Fried lychee coated with fresh crab meat [Photo by Fan Zhen/chinadaily.com.cn]
At the threshold of another scorching summer, nothing can be more refreshing than a fruit feast that can shake off the heat and satisfy your palate with all the nuanced tastes of the season, and Sun Palace has it all.
Singaporean Chef Tony Choo recently drafted a new menu called Creations De Fruits for Crowne Plaza Beijing Sun Palace, featuring a series of dishes with summer fruits as their ingredients. Among these, Lychee Crab Balls is a must-try.
The fresh Lychee (Litchi chinensis) stuffed with minced crab are coated in flour and lightly-fried tempura-style. They look nothing but cute, but only when you have the first taste, you will be truly surprised by how the fruits work magically in the dish.
The first bite of the mango-dotted top, crisp and sour-sweet, conjures a picture of a cool summer morning at a tropical seaside. Then the aroma of the luscious lychee penetrates all senses until those of the crab and the mushroom set in. It takes a while before they fully blend and finally, a pleasant experience of a gourmand completed, with the sweetness lingering long in the mouth.
Lychee has long been one of the summer fruits favored by the Chinese. Almost every child nowadays knows the story of how the emperor ordered lychees from South China to the capital to win a smile from the beauty, Yang Guifei.
According to Chef Tony, lychees are rich in vitamin C and traces of copper, potassium and phosphorous. They are also cholesterol-free.
"The fruits take on new life when they are mixed with the ordinary food ingredients. They can really chill you out in the heat of summer," Tony said.
"Plus, they have all the essential nutrition and moisture that one easily loses on a hot day."
The Creations De Fruits is now available. Besides the lychee dish, the menu also includes fried prawn in creamy salty yolk, almond pudding, wok- fried pork ribs with jumbo fruits and double-boiled chicken soup with fresh abalone served in whole coconut.
Apart from the summer specials, the restaurant also offers tasty Cantonese dishes such as steamed dumpling with prawn and fried small river shrimp.
1. Mince the boiled crab, mushrooms and onions.
2. Remove the stones of the lychees.
3. Stuff the lychees with the minced crab, mushrooms and onions.
4. Wrap the lychees in the tempura flour.
5. Fry the lychee crab balls for less than half a minute in a hot broiler.
6. Put the diced mango on top and serve.