Tag Archives: quick

Malaysian Dinner

5 Oct

Last night, after a long journey back home from NYC, I was confronted by a quiet empty kitchen. M had gone upstairs to put Z to bed, J had gone to have her shower, and I realised that we would all be hungry in about half an hour. I wanted to make a REALLY fast, but really delicious meal that would be warm, and full of the flavours of home.

We didnt have much in the fridge, but we did have some tempeh, a half bag of frozen spinach, some milk (for vegans, you can replace with a bit of coconut milk), some salsa with chopped tomatoes and garlic, an onion and jasmine rice. Chili and soy sauces provided heat and flavour, along with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. This was such a good meal, and took only a few minutes to put together.

Serves four hungry people on a cold rainy day, with the remembrance of sunshine and heat.

Prepare some jasmine rice.

While the rice is cooking, chop an onion, and saute, with a bit of olive oil and a bit of toasted sesame oil, in a medium sized non stick pan until translucent. Sprinkle over some soy sauce and some chili sauce until the onion is very dark and sticky looking. Slice up the tempeh, bring the heat up high, and quick fry the tempeh, ensuring it is covered in the onion sticky mix. You should fry the tempeh in an even layer, and then flip it over. Add more soy or chili sauce if you want it stickier, saltier or hotter. Once the tempeh has been cooked on both sides (it will get a bit brownish and will start to burn on the edges), stir fry it a bit, and transfer to a bowl. Set aside to serve. This should take you about ten minutes total.

Clean out the frying pan, and put half a bag of frozen spinach (or 2 – 3 cups fresh, chopped) and a few tablespoons of salsa into the pan. Put the heat on to low, and let the mixture melt and come to room temperature. Add the milk or coconut milk (I used about half a cup), and about a teaspoon of soy sauce. Let the mixture come to a boil, and let it bubble down a bit. Taste for saltiness and adjust. If you have it, sprinkle over a half a teaspoon or more of garam masala for a soft hint of spice.

Serve the spinach and tempeh with rice for a simple, easy Malaysian meal.

PS – We were so hungry, and it smelled so good, I forgot to take a picture! But trust me, its easy, delicious, and it looks beautiful, with the deep creamy green of the spinach, the sticky golden chili tempeh and the pure white rice.

Roasted Greens (Kale, Mustard Greens, Chard, Broccoli Rabe, Collards)

13 Jul

Roasted GreensI first made this for my sister’s youngest son. He asked for roasted kale, which I had never heard of before. He said it was the only way he ate greens, and after a bit of research, a little fiddling, and a quick roasting, I understood why. This recipe (I dont even want to call it that – its just the alchemy of heat applied to greens) makes tough greens palatable to just about anyone – especially children or adults who just dont like vegetables! You need a tough green – kale is what I started with, but when my organic delivery guy said he had some mustard greens (we call it sawi hijau here in Malaysia), I wondered if you could do the same to any tough green leafy veg. Turns out you can, with stunning results!

To see which kind of greens you can use in this recipe, go to the Cook’s Thesaurus greens list.

You need a tough fibrous green leaf for the high heat of the oven. A little olive oil and some salt and pepper for seasoning creates something akin to a green chip – crispy, slightly burnt, very “green” tasting – totally delectable. And really, the whole process is completed in a matter of minutes. Its embarrassing to even give a recipe for this because its so easy, but believe me, once youve tried roasting one leafy green, you will be on the lookout for others to try!

You will need:

  • 1 kg or so of a dense green – I used kale at first, and for this go round, used mustard greens or sawi hijau
  • 1 tbsp of good olive oil
  • A sprinkling of salt

Preheat your oven to 220C. You want it very hot. The greens wont stay in there that long, so dont worry. Pop a cookie tin in the oven while you prep the greens. You want it hot as the greens hit it.

Wash your greens very well, cutting out the tough stem. You can keep the stem and use for a soup or stir fry if you like. I usually like to salt my greens as I wash them to encourage any animal life to crawl off.

Rinse the greens, but dont worry if they still have a bit of water clinging to them. This will only enhance the cooking process.

Put the greens in a bowl, and sprinkle over the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Use your hands and make sure the greens are completely coated with oil. This is quite important.

Take the cookie tin out of the oven (please remember to use an oven mitt!) and spread the greens across the tin, covering completely. You can use tongs to do this if you like. You should hear them sizzle as they hit the hot tin.

Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes. After about five minutes, take them out, and using the tongs, just give them a little stir, flip them over, etc. Watch carefully after this because depending on your oven, you might want to take them out earlier. You want them crispy, green in spots, slightly burnt and brown in spots.

Take out of the oven and serve immediately.


Quick Hot Family Dinner in 5 minutes (honestly)

20 Jun

It will take you longer to read this recipe than it will to cook it. This is for when you wake up at 4am and cant believe how starving you are. When your tummy needs filling, and you just don’t want to do any work at all. You come home from work, or you’ve been chasing the kids all day, and all you want is sustenance. Or you come home after a night on the tiles (where does that phrase come from?!) and you need something starchy and yummy and simple to soak up all that booze. You can make it for more than 1 person, but its basic. Totally delicious, but basic. Once you have this little trick up your sleeve though, you will be making up excuses to eat it. Don’t try to dress it up. There really is no need.

  • 1 large bowl that you will eat out of
  • ½ cup couscous
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Cheese (Cheddar + Parmesan may be? Whatever you have both that combo is superb)
  • Some frozen peas for colour (and veg) or some tomatoes

Boil some water. As it comes to the boil, put ½ cup of couscous per person in the bowl that youre going to eat out of. Remember that couscous swells, so make it double the size of the amount of couscous youre using.

Put a pinch of salt in with the couscous and mix it all up with a fork. Add some butter to the couscous (may be about 1/2 teaspoon per person or more as you wish, and as your arteries can handle!)

Pour the ½ cup of boiling water over the couscous and cover (I use a sideplate). Leave for 3 -4 minutes.

While the couscous is absorbing the water, and plumping up, get your cheese out the fridge and find a grater. Uncover your bowl, and fluff the couscous up with a fork. Taste and adjust for saltiness. Grate some cheese over this mixture (not a lot, but enough to flavour it) and mix well. Pop in some peas or a few sliced tomatoes to make yourself feel better, and for the “veg” component.

Eat thankfully.