The food at Xi Yan is based in Chinese cuisine but is also influenced by the different cuisines of East and South-East Asia. It is this creative genius, I believe, that has been at the heart of Xi Yan's ascent in the culinary world. Since its humble origins back in 2000, Xi Yan now also has a branch in Singapore and has plans to open in Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo. I've had the good fortune to dine at the Singapore branch and I must say that I was blown away. From simple dishes such as Momotaro tomatoes in a wasabi sesame sauce to more unusual dishes such as Shisamo (pregnant fish) in chili oil, the freshness and quality of the ingredients always shone through.
Xi Yan is the brainchild of Jacky Yu who spent 19 years working in advertising before deciding to make a radical change in career. This gives me some hope that maybe its not too late for me to consider a switch in career afterall!
Sichuan Dumplings in Chili Oil
From Xi Yan
20 pieces wanton wrap
300g pork shank (minced)
diced spring onion
1 tsp salt
ground white pepper
3/4 cup ginger and spring onion juice
chili sauce 1 (makes 8 servings)
8 tbsps dark soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp Zhenjiang black vinegar
4 tbsp cold boiled water
2 tbsp sugar
chili sauce 2
1/3 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
diced spring onion
ground Sichuan peppercorn
Mixed minced pork with seasoning 1. Add seasoning 2 and keep stirring until the mixture is sticky. This is the filling for the dumplings.
Wrap some filling in each piece of wanton wrap.
Pour 1 1/2 tbsp of chili sauce 1 in a bowl. Add chili sauce 2 and mix well.
Bring water to the boil. Put in dumplings and cook until they float. Remove from heat and drain. Transfer to the bowl with chili sauce and sprinkle diced spring onion on top. Toss the dumplings in chili sauce and serve.
NB: To make ginger and spring onion juice, put 1 cup of water, 1 small piece of thinly sliced ginger and 3 sprigs of spring onion (shredded) in a big bowl. Squeeze with hands to extract the juice. Discard ginger and spring onion and reserve the juice.