Thai Basil Beef

Serves: 4

Looking back on it, every blog here that is mince based, starts with something like: mince is the best, mince is our favourite, mince is our last meal, etc.

Because its true.

Any which way, we love it and Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai minces are up there as our favourite weeknight meals.

You’ve been at work, it’s raining, it’s on Monday and yet… you’re having spicy mince for dinner!

This Thai Basil Mince is super easy and you can’t overdo it on the basil front.

It is also healthy, even if you do have it with a cup of boiled Jasmine rice which… because it is Monday… you should.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil
500gm ground beef mince
2 shallots, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 birds eye chillies, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 lime, juice and zest
1 cup basil (Thai basil if you can)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
Chopped peanuts and crispy fried shallots to garnish
Jasmine rice to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan or wok and cook the beef mince and shallots until the meat is cooked and browning; about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the capsicum, garlic and chillies and cook until fragrant; another 2 – 3 minutes
  3. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime and basil and cook until the basil starts to wilt; about a minute. Taste test to make sure the balance of salty, sweet and sour is right.
  4. Garnish with the sliced spring onions, chopped peanuts and fried shallots. Serve with rice.

Shanghai Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken

Serves: 4

This dish – and I mean it – is incredible.

It could have been the fresh egg noodles, it could have been the oil… it was probably all of it… though they were as good as I have ever had in any Chinese restaurant, ever.

It is a bit hard to explain, though whereas so often noodles cooked at home just have a consistent, solid flavour, there were layers, clarity and cleanliness to these noodles. Home cooking it is not.

Why is worked, I really don’t know though certainly, have your wok high and marinate the chicken for a few hours if you can.

When we cook, we only type up recipes that are clearly standout and worth it.

This noodle dish is the level above.

(Just don’t cut corners on the noodles and make the time to get quality, fresh, Chinese egg noodles from a Chinese grocer.)

Ingredients

250gm chicken thigh, cut into 1cm cubes
240gm Shanghai-style egg noodles
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 spring onion, cut into 2 cm pieces

Marinade for the Chicken

2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine
1/2 tsp salt
Good pinch of ground white pepper

Other seasonings

6 tbsp sunflower oil for stir-frying
1 tbsp hoisin sauce mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp water
1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar combined

Method

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the chicken for an hour or more.
  2. Prepare the noodles according to the instructions. Rinse and toss with the sesame oil.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a hot wok. Add the cabbage and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Season with the soy sauce and sugar while stir-frying. Set aside.
  4. Heat up 1 1/2 tbsp oil in the wok, again over a high-heat. Add the noodles and stir fry quickly, ensuring they do not stick. Stir fry for a minute or two.
  5. Add the hoisin and toss to combine. Add the cooked chicken and cabbage.
  6. Add the spring onion, stir and heat through for a minute or two.
  7. Serve immediately.

Poached Chicken with Bok Choy in Ginger Broth

Serves: 4

160 calories per serve.

And it tastes wonderful and is a breeze to prepare.

It makes lunch the next day.

Which would mean 320 for lunch and dinner combined.

This is a seriously great weeknight meal!

Ingredients

1 ltr chicken stock
2 cups hot water
4cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bunch of spring onions, sliced (leaving one sliced spring onion for garnish)
2 Thai chillies, one chopped for broth and sliced for garnish
200gm fresh, mixed Japanese mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch, fresh dill
2 chicken breasts
300gm baby bok choy, halved
Bunch fresh coriander to garnish

Method

  1. Heat the chicken stock and water in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced ginger, spring onions, chopped Thai chilli and the dill. Bring the mixture to the boil and then a gentle simmer.
  3. Add in the chicken breasts and poach until cooked through, around 13 – 15 minutes. Set aside to rest.
  4. Strain the soup broth into a large bowl and discard all the solids. Return the strained soup broth to the saucepan.
  5. Test for seasoning and then add the mushrooms for 2 minutes and then the bok choi for another 2 minutes.
  6. Slice the chicken and divide evenly among four bowls. Ladle over the stock and vegetables and garnish with the remaining chilli, spring onion and plenty of coriander.

Thai-style Chicken Meatballs in Broth


Serves: 4
Another simple, successful, David Herbert weekday number… healthy too.

Keep the calories for the weekend.

Ingredients

  • 500gm chicken mince
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small chilli chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves discarded, soft inner core finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • Vegetable oil

For the broth

  • 1.5 ltr chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 100gm thin egg or rice noodles
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped Thai basil
  • Soy sauce to taste

To garnish

  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • Coriander and mint leaves
  • Lime wedges

Method

  1. For the broth: bring the stock to the boil and add the fish sauce, star anise and ginger and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the meatball ingredients; season and shape into walnut-sized balls.
  3. Heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs for 5 minutes until golden brown. When they are almost cooked, add the noodles to the broth and cook for one minute and then add the spring onions, Thai basil, soy sauce and meatballs. Simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chilli, herbs and lime wedges.

Steamed Chinese Chicken with Ginger and Shiitakes

Serves: 4

This is one of the simplest, most effective, tastiest dishes you can cook.

And the most healthiest.

Read through the ingredients and you’ll understand why you are almost obliged to serve it with some steamed rice… because otherwise, there is almost literally nothing there.

Which is not to say it is subtle, though it is delicate.

Thank the rice wine, sesame oil and ginger for that.

I promise you will cook this again and again and you will never be bored of it.

Brilliant.

Ingredients

4 x 150gm chicken breast fillets
Salt and white pepper
1 ½ tbsp Chinese rice wine
8cm piece ginger, cut into matchsticks
6 small dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, stalks removed and sliced
1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots
1 bunch Chinese broccoli (gai lan), chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
Spring onions, thinly sliced to serve
Coriander leaves to serve
Steamed Jasmine rice

Method

  1. Slice the chicken on an angle (1cm slices) and combine with the rice wine, salt and plenty of white pepper in a bowl. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Place chicken, overlapping onto a heatproof plate. Scatter ginger and mushrooms over the chicken.
  3. Place in a bamboo steamer and steam for 8-9 minutes or until cooked. (If you have a multi-level steamer, place the carrots and chopped broccoli on a plate on top of the chicken for the last 3 minutes of chicken cooking time until just tender; otherwise, blanch in boiling water.)
  4. Divide chicken, carrots and broccoli among serving plates. Drizzle oil on top and scatter with onion and coriander. Serve with steamed rice.

Sticky Asian Meatballs

Serves: 4 – 6

This David Herbert number is as simple as it is wonderful.

And it is pretty simple.

We also sauteed some bok choy with chilli sauce, black bean, sesame oil and soy and all together, it was a hit.

Even the boys loved it.

It is a departure from our Sunday tradition of cooking all afternoon, though it’s a departure I am happy to live with after an especially busy weekend.

Ingredients

1kg pork mince
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Steamed jasmine rice to serve

For the sauce
⅔ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180c.
  2. Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into balls, place on a tray and roast for 20 minutes, turning once.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk sauce ingredients together.
  4. Serve the meatballs on rice, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Chinese Ground Chicken Bowl

Serves: 4

Name aside, this is a wonderful mid-week dish I found on a blog, Ominvore’s Cookbook.

I have adjusted it slightly and it really is a set-and-forget sort of dinner.

Get your chicken simmering, cook your rice, prepare your bok choy and heat up the pan to cook the eggs.

Which means more time for a wine on the couch discussing the progress of your new baby. Or puppy. Or whatever is progressing in your life.

We have done a few minced pork and chicken recipes lately and could there be anything better after a long day?

This dish is no exception.

Ingredients

4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine (or Japanese sake which we used)
2 tsp sugar
¼ tsp Chinese five spice powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
500gm ground chicken breast (chicken mince)
50gm shiitake mushrooms
1 cup frozen baby peas
4 eggs
2 cups of steamed rice
Baby bok choy, sauteed quickly in a hot pan with a splash of vegetable oil, sesame oil, light soy sauce, black bean sauce and chilli sauce

Method

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the light soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, five spice powder and salt.
  2. Place the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, drain well and chop.
  3. Heat a wok over a medium heat and add the oil; when warm, add the ginger and garlic and stir, cooking for a minute until fragrant. Add the chicken mince, breaking up and stir until the chicken is slightly browned.
  4. Add the shiitake mushrooms, the light soy sauce mixture and 1 cup of hot water. Partially cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is mostly absorbed. Add the peas, stir for a minute and take off the heat, stirring until the peas are warmed through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice and prepare the bok choy.
  6. When the chicken is close to done, add some oil to a pan, heat to medium and cook the eggs, crisping the edges though keeping the yolk runny.
  7. Cook the bok choy.
  8. Serve the chicken mince on the rice with the egg on top and the bok choy at the side.

Ken Hom’s Spicy Sichuan Noodles

Serves: 2 – 4

Ken Hom is a pretty impressive guy and everything of his I have ever cooked has been just as impressive.

This is a man that doesn’t put his name to anything that isn’t but awesome.

We don’t hear a lot about Ken Hom in  Australia and he is fairly retired now I gather; though growing up with an American mother, I heard plenty about him and know his style well.

This particular recipe is as wonderful as it is quick to prepare.

It is that wonderful, spicy dish you get in a Taiwanese restaurant that you wish you had the time and knowledge to recreate. Part of this is achieved by keep the dice of your spring onions as small as you can; delicate ingredients, wonderful taste.

The only caveat is around the use of the chilli oil, which – if you have used chilli oil before – you will know can be quite a thumper of an ingredient. I haven’ adjusted the original recipe though we halved the chilli oil and were happy for doing so.

Blow your socks off however you will.

Oh, there is a second caveat.

We didn’t deep-fry the pork mince and frankly, I don’t think you should either. I don’t doubt Mr Hom’s recipe, though if you aren’t a kitchen used to splashing around liters of oil and deep frying meat, I wouldn’t start here. Pan fry your mince in a bit of oil like we did and enjoy.

And so I have adjusted the recipe to reflect this.

This is a cracker of a mid-week dinner and you should get onto cooking it as soon as you can.

Ingredients

250gm pork mince
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
5 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
2 tbsp sesame paste or peanut butter
2 tbsp (light) soy sauce
2 tbsp chilli oil (we used 1)
1 tsp salt
250ml chicken stock
350gm fresh Chinese thin egg noodles or dry Chinese thin egg noodles
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and ground
1 red hot chili, seeds removed and finely chopped for garnish

Method

  1. Combine the pork, soy sauce and salt and mix well. Heat a wok until it is hot, add 1 tbsp of oil and fry the pork mixture until browned, working to break it up. Set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the wok, reheat and add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir fry for 30-seconds. Add the sesame paste (or peanut butter), soy sauce, chilli oil, salt and chicken stock and simmer for 4 minutes,
  3. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain and divide into individual bowls. Ladle on the sauce, garnish with fried pork, Sichuan peppercorns and chopped chilli.

Pad ka prao (minced pork, fried egg and rice)

Serves: 2

Read the ingredients and don’t over think it.

This is Monday done: street-style Thai.

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil
500gm pork mince
3 cloves garlic
3 birds eye chillies
1 small brown onion
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp kecap manis
1 tbsp oyster sauce
5 sprigs Thai basil leaves
2 eggs
Jasmine rice to serve

Method

  1. Cook the rice and set aside.
  2. De-seed the chillies and finely chop with the garlic and onion.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium-hot wok and fry the garlic, chillies and onion for 2 minutes. Add the pork and break up, working through until almost cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, fry the eggs until they have a slightly crispy base.
  5. Back to the pork, add the fish sauce, soy sauce, kecap manis and oyster sauce and stir through; reduce the sauces slightly and add the basil leaves. Stir and remove from the heat.
  6. Serve on rice with the fried egg on top.

Red Thai Salmon Curry

Serves: 4

This is a doozy of a recipe and one that could easily become a weekday staple.

Just make sure you visit your local Asian grocer for a quality, Thai red curry paste.

I added the vermicelli noodles though you could just as easily serve it on rice.

Seriously, as simple as it is, this is one moorish dish.

Don’t delay.

Ingredients

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 onion, sliced
250ml reduced-fat coconut milk
500gm skinless salmon fillet, cut into 3cm pieces
200gm pack trimmed green bean
Half a pack of vermicelli noodles, cooked
Coriander leaves

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and then add the curry paste. Cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
  2. Add the onion and cook gently until softened; 5 – 10 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and then add the salmon and beans.
  3. Add the vermicelli noodles (if using) and let simmer for 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and the beans are tender.
  4. Serve with coriander.