Eat the World – Part 14

Week 11 – Cambodia

ETW 13 Cambodia

I had a recipe for Cambodia and it looked great, reminiscent of Vietnamese pancakes, yet different enough to warrant an attempt for Eat the World. Turns out the batter was a disaster and multiple attempts to redeem it failed. Oh no…

With inspiration from the recipe, along with another for Manor Kho To Hu (Caramelized Pineapple And Tofu), I managed to turn things around and concocted the below Cambodian rice noodle salad, which came together well with many textures and flavours and worked as both a warm dinner and cold lunch the next day.

All three recipes are below for your cooking pleasure and peril.

Cambodian rice noodle salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

• 200 gr rice noodles
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 200 gr firm tofu, crumbled
• 1 carrot, diced
• ¼ pineapple, diced
• 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
• 1 cups mung bean sprouts
• 2 cups shredded lettuce
• 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
• ½ cup Vietnamese mint leaves
• Roasted peanuts, to serve

Dressing
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• ½ tablespoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt

Method

1. Pour boiling water over rice noodles, cover and stand for 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu, carrot and pineapple and cook for 5 minutes, or until tofu and pineapple start to brown. Add oyster sauce and bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute.

3. Combine noodles, tofu mix, lettuce, cucumber and mint. For the dressing, stir all ingredients until sugar and salt dissolve and pour over noodle salad. Serve with roasted peanuts.

Num Ta Leng Sap (Khmer Vegetarian Pancake)

Ingredients (6 large pancakes)

• 8 large cos lettuce leaves
• Cucumber, peeled and sliced
• Bunch of fresh mint leaves

Pancake batter
• 1 cup rice flour
• 2 tablespoons cornflour
• 1 cup coconut milk
• 1 ½ cups water
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
• 2 spring onions, chopped
• oil, for frying

Filling
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 300 gr firm tofu, mashed
• 1 cup diced jicima
• 2 tablespoons mushroom sauce
• 2 cups bean sprouts

Dipping sauce
• 1/2 cup fish sauce
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 1 small shallot, finely diced
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt

Method

1. Combine rice flour and cornflour in a bowl. Create a well and pour in coconut milk and water. Stir to combine to batter consistency. Add sugar, salt, turmeric and spring onion and stir to combine. Set aside.

2. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add tofu, jicama and mushroom sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add bean sprouts, stir then remove from heat. Set aside.

3. Heat a non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add a tiny bit of oil, then pour a ladle of batter into the pan, moving it around to spread out and become thin. When bubbles start to appear, spoon some filling onto the middle of the pancake. Cover the pan for one minute. Fold pancake in half while still in the pan. Remove pancake and repeat with remaining batter and filling.

4. For the dipping sauce, combine fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, shallot, sugar and salt.

4. To eat, wrap a portion of pancake inside a lettuce leaf with cucumber and mint. Dip in sauce, or pour it over.

Manor Kho To Hu (Caramelized Pineapple And Tofu)

Ingredients (serves 4 as side)

• 200 gr hard tofu, diced roughly or crumbled
• ½ pineapple, diced roughly
• 2 tablespoons mushroom sauce
• ½ cup water
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 green onion, diced
• A handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Method

1. Add tofu, pineapple, mushroom sauce and water to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, then add sugar, salt, pepper and onion. Stir to combine and cook, uncovered, until the water has reduced as much as possible. Top with coriander.

Week 12 – India

I’ve said it many times before – I love Indian cooking. With ingredient lists that leave you blurry eyed, you know Indian dishes are going to be sensations even when they’re still on the page.

Taking inspiration from Ragini Day’s Spice Kitchen, I pulled together the two recipes below, each showing a wildly different Indian style. The latter dish incorporates the freshness of lime and coconut on fish wrapped in banana leaf. It’s a zesty meal that feels a world away from the more obviously Indian chicken korma. That’s not to take anything away from the korma, though. This is spice heaven and a dish that only gets better when left in the fridge overnight.

Chicken korma

ETW 15.1 India

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped
• ½ teaspoon milk
• Pinch of saffron
• 2 tablespoons ghee
• ½ teaspoon chilli powder
• 4 green cardamom pods, bruised
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 3 cloves
• 1 whole dried chilli
• 1 onion, chopped
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander
• ¼ yogurt
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 6 boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 5cm pieces
• ½ cup sour cream
• ½ cup almond meal, or ground almonds
• Roasted cashew nuts, to serve
• Sultanas, to serve

Method

1. Combine ginger, garlic and 1 tablespoon of water in a blender and blitz to a paste. Set aside.

2. Heat milk in tiny dish in microwave for 5 seconds. Add saffron to infuse. Set aside.

3. Heat ghee in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add chilli powder, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves dried chilli and onion and cook for 10 minutes. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add turmeric and ground coriander and cook for 1 minute. Stir through yogurt and salt for 1 minute. Add chicken, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.

4. Add saffron infusion, sour cream and almond meal and combine well. Cover again, reduce to very low and cook for 10 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes, covered, before serving with white rice, cashews and sultanas.

Coconut and coriander fish (serves 2)

ETW 15.2 India

Ingredients (serves 2)

• 2 fillets barramundi
• 2 pieces of banana leaf, big enough to wrap fish
• 100 ml white vinegar
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• Lime cheeks, to serve

Paste
• 2cm piece of ginger
• 1 clove garlic
• ½ cup desiccated coconut
• 1 long red chilli
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• Juice of 1 lime
• ½ cup coriander leaves

Method

1. To create the paste, add all ingredients to a blender and blitz until well combined – a thick paste consistency.

2. Preheat oven to 180C. Place each piece of fish on a piece of banana leaf. Coat in a thick layer of coconut paste, then wrap leaf around fish and fasten with a wooden skewer or toothpicks.

3. Combine vinegar and oil in a shallow baking dish. Place wrapped fish into dish and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until fish is cooked through.

4. Serve with white rice and lime cheeks.

Week 13 – Nepal

ETW 14 Nepal

This Himalayan soup may appear subtle, but it builds a strong set of flavours – robust and memorable. The tomato used in the paste is the lead in this dish, while the spices are great compliments. It’s a quick, easy and warming addition to the midweek repertoire.

Thukpa

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 4 cups chicken stock
• 300 gr chicken thigh fillets
• 300 gr rice noodles
• 1 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
• ½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
• Juice on 1 lime
• Coriander leaves, to serve

Paste
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2cm piece of ginger, chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
• ¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
• 1 long red chilli, seeded and chopped
• 3 tomatoes, chopped

Method

1. To make the paste, combine all ingredients except the tomatoes in a blender and blitz until combined. All tomatoes and continue blitzing until a smooth paste forms.

2. Hear vegetable oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add paste and cook for 12 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, pour boiling water over rice noodles, cover and stand for 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

4. Pour chicken stock into saucepan with paste. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

5. Add chicken thighs to saucepan, ensuring they are covered by liquid, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside to cool slightly, before shredding into pieces.

6. Add carrot and capsicum to saucepan and cook for 2 minutes. Stir through lime juice.

7. Divide noodles among serving bowls. Top with portion of shredded chicken then ladle over soup and vegetables. Top with coriander leaves.

Week 14 – Afghanistan

ETW 16.1 Afghanistan

This recipe is a labour of love, but it’s easily one of my favourites so far this year. Having tried to make dumpling wrappers for Eat the World (China) last year, I was more than happy to purchase the gow gee wrappers. These are available at Asian grocers and are great – they’ll stretch and mould as you like and don’t easily break.

The filling is very basic, but it comes out really flavourful. If you leave the meat mix for a little while to cool down, it will harden up and be easier to form in the centre of each dumpling. As for the sauce, cook it for as long as it needs – the peas are going to be way better if they’re nice and mushy.

ETW 16.2 Afghanistan

Afghan mantoo

Ingredients (serves 4)

Yogurt
• 300 ml plain yoghurt
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Dumplings
• ~ 35-40 gow gee wrappers
• Dried mint
• Chilli powder

Filling
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 400 gr lamb mince
• 3 large onions, diced
• 1 tablespoon coriander powder
• 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Split pea sauce
• 250 g yellow split peas
• 1 tablespoon of oil
• 2 onions, diced
• 2 garlic cloves
• 3 tomatoes, diced
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Soak the split peas one day ahead

1. Add crushed garlic to yogurt. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb mince and onions and cook until meat is brown and onions are soft. Add coriander powder and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

3. Start on split pea sauce. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato and tomato paste and combine. Add soaked split peas and 1 cup of water, cover and cook for 1 hour, or until soft. Season to taste.

4. While the sauce is cooking, prepare dumplings by topping each gow gee wrapper with a spoonful of lamb and onion mix. Wet the edge of the wrapper, fold over to seal and then wrap the corners in together. Place dumplings in a greased bamboo steamer (you can use baking paper with holes instead of greasing with oil) and steam for 25 minutes.

5. Smear garlic yogurt onto a plate. Top with dumplings, add a little more yogurt, then top with split pea sauce and sprinkle with dried mint and chilli powder.

Rice Bonanza – Part 3

Four more concoctions make up the latest instalment of Rice Bonanza, my cooking trip through the world of our most widely consumed staple food!

Part 3 includes a Creole favourite (and my favourite to say), Jambalaya; a tomato fest via Mexican rice; and two takes on a baked brown rice technique, Laksa Bake and Middle Eastern brown rice. The latter pair of dishes, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food, involve a lengthier cook and absorption of the rice, but while the methods share similarities, the final products are wildly different thanks to two swags of differing flavour additions.

Recipe 11 – Jambalaya

RB 11 Jamabalaya

I love a good spice mix! Creole seasoning packs the potent players and provides a distinctive coating on the prawns and chicken. There is a lot going on in this dish in addition to the spice haul – three meats, loads of veges, various sauces… It sounds like overload, but it works.

Ingredients

Creole Seasoning:

Combine:

• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon each of:

• smoked paprika
• sweet paprika
• salt
• black pepper
• onion powder
• cayenne pepper
• dried oregano
• dried thyme

Jambalaya

• 200 gr uncooked prawns, chopped
• 200 gr chicken breast, diced
• 1 ½ tablespoons Creole seasoning
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 chorizo sausage, sliced thinly
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• ¼ cup diced red capsicum
• ¼ cup diced green capsicum
• ¼ cup celery
• 1 cup long grain rice
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 cup passata
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon hot sauce
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
• Spring onions, sliced, to serve

Method

1. Combine prawns, chicken and 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan and cook chorizo until golden on both sides. Transfer to plate and set aside.

3. Add onion to saucepan and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, capsicums and celery and cook for 3 minutes. Add remaining ½ tablespoon of Creole seasoning, cooked chorizo and rice and stir for 1 minute. Add bay leaves, passata, sauces and stock. Season, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until rice is just tender.

4. Add chicken and prawns to rice mix and cook for 10 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Stir through parsley. Serve topped with sliced spring onions.

Recipe 12 – Mexican rice

RB 12.1 Mexican rice

This is my cheats version of a Mexican rice whereby measurements aren’t a concern. Why? Because you’re not using the absorption method. Here, you can change the rice and sauce ratios as you like, as the rice is cooked via the boiling and draining, so you’ll get the right consistency and, given the punch of the sauce, not lose out. Hooking the rice mix up with beans, avocado and lettuce cups, it’s a filling and fairly healthy take on Mexican, too.

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 chorizo, skin removed and meat crumbled
• 4 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic + 2 cloves finely chopped
• 3 bird’s eye chillies
• 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons pepper
• 400 gr tin tomatoes
• 1 cup long grain rice
• 400 gr tin black beans
• Large ice berg lettuce leaves
• 1 avocado, sliced
• Coriander leaves, to serve
• Long red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced, to serve

Method

1. Heat oil over high heat in saucepan and cook chorizo for 5 – 6 minutes, or until it turns golden.

2. Combine tomatoes, onion, 4 cloves garlic, chillies, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and tinned tomatoes in a blender and blitz to a puree.

3. Add tomato mix to chorizo and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 30 minutes, reducing heat if it starts to spit, until sauce has thickened.

4. Meanwhile, cook rice as per packet instructions and set aside.

5. Combine beans and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic in fry pan and cook for 5 minutes.

6. Combine rice and sauce. Spoon into large lettuce leaves with beans and avocado and top with coriander leaves and sliced chilli.

Recipe 13 – Laksa bake

RB 13 Laksa bake

Laksa with rice? Yep, it’s an odd one. But it works surprisingly well and presents a nifty alternative to the soupy, noodle use for laksa paste. Use chicken with the bone in is important for this recipe, as the meat is exposed in the oven and would otherwise dry out quite a bit. But other than that general rule, you can always add any veges you like to the mix without upsetting the process.

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 1 bunch of coriander
• 1 stick lemongrass, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic
• 10 cm piece of ginger
• 2 fresh red chillies
• 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
• 2 shallots
• 80 ml coconut cream
• 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce
• 4 3cm chunks of butternut pumpkin
• 4 chicken thighs, bone in
• 700 ml chicken stock
• 150 gr brown rice
• 2 teaspoons sesame oil
• Lime wedges, to serve

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Reserve some coriander leaves for serving, then combine the rest with the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chillies, shrimp paste and shallots in a blender and blitz to combine. Add coconut cream, vinegar and fish sauce and blitz into a paste.

3. Rub paste over chicken and pumpkin.

4. Combine stock and rice in an overproof casserole dish. Place chicken and pumpkin into the dish and cook in the oven for 90 minutes. Turn off oven and leave inside to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Serve with coriander leaves and lime wedges.

Recipe 14 – Middle Eastern brown rice

RB 14 Middle Eastern brown rice

Like laksa rice before it, this recipe involves absorbing the brown rice while the bulky attraction (eggplant this time, not chicken) has a nice hot bath. Also similar is the fact that you can substitute veges and quantities as you like, provided you keep the ratio of rice to water. That’s handy if you’ve got some random crisper items to use.

I used Le Phare Du Cap Bon Harissa for this recipe, which I can highly recommend.

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
• 150 gr brown rice
• 800 ml vegetable stock
• 2 teaspoons harissa
• 1 teaspoon rose water
• 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthways into four 1.5 cm thick pieces
• Small handful of olives
• 2 truss tomatoes, chopped
• 1 small red capsicum, chopped
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Pomegranate seeds, to serve
• Roasted almonds, crushed, to serve
• Coriander leaves, to serve

Method

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy based, ovenproof saucepan. Add onion, garlic and cumin seeds and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Stir rice into onion mix then pour over stock. Cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes.

3. Combine harissa and rose water to a paste. Score the eggplant slices, then coat one side of each with harissa paste. Add to rice when Step 2 is complete (if there’s not enough room, try to keep at least half of each piece above the liquid), cover and cook for a further 20 minutes on medium-low. Preheat oven to 180C.

4. Combine olives, tomato, capsicum, carrot and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Scatter vegetable mix over eggplant and rice when Step 3 is complete, then transfer to the oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and leave inside to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Serve with pomegranate seeds, almonds and coriander.