XOPP’s Prawn Mini Mantou, XO Mayonnaise and XO Sauce

Yields: 25

XOPP is a wonderful Sydney restaurant, a spin off of the sensational and institutional Golden Century.

The signature dish between the two restaurants is surely known by half the city: the Wok Fried Pippies with XO Sauce and Crispy Vermicelli.

We cooked this particular dish over Sydney’s last lockdown and it is just awesome. One of most identifiable dishes in Sydney.

Anyway, when we ate at XOPP, we kicked it off with their Prawn Mini Mantou with XO Mayonnaise and XO Sauce.

A predictably decadent plate of the most wonderful bites: a warm, soft bun with a golden, deep-fried, crispy outside, filled with chopped prawns mixed with a kewpie mayonnaise, chopped chives and XO sauce.

They haven’t published the recipe, though Nat and I figured it wasn’t that complicated and walked it back. And it is simple.

For a family gathering where entry required a plate, we did these buns and they were spot on. Absolutely spot on. They disappeared in under a minute.

Mantou buns are in the frozen section of any Asian grocer; ditto XO sauce, though always get the best you can find.

No doubt in the next little while we will do a contemporary Chinese banquet and these will absolutely get a run.

Ingredients:

25 Mantou buns
800gm large, cooked prawns
6 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise (or to taste)
1 heaped tsp XO Sauce, plus extra to serve
Half a bunch of chives, cut into 2mm pieces
Vegetable oil to deep fry

Method

  1. Heat enough vegetable oil to fill a reasonable pot to 170c. Test the heat by lowering the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If it immediately bubbles, you’re there and reduce the heat slightly.
  2. Pick and clean the prawns. Pulse in a food process until you have 5mm and 1cm piece of prawn. Stir through the mayonnaise, tasting as you go. Stir through the XO sauce, adding more if needed.
  3. Deep fry the buns, a few at a time, ensuring all sides are golden. Drain and set aside on paper towels.
  4. Whilst still warm, slice an incision in the top of the bun. Place a small amount of the prawn mixture into the incision and then a pea-sized amount of XO sauce on top.
  5. Serve immediately.

Terry Durack’s Prawn and Lup Cheong Omelet

Serves: 1

Sunday is a long-lunch day and often, we do them at home.

Or more correctly this time, Nat did it at home. An utterly excellent, four course, lux-Chinese banquet.

This recipe by Terry Durack kicked the afternoon off and wow, it was a doozy of a dish. A dish that said things are going to be good.

The flavours are so mature and sophisticated; and it absolutely looks the part.

With Champagne… things were definitely good.

Ingredients

1/2 lup cheong sausage
1 tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 tsp for frying
5 medium prawns, peeled and cleaned
1 mild red chilli, finely sliced
50gm bean sprouts
3 eggs
The green tops of 2 green spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp coriander leaves

Method

  1. Place the lup cheong in a steamer and steam for 5 minutes yo soften, then finely slice. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and stir-fry the prawns, lup cheong and half the chilli for 1-2 minutes over a high heat. Add the bean sprouts and toss for 30 seconds, and remove from the heat.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs, half the onion tops, fish sauce, sugar, sea salt and pepper together with a fork. Heat 1 tsp oil in wok over a medium-high heat and swirl to coat the surface. Pour in the egg mixture and cook, using a fork to draw the mixture back into the centre, allowing the egg to cook.
  3. When lightly set on top, lower the heat, scatter with the stir fry mixture and most of the remaining onion tops and cook for another 30 seconds or until the egg is cooked through. Slide the omelet from the wok onto a warmed plate; optionally fold the it over on itself. Drizzle oyster sauce on top, and scatter with the coriander and remaining onions and chilli. Serve immediately.

Neil Perry’s Vietnamese Chicken and Prawn Coleslaw

Serves: 4

This is such a classic Vietnamese dish.

Pops of flavour, could be had as a main or a side.

Very hard to get it wrong. Very hard to complain.

Ingredients

1 small roasted or barbecued chicken
6 cooked large prawns, peeled and deveined
1 carrot, julienned
200gm shredded cabbage
1 small red onion, cut into thin rings
40g mint and coriander
1 1/2 tbsp crispy fried shallots, plus 2 tsp to serve
1 1/2 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts, plus 2 tsp to serve

Nuoc Cham Dressing

2 long fresh red chillies, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
60ml fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice

Method

  1. To make the dressing, pound the chillies, garlic and sugar in a mortar and pestle. Add the fish sauce, rice vinegar and 60ml water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes for the flavours to infuse. Stir in the lime juice, taste and adjust as necessary.
  2. Pull the chicken meat off the bones, tear into bite-sized pieces and add it to a large bowl. Cut the prawns in half lengthways and add them to the bowl.
  3. Add the carrot, cabbage, onion, herbs, fried shallots and peanuts to the bowl. Pour over the dressing, mix well and transfer to a salad bowl. Serve immediately with the extra fried shallots and peanuts.

Neil Perry’s Classic Prawn Cocktail

Serves: 4

I have plated this dish at least half a dozen times and it is always so well received.

Classic Saturday lunch sort of stuff.

Fresh prawns, iceberg and a wonderful cocktail sauce. Everything you would expect of Neil Perry in his style of cooking.

Of course, it’s nothing new and people have been doing this since the 70s. Though slightly deconstructed like this recipe is, it’s a great return of a classic dish.

Follow it up with a good steak over charcoal and oh man, that is a great Saturday indeed.

Ingredients

150gm iceberg lettuce, outer leaves and core removed, finely shredded (about 1/4 of a whole lettuce)
2 lemon wedges, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
16 large cooked king prawns, peeled, tailed instant and intestinal tracts removed

140ml thick good-quality egg mayonnaise
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp finely grated fresh horseradish (I use horseradish cream)
Pinch cayenne pepper
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Method

  1. For sauce, combine ingredients and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Divide lettuce among 4 plates, squeeze 2 lemon wedges over and drizzle with oil. Season to taste, top with prawns and serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

Prawn & Cannellini Bean Salad

Serves: 4

This is just a great salad.

Like surprisingly great.

Saturday lunch is served!

Ingredients

500gm green prawns peeled
400gm canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
2 inner celery stalks, sliced, leaves torn
20 pitted Ligurian olives
8 basil leaves, torn
Crusty bread, to serve

Red Wine Dressing

100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients

  1. Make Red Wine Dressing: combine oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper in a screw top jar and shake well to emulsify. Pout into a bowl.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with 2 tbsp of salt per litre of water.
  3. Add the prawns to the boiling water and cook for a minute or two. Allow to cool somewhat and then cut into chunks and add to the Red Wine Dressing.
  4. Add beans, celery, celery leaves, olives and basil and toss until well combined.
  5. Serve at room temperature with crusty bread.

Spaghetti Machiavelli

Serves: 4 as an entree

Machiavelli’s – a Sydney lunchtime institute for as long as I can remember – is one of our favourite restaurants.

Full of men in suits – with walls covered in photos of famous men in suits – Machiavelli has plenty of appeal to us. It’s underground and a great place to hide; we get to watch bankers and lawyers and important women and men lunch whilst we spend the whole time talking about our kids and planning our next holiday.

The service is on-point. The food is excellent. There is a real excitement about the place.

Being a business restaurant, the food flies out.

We always order the calamari and gamberi fritti to start and I swear it arrives before the waiter has punched in the order.

Then it is on to the signature dish: Spaghetti Machiavelli.

Which is one of my top 5 favourite pastas ever. And the only main I have ever ordered at Machiavelli’s.

Butter. Fish Stock, Prawn. Chilli.

Stop it!

A few weeks back, we had an Italian cook off at my parent’s house. I found the recipe for the Spaghetti Machiavelli at the back of the Internet and boom.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Spaghetti Machiavelli.

And let me leave you with this:

My mother – who is my cooking inspiration – said it was the best pasta she had ever had.

What are you waiting for!

Ingredients

160gm prawn meat, rough chopped
100gm button mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp fresh garlic, crushed
1 tsp Thai red chilli, chopped
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
300gm Spaghetti
300ml fish stock

To Serve

4 tsp butter
2 handfuls of basil leaves0
Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Saute the prawn meat, mushrooms, garlic and chilli in the oil until the prawns are half cooked through.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in salted water until al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the prawn mixture.
  3. Add the fish stock and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Toss the butter and basil leaves through, season and serve immediately.

Shrimp Taco bowls

Serves: 4 

By Nat Beerworth

These shrimp taco bowls are good. Day 2 into our diet and Rob was out somewhere for dinner whilst I was at home jealously dreaming of the steak and chips he would have been eating. The jealousy didn’t last that long because the prawns were juicy, cheese melted and corn was sweet.

Granted its not a REAL taco however for a Tuesday on day 2 of the diet I give it a tick. Taco Tuesday gets a whole new meaning.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
20 medium prawns peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels, canned or frozen and thawed
1 cup tomatoes diced
1/2 cup fat-free cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Method

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the shrimp, garlic, cumin, chili powder, red pepper, and salt.
  2. Cook, about 5 minutes, until shrimp are firm and cooked through. Let cool.
  3. Divide the rice between 4 meal prep containers, the rice should fill about half the container.
  4. Place 4 shrimp in each container on top of the rice. Place the beans, corn, tomatoes, and cheese in 4 piles, each ingredient should have their own pile.
  5. Sprinkle the cilantro over top of all the ingredients. Cover and seal. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 Prepped Meals | Serving Size: 1 Prepped Meal | Calories: 330 | Total Fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Fiber: 7 g | Carbohydrates: 45 g | Sugar: 2 g | Protein 15 g | Cholesterol 52 mg | Sodium: 477 mg | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 6

 

 

 

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.

Prawns, peas and epic (prawn) oil

Serves: 2

Sitting with my mate Leo waiting for a haircut (that never actually eventuated because they didn’t notice us for 15 minutes and when they did, told us they had no room for us until 4pm; and Leo doesn’t even have hair!) and flicking through Men’s Health.

And among photos of men with incredible abs, photos of huge watches and photos of men with incredible abs wearing huge watches running through parks, was this recipe.

Except for the oil, it is super healthy and in any event, there isn’t much oil left after you reduce it all and it is olive oil, so it’s goodish anyway.

It can be a little unidirectional in its otherwise excellent flavour – we’re talking prawns and half a kilo of peas here – so go all in with the flavour; the herbs, lemon, good crack of pepper.

Ingredients

500gm of prawns, shelled and deveined (shells/heads retained)
½ cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
¼ bunch parsley, chopped
250ml fish or vegetable stock
500gm peas (frozen baby peas is what I used)
1 onion sliced
Handful fresh dill roughly chopped
Handful fresh mint roughly chopped
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Method

  1. Add oil to a pan over a medium heat. Stir in the prawn shells/heads and cook for 5 or so minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and slightly golden, before storing in the chilli and the parsley for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then strain the oil, discarding the solids. Do not wash the pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to boil then turn to medium and cook the peas for 3 – 5 minutes until tender. Strain the peas, keep the stock.
  3. In the same pan as used before, on a medium heat, add the onions and allow to caramelise for 8 – 10 minutes. Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes until tender.
  4. Stir in the peas for a minute before folding in half the dill and mint and half the stock; you want it to be a lose mix but not soupy.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of the epic oil (prawn oil). Season with salt and pepper, squeeze in the lemon juice and serve, garnished with the remaining herbs.

Ellen’s Caesar Salad Dressing

Serves 4

I can’t categorically claim that this recipe is my mother’s, though when she cites recipes, she always gives credit where credit is due; and for this particular dressing, she cites no one.

Doubly, Caesar salad was something I at so much of as a child (or at least as a teenager) that this particular dressing means home to me. Honestly, I have never tasted a better Caesar dressing.

Tear some cos lettuce, cut half a loaf of white break into 2cm squares and sauté in olive oil until brown (and sprinkling with garlic powder once done), shave some parmesan, perhaps julienne and cook some bacon, and here is your classic – brilliant – Caesar salad; add grilled prawns or grilled, sliced chicken breast and here is your classic – brilliant – weekend lunch!

Ingredients
2 cloves garlic
1 tin flat anchovy fillets
¼ c oil (olive oil and vegetable oil mixed)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
Good grind of pepper

Salad: All the other ingredients for a Caesar salad; cos lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, bacon and perhaps some protein in the form of prawn or chicken.

Method

  1. For the dressing, in a blender, blend all the ingredients and check the seasoning.