Tim Ho Wan #michelin #dimsum #hongkong

After reading much about Tim Ho Wan’s baked bbq pork buns and homemade dim sum, we were on a mission this morning to find the original store in Hong Kong of what is now a very popular chain of restaurants.

True to the reviews the pan fried and baked bbq pork buns are absolutely delicious, with tasty pork filling encased with a light, fluffy and slightly crispy pastry. Very different to the palate binding texture of traditional pork buns.

We also tried their congee with preserved egg, steamed chive and shrimp dumplings, steamed beef brisket with turnip and steamed pork spare ribs with black bean. It was all very tasty and well executed.

The restaurant itself is unassuming and was packed with locals enjoying Saturday morning brunch/breakfast.

Definitely worth the short trip from Tsim Sha Tsui up to Olympian City 2 in Tai Kwok Tsui, West Kowloon.

Luke Nguyen inspired Split King Prawns

A few years ago I was gifted Luke Nguyen’s France cookbook which has some great cross-cultural French and Vietnamese recipes in it.

My version of this recipe is easy and great for entertaining if you do the prep beforehand as it just requires quick shallow frying at the end,

Splitting and flattening the king prawns before marinating them allows the flavours of the marinade to be absorbed by the prawns.

The addition of fish sauce to the marinade brings out the “prawnness” in the prawns when they are cooked, and using butter as well as oil to fry them in makes them super tasty.

In my simpler version, I don’t have some of the “fancier” ingredients such as kaffir lime leaves and perilla leaves which are a bit harder to get hold of. I substitute parsley or coriander to garnish, and add lime juice at the end. I also don’t bother to make the suggested vietnamese dipping sauce which is made from more fish sauce and lime juice as the juices from the pan are great with the extra lime juice added at the end.

Hope you like it!

Prep time including marination: 50-60 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:

1 kg green/raw king prawns
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 lemongrass white part only finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2-3 red chillies chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
Parsley or coriander to garnish

Method:

1. Remove heads and veins from prawns but leave shells on. Split prawns down their backs using a sharp knife but make sure you don’t cut all the way through. You want to butterfly them so they can be flattened in their shells.

2. Put prawns flat with shell side up in a dish or tray and place baking paper over them and weigh them down to flatten. Leave in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile make the marinade by crushing the lemongrass, garlic and chilli to a paste in a mortar and pestle or blender.

4. Combine paste with fish sauce and then coat both sides of the prawns in the mixture and leave to marinate for 20-30 minutes. (The prawns might close up a bit again when you do this.)

5. Heat oil and butter in a non-stick pan and add prawns cut side down first to cook over high heat, for 1-2 minutes pressing them down with a spoon or spatula to flatten them. Turn over and “scorch” the shells.

6. Squeeze over lime juice, transfer to serving dish with pan juices, sprinkle with garnish and serve with a salad and bread to mop up the delicious juices.

2018 Turkey and Prawn pad Thai

This year’s version triple the original recipe ….absolute fave with the “hungry” hoards on a Boxing Day.

Here’s the link to the original recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson’s recipe in her Feast cookbook.

https://freespiritfood.net/2017/12/27/turkey-pad-thai/

Ban Xeo Saigon lives up to Bourdain

This street food outlet in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City was made famous by Anthony Bourdain https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aI0u3eaQgcA in 2008. Renowned for their crispy Vietnamese rice flour crepes, Ban Xeo lived up to its reputation on our visit today. Of course it has now been discovered by tourists but the service and quality of the food has stood up to the test.

The ladies are still out the front cooking up a storm over the wood fire and prices are extremely reasonable. We enjoyed the experience and loved the crunchy crepes filled with shrimps, pork and bean sprouts and served with a delicious fish sauce dip and a mountain of fresh lettuce and herbs.

Get over the fact that it is now firmly on the tourist trail and try it when next in Saigon.

https://m.facebook.com/banhxeo46adinhcongtrang/

Prawn Curry with Fennel Seeds

I recently went to make this traditional family curry and realised I haven’t previously posted the recipe. So here it is, a quick and delicious curry that is perfect for weeknight dinners with rice and salad or as part of a bigger Indian spread.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:
500g green prawns (shelled and deveined)
2 ripe tomatoes diced finely
1 large onion diced finely
4 cloves garlic and equal amount of ginger, pounded to a paste
1/2 tspoon salt
1/2 tspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin powder
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1.5-2 cups water
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Handful of fresh curry leaves(optional)
1/2 bunch corinader – stems chopped, leaves retained for garnish
coriander leaves to garnish

Method:
Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
Add fennel seeds and curry leaves and stir until fragrant, taking care not to burn.
Add onions and cook gently until almost transparent.
Add garlic and ginger paste and mix through onions until heated.

Add cummin powder, turmeric, chilli powder and fennel powder and stir through onion mixture until just heated.

Add tomatoes, chopped coriander stems, salt, sugar and tamarind and 1.5cups water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes breakdown creating a chutney like sauce. Add more water if necessary along the way, stirring regularly to ensure mixture doesn’t stick or burn.

Add prawns and simmer for 5 minutes and until prawns are cooked. Taste to see if extra salt is needed.

Garnish with coriander and serve with rice and salad.

Pancetta wrapped prawns with watermelon, mint and feta salad

Recently discovered wrapping prawns in pancetta before frying them. The pancetta adds a layer of crispy saltiness which goes brilliantly with the sweetness of the watermelon in this salad. I also made it while I was in Bali with pomelo and watermelon salad which was also delicious but pomelos aren’t as easy to find in Australia.

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:

12 green prawns peeled with tails left on
12 thinly slices of pancetta
2 cups watermelon cut in cubes
3-4 cups of Rocket leaves for salad base
1 cup mint leaves roughly torn
1/2 cup of Persian marinated feta
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil for dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying prawns
Salt and pepper

Method
Prepare salad base by scattering watermelon, and mint on top of rocket leaves, then sprinkling with bits of feta and dressing with dressing made with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Wrap each prawn in a slice of pancetta

Heat oil in non-stick pan and fry prawns for a few minutes on each side until pancetta is crispy and prawns are pink and cooked.

Pile prawns on salad, garnish with a few mint leaves and serve