|Prawn briyani rice cooked on a paella pan. Why not.|
If you have been cooking at home, you will notice that this season is shaping our home-cooking in a new way. Every meal is “full house” as your children are not off gallivanting somewhere else – unless they want to risk a $300 fine, that is. This Covid window may well provide an opportunity for you to create new family traditions.
You will become more conscious of the “waste not, want not” dictum. Leftover from last night’s dinner is today’s lunch. Yes, this is unusual: lunch is also a family meal!! And so, you think ahead. You don’t want the fridge to be chockfull with produce and cooked food at the same time. And so, you don’t want to overstock and overcook.
You learn to cook with what you have. You don’t want to don a mask to go out just to get one more stalk of lemon grass (the recipe specifies 4!). You create “new” recipes, cooking with whatever you have. Sweet, salty, sour, spicy – just balance the flavours and do it your way.
It is satisfying to see the larder clearing and herbs stocked from months ago finally being used up. Nothing goes to waste and you find interesting uses for your spices and herbs.
As for ingredients and recipes, here are some tips which you may find useful.
|White peppercorns, coriander roots and garlic|
Do you know that the roots of coriander leaves are flavourful? They are used widely in some cuisines, ie Thai. In a mortar, pound some coriander roots and stems along with some white pepper and garlic. This paste can be used for delicious fried rice or as a meat marinade.
Speaking of fried rice, this is also a good use of leftover rice and cooked food in your fridge. Check my post here on the basics of making delicious fried rice recipes. Actually, just pay attention to flavours and textures in order to create different fried rice dishes for every lunch.
|Claypot Chicken Rice meal|
Claypot Rice is fast and easy to make. A one pot meal which is cooked on the stove within 30 minutes and eaten off on your dining table. Simple, neat and delicious. Chicken, pork, beef, fish can be used and green veg can be added in. You can keep your rice plain and unflavoured and cook it only with water. Whatever you then put on top of it during the second stage of cooking will add the flavours. Check the link here for claypot recipes. At times, I do use the paella pan to cook my rice recipes (see lead photo).
Curries keep well and can be eaten across 2-3 days with rice or bread. There are rumours that turmeric keep the virus at bay. Fake news or not, turmeric is always good to use in curries and the powder works very well if you can’t lay hold on fresh ones.
|My version of egg pancake|
Using leftover food or extra pieces of onion, you can always make Egg Frittata. Sounds exotic but it is just cooking whatever you have on a pan and then pouring the beaten eggs on it. It is a thick omelette. Just flip the egg pancake towards the end to cook the top side or put it in a heated oven for 5 minutes. it makes for a decent lunch when served with salads greens and some bread.
And yes, salad greens can go with many dishes. Buy the pre-washed bags for convenience. Dice and garnish your fried rice. Eat on the sides with meat. They keep fresh for a few days in your fridge.
|Jap Beef Bowl: onions, corn, beef and rice|
On the mention of beef, I find Brazilian Picanha Beef very tasty and easy to cook. This sirloin cap cut is a tender cut and the flavours are deep and beefy. Cut it against the grain and use it for whatever. I have cooked it for my Japanese beef bowls, as steaks served with potatoes and greens and even in my claypot rice. As with all beef dishes, cook the beef separately first on high heat. This beef cooks fast depending on the level of doneness you like. Call Fabio at +65 8189 3489 for deliveries and further instructions on how to cook it. He also serves cooked food and grilled meats (Disclaimer: I do not benefit anything from promoting this).
I will be blogging more in the coming days, including adding a delicious Nonya braised chicken recipe.
Stay healthy, stay safe and stay tuned.