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Susan Jung's recipes

Five cooling summer Asian recipes for Great Heat day on the Chinese calendar – don’t sweat it

Today is Great Heat day on the Chinese calendar, which traditionally marks the hottest period of the year. Cool off with one of Susan Jung’s tantalising summer dishes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 3:03pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2018, 3:03pm

Today marks the day of “Great Heat” on the Chinese calendar. To cool their families down, old-fashioned Chinese grandmothers might cook hot dishes to make them sweat – their reasoning being that the sweat will ultimately cool them off – but with air conditioning so prevalent nowadays, such an approach is no longer necessary. Here are five perspiration-free recipes to cool you down in the summer heat.

1. Shrimp roe noodles with XO sauce, sizzled spring onion oil and onsen egg (above)

I keep a big jar of XO sauce in the fridge (mine is home-made, but you can use any good commercial brand) ready to serve as an accompaniment to many dishes, but also to add its intense flavour to recipes such as this one.

2. Gai see fun pei

This Shanghainese dish uses shredded chicken, mung bean noodles and a delicious sauce based on Chinese sesame paste. I “cheat” for this recipe and use a soy sauce chicken or salt-baked chicken bought from the siu mei (roast meat) shop. Don’t let the vendor cut up the chicken for you; you’ll need to tear the meat into long, thin shreds.

3. Geoduck salad with Chinese celery and fresh coriander

For this recipe, the geoduck needs only a brief dunk in boiling water, which makes it easier to pull off the tough membrane. Don’t overcook it or it will be tough.

4. Thai fried shrimp salad

This zesty, spicy, tongue-tingling dish is cooling because of the handful of mint. I recommend fresh shrimp as the flavour and texture are almost always better than those of the frozen variety.

5. Cold noodles with Sichuan chilli paste

I love packaged instant noodles (though nutritionists say they’re not the healthiest food to eat). Here are two sauces that you can make in advance and store in the fridge; when you want a quick meal, just boil the noodles, add a dollop of the sauce and mix.