I’ve been on a homemade Mexican(ish) food binge the last few days. After eating fajitas, naked burrito bowl and quesadilla I wanted to try something different while also using up leftover tortillas and various sauces. What started as an experiment ended as an extremely delicious, healthy and flavour-explosion in my mouth! I promise you, once you try this recipe you won’t need the excuse of using leftover food to make this!
- 4 corn tortillas
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 small bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 handfulls of rocket, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup baba ganoush
- 1 cup roast vegetable pasta sauce (or enchilada sauce)
- 1tspn paprika
- 1tspn cumin powder
- 2tspn olive oil
- salt to taste
- cheese for garnish (optional)
- Heat oven to 220C.
- Stack the tortillas on top of each other, place on a cutting board and cut into 6 wedges. (Think of the stack as the face of a clock and cut 3 lines through the stack: 12 to 6 o’clock, 2 to 8 and 4 to 10 o’clock).
- Line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Spread tortilla wedges in a single layer and bake for 10mins. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. (Taste one to make sure it’s crispy enough. Taste another with the baba ganoush and a third with the pasta sauce. Tell yourself off for being greedy and go back to cooking)
- Heat oil in a frying pan. Once heated add garlic and saute until golden. Add sliced onions, sprinkling of salt and cook till onions are soft.
- Add broccoli florets, paprika, cumin and fry till broccoli is cooked but still has a bite to it.
- Add baba ganoush and pasta sauce to the pan.
- Mix it all up. (Eat a couple of chips with the sauce; just to make sure it tastes alright of course). Adjust seasoning.
- Add the crispy chips to the pan, 1/4cup water, rocket and simmer for 5mins or just until the chips have absorbed the flavourful sauce and have started to go soft but are still chewy and a bit crunchy.
- Garnish with cheese. I did this for the pictures but honestly this dish is creamy and flavourful enough even without it. I’ll leave the cheese out next time.
- Transfer to a bowl and enjoy straightaway!
- Feel free to experiment with different veggies. You could use mushrooms, peppers or fresh corn.
- Throw in some cooked beans and some shredded chicken/pork for extra protein. You could even top this with a fried egg if you fancied!
- Whatever variations you try I’d suggest not swapping some things like garlic, red onion, baba ganoush (for the creaminess and smokiness it imparts to the dish), red sauce, rocket and the spices as they provide great depth of flavour!
- I used corn tortillas coz they retain their chewiness and crunchiness even after adding to the sauce. You could use flour tortillas too but these will likely go soggy.
The tried and tested combo of mushrooms, spinach and cheese never gets old! I go through phases where I can’t get enough of it and end up eating it for at least half a week either in pasta dishes, wraps, veggie bowls, naked burrito bowls, quesadillas, omelettes or just stacked on some wholemeal sourdough bread. This recipe makes for a super quick and comforting mid week meal!
- 2 corn tortillas
- 100gms cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 50gms spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 large white onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, 3 sliced and 1 minced
- 150gms of greek yoghurt
- 75-100gms of cheddar, grated (use as much or as little as you like)
- salt, black pepper and balsamic vinegar
- 1-2tbspns of olive oil
- I start with the onions to give it time to caramalise slightly. Heat 2tspns of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add onions, stir fry for a couple of mins. Lower heat to medium-low, add a pinch of salt and a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar and let it cook till you prepare other ingredients.
- In a separate pan, cook spinach until slightly wilted, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Drain excess water once cool enough to handle.
- Heat remaining oil in the same pan, add sliced garlic. Once they start turning golden add the mushrooms, some salt and stir fry till cooked but still chewy. Keep aside (in a sieve if it’s too watery).
- Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Make sure the pan is hot, heat one corn tortilla for 10secs on each side. Add half the cheese, add some salt and cracked pepper, wait for 5secs or so before transferring to a plate to let the cheese melt completely. Repeat with the other tortilla but leave this one in the pan.
- Top with wilted spinach, transfer from the onions from the other pan onto the tortilla, add the mushrooms.
- Add the other tortilla with the melted cheese onto this stack, cheese side down (duh).
- Cook on low-med heat on both sides until the tortilla turns crispy (to your liking). While this happens add minced garlic to the greek yoghurt, salt to taste and give it a quick whisk. Adjust seasoning as per your taste. You could also use sour cream for this.
- Transfer quesadilla to a plate and cut in half. Dip the hot, cheesy and crispy goodness in the garlic sauce and devour!
Ask any one who has visited Cambodia what their favourite local dish was and chances are high that they’ll say “Fish Amok” without having to think too hard. This dish is traditionally made with fish that is lightly spiced and cooked in coconut milk. The fish can be substituted with chicken or lots of vegetables for a veggie version.
- 150gms fresh snake fish (or salmon)
- 15-20gms sliced fresh lemongrass stalk
- 1 fresh kaffir lime leaf
- 1cm fresh galangal
- 1cm fresh root turmeric
- 2cms fresh finger root (Chinese ginger)
- 2 red sun dried paprika (substitute with 1-2tspn of paprika powder)
- 150ml fresh coconut milk
- 1/2tspn chicken stock powder/knorr/buillion
- 3cloves garlic
- 1tspn brown sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1tspn shrimp paste
- 1 kale leaf (or 4 big spinach leaves), sliced
- A big pinch of cornstarch
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and very thinly sliced
- Ceramic bowl (traditionally banana leaf is used to make a bowl but this isn’t easily available outside Asia)
- Rinse and soak the sun dried paprika to rehydrate for a minute.
- Thinly slice fresh lemongrass and set aside. Put in a mortar.
- Slice all these into small pieces – kaffir lime leaf, peeled galangal, peeled turmeric, finger root and peeled garlic. Add to the mortar.
- Add the soaked paprika and shrimp paste to the mortar. Pound for 10-15mins, regularly checking for consistency of the paste. Paste is ready when it’s absolutely smooth.
- Finely slice the fish into thin 2cm strips and add to a bowl. add chicken stock, salt, sugar, 1tbspn spice paste, 4tbspn coconut milk and mix till everything is combined.
- Strip off the stem from the kale leaf and tear into small pieces and add to the ceramic bowl.
- Add the marinated fish into the ceramic bowl (do not mix it with the leaves) and steam it for 15-20mins using a steamer or a water bath.
- Make coconut cream by adding 50ml of fresh coconut milk to a pot, add a pinch of corn starch and simmer for a minute till it thickens, while stirring constantly.
- Remove bowl from the steamer, garnish with 1tbspn of coconut cream, few thinly sliced kaffir leaves and sliced fresh red chilli. Serve with steamed rice!
One of the dishes I learned in my Khmer cooking class was Beef Lok Lak. This is a Cambodian twist on a Vietnamese dish consisting of cubes of marinated and sautéed beef served on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, then drizzled with a delicious sauce and served with rice and a fried egg sunny side up. Beef can be substituted with chicken. When I next have access to a kitchen I will try making a veggie version with mushrooms and tofu.
[recipes Serves=1 Time=”30 mins” Difficulty=Easy]
- 100gms beef
- 4-5tspn vegetable oil (or sunflower oil)
- 1tspn chicken stock powder/knorr/buillion
- 1/2tspn soft palm sugar or jaggery
- 1/2tspn brown sugar
- 1/4tspn of salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1tspn light soy sauce
- 1tspn oyster sauce
- 1-2tspn mild hot chilli sauce
- 2tspn tomato sauce (use less sugar if using ketchup)
- 1tspn black pepper powder
- 2 leaves of lettuce
- 3 whole slices of a tomato
- 2 onion rings, halved
- 1 lime
- handful of coriander leaves
- Steamed rice
- Dice beef into 1.5cms pieces and put in bowl. Add 2tspn of oil, 1/2tspn chicken stock powder, palm sugar, soy sauce, a pinch of salt, oyster sauce, chilli sauce, tomato sauce and 1/4tspn of black pepper powder. Stir and beat with a spoon for a couple of minutes and then put aside.
- Squash and peel the garlic, mince finely and set aside.
- Lay the lettuce leaves on a plate, arrange the onion slices on top and then add tomato slices on stop of the onion. Add steamed ride to the plate.
- Dip Sauce: Squeeze lime in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, 1/2tspn of brown sugar, 1/2tspn of chick stock powder, 1/2tspn of black pepper powder. Stir with a spoon. Set aside.
- Add remaining oil to a frying pan and turn the heat to high. Saute garlic for 10-15 seconds before oil becomes too hot. When garlic turns golden, pour marinated beef in the pan and stir fry until the beef is cooked and the sauce begins to thicken. Add this beef on top of the salad. Garnish with coriander leaves.
- In the same pan, add the dip sauce and stir for a minute or so till it thickens slightly. Pour into a small bowl, set it next to the beef.
- Fry an egg, sunny side up and then put on the plate.
- That’s it. dish is assembled and ready to eat!
It’s safe to assume that everyone loves spring rolls. Be it fresh or fried, veggie or meat, Vietnamese or Cambodian or Thai style, these appetizers are universally loved. This recipe is Cambodian style meaning that unlike the thin and crispy rice paper used by the Vietnamese to wrap the rolls, the Cambodians mostly use wheat paper so the rolls, when fried, are more golden and are crispier. I personally prefer the rice paper version but feel free to use whatever you fancy.
[recipes Serving=2 Time=”30mins” Difficulty=”Easy”]
- 100gms taro (or white potato or sweet potato)
- 50gms chicken (or pork or mushrooms)
- 20gms carrot
- 2-3stalks spring onion
- 1/2tspn chicken stock/knorr/buillion
- 1tspn soft brown sugar
- 1/2tspn black pepper powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1ltr vegetable oil (or sunflower oil) for frying
- 5-10sheets of rice paper or wheat paper
- Peel taro and carrot. Grate finely, add to a bowl, mix and set aside.
- Finely slice spring onions, add to the bowl (do not mix).
- Finely slice the chicken and mince with the knife until it resembles a paste. Add to the bowl without mixing.
- Add chicken stock, salt, sugar and black pepper to the bowl. Squeeze and mix for a couple of mins until ingredients are combined.
- Take one sheet of wrapping paper and set it on a smooth chopping board. Spoon 1tbspn of filling at the edge of the wrapping paper. Spread the mixture to resemble a tube about 6cms long and begin rolling the paper. when rolled half way, fold the sides in and continue rolling the paper. Repeat until all the filling is used up.
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium heat. Add the spring rolls one at a time. Fry for a few minutes on one side till golden, turn over and repeat. Repeat this step once more till spring rolls are golden brown on both sides.
- Remove from pan and drain on a kitchen towel.
- Serve with a sweet chilli dipping sauce!
During my 10day stop in Ho Chi Minh, I stayed at the Ngoc Thao Guesthouse in the backpacker area. The owners and everyone who worked there were very friendly and helpful with whatever we needed. They offered to prepare a typical Vietnamese meal for us where we would get to go shopping with them to the local food market, help them cook and then finally eat with them. The other time, one of the girls who works there, Tran, took me for breakfast to her favourite place which is actually a few tables set up in somebody’s house. Let me tell you, it was best Mi Quang I’ve had (see featured image of this post). I hope I can treat her to breakfast someday!
Back to recipes, there will be 3.
Sauteed Morning Glory – This one is dead easy but we really enjoyed it and decided to put it up lest I forget by the time my travels are over.
Braised chicken with ginger – This one was everyone’s favourite
Sour Fish soup – a light soup for those hot summer days