Saturday, 11 February 2012

Adam D'Sylva's Coda Stir Fried Prawns with Winged Beans

he says:

I first saw Adam D'Sylva on Masterchef last year and was liked him immediately. I just thought he was so entertaining they was he threw the noodles into the wok and spun around while cheering himself on. It wasn't long after seeing him on Masterchef that I noticed a sign at the Victoria Market advertising their Seasonal Starts cooking demonstrations featuring Adam D'Sylva! As even better the cooking demonstrations were free! I immediately put the date in my phone as I often get all excited about these kinds of things only to completely forget the day they are on.

The first demonstration I went to was the Seasonal Stars Winter 2011 and it was bucketing down which was a bit of a shame but also quite good as there weren't many people there so I got to sit right up front and ask lots of questions. Adam did not disappoint and was really friendly and very entertaining but also extremely knowledgeable. I can see why he won The Age 2007 Young Chef of the Year award. The highlight dish of this demonstration for me was the Warm Salad of Chicken, Prawn and Beans. The dressing in particular was so different to anything I had cooked before. Who would have thought coconut milk and chilli powder would combine so well. Another simple technique that I learned and have used many times is poaching a chicken breast for use in salads. Once it is poached it pulls apart into perfect moist pieces. So simple but so good! You can even download Adam's recipes from the link above. I love free chef recipes!

So of course when I saw that Adam was back as part of the Seasonal Starts Summer 2012 I was there in a flash. Being Summer the weather was much better this time and even better it wasn't much more crowded so again I took a seat right up the front to ask as many questions as possible. Adam was great again, (although a few recycled jokes from last time) but with a new list of three great recipes. My favourite of this set was the Coda's Prawn Sizzle. I have cooked this so many times, it is my go to stir fry dish. After the demonstration I went out immdiately and bought myself a sizzle plate, a definite must have. What I took out of this demonstration was that you need to add quite a bit of water to your stir fries so that the ingredients steam as well as fry. But of course the heat needs to be very hot and the wok not overloaded or you will stew rather than stir fry and the result won't anywhere near as good. I have already written about the wonderful Thai chilli jam Nam Prik Pao that we used as a sauce for our Miang. This dish is another completely different use for this wonderful condiment. I have tried a few different brands but  Pantai Norasingh is my preference.

The other thing I learned that day (of many many things learned) was about Winged Beans. I had read about and seen pictures of these but never seen them for sale. Obviously Adam has access to so many exciting and rare ingredients that the rest of us can only dream about. I was in Footscray the other weekend looking for some authentic Vietnamese fish sauce for my fish sauce taste test (blog entry coming soon), I am up to five bottles so far!  Anyway, at the asian grocer just up from Nathan Thai where I often buy scud chillies and holy basil I noticed a small bag of winged beans for $2.50! They were purchased immediately and I knew straight away they were destined for a Coda Sizzle Plate stir fry.

You can probably tell that I love my cooking equipment and with some thanks to Adam D'Sylva my wok is now one of my favourites. It has seasoned up so perfectly and never (to my knowledge ... Tina) has it been touched with a drop of detergent. I bought it at Footscray of course for $25, another super bargain. If you are in the market for a wok or don't own one (shock horror) ... get down to Footscray now!

This dish is so tasty you will cook it over and over again. It's so easy to cook and quick to prepare plus it's so full of flavour and it really brings out so much of the goodness of asian veggies. I interchange between, snake beans, baby corn, long red and green chillies, carrots, winged beans depending on whatever is available. I also usually always add some enoki mushrooms at the end of the cooking time but I didn't have any in the fridge this time. Enoki mushrooms have a wonderful texture and the sauce coats them perfectly as they soak up all the delicious flavours. We always serve this with Thai Jasmine rice cooked in our indispensable rice cooker. If you don't have one of those then you are really living rough! Get to Footscray immediately!!!

When I was checking the links for writing this blog I noticed that I missed the Seasonal Stars Summer 2012, so devastated... Oh well, at least I have the recipes downloaded, the star of this set for sure is going to be the Barbecued Cuttlefish and Pork Belly!  Make sure you use all the links above to download his recipe cards as until Adam comes out with a cookbook (which I will go and buy the day it is released) these are the best we have.



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