Knowing how to cook is an invaluable part of having a healthy lifestyle. Not just because home cooked meals are much healthier than eating out, but also (and perhaps more importantly) because it really helps you understand what goes into the food you are eating.
I mean, I can go on and on about how much saturated fat is in cakes and biscuits but nothing quite gets the message across like seeing blocks of butter going into your cake batter. And then a couple more into the icing.….
For me, working in a Chinese restaurant took this one step further. I was absolutely fascinated during the first couple of months waitressing at my local Chinese. I loved the way that everything was cooked to order but was on the table in 5 minutes. Even the hot plates were heated methodically, popped onto the burner as soon as the meal started cooking, so that they were just the right temperature once it was ready.
You know winter is actually here when you have to set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier in the morning to allow for the struggle of getting out of your warm bed in the morning. And when your walk to work takes about half the usual time because you’re power walking to bring your heart rate up.
Ahhhh winter. It feels like you went away not that long ago!
If you’ve been following my Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve had a bit of a baking itch lately, jumping at every opportunity to practice my cake making skills (and running into a lot of failures one the way). For those weekends where I can’t an excuse to bake cake, I like to experiment with different foods in the kitchen, and my idea of fun is any recipe that’s completely new- the more unique and complex, the better of course!
As much as I love spending my weekends on these food experiments, when it comes to taste, sometimes simple is best and that certainly is the case with this delicious miso eggplant dish. I had my first taste of miso eggplant in a Japanese restaurant last year and was blown away by how amazing a simple dish of grilled eggplant with miso sauce could taste.
As I mentioned in my last post, I still have a couple of summer recipes up my sleeve which I’d love to share with you, and although the majority are salad recipes, summer food doesn’t only have to be salad!
One of my favourite ways to cool down in summer is with cold noodles, with Naengmyeon, or Korean cold noodles, being my go-to in summer. I always have mine served with plenty of ice, so it’s perfect for those 40+ degree days.
With the scorching summer behind us and Autumn bringing in much cooler (albeit wet and humid) weather, it’s time to crank up the stove and welcome some warmer Autumn dishes. I’ve still got a handful of summer salad recipes up my sleeve, but I thought I’d give the blog a break from salad, and share this delicious laksa recipe instead.
Perhaps more of a winter sort of comfort-food, but hey- it’s not salad!
I’m usually the type of person who prefers to make everything from scratch, but this is one of the few recipes which I haven’t even wanted to try making completely from scratch. Why would I need to when my trusty go-to brand of laksa paste in this recipe gives me exactly the results I’m looking for?
The recipe is quite simple- blitz together some onions, mix it with the laksa paste, then boil it with plenty of coconut milk and you’ve got yourself a tasty laksa base which you can add your noodles and other ingredients to. The only time consuming part is pureeing the onions, but apart from that it’s super simple and quick!
The recipe uses a considerable amount of coconut milk, which I do shy away from using too much of. Coconut milk is quite high in saturated fats, and although there are numerous reported health benefits, there is still yet to be enough solid scientific evidence to recommend using it in large amounts. Until then, here’s a handy substitute I learnt back in uni (feels so long ago now!): replace a cup of coconut milk with a cup skim milk mixed with a teaspoon or two of coconut essence. It’s not exactly the same, but you’ll be surprised how well it works in sauces (especially curries), and it works perfectly in this recipe.
Give it a go and let me know what you think!
Quick Chicken Laksa
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 10 shallots or 1 large red onion, chopped and blitzed to a paste
- 230g laksa paste (Tean's Gourmet is my go to brand)
- 400ml coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 heaped tsp sambal oelek or chopped red chilli
- 300g prawns
- 500g Hokkien noodles, blanched and drained
- 200g rice vermicelli, boiled until soft and then drained
- 8 bok choy
- 4 handfuls of bean sprouts
- 1 bunch of coriander, leaves picked or roughly chopped with stems
- 1 bunch of mint, leaves picked
- 2 limes
- Poach chicken breasts and shred.
- Heat oil in saucepan. Add shallot paste and fry until caramelised. Add laksa paste and fry until fragrant. Add coconut milk and water. Bring to the boil.
- At this point, if the soup is not spicy enough for you, you can throw in a heaped tsp of sambal oelek or chopped red chilli to taste.
- Add prawns. When they are almost cooked, turn heat off.
- Pour hot water over the bok choy and sprouts to blanch. Drain.
- To serve, place Hokkien noodles and rice into four bowls.
- Distribute chicken and remaining ingredients evenly between each bowl and finish with a cheek of lime.
- For a lower fat alternative, substitute the coconut milk for skim milk and add 2-3 teaspoons of coconut essence
Berry Nutritious http://berrynutritious.com.au/