Sushi

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KITHCEN KIT:
Large sauce pan, tea towel, sushi bamboo mat, flat dish/plate, fan, rice spatula.

Ingredients Serves 6:
For the Sushi:
1. 250g Sushi rice
2. 1 pint of water
3. 60ml Mirin (sometimes labelled as Sushi seasoning)
4. 8 Nori Sushi sheets (dried seaweed sheets)
5. 100g smoked or fresh salmon
6. 100g smoked mackerel
7. 100g crab sticks
8. 1 Cucumber peeled and sliced into approx. 2 inch in length, soak in cold water and salt for 5 minutes.
9. 4 tsp. Wasabi paste (reduced quantity of wasabi paste for a lesser heat.)

To Serve:
10. 4 tbsp. Japanese light Soy sauce (different from a Chinese soy sauce, the Chinese soy sauce has a higher salt content)
11. 1 tbsp. Japanese Pickled Ginger
12. ½ tbsp. Wasabi paste

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The Rice:
1. Rinse and drain the rice at least 5 times under cold water (this will reduce excess starch from the rice and will not make your rice too sticky).
2. Finally on a large saucepan, over medium heat pour over your rinsed and drained rice, add 1 pint of water into the pan and bring it to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes until there is no water left on the surface.
3. Remove the rice from the hob, transfer the rice on a large flat clean dish, damp a tea towel and use this to cover the rice. Allow rice to cool for 10-15 minutes.
4. Pour the Mirin over the cooled rice, use a rice spatula to cut through the rice (cutting through the rice rather than mixing it will retain the rice individual grain shapes and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky and glutinous)
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5. Fan the rice with a Mirin for 1 -2 minutes.
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Making the Sushi:
Note: there are many ways to make and roll and sushi, instructions below is just one example which is the Makizushi. If you would like to create a variety of sushi rolls and sizes, below are some picture instructions for reference.
6. To make the sushi place a bamboo sushi mat on a work surface, then place 1 Nori sheet on top. Spoon the rice over the Nori sheet; use a knife to spread it thinly, for one end of the Nori sheet leave approx. ½ inch of it empty or without rice, using your finger smear some water or Mirin over this, this will allow you to seal your sushi roll. (As you roll you can add more crab meat or cucumber slices if you wish as I have done in this picture, alternatively you can simply roll away and seal.)
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7. Next add your crab meat, cucumber or other fillings on the rice, spread a little wasabi paste on it.
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8. Roll up the bamboo mat gently pressing it with both hands to make sure that the sushi is rolled tightly on all sides, Remove the Sushi roll from the mat, you can if needed you can add more rice on the two ends of the sushi roll to fill any gaps. Place the sushi roll on a chopping board. Use a very sharp knife to slice your sushi, if your knife becomes too sticky, soak the sharp end of the knife on a bowl of warm water to remove the stickiness and continue slicing through.
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Other Alternative Ways to roll and make a Sushi:

For a Cone Shape Sushi (Temaki Sushi):
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For another shape of Sushi (Nigiri Sushi):
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For another example of a roll Sushi (Makizushi):
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9. To keep the sushi moist and tasty, cover it with a cling film and place in an airtight container before serving or storing in the fridge.
10. When ready to serve, serve it with some pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi paste.

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Cambodian Beef Steak Baguette (Loc Lac)

Steak Baguette

I learnt to cook this dish in Battambang, a town in western Cambodia. Since coming back to the UK, I’ve cooked this dish many times. It always reminds me of Battambang and of the smiley, wonderful children I met at Cambodian’s Childrens Trust. Loc Lac is considered as one of Cambodia’s national dishes, second only to ‘Fish Amok’. Loc Lac or marinated beef is usually served with steamed rice and a fried egg, on a bed of lettuce, slice tomatoes and onions. This recipe is my take on the famous Cambodian Loc Lac, which I have adapted to suit my taste buds. I am also pairing this dish up with a baguette rather than the usual steamed rice. One of the things that surprised me whilst travelling around Cambodia is that the Cambodians really love their baguettes. In all the towns and provinces I visited across Cambodia there were always baguettes for sale. Although the French are long gone, the French influence on Khmer cuisine and diet is still strong today. I noticed that the baguettes in Cambodia are sweeter than the baguettes you find in France, the soft bread inside the crispy crust has a slightly cake like texture. I have seen Cambodians eating baguettes all across Cambodia, from the busy city centres of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, to the provinces of Kampong Chhnang and Kampot to the remote border towns of Pailin and Phsa Prum, there are always baguettes for sale. So I thought pairing up Loc Lac with a wonderful baguette would be as nice as eating it with steamed rice. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

KITCHEN KIT:
A wok, a medium size bowl and a small bowl.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Marinade:
1.  Approx. 215g beef sirloin, slice thinly into strips
2.  3 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated
3.  30g ginger, crushed or grated
4.  ¼ tsp. chilli flakes
5.  1 tsp. ground Kompot pepper (or  just ground black pepper)
6.  1 tbsp. palm sugar
7.  ½ lime juice
8.  1 tsp.  vegetable oil
9.  2 tbsps. light soy sauce
10. 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
11. 1 tbsp. tomato ketchup
12. 1 tbsp. fish sauce

For the Lime and Pepper Sauce:
13. 1 small lime juice
14. 1 tsp.  ground Kompot pepper (or  just ground black pepper)
16. ¼ tsp. sugar
17. Pinch of salt

For the Stir Fry and Garnish:
18. 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, for frying
19. 2 baguettes
20. 1 iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
21. 2 medium size tomatoes, deseeded and thinly sliced
22. 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
23. A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
For the Marinade:
1.  On a bowl mix all the beef with the marinade ingredients listed above.  Cover with a cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge over night or for at least 1 hour.

 

For the Lime and Pepper Sauce:
2.  On a small bowl, combine all the ‘Lime and Pepper Sauce’ ingredients listed above.  Set aside for later use.

 

For the Stir Fry and Garnish:
3.  Slice your baguettes into halves, stuff your baguettes with the lettuce, tomatoes, shallots, and coriander leaves then set aside.
4.  Meanwhile, on a wok over very high heat, add 3 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is smoking hot, add your beef (do not add the marinade just the beef). Cook the beef in batches.  Remove from heat and set aside to rest the beef for a couple of minutes.
5.  Add the beef in your baguette, drizzle with some ‘Lime and Pepper’ sauce on top.

Serve Immediately.

 

Mussels with noodles cooked in coconut milk and lemon grass (Thai Inspired)

I got the inspiration to create this dish from my Mom’s amazing fishball noodle soup. Its so comforting and reminds me of hot evenings spent sampling street food on the streets of Bangkok. I loved the dish so much that my Mom called her Thai friend to teach her how to cook it. Unfortunately as neither my local Sainsbury’s nor Waitrose sells Thai fish balls here in the UK, I have created this dish using mussels instead. I have also adapted the recipe using Thai beer for additional layer of flavour, making this a refreshing dish. I hope you enjoy it too.

KITCHEN KIT:
A large sauce pan with a lid and a medium sauce pan.

Ingredients Serves 4:
The Mussels:
1.  1 kg fresh mussels
2.  2 tbsp. groundnut oil
3.  30g ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
4.  2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
5.  1 small shallot, finely chopped
6.  1 red birds eye chilli finely chopped (deseed chilli to lessen heat)
7.  2 stalks of lemon grass, finely chopped
8.  150ml Thai Beer
9.  300 ml Coconut milk (tin)

Seasoning:
10. 4 tbsp. fish sauce
11. 2 tsp. palm sugar
12. Pinch of Ground white pepper

Egg Noodles:
13. 250g dried egg noodles (use fresh ones if available)
14. Pinch of salt
15. 2 tsp. groundnut oil
Garnish:
16. Handful of coriander, finely chopped
17. Handful of sweet holy basil, torn
18. 2 spring onions, chopped

For the Egg Noodles:
1.  On a medium size sauce pan, over a medium heat, boil some water with a pinch of salt and some oil.
2.  Once the water starts boiling add your egg noodles. (Follow your egg noodles packet instructions) as some dried egg noodles takes longer cooking time.) Once cooked, drain and set aside.

The Mussels:
3.  Wash and clean your mussels on a cold running water, for mussels that are open or slightly open, tap them lightly and if they do not close discard them.
4.  On a large pan, over high heat add 2 tbsp. of groundnut oil, ginger, garlic, shallots, chilies and lemon grass, sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant.


5.  Add mussels and beer; allow it to simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, pinch of pepper and cover with a lid.


6.  Leave to cook for 5 minutes gently shaking the pan a few times. Once the mussels have all opened, remove from heat, stir in some of your garnish herbs and add the egg noodles. Toss the noodles with the mussels.
7.  Garnish with some chopped coriander, sweet holy basil and spring onion.


Serve immediately.

Winter Comfort Chicken Noodle Soup (Vietnamese Inspired)

Chicken Noodle Soup

KITCHEN KIT:
Large Sauce Pan, Ladle

Ingredients Serves 3:
1.  150 egg noodles
2.  200g chicken breast
3.  1.5 litre chicken stock (best to make your own chicken stock or buy a very good quality ready made chicken stock from Waitrose, rather than use chicken stock cubes; as a very good stock makes this dish)
4.  1 star anise
5.  1 cinnamon bark
6.  3 garlic cloves finely chopped
7.  approx 20g ginger finely slice into match sticks
8.  2 celery finely chopped
9.  1 medium size carrot finely chopped
10. a handful of spring onions (chop off white bottom at approx 1.5 inches and the rest chopped finely)
11. a handful of coriander leaves finely chopped
12. a handful of Thai sweet holy basil (a type of basil commonly used in Thailand and South East Asian cuisine with a distinct sweet aroma and taste)
13. 1 lime, slice in half
14. 1 chilli finely chopped (deseeded as well if you prefer your soup mild than not spicy)
15. 4 tbsp fish sauce
16. 2 tsp palm sugar
17. Some Kompot Black peppercorns

The Chicken Noodle Soup:
1.  In a saucepan simmer the chicken breast, chicken stock, 3cm spring onion slices, ginger, star anise, cinnamon bark, fish sauce, sugar and some peppercorns. Cover the sauce pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  After 10 minutes, remove the star anise, cooked chicken and cinnamon bark. Flake the chicken with 2 forks and set aside. Discard the star anise and cinnamon bark.
2.  Add carrots and celery to the stock and cook for 10 minutes.
3.  Add egg noodles and cook for 3 minutes.


4.  Transfer noodles and soup to a bowl, add flaked chicken on top.

Serve with fresh chopped Thai sweet holy basil, chillies, coriander leaves and rest of the chopped spring onions.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Stir Fry Minced Beef with Sweet Holy Basil “Pad Kra Pao Neua”

Pad Kra Pao

This is certainly one of my favourite Thai street food. Simple to cook and yet so tasty. I love having this as a main course with a Tom Kha Kai for a starter and dessert as Sticky Mango with coconut rice.

KITCHEN KIT:
· Wok

Ingredients Serves 4:
1.  2 tsp of vegetable oil
2.  4 cloves of garlic
3.  4 bird’s eye chilies
4.  200g minced beef
5.  3 ½ tsp of oyster sauce (I recommend the Thai oyster sauce for this dish, as per the picture below)
6.  4 tsp of beef stock
7.  1 tsp of sugar
8.  2 tsp of fish sauce
9.  2 kaffir lime leaves (on sale in Waitrose, though it is best to get this fresh or frozen from an oriental supermarket)
10. 2 handfuls of sweet holy basil (on sale in Waitrose- labelled as Thai basil). Note that you would need the ‘sweet’ holy basil not just a holy basil, sweet holy basil has a distinct sweet aroma and enhances the flavours of the dish.
11. A handful of fried garlic (you can either fry fresh finely chopped garlic or buy this from an oriental super market, as per the picture below)
12. A handful of coriander leaves for garnish

Oyster Sauce

Thai Oyster Sauce (picture above)

Fried Garlic (picture above)

Sweet Holy Basil

Sweet Holy Basil (picture above)

The Beef:
1. The key to this dish is a smoking hot wok and preparing all the ingredients before you begin cooking. Heat the oil in the wok until it is very, very hot. Fry the garlic and chilli for 30 seconds to a minute. Just as the garlic is browning tip in the minced beef.

2. Fry the minced beef for a minute or two until it browns. Add the beef stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, kaffir lime leaves and sweat holy basil. There should not be too much liquid, just enough for a little sauce. Do not add too much liquid or fry the beef for too long as the beef will toughen up and it will not taste as nice.

The Egg:
For a genuine Thai style fried egg. Heat some oil in a frying pan until it is smoking hot. Crack the egg into the pan, because the pan is so hot the egg should crisp up around the edges. Move the egg from side to side, bathing the entire egg with the hot oil, as per the pictures below. This will make the egg crispy, finally turn over the egg so its semi-side up and then serve. The yolk should still be runny.

Serve with rice and a fried egg.

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Tom Kha Kai ต้มข่าไก

Tom Kha Kai

This is such a comforting dish, similar to the Thais national dish “Tom Yum Gung” but a creamier version. This recipe is for my lovely friend Vladimira who adores this soup and calls it her ‘Top Soup”.

KITCHEN KIT:
· Sieve, Muslin Cloth, 2 Large Sauce Pans, Blender or Food Processor.

Ingredients Serves 4:
1.    300g Chicken Breast (skinned)
2.    40 grams of peeled Galangal
3.    6x Sticks of Lemongrass
4.    1 Bunch of Thai Coriander
5.    8 Kaffir Lime Leaves
6.    5 Red Thai Chillies (reduce or add to your preferred level of heat)
7.    5 Thai shallots (crushed)
8.    1x 1 litre carton of Coconut Milk (do not use the reduced fat  coconut milk).
9.   The juice of two limes
10.  7.5x Teaspoons of Fish Sauce
11.  6x straw or oyster mushrooms
12.  4x tomatoes
13.  ¾  tsp of salt
14.  Fresh coriander
15.  4x spring onions
16.  40 grams of garlic
17.  75 grams of ginger
18.  1x tsp black pepper corns
19.  1x star anise
20.  3x tsp sugar

The Stock:
1. Create the Asian style chicken stock. Ideally create the chicken stock by boiling two chicken carcasses in 1.6 litre of water. Skim the scum off the top of the stock leaving you with a clear broth. Alternatively buy Waitrose’s fresh chicken stock or create the chicken stock using Korrs’ chicken stockpot, 2 stockpots will create 1.5 litres of stock. (personally, I would recommend using the fresh stock as the taste does make a big difference.)
2. Add on the boiling stock, four bruised spring onions, 40g of bruised whole garlics cloves (do not slice), 75g of peeled ginger, a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and up to one whole star anise depending on your taste.

The Tom Kha Paste:
1. Whilst the stock is simmering create the Tom Kha paste. Finely chop 75g of shallots, 40g of garlic, 40g of galangal (you can use ginger if you cannot find galangal in the shops), and six lemongrass stalks. I always chop these ingredients as finely as possible because unless you have an industrial grade food processor/blender if the ingredients are not chopped as finely as possible you will break the blender – as I have already done twice! Put the finely chopped ingredients in the blender with a few tablespoons of coconut milk and blend until smooth.
2. Add the paste to the simmering stock and continue to simmer for three to five minutes.
3. Take the stock off the heat and pass through a sieve to remove the larger ingredients no longer needed such as the spring onions and ginger. For a smoother soup pass the liquid through a muslin cloth, as per the picture below. (This removes any of the ingredients the blender might not have blended completely smooth.)
4. Add the kaffir lime leaves, salt, chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring back to the boil until the chicken is cooked, season with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chillies to taste.

Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander leaves. It should taste both sour and creamy.

Tom Kha Kai 2