Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Sweet Mandarin Cookery School for 14-16 year olds – Irlam Youth Forum Centre

January 15, 2009
Teenage students are mesmerized by Lisa's knife skills as they watch the demonstration

Teenage students are mesmerized by Lisa’s knife skills as they watch the demonstration


Three teenagers learning to cook Chinese dim sum at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cookery School with Lisa Tse

Three teenagers learning to cook Chinese dim sum at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cookery School with Lisa Tse

Lisa teaching 14-16 year olds at Irlam Youth Forum Centre how to cook Chinese dim sum and cuisine.

Lisa teaching 14-16 year olds at Irlam Youth Forum Centre how to cook Chinese dim sum and cuisine.

Sweet  Mandarin Cookery Courses – Workshops / Demonstrations

Lisa Tse has been visiting schools around the North West, USA, Asia and Carribean teaching Year 7 – 13 the art of making dim sum and the history of dim sum during the food technology classes.

Explained Lisa Tse, co-owner of Sweet Mandarin with her sisters Helen and Janet: “We are really excited to be working with schools. We’ve put together a workshop that will give the students hands-on experience of how to make authentic dim sums and learn a bit about Chinese culture and food. The students will also end the workshop with a fruit origami.

Said Fay Flatt (Arts Officer at Irlam & Cadishead, Irlam Youth Forum Centre): “When my students heard about the opportunity to train with Lisa Tse from the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School they were so excited. Lisa is an excellent teacher and mesmerized the students”

One of the students reported that “learning how to cook dim sum and understanding about Chinese food was brilliant. I wish every food technology class was taught by Lisa.”


– Learn the art of dim sum
– Learn Chinese Culture and food
– Learn Chinese New Year food and traditions
– Assembly Guest Speaker – Motivational Talk
– Prize Giving Guest Speaker – Motivational Talk

To book Lisa Tse please email


Email us for more details
Payment must be settled before or on the day. Please make cheques payable to Lisa Tse

– Maximum class size is 15.
– Ingredients need to be provided for the class ( full list will be provided)
– Expenses must be covered also.


Chinese Cooking School – How to turn an apple into a swan

January 15, 2009

Lisa’s love of cooking and of the creative process of her art keeps her always interested in giving demonstrations and teaching others. Lisa is the head chef of Sweet Mandarin and teaches fruit origami in her cooking series taught at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School.

Mr Drake's swan (I'm very impressed with all my students and I bet your friends and family will be impressed too!)

Mr Drake's swan (I'm very impressed with all my students and I bet your friends and family will be impressed too!)

Mr Drake having a go at fruit origami at Sweet Mandarin's Chinese Cookery School (Mr Drake made a superb swan)
Mr Drake having a go at fruit origami at Sweet Mandarin’s Chinese Cookery School (Mr Drake made a superb swan)
More students learning the secrets of fruit origami with Lisa Tse's easy to follow instructions
More students learning the secrets of fruit origami with Lisa Tse’s easy to follow instructions
Students at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School learning how to carve fruit origami
Students at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School learning how to carve fruit origami

Have you ever wanted to create an amazing centre piece for a dish or for a birthday cake?  Lisa, the head chef and teacher at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School is always creating new dishes and presentational displays, which she shares with her students. Lisa has represented the Sweet Mandarin Cooking School in the Caribbean, across the United Kingdom and in China and has recently been nominated by Hi-Life Diners 2009 in the Best Manchester Restaurant category. Lisa’s passion is teaching her students – adults and the youth how to carve amazing fruit origami – turning a cucumber into a cute frog, turning carrots into ornamental flowers and turning an apple into a breath-taking swan. Lisa teaches cooking schools and home economics the art of dim sum and fruit origami and has been giving demonstrations at local fairs, exhibitions and events in conjunction with local Governmental programmes and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

 Lisa has developed a special way of teaching this ancient art of fruit and vegetable carving based on her understanding of the particular problems students of all ages have when they begin to work with their knife. She believes that learning to carve fruit and vegetables info beautiful flowers and other forms is not difficult; but one must first understand the concept behind the basic forms and second, learn to use the knife correctly to cut away one part and leave the other parts.

For more information on how to book your place at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cookery School go to

Chinese Cookery School – Sweet Mandarin Is Proud of Her Students and Vice Versa

January 15, 2009

group“As family meals seems to have become pushed aside by a barrage of ubiquitous fast food and drive-thru restaurants, Lisa Tse of Sweet Mandarin emerges with a welcoming food philosophy of cooking healthy delicious meals and gathering the family back to the table. Operating from her modern wok fired restaurant, Sweet Mandarin in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, Lisa Tse continues a popular series of cooking classes that seek inspiration from a bevy of local world-class producers. The masterclass may well begin a session with a literal and culinary trip to the Silk Road learning how dim sum was created before actually learning the secrets of making dim sum. There was also some delightful party tricks to take back to the home kitchen. From the hands-on task of preparing the produce, learning knife skills, calculating the food budget and wok technique, a number of succulent stir fries and Chinese dishes were miraculously russled up during the masterclass.”

January 11, 2009


Every morning, I wake up in the most unconventionally beautiful, cosmopolitan city with a population of about 2.5million, Manchester. On the table are green tea leaves, PG Tips teabags, soy sauce, mango chutney, Heinz ketchup and Warburton bread – resembling the mish-mash of cultures that we’ve grown up with in Manchester.

My family have been living in Manchester since the 1960s and my grandmother set up one of the first Chinese restaurants here – a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of those who have made Manchester their home.  I now run a Chinese restaurant called Sweet Mandarin and my favourite part of the week is weekend brunch. When I meet my clients (now friends) for brunch at Sweet Mandarin, we’re eating for Manchester. Why not? Its unlimited dim sum thanks to yours truly because I want people to share those magic moments together. Its a place to catch up with friends, a place to relax and recharge after shopping and more importantly for families its a great place for reunions (we even have a baby chair!).

Manchester has everything but the beach and is large enough to be noticed; with the UK’s largest university, an international airport with 22 million passengers, a symphony orchestra, a Chinatown, the largest retail area in the UK (including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges) and two premiership football clubs . Perhaps then not surprisingly, Manchester has been dubbed the capital of the North. We are a friendly bunch, unpretentious and not afraid to have a laugh. That is why I love Manchester and am proud of my Mancunian roots.  At Sweet Mandarin, we welcome you to our world.

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family



Tel: 0161 832 884 to book

Address: 19 Copperas Street (off High Street), Design House, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1HS

About Our Weekend Brunch: No catch. Just delicious dim sum without breaking the bank. Bon appetite….. don’t forget to try the crispy won ton (pictured below).


Shanghai Dumplings Anyone?

April 8, 2008

Shanghai DumplingIn this series, I will explore with you a few dishes that we serve at Sweet Mandarin, an award winning restaurant in Manchester ( run by three twentysomething sisters (including me).

(c) Food of the Orient – Shanghai by Helen Tse, published by Chinatown Magazine

As a British Born Chinese, I have lived a very British way of life being educated in Manchester and Cambridge University. However, throughout my life, I grew up with the backdrop of serving and cooking in the family food business and continue my involvement in the catering empire as a co-owner of Sweet Mandarin. Chinese food has had an overwhelming presence in my life and been the catalyst for my hunger for understanding China and the significance of food in its culture. This series explores the cities where I stayed, the lives that crossed my path and the amazing food with a story to tell. China is a captivating and vivacious collection of diverse cities, provinces and regions. In the south, Guangdong, the Cantonese speaking region is renowned for its steaming, boiling and stir frying and dim sum feasts which we have become accustomed to love in the western world. Beijing in the coldest area of China boasts the Emperor’s banquet, the world famous Peking Duck and hot pot. In the east, Shanghai offers its famous Shanghai Dumplings, whilst the Sichuan provinces easily provide the hottest and spiciest cuisine.

This week, I stayed in Shanghai and fell in love with the city. In the 1920s and 1930s, Shanghai was home to gangsters, warlords, 24-7 nightclubs and hotels that supplied heroin on room service. Its people were a mix of British, Chinese, Americans, French, Gernans, Japanese and White Russians and life was an extreme pole of poverty and wealth.
Today, Shanghai appeared as alien to my idea of China as it did to its residents in the 1920s. However, a century later, Shanghai remains a foreign influenced metropolis on Chinese soil. From the dazzling new skyscrapers to the imperial British architecture on the Bund, Shanghai is a grand, eclectic mix of East and West. No wonder it is the haven of the new generation of Chinese from Hong Kong and the expatriates.
The beauty that lies before me in Shanghai is breathtaking and silences the noise and confusion on the busy roads. There is grandeur in the heart of the bustling city of Shanghai juxtaposed with absolute poverty and a return to the last century only a few miles out of the city in Zhujiajiao.

It was in these little villages lost to the 21st century, that my first dish of Shanghai dumplings was savoured and enjoyed. The residents continued their daily chores in traditional Chinese cotton jackets with simple butterfly buttons. Babies were strapped to their grandmother’s back with a piece of red cotton and the fat baby’s rosy cheek hung out over the tightly bound material, as his ink black eyes stared in awe at me, a stranger in this untouched and abandoned village, that fell through the net of modernization. Houses were primitive and doors opened, a sign that trust still existing amongst its residents and the bare home life with nothing worth stealing. There were no cars and only the odd bicycle rode by a young boy with wild hair. A blind woman no taller than four feet weaved beautiful straw ornaments. Husband and wife teams huddled around open stoves which cooked dozens of Shanghai dumplings and the aroma of hot, savoury dumplings permeated throughout the street. The glossy pastry bronzed as it slightly stuck to the pot (hence the nickname “pot stickers”). I became hungry just smelling the dumplings. I bought a portion (four beautifully pinched dumplings) to eat and after devouring them, bagged a portion for the road. The dumpling pastry was delicate and broke easily. The juices from the filling were clear and sweet, and the filling was a wholesome meat mince and vegetables. They were just what I needed for the cold winter’s day.
The legend about these Shanghai dumplings was that in the Eastern Han Period (Dong Han) an official called Zhang Zhongjing invented a kind of food to help poor people keep warm in the bitterly cold winter. The original recipe created the dumpling with ears and the filling consisted of mutton, hot pepper and medicinal roots (which helped to circulate the blood). The people loved the taste of the dumplings and started to make them themselves with whatever filling they had available. The dumplings are semi circles shaped like a gold ingots and are a regular dish at dim sum and Spring Festivals. They are eaten to bring good luck and fortune for the new year and probably also because they are delicious. From such a simple dumpling held a piece of political history! I cavorted with the residents until they showed me how to cook the dumplings in the authentic style. The sacred ingredients are detailed below.

Shanghai Dumplings (“Pot Stickers”)

• 4 1/2 cups (500 g) flour
• 9 oz (250 g) lean boneless pork, minced
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 5 tsp rice wine
• 1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
• 1 tsp salt to taste
• 3 1/2 oz (100 g) leeks
• 3 1/2 oz (100 g) sesame oil
• 1 tsp flour mixed with 2 tbsp water

Mix the pork with the soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, MSG and salt. Stir in one direction, adding 5 oz (150 ml) of water, a little at a time until the pork becomes sticky. Add the leeks and sesame oil and blend well, and divide into 60 portions. Set aside.

Stir 7 oz (200 ml) of water into the flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let rest for 30 minutes. Roll into a long cylinder and cut into 60 portions. Flatten each piece and roll into a circle about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Place 1 portion of the filling on each circle and fold over in half. Pinch tightly to seal the edges and form a semi circle. Repeat until all the dough and filling are used.
Arrange the pouches in a large pan. Heat to moderately hot, then add water to cover the pouches one-third of the way up. Cover the pan and cook over high heat until the water is almost absorbed. Trickle the flour-water mixture around the pouches. Cover the pan and saute over low heat until the flour forms a crisp film that link the dumplings together. Sprinkle the dumplings with a little sesame oil, cover again, and saute until the pouches are browned on the bottom. Remove with a spatula and serve. Saute and serve the dumplings in batches.

Juicy Steamed Dumplings
The dumplings can also be steamed rather than fried. Place the dumpling in a steamer and steam for 5 minutes over high heat.
Note: These dumplings are delicate in appearance and taste. the wrappers are thin and the filling deliciously juicy

Come and visit us to try these delicacies – or we can outdoor cater for your events in Manchester.