In the premiere episode of Martin Yan’s Asian Favorites, Chef Yan brings focus to the classic Asian staple, the humble noodle. Noodles were invented in China as early as 4,000 years ago and gradually made its way around the globe. With so many varieties made with different types of flour, there are, as Chef Yan says, a million ways to make noodles taste delicious. He kicks off the episode with Crispy Caramelised Noodles from Thailand, memories of eating at a roadside shop with elephants, followed by a bowl of tangy Malaysian Fish Head Noodles with pickled vegetables. From his travels to Singapore, he makes Yan Style Stir-Fried Noodles inspired by the traditional Char Kway Teow.
During his travels, Chef Yan has realised that nearly every country in the world, not just in Asia, has their very own version of a wrap – from tortillas and flatbread to spring rolls and Banh Cuon. In this episode, Chef Yan shares three of his favourite Asian wraps – Fresh Spring Rolls, Fried Chicken Spring Rolls and Chicken and Mushroom Wrap. While growing up, Chicken and Mushroom rice was a dish often cooked in the Yan household, a simple and hearty dish. In this episode, Chef Yan combines his family heirloom with one of his favourite Vietnamese dishes, the rice roll, to create the Chicken and Mushroom Wrap.
Curry can be found in one form or another all over Asia but the sheer depth and variation of flavors has inspired Chef Yan to pick the absolute classics for this episode. From Indonesia, you have the the Braised Creamy Mutton Curry and from Thailand, a Chicken and Eggplant Green Curry. With special guest appearance by Datuk Fazey Yaakob, they collaborate to cook a Malaysian favorite with a twist, a Rich Coconut Beef Curry. Datuk Fazey even shares his special ingredient on how to make the perfect curry.
Family-style eating is most common in Asian households; a plate of meat or fish, a bowl of soup, rice and not to forget, a plate of vegetables can be seen at mealtimes. As a meat lover, Chef Yan wants his guests to have the best of both worlds so he’s adapted a few classic meat dishes for meat-free consumption. From Hong Kong, a Crispy Tofu with Bok Choy, from Philippines, a recreation of a Filipino stuffed eggplant dish replaced with peppers and mozzarella as an alternative to pork.
Rice is an essential part of every meal consumed in Asia but rather than just steamed rice, Chef Yan is determined to give it a twist. A family heirloom recipe, he kick starts the episode with his Chicken and Mushroom Rice, a recipe handed down from his grandmother to his mother. Chef Yan then whips up a Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice, a perfect way to use leftover rice. Chef Yan then raises the humble congee to banquet level with the addition of baby oysters, scallops and shitake mushrooms.
This episode is dedicated to all things grilled, Chef Yan introduces us to a Spicy Grilled Chicken from Indonesia that is first boiled, fried and then grilled! With a special guest appearance by Chef Hoang Minh Nhat, together they collaborate and recreate a popular Vietnamese dish, Shrimp Mousse On A Stick. Finally, Chef Yan whips up the perfect accompaniment to the dishes with a Vietnamese-inspired Rainbow Juice, made from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Shifting the focus from mains to small bites, this episode sees Chef Yan’s top picks for snacks. The first is the mighty Empanada, a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried, originating from Spain but lately adapted to the tropics and in particular, the Philippines. Chef Yan’s version recreates the meaty filling and butter pastry perfectly. Another afternoon snack inspired from his travels to Vietnam, a country known for their strong coffee culture, is Chef Yan’s unique take on Coffee Bread served with Coffee Condensed Milk.
Asian cuisine can be adventurous, diverse and varied in flavor and style, but there are definitely times when all you want to do is eat something familiar and home-cooked. In this episode, Chef Yan trawls through his memories and picks 4 of his favorite comfort foods from his travels. Recalling memories from Hong Kong, he introduces Grandma’s Salted Chicken and from Malaysia, Good Fortune Prawns, which are perfect to whip up for Chinese New Year.