Recipe: Wonton Noodle Soup

I recently made Wonton Noodle Soup for the first time. While I have made dumplings before, making wonton was new for me.

Ingredients

Wonton skin (egg-based), 500gm fatty pork mince, 2 bunches of garlic chives, dark soy sauce, aged Chinese vinegar, chilli sauce, sesame oil, sugar, egg noodles, chicken soup (of your choosing).

Method

  1. Create your chicken soup, whether it’s from a stock cube, directly from a chicken carcass, or a can. Whatever works for you, but ensure that it is a clear broth, not a thick soup. Keep it on a slow simmer on the stove.
  2. Finely chop up the garlic chives, and mix it in with the mince. Add two dashes each of soy and vinegar, a pinch of sugar and chilli sauce and sesame oil to your liking. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Start making your wontons. Use a small dab of the pork mixture in the middle of a wonton skin, then seal the skin with some water and wrap it to your liking. Just ensure that you keep quite a bit of skin free, as cooked wonton are characterised by a longer trailing skin.
  4. Once you’ve finished making your wontons, boil a pot of water. Drop a handful of egg noodles in the pot – one handful for each person. Depending on whether you use dry or fresh egg noodles, cook them for two or three minutes.
  5. Use tongs to take the cooked noodles from the pot, and place in individual bowls. Make sure you don’t take too much of the water with the noodles.
  6. Drop the wonton into the boiling water. Cook for approximately three minutes. Once done, use a straining ladle to take the wonton out of the water and divide evenly between the individual bowls.
  7. Pour the hot chicken soup over the wonton and noodles, and serve with condiments on the side for diners to help themselves (chilli sauce, extra sesame oil, chopped herbs, etc.).

These quantities should feed approximately five or six people, presuming a handful of egg noodles per person and around ten small wonton each. Total cost is in the region of $12-$20AUD, presuming you already have all the sauces at home and depending on what kind of chicken soup you choose to use.

Sydney Bar Week: Fashionable Drinks

As part of the Sydney Bar Week festivities, I attended the Fashionable Drinks event at Gazebo Wine Garden on Monday night as a guest of the festival organisers. I didn’t know much about what the night would involve, but was ready for stunning fashion, intricate cocktails and delicate wines. Fashionable Drinks really delivered the goods!

Fashionable Drinks at Gazebo
The aim of the night was to showcase four rounds of cocktails and wines, matched to a particular fashion era in time. The drinks were inspired by the popular drinks of each era, so guests were taken back on a type of trip through time.

  • 1920s: a cocktail involving gin and lemon juice, and a strong full-flavoured sherry.
  • 1970s: a Tommy’s Margarita and a sparkling Lambrusco.
  • 1980s: a strong oaky chardonnay and a dodgy Blue Lagoon cocktail.
  • 2000s: a red wine and a strange cocktail called a Bondi Hipster.

My vote was for the 1970s – the tartness of the Tommy’s Margarita was really amazing and the freshness of the Lambrusco made it one of the best red wines I’ve ever tasted. The Blue Lagoon  was trashy, but amazing in its trashiness.

There was a great vibe about the night. We were a group of about forty people, and although K and I didn’t know anyone before the dinner we had some really warm conversations with other guests. Strangely enough, one of our neighbours was good friends with an ex-university-lecturer of K’s…it’s a small world.

Well done to Sydney Bar Week and Gazebo Wine Garden on a great cocktail night.

Review: Menya Mappen, Sydney

K and I recently visited Menya Mappen after a joint date with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service where we both donated blood. Talk about a romantic date night! We were in definite need of a large satisfying meal to set us straight on our feet after donating nearly half a litre of blood each, and Menya Mappen down the road from the blood centre really delivered the goods.

Menya Mappen is a self-service udon bar in the heart of Sydney, drawing on what is apparently an growing trend in Japan. Apparently the self-service udon bar industry in Japan grew by 5% in 2011 – there’s clearly a trend here that reflects our society’s preference for faster and cheaper service.

Joining the cafeteria line, we chose two cold drinks, two large bowls of ontama bukkake udon, three tempura prawn, two tempura sweet potato slices, tempura sliced onion, takoyaki, and a picked veggie rice ball – for the cheap price of $35AUD for the both of us!

The ontama bukkake udon was beautifully tasty, especially with the half boiled egg on top (the ontama). The egg was really done well, with the perfect blend of runny white and semi-solid yolk.

The tempura was more hit and miss – while the sweet potato was done quite well with a light covering of tempura batter, the prawns were a different matter. Good tempura has minimal batter, but the tempura prawn was pretty much 50/50 prawn to tempura batter. I had to pick off a lot of batter for the prawn so that it would actually taste any good.

The takoyaki was lukewarm, which really affected its flavour. Takoyaki tastes best when it’s fresh off the pan, not when it’s been sitting on a heated buffet for close to an hour. Lucky I’ve recently purchased a poffertje pan for the cheap price of $9AUD so I might be able to experiment with making takoyaki in a poffertje pan at home.

I would rate Menya Mappen a 7 out of 10. It really is amazing value and with the tastiness of the noodles the restaurant really deserves that rating. The tempura really let it down though and has cost it quite a few points.

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