Peking Noodles

Serves: 4

Ding Tai Fung is a Taiwanese noodle and dumpling chain.

The food is outstanding and they won a Michelin Star in Hong Kong for one of their outlets. The food is clean, cooked with consistent precision and always two steps ahead of what you’d expect from what is after all, a chain restaurant.

They do this wonderful dish of freshly made egg noodles and minced pork. It is saucy with a hint of spice and I order it every time.

Well, these Peking Noodles reminded me of that dish.

It is super clean. Hot. Saucy. Completely moorish.

As with all these sorts of dishes, the hotter you can get the wok, the better. Also, I have varied the sauces and oil in the ingredients below; I dialled it up, though once the vegetables are cooked and as you are adding the noodles, have a taste and adjust.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

200gm egg noodles
1 – 2 tsp sesame oil
500gm pork mince
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 bunch baby choy sum, finely shredded (or other leafy Chinese green)
4 green onions, sliced diagonally
1 – 2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 – 2 tbsp Sambal Oelek
Good handful of coriander leaves to serve

Method

  1. Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 – 2 minutes or until tender. Drain and refresh.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry, breaking up the mince for 5 minutes or until mince starts to brown.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute or until aromatic.
  4. Add the choy sum, green onion, soy sauce and sambal and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the choy sum begins to wilt. Taste and adjust accordingly.
  5. Add noodles and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until well combined and heated through. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with coriander leaves.

Shanghai Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken

Serves: 4

This dish – and I mean it – is incredible.

It could have been the fresh egg noodles, it could have been the oil… it was probably all of it… though they were as good as I have ever had in any Chinese restaurant, ever.

It is a bit hard to explain, though whereas so often noodles cooked at home just have a consistent, solid flavour, there were layers, clarity and cleanliness to these noodles. Home cooking it is not.

Why is worked, I really don’t know though certainly, have your wok high and marinate the chicken for a few hours if you can.

When we cook, we only type up recipes that are clearly standout and worth it.

This noodle dish is the level above.

(Just don’t cut corners on the noodles and make the time to get quality, fresh, Chinese egg noodles from a Chinese grocer.)

Ingredients

250gm chicken thigh, cut into 1cm cubes
240gm Shanghai-style egg noodles
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 spring onion, cut into 2 cm pieces

Marinade for the Chicken

2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine
1/2 tsp salt
Good pinch of ground white pepper

Other seasonings

6 tbsp sunflower oil for stir-frying
1 tbsp hoisin sauce mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp water
1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar combined

Method

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the chicken for an hour or more.
  2. Prepare the noodles according to the instructions. Rinse and toss with the sesame oil.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a hot wok. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Season with the soy sauce and sugar while stir-frying. Set aside.
  4. Heat up 1 1/2 tbsp oil in the wok, again over a high-heat. Add the noodles and stir fry quickly, ensuring they do not stick. Stir fry for a minute or two.
  5. Add the hoisin and toss to combine. Add the cooked chicken and cabbage.
  6. Add the spring onion, stir and heat through for a minute or two.
  7. Serve immediately.

Thai-style Chicken Meatballs in Broth


Serves: 4
Another simple, successful, David Herbert weekday number… healthy too.

Keep the calories for the weekend.

Ingredients

  • 500gm chicken mince
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small chilli chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves discarded, soft inner core finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • Vegetable oil

For the broth

  • 1.5 ltr chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 100gm thin egg or rice noodles
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped Thai basil
  • Soy sauce to taste

To garnish

  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • Coriander and mint leaves
  • Lime wedges

Method

  1. For the broth: bring the stock to the boil and add the fish sauce, star anise and ginger and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the meatball ingredients; season and shape into walnut-sized balls.
  3. Heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs for 5 minutes until golden brown. When they are almost cooked, add the noodles to the broth and cook for one minute and then add the spring onions, Thai basil, soy sauce and meatballs. Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chilli, herbs and lime wedges.

Ken Hom’s Spicy Sichuan Noodles

Serves: 2 – 4

Ken Hom is a pretty impressive guy and everything of his I have ever cooked has been just as impressive.

This is a man that doesn’t put his name to anything that isn’t but awesome.

We don’t hear a lot about Ken Hom in  Australia and he is fairly retired now I gather; though growing up with an American mother, I heard plenty about him and know his style well.

This particular recipe is as wonderful as it is quick to prepare.

It is that wonderful, spicy dish you get in a Taiwanese restaurant that you wish you had the time and knowledge to recreate. Part of this is achieved by keep the dice of your spring onions as small as you can; delicate ingredients, wonderful taste.

The only caveat is around the use of the chilli oil, which – if you have used chilli oil before – you will know can be quite a thumper of an ingredient. I haven’ adjusted the original recipe though we halved the chilli oil and were happy for doing so.

Blow your socks off however you will.

Oh, there is a second caveat.

We didn’t deep-fry the pork mince and frankly, I don’t think you should either. I don’t doubt Mr Hom’s recipe, though if you aren’t a kitchen used to splashing around liters of oil and deep frying meat, I wouldn’t start here. Pan fry your mince in a bit of oil like we did and enjoy.

And so I have adjusted the recipe to reflect this.

This is a cracker of a mid-week dinner and you should get onto cooking it as soon as you can.

Ingredients

250gm pork mince
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
5 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
2 tbsp sesame paste or peanut butter
2 tbsp (light) soy sauce
2 tbsp chilli oil (we used 1)
1 tsp salt
250ml chicken stock
350gm fresh Chinese thin egg noodles or dry Chinese thin egg noodles
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and ground
1 red hot chili, seeds removed and finely chopped for garnish

Method

  1. Combine the pork, soy sauce and salt and mix well. Heat a wok until it is hot, add 1 tbsp of oil and fry the pork mixture until browned, working to break it up. Set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the wok, reheat and add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir fry for 30-seconds. Add the sesame paste (or peanut butter), soy sauce, chilli oil, salt and chicken stock and simmer for 4 minutes,
  3. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain and divide into individual bowls. Ladle on the sauce, garnish with fried pork, Sichuan peppercorns and chopped chilli.

Burmese Pork and Noodles

Burmese Pork and Noodles

Serves: 4

This has to be your next, healthy, mid-week meal.

It is as if you grabbed takeaway on the way home, achieved with so little prep and 30-minutes of simmering: enough to pour that second glass of wine and squint to the weekend.

We minced a lean pork fillet (using a food processor) and it was awesome. Healthy, great consistency, the whole bit.

Add the noodles, the sauces and plenty of condiments and this is as fun as it is tasty.

Should I stop?

Ingredients

2 tbsp peanut oil
500 pork scotch fillet, minced or finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ tsp turmeric
1 star anise
4 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
125ml chicken stock
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
200gm dried rice noodles
50gm snow pea sprouts
Roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
Red chilli flakes

Method

  1. Heat half the oil in a wok over a high heat. Stir-fry the pork for 5 minutes until golden. Set aside, draining the liquid.
  2. Wipe clean the wok and add the remaining oil, over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and stir-fry for a few minutes until soft. Add the turmeric and star anise and toss to combine.
  3. Add the pork, tomato and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes until the liquid is largely reduced. Stir through the soy and fish sauces. Season with salt as necessary.
  4. Cook the noodles following the instructions and drain.
  5. Divide the noodles and pork mixture among 4 bowls and top with the sprouts, peanuts and chilli flakes.

Chinese Egg Noodles with Chicken

Serves: 4

Yum!

This easy to prep, easy to cook noodle dish is the perfect degree of difficulty you want after a long-weekend.

There isn’t anything about it not to love and the lime adds a beautiful zing.

Ingredients

12 stems broccolini
250gm medium egg noodles
Vegetable oil
50gm unsalted peanuts
2 chicken breasts, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 fresh red chilli, sliced
4 spring onions, sliced
1 – 2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
⅓ cup coriander leaves
1 lime, quartered

Method

  1. Halve broccolini length-ways.
  2. Cook the noodles and drain; toss in a little oil and set aside.
  3. Lightly toast peanuts in a dry frying pan; cool and roughly chop.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok, add the chicken and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and half of the chilli and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Add 1tbsp oil to wok and stir-fry the spring onions and broccolini for 2 minutes, then add the cooked noodles and chicken; stir-fry until noodles are warm and the chicken cooked through.Stir through the soy and fish sauces
  6. Divide between 4 bowls, sprinkle over nuts, remaining sliced chili and coriander. Serve with the lime wedges.

Pad si-iew prawns

Serves: 4

We are currently on a wonderful holiday in Koh Samui.

As you would expect, pretty much everything is planned around and hinged on food; and a few stops into a local tailor who is expertly – and inexpensively – working me up two suits.

We had one of the best pizzas either of us had ever had at a place near Bophut called Dr Frogs: the thinnest Rome-style pizza ever, one with parma ham and mozzarella, the other with this incredible beef sauce, mozzarella, rosemary and parmesan called ‘Dr Frogs Evolution’.

We had a really memorable – and Italian again – meal at a place called Pepenero, where the chef added me to Facebook after the three of us swapped stories of pasta, cooking, wine and the good life. The guy was a genius and you really should try if you are ever in this part of Thailand: his pasta and love for the good life are just awesome.

In fact, whether it has been grungy Thai or an exquisite Beef Wellington (old school, right!) at The Larder, the food has been amazing.

The highlight however was today when we did a cooking school with Smiley Chef, a warm, simple and really authentic collection of cooks who start at the markets, cook in an outdoor kitchen and finish with plates of hot, spicy, beautiful Thai food.

Yum!

We did four dishes; the four of us – Nat, myself and two ladies from Hong Kong and Vancouver respectively – chose a dish each and Pas si-iew being Nat’s go-to Thai noodle dish was her choice. She is no fool!

It was a classic, classic interpretation.

The fear when ordering from a new Thai restaurant in Sydney (and really anywhere) is how they will do – or not so well do – the Pad Thai and Pad si-iew. Stick to this recipe and you will have the most down-the-line, no questions asked version you could want.

This will definitely become one of our future staples.

(I have adapted the recipe to suit four people… just make sure you serve it hot!)

Ingredients

Sunflower oil
4 good handfuls of Pad si-iew noodle, fresh
8 stems of Chinese kale, cut into 4 cm pieces
8 baby corn, quartered
12 slices – thin – of carrot
8 clove garlic, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
12 prawns, peeled
Chilli flakes
White pepper
Lime slices

Seasoning

4 tbsp Oyster sauce
2 tbsp Soy sauce
2 tbsp Black Soy sauce
2 tbsp Light Soy sauce
2 tbsp Fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar (palm or coconut sugar if you have it)

Method

  1. In a wok or frypan, heat two tbsp sunflower oil over a medium-high heat and fry the garlic for a minute or two. Add the chicken and when the chicken is cooked, add the egg, scrambling until cooked.
  2. Add the noodle, seasoning and the vegetables and stir fry over a high-heat for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Serve on a plate with fresh lime, chilli flakes and a sprinkling of white pepper.