Asian Flavours Thai die for.
It's been a while since I've blogged as several rather large obstacles got in my way. The shop had a very busy lead up to Passover...and then Coronavirus driven lock-down arrived just as I was preparing a chametz free recipe post with some perfect chol hamoed dishes to stave off the boredom - I guess I will just have to recycle them for next year! This month we have been striving to offer our usual superlative and friendly service while conducting most of our business through deliveries to all points of the compass in the London area as well as two deliveries to Liverpool, one to mainland Spain, Ibiza and the Greek Islands! The weather has now warmed up considerably and it seems that everyone is looking for something different to make, as the enforced quarantine means that those of us with children, or parents, or spouses at home are making ninety three meals a day. I cannot be the only one who has to police the fridge in order to stop them eating what was supposed to be part of that night's supper! I usually take inspiration from what supermarket recipe cards are suggesting as well as in-store food magazines such as Waitrose or Tesco, but as shopping trips are few and far between, food inspo has been on the down-low. I have also noticed that nosh consumption has gone up along with the pointer on the scales, so I have set about finding some tasty crowd-pleasers that can still pack a punch flavour-wise while being a little less calorie dense. I always find the clean, sharp & zesty tang of South East Asian dishes are the perfect antidote to what seems to be a never-ending production line of sandwiches, rolls and filled wraps. Bunging something between two slices of bread is, as we all know, the most convenient of meals which use up left-overs perfectly and can make not quite enough of a main ingredient on its own more than adequate as a filling. I have not done away with carbs entirely, as there is a turkey burger recipe with Asian style slaw that will keep even the most 'starving' teenagers full for at least 45 minutes!
Many Asian recipes call for the salty umami of Nam Pla (fish sauce) which is decidedly NOT on the Kosher list! I have been scouring the net and have found a fantastic alternative that can be made as a large batch and will happily sit in the fridge for at least six to eight weeks.
MOCK NAM PLA
1 1/2 pints /950 ml water
2 fl oz/ 60ml soy sauce
2 0z/50-60g dried mushrooms like shiitakes
1 large sheet of dried seaweed
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
optional additions- small splash rice wine or rice vinegar.
Bring all the ingredients to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat and simmer unocvered until reduced by half.
If you have time, let this steep overnight, or even up to 24 hours, covered on your worktop. Then strain it and pour into a clean sterilised jar. If liquid is less than about 3/4 pint/750ml, add some boiled water to make it up. This will ensure the right amount of saltiness.
THAI TURKEY BURGERS WITH ASIAN SLAW
1 lb/500g Turkey mince
3oz/75g shallot or onion, very finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons fresh grated, or chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves- finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped lemongrass
1– 2 tablespoons chopped Thai basil or regular basil
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 spring onion, chopped
½ – 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped ( or substitute 1 Tablespoon sriracha sauce, or red chili sauce)
1 tablespoon fake fish sauce ( don’t leave this out)
1 teaspoon sugar
Few grinds black pepper. 4 burger buns Put the shallot/onion, garlic, ginger, basil and lemongrass and jalapeno into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped and add the mixture to the turkey mince along with the rest of the ingredients. Combine gently with your hands until just mixed and then shape into 4 burgers. Put the burgers in the fridge to chill and firm up while you make the slaw and spicy sauce. Pro tip: Make a double batch and then open freeze the extra patties on a clingfilm or foil lined baking sheet until firm and then wrap well and freeze for up to six weeks. Brush the patties with a little oil and grill, griddle or bbq over medium heat until cooked all the way through; these are not suitable for eating medium rare like steak or lamb burgers. I usually give them about four minutes per side and then put them in the oven to finish off at around 180c.
Split and toast the buns; slather the bottom half with the spicy mayo, add the burger and top with some cucumber ribbons and a few coriander leaves for crunch. A few lightly pickled red onions (slice red onions very thinly and douse with some rice vinegar and sugar for about 20 minutes) are a great addition too. Spicy Mayo: 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Sriracha or chili garlic sauce to taste Combine the mayonnaise with the chili sauce to taste - taste as you go! While the burgers are chilling you can make some cucumber ribbons with a vegetable peeler and then make the slaw.
CRUNCHY ASIAN SLAW
80z/250g grated carrot
80z/250g shredded red cabbage
1-2 spring onions thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice ( or rice wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon vegetable/sunflower oil
1 teaspoon coconut, palm or white sugar left over basil/Thai basil (from the burgers) or finely chopped coriander
Sprinkling of sesame seeds - optional
Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice/vinegar and add the oil; I like to do this by adding the ingredients to a jam jar and giving it a good shake with the lid firmly screwed on.
Toss the vegetables together in a bowl with the dressing, chopped herbs and sesame seeds if using.
THAI RED CURRY WINGS These are delicious, tender and oh so moreish! Thai red curry paste is not fiery hot and the heat can be tempered by reducing the quantity. Soaking the wings in coconut milk really does keep them extremely moist and extra juicy. The last time I made these, I put them on the table, went into the kitchen to get the rest of the supper and came back to find only two left for me!! The quantities below should be enough for about 8-10 wings but you can double or treble the quantities although if trebling then I would only use two cans of coconut milk. I like to cut the wings in half which is easily done with a sharp knife.
13.5 oz coconut milk, unsweetened
2 tbsp thai red curry paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 cloves garlic finely grated
1/2 lime, squeezed
2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp melted margarine or oil
1 tsp siracha
1 tsp red curry paste Combine all the ingredients and pour over the chicken wings and leave to marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I like to put it all into a ziplock plastic bag and give the wings a good toss about in the sauce before putting them in the fridge inside a tupperware in case the bag splits. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Line the grill pan with two layers of foil, under the grill rack and then spread the wings on the rack. Cook for about 35-40 minutes turning once. Then turn on the grill and let the wings brown for about 5 minutes each side. While the wings are cooking prepare the glaze by combining all the ingredients listed in a dish or bowl. I have a big (and now stained red) tupperware with a lid that I use for this. When the wings are cooked, put them into the glaze and make sure they are evenly coated, I put on the lid and turn the tupperware over gently a few times. Be careful when you take off the lid as there will be steam! Pile the wings onto a serving dish and garnish with shredded spring onion, sesame seeds and some lime wedges for squeezing.
A few weeks ago, I was observing the two metre social distancing queue outside our local Waitrose when I saw a customer of ours a few positions ahead of me in the line. We waved and Mrs X came over for a chat leaving Mr X to keep her place.
We chatted about all sorts but mostly food. We bemoaned the lack of take-away options for a kosher Corona crisis and she mentioned that as a treat, they had ordered some food from a caterer and while delicious, it was extremely expensive so not something that could be repeated too frequently particularly as they are a family of seven!
Mrs X said that they really enjoyed the satay sticks and sauce and did I have a recipe? The answer is of course I do so here it is!
MARINADE: 600g Cubed chicken thigh or breast - or the equivalent ready made satay sticks 12-14 skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes 400 g/14oz coconut milk (1 can), full fat
1 tbsp curry powder - any type
1 tsp coconut or white sugar
2 tsp red curry paste
1/2 tsp salt
Mix the dry spices into a quarter of the can of the coconut milk and then marinade the chicken in the mixture for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. While the chicken is marinating, make the peanut sauce. Again this is just too yummy to only dip satay into. It can be made more liquid with water/coconut milk to make a delicious dressing for a shredded chicken salad so double up the quantity as it will keep in the fridge for at least six weeks.
PEANUT SATAY SAUCE:
2 tbsp red curry paste
6oz/180g smooth natural peanut butter - try to find one that is just peanuts if you can
2oz/50g palm or white or coconut sugar
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp cider or rice vinegar
6 fl oz/185ml water
Place remaining coconut milk and Peanut Sauce ingredients in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir well to combine then simmer, stirring every now and then, for 5 minutes.
Adjust consistency with water - it should be a pourable but thickish sauce.
Cover with lid to keep warm while cooking the skewers.
Remove the chicken skewers from the marinade and tap off the excess and discard. Grill, griddle or bbq the skewers until the chicken is well browned and cooked through with no pink meat. Garnish the chicken with some chopped peanuts, sliced red chilli and spring onion and serve with the warm dipping sauce.
Check back next week for a stunning Seared Beef Salad and some Thai Chicken Meatballs as well as a Shredded Chicken Salad which uses up Friday night left-overs as well as remainder of the satay sauce. B'tay avon!