May 4th, 2013
I have to admit, I have never tried Chicken Pad Thai before then my daughter went out for dinner and brought home a “doggy bag” with her left overs. I ate it for lunch the next day and thought it was so delicious that I had better learn how to make it. I’m not sure how I journeyed through life and missed this wonderful meal but I’m glad that has now been rectified. It has a delightful taste of tamarind through out and the sourness of this is balanced by adding sugar to the sauce. This makes a fantastic gluten free meal for the family and is also low in fat.
I found the recipe on the web About.com and tweaked it a little.
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s full of flavour but isn’t heavy like some Thai recipes can be.
- One packet of Thai rice noodles linguini-width
- 2 cups chopped chicken breast
- Marinade for Chicken: 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp. of soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- optional: 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced
- 3 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander
- 1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts (I roast them in the oven first)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock (make sure it’s Gluten Free)
- 1/2 cup of toasted dessicated coconut
- Vegetable oil for stir-frying, and wedges of lime
- PAD THAI SAUCE:
- 3/4 Tbsp. tamarind sauce dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water. You can find it in major super markets or speciality stores
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce + more to taste
- 1-3 tsp. chili sauce
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk in your rice noodles. Turn down the heat to low and keep an eye on them. You will be frying the noodles later, so you don’t want to over-soften them now. Noodles are ready to be drained when they are soft but not too soft. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Make Pad Thai sauce by combining the sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well to dissolve tamarind and brown sugar, and set aside. This balance of sour tamarind and sugar is what makes Pad Thai taste so amazing!
- Place chicken slices in a small bowl. Stir together the marinade and pour over chicken. Stir well and set aside.
- Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds). Add marinated chicken. When wok/pan becomes dry, add a little chicken stock, 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, to keep the chicken frying nicely (5-7 minutes or until cooked).
- Add the noodles and pour the Pad Thai sauce over. Using two utensils, use a gentle “lift and turn” method to fry noodles (like tossing a salad). Stir-fry in this way 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the bean sprouts and continue frying for another minute or until noodles are cooked. Taste test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until desired flavor is reached (I usually add 1 more Tbsp. of fish sauce). Toss well to incorporate. I sprinkle 1/2 cup of toasted coconut on the meal at this point.
- Lift noodles on to a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion, and crushed/chopped nuts. Add fresh lime wedges to squeeze over each portion if desired.
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April 26th, 2013
Empanadas are said to have originated in Portugal. I was introduced to them through the influx of South Americans who have decided to visit or live in Brisbane. One of the great things about people deciding to migrate or visit where you live is that you are introduced to the food from their homeland. I have seen Empanadas for sale at markets and often indulged in a beef or chicken one for lunch. I love pastry and this pastry is delicious, the filling is sweetly spiced. You can fill an Empanada with vegetarian fillings too. Places that I would go to buy Italian and Greek ingredients now stock lots of food from South America. Places like Pennisi Cuisine in Woolloongabba .
I made these Empanadas for my son’s birthday party. I actually made around eighty of them! They were a big hit and they were all eaten! I watched how to make the pretty twisted pastry on YouTube and here is the link.
I used the dough recipe from SouthAmericanFood.About.Com
- 4 cups flour
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, chilled
- 12 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
- 3/4 – 1 cup water
- 2 egg yolks
- Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in the salt and the sugar.
- Blend the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or with two knives, until fairly well blended.
- Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water. Stir in the 1/2 cup of water/egg mixture, a little at a time until the dough starts to come together smoothly. Keep kneading the dough, adding more water/egg a little at a time as necessary (you may need a few tablespoons of extra water), until the dough is smooth. The dough will seem a bit shaggy until it has thoroughly chilled.
- Cover the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. (Dough can also be kept overnight (or a couple of days) in the refrigerator). Dough should be soft and smooth and not elastic – if you poke a hole in it with your finger, the indentation should remain.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and roll into desired thickness.
- Makes enough dough for 10-12 large Empanadas.
Recipe For Filling
3 tablespoons of olive oil
200g onions, chopped
200g spring onions, chopped
½ tsp chilli powder
1 kg minced beef (not too lean)
250ml hot beef stock
3 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves (optional)
Handful of green olives, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
Extra butter, melted
Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and spring onion. Fry until the onion is translucent. Add the beef. Cook until the meat is brown, then add the hot stock and simmer until the beef is cooked through. Add the sugar and season with salt, then add the paprika, cinnamon, ground cloves and a little water. Cook over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. Chop the hard-boiled eggs into small pieces and slice the olives, add these to the beef. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Take pieces of pastry about the size of golf balls and roll out to circles 10–15 cm in diameter. Dust lightly with flour. Put a generous spoonful of meat filling in the center of each round. Sprinkle with cumin. Fold the pastry into a half-moon, then fold in the edges, crimping them with your fingers as you go. (See the YouTube link for instructional video on how to crimp). Place the Empanadas on a greased tray and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
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March 14th, 2013
Quinoa is such an amazing grain. It seems to really have all the benefits that people say it has! It’s easy to digest, gluten free and a great source of calcium so vegans often include it in their diets. It is not an acquired taste as some of these new ingredients are. As long as you wash it well before cooking with it I’m sure you’ll enjoy the taste.
I have posted some recipes before using quinoa as an ingredient but this is my favourite so far. You could spice the potato mixture with Moroccan as I have or Indian Spices or any combination you like. You can purchase quinoa in the major supermarkets in the health aisle or if you would like to go to a organic grocer they will stock it too.
6 white potatoes
1 free range egg
1/2 cup of crumbled feta
1 cup of cooked quinoa (wash well then boil in salted water for 15 mins)
2 spring onions chopped finely
1 cup of parsley chopped finely
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon of ground chilli
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 cups of gluten free breadcrumbs
Place potatoes in a saucepan full of salted water and boil until tender. Drain well and allow to cool slightly then transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix with the other ingredients. Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into balls the size of a golf ball. Place on a plate ready for deep frying.
Half fill a small saucepan with an oil that you are happy to deep fry in. I used a combination of olive oil and canola oil. Heat the oil until really hot then drop in a potato ball and fry. This will take around three to five minutes.
They should come out golden and with a soft center. You can serve with a salad and some mayonaise or chutney. I served mine with a couscous salad.
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