Cooking Asian in a flash

Yum cha mango pancakes.
Yum cha mango pancakes. 

Yum cha mango pancakes

The sight of these guys coming around on the trolley brings a smile to the face of any yum cha diner. You can roll them well in advance and keep them in the fridge until ready to serve. I prefer to dye the pancakes with saffron, but use food colouring if you prefer, or even just leave them uncoloured.


300ml thickened cream
4 tbsp icing sugar
3 ripe mangoes

Pancake batter
6 eggs
4 tbsp caster sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup (100g) plain fl our
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
A few strands of saffron, soaked in 2 tsp water, or 2 drops yellow food colouring (optional)
4 tbsp vegetable oil


For the batter, whisk together the eggs and sugar then add the milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt and whisk into the egg and milk mixture a little at a time. Add the vanilla extract, oil and saffron water or food colouring, and stir to combine. Push the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps, cover and allow to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. The mixture should be quite watery.

Heat a large non-stick frypan over low heat. If you have a good non-stick pan you don't need to add any oil, otherwise brush the pan with a very thin layer of oil. Pour in a little of the batter and tilt the pan to create a
very thin pancake. Cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes, or until the top is firm. (You don't need to flip the pancakes and you don't want to brown the base too much.)Transfer to a plate and repeat for the rest of the batter.

Cover the pancakes with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Whip the cream and icing sugar until the cream holds a peak. Peel the mangoes (cut off the cheeks and remove the skin with a large spoon) and slice the flesh thickly.

Spoon or pipe a little whipped cream onto the fried side of each pancake and top with two slices of mango.

Cover the mango with a little more cream and roll the pancake up like a spring roll. Chill in the fridge for at
least 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 12-15 pancakes

Tip Try this with other fruits. You could even make a rainbow of pancakes by separating the batter and dyeing each batch with food colouring to match the filling.


Hailam noodles

This noodle dish is a favourite at Hainanese coffee shops all over Malaysia. My grandmother makes a great Hailam Noodles, and she says the secret is in creating a flavourful sauce from the meats and vegetables in the wok for the noodles to soak up as they cook.



1kg fresh Hokkien noodles
300g skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
2 tbsp peanut oil, or other vegetable oil
2 thick slices ginger, bruised
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
100g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
2–3 large leaves of Chinese cabbage, sliced
1/2 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 tsp cornflour mixed into 1 tbsp cold water
A handful of coriander leaves, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve
Soy sauce and sliced red chillies, to serve

1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp Cheong Chan caramel sauce, kecap manis or dark soy sauce
A pinch of caster sugar
1 cup White Chicken Stock


Pour warm water over the egg noodles, soak for a few minutes, drain and separate carefully. (Don't worry if
the noodles are too closely packed to separate – they will come apart as they cook in the wok.) Combine the
marinade ingredients and stir through the chicken.

Heat a wok until very hot and drizzle the oil around the edge. Add the ginger, then after a few seconds the garlic. Toss around in the oil until the garlic starts to brown, then add the chicken and stir-fry until it starts to brown.

Add the prawns, cabbage, carrot and sauce ingredients except the chicken stock. When the vegetables soften, add the stock and bring to the boil. Taste the sauce; it should be strong and flavourful. You may need to add a little salt.

Add the noodles and stir to combine. Cook for about 2–3 minutes, or until the noodles are nearly al dente.

Pour over the cornflour mixture, stir-fry for a further 30 seconds and remove from the heat. Allow to stand
for a few moments, then transfer to a plate, garnish with coriander and serve with lime and sliced chillies soaking in a little soy sauce.

Serves 4

Tip These noodles are excellent with sliced pork, or pork or beef mince. You can also substitute the Hokkien noodles for dried rice vermicelli soaked in warm water.

Asian After Work: Simple Asian Food for Every Day by Adam Liaw, Hachette Australia, $39.99.