t the name alone make your tastebuds die and go to heaven? That’s what I thought.
There’s Chinese classics like Peking duck pancakes and how to make the perfect plum sauce, alongside Gok’s family favourites like Ho Fun noodles with seafood and ma-po tofu with Chinese omelette. As well as modern twists and a good section on street food – pass the lap cheong and squid please!
See what I mean? This stuff is actually good and the photography is lovely with simple styling and printed on thick matte paper, just the way I like my cookbooks!
In the end, I couldn’t go past these delectable 5 ingredient sesame prawn balls to make first. They’re sesame prawn toast without any bread getting in the way – genius! Gok serves them with stir fried cucumbers, which sound good, but I couldn’t be bothered with at the time. I simply shredded some carrot and cucumber and served them on top with some chilli sauce on the side.
I’ve adapted Gok’s recipe, as his only made a tiny 8 balls. Mine makes around 20, depending on how you big you shape them, which is more appropriate for a party or family dinner. We stir fried the leftovers with soba noodles.
I’m really excited about using the book to cook more Chinese food at home, especially home-style Chinese food (not that nasty goopy stuff you get from the takeaway shop!), so I suspect you’ll see a few more recipes popping up shortly.
Have you tried cooking Chinese at home? And do you have a celebrity cookbook that you actually cook from?
Sesame Prawn Balls
makes around 20
based on a recipe from Gok Cooks Chinese
- 1kg raw green prawns, peeled to yield about 800g
- 220g can water chestnuts, drained to yield about 120g, finely chopped
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- pinch each of salt and ground white pepper
- 100g sesame seeds
- peanut or vegetable oil, for shallow frying
1. Finely chop or blitz the prawns in a food processor. Don’t go too far, you do want some chunky texture. Put into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the chopped water chestnuts, sesame oil and salt and pepper and mix well.
3. Using damp hands, roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place onto a lightly oiled plate.
4. Heat about 1cm of oil in a large deep frying pan and shallow fry 4-5 balls at a time for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Be careful not to burn the sesame seeds as this will make them bitter. Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately.
Fig & Cherry received the Gok Cooks Chinese cookbook with compliments of Penguin Publishers Australia.
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