Cookbook 46: Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook

Another one from the late 70s/early 80s stable of the Australian Women’s Weekly – the Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook.  Like many of the books produced by AWW around this time, it could do with some better play testing before being released into the wider market.  There are some really nice recipes in here, and they’re not all Anglicised to death.  One important note for those playing at home, shallots in these recipes mean spring onions, because that’s what they used to be called in Australia some decades ago.  The meal was mostly good, my favourite bits being the chicken and the custard tarts.  The stir fried vegetables, the only vegetarian dish in the entire cookbook, were the most boring stir fried vegetables I’ve ever eaten.  The soup was good, but needed a little more salt.  Overall I give this 2.5 stars out of 5.

Chicken and Corn Soup


  • 1 kg chicken or chicken pieces
  • 2 litres water
  • 2.5 cm piece of green ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 470g tin creamed corn
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour
  • 4 tablespoons water, extra
  • 2 slices ham
  • 5 shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated green ginger
  • 4 shallots, extra


  1. The base of most Chinese soups is a good chicken stock.  A whole chicken can be used.  Some of the meat, which cooked, can be shredded and added to the soup, the remainder used for another meal.  However, chicken pieces will serve the same purpose.  You will need about 1 kg of chicken pieces.  Economical chicken backs give good stock.  Put chicken pieces into saucepan, add water, peppercorns, peeled and sliced ginger, peeled and quartered onion, parsley and salt.  Bring to boil over medium heat, skim well to remove any scum; reduce heat and simmer gently, covered for one and a half hours.  Remove any scum from top of stock, strain, reserve 6 cups of the stock.
  2. Combine in large saucepan the reserved chicken stock, creamed corn, crumbled stock cubes, extra ginger, chopped shallots, salt, pepper, and sesame oil, bring to boil.  Mix cornflour to smooth paste with the four tablespoons of water, add to soup, stir until soup boils and thickens, reduce heat, simmer one minute.
  3. Beat egg whites and extra water lightly, add to soup in a thin stream, stirring well.
  4. Remove meat from chicken or chicken pieces, shred finely (you’ll need one cup shredded chicken).  Add thinly sliced ham and chicken meat to soup, heat gently.  Top with extra chopped shallots.

Notes on this recipe:

  • When pouring the eggwhite into the soup, stir in the same direction for the remainder of the cooking process.  Otherwise you end up with big lumps of eggwhite and not beautiful long streaks
  • Who puts ham in this soup seriously?
  • I have no idea why AWW thought a minor essay was a good way to start the first step.

Beggar’s Chicken


  • 1.5kg chicken
  • 3 shallots
  • 2.5cm ginger
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, extra
  • 2 tavelspoons oil
  • extra oil

Clay dough

  • 1 kg cooking salt
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water, approx


  1. To make the dough place unsifted flour and salt into bowl; mix well.  Gradually stir in water.  Mix to a firm sough using your hands, a little extra water may be needed.  Do not have dough too soft or it will be hard to handle.
  2. Place two very large sheets of aluminium foil on the table, brush top sheet well with extra oil.  Place the chicken in the middle of foil.  Place roughly chopped shallots, sugar, peeled and sliced ginger, soy sauce, sherry, water and five spice powder in a bowl and mix well.  Rub chicken all over with extra soy sauce, then rub with the two tablespoons of oil.  Rub well into the skin. Pull skin at neck end down under chicken, tuck wing tips under chicken and over neck skin.  Carefully pour soy sauce mixture into chicken cavity, holding chicken up slightly so that no sauce runs out.  Secure end of chicken with small skewer.  Wrap aluminium foil around the chicken and secure like a parcel.
  3. Roll dough out to approximately 1cm thickness, so that it will completely encase the chicken.  Fold dough over the chicken.  Press edges and ends together.
  4. Place chicken into lightly oiled baking dish. With wet fingers, smooth out all joins, making sure there are no holes in the pastry, for the steam to escape.  Bake in a hot oven (200C) for one hour.  Reduce heat to moderately slow (150C), cook further three hours.  Remove chicken from oven, break open pastry clay with mallet or hammer and remove.  Lift foil-wrapped chicken onto serving plate, and carefully remove the foil.

Notes on this recipe:

  • I have been wanting to cook this since I first saw it in this book when my mum found it in the 80s.  The whole idea of using a kilo of salt disturbed me.  This dish was actually more amazing than I expected.
  • The dough is really hard to manage, the salt dries out the dough and so it’s hard to both roll out to the correct thickness and wrap around the chicken without it cracking.  Really it’s be just as easy to do this in in a clay pot.
  • The chicken itself, after 4 hours of cooking, was so incredibly tender if fell apart as we attempted to remove it from the clay casing.  You will need a hammer.  The chicken was also delicately flavoured all through with the five spice power.  It really was amazing.

Chinese Vegetables


  • 500g broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green ginger
  • 2 onions
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 1 small bunch of mustard cabbage or spinach (approx 6 stalks)
  • 250g snow peas
  • 8 shallots
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Peel and quarter onions, string celery and slice diagonally, take the leaves from the stalks of cabbage, slice the stalks diagonally, slice leaves roughly, trim stalks from broccoli, cut stalks into even diagonal lengths, (thick stalks may also be cut in half vertically); cut broccoli tops into flowerets; string snow peas; slice shallots diagonally.
  2. Heat oil in wok or large frying pan, add ginger, sliced cabbage stalks, broccoli stalks and onion; stir gently to coat all vegetables with oil, cook for one minute.
  3. Add remaining vegetables, toss together lightly.
  4. Stir in water and crumbled stock cubes, bring to boil.  Cover and cook until vegetables are just tender, about three minutes.  Remove lid to stir occasionally.  Garnish with sliced shallots.

Notes on recipe:


Chinese Custard Tarts



  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 185g lard
  • 5 tablespoons hot water
  • pinch salt


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • few drops yellow food colouring


  1. To make the pastry sift flour and salt into bowl.  Rub lard into flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix in hot water to form a firm dough.  Knead lightly on lightly floured surface.
  3. Roll out to 3mm thickness.  Cut out with an 8cm fluted cutter.  Put into greased patty tins.
  4. Beat together eggs and sugar.  Gradually add milk.  Mix in food colouring.  Mix well.  Pour custard carefully into prepared pastry cases.  Bake in hot oven (220C) for 10 minutes, reduce heat to moderately hot (180C), cook further 10 – 15 minutes, until set.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Patty tins.
  • These are really lovely.  I didn’t have patty tins and used a mini muffin pan.


Skip to comment form

    • Diane on 13/08/2014 at 12:34 pm

    I have this cookbook from years ago, however I have moved and it is now in storage. My children have requested I make a chicken noodle stir fry dish that I am sure was with chicken wings. Does anyone have this recipe. I would greatly appreciate a copy


      • bluebec on 13/08/2014 at 10:07 pm

      Hi Diane,

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll have a quick look at the cookbook and see what I come up with and I’ll see if I can email it to you.

        • Diane on 13/08/2014 at 10:41 pm

        Thanks Rebecca. I appreciate it. My children and grandchildren are excited.

        Kind regards

          • bluebec on 14/08/2014 at 5:56 pm

          Hi Diane,

          I think this is the recipe you’re looking for – there isn’t a chicken wing dish with noodles, but you can serve it with noodles.

          Marinated Chicken Wings
          750g chicken wings
          6 shallots
          2 cloves garlic
          2 tablespoons soy sauce
          2 tablespoons dry sherry
          1 teaspoon grated green ginger
          1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
          3 tablespoons oil
          345g can bamboo shoots
          1 tablespoon cornflour
          3/4 cup water
          1 chicken stock cube

          1. Cut shallots diagonally; put into bowl with crushed garlic, soy sauce, sherry, green ginger, brown sugar, salt and chicken wings. Mix well. Let stand one hour. Drain, reserve marinade.
          2. Heat oil in wok, add drained and sliced bamboo shoots, fry two minutes. Remove from pan. Add chicken wings and shallots to pan, cook over high heat until golden brown on both sides. Reduce heat, cook further 10 – 15 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
          3. Blend cornflour with a little water, add remaining water, crumbled stock cube to wok, stir over high heat until sauce boils, add sliced bamboo shoots, reduce heat, simmer further two minutes. Put chicken wings on serving dish, spoon sauce over. Serves 4

            • Diane on 14/08/2014 at 6:56 pm


            Thanks so much. I am sure this is the one.

            Will let u know how it goes.

            I am staying with my daughter until my home is ready snd we have decided Monday night dinners will have an international theme. Next week is chinese…so guess what we are having.

            Kind regards

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