Sometimes the best-tasting food is the simplest. My culinary forte is South-East Asian cuisine, and as a result I often get caught up with complicated recipes requiring a plethora of spices and condiments. Recently, I’ve been learning that food doesn’t always need a lot of ingredients and hours of preparation time in order to taste good. Rather, a simple recipe can be equally sublime with the right combination of fresh, tasty ingredients.
A prime example is this Greek-Style Roast Chicken, which only has five main ingredients: chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt.
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These days I’m a big fan of quick, one-pot (or pan) meals. With a full-time corporate career, I have little time and energy to prepare the intricate meals I used to enjoy. So I often find myself making quick stir-fries that can be thrown together in about half an hour, like this vegetarian noodle dish.
This noodle dish features three main ingredients: fresh Hokkien noodles, tofu and Asian greens. It’s easy and simple enough to whip up on a weeknight, without sacrificing on taste.
Continue reading Tofu and Vegetable Noodles
I believe that food not only provides us with sustenance, but memories as well. For instance, some of us might associate barbecued ribs with a favourite grandparent, because Grandpa used to make the best ribs during your childhood.
For me, this Sweet Potato and Mushroom Pilaf kept me going during a period of unemployment a few years ago. It was a particularly tough time in my life, and I was eating canned food and other very basic foods in order to make my rent payments. During that time, I cooked this dish fairly often as the ingredients were cheap and I didn’t have to feel like I was merely surviving with baked beans on toast.
Thankfully, I’m now in a much better position financially, but I still like to cook this dish whenever I’m pressed for time. It’s quick to prepare, tastes great, and since it’s a one-pot meal, cleanup is straightforward. And whenever I make this dish, I give thanks that I’ve come a long way since the first time I made it.
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It’s now early summer here in Australia and the herbs I grow in pots outside my flat are beginning to grow again. My Vietnamese coriander has been especially prolific, sending out new leaves everywhere. I felt it was time to give it a light pruning, and harvest some leaves at the same time.
I decided to try out a recipe from Mai Pham’s excellent cookbook New Flavours of the Vietnamese Table. Ginger Chicken looked straightforward enough, so I substituted the spring onions and coriander in the original recipe with my Vietnamese coriander.
The resulting dish was a sublime blend of fish sauce, sugar, chilli and a hint of pepper from the Vietnamese coriander. I think I made the gravy a bit more watery than it should be, but it didn’t matter as I was slurping it up like soup. It’s a good thing I live alone as I forgot most of my table manners while eating this dish.
Continue reading Vietnamese Ginger Chicken