Say it with Spice
CHRIS’S KITCHEN | Taking time out from the kitchen, our man Chris Ark shows us how to warm up the winter months with just the right combination of hot and spicy flavours.
LIKE most Australians I harbour a love of Asian food, recently reignited by a two week holiday to Australia where I revisited all my favourite Asian restaurants and picked up my copy of Charmaine Soloman’s “The Hot and Spicy Book”.
The Godmother of recipes that pack a punch with chillies, Charmaine’s cookbook is a Bible for those wanting to learn how to combine spices, seafood and fresh herbs using simple techniques. Perfect comfort fare for the cooler months.
Along with the change in temperature is a change in new season ingredients. Eggplants, zucchini’s, pumpkin and bokchoy are freshly available, and the perfect accompaniment to spicy foods and Asian flavours. Try slow cooking beef chunk or osso bucco with a tasty Indonesian curry, or pair a light coconut curry with coriander and fresh Scottish mussels. Knock up a batch of fresh satay sauce and throw in some chicken and fresh tofu. The combinations are endless and the more you experiment, the better you will become with balancing the flavours and spice levels.
At home I have purchased a decent wok, which is the workhorse of the pans in my kitchen. What can’t it do? A wok can reach a high temperature quickly, hold a decent amount of ingredients and can double as a steamer within seconds by filling the base with water or stock and adding a cake rack to raise the ingredients. I even cook pasta in mine as it can hold enough for 5-6 friends with out making a mess.
This week’s recipe of fresh prawns and glass noodles throws in a little of everything, and has all the flavours necessary to beat off the winter blues.
What you need to feed three friends!
300g of fresh prawns, peeled
150ml of peanut oil or veg oil
1.5 teaspoons of fresh chopped ginger
4 cloves of fresh garlic
2 red chillies finely chopped
4 teaspoons of chilli sauce
½ cup of water
¼ cup of tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of light soy
Eggplant diced ion 1cm thick slices
Zucchini sliced in 1cm slices
Bok Choy roughly chopped
½ bunch of fresh spring onions
½ bunch of fresh coriander leaves
½ packet of glass noodles blanched and dressed with peanut oil.
What to do!
This method requires you to cook things quickly, so have all the ingredients and plates ready so you can go from the wok to the plate
Place your wok on the stove and bring to a low-medium heat to start. Add the oil and allow to heat up.
Add the prawns and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Throw in the garlic, ginger and chilli. The oil should just simmer and not spit everywhere. Add the sauces, water and sugars and allow to reduce to a sauce consistency.
Meanwhile add the vegetables and increase the heat to just below high. Once the vegetables are cooked add the noodles, coriander and spring onions and mix well.
Remove from the heat and divide between the plates and serve. Enjoy!