My life truly revolves around food.
Not only do I work in the food industry, in my spare time I also blog about food, I cook (and bake) as a hobby, I photograph food when I eat out and I even like to spend my evenings sitting watching food documentaries and television shows. Don’t worry, I watch other things too, but foodie shows are pretty awesome I must say!
A couple of years ago, my friend got me hooked on a Chinese series by the name ‘A Bite of China’ which explores the history and culture of food in various different locations within China. Having grown up in Australia, the show really highlighted how little exposure I had to ‘real’ Chinese food, with each episode showcasing the very unique range of cuisines from the bigger cities to more remote communities within China and the many stories behind the dishes shown.
Whilst we’ve finished both seasons of the show, it has sparked interest in food documentaries and there’s certainly no shortage of similar productions, our latest being a documentary solely on tofu. And being one of my favourite foods, I was most intrigued and particularly keen to try the tofu feasts which are available in some regions of China where diners are served a banquet table full of tofu based dishes- what I would consider as tofu heaven!
Today’s recipe is a little different from my usual recipes- I do plenty of veggie recipes, and some recipes which may involve meat, but not so much a crossover between the two like I have today with these mock ‘meat’ balls made from a combination of mushroom and black beans!
Mock meats are quite prominent in Asian culture, regardless of whether you are vegetarian or not. I can’t say I’m a huge fan, especially as I find that they’re not do cooked the right way most of the time, but I was keen to try this recipe because it
a) actually looked very similar to meatballs in the picture and
b) I had just fresh mushrooms in the fridge and a can of black beans that were almost reaching their expiry.
So why not?
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/