The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

We’re cheating a little here, as this dish is popular mainly in Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, although it’s thought to have originated with the Chiuchow people in southern China. It’s eaten at Lunar New Year with a great deal of fanfare. The ingredients are mixed one by one, to the uttering of auspicious wishes by the server. When all the ingredients are served, diners use their chopsticks to toss everything enthusiastically in the air — the higher they toss, the greater their coming fortune in the new year.


Quantity Ingredient
50g Toasted sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon five-spice
2 carrots, peeled
1 small daikon, peeled
2 lebanese cucumbers
1 jicama, peeled
4 spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
2 pomelos, peeled
160g raw, skinned peanuts, roasted and coarsely chopped, (see note)
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, finely shredded
1 bunch coriander, (optional)
1 x 750g salmon fillet, with skin on
vegetable oil, for cooking wrappers
10 wonton wrappers


Quantity Ingredient
300ml plum sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
80ml lime juice, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil


  1. To make the dressing, combine the plum sauce and honey in a small saucepan over a medium–low heat, and cook, stirring often, for 3–4 minutes, or until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and sesame oil, then set aside at room temperature. Taste and stir in a little extra lime juice, if necessary, to cut the sweetness, and 1–2 tablespoons water, or enough to thin the dressing to a heavy coating consistency.
  2. Put the sesame seeds and five-spice into a mortar and coarsely grind using the pestle. Cut all the vegetables into thin matchsticks and place in separate bowls. Remove the membrane from the pomelo segments, then tear the pomelo into pieces. Prepare the peanuts and ginger, and pick small sprigs o­ the coriander, if using.
  3. Using tweezers, remove the pin bones from the salmon. Then, using a long, sharp knife and holding it at an angle against the salmon fillet, cut the salmon into very thin, wide slices, starting from the thin, tail end of the fillet and working your way up towards the head end (leaving the skin behind). Set aside.
  4. Fill a saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns deep golden in 15 seconds. Add the wrappers, a few at a time, and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until they are golden and crisp. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towel. To serve, place all the prepared ingredients on a large platter or in bowls, and allow everyone to help themselves. Pour the dressing over the top and toss everything together.


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the peanuts on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes, or until golden, then remove the peanuts from the tray and cool.
Real Food of China
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