Wonton Noodle Soup/雲吞麵

One of my must-haves every time I visit Hong Kong is the wonton noodle soup or 港式雲吞麵, you can find wonton stands everywhere and a bowl can be as cheap as 30 HKD (about 3 USD) with 7 juicy & tender shrimp wonton, chewy egg noodles and flavorful, warm seafood broth. A dish like this is perfect for dinner on a cold winter night, or if you prefer, a hearty breakfast in the morning.

For this recipe, you can “mass produce” the wontons and keep them in your freezer, they’ll last about 3 months. Although this recipe doesn’t include the recipes for the noodle and soup, you can basically use any noodle-soup combination you want.

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For 50 Wontons, You’ll Need:

  • 225g or 1/2 lb 80% lean ground pork
  • 550g or 1 lb peeled & deveined shrimp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp bonito flakes (the original recipe calls for Chinese dried fish powder, which is 50% MSG)
  • 1 tsp cooking rice wine/Japanese mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp starch
  • 1 tsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 50 square wonton wrappers

How to make this:

  1. Purée half (225g) of the shrimp using a food processor, you can mince the shrimp with a knife too, but it’s just too much work. Cut the rest of the shrimp into 3 equal pieces.
  2. Thoroughly the puréed shrimp, cut shrimp chunks and minced pork together, add the egg, bonito flakes, cooking rice wine/Japanese mirin, soy sauce, starch, chopped chives, salt, and ground pepper. Stop stirring when the mixture turns into a pink, consistent, smooth paste.
  3. Place about a teaspoon of the paste in the center of the wrapper, wet the edge and fold it diagonally. Then wet the 2 tips and press them together, repeat until you used up all the wrappers or fillings.6262A7B9-6EFC-41B6-8011-CF9C7AE0FC91
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then carefully drop the wontons in the boiling water. The uncooked wonton would sink to the bottom of the pot, and a good indication of the wontons are cooked is when they flow to the top of the water (the same rule apply for both fresh & frozen wonton).
  5. Serve the wontons with some blanched greens, noodle, and soup. Enjoy!

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Salmon Poke

Okay, before this recipe even starts, here’s a quick little history lesson on eating raw salmon. Some of you might not remember this, but there was a time when making nigiri or sashimi with salmon was unthinkable, since parasites are common among Pacific salmon and the only way to kill them is to cook them. However, some dude in Norway figured out that Atlantic Salmon don’t have parasites in them, so after a lot of marketing work making it popular in Japan and the U.S. in the 90s, raw salmon finally became a thing.

You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup pine nut
  • 1 lb (about 1/2 kg) raw, skinless sashimi-grade salmon
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 sheet nori, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 shallot
  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots
  • 4 teaspoons (about 20ml) soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (about 10ml) sesame oil

How to make this:

  1. Quickly brine the salmon is salt & sugar water for 5 min, dry it well and wrap it and let in sit in the fridge for 30 min
  2. Finely mince the shallot, then mix it with the macadamia nuts, pine nut, sliced scallion, sliced nori, sesame seeds, fried shallots, soy sauce, and sesame oil
  3. Cut the salmon into 1 cm or 1/2 inch cube, fold them into the sauce mix, try not to mix it too hard
  4. Wrap it, and let it sit in fridge for another 2 hours for the flovur to go into the salmon
  5. Serve it with some rice and extra scallion & sesame seeds

Tempura

Tempura is a very popular side dish in Japan and they are delicious! Usually made with battered, deep-fried seafood or vegetables, the crispy & flaky shell is a perfect contrast to the soft moist center, and due to the use of a light batter and short frying time, it’s much healthier than most fried food. As I said before, you can use both seafood and vegetable for this because they both have short cook time, the Ebi(shrimp) Tempura being the most famous of them all! This dish is simple, quick, and a good recipe if you are a beginner in the fanatically delicious (and not so healthy) world of deep frying. Since this is a side dish, you can have them with some soba or udon or ramen, or roll them up into sushi rolls, you can also just eat them with some rice! The possibility is endless, so let’s make this!

You’ll need these for the tempura:

  • 15 large shrimp
  • 10 fresh mushrooms
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 sweet potato
  • About 6 cups (1.5L) vegetable or peanut oil for frying
  • 2 cups (300g ish) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (3g) baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups (600ml) ice-cold water
  • Optional: (white onion, sliced fresh lotus root, carrots, scallop, fish and more)

You’ll need these for the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tbsp dashi
  • 2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce

How to make this:

  1. Peel, devein, the shrimps, but the tail shells need to be left intact. Make a couple light cuts across inside curve of each shrimp and gently press it flat on a cutting board
  2. In a deep, heavy-duty pot over medium heat, heat up the oil to about 160C or 325F degrees
  3. In large bowl add the icy water, then mix in the flour & baking powder, it is very important to not over whisk the batter because it creates gluten, which makes the crust not crispy, I would recommend using low protein flour like cake flour, and instead of whisking, stir the batter lightly with a chopsticks for less than 10 sec
  4. Dip shrimp and vegetables into batter and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, which takes about 2 min. If you try to fry shiso leaves (not recommended because it’s very dangerous for beginners), only coat 1 side, then drop, and place it in batter-side-down for about 1 min minute. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  5. Serve tempura immediately with dipping sauce, which you can make by heating up the dashi, mirin and soy sauce in a small saucepan until it just thickens

 

Cured Salmon

Among all the fishes out there, salmon is probably my favorite, you can smoke, sear, grill them or even eat it raw. For a lot of people, eating raw fish might be a little out of their comfort zone, so, as a stepping stone, I will make them try cured salmon. This recipe is extremely simple, you can add any spices to customize your cured salmon. In this recipe, it is important to try to use North Atlantic salmon, this is because pacific salmon has a tendency to have parasites.

You’ll need:

  • 400 g brown sugar
  • 175 g kosher salt or flaky sea salt
  • 1 to 2 lb Atlantic salmon fillet (no thicker than 1 1/2 inches/3.5 cm, skin on, pin bones removed)

How to make this:

  1. Mix together brown sugar and salt (So, this is just the most basic curing mixture, both the sugar and salt are crystals, which gives them the property to absorb moisture, but you can also add extra spices and herbs of your choice, I like to add black pepper, coriander seed, and sliced fresh fennel to my curing mixture)
  2. Place half of the mixture on the bottom of a container, whip the salmon try and place the salmon on top of the mixture, then bury the salmon using the rest of the mixture
  3. Seal the container and place it in the fridge for about 72 hours
  4. When you take it out after 72 hours, the dry mixture that covers the fish should have turned into a thick paste or liquid. Rinse with some ice water, then slices and serve.

Teriyaki Salmon

I lived in Seattle for about 5 years, and one thing I absolutely adored is the teriyaki. However, the teriyaki most of us who live outside Japan are familiar with is very different from the traditional teriyaki. This is not only in the flavor of the sauce (traditional sauce tends to be more savory than sweet) but also the choice of meat. In Japan, fish are usually the preferred protein to go with this sauce, whereas most places outside Japan like to use chicken & beef. The preparation method is also very different, very often, the fish are not marinated but simply seared/grilled then brushed with a layer of sauce, which make the natural flavor of the fish more outstanding. Despite all that, everyone has their favorites, and for me personly, the two style has diverged so much from each other that I wouldn’t even consider them to be the same dish, and I enjoy them both equally.

 

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb salmon with skin (very important to have the skin on, once you fry it, it will become crispy like chips)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sake (or Chinese rice wine or dry sherry)
  • 1 tbsp mirin (or 1 tbsp sake + 1 tsp sugar)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

How to make this:

  1. Slice the salmon across into 2-3 inch wide pieces, this will help the skin crisp up faster, pad them dry with some paper towel and lightly season it with salt and black pepper
  2. Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat with the oil, when the pan is heated, place the salmon skin down onto the pan, there will be some oil splatters if you didn’t dry the skin enough, so make sure the salmon skin are dried
  3. Bring the heat down to medium, then let it sear for 2-3 min or until the skin has crispened up (or no longer sticks to the pan), then flip the salmon over, turn up the heat a little bit, then pour in the sake, mirin, sugar & soy sauce mix, once it starts to simmer, turn the heat back to medium and  let the sauce slowly thickens, this will take about 2-3 min, do not cover the pan at any point
  4. Once the sauce holds a syrup like texture, it means the salmon is done too, place the salmon on another plate, then brush on the chicken sauce, which at this point is more like a beautiful glaze
  5. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and chopped spring onion, serve it with some rice and steamed veg

 

If you want to find out how to make the non-tridtional teriyaki chicken, you can find it here

Moqueca (Brazilian Seafood Stew)

The problem with fish stew is that you can’t cook the fish for too long, thus it’s hard for flavors to get incorporate into the stew, however, this isn’t a problem for moqueca, because the sweetness of the seafood are extracted by the coconut milk, thus creating a thick and flavourful stew.

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You’ll need: 1 1/2 lb white fish fillets (like halibut, swordfish, or cod); 1/2 lb prawns; 3 cloves garlic; 4 tbsp lime juice; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 medium sweet onion; 1 red bell pepper; 2 tbsp tomato paste; 1 tbsp paprika; 1 tbsp red pepper flakes; 1 large bunch of cilantro; 14 oz coconut milk

How to make this:

  1. Rinse the fish in cold water, remove the pin bones and cut into large portions (you can use multiple types of fish if you like), devein and peel the prawns. Finely mince the garlic and onion, cut the bell pepper into 1/4 inch slices
  2. In a heavy duty deep pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat, cook the minced garlic and onion for about 3 min, then add the tomato paste, paprika, red pepper flakes and some finely chopped stem of cilantro
  3. Pour and stir in the coconut milk, place the bell pepper on the bottom, then put on the layer of fish, then add another layer of prawns, bring it to a simmer, then cover and let it cook for 5 to7 min
  4. Mix in the lime juice, sprinkle with some chopped cilantro with some extra red chili for severing

Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Scialatelli)

If you love pasta, but don’t know what Scialatelli is, you are missing out. Scialatielli is a thick and wide pasta from the Amalfi coast, and it’s perfect with some fresh seafood and arranbiata (angry) sauce! Also, this recipe works for almost any type of thick/wide pasta, fettuccine or linguine will work just fine!

You’ll need: 1 1/2 lb of fresh (or 1 lb dried) wide pasta, 1/2 lb mussels; 1/2 lb clams; 1/2 lb shrimp; 3 tbsp olive oil; 1 small onion; 2 garlic cloves; 1 red chili; 1 12 oz tin crushed tomatoes (or the 2/3 lb fresh tomatoes); 1/2 cup white wine

How to make this:

  1. Finely mince the onion and garlic, seed the red chili and cut into thin slices, peel and devein the shrimp, brush the clams and mussels
  2. Heat a skillet with olive oil over a medium-high, then add the onion, garlic & chili and sauté for 3 minutes
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and white wine, cook until it simmers, then let it reduce for about 1o minutes. You can boil the pasta while the sauce is cooking
  4. Add in the clams first, cover with lid and let it cook for 4 min, then add the mussels, cover and cook for 2 min more, then add the shrimp and cook for another 3 min, follow this pattern so nothing will be over cooked
  5. Mix in the cooked pasta, sprinkle with some chopped parsley when serving