San Choy Bow

Who doesn’t like Chinese food? It’s a cuisine that seems to get universal love – and no wonder. So much flavour, lots of colourful veggies, and it’s usually a pretty cheap meal too.

San choy bow is one of my favourite Chinese dishes and is perfect for summer lunches or dinners. It’s quick to make, doesn’t use any hard-to-get ingredients, and it’s a lot lighter than many other options, because it’s not wrapped in pastry or deep-fried. I made this for dinner earlier this week, and am loving the leftovers for a super-quick lunch.

You can modify this about a million ways and it will still work, so don’t dismiss it if the recipe contains something you don’t like or can’t eat. I made mine using garlic-infused oil and sans mushrooms to deal with my FODMAP issues, and since we were right out of pork mince, I just substituted chicken mince. If you need it to be gluten-free, just check the labels on your sauces and make sure your corn flour is actually made from corn, not wheat (yes, seriously!)

san choy bow1

Serves 4

1 iceberg lettuce
50g dried rice noodles, soaked in hot water then roughly chopped
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs corn flour
½ small red chilli, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs olive oil
8 shitake mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom will substitute perfectly)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp crushed ginger
500g lean minced pork (or substitute chicken mince)
6 water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
2 tbs hoisin sauce
4 spring onions, finely sliced

Discard outer leaves, then carefully cut whole leaves from the lettuce, choosing 8 that form neat cups. In a bowl, mix sauces, sesame oil, cornflour, chilli and egg – set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or large non-stick pan over high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add pork and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, for 8-10 minutes or until cooked. Drain off any excess liquid. Return pan to heat and add water chestnuts, carrot and noodles, cook for 4 minutes. Stir the sauce mixture, then add to pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Place lettuce leaves on plates and divide mixture between them. Drizzle hoisin sauce over and top with spring onions.  To eat, simply roll up the lettuce leaf around the filling, dip in some extra hoi sin sauce or soy sauce and stuff it in your face.

san choy bow2

Chicken & yoghurt curry – low FODMAPs version

I hadn’t made my old favourite chicken and yoghurt curry in ages, when my friend Amanda reminded me of it recently. She suffers from some similar food intolerances to me and was bemoaning the fact that she can no longer eat this, due to the onion and garlic base. Onion and garlic are high in fructans and are generally off-limits foods for those of us who are sensitive to that particular FODMAPs group. You can imagine the difficulties that causes for a foodie who loves Asian, French, Italian and Spanish food.

So, having been prodded, I pulled out the recipe and had a little think about possible modifications. It turned out to be a cinch to make this one FODMAPs-friendly. I plated it up and fed it to BIke Boy, who didn’t even notice that it was different… Yes, I’m sneaky like that.

Read on for the modified recipe.

Note: It’s very difficult to make any kind of casserole look attractive in a photo – no matter how delicious the dish may be, it generally looks like brown glop. This particular photo got no zhooshing either, as it was my dinner, I was starving and was just about to scoff it.

You’ll just have to trust me: it’s very, very tasty.

chicken_yoghurt_curry

Serves 4-6

1 to 1.5kg chicken pieces (skin removed)
6 spring onions, bulbs discarded and green tops roughly chopped
1 tsp chopped ginger
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
2 tsp garlic-infused olive oil
2 tsp peanut or olive oil*
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
½ cup low-lactose Greek yoghurt (I use Jalna)
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
extra chopped coriander to garnish

Blend spring onion tops, ginger and fresh coriander in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Heat both oils in a heavy saucepan and fry the blended mixture, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add turmeric, garam masala, salt and chilli powder and fry for a further minute. Stir in yoghurt and tomatoes and fry until liquid dries up and the mixture is the consistency of a thick puree. Add chicken pieces, turning them in the mixture to coat, then turn heat low, cover tightly and cook until chicken is tender (about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces). If liquid from the chicken has not evaporated by this time, uncover and raise the heat to dry off excess liquid. Stir gently at base of pan to prevent burning.

Garnish with chopped coriander.

I sometimes add a big lot of chopped spinach to this at the end of the cooking time for extra veggies.

*The reason I’ve used two different oils is that the only garlic-infused oil I can find is extra-virgin and that isn’t really recommended for frying. It’s also quite expensive, but luckily has a very strong garlic flavour, so two teaspoons should be enough. If you’re not fussed about losing the beneficial compounds in the oil and/or want to ward off vampires, by all means go ahead and use a full tablespoon. ;)

Poached chicken with Vietnamese coleslaw

This recipe was provided to me courtesy of the Heart Foundation, who kindly hosted a blogger event last week (you can read all about that over on my other blog) and fed a bunch of us delicious, healthy food – which we had to cook ourselves! ;) It’s easy and quite quick to make, and really does look spectacular.

Serves 4-6

Salad

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 knob of ginger, chopped
1/4 cabbage, finely shredded
1 carrot, grated
2 sprigs of mint leaves, finely chopped

Dressing

2 tbs fish sauce
4 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce

Topping

Unsalted peanuts, chopped
Fried shallot flakes (available in the Asian section at the supermarket)

Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and mix well. Allow to stand for 20 minutes while you prepare the chicken to allow the flavours to develop. Once chicken is almost ready to serve, add the cabbage, carrot and mint and mix well. Arrange on a serving platter with shredded chicken on top and sprinkle peanuts and shallots over.

Poached chicken

4 120g chicken breast portions
500ml water
2 parsley stalks
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 chopped red chilli
Freshly ground pepper

Bring the water, parsley stalks, onion, chilli and pepper to the boil in a shallow pan. Place the fillets into the liquid, turn down low and allow to poach for 10-12 minutes, turning once. Remove from the poaching liquid and shred with two forks. Alternatively, you can cut the chicken into thin slices.

As you might have noticed, I used what was on hand for the pictured version. I had some red cabbage in the fridge and plenty of carrots. Fresh mint grows in our garden, so that was easily available. I thought it needed a bit more “green” though, so I added some finely shredded lettuce. You could substitute any kind of cabbage in this recipe – wombok would work really well – and could even use different herbs. A mixture of mint, basil, coriander and Vietnamese mint would be fantastic. Use your imagination and go nuts!

Sweet Chilli Prawns

This is another quick and easy meal – I whipped it up within about 15 minutes of getting home tonight.

Serves 4

500g green prawn cutlets (that’s the peeled ones with the tail still intact)
200g snow peas, trimmed
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into segments
1 red capsicum, sliced into thin strips
1 bunch of baby Bok Choy, sliced into approx 4cm lengths
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp minced chilli
2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
1 tbs peanut oil

Combine lime juice, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, chilli and garlic in a bowl and add prawns. Mix well and put aside to marinate while you prepare the veggies. Heat half the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Drain the prawns (reserve the liquid) and cook for 2-3 minutes until pink. Remove them from the pan and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the wok and add onion, cooking for 1 minute. Add the other veggies and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until they’re cooked to your liking. Return the prawns to the pan, adding the reserved marinade. Cook 1-2 minutes until simmering.

Serve with steamed rice or extra veggies. I added asparagus to mine (of course), and also some coriander leaves.

Quick chicken stir-fry

I’ve been inspired by Shelley to come up with some super-quick meals, using packed-for-convenience ingredients. Sometimes you want something tasty, but you know…you just don’t want to muck around with all that preparation.

Serves 1

150g chicken breast
1 tsp coconut oil (if you have cholesterol issues, swap this for olive oil or something)
1/2 tsp crushed garlic from a jar
1/4 tsp crushed chilli from a jar
1/2 a small to medium onion, sliced
2 cups frozen stir-fry veggies (I used Heinz Shanghai mix). Note: Nuke them for a minute or two and pour off excess water
1 tsp fish sauce or soy sauce
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
50g washed baby spinach – Woollies sell this already washed in a 150g bag

Slice the onion and the chicken breast (this is the most trouble you have to go to). Heat a wok and add the oil. Throw in onion, garlic and chilli, stir fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken and stir till cooked through. Add the veggies and stir till heated through. Add sauces and baby spinach, stir and cover for a minute till spinach wilts.

Serve with or without rice.

I added some cooked asparagus I had in the fridge to mine. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes. Easy-peasy.

Golden Mountain Sauce

Especially for Michelle….


This is one of those “secret” ingredients that has your dinner guests going: Wow! Mine never turns out like this!

Bike Boy is in charge of buying weird Asian ingredients. He used to get them in Box Hill, but now trawls the Vic Market, or local Asian grocers (hint: look for shops that most people would think smell really weird).

The picture above is the one we used to get. There’s some info here too.

The bottle we have at the moment isn’t even labelled in English, so I assume he asked for help in finding it…. don’t know, since he isn’t here to ask at the mo’. Anyways, it looks like this:

Somewhere on there it says in English “Green Label Seasoning Sauce”

Vietnamese chicken & tamarind stir-fry

We needed a quick dinner tonight, and this was what I came up with:


Serves 4

800g chicken breast fillets, sliced thinly
A generous teaspoon of crushed garlic
1-2 small red chillies, depending on how hot you like your food
2 tsp palm sugar (or use brown sugar)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon tamarind puree
1 tsp fish sauce
1 thickly sliced onion
1/2 cup coriander leaves
2 bunches pak choy, washed and sliced into bite-sized pieces
Oil for cooking

Place garlic, chilli, palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and tamarind puree in a bowl and mix well. Add chicken and stir to coat. Steam the pak choy in a microwave for 2 minutes and set aside. Heat a wok and add a tablespoon of oil. Stir-fry chicken in 3-4 batches until browned and cooked through. Add a little more oil if needed and stir-fry the onion until softened. Add cooked chicken again and stir to heat through, then add pak choy and chopped coriander.

Serve with steamed rice, extra coriander leaves and lime wedges. You might also want to add a little more fish sauce, depending on how salty you like your food.

Thai beef salad

I’m not a huge steak fan, but this is one of my favourite ways to eat it.

Serves 1

Dressing:

1 tbs Fish sauce
1 tbs Lime juice
1 tsp Golden Mountain sauce*
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs finely chopped coriander leaves

Choose any steak that’s suitable for barbecuing or grilling and cook to your liking. While it’s cooking, mix the dressing ingredients together, taste and add more lime juice or fish sauce if it needs it. Arrange any salad veggies you like on a platter. Slice the steak into thin strips and arrange on the plate, add the dressing in a small bowl and serve.

If you prefer, you can throw everything in a nice big serving bowl, pour some of the dressing over and toss.

For salad, I always use cucumber, capsicum, red onion and some coriander leaves, then add whatever else I have. Here, I used some lettuce and baby spinach as well. You could add carrot, some Thai basil leaves, and if you really want an authentic flavour, some thinly sliced lemongrass.

* Golden Mountain Sauce is available from Asian groceries, and there’s really nothing else like it. If you can’t get it, substitute soy sauce – not the same, but it’ll do.

Thai-style fish cakes

Easy, pretty quick and T.A.S.T.Y.


Serves 2 (or 1 if you’re hungry)

300g of firm white fish fillets
About a teaspoon of crushed garlic
Crushed or chopped chilli, to taste
2 tbs chopped coriander leaves
2 finely sliced spring onions
Zest of one lime
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp fish sauce
1-2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp peanut oil

Chop the fish roughly and process for a few seconds until it sticks together – you don’t want a really fine paste, or you’ll end up with rubbery fish cakes. Tip into a bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well. With wet hands, shape into 4 balls and flatten into cakes.

Heat a non-stick pan and add oil. Fry fish cakes until browned on both sides and cooked through. try to turn them only once, as they tend to fall apart if you handle them too much.

Serve with steamed rice and stir-fried veggies or a salad. You could add extra sweet chilli sauce for dipping.

Stir-fried chicken with lemon & basil

This recipe came from an old magazine about 15 years ago, and it’s been one of our staples ever since.

Serves 3-4

500g boneless chicken pieces (I used thighs, but breasts work fine, since the cooking time is short)
1 tbs oil
1 tbs chopped ginger
1 tbs chopped garlic
Zest of one lemon or lime*
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs fish sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar – preferably use palm sugar if you can get it.
400g can of straw mushrooms**
About 20 leaves of basil – or substitute Vietnamese mint for a nice change

Dice the chicken and set aside. Drain the straw mushrooms, then slice each one in half. Place in a bowl with the chilli, sauces, sugar and lemon zest. Heat a wok, add the oil and quickly stir the ginger and garlic for about a minute, taking care not to let it burn. Add the chicken and stir-fry until browned and almost cooked through. Add the mushrooms etc, and stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes until sauce thickens a little. Tear the basil leaves if they’re large, add them to the wok and stir through, then serve immediately.

This goes well with steamed basmati rice and a steamed green veggie, such as pak choy or broccoli.

*We use finely shredded Kaffir lime leaves, but the zest is a good substitute if you don’t happen to have a tree in your backyard.

**Straw mushrooms are available in the Asian section of major supermarkets here in Australia. You could substitute champignons, which are not really the same but would do the job. Or leave them out altogether and just serve with other stir-fried veggies.