What does it mean when someone says, 'mmmm this is so Q'?
You probably won't know what Q means, but chances are you already love it. It's a staple in Taiwanese (and neighbouring countries) cuisine, and describes a bouncy, chewy texture.
You'll find Q in mochi, dumplings, bubble tea, and jellied foods. Some people think it derives from the Hokkien word k'iu, meaning 'bendy and bouncy'.
In Western cooking, chewy is a big no-no. How many times have we seen Gordon Ramsay berate a chef for a chewy bit of steak? But in Taiwan, chewy and elastic textures are the cornerstone of comfort foods.
If you want to experience Q, get yourself down to your local East Asian supermarket and buy some mochi. It's super popular though...you may have to get in the....Q
This week's tip: Water water everywhere
from Theo Randall, master of Banquist's pasta course
When you're cooking pasta, don't faff about with small pans. Get the biggest saucepan in your cupboard, and fill it with lots of water. Add more salt than you think you need, and make sure it's at a rolling boil before putting your pasta in.
3 reasons why we do this:
- The temperature of the water won't change when you add the pasta. It'll quickly return to the boil, cooking the pasta quickly and evenly.
- The released starch will be instantly diluted, stopping the pasta from having a 'gluey' surface.
- And most importantly, the pasta won't stick to itself.
This week's recipe: Beer-battered halibut
by Tom Kerridge, multi-Michelin Starred legend and champion of classic British grub.
Since football's coming home, we thought there's no better way to celebrate than beer-battered halibut. Come on England!
- 4 halibut fillets, about 180g each
- 1l veg oil for frying
- 2 egg whites
- 240ml pale-coloured beer (lager, IPA, pale ale)
- 350g self-raising white flour
- large pinch of bicarbonate of soda
- Sea salt & lemon wedge for garnish.
- To make the batter, mix the egg whites and beer together until fluffy. Mix the flour and bicarbonate of soda together in a large bowl and add the egg-white mix.
- Heat the oil to 180°C. If you don't have a thermometer, drop a little bit of bread in. It should fizz to the surface immediately, and brown within 10-20 secs.
- Dip the fish into the batter, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, then add to the oil and fry for 3–5 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Keep the fried fillets warm in the low oven until they are all fried, but do not cover them with kitchen paper.
- Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve immediately with chips and pea mash, with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Your questions answered
by Adam Handling, wonder chef and spearhead of the magnificent the Loch and the Tyne
"You never know if an egg is bad until you cook and eat it - any tips?" from Siobhan
Ah - but you can know! Fill a container with water, and lower the egg in. If it sinks and lays on its side, it's fresh as a daisy. If it sinks but sits up on the tip, then it's still edible but you better eat it quick!
If it floats to the surface, bin it. The science is that eggshells are semipermeable, so the longer it sits out, the more air is able to get inside the shell.
This week's recommendation
As some of you know, I recently finished filming our pasta course with Theo Randall. When I got home I realised I had accidentally stolen Theo's tea towel.
I considered texting him, letting him know and offer to bring it round to his place. Then I used it.
This tea towel is enough to turn a good man into a thief. It 's soft but rough, it's absorbent but fast-drying, it's got a rustic pattern that makes any kitchen look classy.
Here's the link to buy it: The Best Tea Towel Of All Time