When I was growing up this was one of the few vegetable dishes I knew and liked. I found it fun to pop the green peas in my mouth one at a time.
This was one of the classic dishes in Chinese restaurants. It wasn't served in a potato nest but in a footed dish, the standard serving dish in Chinese restaurants then. People simply called it Green Peas.
When I came to London, I was disappointed that this dish wasn't in the restaurant menu. They, in fact, haven't heard of this dish at all. Luckily, my mother used to cook it at home, so I have learned to prepare it myself.
There's only a few ingredients in this dish and the ingredients are variable. You can omit or replace some. I've used a mixture of carrots, green peas and water chestnuts but you can also use turnips or cut up baby corn.
Ingredients for the potato nests:
4 potatoes, shredded
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. corn flour
oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients together, except for the cooking oil.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok.
Dip a medium sized metal sieve into the hot oil. Take out of the oil and add a quarter of the potatoes and pat along the sides to form a bowl shape.
Fry on medium heat, turning the sieve around and spooning fat on the potatoes if not completely submerged in oil. Fry until crisp.
Push the bottom of the sieve to pop out the potato nest.
Repeat with rest of the potatoes. Set aside.
Ingredients for the vegetables:
1/4 c. whole cashew nuts
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 1/4 c. frozen green peas
1 c. diced carrots, parboiled
1 small can of water chestnuts, each piece quartered
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tsps. light soy sauce
1/2 c. cooked frozen small prawns
1/4 c. stock or water
1 tsp. corn flour
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
12 quail eggs, cooked
Heat up 2 tbsps. of cooking oil in a wok. Stir fry the cashew on low heat just until it turns golden. Take out of the wok and set aside.
On high heat, in the same pan and using the same oil, sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the green peas, carrots and water chestnuts and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add the prawns, oyster and light soy sauce and stir. Disperse the corn flour in the stock or water and add to the vegetables while stirring. When the sauce has thickened, the dish is cooked.
Add the cashews and sesame oil. Give it a quick stir before turning the heat off. Divide into four and serve each portion on a potato nest. Top with 3 quail eggs each.
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