Jo’s Thai Pho Bowl (4)

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This is, without doubt, the most authentic Thai dish I have created. By tasting and re-tasting each step of the way I think I have come up with a recipe that tastes really genuine and using fresh lemongrass made all the difference.

Lemongrass seems quite tough even when you have taken off the outer layer, but I read that if you chop it into fine slices and then process it in a food processor (my thanks go to http://www.thespruce.com for this information) it will add a great flavor and also be edible.

It is important to use good rice noodles that don’t go too soggy (I use Annie Chung’s brand). You can cook this recipe with either small pieces of chicken or tofu.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and white pepper

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves – grated

1 ‘thumb’ of ginger (measured from base of thumbnail to bottom joint) – grated

1 x 6 inch piece of lemongrass – peeled and chopped

1 x 13.5 oz lite coconut milk

16.2 fl. oz. chicken broth

Juice of 1 lime

1 1/2tsp. fish sauce

8 oz. chicken tenders – cut into small bite size pieces

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

2 handfuls of frozen peas

4 oz. rice noodles

Heat the oil seasoned with salt and white pepper in a cast iron Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onion and let brown a little before adding the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two until you can smell the flavors.

Place the chopped lemongrass in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk and whizz together then add to the onion mixture along with the rest of the coconut milk, chicken broth, lime juice, fish sauce, chicken tenders and cilantro.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes before adding the peas and rice noodles.

Cook for another 5 minutes or so until noodles are tender and serve immediately.

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Lemon-Dill Dressed Noodles with Chicken, Olives, Cucumber and Feta (4)

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If I had a garden I would set aside  a patch for growing herbs. How nice it would be to gather them fresh for a recipe – to make mint sauce to go with lamb or add basil to a tomato sauce for pasta or to chop some fresh parsley for a garnish. Luckily my supermarket has a wide range of fresh herbs – oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and dill among others.

Dill is a common ingredient in Russian, Scandinavian and Eastern European cuisines where it is used in such recipes as sauces and salads and for pickling.

I didn’t realize how many beneficial properties it has. It boosts digestion and the immune system, contains calcium, is an anti-inflammatory and an anti-flatulent!

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

4 oz. rice noodles

1 x chicken breast

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp. olive

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 an English cucumber – sliced then each slice quartered

12 black olives – cut into quarters

2 oz. feta cheese – cut into little cubes

Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. dill – finely chopped

1/4 of a shallot – finely chopped

Cook the rice noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and leave to cool.

Place chicken breast on a piece of aluminum dish in an ovenproof dish, pour over the lemon juice and olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Make a parcel out of the aluminum foil, place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until cooked through. Remove from oven, let cool then cut into bite-size pieces.

Into a large bowl put the rice noodles, chicken pieces, cucumber, olives and feta cheese.

Make the dressing by whisking together the juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon, Dijon mustard, olive oil, dill and shallot. Pour dressing into the bowl and toss together well (the ‘hands’ in the photo and really good for tossing the salad and separating the strands of noodles).

 

 

 

 

Spicy Peanut Noodles (2)

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The local Chinese restaurant near me does a spicy noodle dish as a side which is served cold Now that we live far away I don’t seem to have come across it. So I experimented and have, I think, come up with a good approximation. Getting the correct balance of ingredients and consistency has been an interesting process – a little bit of this, a little bit of that, how salty do you want it – until it finally tastes right. I combined the sauce with rice noodles and ate it as a vegetarian meal with scallions scattered over the top, but it could also be a dipping sauce for crudites, if you don’t dilute it too much, or as a satay sauce for chicken.

Boiling water – both for cooking rice noodles and for diluting the peanut sauce

4 oz. rice noodles

Pour boiling water over the rice noodles in a pan and let stand for 10 minutes during which time you can make the sauce.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter

2 large cloves of garlic – finely grated

Bunch of scallions – finely chopped (reserve some for sprinkling over the top)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce (depending on how salty you like things)

Juice of half a lime

Boiling water to dilute sauce to a coating consistency for the noodles.

Place the peanut butter, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk together, adding boiling water to get the desired consistency.

Pour sauce over the noodles, mix together well and sprinkle chopped scallions over the top.

Serve immediately or you will find that the sauce tends to thicken up again.

 

 

Jo’s Chinese Chicken (4)

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I have played with the flavors here and they are less salty as there is no soy sauce. Good both hot and cold. I have introduced rice noodles (Annie Chun’s brand) into my diet and used the very fine ones – even better if you can find a brown rice variety. Love the ‘A Taste of Thai’ brand as the products mainly seem gluten and diary free (but I always check). Incorporated water chestnuts and baby sweetcorn as well as spinach. There is ginger too and garlic – healthy.

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot – finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 large tbsp. ginger – grated

Kettle full of boiling water

4oz. rice noodles

2 x chicken breast – sliced thinly and halved into bite-size pieces

10 oz. baby spinach

1 x 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts

1 x 15 oz. baby sweetcorn  (pre-cut into chunks)

Juice of 1/2 lime – freshly squeezed

Handful of unsalted peanuts – bashed with a rolling pin

Place oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add shallot and garlic, turn down heat and let soften. Then add ginger and cook for a few minutes.

Add chicken and let brown a little, then add 1 cup of sauce (see below) and cook, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes.

Add water chestnuts, baby sweetcorn, 5 oz. spinach and rest of sauce.

Cover with lid and let spinach wilt for 5 minutes or so and then add 5oz more of spinach and the lime juice

Cook for 5 more minutes.

During this time bring kettle full of water to boil then pour over rice noodles and let noodles sit for about 6 minutes. Drain, wrap in tea-towel and when water has been removed chop rice noodles into 2 or so inch pieces. Add to chicken mixture. Mix together and sprinkle peanuts over the top

SAUCE

2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. A Taste of Thai Garlic Chilli Pepper Sauce (aka sriracha)

Mix all ingredients into a bowl and it will make just about 1 cup of sauce.