Friday, July 9, 2010

Wanton Noodles

I had been neglecting this blog eversince I moved to Beijing.

A bit of time spent getting used to a foreign land, a bit on finding a house with a decent kitchen, another bit on finding familiar ingredients... adds up to three months in total. Wow, that was a looooong time!

But, I'm still not used to cooking Northern Chinese cuisine. This wanton noodle is a good example. Ingredients all from NTUC and hand-carried here (ya lah, I know yall think I'm crazy, but it feels really great to be able to enjoy these comfort food here ok?).

Wanton Noodles (云吞面, 云=cloud  吞=swallow
(serves 2) This is the Malaysian style of wanton noodles with dark soya sauce. I prefer this to the tomato ketchup or chilli sauce (Fei Fei's) version as I don't like my noodles to have a sweetish-sourish taste to them.

Ingredients (wanton):
100g Minced meat (with some fats)
10pcs Prawns (shelled, de-veined and smash-chopped)
0.5no Egg white
1tbsp Cornstarch
2tsp Soya sauce
0.5tsp Salt
Dash of Pepper
1pkt Wanton skin

* Mix all ingredients (except wanton skin, of course) thoroughly and marinade for at least 2 hours.
* Take half a teaspoon of the marinaded meat and put it onto one corner of the wanton skin.
* Crumple the wanton skin such that all the meat is covered. Crumple just enough such that the meat doesn't fall out when you boil the wanton. Do not over-crumple the wanton skin cos you still want to enjoy the soft slurpy skin portion. And, remember, it's fun to be imperfect, the wanton would taste nicer if it's imperfect ;)
* Boil 400ml of water in a pot, drop shaped wantons and remove once they float on top of the water. 

Ingredients (noodles & vegetables):
200-400g Chye sim (or any other chinese greens)
100-150g Wanton noodles 

* Blanch chye sim and set aside.
* Heat up 2 pots of of clean water.
* When water rapidly boils in pot, add wanton noodles and stir with chopsticks to prevent noodles from sticking.
* As soon as the noodles are done, remove them as fast as you can and submerge them in cold (tap) water. I usually do this over a running tap. This helps to make them chewy and springy.
* Drain noodles and put them into the other pot of hot clean water. Just make sure to barely heat them up and not to cook them again.
* Assemble the noodles, vegetables, wantons and sauce (recipe below) onto a plate.
* Mix noodles thoroughly with sauce and you may eat them with soup (I didn't take a photo of the soup). 

Ingredients (sauce):
1tbsp Dark soya sauce
1tbsp Light soya sauce
1tbsp Oyster sauce
2tsps Shallot oil (or 1 tsp sesame oil)
2tsps Chilli paste (optional or ask you like) 

Ingredients (soup - optional):
600ml Water
2tbsps Large (>5cm) anchovies (soaked)
2pcs Pork ribs
1stalk Spring onion (chopped) 

* Cook anchovies and pork ribs in water for 30 minutes to an hour.
* Remove anchovies and pork ribs before serving.
* Add cooked wantons and sprinkle chopped spring onions as a garnish. 

The real thing, my weekly weeknd breakfast in SG. One is with char siew and fried wanton, and the other has all the wantons in soup. Guess which is mine? ^ ^

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fried Carrot Cake

Chai tow kuay ("fried carrot cake" in Teochew or Hokkien) ~ my all time favourite Singapore food. I remember my dad would occasionally ta-bao ("takeaway") this home for supper if he works late. My brother and I would hold our blunt toothpicks (the old-fashioned kind) and wait anxiously for mum to line the table with newspaper and open the ta-bao brown paper for us. The big pieces can be easily picked up by the toothpicks but I never liked them, what I liked were the salty, tasty small pieces of kuay and chai poh (salted radish), which can be quite challenging to pick up with those toothpicks (haha..). Sometimes I would mistaken the garlic as chai poh, but I still liked to try my luck and pick on those tiny pieces cos they had more flavour than the big ones. ^ ^

It never occurred to me that I should ask my dad where he bought it from. But as an adult, I found my favourite chai tow kuay stall at North Bridge Road Hawker Centre. When I was working in town, Mr Tofu would send me to work every morning. We would drop by this hawker centre for breakfast whenever we had extra time to avoid the ERP. The carrot cake used to taste better, sometimes, the ah-em would leave the egg a little runny (not sure if it's intentional). But since the stall owners passed their skills to some not-so-young ah-bengs, it doesn't taste as good as before. Luckily, the ah bengs did not increase the price after they took over, so it still stays at a very low SGD1.50 per plate (you can't get this price anywhere else in Singapore!).

Needless to say, one of the goodies that I 'imported' to Beijing is this packeted carrot cake (for stir-fry) from NTUC! ^ ^

Chai Tow Kuay (Fried Carrot Cake头粿
(serves 2)

1pkt Ready-made carrot cake (cut into cubes)
3cloves Garlic (chopped)
1-2tbsp Chai poh (chopped)
1-2tbsp Oil
1tbsp Fish sauce (use regular soya sauce if you don't have this)
1tsp Chilli paste (optional)
3nos Egg (or 4 if you like)
2stalks Spring onion (chopped)

* Fry garlic and chai poh till fragrant
* Add carrot cake and pan-fry till least two faces of it is lightly browned and crispy
* Drizzle fish sauce and chilli paste and stir fry thoroughly
* Spread browned carrot cake evenly apart in pan
* Beat eggs lightly and pour mixture over carrot cake
* Flip carrot cake when egg is almost set (never mind if it's not a perfect flip, it's fun to be imperfect)
* Sprinkle chopped spring onions as a garnish (I ran out of it)

North Bridge Road ah beng's chai tow kuay ~

Now that my 'imported' chai tow kuay is used up, I can only go to Lau Pa Sak restaurant to satisfy my cravings (^ ^)b

Costs abt RMB35-40 per plate.
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