Turmeric and Garlic Fried Rice

Nothing is better than a lunch that can be made in 30 minutes and this Turmeric and Garlic Fried Rice is it! All you need is left over rice, a bit of garlic and turmeric and if you’re feeling wild some fresh chilli. The best thing is you can mix it up as much as possible. Replace the turmeric with curry powder or smoked paprika. Not into garlic? Brown onion, spring onion or omit it altogether, and don’t get me started on all the combinations of toppings. My personal favourite is a fried egg, but leftover meat from last night’s dinner, marinated tofu or tofu scramble is pretty good too. The best thing about this simple dish is that you can do almost anything to it and make it completely yours!

What you’ll need (serves 3):

  • 3 cups of leftover rice*
  • 2-3 cloves of minced
  • 2 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 cup frozen peas and corn
  • Oil of choice
  • 2 chillies sliced (optional)

Recipe write up is after the video

To make:

  1. Heat a pan on high heat and add oil once the pain is hot to touch and then heat the oil
  2. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic is fragrant
  3. Add the turmeric and chillies if using. Make sure there is enough oil in the pan that slurry of spice is made – you don’t want this to be too dry
  4. As soon as the spice mix is fragrant, add the frozen peas and corn to this and stir so the veggies are coated in the spices. You want to cook the veggies until the frost has melted and the peas and corn are vibrant. This is the perfect moment to add the rice to the pan
  5. Mix the rice, veggies and spices around until the rice has been coloured an awesome yellow. I like to let the rice sit for a couple minutes at a time so the bottom gets nice, brown and crispy – almost like a paella, and then stir through
  6. Keep cooking the rice until the rice is heated through
  7. Best served immediately with toppings of choice

Notes

*Leftover rice is best as it has dried out a little and gets brown and crispy during frying. You can use fresh rice, the end result will be similar but not the same

Baked Salmon and Sweet Potato Salad

I don’t really like fish. I don’t like prawns, I don’t like fish curry and I most certainly do not like mussels. For some reasons though, I love salmon. I can’t explain it. I love smoked salmon and a sucker for a fish Pattie made from salmon, but my favourite way of eating salmon is marinating in spices and lemon juice and then baking it in the oven. It’s something that can be easily eaten all times dig the year, it’s light enough to be a fresh summer main and hearty enough to be winter warmer in the coldest of days.

The flavour combos in the salad is awesome. Smoked paprika is one of my all time favourite spices and I will add it to everything, paired with garlic and lemon juice and it sure is a winner. The best part of this spice mix is that you can pretty much put it on everything because it is quite universal and does not overwhelm your mouth in a bad way. On top of this, the flavours of the marinade go really well with sweet potato salad, why? because the creaminess of goats cheese and the texture of sweet potato and walnuts together is just perfect. You’ll just have to confirm this for yourselves and trust me.

I prefer to cook with salmon with the skin on because I like how it goes crispy. For best result for crispy skin either pan fry it or broil it under an oven grill. Unfortunately for me at the moment I have an oven older then time itself and the grill doesn’t work all that well, so I’ll be baking and roasting things as opposed to broiling for a little while.

What you’ll need for the salmon (serves 4):

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • Juice of 2 lemons and lemon wedges for serving

What you’ll need for the salad (serves 4):

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (cubed)
  • 1 red onion (cut into half and the the halves quartered)
  • garlic cloves from one whole head of garlic (keep the cloves in their skin)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp of honey
  • Baby spinach or rocket
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 200g goats cheese or blue cheese

How to Make:

  1. Combine the smoked paprika, minced garlic and lemon juice together. Add as much juice to the spice mix until a thin consistency is formed
  2. Coat the Salmon fillets in the marinade and let rest in the fridge for at least one hour. The longer you marinate the better as it gives it the flavours a chance to really soak into the fish
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 220 Degrees C and get your baking trays ready
  4. Put the sweet potato, rosemary, red onion, oil and salt on the tray make sure all the sweet potato and red onion pieces are coated in oil and salt
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, take out the garlic cloves and put aside and drop the oven temperature to 180 degrees C. Put your salmon on a separate tray and return the sweet potato to the oven along with the salmon and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked
  6. Meanwhile get the dressing for the salad together. Squeeze out the baked garlic from its skin and mash. Once the garlic is mashed into a paste, add the balsamic vinegar, honey and salt to taste
  7. To make the salad, toss the spinach, roast sweet potato and onion, walnuts, cheese and dressing together until just combined – don’t toss too much others you’re going to have a mush of a salad
  8. Serve the salmon with salad and enjoy with a squeeze a lemon and the company of loved ones

Hope you guys liked this recipe and I cannot wait to see how you’re version of the recipe turned out!

Honey Soy Eggplant and Tofu

Honey Spy sauce has got to be my partner’s favourite form of sauce/marinade to ever exist, and I have been on a constant hunt to perfecting the recipe. There are a couple of requirements that I needed to fulfil in order to satisfy his taste buds:

  • It couldn’t be too spicy
  • And it actually had to taste nice and be close enough to what you can get in bottled marinade or better

The spicy part was no problem for me, I could easily omit the spice in the sauce and add fresh chillies to my own dish, the hard part was trying to make it better then a bottled marinade but still be able to recreate the flavours and consistency every time I make it. Whenever I make a honey soy sauce, it’s never sweet enough to balance out the soy sauce, and then I remembered kecap manis. Kecap manis is a sweet soy sauce that I will pour on literally anything. From stir-fry to noodles to just plain rice, it’s the perfect addition to make bring an extra kick to a honey soy marinade.

I like to serve this with rice and sesame garlic spinach and the great thing about this honey soy sauce is that you can put in on absolutely everything! I’ve also attempted to make a cheats version of spring onion pancakes to serve with it (pictured), but still nailing out this recipe.

What you’ll need for the marinade::

(serves 4-6 depending on what you serve it with)

  • 3 cloves of garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp of minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup of honey *
  • 2/3 cups of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • Dash of white wine vinegar

What you’ll need for the eggplant and tofu:

  • Cornstarch
  • 2 medium eggplants (diced)
  • 400g of firm tofu (diced)**
  • Oil of choice for frying ***

How to make:

  1. Coat the diced eggplant and tofu with cornstarch until completely covered
  2. Heat oil in a shallow pan or in a wok until hot enough. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of bread or tofu/eggplant into the oil. If a whole heap of bubbles surround the piece of food – your oil is hot enough to cook
  3. Fry the eggplant and tofu in batches until golden brown. I prefer to fry the tofu and eggplant separately because they have slightly different cooking time
  4. While frying the eggplant and tofu, combine all the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to the stove pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil and reduce the sauce for 5 minutes – don’t forget to keep stirring the marinade as it will have a tendency to stick to the bottom and burn
  5. Take the sauce off the heat and put aside
  6. When all the eggplant and tofu pieces have been fried pour the honey soy sauce of the tofu and eggplant pieces
  7. Best served fresh and eaten straight away

*To make this vegan, maple syrup is an easy alternative to honey

**I prefer to press the extra moisture out from my tofu before cooking. I’ve done this without pressing and it works perfectly fine too

***You don’t have to fry the tofu and eggplant if you don’t want to. To bake instead, coat the eggplant and tofu in the cornstarch and bake in oven set to 220 degrees C until golden brown and the eggplant is cooked through.

A Plant Based Mexican Shepherd’s Pie Mash Up

There’s not much more in life than I enjoy than pie. There are so many different varieties that really the sky is your ultimate limit. Sweet, savour and everything in between, a pie is the perfect place to chuck in a load of vegetables and leftovers from the fridge, wrap it in pastry and add some cheese on top. A pie can be the ultimate lazy food, especially if you’re like me and you so no problem in using store bought pastry – because honestly who has the time to make pastry when you’re being lazy.

This pie was inspired by some heavy Mexican flavours from the smoked paprika, cumin and black beans but touches on that shepherd pie notes with sweet and normal potato mash. Top it with cheese and more smoked paprika and you are in for banging time.

What I really like about this pie recipe is that it can easily be made completely plant based. Most of the ingredients I used were already plant based in the original iterations of this pie except for the milk and the pastry. So if you want to make it completely plant based sub out milk for a plant based milk (I think almond would be best as it would work with the sweet potato) and if I’m not mistaken Borg’s Puff Pastry is vegan friendly (which is what I usually use) because it uses vegetable margarines and not butter to make the crispy delightful layers.

Serves 6 – 8 depending on serving time

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes (cubed)
  • 7 small white potatoes (cubed)
  • 2 zucchini’s (chopped)
  • 500g button mushrooms (roughly torn apart into chunks)
  • 1 yellow capsicum (chopped)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans tinned tomatoes 
  • 3-4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3-4 tsp smoked paprika and extra for sprinkling
  • 3-4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Milk of choice 
  • Butter of choice
  • Salt to taste
  • Pastry of choice – keep it plant based to keep it vegan
  • Shredded cheese of choice – keep it plant based to keep it vegan

How To Make:

  1. Start with sweet potato and potato mash by bringing the chopped potatoes to a boil until soft. I judge this by how easily I can put a fork through the potatoes
  2. Drain the potatoes and put back in the pot. Add butter, milk and salt to taste and texture that you prefer. I prefer a creamier mash so adding a bit more butter and milk gives me that result. I added 2 tbsp of butter and about a half a cup of milk
  3. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C
  4. Put the mash aside and start the filling by heating oil in a thick bottom pan. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion and garlic and sauté until translucent
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are a light brown. Add your spices and sauté until they become fragrant and then add the diced capsicum
  6. Add the rest of the pie filling ingredients: tin tomatoes, black beans, sugar and tomato paste and cook covered for 15 minutes, making sure to give the pot a good stir ever now and then
  7. After 15 minutes cook uncovered for 25-35 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thicken. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add the zucchini and stir through
  8. In a tall baking tray line with pastry (or even don’t could easily work without) and poke holes with a fork into the pastry so it can “breathe” during the cooking process. Pile in you pie filling and top with the mash potato. Bake for 35 minutes. This gives time for some of the sauce to soak into the mash potato and the pastry to get brown and crispy
  9. After 35 minutes, take pie out of the oven and liberally sprinkle with cheese on top and top with smoked paprika. Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted and gooey.

You can easily eat this straight from the pan, I wouldn’t judge you at all. There are so many veggies in this you could serve as is, or even serve it with a side salad. The choice is all yours!

Almost Mum’s Dahl

Nothing perks me up like my Mum’s Dahl, and now that I’m out of home I decided it was time I learnt how to make it myself. To me it felt like a daunting task because a) nothing tastes as good as what Mum makes and b) I don’t quite know how to cook off of instinct like Mum does. I’m getting better at it, and while I think I almost got Mum’s taste, it just wasn’t made with her love 😉. Still tasted amazing though and I will keeps this in my cooking rotation. 

Some tips for this recipe:

  • Make sure to wash your Dahl until the water is clear
  • Too much turmeric will leave you with a bitter tasting Dahl, not enough and you won’t have that subtle taste in your Dahl, so make sure to taste as you cook and add and adjust as you go
  • Don’t add the turmeric at the end of cooking the Dahl. Raw turmeric is not a great taste, so cook it out
  • Fresh chilli will give you a milder chilli taste (as long as you chuck it in whole) and dried chilli gives a stronger taste

Dahl is very versatile and can be served a variety of ways. Here I served it with rice, a spinach and onion mix, fresh chilli and fish. If I was being true to my Mum’s way (and not being ultra lazy) I would serve it with turmeric fish (and not frozen like I did) and eggplant and maybe some chutney. Anything goes really. 

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 2 cups red lentils (washed)
  • 2 cups of stock or hot water
  • 1 brown onion sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1 chilli fresh or dries

How to Make:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the onion to the hot oil. Keep cooking the onion until it gets to a light brown colour, then add your garlic and cook until the onion is a deep brown and getting crisp. Take off heat and put aside
  2. To a saucepan, add the stock or hot water to the lentils and bring to a simmer
  3. Add your turmeric, sugar and chilli and give a good stir
  4. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Make sure to give it a good stir every now and then as Dahl does tend to stick to the bottom
  5. If your Dahl is too thick for you, add water to thin out

Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you’ve made this and what your favourite dishes your Mum makes.