Archive for the ‘Asian Flavours’ Category

Pinterest is like having a whole pile of beautiful magazines delivered to your door every day… and you can cut out and keep all the pretty images you want…

I love it!

Usually I don’t follow other people’s ‘food’ pins… my diet is pretty limited these days – if you consider eggs, meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, fruit, nuts etc limited that is 🙂 It has to be said, judging by what some people ‘pin’ as food – it’s no wonder there is an obesity/diabetes epidemic happening in the world. So, when I saw this recipe I thought…hmmm…


Ignore the proud claim that it is low fat – who cares, right?

It IS sweeter than I would like, so I might tweak it when I make it again, and because we don’t like too much chilli hotness, I only used half the amount of chilli sauce … BUT, I will make it again.

This is the kind of recipe that when the husband comes home, the first thing he says is “Something smells wonderful!”

I used chicken drums – and I didn’t have nearly enough ginger in the dry mix (I ran out), but it was still very, very good. It came together very easily, smelled all sesame scrumptious – a total success, and it satisfied a craving for Chinese-style food (which we haven’t had since I got my celiac diagnosis…). We ate it with steamed cauli and broccoli.

I’m going now to check out some more of this man’s recipes… based on this one – his blog is destined for my ‘favorites’  🙂

Oh, and I think this sauce would be really great on pork slices or ribs too…



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Or, how to disguise that your plum jelly hasn’t set…

1 bottle of very good plum jam (!)
Add: (and these amounts are just a guide – add to your taste)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 small onion – grated
2 tbsp white or balsamic vinegar
3 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 dstp fish sauce
1 dstp tamari (gf)
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
Lime juice
brown sugar
Mix everything together – add a little water if you want to thin it.
Use as a dip, or as a sauce for pork ribs, bbq chicken, cold meats or cheeses.
Keep in the fridge.
No-one will ever guess that batch of plum jelly was a sloppy mess!

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1 cup onion – roughly chopped
5 spring onions – roughly chopped
5 – 6cm fresh ginger – roughly chopped (peel it if you want)
2 long, red chillies – seeded and chopped (or 1 tbsp mild chilli paste)
2 large handfuls fresh coriander
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp turmeric
Blitz to a coarse paste
Transfer to a frypan and add to cans coconut milk, salt, pepper and the grated rind and juice of 2-3 limes
Great with Fish, chicken or vegies


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Note to Self

Earlier this year I re-organised my spice cupboard… labeling every jar, but one…

… the one at the bottom, on the right-hand side… This afternoon I was looking for the Five-Spice jar… now, I knew this wasn’t it – but, what was it???

Opened it, sniffed it… ACK!

Note to self: Write a label for the jar of Asafoetida…

Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida), alternative spelling asafetida,(play /æsəˈfɛtɨdə/)[1] (also known as devil’s dungstinking gumasantfood of the godsgiant fennelhing and ting) is the dried latex (gumoleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, which is aperennial herb (1 to 1.5 m high). The species is native to India[2]. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks. (thanks to Wikipedia)

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I have fallen off the wagon.

Having not bought a cooking magazine for months, I found myself in the confectionary aisle at the supermarket, and to distract myself from the Whittaker’s dark peppermint chocolate – I bought the October 2011 delicious.magazine from the display opposite.

I found this recipe, and I had wanted an excuse to use the jar of seriously expensive organic almond butter that somehow found its way into my trolley…

Like sate sauce – but better!
2 tbsp almond butter
1/2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soft brown sugar
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp cold  water
Mix everything together in a small bowl. Cook some chicken, serve with the sauce. (We had rice with it, and another dollop of the lovely rocket oil).

I keep saying I don’t like Nigella. But, I read an article about her the other day, written by someone who confessed to not liking her tv persona, but being completely charmed by her in person.

I suspect I am just jealous.

The girl sure can cook. This recipe is absolutely delicious. We licked our plates – oh, and I think almond butter might be my new favourite thing.

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2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger – finely chopped
2 large spring onions – thinly sliced
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cardamom seeds – I had pods, so I crushed them to release the seeds
2 small red chillies – deseeded and finely chopped
juice of 1 large lime
1/4 cup fresh coriander – finely chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf – finely chopped
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream
4 skinless salmon fillets – about 150g each

Combine all the ingredients in a snaplock bag. Put the salmon into the bag, squeeze out all the air, then squish the bag around to coat the fish thoroughly. Marinate about 2 hours.

Cut a piece of foil large enough to hold a piece of fish and put a fillet in the centre. Top with a quarter of the marinade. Seal the parcel and bake 15 minutes in a 200c oven. Or do as I did – put the salmon (I also put some prawns in with it) into a dish that will take everything in a snug fit, put the marinade in too – cover the lot with a lid, or some foil – then bake it)

Serve with extra coriander sprinkled on top. Have some rice, some pickle or chutney and a lime wedge. We had it on coleslaw, with avocado… and made little piggy noises as we ate…

You would think, since this is another dish cooked in coconut cream with spices, that it would be similar to the chicken dish we had the other night… but, no – this is quite different.

I can imagine this being made with any kind of fish – and even with chicken. It was fragrant and delicious.

On a totally unrelated, but really lovely note – I had an email from our friend Kyoko, who lived with us while she studied at the local university. Kyoko and our late cat Bella were great friends (Bella was aloof with almost everyone else, but she just love Kyo).  Kyo read that I had lost my photos of Bella and will email them to me (and of Yoshi too) once she is able. I’m so thrilled and promise to back them up AND put them on Picasa. XXX Thank you Kyo.

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I’m a gravy kind of girl. You either are or you aren’t. I really miss gravy – those lovely dark bits that remain in the pan after you’ve roasted something, thickened with a roux and made into a silky smooth sauce with stock or vegetable water…  There are plenty of things you can do to make up for not being able to use flour. This chicken rubbed with Asian spices and lime juice for flavour is served with a creamy, spiced sauce… you don’t miss the flour at all.

1 Tbsp oil
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
grated zest and juice of 1 lime (if you’re using a whole chicken, use another lime – cut in half – and stuff it into the cavity – along with some slices of fresh ginger, 2 lemongrass stalks and 2 kaffir lime leaves – I just chopped all these small and sprinkled them over the top of my chicken pieces)
1/2 tsp salt
Rub the spice mix over the chicken
Roast until done.
Take the chicken out of the pan and leave it to rest while you make the gravy.
Into the pan, stir
200g coconut cream
2oo ml chicken stock
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
Stir to get any of the lovely sticky bits from the bottom of the pan and cook the gravy over medium-high heat until hot.
Serve the gravy over the chicken.

 We had this with cauliflower and broccoli. We had some left-over potatoes from yesterday, so I cut them up and put them in with the chicken to re-heat. The gravy is creamy, lightly spiced and very moreish. Perfect.

Rice would be good too… so would Asian greens…


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We had friends around for dinner the other day. The Rugby World Cup is on in NZ and The All Blacks were playing Japan – so we wanted the dinner to have a Japanese ‘flavour’.

I also wanted something I could make ahead and the crock-pot is perfect for that.

3kg Oxtail (brown it if you want – the caramelization does taste good, but I couldn’t be bothered), 1 cup fresh ginger cut into matchsticks (yes, that is a LOT of ginger – I used this toy to cut the matchsticks:

My friend Kyoko’s mother sent it from Japan for me. They are now available here and are worth looking for  – I use it ALL the time), 1 cup gluten-free soy sauce – or tamari, 1/2 cup sake and 1/2 cup mirin (you can get both of these at the supermarket).

Bung everything into the crockpot. Add a little gluten-free stock and cook for a few hours.

Turn it off, leave it to cool and fridge overnight.

Next morning, take the fat off (there was HEAPS) and re-heat in the crock.

When it is done it will be falling-off-the-bone good. I served it with the bones (they are GREAT to suck) – if you need to be a bit posh, you can take the meat off the bones. We had mashed potatoes into which I had mixed 3 tsp of wasabi paste and a salad of pickled carrots.

I forgot to take photos.

There were six of us, and I had leftovers the next-day.

This is the dining room before the candles were lit… I’m struggling here folks… 3 1/2 hours before I can get Yoshi…

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New Zealander’s play with funny-shaped balls. Like this one:


I don’t really like rugby… though there are some good bits…

Last Friday, The All Blacks (NZ’s team [called that because they wear a black uniform – usually]) played Japan.

We usually get together with friends when there is a big game on – we have dinner and watch the game together. It was  my turn, so I cooked Japanese style food – starting with Okonomiyaki – which is a Japanese-style pizza. It is nothing like pizza, and I made little ones – which would scandalize the very traditional Japanese people, but which are much easier to cook and eat.

You combine finely shredded cabbage, a raw egg and some flour (I used a mix of rice and potato flour) and water into a pancake-type dough. You can add bacon, pork, chicken, shrimp, and any other shredded vegetable you want. I added some finely shredded pickled ginger (but grated, fresh ginger is also really good). Then you fry them until golden and cooked inside

Then you top them first with a special Japanese bbq sauce (which is not gluten-free, so I googled it and found a great recipe at this beautiful blog: http://from-japan-with-love.blogspot.com/2010/06/homemade-gluten-free-okonomiyaki.html)

THEN you put on squiggles of Japanese mayonnaise (the Kewpie brand from the International section of the supermarket is gluten-free)

THEN you sprinkle on some flakes of shaved, dried Bonito fish. It is really worth getting these (from the International section again), because they make nice little fritters, into something quite special.

They went down really well. New Zealand won the game 🙂

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There are good things about trying new recipes.

One. There is one less post-it note to deal with…

so many recipes - so little time...

Two.  Uhm…

Last night’s dinner smelled really good as it was cooking… and it looked really good…

however, it was way too salty.

I should have known – 250ml of soy sauce is a LOT of soy sauce (and since it was a gluten free soy sauce it was blimmin expensive


It was edible, but it had us both up in the night grabbing lots of drinks of water – and I had really strange dreams – of wedding dresses and babies dressed up as bumble bees !!!!!!!

I do NOT want to know what this dream means - thank you!

The recipe was an Ooops! BUT, I’ve now realised what I did wrong and I think I have fixed it. The basic flavour was nice, just the salt content was way too high – it should be ok now. If anyone risks it – please let me know how it goes 🙂

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