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 to bring out all the flavours.