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!
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/
In attempt to improve start building up some cooking skills, I went to my bookshelf inspiration and found this Hainanese Chicken recipe, along with many other much more ambitious projects which I’ve yet to start even thinking about collecting ingredients for. I actually thought that this was quite ambitious itself, until I realised how dead simple it was to boil a chicken and mix up three sauces to serve it with. And don’t let the picture fool you- the chicken was so much more smooth and tender than it looks! The only challenge really was to chop it up into nice presentable pieces (of which I had no clue how to do so!).
The rice is amazingly tasty too, though you might not want to let people know that it tastes so great because of the amount of chicken fat in it! 😉
I don’t cook.
I mean, sure, every once in a while, I might bake a pie, fry an egg or cook noodles but I rarely ever cook up an actual dish. I’m quite terrible in the kitchen- anything that involves me using a pot on the stove will always end up with bits of food splattered everywhere!
But then I stumbled upon Almost Bourdain’s Beef Rendang recipe which not only looked delicious, but seemed easy enough that I thought that there seemed to be a chance of me making this without needing the help of my mum.
And it really did end up as simple as it seemed- it basically involved mixing everything in a wok and then letting it simmer for a couple of hours. Rather than simmering it in a wok, I choose to use my thermal cooker as it would save energy. I cooked it a little longer than was supposed to but I don’t think it really made a difference, because it came out delicious! It was different to the beef rendang that I’d had before- it was much drier and there was a much stronger coconut taste, but it was just as good! I’d definitely make this again 🙂
And of course, a nice, successful dish couldn’t be served on its own- so I decided to make the whole dinner for my family =] And kinda went like this:
I lied. I didn’t make the whole thing. My dad made the lemon lime and bitters- it’s his ‘signature’ drink. Not because he’s especially good at making this, it’s just because no-one else in the family can ever be bothered making it. You see, my mum is usually responsible for the cooking, my sister is responsible for setting the table and my dad makes the drinks. Me? I’m responsible for sitting around…..doing nothing!
Only joking! I’m not THAT lazy, I’m usually doing homework =]
Realising that a proper meal should start with a course before the main, and that I needed to have vegetables somewhere, I decided to make a salad. Only problem was I didn’t know what salad to make and couldn’t make a lot of the slad recipes I saw online as I was lacking many ingredients. So the salad ended up being chopped up vegetables with salad dressing on top.
The beef rendang was absolutely delicious. Except that the beef we bought wasn’t good quality (bad meat shop!) so the meat wasn’t as tender and tasty as we would have liked. But, as I’ve said before, it was so so so good!
Dessert was vanilla slice- it was my first attempt at puff pastry and was very time consuming. But it was delicious, and even my dad, who’s very picky when it comes to desserts liked this! We’d just bought a huge tray of strawberries, so I chucked them on the plate too. It doesn’t look that great, but it makes the dish seem…..less empty!
The recipe for beef rendang is from here
. Thanks for the recipe Ellie!
~ Beef Rendang~
3 packets Brahim’s Rendang Paste
1.5 kg beef brisket (gravy beef)
2 cups dessicated / grated coconut
2 cups hot boiling water
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp oil
1.To make kerisik: Fry the grated coconut in a non-stick frying pan (without oil) on low heat. Keep stirring so all the grated coconut are browned evenly. It will take about 10 minutes to turn it into deep golden brown and you can smell the aroma. You are ready to use it for your rendang. 2.Cut the beef in 5 cm / 2″ cubes.
3.Heat oil in a wok, add garlic and fry until slightly browned. Add beef and fry until all sides are browned.
4.Remove beef from wok.
5.Add rendang paste to the wok and cook until the paste is bubbling. Add the kerisik and hot boiling water.
6.Bring to a boil and add the beef and continue cooking until it’s boiling.
7.Turn down the heat, cover with lid and let it simmer in low heat for 2 hours. Stir it occasionally.
8.After 2 hours of simmering, the sauce should be thickened and the should be very tender. Now turn back to medium-high heat, lid off and continue to stir-fry it until the sauce is completely thicken and dried.
9.Served with steamed rice, roti or nasi kunyit.