Thursday, 22 May 2014

Recipe: Wantan Mee

Wantan mee is one of my top 5 hawker favourites. The springy egg noodles tossed in a mixture of soya sauce and other secret ingredients topped with tiny wantons, paper thin slices of char siew (hawkers are mostly not very generous) and a few pieces of choy sum is one noodle dish that I could have anytime of the day; be it breakfast, lunch, tea or dinner. Plus, it was the typical hawker food that adults would order for most children. So, I’ve been nomming wantan mee probably even since I was a toddler.

The wantan mee I grew up with is what many know as ‘kon lou mee’ and living in London, it is difficult to find one similar to home because the Penang wantan mee is in some way different. (note how I would persist on spelling it as wantan mee like the hawker signs in Penang) 

Most wanton noodles here are egg noodles served in clear broth; not the one I eat growing up. When the cravings drive me crazy, I solve the problem by creating them in my own kitchen. Well, at least trying to recreate the closest possible alternative.

Wantan Mee 2
Satisfying my intense craving for wantan mee!

Here’s my extremely simple wantan mee recipe:

Wantan Mee (serves 1)

1 portion egg noodles
2-3 dumplings (sui kow)
1 stalk pak choy/choy sum

1 tbsp           sesame oil
1 tbsp           light soya sauce
1 1/2 tbsp    kecap manis
1/2 tbsp       oyster sauce
Dash of pepper


1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the sui kow until it is floating on the surface of the boiling water. Blanched the choy sum and noodles.
TIP: Once the noodles is removed from the hot water, run it through cold (room temperature) water. The cold water stops the heat in the noodle from continuing to cook the noodle and retains the springy texture of the noodles.

Wantan Mee 1
I use this dried egg noodles instead of the fresh ones because this particular noodle is much more springy compared to other noodles I've tried previously.
Available in See Woo in London Chinatown

2. In a plate, place the seasoning and tossed the noodles. Top with sui kow, choy sum and some char siew (optional).

This is an extremely basic recipe which allows me to satisfy my wantan mee cravings temporarily until I get to meet the wantan mee hawkers in Penang. So, warning: it may not taste as delicious as the ones in Malaysia.

For the dumplings, check out the recipe here and for char siew, get the recipe here. If making your own dumpling is too troublesome, you can always resort to the frozen wanton or sui kow sold in Chinatown. Char siew is optional but it helps to make my wantan mee feel much closer to those at home.

Wantan Mee
If char siew is too much of a hassle, have it plain and simple just like this :)


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Recipe: Char Siew

Amongst all the different type of roast meat in Chinese restaurants and chicken rice stall, honey barbecue pork or char siew is one of my favourites. The juicy tender pork slices glazed with a sticky layer of honey on the outside is simply a heavenly indulgence.

For the price char siew is sold in restaurants or hawker stalls, I had always thought char siew is difficult to make. My opinion had always been the prices must reflect the complexity of the food. After looking up recipes online from here and here, I made an attempt to make my own char siew which turns out to be an easy culinary challenge.

Char Siew 1
Homemade char siew

Here’s the modified recipe that I use:

Honey BBQ Pork/Char Siew (serves 7-8 pax)


1 kg           pork neck
1 tbsp        sesame oil
2 cups       water

2 tbsp       sesame oil
2 tbsp       honey
2 tbsp       sugar
1 tbsp       soya sauce
1 tbsp       oyster sauce
2 tbsp       kicap manis
2 tbsp       hoisin sauce
1 tbsp       shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp     five spice powder


1. Clean and cut the pork neck into strips of 3-4 cm (about 4-5 strips for 1kg of pork neck).

2. Drench the pork neck with the marinade overnight.

3. Heat up a skillet with 1 tbsp of sesame oil and put in the pork and all the marinade. Add 2 cups of water and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
TIP: Make sure the char siew is not overcooked. I usually check if my char siew is cooked by cutting a slice off to see if the inside is cooked.

4. Heat up the grill. Remove the char siew from the skillet and shake of the sauce. Brush honey over the char siew and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
TIP: I prefer my char siew to be loaded with coats of honey. So, I would brush honey over the char siew at least twice. Starting with a layer of honey and then popping it into the grill (doing it for both sides), then brushing another layer of honey with a layer of the char siew sauce and putting it back into the grill for 1-2 minutes for both sides.

Char Siew
Strips of char siew out from the oven onto the chopping board

5. If the sauce in the skillet is too watery for your liking, reduce the sauce over low heat until a thicker consistency is formed.
TIP: Watch the fire and stir occasionally. I had previously burnt the sauce because i wasn’t paying attention to it.

6. Cut into thin slices and enjoy.



Friday, 9 May 2014

Recipe: Homemade Granola


Granola and cereals had always been one of the most common items for my breakfast. Though there are so many varieties and options on shelf in Tesco and Sainsbury etc, with my obsession to reduce sugar intake I’m always been reading the ingredient labels to find one with the least amount of sugar or fructose. Plus, those boxed cereal and granola that comes with berries or fruits have minimal amount of dried berries and fruits. So, I tried making my own after searching for some recipes online and mashing a couple of them together.

Here’s the recipe:


2 cups        rolled oats (old-fashion oats)
1/4 cup      vegetable oil
1/4 cup      honey
2 tbsp        brown sugar*
1/4 tsp      ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp      vanilla essence
80g            dried berries (a mixture of cranberries and blueberries)
30g            mixed seeds
50g            almond flakes

*2 tbsp of brown sugar made my granola a little too sweet for my liking, but I haven’t got a sweet tooth. Adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.


1. Pre heat the oven to 170C.

2. Mix the rolled oats with vegetable oil, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl. Make sure all the oats are well coated.

3. Spread the oats on a baking tray lines with baking paper and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes and turn over the unexposed side then bake further for another 15 minutes until the oats are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

Spread out onto a large baking tray

4. When the granola has cooled, toss in the berries, almond flakes and mixed seeds and mix well.
TIP: The granola will hardened into lumps as it cools so break up the large lumps if you prefer. The berries, almond flakes and seeds can me replaced with raisins, whole almond etc.

Amazing homemade granola

5. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

This was my first time making granola and I’m surprised by how easy it is to make my own granola. Plus, the best part is being able to control the amount of sugar and honey and load it with tonnes of dried berries. The granola taste similar to those sold in store with a strong scent of cinnamon and honey. They go along well with milk or even plain yogurt.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Recipe: French Toast

French Toast1

To me, French Toast is the sophisticated name for something my grandma always make for our family. Growing up, this pan fried bread dipped in egg is a great way to finish up any leftover or old bread.

Here’s the recipe my grandma use to whip up this simple snack for all of us at home.

French Toast (serves 1)


2                eggs
2 slices     bread
1 tsp         sugar (optional)
A dash of salt

1 tbsp       honey
1 tbsp       butter

Back home, French Toast was pan fried with ordinary cooking oil instead of butter and eaten plain without honey and berries. Since honey is part of my usual groceries and berries are so easily available in London, I topped my French Toast with some honey and berries for extra flavour.


1. Beat 2 eggs with sugar and a dash of salt.

2. Over medium heat, melt the butter on a non-stick pan. Soak the bread in the egg mixture and place into the pan. Pan fry for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until both side is golden brown.

French Toast
Make sure both sides of the bread is soaked with egg

3. Served with some blueberries and sliced strawberries and top with honey.