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Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

Thai beef saladMid-week celebrations can be a bit tricky, especially when work and life are busy. This was Jules’ choice for birthday dinner on a Tuesday in November and we would recommend it for a mid-week birthday at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We opened something a bit special given the occassion, the Tyler Dierberg Block 5 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara county in California. Despite the umami/savoury, hot/spicy, salty and sweet flavours of the salad this was an excellent match providing layers of excitement and flavour.

Thai Beef Salad – serves 4

  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500g fillet steak

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 3 shallots
  • large handful of Thai basil
  • large handful of coriander
  • large handful of mint

TO SERVE:

  • 5 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
    • Roast the peanuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes at 190ºC until golden, then tip into a bowl to cool.
  • 3 tbsp fried shallots (see below)
    • Finely slice the shallots and fry in a wok or frying pan, in 5mm to 1cm of oil, over a medium heat, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto kitchen paper to cool and crisp up.

To make the dressing: peel and crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger, reserving the juice. Remove the outer leaf of the lemongrass stalk and trim the ends, leaving the tender middle section; very finely chop this. Halve, deseed and finely dice the chilli. Squeeze the juice from the the limes to give 4 tbsp.

Put the lime juice, nam pla and sugar in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic, ginger and its juice, lemongrass and chilli and stir again.

For the salad: halve and very finely slice the shallots. Pick the herb leaves and leave whole.

Heat enough oil to cover the base of a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove and rest for 5 minutes.

Put the raw shallots and herbs into a large bowl. Finely slice the steak across the grain and add to the salad. Add half the dressing and toss to coat everything. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the peanuts and fried shallots. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook, Quadrille, 2014.)

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Noodles with shiitake mushrooms & scallions

We can think of nothing nicer to eat than a bowl of slurpy noodles. Perfect for a speedy lunch or snack.

Wine Suggestion: a friend has suggested that there are brilliant saki matches for dishes like this that play with the umami but we’ve not tasted enough to suggest which one. However, we really liked a couple of wine options: a Lustau dry Oloroso, a Deux Montille Rully Blanc or a Tyler Pinot Noir from California. In each case they have a wonderful textural vibrancy that this dish needs.

Udon noodles with shiitake mushrooms and spring onions – serves 2

  • 125g dried egg noodles
  • 1½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 200g shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
  • few coriander springs, leaves picked
  • 2½ tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2½ tbsp soy sauce

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, salt generously and cook the noodles for the time given on the pack. Drain and run under cold water, then stir through a few drops of sesame oil and groundnut oil to stop them from sticking.

Heat the oils over a high heat in a wok or frying pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to soften. Add the scallions, nam pla, soy sauce and noodles. Heat stirring until the noodles are glazed with the sauce.

Serve sprinkled with the coriander.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook by Claire Macdonald and Jenny Stringer, Quadrille, 2013.)

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Herb & pak choi salad

We really liked this fresh and vibrant salad by Melissa Helmsley. It went really well with this Korean chicken but we also thought it would be nice with barbecued meat or fish with Asian flavours or Salmon Teriyaki.

Herb & Pak Choi Salad – serves 4 as a side

  • 4 large large heads of pak choi, shredded
  • 1 large Little Gem or Cos lettuces, finely shredded
  • a large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • a large handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • a large handful of fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • juice and grated zest of 1½ limes
  • 6 tbsp sesame oil (not toasted) or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or you could use light soy sauce)

TOPPING:

  • a large handful of almonds, cashews or sesame seeds (or a mixture)

Make the topping first by toasting the nuts and/or seeds in a dry frying pan with a little salt over a medium heat until golden.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a large bowl and season to taste.

Put the pak choi, lettuce and herbs in a bowl and mix with the scallions. Add the dressing and toss until everything is coasted. Sprinkle over the toasted nuts and seeds to serve.

(Original recipe from Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley, Ebury Press, 2018.)

 

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Spicy Thai Fishcakes with Dipping Sauce

These take literally minutes to make and they make a super tasty starter or snack.

Wine Suggestion: our favourite wine with dishes like this is dry Riesling, with the limey, citrus flavours of wines from the Clare Valley, like those made by Pikes, coming to mind first. They are zesty and thrilling in flavour with the bracing acidity working perfectly with the citrus fruit to make a wine that is both thirst-quenching and hunger inducing at the same time. Aperitivo!

Spicy Thai fishcakes with dipping sauce – serves 2

  • 200g raw peeled prawns
  • 2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • a small bunch of coriander, stalks separated
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Put the prawns, curry paste and coriander stalks into a food processor and whizz to a paste. Form 4 to 6 flat cakes.

Heat a non-stick frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil, then fry the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Mix the vinegar, sugar and chilli together in a small bowl.

Serve the cakes with the coriander leaves and sauce for dipping.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, October 2012.)

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Kung Pao Chicken

The last time we had this famous Szechwan dish we’d just arrived on a stop-over in Abu Dhabi on our way to visit family in Melbourne. We arrived late and ordered room service and this truly hit the spot. A great combination of velvety chicken, roasted peanuts and a bit of spice. This recipe is from Yan-Kit’s fabulous Classic Chinese Cookbook. Serve with rice.

Wine Suggestion: our choice in Abu Dhabi was a Kirin beer, which was perfect that night. Similarly, choosing a wine this time we looked for a savoury dry texture and chose an Emilio Hidalgo La Panesa Fino Sherry which is kept under flor for 15 years and is outstanding; smooth and velvety even though completely dry and with a salty, nutty texture. A good match, but you needn’t find this exact example as any good Manzanilla or Fino works.

Kung Pao Chicken – serves 3

  • 350g chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and then cubes about 1cm square
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil or corn oil
  • 2-3 long dried red chillies or 4-5 smaller dried chillies, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 4 to 6 thin slices ginger
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 3 scallions, cut into small rounds
  • 50g roasted peanuts

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • third of tsp salt
  • 2 tsp thin soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaohsing wine or medium dry sherry
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp egg white, lightly beaten

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp rice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp cornflour
  • 6 tbsp clear stock or water

Put the diced chicken into a bowl.

To prepare the marinade; add the salt, soy sauce, wine/sherry, cornflour and egg to the chicken. Mix well and leave to marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornflour and water together.

Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking, then add the oil and swirl it around the pan.

Add the dried chilli, stir, then add the garlic and ginger and stir until aromatic. Add the chicken. Turn and toss for about 1 minute.

Splash in the wine or sherry, stirring and tossing continuously.

Add the scallions and cook for another 30-45 seconds by which time the chicken should be cooked.

Add the well-stirred sauce to the wok and keep stirring while it thickens.

Finally stir in the peanuts, then remove to a warm serving plate. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

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Prawn & Spinach Curry

An easy weeknight curry and perfect for using up that bag of frozen prawns in the freezer. Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: As it was a hot night and we needed cooling down, a bottle of beer (Peroni to be precise) from the fridge hit the spot with this. Refreshing and we just like beer with curry.

Prawn & Spinach Curry – serves 4

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp hot curry paste (we like Patak’s Madras)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 200g carton creamed coconut
  • 400g raw peeled tiger prawns, defrosted
  • 250g baby spinach leaves
  • large handful of frozen peas
  • bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions for about 5 minutes to soften, then stir in the curry paste and fry for another minute. Add the tomatoes, stock, sugar, and coconut cream, then season. Cook gently for 15 minutes until thickened.

Add the prawns and spinach, then cook for a few minutes. Stir in the peas and heat for another few minutes. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with steamed rice.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, July, 2005)

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Spicy Sichuan-style Prawns

This is a delicious Chinese dish but definitely for chilli lovers as its not lacking in fiery heat. Serve with rice to serve 2 or with other dishes to serve 4.

Wine Suggestion: The heat will effect most wines so be careful with your choice here. Our choice was from Alsace, the Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Calcaire 2009 which had a  natural sweetness and a range of spices that really added to the dish.

Spicy Sichuan-style prawns – serves 4

  • 1½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 450g raw prawns, shelled and de-veined

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tsp chilli bean paste (buy in an Asian supermarket)
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • handful of coriander leaves and sliced scallion, to serve

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat.

Add the groundnut oil and wait until very hot and slightly smoking, then add the ginger, garlic & scallions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then add the prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce ingredients with the salt and pepper and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes over a high heat.

Serve immediately sprinkled with the coriander & scallions.

(Original recipe by Ken Hom IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2015.)

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