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Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

23rd January 2012 sees the start of the Year of the Dragon. In Eastern philosophy, the dragon is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. It also happens to be part of Blue Dragon’s brand logo!

At Blue Dragon, we're seriously passionate about Oriental food. If you're interested in cooking an authentic Oriental dish, we can help you prepare everything from a simple yet delicious stir fry, right through to more adventurous dishes.

We think stir fries are fabulous! Quick and easy, they’re also the perfect dish to get creative with.


To make sure yours are the best they can be, check out the following tips:

 

Oil


Use groundnut (peanut) oil to stir fry as it has a high burning point.

Piping hot


The secret to the perfect stir fry is to make sure the oil is piping hot before you put the ingredients in the pan or wok.

 

Top stir fry tips
Stop it sticking


If your ingredients start to stick, don’t turn the heat down, just add a few tablespoons of water.

Prep beforehand


Because it's a fast cooking process, make sure all of your cutting and chopping is done beforehand and is close to hand.

Cut things evenly


Make sure the protein and vegetables are all cut into pieces of the same size as this ensures they will cook evenly.

Stagger your cooking times

Add bigger and more dense vegetables and meats first. They will take longer to cook than small, finer ones.

Add aromatic ingredients first


When frying aromatic ingredients such as garlic, ginger and chilli - make sure you add them at the beginning and fry until the aromas are released. Only then are you ready to start adding the other ingredients.

Remove the meat once it's cooked


Cook the meat first, remove from the wok, and return to the cooked vegetables towards the end of cooking to ensure the texture you desire is retained in the final dish.

Add shellfish last



If stir frying shellfish like prawns or shrimps, make sure they go into the wok last so they don’t become chewy and over-cooked.

 Add sauce at the end


When the food is about two-thirds done, add the stir fry sauce. If the food will take more than a few minutes more to cook, cover and steam until done. If it will take less time, continue to stir-fry.

Everyone loves a night at the Chinese or a takeaway as a treat, but why not avoid the expense and recreate your favourite Oriental restaurant dishes at home?

These tips will show you how to add those extra little details to enhance the experience – from napkin folding to carving vegetable flowers!
Restaurant experience
 How to use chopsticks


 When it comes to using chopsticks, practise makes perfect. The key is that the bottom chopstick remains still while the upper one moves to grasp food.

 

 Step 1: Hold one chopstick between your thumb and middle finger. Position the chopstick  so that it lies at the base of your thumb (on the joint) and at the lower  joint of the middle finger. The chopstick shouldn’t touch the forefinger.

 Step 2: Place the other chopstick between your thumb and forefinger. The side of the stick must.

 rest against the tip of your thumb; the top of the chopstick should rest against the pad of your forefinger.

 Step 3: Ensure that the tips of the chopsticks are parallel.


 Step 4: Keep the first chopstick stationary as you practise moving the second chopstick 

 towards the stationary one.


 Step 5: Use this ‘pincer’ technique to position the chopsticks around a piece of food.


 Step 6: Hold the food firmly as you lift it towards your mouth.

 How to make a ‘Lily Fold’ napkin pattern

 


 You’ll need a large, square napkin and it works best if it’s

 slightly starched, stiff  or crisply ironed. 

 

 Step 1: Lay the napkin face-down in front of you as a square.


 Step 2: Fold the napkin in half so that the open end is towards

 you.


 Step 3: Fold the napkin into quarters.


 Step 4: Accordion-fold the entire napkin from corner to corner,

 grasping it in the middle and keeping the open ends at the 

 top.

 Step 5: Fold the napkin in half.


 Step 6: Tuck the napkin into a glass of your choice.


 Step 7: Gently pull apart the loose corners sticking up, so they

 are evenly distributed, to form the petals.

 How to make a 'Tomato Rose' carving

 


 To make a Tomato Rose, you’ll need a large, firm tomato with

 a thick, unblemished skin.


 Step 1: Starting about 2 cm away from the stem of the 

 tomato, cut towards the centre, keeping the blade just under 

 the skin.

 Step 2: Cut around the centre of the tomato, keeping the 

 outer cut even. As  you get nearer to the original incision, aim 

 to cut under and below it.

 Step 3: The outer cut should now be around 2cm from the 

 original cut. Continue cutting round the tomato, keeping the 

 skin all in one piece.

 Step 4: As you cut round, make the strip of tomato skin 

 narrower and  narrower. The skin should be in a single 

 piece with a wide end and a narrow  end.

 Step 5: Hold the tomato skin at the narrow end and start 

 curling it in on itself.

 Step 6: Continue curling the tomato skin towards the wide end.

 Step 7: As you reach the end of the tomato skin, put the

 curled skin on top of  the end of the skin.

You're just as passionate as we are

Our company was created over thirty years ago when we realised there was hardly anything available in the shops that would help the British people create authentic Chinese dishes at home. Since then, our company has gone from selling five very modest products to a truly pan-Asian selection of ingredients that help you create delicious Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes. We’ve also expanded our Chinese range considerably.

And it's all because of you. As a nation it seems like we've truly embraced food from the Orient. Over the last thirty years, as well as Chinese, Cantonese and Vietnamese restaurants a proliferation of sushi and noodle bars have appeared the length and breadth of the country. We think it's because Oriental food incorporates so many wonderful colours and flavours, like coconut milk, chilli sauce and red curry paste. Combine that with a gradual move towards more simple, healthy eating and it's no wonder Oriental cooking, with its astonishing use of fresh ingredients has become so popular.