Tom YUM Goong

Tom Yum derives from the Thai word for the boiling process ‘Tom’ and ‘Yam’ – mixed. Everyone loves a Thai rice noodle dish and this one is fairly quick to put together once you’ve sorted out the curry paste which could be done in advance and even frozen. I have a Kenwood mixer plus spice blender attachment but I had to split the ingredients into smaller portions to get them to blend properly. Once you’re done you have a vibrant green paste which is very appetising. Don’t be tempted to add any more shrimp paste than stated in the recipe, the smallest amount of that overpowers everything. This was supposed to be a soup but for me ended up more like a noodle in sauce dish which was just as tasty. This was another recipe from ‘Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite’.

Ingredients

Serves 4

Curry paste

  • 3 shallots
  • 3 lemon grass sticks / 1tbsp paste
  • 4cm piece galangal/ginger 1 1/2 tsp paste
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (I used dried but use fresh if you can get them)
  • 3 chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 20g coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste/1 stick
  • 1 cm ginger/ 1/2 tsp paste
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • 350g plum tomatoes
  • 400ml stock (Massel chicken flavour or vegetarian)
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 12 raw tiger prawns
  • 3 fillets white fish
  • salt
  • 10g basil
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • crispy shallots
  • rice noodles for 4 people

Method

1.) Make the curry paste by peeling and chopping the ingredients and crushing down into a smooth paste.

2.) Peel and finely chop the other lemongrass, ginger and garlic

3.) Heat the oil in the pan and add the ginger, lemongrass and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes then add the paste. Cook for another 3 minutes.

4.) In the meantime, chop up the plum tomatoes. Add them to the pan and cook down for 3 minutes.

5.) Make up the stock, chop the lime in half.

6.) Boil some water, add the noodles to another pan, pour over the water and cook until soft.

7.) Add the stock to the tomatoes then squeeze in the juice of each lime half. Add the fish sauce and the kaffir lime leaves. Cook for another few minutes to let the tomatoes break down.

8.) Chop up the white fish into cubes and add to the pan with the prawns. Cook until the fish is done.

9.) Dice the herbs finely. Drain the noodles and move into the pan with the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Season with salt and stir.

10.) Garnish with the shallots and the herbs and serve.

Watermelon sushi

It seems very festive to be posting a sushi recipe on the closing day of the Tokyo Olympics. I did used to be a bit sceptical of vegetarian sushi until I had some watermelon sashimi at Vegan Restaurant ‘The Allotment’ in Manchester. I always used to have sushi for lunch when working in London with 2 Itsus and a Wasabi nearby so I have missed it a lot when working from home. Home-made sushi is infinitely better than the horrible pressed rice sushi you get at the supermarket and also infinitely more adaptable. I tend to stay away from raw fish sushi just because I’m a bit wary of using sashimi-grade fish. I have tended to opt for smoked salmon and avocado in the past but some of my favourites were tempura prawn and the tuna-mustard ongiri you get from Wasabi which also avoid using sashimi. But anyway, back to this recipe as for this I used watermelon sashimi, sriracha mayo and cucumber.

Makes about 24

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup/400ml sushi rice
  • 7 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 sheets nori sheets
  • 250ml lukewarm water
  • 100g mayo
  • 1 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/3 watermelon
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • soy sauce and pickled ginger to serve

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 90 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray, chop off the watermelon peel and slice up the watermelon into 1 cm slices (thinner than mine below I think works better). Put the watermelon onto the baking tray, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.

3.) Bake for 1 hr 15, flip the slices over, then bake for another 1hr 15. Leave to cool. You could do this the day before and put the watermelon in the fridge as I did.

4.) Cook the rice with about 460ml/2 cups of water. When ready, add the sugar, some salt and pepper and 3 tbsp of the vinegar and let cool to room temperature. I find that this is the most important step in making sushi, if your rice is too hot or you haven’t used sushi rice, it’s not going to work! Even though you can see below I haven’t really spread out the rice as well as I could, my sushi have still been reasonably successful.

5.) The watermelon should have shrunk down a bit in the oven but you may need to slice it more thinly.

6.) Chop up the cucumber into sticks

7.) Mix the sriracha with the mayo in a bowl

8.) Make a water bowl with the rest of the vinegar and the 250ml water. This is really helpful for working with the rice as it’s so sticky.

9.) Get a sushi rolling mat and line it with cling film. Place on a sheet of nori then add 1/4 of the rice to the middle of the sheet. Spread the rice out with your fingers leaving a 1cm margin on the far side. Clean your fingers after with the vinegar water bowl. You can see I left margins on both sides which is probably why I ended up with 6 rolls. Also go right to the edge width ways.

10.) Spoon on a tbsp of sriracha mayo down the middle of the roll. On top of this, add sticks of cucumber and watermelon.

11.) Pick up the mat from the slide closest to you, roll it over to the other side and pull out the mat slightly so that the edge of the nori folds under the other edge. The join should be at the bottom and the moisture from the rice should stick it together.

12.) Repeat with the remaining nori and rice.

13.) Use a sharp knife to slice each roll into 6 pieces, trimming off the ends if they’re a bit scrappy. Dip the knife in the water vingear bowl between slices to stop it sticking.

14.) Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger/wasabi.

Thai Konjac Noodles

I really hope this post ends up being legible. I was at a hen do yesterday so my brain is in a bit of a fog though the gym sesh definitely helped. Hungover exercising is the best as your brain is not functioning well enough to tell you you can’t get through the work out. For this recipe, I used konjac noodles which are a 0 carb very low calorie noodle made out of a kind of yam. They don’t have tons of flavour but work well for this kind of recipe where you have a punchy sauce. (They have a slight fishy smell so it’s a good idea to rinse the noodles.) Too many pub trips watching England have meant that I need to lose a few pounds hence the konjac noodles but this would be great with normal noodles too. Speaking of England, really hope it’s coming home tonight though gotta say, I’m not feeling too confident. The recipe was in Thailand – The cookbook and I adapted it a little.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 3 packs konjac noodles/1kg cooked rice noodles
  • 600ml stock (I used Massel chicken flavoured stock)
  • 2 birds eye chillis
  • 6 shallots
  • 5 thin slices galangal (I used 1 tsp paste)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (I used 1 tsp paste)
  • 2 fillets white fish
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • coriander leaves/basil leaves to garnish
  • 1 pack pre-prepared stir fry vegetables

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C, line a baking tray and place the fillets on the tray. Bake for around 15 minutes or according to the packet. When done, peel off the skin.

2.) While the fish is baking, crack on with the rest of the recipe. Peel and finely chop the shallots, chop up the chillis, and the galangal/lemongrass if needed. Make up the stock.

3.) Add the stock, chilli, shallots, galangal and lemongrass and sugar to the pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 8 minutes to reduce.

4.) Rinse the konjac noodles and set to one side.

5.) Chop up the herbs for the garnish.

6.) After the 8 minutes, tip the stir fry veg into the pan and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Then tip in the noodles and cook for another couple of minutes until everything is heated through. Add the fish sauce.

7.) Flake in the fish. and sprinkle in the herbs then give everything a gentle toss before serving.

qrf

laksa

Summer may not be the usual season for laksa but Manchester has been living up to its reputation with constant rain. This really is a beautiful dish in taste if not looks. The origin of laksa is not known but it’s somewhere within South-East Asia. I’m avoiding European food until the Euros are over now – I don’t want to be posting an Italian recipe if England have just been beaten by them in the Euros – fingers crossed for tomorrow. (I still can’t get over the fact that one of the Italian players is called Immobile). I subbed some of the noodles with konjac noodles – a few too many pub trips watching the football has not been great for my waistline but konjac noodles work really well within the right recipe and the broth here is so packed with flavour you don’t notice. The recipe was from ‘Nigel Slater – ‘Tender’ ‘, my favourite British celebrity chef (not counting the actual hilarity of Gordan Ramsey’s USA Kitchen Nightmares’).

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 350g squash (I used a mixture of squash and sweet potato – ready chopped)
  • coriander and mint leaves as a garnish
  • 2 birds eye chillis (or others with a 3/5 spice rating)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • thumb sized piece ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (1 tsp paste)
  • 15g coriander leaves (mix of leaves and stalks)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 600ml stock (I used Massel chicken flavoured stock)
  • 1 tin light coconut milk
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 lime
  • 100g noodles

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Spread the cubed squash on a baking tray, season and roast for 25 minutes.

3.) In the meantime, make the paste by peeling the ginger and garlic, chopping the chilli stalks off. Add these to a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder and add the lemongrass (chopped stalks or paste) and 15g coriander. Blitz or pound to a paste – it should be vibrant green. Then add the sesame oil.

4.) Heat a crockpot, add the paste and fry on a low heat for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, make up the stock then add this and the coconut milk to the pan.

5.) Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

6.) Chop up the broccoli.

7.) Add the noodles and broccoli continue to simmer until cooked. Slice the lime in half. Chop up the coriander and mint leaves.

8.) Add the fish sauce, the soy sauce, squeeze in the juice of the lime. Tip in the cubes of squash. Give it a stir then serve in bowls. Garnish with mint and coriander.

Thai Rice Salad

The Euro football tournament has been a bit of a lifesaver recently and I’m sooo happy England are still in the running at this point. After beating Germany it was lucky that the game was on at the 5pm slot as I had to spend the rest of the evening sobering up. There’s been some dull pub food and it was great that this homemade Thai salad turned out to be so delicious. Rice and noodles might sound weird together but I think it works as the rice soaks up the dressing more than the noodles and so it’s a nice balance. The recipe was in ‘Thailand – The Cookbook’ and I’ve played around with it a little to make it a little easier.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 400g jasmine rice
  • 1 pack cooked prawns
  • 300g rice vermicelli
  • 150ml coconut milk (I used light)
  • 250ml fish sauce
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 3 lemongrass stalks (I used 1 tsp lemongrass paste)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 galangal roots – pounded (I used 1 tsp galangal paste)
  • 1 mango
  • stir fry vegetables – mangetout and baby corn are recommended

Method

1.) Soak the vermicelli in a bowl of water

2.) Put the rice on to cook ( I have a rice cooker)

3.) Make the dressing by adding the fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal to a pan. Heat to boil and then reduce to a thick sauce. If you taste it on its own at this point it will taste disgusting so don’t worry. Assuming you’re using dried kaffir lime leaves, fish them out.

4.) In a wok, stir fry the veg for a couple of minutes then add the coconut milk and the drained vermicelli noodles. Cook off the coconut milk.

5.) Peel and chop up the mango. Add the slices of mango to a big mixing bowl. Add the vermicelli and veg, the cooked rice, the prawns and the dressing and mix it all up. Serve.

Asparagus and Crab meat Soup

When I was a kid I loved Chinese food as I had good access to it with all the Chinese takeaways. Over time, that love has broadened to include many more cuisines from South East Asia as I’ve had more exposure. Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Thai food I also now love though I await the day when vegetarian versions of Char Sui Buns are readily available (yes I should make some!). All these cuisines have a few things in common for me – they have a few central ingredients which are used to create many different dishes, they’re fresh, flavourful, healthy, quick to make and the meat recipes are generally quite easy to substitute. This recipe from ‘The Vietnamese Market Cookbook’ is a great example of this.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Chicken flavoured stock
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 200g crabmeat
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • rice noodles (I didn’t measure these – enough for 4 – I really like the wide strip ones)
  • 1 punnet of shitake mushrooms
  • pepper
  • coriander leaves

Method

1.) Peel and chop up the onion

2.) Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion until soft

3.) Boil some water and make up 1.5 litres stock

4.) Add the crabmeat to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes then add the fish sauce and fry for one more minute

5.) Pour in the stock and turn up the heat

6.) Slice up the mushrooms and asparagus and add to the pan with the rice noodles. Reserve the tips of the asparagus as they cook quicker.

7.) Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes until the noodles are soft, after 3 minutes, add the asparagus tips. While this is cooking, chop up the coriander leaves.

8.) When the soup is done, sprinkle in some pepper. Serve up with a garnish of coriander.