Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quick and Easy Recipes

Critic Issue 12 - Num Nums

With the exams around the corner, I thought I would share a few really easy recipes that you can whip up when you need a 20 – 30 minute break from studying. These dishes keep relatively well so if you make enough to last a few meals, you will always have some proper food in the fridge when hunger strikes and will only have to mess around in the kitchen once or twice a week. NB: Always remember to taste as you cook and so you can adjust the flavours to your liking.

Thai Green Curry (re-posted): This is one of the easiest things to make, when you use the Mae Ploy Green Curry paste that you can buy at any supermarket. Just follow the instructions on the container. I used chicken thighs and added sliced water chestnuts (canned) and green beans (use whatever vegetables you like – I used frozen green beans because I was lazy). The thing I love about making this myself, at home, is that I can use as much of the paste to make it as spicy and/or potent as I like. Sautéing the green curry paste imparts a lovely pungent aroma which is then mellowed by the addition of the coconut milk. The result is a delicious, thick curry with a nice depth of flavour (considering that a store bought paste was used) and just the right level of spiciness to leave a little bite on your tongue. Mmm-mm!

Pasta Bake version

Pasta Bolognese: I know, I know, almost everyone knows how to make Bolognese so why am I wasting your time? Well, I think this version is probably better than most of the crap I have had at restaurants, so I am sharing. Just sauté minced garlic (lots!) in olive oil until fragrant, then add minced beef (you can substitute half the mince with grated carrots if you feel like upping your vege intake), an OXO beef cube and brown. Stir in store bought Bolognese sauce (I like Leggos) and simmer. This is what takes it to the next level – pour in red wine (something you would drink, around $15; twice or thrice around the pan) and simmer until sauce is thick. When done, sauce should be rich, velvety. Serve on cooked pasta of your choice. Alternatively, substitute the Bolognese sauce with one of the tomato based Pasta Bake versions, mix pasta and sauce in an oven proof dish, top with grated mozzarella and bake until golden brown.

Mom’s Black Pepper Chicken: Marinate chicken thigh pieces in dark soy sauce, some pepper and sugar. Coat potato slices (about 0.5 cm thick) in a little oil and salt and pan fry until golden brown (won’t be cooked through), then remove from pan. Marinate some Sauté sliced garlic in oil until fragrant then add marinated chicken and potatoes. Stir fry until chicken is cooked. If you like lots of sauce, add more water, dark soy sauce, pepper and sugar to taste. Otherwise, just taste and add whatever you think is necessary. This should yield delicious savoury, peppery and slightly sweet juicy chicken pieces with tasty gravy. Serve with steamed rice, or if you can’t be bothered, on bread.

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