Kylie uses spices, salts and moreish sauces to create layers of texture and intense flavour. Sometimes a good meal is all about the condiments, spices and sauces.

STEAMED BLUE SWIMMER CRABS WITH CHILLI SAUCE

This dish looks grand, but it's quite simple when taken step-by-step. And I eat the chilli sauce with almost everything!

CAPTION

1kg green (raw) blue swimmer crabs

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp peanut oil

15g (5cm x 1cm) knob ginger, finely diced

3 tbsp shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
or dry sherry

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp malt vinegar

Chilli sauce

8 large red chillies, roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic,  roughly chopped

75g ginger, roughly chopped

1/2 cup peanut oil

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp light soy sauceFor chilli sauce, process chilli, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Heat oil in a wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Reduce heat to low-medium, add chilli mixture and cook, stirring regularly, for about 3 minutes. Add sugar and cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly. Add soy sauce, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes - or until sauce darkens and oil leaches out. Transfer to a heatproof bowl or jar and set aside to cool. (Makes 1 cup; will keep in an airtight container in fridge for 1 week.)

For crabs, pull away back flap and rinse away innards. Using your fingers, remove feathery gills, then cut each crab into 4 pieces.

Place crab pieces in a shallow heatproof bowl that will fit inside a large steamer basket. Place bowl inside steamer, then over a large saucepan of boiling water, and cover with lid. Steam for about 6 minutes or until crabs are cooked - shells will turn orange.

Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup chilli sauce with soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Heat peanut oil in a hot wok until surface shimmers slightly. Add ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add rice wine and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add chilli-sauce mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until sauce starts to caramelise.

Add crab pieces and cooking juices to wok and toss well for 1 minute. Add sesame oil and vinegar, toss well and serve immediately.

 

SOFT-BOILED CRUNCHY EGGS WITH SPICY SALT

These eggs make a great snack - they're crunchy, gooey, salty and spicy all at once.

CAPTION

8 free-range eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp salt flakes

vegetable oil, to deep-fry

cucumber wedges

Boil eggs for 4 minutes (or 5 minutes, if using eggs straight from the fridge). Refresh under cold running water. Carefully peel eggs, then drain well on kitchen paper.

For spicy salt, dry-roast peppercorns, fennel, coriander and cumin seeds, and salt in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, tossing, for 1-2 minutes. When peppercorns begin to pop, remove from heat. Allow to cool, then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle
or spice grinder. (Makes 2 1/2 tbsp; will keep in an airtight container for several weeks.)

Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a wok until surface shimmers slightly (190°C). Using a slotted spoon, lower eggs into oil and deep-fry for 2 minutes each side or until golden and crisp all over. The eggs should still be soft in centre. Remove from wok with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Using a sharp knife, cut eggs in half, then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp spicy salt and serve with cucumber wedges. Sprinkle the spicy salt over grilled ocean trout, prawns or roast vegetables.

 

Serves 4-8

WHITE-COOKED CHICKEN WITH spring ONION AND GINGER SAUCE

I could eat this four times a week. The sauce is also delicious with steamed prawns or fish.

CAPTION

1.6kg whole free-range chicken

White master stock
3 cups shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)  or dry sherry

12 cloves garlic, crushed

1 1/2 cups sliced ginger

1/3 cup salt flakes

8 green (spring) onions, trimmed and cut in
half crossways

Spring onion and ginger sauce
2 green (spring) onions, finely sliced

2/3 cup diced ginger

2 tsp salt flakes

1/2 cup peanut oil

For stock, place all ingredients and 6 litres cold water in a large stockpot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes.

Rinse chicken under cold water. Trim excess fat from inside and outside cavity, but keep neck, parson's nose and winglets intact.

Bring stock back to boil. Lower chicken, breast-side down, into simmering stock so it is fully submerged. Poach chicken gently for exactly 14 minutes. There should be no more than an occasional ripple breaking the surface; adjust temperature, if necessary. Remove pot immediately from stove and allow chicken to steep in stock for 3 hours at room temperature to finish cooking. Using tongs, remove chicken from stock, being careful not to tear breast skin. Place chicken on a tray to drain and cool.

For sauce, combine onion, ginger and salt in a heatproof bowl and spread evenly over base. Heat oil in a small saucepan until moderately hot, then carefully pour over onion-ginger mix to scald, stirring well to combine. Set aside.

Chop chicken Chinese-style through bone, or Western-style, and serve with sauce.

Serves 4-6

From: Sunday Life