A celebratory feast in these time-poor days calls for a fuss-free banquet with spice, texture, colour and vibrancy on the palate (and on the plate).
PRAWN WONTON AND NOODLE SOUP
200g egg noodles, cooked
1 head baby bok choy leaves, blanched
wontons (makes 16)
500g raw prawns, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaf, finely chopped
2 tbsp spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp yellow bean soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
16 wonton skins
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ginger, julienned
1 tbsp spring onion, julienned freshly ground white pepper and
sea salt, to taste
To make the wonton mixture, mix the chopped prawn meat together with all the other ingredients except the wonton skins.
Lay out a wonton skin and put 1 tbsp of prawn mixture into the centre. Brush 2 edges of the skin lightly with water and fold the skins in half at an angle to enclose the filling and seal the edges. Place the wonton aside and repeat with the remaining 15 wonton skins.
To make the soup, heat the chicken stock in a pan over medium heat. When it comes to a simmer, add soy sauce, ginger and spring onions then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. Add a pinch of ground white pepper. Check the seasoning and if necessary adjust with a little more soy or sea salt.
In a separate pot of simmering water, gently cook the wontons for about 3 minutes until just soft. Remove from the water and divide between 4 large bowls. Divide the noodles and bok choy between the 4 bowls and pour over the seasoned stock. Serve immediately.
CHICKEN STIR-FRIED IN XO SAUCE
3 tbsp vegetable oil
400g skinless chicken thigh fillets, each cut into three pieces
3/4 cup red capsicum, de-seeded and cut into large dice
1 cup green beans, in 6cm lengths
1/4 cup spring onions, in 6cm lengths
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
150g XO sauce (see XO sauce recipes here)
1 tbsp yellow bean soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh black fungi, torn into bite-sized pieces soy sauce, to taste
steamed rice, to serve
Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat until very hot. Add the chicken pieces and seal until lightly browned on the outside and just cooked. Remove chicken pieces from wok and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the wok, add the capsicum and the beans and stir-fry until tender. Return the cooked chicken then add the spring onions and Shaoxing wine.
Reduce the heat, add XO sauce, yellow bean soy sauce and fungi and mix through thoroughly. Check seasoning and add soy sauce to taste.
Spoon on to a large plate and serve with steamed rice.
* If you don't like prawn, simply substitute it with chicken or pork mince instead.
* By adding a bit more stock and doubling the noodles, you can transform the wontons and soup into a nice big "one pot" meal.
* Serve the chicken stir-fry with steamed rice as a main with the soup to start, or with steamed fish and vegetables in oyster sauce as a shared banquet.
- More Chinese banquet recipe ideas
SOMETHING TO DRINK
Ensure the sweetness of the prawn wontons shine through with a rich, buttery chardonnay. A 2009 Olivia's Chardonnay ($30), from Miceli Winery, a family-run vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula, is perfect.
Photography by William Meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.