Mummy was out at work today so I had to make lunch for the family. Here’s a great one-dish meal to have with fresh bread or rice.
Red Wine & Oregano Beef Stew
- 250g minced beef, prepared with:
- 1 tbsp of corn flour
- 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 knob of butter
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 potato, peeled and diced
- half a green pepper, chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- half mug of beef or vegetable stock
- quarter mug of red wine
- 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- a pinch of dried oregano
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch of fresh coriander leaves
- Put the oil and knob of butter into a hot wok. TIP! This is to prevent the butter from burning to brown.
- Add the onion and green pepper, and fry till they start to shrivel a little.
- Toss in the carrot and potato.
- Together with the garlic and chilli, wine and stock, get the minced beef in.
- Add the dark soy sauce too.
- Season generously with freshly ground black pepper, and just a little salt, according to taste.
- Don’t forget the pinch of dried oregano.
- Bring to a boil, place a lid on top and lower the heat to a simmer.
- Let it stay on the stove for 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes or so that it doesn’t dry up. If it’s too dry for your liking, add water in small quantities till you get the consistency you want. Be sure to add salt if necessary.
- Serve with fresh coriander leaves on top.
A lovely thing about cooking is being able to cook for people whenever, as long as there’s a kitchen. It doesn’t have to be fully equipped, although the essential knife, pot and hob is necessary.
Anyway, what I really mean to say is, HELLO FROM HONG KONG! I’m staying in my sister’s apartment right now and just made us some brunch. Due to her very busy work schedule, she hardly has the time to make her own meals at home. As a result, there isn’t much food in the house. The night before I bought a packet of spaghetti from the grocer’s downstairs and together with a couple of frozen goodies in the freezer, this was what we had this morning. Yum.
Asian Fried Spaghetti
- Minced garlic is the KEY ingredient. I cannot emphasise that further. Prepare.
- Ingredients sliced and chopped up appropriately, fried and tossed with minced garlic in vegetable, sunflower or peanut oil.
- Pasta added once cooked to al dente. In goes salt and pepper for seasoning. ‘Herbage’ is a bonus.
To all those overseas who crave the good ol’ Tze Char Noodles, I’d like to share this recipe with you. It’s not exactly the same as what you’d get for cheap in the neighbourhood restaurant you frequent weekly back in Singapore, but it’ll serve to satisfy your cravings.
What you’ll need:
- prepared ingredients for Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pork
- 1 serving of quick-cook spaghetti
- 1 generous handful of spinach leaves
- 2 inches of a medium sized carrot, sliced into small inch-long pieces
- half a red onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- a couple of fresh mushrooms, quartered (optional)
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil
- 2-3 tbsp of oyster sauce
How to do it:
- Get the pasta cooking in a pot. And place a wok on another hob, turned up to full whack.
- Add the garlic and onion into the wok to flavour the oil.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Carrots go in ‘cos they take longer to cook through.
- Toss the pork in and add water from the pasta bit by bit, stir-frying till just done.
- If you’re having mushrooms with this, dump them in now.
- Add the oyster sauce and grab some pasta water to pour into the wok, till ingredients are almost completely submerged. Mix and watch your gravy form.
- Turn off the heat and drain your pasta. Get them in, together with the spinach leaves. Toss about till the spaghetti is coated with all the gravy goodness, and till the vegetable leaves have wilted just a little.
- Serve hot, with Pickled Green Chilli. More on that soon.
I am a complete sucker for chicken. Using hands and getting dirty somehow adds to the flavour of the food. Fried chicken is what usually gets me going, but oven baked ones are awesome too. For this, it’s best you marinade it overnight, in a bag, in the fridge.
This is for 6 pieces of Honey Baked Chicken Thigh.
- 1 generous lug of white wine
- 1 tsp of dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp of honey, or 2 if you want
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp of dark soy sauce, for colour
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- Get your chicken into a ziplock bag.
- It doesn’t matter if the chicken portions are frozen or not, just make sure they’re not stuck to each other.
- Get all that stuff of marinade into the bag with the chicken.
- Take care to get every bit of meat covered in the marinade.
- Stick it in the fridge overnight.
- The chicken should have thawed through beautifully and at the same time, have absorbed all that sweet goodness of your marinade. Get your chicken on a tray, skin side up and cover with foil.
- In a pre-heated oven of 220°C, stick the tray in for 45 minutes.
- After the buzzer goes, remove the foil and turn the temperature down to 180°C. Leave the tray in there for another 15 minutes or so, or until the skin turns golden.
- TIP! Not sure if it’s cooked through? Poke in with a fork. If it’s cooked, the juices will run clear, not red.
- Let it rest for a couple of minutes.
- Serve, without cutlery.
Before I begin, I’d like to highlight that Tom Yum Spaghetti is my mother’s brainchild. If you’ve heard it from anywhere else, it’s probably travelled via word-of-mouth all the way to you. My knees crumbled the first time she did this for dinner, so I begged her to make it again for my 20th birthday gathering.
This really takes Asian-Western fusion to the next level. Know what Tom Yum Soup is? Well, take that, minus all the water, and fry with spaghetti. In essence, it’s a fried spaghetti dish much like Aglio Olio, just that instead of basil, oregano and olive oil, it’s Tom Yum Paste. No idea what that is?
It looks a little something like this:
This is done best with seafood i.e. prawns, mussels and fishcake. But it can be done vegetarian as well, with mushrooms, eggs and chives. If you want an extra crunch, use red or yellow peppers, or carrots. Don’t forget the slice of ginger and minced garlic!
P.S. This works with fusilli too:
Bolognese Brilliance: no serious slurping, no mess, just awesome food.
Building on from Springy Bolognese, I’ve decided to list some numbers and ingredients for this massively easy pasta dish. Its hearty and satisfying; perfect for that one time when you’re feeling incredibly hungry. Hurhur.
The brilliant thing about bolognese is that there’s no hard and fast rule about what goes inside. To me, it’s like Chinese Fried Rice; you add whatever tickles your fancy. Personally, I aim for ‘colourful’.
So here’s what I had in mine this time. Extremely extravagant.
- 1 third of pasta from a standard size quick cook spaghetti pack
- 1 handful of chopped red pepper
- 1 handful of chopped yellow pepper
- 1 handful of peas, frozen works the same
- 1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 white onions, minced
- 1 third of a finger chilli, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-sized knob of butter
- 50g of double concentrate tomato puree
- half tbsp of dried basil
- 1 handful of finely grated cheddar (if you have parmesan, even better)
- 1 handful of fresh rocket (optional)
- 1 handful of beef minced (omit this is you’re vegetarian)
With all the ingredients ready, what you’re going for now is efficiency and speed. No mucking about. You’re hungry, and if you’re not about getting angry yet, your stomach is. A hungry man is an angry man. Whatever.
This is how to roll:
- Since we’re going for speed, quick-cook pasta is the key choice here. Get that in a pot of boiling water and let it work its magic. If you believe in the Italian saying that ”the water for pasta cooking should be as salty as the Mediterranean”, then go right ahead and salt that water.
- While that’s happening, get another pot/wok on the hob too. If your peas are frozen, get them straight in, together with that knob of butter. If not, get everything you want in your bolognese e.g. onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. and dump them in. Let them fry about while you wash up your chopping board and knife, and welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- When they (the ingredients, not fairies) are just about done, in goes the minced beef. Toss.
- Then, tomato puree goes in too. Here’s a tip. Instead of using plain water to dilute your sauce, get some of that starchy pasta water, about half a cup full and pour it into the sauce. Happy days.
- Mix about before adding the dried basil. Mix some more and taste. Season with salt and pepper your liking. Turn the heat off.
- Your pasta should be done, so drain the water out and get it straight into your superb bolognese sauce. Toss about, coating every strand of that spaghetti in red goodness. Move all to a serving dish.
- Top with fresh rocket leaves. Then, grate your cheese straight onto everything.
Greece really does make a special place in my heart warm, especially it’s food. You can’t blame me, the Greek really know how to do their meat. One in particular I have an absolutely soft spot for is Souvlaki.
“Souvlaki (Greek: Σουβλάκι) is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate, often with fried potatoes. The meat is traditionally lamb in Greece and Cyprus, or in modern times increasingly pork due to the lower cost. In other countries and for tourists, souvlaki may be made with other meats such as beef, chicken and sometimes fish (especially swordfish). The word souvlaki is a diminutive of (σούβλα) souvla ‘skewer’, itself borrowed from Latin subula.”
I got this recipe from The Meatwave, but didn’t have all the right ingredients, so I made a couple of subtitutions and hoped for the best.
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Other stuff you need:
- 600g pork loin, cut into inch cubes
- Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before use
- Slice of lemon
- Red onion, sliced
- Fresh rocket leaves
Preparation and cooking:
- Made with your everyday condiments, pour the marinate into ziplock with the pork cubes. Make sure all pieces get a lick of the marinate. Let it sit in the fridge overnight.
- Instead of using a charcoal grill, I did it in the oven, which isn’t as good ‘cos you don’t get that kickass smokiness. But I had to make do.
- After skewering the cubes, grill for about 15 minutes in total at 200°C. Turning them around every once in a while.
- Let them rest for about 5 minutes before gobbling. Serve with a slice of lemon, sliced red onion and fresh rocket leaves.
I had a friend who once told me that his favourite meat is pork. Personally, if I sink my teeth into pork that is done this way, I literally fall to my knees right away.
Okay, not literally. But heads up for some melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
It should look something like this. And taste absolutely phenomenal. Very Asian, extremely happy-fying.
- 75g of pork shoulder, sliced thinly
- 1 tsp of cornflour
- 3 tsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of sesame oil
- 1 dash of white pepper
- half a clove of garlic, minced
- 1 slice of ginger
- 75ml of water
- 1 tsp of cooking oil
- (optional) quarter a white onion, sliced
- (optional) 1 closed cup mushroom, sliced
N.B. If you’re going for lean tender soft meat, use pork shoulder. If you’re like me and always prefer it just slighty chewy with fatty bits, use pork loin.
Preparation & Cooking:
- In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients.
- Stick a pan or wok onto the hob, put the oil in and get it to be screaming hot.
- When the pan is ready, fry the ginger and garlic first, till fragrant.
- Then dump your seasoned pork into the pan. Toss and fry about for a bit.
- Add water in small amounts. Stir-fry till the water more or less dries up each time. Here, you’re stewing the pork in high heat, building a gravy steadily.
- If you’re having it with onions and mushrooms, toss them in now.
- In less than 3-5 minutes, your pork should be done. You’re aiming for it to be just cooked, not overdone.
- Serve with steamed Thai fragrant rice, or with nothing else.
If you haven’t already discovered the wonders of a Microwave, this recipe will shed some light on that radioactive box sitting on your kitchen counter. Apart from preparing readymade meals from the store and reheating overnight leftovers, the Microwave can make you Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions in under 15 minutes.
Here what you need:
- a dish-plate or a plate-bowl, whatever you call it
- 2 chicken portions, I used frozen chicken thighs
- 2/3 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 dash of white pepper
- 1 sprinkle of black pepper
- 1 clove of garlic, sliced
- 50ml of water
- chilli powder (optional)
Here’s how you do it:
- Note: The time needed to cook this is for frozen chicken portions.
- Get the bird parts onto a dish-plate or plate-bowl.
- Pour the soy sauce over the chicken.
- Dash the white pepper and sprinkle the black pepper
- In goes the sliced garlic clove.
- And chilli powder to if you wanna add some spice to your life.
- Add the water.
- Stick it in the microwave. If you have a fancy microwave lid, cover the dish.
- Hit it on full whack for 5 minutes. Note: I used a 700W microwave.
- Flip parts over. Hit another 5 minutes.
- Note: Ensure water does not dry up entirely. Top up a little as needed.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies.
- Chicken should be almost done, if not completely cooked.
- Flip again and hit it for 1 more minute, if juices do not run clear when poked with a fork.
- Repeat on other side if necessary.
- Let it rest for about a while, or dig in right away. I always choose the latter and wind up burning my tongue.
Remember Pasta Promotion?
Well, I am now proud to present to you, Pasta Evolution.
So what is it?
It’s Aglio Olio made with Chicken Oil
Yes, it’s exactly the same as your usual dry parmesan, garlic, basil, oregano and parsley spaghetti, except that you use the oil rendered from Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions instead of olive oil.
Try it now or regret forever.