The InterContinental Hong Kong letsinto the kitchen for a sneak preview of five recipes from its Cooking with the Culinary Stars programme
WITH THE RISE of experiential gifts – spa treatments, hang-gliding lessons, hot-air-balloon rides, wine-appreciation sessions and more – comes the revival of simpler activities such as cooking classes. And while the InterContinental Hong Kong’s own version involves less hands-on training and more watching and feeding, it’s an elegant way to learn easy but stylish dishes with which to impress your guests at home.
The hotel has run local-market tours and dim-sum-making classes for years, but it’s only more recently that it has organised all of its restaurant chefs into running a cohesive programme, dubbed Cooking with the Culinary Stars.
Classes take place three or four times a month, on Saturday mornings, beginning with a breakfast gathering. Students are then walked through demonstrations of the dishes over the next couple of hours, with “class” culminating in a group lunch, gorging on the dishes they have just learned to make.
Each month takes on a different theme: this month, it’s spring vegetables – Yan Toh Heen’s star garoupa with lily bulb and tomatoes, shown here, features in the March 10 menu – while April takes on cooking with wine; May explores classic cooking techniques; and June tackles the fabled foie gras. There’s a summer break (chefs need rest, too) before classes resume with more classic cooking in September, casseroles and hot pots in October, pastry-making in November and holiday dishes in December.
YAN TOH HEEN’S STAR GAROUPA FILLET WITH RED ONION, TOMATO, LILY BULB AND KELP
Featured in the March 10 class on “ihealth” Cantonese dishes, this nutritious entrée relies on the freshness of the fish – Chef Lau Yiu-fai suggests buying a fish that’s still swimming, if possible. If not, choose a garoupa that’s whiter in colour, rather than greying.
Red onion, 40g
Fresh lily bulb, 20g
Fresh bean-curd sheet, 20g
Mixed mushrooms, 80g
Star garoupa fillet, 120g/4 slices
1. Shred onion and kelp.
2. Stir-fry mixed mushrooms as a filling, season to taste.
3. Wrap mixed mushrooms in the bean-curd sheet; steam for five minutes.
4. Steam garoupa fillet for three minutes. Place on top of bean-curd sheet wrap.
5. Poach onion, tomato, kelp and lily bulb. Drain water and cook with stock. Slightly thicken stock with corn starch and pour over garoupa fillet. Garnish with lime zest, then serve.
SPOON BY ALAIN DUCASSE’S ATLANTIC BRILL FILLET, “PETIT ROSÉS” MUSHROOMS, ONIONS AND BACON, MATELOTE SAUCE
April 14’s lesson on cooking with wine includes this dish, featured alongside other French wine-infused courses and taught by Chef Philippe Duc. Red wine is a feature of the matelote sauce, which is heavy in flavour and enhances the taste of the fish – and while it may seem that a lot of ingredients are involved, they are for the most part kitchen staples already present in a Western cook’s arsenal.
Brill, four portions
Salt, one pinch
Petit Rosés mushrooms, 6 pieces
Spring onion, 4 pieces
Olive oil, 20ml
Chicken stock, 200ml
Garlic clove, 1 piece
Thyme, 1 sprig
Pork belly stick, 4 pieces
Chicken trimmings (bone), 200g
Olive oil, 20ml
White mushrooms, 100g
Garlic clove, 2 pieces
Thyme, 1 sprig
Red wine, 400ml
Chicken stock, 400ml
Brill fish bone, 200g
Parsley sprig, 10g
Petit Rosé mushroom, 1 piece
1. For the garnish, clean and peel the spring onions, then cut to 6cm.
2. In the pan, sear the onions with olive oil, season, and pour over the chicken stock, then cook for five to 10 minutes. Once cooked, cool it down (in a blast chiller, if possible).
3. Cut the onions into halves, and clean and sort the parsley leaves.
4. For the sauce, cut the chicken trimmings into regular pieces, then roast in a cocotte (small casserole) with olive oil.
5. Add butter, then white mushrooms and diced shallots, the garlic and thyme, and sear.
6. Deglaze with red wine, pour on the chicken stock and add the brill bones, peppercorns and parsley.
7. Cook for one and a half hours until reduced. Strain to obtain the sauce, and check the seasoning. Keep the sauce in a bain-marie.
8. Wash the mushrooms, cut them in half and pan fry with olive oil. Add onions to give a golden brown colour, then add the pork bell sticks. At the last minute, add the parsley leaves.
9. Season the brill fillet and cook it à la plancha – on a metal plate or castiron skillet – to give it a light golden colour. Complete the cooking in the oven if necessary.
10. Serve the fish with the garnish, raw mushroom slices sprinkled over the top and sauce on the side.
THE STEAK HOUSE WINEBAR + GRILL’S MANGO/DUCK FOIE GRAS TERRINE AND DEEP-FRIED FOIE GRAS WITH PORT WINE MIXED FRUIT
Decadent in ingredients as well as cooking method, this foie gras is a feast for the senses in two ways. The dish, taught by Chef Calvin Choi in the June 23 class, takes a bit of advance preparation, but is indeed worth the effort for a sweetly succulent terrine that melts in the mouth. Paired with its deep- fried sister, it’s almost – just almost – too rich for words.
Duck foie gras, 80g
Duck foie gras (deveined), 200g
Dried mango, 10g
Crushed almonds, 50g
Chilli powder, 1g
Red onion, 10g
Green apple, 10g
Red grapes, 5g
Star anise, 1g
White peppercorn, 1g
Cinnamon stick, 1g
Orange zest, 1g
Cracked black pepper, 2g
Cajun powder, 3g
For the mango/duck foie gras terrine:
1. Marinate the deveined foie gras with the brandy, salt and pepper for 24 hours
2. Layer the foie gras and dried mango alternately in a mould, with two layers of mango and three foie gras.
3. Put the mould in a tray filled with water, then bake for 45 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius.
4. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
For the deep-fried foie gras:
1. Slice the foie gras and season. Dip in flour and egg.
2. Mix almonds, chopped raisons, chilli powder and breadcrumbs together, and coat the foie gras with the mixture.
3. Deep fry until the exterior is golden brown.
For the port wine mixed fruit:
1. Slice pineapple and green apple, pan fry with red grapes.
2. Slice red onion and cook for five minutes.
3. Combine the ingredients, adding port wine and cooking for three minutes.
4. Add star anise, white peppercorn, cinnamon stick and orange zest. Cook for five more minutes, then cool down and refrigerate for two days.
NOBU INTERCONTINENTAL HONG KONG’S SUSHI AND ROLLS
Sushi Chef Hideki Endo says you’ll need roughly 10 years of training to be able to shape a perfect nigiri roll…unless you purchase Nobu’s own scoop-’n’-shape tools, he kids. In the September 15 class on sushi and sashimi preparation, students will learn how to create perfect sushi rice, as well as tips on how to slice fish and make beautiful rolls.
Sushi rice, 14 cups
Short grain rice, 720g
Sushi rice vinegar, 1.5 cups
Red vinegar, 1 cup
Sea salt, 2 tablespoons
Mirin, 1 tablespoon
Granulated sugar, 10 tablespoons
Konbu sheet, 1.5-inch square
1. Clean the rice – rinse and rub it in cold water multiple times until the water runs clear – then drain. Add the water to the rice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat for one minute. Turn the heat to low for five minutes, and then back to high for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Make the sushi-rice vinegar by combining 0.75 cups of vinegar with sea salt, mirin and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil, but allow the sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat and add the konbu, then cool. Add the remaining vinegar to yield 1.5 cups of sushi-rice vinegar.
3. Transfer the freshly cooked rice to a wooden rice tub or similar shallow container, and pour the vinegar over the rice in the ratio of one cup of vinegar for every six cups of uncooked rice. Mix it with a paddle using a slicing motion while the rice is still hot.
4. Combine with your favourite fish to make rolls.
INTERCONTINENTAL HONG KONG PASTRY KITCHEN’S MILK CHOCOLATE PASSION-FRUIT MACAROONS
The making of macaroons is easy, says Executive Pastry Chef Cyril Dupuis – it’s mastery that’s difficult. Although the recipe taught in his November 17 class is printed here, the tips and tricks students will need to perfect the technique are only available by attending the course. Temperature control, humidity and the whipping of the egg whites all factor into making the ultimate macaroon, and a variety of recipes are provided for each flavour.
Macaroon base, stage one:
Icing sugar, 300g
Almond powder, 300g
Egg white, 110g
Yellow food colouring
Macaroon base, stage two:
Egg white, 110g
Milk chocolate passion-fruit ganache:
Passion-fruit purée, 140g
Milk chocolate, 290g
French butter, 55g
1. For stage one, mix icing sugar and almond powder together with a blender, then spread the mixture in a tray and bake for 10 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius.
2. While hot, put the mixture in a jar along with the egg whites and yellow food colouring.
3. For stage two, whip the egg whites until stiff.
4. Cook the sugar at 117 degrees Celsius with the water, and then add to the whipped egg whites.
5. Fold the stage-two mixture into the stage-one mixture – do not overmix or the macaroon will crack.
6. Place the mixture for the macaroon base in a piping bag, and pipe onto trays. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder. Wait roughly 30 minutes for the shell to harden, then bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
7. For the milk-chocolate passion-fruit ganache, boil the passion-fruit purée and add the milk chocolate.
Add butter and refrigerate.
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