'In the Mood for Love' Hong Kong Recipes & Photos

by Celeste Heiter, Feb 20, 2006 | Destinations: Hong Kong / China

This romantic menu includes Crab Cakes with Chili Garlic Mayonnaise, Sashimi Rice Paper Spring Rolls, Mandarin Orange Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette, Grilled Giant Prawns with Ginger Butter, Petite Hens with Spicy Orange Glaze, Snow Peas with Water Chestnuts and Sweet Red Peppers, Pearl Rice, and for dessert, Lychee Fruits with Crystal Ginger and Spiced Cookies.

Crab Cakes with Chili Garlic Mayonnaise

2 cans lump crabmeat, drained
1 sweet red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 scallions, finely sliced
3 slices white bread, finely diced
1 egg
Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup panko bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Combine crabmeat, red pepper, garlic, scallions, bread cubes, and egg in a mixing bowl and stir to blend. Shape the mixture into patties about 1/2" thick and 2" in diameter. Dredge in panko crumbs to lightly coat. Heat about 1/2" of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Carefully slide crabcakes into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels and serve with Chili Garlic Mayonnaise. Makes about 15 - 18 crabcakes.

Chili Garlic Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons chili-garlic paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until smooth.

Sashimi Rice Paper Rolls

6 rice paper wrappers

Filling: 1/2 pound sushi-grade tuna, sliced into thin strips
1 carrot, finely shredded
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely julienned
1 cup spring salad greens

Pickled ginger
Wasabi paste

Soak a rice paper wrapper in a large shallow dish of warm water. Remove wrapper from the water and lay it flat on a large glass dinner plate. Place a small amount of each of the filling ingredients horizontally across the lower edge of the wrapper. Carefully fold the lower edge of the wrapper upwards and tuck it around the filling. Snugly roll the filling toward the upper edge, being careful not to tear the delicate wrapper. Trim off the rounded edges of the wrapper and slice the roll into four bite-sized pieces. Repeat with the remaining five wrappers. Garnish with pickled ginger and a pinch of wasabi paste. Serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously and allow to stand for 1 hour to marry flavors.

Mandarin Orange Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette

Salad Components:

1 package spring salad greens (or one head of leafy lettuce)
1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained
1 small can water chestnuts, drained
1 carrot, finely grated
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut into thin wedges
1 cup crispy chow mein noodles


1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger root, finely grated
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Mix all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously and allow to stand for 1 hour to marry flavors.

To assemble salad, place lettuce, oranges, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges and carrot in a large bowl. Gently toss with enough dressing to coat. Arrange on salad plates, sprinkle with chow mein noodles, and garnish with wedges of tomato and sliced cucumber. Serves 4

Grilled Giant Prawns with Ginger Butter

8 - 12 giant prawns, cleaned & deveined, shells intact
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon ginger root, finely shredded
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add ginger and saute until fragrant, but do not brown. Add soy sauce and mirin. Stir to blend. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve in small dipping dishes.

Skewer two or three prawns on each bamboo skewer and trim off excess portion of the skewer with a pair of garden shears. On an electric grill, stovetop grill pan or outdoor barbeque, grill prawns until just pink and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcook. Serve with ginger butter. Serves 4.

Petite Hens with Spicy Orange Glaze

2 Cornish Game Hens, split in half lengthwise
Steamed Rice


2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger root, finely shredded

Combine marinade ingredients in a large shallow baking dish. Place halved game hens in marinade and turn several times to coat. Allow to marinate for one hour, or overnight. Heat oven to 400 and bake game hens for about 45 minutes to one hour, until skin is golden brown and meat is done. Serve over rice with Orange Sauce. Serves 4.

Spicy Orange Glaze

1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons shao xing wine
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Serve over roasted game hens.

Snow Peas with Sweet Peppers and Water Chestnuts

2 cups fresh snow peas, stems & strings removed
1 can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Heat sesame oil in a wok or frying pan. Add snow peas, sweet peppers and water chestnuts. Lightly stir-fry until just tender, about 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Lychee Fruits with Crystal Ginger and Spiced Cookies

12 lychee fruits (canned or fresh)
8 pieces crystalized ginger
8 five-spice cookies
1 bottle plum wine or shao xing

Arrange three lychee fruits, two pieces of crystalized ginger and two five-spice cookies on four dessert plates. Serve with warm plum wine or Chinese shao xing.

Five Spice Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/8 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

Bring the butter to room temperature, place in a deep mixing bowl with sugar, five spice powder and vanillal Beat with a fork or electric mixer until creamy. Add flour and walnuts and continue mixing until dough forms a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 1/4" sheet and cut into decorative shapes with a cookie cutter, or press small amounts of dough into decorative cookie molds. Place formed cookies on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. These cookies go nicely with candied ginger, lychee fruits and warm plum wine or shao xing.