Tag Archives: Chinese

Dan’s House, Chinatown

Peking Duck, you say?  No way I would turn down that invitation.  And Dan’s House, Sydney has delicious Peking Duck, and much more.  Invited through a chain of friends of the owner (thanks, Thang & Heidi), I humbly accepted the opportunity to sample the menu at Dan’s, just two weeks prior to the Grand Opening (April 26th).  Dan’s is located on George Street near World Square, and swankily fills two floors above street level (meaning you get to feel VIP taking the lift to dine).  Dan’s specialties are of course roast duck dishes, and handmade noodles.

The food preparation area of the first level dining room is glass faced so you can watch all of the noodle-making action.

Red Wine (lovely decanter, eh?)

Red Wine (lovely decanter, eh?)

Dan’s Garden Salad

The meal started with a beautiful tofu dish and humble garden salad.  IF I understood correctly, the vegetables are all grown fresh by the restaurant.  In any case, it was all extremely fresh and lightly dressed with a sort of soy & wasabi combination.  Being the health nut that I am, my favourite part was the crunchy-fried noodle.

Cold Tofu with Salmon Sashimi

This dish, cold tofu with salmon mixed with sweet soy sauce and wasabi, was at the same time so subtle, with the creamy textures of the tofu and slight bight of the salmon, but also complex and tart from the soy and wasabi (which also had some garlic and chilli if my senses tell truth).  To be honest, this was my first time having cold tofu.  I loved the presentation of the dish — the green chive really sparkles on the plate.  Notice the intricate cut of the salmon.  The black pearls of row were a nice touch.  I should mention, they make their own soy sauce, and it’s damn good.

Duck being prepared

Duck skin

The duck skin.  That’s it…need I say more?  We dipped it in a small bowl of white sugar before eating, which seems unusual based on the reactions of everyone I’ve mentioned this to.

Pancakes for Peking Duck

On the regular menu, the Peking Duck is served three ways (the skin, breast with pancakes, thigh stuffed into small pastries, and a duck soup).  The lot came accompanied by the traditional sauces, radish, and spring onions so finely sliced I thought they were sprouts at first.  The duck was very tender and flavoursome, the pancakes were neatly textured and subdued as they should be.

Wagyu Beef with Red Wine & Garlic Sauce

Give me wagyu any day, it’s the presentation of this dish that stands out.  The wagyu beef with red wine and garlic sauce (look at those bits of garlic!) is served on a sizzling hot stone straight to the table.  The server or chef will pour a shot glass of red wine over the meat forming the sauce and a spectacular steam show.  The wagyu melted on my tongue!

Fried Scallops in XO Sauce

When I spotted this dish on the menu presented to us, I was doubly excited.  First, I had not had XO sauce before, and second, I love scallops.  Apparently, as my co-diners told me, this is not an XO example to judge others against, so I should maybe wipe it from my taste memory of what XO is.  Again, it is homemade, reflecting the quality and aspiration of Dan’s House, and it was very good tasting, whether true XO or not.  The scallops were like butter.  Delicious, scallopy butter.  There were some tasty mushrooms and onions in the dish for good measure, but they’re just the side act to those noodles enveloping the package.  If Dan’s House keep frying all these noodles I’m gonna start raiding the kitchen.  Presentation is nice, n’est pas?

Pan Fried Noodle Cake

What did I just say about fried noodles?  This was one of the more interesting dishes.  It seems to be made of very thin, long noodles formed together into a cake and pan fried.  It was mildly sweet, crunchy, and moreish.

Longevity Noodle

The Longevity Noodle is literal.  I’m not making a spelling error, and it’s not an ESL error on their menu.  What this is is one big, long noodle topped with Zhajiang sauce.  In a normal dish, this noodle can be as long as 40 metres, and the goal is to slurp it in one go (take your time, though.)  The longer you slurp the noodle, the longer your life…and I could think of so many jokes right now.  The menu expresses it is a Shanxi Province birthday tradition, I think it tastes a little like Asian spaghetti bolognese.

Longevity Noodle

Toffee Apple

This, my friends, is a Teepee.  Ok, not really.  It’s dessert!  The toffee apple is bits of apple in a batter, fried, arranged and drenched in sticky, beautiful toffee.  You dip the yummy apple bites in ice water to cause the toffee to harden, and then pop it in your mouth!

Toffee Apple

Thang the Noodle Maker

Noodlie’s Thang Ngo took the opportunity to don an apron (for once :P) and make some noodles!  If Thang makes noodles, do they become noodlies?

The Mob Boss

Dan’s House is a new wave style of Chinese cooking, serving beautiful, old and well-loved dishes in new ways.  Make sure to check it out.

You can follow Dan’s House on Twitter: @DansHouse_syd
While you’re at it, follow me!: @ShaunLovesRamen


Dan’s House

Level 1&2, 710 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9211 1112
www.danshouse.com.au

Dan's House on Urbanspoon

Mother Chu’s Taiwanese Gourmet

Yes, I’m still here.

Unfortunately my New Year’s resolution involved cliched health & weightloss stuff and had little to do with blogging more.  Though it has been my intention to post more frequently, work and life have gotten the better of me, and it’s now been weeks since my last update!

I hope you all did something great for Lunar New Year — because the food, Lion Dances and food shouldn’t be missed.

(Yes, I just said food twice.)

I’ve spent a lot of time in Cabramatta, which is vying for Number One on my list of favorite suburbs in Sydney (there are two other contenders: Surry Hills & Eastwood).  And though this isn’t a post about Cabramatta, I’d encourage you to get down there and enjoy the eateries.

Now, onwards.  At the start of the (western) New Year I took a mini-holiday into the city, stayed at a nice CBD hotel and enjoyed the walking-distance opportunity to stuff my face in Chinatown.  Now ever since eating reading Eating Asia by Robin & Dave (http://eatingasia.typepad.net) I have had massive cravings to eat dumplings for breakfast.  (I would find their post on this subject, but that would take to long, and their blog is well worth your search.)  And so these cravings have gone on a year, and at last I had the opportunity to sate these cravings at Mother Chu’s.  Feeling slightly hung-over feeling from too long a sleep, The Malaysian & I stumbled down to Chinatown & Mother Chu’s Taiwanese Gourmet for some dumplings, yiu tiao (fried dough) wrapped in green onion pancake, and soup.  Delicious.

Mother Chu’s outside seating

Though nothing can be said of the service other than that it is efficient, the food is delicious and homely.  And though abrupt wait staff at Western restaurants would make me vow to never come back and spread the word of their rudeness, somehow at these authentic little joints it adds to the charm.  And by the way, have your cash in hand when you order: though it is table service, you must pay straight away.

Yiu Tiao (fried dough) with Spring Onion Pancake

Making something yummy

Wonton Noodle Soup

Pan Fried Dumplings

Siu Mai

Frying Yiu Tiao

Mother Chu’s Taiwanese Gourmet
86-88 Dixon Street, Chinatown 
Sydney NSW 2000 

Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Gong Bao Chicken

Well, Team Billy made it far, and we’re all so proud of just how far he made it.  So in honour of the “Dessert Queen” (LOL) I’ve decided this is a good time to post this recipe, which is a tweak of his posted recipe, and the version out of reigning Masterchef Adam Liaw’s book, Two Asian Kitchens (which I highly recommend you pick up if you love Japanese/Chinese/Malaysian foods).

I first made this recipe back some time last year, and as I said, I’ve tweaked it a little to suit my tastes.  You can do the same!  Be creative and flexible, cook what you like!  I seriously love this recipe and cook it at least a couple times per month.  Billy said it’s complicated, but I find it to be a very fast, inexpensive (I have most of the ingredients stocked in the pantry) 30 minute week-night meal.

Ingredients: serves 2
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced or thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 dried chillis (soak in warm water for a few minutes, then thoroughly dry)
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorn (can ommit, if you MUST)
1/2 onion (I usually use brown, accidentally bought red this time! But it adds nice colour…)
3 spring onions/scallions/green onions, cut in 2 inch pieces (optional)
A handful of roasted cashews, quickly toasted in a dry wok or fry-pan

For the marinade:
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Flour (to coat chicken before frying)

For the sauce:
4 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine (or dry sherry)
1 tbsp corn starch in warm water (to use at very end)

Method:
-Coat the chicken in the marinade and pop in the fridge, covered, for at least 1 hour (if in a time crunch, forgo this time — just pop it in as long as you can.)
-Now is a good time to prepare your “mise en place” (everything in it’s place) — this means get all your ingredients chopped or prepared and set in bowls or cups ready to add.  This is crucial when stir-frying as you must move very quickly.  The whole ‘cooking’ process will only take a matter of minutes.
-Make a little chilli oil to fry the lot in by heating a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok until almost smoking.  Add the chillis and peppercorns and stir-fry until the oil is fragrant — don’t allow the chillis to burn!  Remove the chillis into a bowl and set aside.
-Toss sliced garlic into the oil and stir-fry briefly.
-Toss your chicken through the flour to coat it all, then add to the hot oil and garlic.  Stir fry until crispy, using tongs or chopsticks to separate the pieces and keep them from sticking.
-When it is golden, add your sauce.  It will sizzle and de-glaze (getting all the sticky yummy bits off the wok.)
-Now add the onions, green onions & chillis and stir-fry around a little.
-Pour in a little of the cornstarch mixture just until the sauce thickens into a nice glaze.  Add it reasonably!  You don’t want the sauce to be gloppy.
-Add your toasted roasted cashews and toss through evenly.
-Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.

BIG NOTE: be sure not to overcook a stir-fry!  Your veggies should have crunch to them still, and the dish should taste overall fresh.  The whole cooking process in the wok should take around 10 minutes (hence why you gotta be organized!)

Dan Dan Noodles

Without doubt the smartest iPhone app purchase I’ve made is Jamie Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals, which I bought on sale for $4.99.

Every recipe has step-by-step instructions, photos, audio hints and notes, instructional videos, interactive shopping list…on and on.
I have tried most of the recipes in the application (come on Jamie, time for an update!) and haven’t been disappointed yet.  They’re simple yet delicious, every one taking 20 minutes or less.  The use of lemon and warming your plates and bowls before service have been revelations.

Below is a recipe I have made several times.  Noodley, garlicky and just a bit spicey.  “What a pleasure.”

Dan Dan Noodles
From Jamie Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals Application for iPhone

For two.

Elements:
200g beef or pork mince
2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
1 cube chicken stock
3 medium dried red chillies
2 garlic cloves
1 small bunch spring onion
1 lime
150g dried egg noodles
2 tsp honey
2 medium bok choi/pak choy
2 tbsp soy sauce
A couple splashes vegetable oil

Method:
Fill your kettle and put on to boil.  Put your bowls in the oven and heat on the lowest setting to warm.
Fill a saucepan with the boiling water and crumble in the stock cube.  Place on high heat.
Once it boils turn down the heat slightly to keep at a simmer.

Place a wok on medium high heat and crumble in the dried chillies.  Toast for a minute until golden.  Add the veg oil and cook for a few seconds to one minute.  Pour all of the chillies and most of the oil into a bowl and put aside. (yummy yummy chilli oil!)

Turn the wok heat on high and add the mince.  Stir-fry for 10 minutes or so til crispy.

Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic.  Trim and chop the spring onions and grind the Szechuan peppercorns with a mortar and pestle.  Cut the lime into wedges to serve later.

Toss your noodles into the boiling stock water and separate them with tongs to make sure they don’t stick in a glob.  Cook according to the packet instructions.

When the mince is crispy, add the honey and stir fry for another minute until all the mince is coated and sticky.  (Jamie then says to pop the wok in the oven to keep the mince warm, but I find that I’m nearly ready to serve by this step.  Just keep it on the stove top if you’re near ready.)

Cut the bok choi into quarters (lengthways) and drop into the noodles and stock for the last minute of cooking. (Note: bok choi cooks to a weird consistency VERY rapidly.  Probably best to toss it into the noodles and turn the heat off!)

Once the noodles and bok choi are cooked scoop out a cup of water and set aside.  Then drain the noodles and choi into a colander.  Return the noodles, bok choi and reserved water back into the pan.

Throw in your raw garlic, soy sauce, ground Szechuan peppercorns and as much chilli oil as you want (the more the better!!  I put it all in!:)

Mix all together and put the lid on.

Pull your warmed bowls out of the oven, divide the noodles between them and top with the crispy mince.
Drizzle with MORE chilli oil then scatter each portion with chopped spring onions.  Serve with the lime wedges, squeezing over as you go.

Itadakimasu!!

(Dan Dan Noodles pictured with leftover gyoza :)