Ahead of opening Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok, Sweet Mandarin share some quick recipes with us

Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok opens 22 March. Based on Helen Tse's bestselling novel Sweet Mandarin drifting through time, from 20s Hong Kong to now in Manchester, telling the extraordinary story of the women behind the famous restaurant and a family held together with one lifeline, food.

BeefBeef Sweet Peppers and Blackbean

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 1 beef topside (or sirloin) cut into slices
    1 green pepper
    1 red pepper
    ½ white onion cut into cubes
    Slice of ginger or minced garlic

    Marinade for Beef
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp sugar
    2 tsp potato starch
    3 tbsp water Vegetable Oil

  • Method
    1. Prepare the vegetables first into even sized cubes.
    2. Prepare the beef topside by trimming off the fat and then cutting the meat into even sized slices.
    3. Marinade the beef with salt, sugar, potato starch and water.
    4. Leave to marinade for 10 minutes in the fridge.
    5. Heat the wok with half of vegetable oil.
    6. When the oil is hot but not too hot carefully add in the raw beef and flash fry for 4-5 minutes till fully cooked, cook the beef in batches if you have a large amount of beef
    7. Once the beef is fully cooked drain and place in cold water to stop the cooking process, this will keep the beef lovely and tender

    Now on to making the dish.

    1. Heat the wok and add in the minced garlic or ginger and add in the vegetables.
    2. Stir fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes.
    3. Add in the cooked beef and add in half the bottle of Sweet Mandarin Blackbean sauce.
    4. Stir well till the sauce is bubbling.

    Serve with steamed boiled rice.

ChickenSweet and Sour Chicken

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

Sweet Mandarin - Chicken

  • Ingredients
  • 500g of chicken breast
    ½ tsp salt
    ½ tsp sugar
    1 tbsp of potato starch
    3 tbsp of water
    1 tbsp potato starch or corn flour to coat the meat

    Vegetable Oil for Frying

    Ingredients for Sweet and Sour Stir Fry
    50g Pineapple chunks
    ½ white onion cubed
    ½ bell pepper cubed (can be green or a mix of red and green)
    Sweet Mandarin Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Method
  • Step 1 : Prepare and Marinade the chicken balls

    1. Cut the chicken into even sized cubes (3cm) approx 
    2. Add a pinch of salt and sugar
    3. Add the potato starch and 3 tablespoons of water
    4. Mix well and leave in the fridge for 10 minutes

    Step 2: Cook the chicken balls

    1. Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge
    2. Dip the chicken cubes in the potato starch so the entire chicken cube is coated
    3. Drop into the hot oil and cook for 5-6 minutes till golden.
    4. Drain and place on a paper towel.

    Step 3: Cook the Sweet and Sour Chicken

    1. Heat the wok and add the oil
    2. Stir fry the peppers, onions and pineapple for 3 minutes till softened slightly
    3. Add Sweet Mandarin Sweet and Sour sauce
    4. When it begins to bubble then turn off and add in the cooked hot chicken balls and toss in the sauce. If you cook the sauce too long it will caramelise and it will turn black!
    5. Once the chicken balls are all coated serve, it goes perfectly with egg fried rice.

    Hot Oil Tester
    Many recipes call for "heat up oil" question is how hot is hot? You can feel the heat radiant from the wok. But is it hot enough? If you can see smoke the oil is too hot. Food will not cook well if oil is not hot enough or too hot, your food will soak in oil, and too hot it will burn the food fast and not cook properly.

    Here is a simple oil tester, get a pair of unpainted natural bamboo chop sticks. Stick the end of the chop stick in the oil, if it bubbles rapidly the oil is ready for cooking. Do not use chop sticks that are coloured or coated. The hot oil will burn the colour.

    Try to dice the meat the same size to ensure that each piece is evenly cooked. To cut the meat, try using a Chinese cleaver and cutting the pieces of the meat at the same time to ensure the pieces are cut the same size.

PorkCrispy Chilli Pork

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 10-15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 Slices of Pork Chop Loin (without bone)
    ½ tsp salt
    ½ tsp sugar
    1 tbsp of potato starch
    3 tbsp of water
    5 tbsp potato starch or corn flour to coat the meat
    Vegetable Oil for Frying

    Ingredients for Crispy Chilli Pork Stir Fry
    1 Red Chilli Diced
    1-2 Minced Garlic Cloves
    ½ White Onion - sliced into thin strips
    ½ Bell Pepper - sliced into thin strips (can be green or a mix of red and green)
    Sweet Mandarin Cantonese OK Sauce

  • Method
  • Step 1 : Prepare and Marinade the Pork strips

    1. Cut the pork loin into thin strips
    2. Add a pinch of salt and sugar
    3. Add the potato starch and 3 tablespoons of water
    4. Mix well and leave in the fridge for 10 minutes

    Step 2: Cook the Crispy Battered Pork

    1. Take the marinated pork out of the fridge
    2. Dip the pork strips in the potato starch so the entire pork strips is coated
    3. Drop into the hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes till golden
    4. Drain and place on a paper towel.

    Step 3: Cook the Crispy Chilli Pork Dish

    1. Heat the wok and add the oil
    2. Stir fry the peppers, onions, chillies and garlic for 3 minutes till softened slightly
    3. Add Sweet Mandarin Cantonese OK Sauce
    4. When it begins to bubble then turn off and add in the cooked hot pork strips and toss in the sauce.


Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok runs at the Exchange 22 March - 7 April, before heading on a UK tour