the appetizer:

Chinese cooking, like most of Asia, focuses first on a starch like rice or noodles, then adds an accompaniment of meat or seafood, rather than meat first, starch and vegetables second, as found in European-influenced cuisines. Recipes in China are as diverse as the language, with its 80,000 characters, and Chinese immigrants have brought this complex culinary heritage to almost every region of the world.



Seafood In an Orange Basket

by Martin Yan

Makes 4 servings

Seafood steamed in fresh orange cups with a little orange liqueur takes on a wonderfully perfumed flavor. Present these little "baskets" right in the steamer basket, then serve them on individual plates as an elegant first course.

1/4 pound each crabmeat, sea scallops, and firm white fish fillet

2 tablespoons oyster flavored sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

4 navel oranges
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
1/2 cup diced cantaloupe
1/3 cup diced water chestnuts
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
3 tablespoons plum sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar


1. Cut crabmeat into 1/2-inch pieces. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add crabmeat, sea scallops, and fish fillet and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Prepare orange baskets: Remove a thin slice from bottom of each orange so it stands upright. Cut off top 1/3. With a small knife, score flesh into quarters, then remove flesh without tearing shell; reserve flesh. If you wish, notch the top of orange basket. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier in each basket.

3. Squeeze orange flesh to make 1/3 cup orange juice. Remove to a bowl. Add crabmeat and remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon mixture into orange baskets. Place baskets in a heat-proof glass pie dish.

4. Prepare a wok for steaming. Cover and steam orange baskets over high heat for 20 minutes.

Reprinted by permission from Martin Yan's Culinary Journey Through China by Martin Yan (KQED Books).


Chinese Cuisines and Customs

Chinese and Lunar New Year Handbook

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This page modified January 2007

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