Archive for March 2014

Dry Wonton Noodles

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

If you didn't already know, I love dumplings. Anywhere, anytime, any kind. Wontons are probably my favorite because they are so deliciously easy to make and you can put anything in it. Although, I guess you could say that about any dumpling. But still. They were one of my favorite things to make as a child. The three things I loved to cook (or was allowed to, anyway) were: coleslaw (I really liked grating and felt really professional in my little chef's hat and matching apron), curry puffs (I had to practice with Play-Doh before I could graduate to using actual pastry) and wontons. 

You can get wontons everywhere nowadays, especially those deep fried ones (that have now become available at my local chicken shop), and wonton noodle soup. But dry wonton noodles, or kon loh, its Cantonese name as I know it from growing up in Kuala Lumpur, are a million times better. Kon loh basically means something like dry-sauce-stirred, so all the deliciousness is in the noodles and we aren't relying on MSG-up'd broth that makes you super thirsty an hour after eating (although it is delicious).

The best part? The noodles are super simple to make and you can eat them with anything, or with nothing at all. But like sprinkles and cupcakes, the noodles go best with wontons. You could of course, buy pre-made wontons from the freezer aisle of Woolworths, but they won't be as delicious. Trust me (;

Dry Wonton Noodles

For the wontons:
  • 1 pack wonton wrappers (you can use any kind as long as they are square)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup minced pork (or any mince, really)
  • 1 cup carrot, finely grated 
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced 
  • 1/2 cup spring onions, chopped finely
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced finely 
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Xing wine 
  • salt and pepper to taste (I use a mixture of black, white, and Szechuan pepper, but any old pepper will do)
  1. In a large bowl, mix the mince, carrots, mushrooms, spring onions, onion, garlic, and cornflour together. You can use your hands - just make sure everything is blended well and there are no chunks. Add in the soy sauces, sesame oil, and wine, and then season liberally with salt and pepper. Leave to marinade in the fridge for an hour or so, so that the flavours blend together. 
  2. To assemble, place a wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand, or on a plate. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the middle, and using your finger or a pastry brush, moisten the edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg. Fold diagonally in half, like a triangle. And that's your wonton done! To make it more fancy, you can seal the side corner-edges of the triangle together, but you don't have to. 
  3. Continue until you run out of mince and/or wrappers. If you run out of wrappers, make meatballs with the remaining mince. If you run out of mince, put Nutella and marshmallows in the wrappers and deep fry them for three seconds. You won't regret it.
  4. To cook, bring a large pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt. When the water is bubbling, put in the wontons. They are ready when they float. 
  5. If you've made far too many wontons, line them up on a parchment-paper lined baking tray so they are not touching, and freeze them for an hour. Once they are hard, you can put them in a ziplock bag and store in your freezer. The pre-freezing is to ensure that they remain single rather than an unbreakable lump of frozen dumplings, so you can use them as you need. 

For the noodles:
  • 1 packet of egg noodles (the thinner the better)
  • 1 tablespoon shallot oil*
  • 1 tablespoon chilli oil*
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark/thick soy sauce (sometimes also known as caramel sauce - if you can't find it, dark soy sauce is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 head of baby bok choy, cut into quarters
  • 1 birds eye red chilli, sliced
  • 2 pickled green chillies, sliced*
  • 1 tablespoon fried shallots*
  • 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly
  1. For the sauce, mix together the oils, soy sauce, and oyster sauce in a large bowl. It should be very thick and dark and smell delicious.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Quickly blanch the baby bok choy in it for less than a minute, and then quickly rinse in cold water to refreshen it.
  3. In the same pot, cook your noodles following the packet directions. You want to have a lot of water in the pot, otherwise the noodles tend to clump together. Drain and rinse so that the sticky starchiness is gone.
  4. Put the noodles into the sauce bowl and mix very thoroughly. The noodles should become very brown. Ideally they would be almost black, but I don't put in enough dark soy sauce. You could though if you like. 
  5. Assemble. Noodles, bok choy, wontons. Sprinkle with the chillies, fried shallots, sesame seeds and spring onions. Drizzle on some more chilli oil. Feast. 
* Lots of asterisks in here. These are all easily-bought ingredients, but I'm going to tell you how to make them anyway, because home made is best.

For the chilli oil:
  • 1 cups olive oil (for less spicy oil, add more oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 packet/bottle of dried chilli flakes (about 40g), or 10 small, fresh chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic
  1. In a mortar and pestle, crush the chilli, peppercorns and garlic. 
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and add in the chilli mixture. Keep it at a low, low simmer for about 10 minutes or so and then leave to cool in the pan. 
  3. Pour into a jar/bottle to store and use liberally when wanting deliciousness. 

For the shallot oil:
  • 5 shallots, sliced finely
  • 1 cup olive oil
  1. (Optional) Dry out the shallots on a baking tray in the oven at a low temperature of about 50C for fifteen minutes, or leave out in the sun for a few hours. 
  2. Heat the oil and fry the shallots until golden brown. 
  3. Remove the shallots and let drain on paper towels.
  4. Store shallot oil in a jar/bottle.

For the pickled green chillies:

  • 2 fresh green chillies, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  1. In a little bowl/jar, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. Add in the soy sauce and then the chillies.
  2. Let it pickle for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. 

You may be wondering what the extra thing in the bowls are - leftover mince meatballs :) Just roll the leftover mince into balls and then fry.

Let me know if you give it a try!
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend :)



Banana, Quinoa and Chia Seed Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote

Saturday, 15 March 2014

I love cooking with minimal ingredients (like three ingredient peanut butter cookie and flourless chocolate cake) and I know you guys do too! So I decided to try this one-banana-two-eggs thing that has been floating around Pinterest (and the general health community) for a while. And it worked!

I was looking for chocolate chips to put in the pancakes, because, you can't be too healthy, but there weren't any in the pantry. But there were quinoa flakes and chia seeds. So I went to the other extreme.

But you know what? These are actually delicious. And they take about 5 seconds to make. 


Banana, Quinoa and Chia Seed Pancakes with Mixed Berry Compote
Serves 2

For the pancakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (I used black because that's what I had but any would do)
  • 2 tablespoons quinoa flakes
  1. In a bowl, mash up the banana with the cinnamon with a fork. Break in the eggs and whisk with the fork, and then add the chia seeds and quinoa. 
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet (or if not non-stick then oil/butter it) and fry 1/4 cup of batter at a time. Flip when you can lift up the sides without sticking, and then heat until golden.
  3. Serve with the compote.  
For the compote:
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped)
  1. Put everything to a small saucepan over low heat and stir.
  2. Simmer for about 5-8 minutes, or until berries have softened. Remove from heat.