Chilli Prawns on Crispy Wonton Skins


My aunt and cousin Dungie  are visiting us today and I wanted to make something special for them. The menu was originally going to be asparagus speared prawns on creamed parsnip, but the parsnips at the markets weren’t very fresh today so I opted for a different dish instead. Glad the parsnips were’t fresh, cos this dish really hit the spot on a Saturday afternoon! Thanks for visiting ladies, as always we love having you around!!!

Estimated Cooking Time – 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 12 wonton skins
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter and oil combined in equal portions
  • 12 prawns, de-shelled and veined
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup of finely choped ginger
  • 1/4 finely diced onions
  • 2 Tbps of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of freh soya beans (you can buy them frozen and then steam/ boil them)
  • 1/2 sweet potato chopped
  • 1 chopped potato

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. Drizzle the oil into a pot and sweat the onions till they are translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and coriander and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sugar, salt and canned tomato and bring to boil. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes and place on the low heat to keep warm.
  3. While the sauce s cooking, cook and mash the potatoes.
  4. With a pastry brush, brush the butter and oil over both sides of the wonton skins and place on a roasting rack. Repeat this process till you have glazed allof the wonton skins and placein the oven for 3 miutes, or till you can see the skins puff up like a con chip.
  5. While the wonton skins are cooking, sautee your prawns in a hot pan and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  6. To serve, put the crispy skin wonton onto a plate, top with the mash potatoes, soya beans, the prawns and a spoonful of the delicious sauce.

 



Wonton Short Soup



Water chestnuts and pork mince are a match in culinary heaven, so when I’m feeling like an instant bowl of happiness … I put on my celebrant chef hat and marry together my two favorite ingredients! 

Estimated Cooking Time – 45 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients;

  • 1 packet of  Gow Gee wrappers (30 pieces per packet)
  • 2 cups of steamed  Bok Choy or any Asian greens of your choice
  • 400g of pork mince
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup of  chopped water chestnut
  • 1 onion
  • Chopped spring onions/scallions and coriander/cilantro
  • Chopped/sliced chilli (optional)
  • 2L of chicken stock
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Onion
  • Handful of dried shrimps (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar for the soup
  • 1 Tbsp of fish sauce for the soup

Method;

  1. In a bowl, combine the pork mince, shallots, water chestnut, salt, sugar and pepper and mix well. This forms your filling.
  2. Pour the chicken stock into a pot, add the dried shrimps, carrot, onion and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup and move onto to making your Wonton dumplings.
  3. To make the dumplings, scoop a tsp of the filling onto the middle of the Gow Gee wrapper and brush the edges/rim with some water. Fold the wrapper in half and press tightly to seal the filling into the pastry. This forms a fan like shape. Repeat till you have used up all your Gow Gee wrappers.
  4. In a pot of boiling water, pop the dumplings into a pot of boiling water and scoop out the ones that rises to the top.
  5. Once the vegetables are tender in your soup, add the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar, 2 Tbsp of sesame oil and 1 Tbsp of fish sauce into your stock and allow to simmer for another 2 minutes.
  6. To serve, pop the Wonton dumplings into a bowl, add the steamed Asian greens, hot soup and garnish with the chopped spring onions, coriander and sliced chilli. Real comfort food that will leave you feeling very refreshed!


Banana and Tapioca Dessert (Chuoi Chan)


Evie, my cousin in law and Lynda my other sister in law are fanatics when it comes to Vietnamese desserts, especially this traditional banana and tapioca dessert. It’s rather simple to make and although any banana will do, there’s a special type of banana we refer to as the “angel banana” that really lifts the dish. The only problem is as they are an uncommon variety, it’s rare to find them. They’re intensely golden on the inside, with a silky thin peel. The size of your thumb at most, they pack alot of flavour so you can imagine the sheer joy I had when my mum found them! Sorry it took so long to finally do this post Evie and Lynda, but I had to wait for the right banana to come by to make it truly special!

Estimated Cooking Time - 15 minutes (excluding pre-soak)

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 3 just ripe sugar/lady finger banana cut in half. If you had the angel bananas, they can remain unsliced.
  • 4 strands of sweet potato noodle, broken up into 2cm bits
  • 1 Tbps of Tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 Tbps of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4-5 Tbps of coconut creme, depending on your preference for richness in the dessert. For a richer dish, simply add more coconut creme and 1/2 tsp of sugar.
  • Sprinkle of crushed toasted peanuts or a nut of your choice.

Method;

  1. Pre-soak the tapioca pearls and sweet potato noodle separately in a bowl for 1/2 hour beforehand.
  2. Dissolve the salt and sugar together in a bowl. Add this liquid to a pan with the banana and sweet potato noodle.
  3. Bring to the boil and return back to a low simmer. Add the tapioca pearls and coconnut creme and gently stir making sure you don’t bruise the banana.
  4. Serve hot in winter and ice cols in summer for a wonderful dessert after any asian meal. Garnish with peanuts or a nut of your choice.

 



Chicken Hainan



After bouts of extremely hot Sydney weather, it’s so nice to experience a cool change… a rather cold snap at times. Cold weather always equates to comfort food in my family, and one of our favourites is the good old Hainan Chicken served with aromatic rice and smothered with ginger, scallions and gooey sweet soy!

Estimated Cooking Time – 60 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 1 chicken chopped up into pieces (size of your preference)
  • 5 cups of boiling water
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 peppercorn
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 3 cups of jasmine rice
  • 2 Tbps of Olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asian greens (I used chinese broccoli but you can use bok choy or choy sum)
  • Kecap Manis or sweet soy to serve
  • Chopped chilli for garnish and heat (optional)

Ginger and Scallion Sauce

  • 2 cups of chopped scallions or spring onions
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of salt
  • 2 Tbps of olive oil

Method;

  1. Wash the chicken pieces with a bath of hot water for 3 minutes. This will clean the chicken and will allow you to have a clear broth to cook with, without the coagulated chicken blood.
  2. Pour 4 cups of boiling water into a pot and add the peppercorns, ginger,carrot and onion. Submerge the chicken into the pot and put on a simmer for 30 minutes to form a soup base. If you didn’t want to make your own chicken stock, you could always buy pre-packed chicken stock and steam your chicken separately.
  3. While you’re waiting for your stock to cook, steam the bunch of greens and set aside to serve with the dish.
  4. Once the stock is ready and the chicken is cooked, leave the stock on low simmer to keep warm.
  5. Bring a fry pan to medium heat and add the oil, crushed garlic cloves and rice. Pan fry for 10 minutes or till you can see the rice grains go from dense white to a translucent colour.
  6. Pour the semi cooked rice into a rice cooker and add in 4 cup of the chicken stock and allow the rice cooker to cook your rice. This is the best part as your house will be filled with a wonderful, warm and spiced aroma! If you didn’t have a rice cooker, you could pour the stock straight into the pan, bring to the boil for 2 minutes and then cover the pan with a lid and allow to simmer for another 15 -20 minutes.

Ginger and Scallions Sauce

  1. In a bowl, add the olive oil, salt, sugar, ginger and scallions and mix well. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and pop this into the microwave on the high setting for 60 seconds. 
  2. Take the sauce out of the microwave and mix again to ensure everything has emulsified.
  3. To serve, layer the cooked rice onto a bowl, top with the asian steamed greens, followed by the chicken pieces, the sauce, chopped chilli (optional) and smother everything with the sweet soy.


Vietnamese Crepes – Banh Xeo


I’m at home with mum today, it’s freezing cold in the middle of summer, I’m feeling ravenous and mum insisted we make some savoury crepes. So here’s to mum’s orders!

Estimated Cooking Time - 60 minutes (includes 1/2 hour marinade time)

Serves 4

Ingredients; 

Crepe Batter

  • 2 cups of rice flour
  • 1 cup of corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of tumeric
  • 300 ml of milk
  • 1/2 cup of scallions/spring onions
  • Oil for Pan fry
  • Crushed chilli and finely diced garlic (optional)

Fish Sauce Dressing – If you didn’t want to make the fish sauce, you could always serve the crepes with sweet chilli sauce as the faster alternative.

  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 cup of fish sauce
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water

The Filling – The filling is really up to you, just add what you like to the crepes, as long as they are savoury ingredients. Here’s what I used.

  • 1 cup pre-cooked Mung beans or beans of your choice
  • 1 cup of cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts or shredded carrots or khol rabi or any crunchy veggies of your choice (except capsicum as they will be runny when cooked and destroy the crispiness of the crepe)
  • Handfuls of fresh herbs such as mint, coriander, basil  to serve with the pancakes

Method;

  1. In bowl, sift the corn flour, rice flour, sugar, salt and tumeric and mix well. Add the milk and scallions and whisk for 5 minutes or till the crepe mixture is smooth and velvety. You should have a rich yellow batter. Leave the batter to marinade and expand for 1/2 hour. This is important if you want to achieve a crispy crepe.

Fish Sauce Dressing

  1. In a pot, add the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and water and whisk. Bring up to medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes and leave to cool. Ensure all your windows are open as it can be pretty pungent… all worth it though. Add crushed chilli and diced garlic if you wish, but these ingredients are only optional.

The Pancake

  1. In a hot pan, drizzle some oil and bring to medium heat. Scoop one large ladle of the crepe batter into the pan and spread the batter evenly around the pan to form a round crepe. Add the filling onto one side of the pan and cook for 2 minutes or till the crepe can be flipped .
  2. Flip the unfilled side of the crepe over onto itself to form a crescent like shape and pan fry for another 3-5 minutes till the crepes are cooked. The cakes are ready when the batter is nice and crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside.
  3. Repeat this step until you have run out of the batter. Depending on the size of the pan, you could get about 5-6 pancakes of out this mixture.
  4. Serve pipping hot with the fish sauce dressing and with your favourite herbs.

If you were having a party and wanted to impress your guest with this, you could prepare everything in advance and pan fry the crepes at the table if you have one of those portable stoves.