Two Gorgeous Recipes from Kwanghi Chan to get you through the days between Christmas and The New Year

Posted December 27, 2022 in Food & Drink Features


With the last of the festive goodies beginning to dwindle, we’ve got two great recipes from Chef Kwanghi Chan to take you safely through these peculiar in-between days, to the resumption of ordinary time in the New Year.

We’ve officially reached that weird no-man’s land between Christmas and the New Year, when ordinary time becomes devoid of all meaning, and the days begin to blend seamlessly into each other. With the last of the festive goodies beginning to lose their appeal, we’ve got two great recipes from Chef Kwanghi Chan to take you safely through this temporal portal to the (hopefully) more glorious New Year. In fairness, both recipes taste great at any time of year, but for the week that’s in it, we reckon they’re just about perfect!

First up is Dan Dan Noodles, a dish enjoyed by emperors for centuries, followed by Cantonese Style Sweet and Sour Chicken, a recipe where ‘getting the chicken right is the most important thing’. Both are taken from Chan’s first cookbook, entitled Wok by Kwanghi Chan, published by Blasta Books.

Happy Cooking! x

Dan dan noodles – Serves 4

There are two types of dan dan noodles: the traditional version from Sichuan street food, which is dry and served in small portions, and the controversial Hong Kong version, which is soupy. Personally, I prefer the soupy version and I like mine with more spicy sauce coating the noodles. Either way, you’ll see why this bowl of noodles enjoyed by emperors is so famous around the world.

1 tbsp vegetable oil

350g lean pork mince (get your butcher to grind a pork chop for you)

3 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbsp grated ginger

1 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

2 tsp soy sauce

300g thick wheat noodles, such as ramen noodles



3 tbsp soy sauce3 tbsp water

2 tbsp ChanChan Black Garlic and Peanut Chilli Rayu or Chinese chilli oil

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

2 tsp tahini



a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

a handful of ChanChan Spice Bag Nuts or roasted cashews, roughly chopped

2 spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle


Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based wok or heavy-based non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add the pork mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the pork is deeply browned and crisp – there will be some fat in the wok or pan from cooking the mince, but that’s fine. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, just until fragrant, then add the hoisin sauce, black vinegar and soy sauce and cook until the liquid has reduced by half to intensify the flavour.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions. Drain, then add the cooked noodles to the sauce in the bowl, tossing to coat.

Divide the noodles between four serving dishes and top each one with pork. Garnish with the coriander, chopped nuts and spring onions and drizzle with a little more rayu or chilli oil if you like an extra kick.


Cantonese-style sweet and sour chicken – Serves 2

I make a mean sweet and sour dish! And no, I don’t put pineapple in it. I love the old-fashioned Chinese takeaway version, but not too sweet – there’s a good balance with the sour. But getting the chicken right is the most important thing. It has to be in strips and coated in potato starch or cornflour to get that crispness from the frying, but also because the coating absorbs the sauce and flavour and adds all-important texture.

400g chicken fillets, cut into strips 2cm wide

2 egg whites, beaten

½ tsp ChanChan Spice Bag Seasoning or five-spice powder

2 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry (optional)

200g potato starch or cornflour

vegetable oil, for deep-frying



150ml orange juice with bits

4 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar

½ tsp potato starch or cornflour

¼ tsp ground white pepper



1 onion, diced into 2cm pieces

1 small green or red pepper, diced into 2cm pieces

2 ripe tomatoes, diced

2 garlic cloves, grated



2 spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle



Jasmine rice


Put the chicken in a bowl with the egg whites, spice bag seasoning or five-spice powder and the cooking wine or sherry (if using), tossing to coat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Put the potato starch or cornflour in a wide, shallow bowl. Working in batches, shake any excess marinade off the chicken, then toss the chicken in the starch until it’s coated all over. Set aside on a baking tray.

Whisk together all the sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a jug and set aside.

Pour the vegetable oil into a large heavy-based wok until it’s half full or use a deep-fryer. Heat the oil to 170°C.

Working in batches, shake off any excess starch, then add the chicken to the hot oil and fry for 6–8 minutes, until cooked through and light golden brown all over (the chicken won’t be as deeply golden brown as it would be if you were using a breadcrumb coating; the starch will stay light golden). Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking tray lined with kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.

Carefully pour out the oil, leaving behind only 2 tablespoons. Place the wok on a medium heat. Add the onion, pepper and tomatoes and stir-fry for about 3 minutes – you want the onion and pepper to still be a bit crunchy. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, just until fragrant.

Give the sauce a stir to loosen the starch, then add it to the wok. Bring to the boil to thicken the sauce, then toss in the crisp fried chicken, stirring a few times until everything is coated in the sauce.

Transfer to a large serving bowl and scatter the spring onions on top. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

Blasta Books #4: Wok by Kwanghi Chan (€15) is published by Blasta Books

Illustrations: Nicky Hooper


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