Posts Tagged ‘chinese’

Chefs Gallery

Three egg fried rice ($14.90) at Chef’s Gallery doesn’t quite look like the photo in the menu. This was recommended as a ‘must try’.

Chef's Gallery

The egg is diced very small, and the overall fragrance is of the creaminess of the salted egg yolk. The taste is mostly of the creamy grittiness of the salted egg, the sharp onion of spring onion, and crunchy slightly rubbery Chinese pickles. I can’t taste any of the century duck egg. And what is the third egg type? Plain old chicken egg.

The staff? Yes I understand you’re closing up. But don’t push in whilst someone is eating and shove the bill in their face. You could also wait until there is a pause in the conversation before barging in. There is also that little rule about serving: place from the left, clear away from the right.

I think the noise level would be intense when the place is crowded, there were a lot of sheer noise reflecting surfaces.

Would I go again?

I am undecided. It would require a fabulous dish recommendation to get over my reluctance of paying another visit to this place.

Chefs Gallery
Mon- 1200-1500, 1730-“late” (2130-ish on a school night)
Regent Place
Ground Level, Shop 12, 501 George St (Corner Bathurst Street)
Sydney NSW 2000

Grandma’s spicy tofu with pork (Ma Po Tofu)

This is one of my favourite comfort food dishes. I have tried making this with the instant ‘Ma Po tofu sauce’ that comes in a jar but it just tasted terrible. And gave me a MSG thirst to boot.

So I bit the bullet, and made it from scratch according to Charmaine Solomon’s Encyclopedia of Asian Food.

AsiaSociety took the trouble of providing an electronic copy of the recipe.

Grandma’s Spicy Tofu with Pork (serves 4)
#600 g firm bean curd
#500g pork mince
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
#2 tablespoon ground bean sauce (mor sze jeung)
#2 teaspoon chilli bean paste
#6 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
[for this one I used Capibu Jari Jempol Sambal Asli chilli sauce and and a bit of tomato sauce]
#2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 & 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons fermented bean curd, mashed*
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon chilli oil or sesame oil
(optional) diced ‘instant’ jellyfish or kelp seaweeds
Cooked Rice/quinoa/pearl barley to serve.

Where I have indicated an ingredient quantity with a hash mark (#), I have increased the quantities from the original recipe. Generally, I have doubled the sauce ingredients. I like this dish with a bit of sauce which you mop up with rice.

For the tofu, I used a combination of 200g fresh silken tofu, and ‘297g’ of uht packet firm tofu.

What irks me about Charmaine’s book is that the ‘Chinese’ pronunciation given is generally of the Cantonese language. Cantonese doesn’t really have an official method of translating the sounds into english, unlike mandarin. Providing the Chinese characters would brook no argument.

So here is a photo of the unusual ingredients that I used:

Spicy tofu ingredients

From left to right we have.
1. Mei3 Wei4 huang2 jiang4, (literally “delicacy yellow soybean paste”).
2. (top) instant natural sea vegetable fresh kelp.
3. (bottom) long life UHT firm tofu.
4. preserved beancurd

The fermented bean curd I bought after I tried to replicate the vegetable dish from Red Lantern, using water spinach (kang kong).

1. Cut tofu into 2 cm chunks and drop into a pan of boiling water until heated through, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander.
2. Heat peanut oil in a wok and on a low heat fry spring onion for a few seconds before adding garlic and ginger. Stir and fry over low heat until fragrant and starting to turn golden.
3. Add pork and break up into small clumps until cooked.
4. Add chilli bean paste, soy sauce, chilli sauce, bean paste and mashed red bean curd mixed with 1& 1/3 cup stock or water.
5.Stir until boiling, then mix in cornflour stirred with cold water and stir until sauce boils and thickens.
6. (optional) cut up your crunchy pickles, jellyfish or kelp and stir through.
7.Add tofu and heat gently in the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame oil and serve on steamed carbs of your choice.

* Red bean curd is the Chinese equivalent of ripe gorgonzola cheese.

I added one chopped up fresh red chilli at step 4 to add some colour. When I lifted the lid off the frypan just before step 5, it smelled just right. Ah. Satisfaction.

I added the kelp at step 6 for texture. Sometimes when eating this in restaurants, you get the sour crunch of pickles, which I quite like.

Ma Po Tofu

Delicious. Noms. I went back for seconds. And ate the leftovers for lunch.

Bling Bling Dumpling Restsurant (closed)

This place got refurbished and changed hands recently – from one chinese noodle/dumpling place to another. So recently that I can smell fresh paint in the bathroom.

It is northern Chinese food – including cumin lamb, cucumber salad, and of course dumpling. One filling I hadn’t seen before – egg and chive.

On a Friday night it is half full of young locals and uni stufents. The six floor staff are rushing around, terribly busy not achieving much and aren’t too good at paying attention to customers. Early teething troubles.

We order:
1. Home style tofu stew ($13.8)
2. Handmade pork and chives dumplings ($9.8)
3. Mushroom and Chinese greens stir-fry ($13.8)

My favourite is the tofu ‘stew’, really a stirfry of fried silken tofu, wood ear fungus, capsicum and Chinese cabbage.

The dumplings, although ordered first, arrive last. There are twelve fat dumplings per serve, with a coarse wheat flour pastry. The filling is very salty.

The mushrooms are fat shittake mushrooms and very juicy, stirfried with garlic and shanghai pak choy. This dish is also very salty.

I might return to try the pancakes (three kinds, $9.80 ea) or the egg and chive dumplings. Salt probably wouldn’t have Bren so noticeable if I had also ordered steamed rice.

Bling Bling dumpling restaurant Shop 5, Unilodge, 185 Broadway, Glebe 2037

Smashed Cucumber Salad

I discovered this salad at Sang Chong hotpot restaurant. L had read about this salad in his Chinese textbook, so we wanted to try it.

I enjoyed it at the time, it was very moreish and I wanted to keep eating. But I got a msg hangover afterwards, so was a bit wary of ordering it again.

I thought the ingredient that made it so delicious was sesame oil, but upon finding a recipe at
Jonathan in China’s blog, it seems to be salt, plain and simple!

Smashed Cucumber Salad (serves one)
1 Lebanese cucumber
1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chiles
1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pinch sugar
About one tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Peanut oil
Heavy knife – Chinese cleaver or Cook’s Knife

Wash the cucumber and top and tail it. Chop into bite size chunks, approx 3cm each. Using the flat side of your chef’s knife lean upon each chunky piece on the green side and ‘smash’ it into irregular bits. I found this easier than ‘smashing’ the whole cucumber, and chopping afterwards. This step gives the dish its name, but also lets the flavours penetrate the cucumber.

Put the chunky bits in a bowl, and scatter with salt. Mix and let it absorb and rest for 10 minutes.

Rinse the salt off the cucumber and pat the cucumbers dry.

Add the dried chili flakes, garlic, diced fresh chillies, and sugar. Taste, and add a very small amount of salt if required.

Heat a couple tablespoons of peanut oil (depends how many cucumber chunks you have) in your frypan until it smokes.

Pour the hot oil over the cucumbers, it should sizzle upon contact.

Mix it all together with a small splash of of the red wine vinegar.

Smashed cucumber salad, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

Serve as a side. Yummo! I know I’ll be doing with that other cucumber that I bought!

Review: Spicy Sichuan Restaurant, Glebe

There seems to have been a resurgence in this part of Glebe recently, with the Glebe Noodle House, and two Chinese restaurants opening up, a frozen yoghurt bar as well as a new Gelato place next door to Badde Manors. The site on the other side of the road underneath the University Hall (currently: Illuminati), has also suffered from being at the Parramatta road end of Glebe Point Road, and the quiet side of the strip.

So the time has come, the walrus said, for me to try another Sichuan restaurant.
Sichuan cuisine is a Chinese cuisine well known for liberal use of chillies – dried, pickled and fresh. Some are for flavouring, and some are for the actual eating. A few years ago, we went to a Sichuan restaurant in Dixon Street Chinatown (Yin Li), and then last year, supposedly to a Sichuan restaurant in Berkeley, which I have blogged about before.
Spicy Sichuan Restaurant is located in a building that used to house an English language college, which would explain the odd mix of flooring – part laminate, part tiles.
Very popular with what appears to be young Chinese students from Sydney Uni, and at 730pm on a Friday night, the place was packed out with approximately 90% Chinese, and a 20 minute wait on the tables.
The waitstaff are all dressed in baggy silky tops, and the décor is very geared towards an old den, with wood panelling concealing the ducted air conditioning. The chairs are quite uncomfortable, and hard to manoeuvre.
We chose a dried mushroom with pork shreds and Vegetables (approx $22):
This was very light on with the pork and the vegetables, and mostly “dried mushrooms”, which were fibrous and quite chewy. I wonder if this was really a kind of seaweed thought, although it did have a texture similar to dried pak choi, which is often used in Chinese Soups. The dish was rated one chilli, not very spicy, served in a mini wok, but quite oily near the bottom.
A but expensive, but worth it, almost 20 prawns and capsicum, stir fried in a Cantonese style with a bit of cornflour. This was good to eat, and worthwhile getting again.
This place is a bit on the expensive side, the bill was $60 for two, including a $2 tea charge per head, and a rice charge ($2) per head. The rice canister/thermos was only half full, and the rice itself was quite dry in texture. Towards the end of the meal, I started getting the dreaded msg-thirst, which didn’t dissipate until two hours and several bottles of water later.
If I try this place again next time I would fork out and try the Sichuan salt and pepper calamari at $28. I would also specifically ask for no msg to be added.
Afterwards, I refreshed my palate with a scoop of rum & raisin gelato from Grand Gelato ($3.90 for 1 scoop).
Spicy Sichuan Restaurant.
1-9 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Open till 930pm Sunday – Thursday.
Open till 10pm Friday – Saturday.
(02) 9660 8200

Review: Glebe Noodle House (closed)

glebe noodle house - prep

Making dumplings @ Glebe Noodle House

The staff handmaking the dumplings at the front of the store is a good sign, and after being ushered upstairs, it felt very friendly and cosy. There was a couple in the corner looking like they were settling in for the night with good tea and good conversation.

Our order was boiled beef dumplings ($9, $10 if fried), green beans ($10), and on the waitress’s recommendation, the Hot and Spicy Chicken handmade noodles ($14.90 dinner, $12.90 lunchtime).

Service was really quick, and in no time at all, our dumplings were ready:
The pastry was quite thin – not as delicate as that from din tai fung, not as coarse as that from Shanghai Night, and possibly a little thinner than that of New Shanghai. The little cross hatch imprint on the bottom of the dumplings indicates that these were probably steamed rather than boiled. The filling was beef mince with chives, and the colour was a nice red-brown rather than the sometimes grey-brown that you get when the dumplings have been cooked for too long. They were also delicious!

Next up were the fried green beans. Oily with a hint of spice, the beans had shrunk slightly in their casings during the cooking process, revealing a wrinkly appearnce.

Finally the main event: the Hot and Spicy Chicken handmade noodles:

glebe noodle house - noodle hot pot

Hot & Spicy Chicken Noodle

This was a huge bowl, fit to feed 3-4 people grazing, not 2 people who had already consumed 5 dumplings each! The broth reminded me of the thai-style duck noodle soup, with pieces of cassia bark, curry leaves and whole peppercorns in a sweet dark broth. The timeout review pasted on the wall indicated this also contained dried mandarin peel.

There were chunks of potato, capsicum and pieces of chicken on the bone that had stewed to a dark caramel colour, as well as the handmade noodles of varying thicknesses. These I found a bit soft and glue-like in texture, and didn’t seem as perfectly al-dente as the handmade noodles in soups that I have tried at Seabay. Different animals yes – a hot pot versus a soup, but the gluey texture of the noodles spoiled what otherwise would have been a lovely dish.

Glebe Noodle House
25 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW.
Mon-Sun 11.30am-3.30pm, 4.30pm-10.30pm
(02) 9660 9698