Omurice (Japanese chicken fried rice omelette)

I've been captivated by Midnight Diner - Tokyo Stories on Netflix and, whilst it's not really about food per se, I do now have a total longing to visit Tokyo and also a few dishes I want to try and make.

Aside ... DO WATCH!

It's wonderful. Plus each episode around 20 minutes so perfect for my gnat-like attention span.

The first ... is omurice, or Japanese fried rice omelette. 

Now this sounds like something I'll love!

I ADORE a kao pad gai, Thai chicken fried rice, in which the egg is mixed in with the rice and chicken and then served with a little fish sauce chilli dip.

So these flavours are already my favourites and it looked like a simple little twist on my staple.

It looked so simple too!

A Western-style omelette filled with Asian-style chicken fried rice, neatly parcelled and decorated with a few stripes of ketchup.

Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette

Like THIS >>>>>> , this is what I'm aiming for.

I don't really like ketchup, so I was going to substitute that ... and I like spicy, so decided to add a finely chopped chilli to my chicken fried rice.

But Try Number 1 wasn't a great success.

I cooked far too much of the chicken fried rice, adding in peppers and vegetables and well, it was just too much.

I also tried to slide my somewhat anaemic-looking omelette onto a plate, add the (too much) filling then fold. 

OK that didn't work too well. Also I didn't have ketchup or Sri Racha sauce which I thought would work well ... so used my - also-anaemic-looking (but delicious) - hot sweet chilli sauce.

Well, it tasted ok .... but it didn't look great.

Try Number 2.

Got it!

You use less filling and add it directly to the omelette itself, then fold over in the pan.

AND I had Sri Racha sauce by then too!

Er ... it still broke, didn't look right, but this one tasted really good.

 Omurice Try Number 1

Omurice Try Number 1

 Omurice Try Number 2

Omurice Try Number 2

I tried again.

Here we go, Try Number 3.

Same as number 2 really, just knowing what I'm doing a little more this time.

And it showed - so practice does make perfect!

Easy fried rice mixture: onion, garlic and chilli in the pan with a little oil and then added diced chicken breast.

Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette
Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette

Stir fry to cook for a few minutes, adding a splash of water if needed. 

Crumble in a little piece of a Knorr chicken stock cube, a splash more water, a dash of light soy sauce and another of fish sauce, a little pinch of sugar, and stir fry for another couple of minutes until the chicken is cooked. 

Add more water if needed - you don't want a juice/sauce but you don't want it dry or burnt either of course!

Throw in a chopped spring onion and a small handful of chopped coriander leaves if liked (OK, confession - I thought I'd bought coriander but it was parsley! I used it anyway).

Put the chicken fried rice mixture into a bowl and cover to keep warm while you make the omelette.

2 eggs in a bowl, with some little chunks of butter, a splash of milk (I use almond milk) and a dash of white pepper, and beat together.

Non-stick frying pan on with a little oil or spray oil then cook your omelette on one side, tilting and moving ... then add the fried rice mixture to one side and fold the other side of the omelette over.

Allow to cook for a few seconds more and then slide off onto a plate.

Add the finishing stripes of ketchup or Sri Racha sauce, as liked.

I'm pretty happy with this one!

Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette
Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette
Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette

And then I had an idea and went in for Try Number 4 ... 

Fried rice. DONE.

Plated out using a little plastic bowl to make into that nice heaped shape.

And yes! 

THEN I just covered it in a quilt of beautiful soft omelette and added some decorative Sri Racha sauce.

Now this was also really good, but to me ... just a tad less pretty than Number 3, done in the pan (and also no easier either ha!).

Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette Midnight Diner Netflix
Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette Midnight Diner Netflix
Rachel Redlaw omurice Japanese fried rice omelette Midnight Diner Netflix

But whatever it looks like and however you make it, decorated with traditional ketchup or with Sri Racha sauce ...

I don't think you can go wrong taste-wise with ANY chicken fried rice and egg combo!


Stir fry seafood with chillies // pad talay

Often I have an idea in my head of what I want to make, create, cook.

Sometimes it works first time, sometimes it doesn't.

Today it did with this easy and delicious stir-fried seafood with chillies.

Make the rice first to have with it and then leave to steam with a lid on the pan or sieve hooked over a pan. 

This is for one but to make for two you'll just need more seafood really and adjust the seasonings to taste, don't just double without checking what it tastes like.

So for my exactly-as-I'd-wanted-it brunch stir-fry, I had:

2 small cloves of garlic, finely chopped

approx 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 green chilli, finely chopped

approx 1/3 a small-ish white onion, thinly sliced

a few long / fine green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths

about 1/3 green pepper, diced

about 1/4 Knorr chicken stock cube

mixed seafood (defrosted if frozen) - I had a few prawns, scallops (cut in half if very large) and squid rings .... de-vein the prawns and cut along the outside back (leaving top and bottom intact) so they butterfly somewhat on cooking

Stir fry seafood with chillies / pad talay

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

a good slosh of oyster sauce

a pinch of sugar, perhaps 1/4 teaspoon

2 spring onions, thinly sliced 

1 red chilli, diced

Getting it all together, the prep, is the only time-consuming thing, and then it's so easy to bring together.

Put a non-stick frying pan over a low heat, add 20 sprays cooking oil (or a tablespoon if you don't use spray oil) and add the garlic, ginger and green chilli.

Stir for about 30 seconds until it smells good then add the onion, green beans and green pepper.

Stir fry seafood with chillies / pad talay
Stir fry seafood with chillies / pad talay

Stir and add a slosh of water and the piece of stock cube, and stir, cooking for about a minute.

Add the prawns first, toss and stir ... then the scallops - toss and stir ... and then the squid and stir again.

Add the soy and oyster sauces plus the sugar and cook for 2 minutes or so until the seafood is cooked.

Throw in the spring onion and red chilli and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Stir fry seafood with chillies / pad talay
Stir fry seafood with chillies / pad talay

Serve with the rice ... and that's it!

Super-simple, really tasty and a great storecupboard staple if you keep frozen seafood in the freezer.

Stir fry seafood with chillies / pad talay


Red curry with crispy pork belly + noodles

I love pork belly and have it often in a really spicy sour salad, or in this lovely soft noodle dish.

And today I thought I'd make a red curry with it ... I didn't actually mean to have this with noodles, but I'd somehow - outrageously somehow - run out of rice!

I didn't even know that was a THING, to not have rice just always there in the cupboard!


Cook the pork belly first (as much as you like - I had two slices per person) as that will take longest.

I drizzle my pork belly slices with a little light soy sauce and then cook until crispy and gorgeous - it usually takes longer than I think, anywhere from 40 - 60 minutes - and I turn them every 15 minutes or so. 

Once cooked, remove from heat and cut into chunks. I also remove some of the fat at this point as I just don't want it all, but that's just personal preference and entirely up to you. 

For a crispy pork belly Thai red curry for two, you'll also need:

rice or noodles, so cook the rice so it's ready to go, or prepare the noodles according to pack instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

a good dessertspoon of good red curry paste

1/2 - 1 tin coconut milk (I really do think full fat is better than 'light' versions)

whatever vegetables you choose, or happen to have! I had broccoli and asparagus - and I do like adding a few halved cherry tomatoes to this too

1 tsp sugar

a slosh of fish sauce

the juice of a lime

Thai sweet basil leaves if you can get them (don't use Mediterranean basil, it's totally different)

a few slices of red chilli to garnish, if liked

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

OK, so we've got our pork belly cooked and chopped, and our rice keeping warm in a pan with a lid on it, or - like me - soaked noodles ready to add at the end.

Next, just put a non-stick frying pan over a heat, add a few sprays of cooking oil, and then go in with the red curry paste.

Stir this just for a few seconds really, enough to start releasing the fragrance, and then pour in the coconut milk (how much is how thin or creamy you like the consistency - personally I go for half a tin for two).

When it comes to a simmer, throw in the vegetables and simmer for five or six minutes.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

Then add the pork belly pieces and the noodles (if using), stir to combine well and add the sugar, a good slosh of fish sauce and squeeze in the lime juice.

Cook for another minute and then remove from heat, stirring in the Thai basil if you have it.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

It would have looked nicer with the green basil, so I tried to pretty mine up a bit with a couple of slices of red chilli.

That didn't really work but what this lacks in prettiness it certainly makes up for in the most comforting deliciousness and combination of textures and flavours!


Coconut milk, noodles + eggs (perfect for a cold day)

And then from what seemed like finally spring ... we were blasted back to winter overnight, and it snowed all day.

So I wanted a really warming, nourishing brunch and came up with this - I'll definitely be having it again too! 

Quantities are kind of up to you and how much you want to eat of course, but I had leftover from the night before half a tin of coconut milk and half the nest of rice noodles (ready soaked and in the fridge) so that's what I used.

Cook eggs by carefully lowering into a saucepan of boiling water (with a pinch of salt) and boil for exactly six minutes, then drain and pour lots of cold water in to stop them cooking any further.

Into a non-stick frying pan with a spray of cooking oil, I added:

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 green chilli, diced very fine (use more or less chilli of course, to your taste)

1 piece of ginger, peeled and grated

Cook for just a few seconds, stirring all the time, until you can start to smell the delicious flavours, and then add the coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala.

Rachel Redlaw coconut milk, eggs and noodles

Bring slowly to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add vegetables - I had some asparagus tips and broccoli - cook for another couple of minutes and then add the rice noodles.

Add a tiny pinch of sugar, a dash of fish sauce and cook for another minute or two, stirring often, until the vegetables are done and the noodles hot all through.

Tip out into a bowl and top with the eggs and a few drops of light soy sauce.  I added a slice of red chilli too but just to make it look pretty really! 


Salmon with a very good hot, sweet, sour sauce

Salmon's not my favourite fish, I have to say; I often find it too bland.  But is is good for us, being an oily fish, and  I'm experimenting beyond my staples of white fish and - more often - seafood.

And this is a fantastic dinner - full of flavour and goodness, easy to make and, importantly, quick. 

All you need to serve two is a couple of skinless, boneless, salmon fillets, whatever you want to serve with it in way of rice or noodles and vegetables, plus the ingredients for the sauce.

If you have any sauce left over, it'll keep in the fridge in a jar for at least a week so you might like to double the quantities and eat this again soon.

Make this simple sauce by combining: 

1 clove of garlic, chopped finely

1 birds eye red chilli, chopped very finely

a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1.5 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice (probably half a good juicy lime)

1 tablespoon water

Just stir it all together to dissolve the sugar, then set aside.

And cook your rice, if you're having it, so that it's ready to go as the fish cooks quickly.

I'm making some vegetables cooked on the griddle - strips of courgette, some broccoli and asparagus. I just drizzled these with a very little oil and a tiny amount of toasted sesame oil and cooked on a hot griddle for three minutes each side. I also added a grind of salt and a big squeeze of fresh lime juice while they were cooking.

This means that the griddle pan is really hot when I came to cook the fish and I cooked the salmon for four minutes one side and two the other.  I love watching the fish change colour as it cooks through!

Timings will vary a big depending on the size of the salmon pieces, your frying pan or griddle and how you like your salmon cooked!

I sometimes like it a bit more pink in the middle than I made it today and to get it like that I use a non-stick frying pan with a few sprays of oil and cook it four minutes one side then turn and cook a minute more on the other ... but today I felt like having it cooked through and also wanted those lovely charred lines from cooking on the griddle.

Serve with your rice and / or vegetables and just spoon the lovely sauce over it all.

Rachel Redlaw salmon with a good hot sweet sour sauce
Rachel Redlaw salmon with a good hot sweet sour sauce
IMG_7671.JPGRachel Redlaw salmon with a good hot sweet sour sauce


7 fave comfort foods to beat this big chill


THIS quick version of a beef rendang curry.

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

It's the spice, it's the steak, it's the comforting warmth of coconut milk ... all on simple, easy-to-digest rice.


Sticking with that soothing coconut milk and light spices, it's THESE beautiful eggs in coconut masala.

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Honestly, food that gives you a hug from the inside out. (Er, I don't actually know what that means or how it would work, but hey).

Read more HERE.

image24.jpgRachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Best made with day-old rice so it's really cold and dry, but you can always cook it fresh and run cold water over it, but this week it's going to be worth making extra rice for dinner so you can have this for breakfast (it was one of my go-to breakfasts when I lived in Thailand), brunch, lunch, well, any time really.


Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

OK, let's not sink into the comfort food with this one, but feel we're winning at winter, with a spicy, sour, YES LET'S GO GET 'EM Tom Yum soup with prawns.

THIS one's brings a fighting energy to things!


Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Well, durrr .....  roast chicken ... there couldn't be a comfort food list without it, surely?

Make it Thai-style, gai yang, and have with a spicy sour salad.

Or try my immune-boosting version with everything you need to keep colds at bay (if not the cold itself). HERE's the recipe.

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods
Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods


Rice soup ...

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Amazing for a warming, easy breakfast - just make the rice the night before and you'll have a warming brekkie and alternative to porridge on the table in minutes.

Protein and rice and broth ... a little spice - this will keep you nicely full and nourished until lunch, no problem.

Read more HERE.

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

My fave flavours of chilli, peppery Thai holy basil (hard to find so just leave it out if you can't get it or use Thai sweet basil instead, but never Mediterranean basil), soft rice noodles, utter easy-midweek-dinner deliciousness. 

Reminds me of sunny days and the sound of the waves on the shore.

Get the recipe HERE.


Homemade tortilla wraps (+ pork / guacamole filling)

I rarely eat bread so when I do it’s got to be good!

Today I needed some flat bread, wraps, tortilla-type things for something I wanted to make.

But the ones in the shop all looked kind of insipid - plus I checked the ingredients list and it had an awful lot of things listed for something so simple.

I only want to eat real food - made from things that I actually know what they are!

And since I only needed two tortillas - it was going to be a waste buying a pack and I couldn’t face buying that plastic wrapper waste either.

I think it was a moment of laziness - that I couldn’t bothered to make them.

But looking at those added ingredients, and thinking of both the food and plastic waste ... of course I can make them!

It's not like I haven't made THESE before.

To make four, you just need:

100g plain flour

a pinch of salt

60g water

Mix the ingredients in a bowl or - as I did - in the jug I used to measure the water, and knead a little to really combine.

Leave while you make whatever it is you’re making to put in them.

Divide the dough into four and roll into balls.

Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps
dough balls.JPG
Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps

Put some more flour on the surface and use a rolling pin to make each ball into a tortilla shaped thing.

Non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and when hot add the tortilla - it’ll blister and cook in about a minute then turn and same again the other side.

Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps
Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps

And that’s it!

Super simple, real food, no waste ... 

Oh and my filling today? 

I diced some pork belly strips and fried (no added oil) in a non-stick pan with 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, salt and pepper, a minced clove of garlic and a splash of light soy sauce - and another of water.

Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps
Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps

I made my favourite guacamole (my friend Ruth's recipe), sliced up some lettuce, and stirred a teaspoon of chilli paste - nam prik pao - but you could use any chilli sauce - into some plain yogurt.

Heaped it all up, rolled it up, dug in ... :) 

Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps
Rachel Redlaw homemade tortilla wraps


Noodle soup with seafood

Yummy! This was perfect yesterday for weekend brunch on a freezing, icy but sunny day.

So many good things in this one, and it IS simple, although it might look like a long list of ingredients.

Read it through to get a sense of the simplicity.

Quantities are kind of up to you and what you feel like, but for two I used this.

I made a paste with the pestle and mortar, gently pounding (CAN you 'gently' pound? Well, I can when I'm trying not to get the food on my white sweater ha!):

a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

a clove of garlic, peeled and minced

a chopped red chilli

a couple of kaffir line leaves (stalks removed)

a stick of lemongrass (only the middle part, outer woody layers removed, minced)

1 scant tablespoon each of runny honey, light soy sauce, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil

Then 3/4 of this paste went into a pan of boiling water along with a Knorr chicken stock cube, and the other 1/4 into a bowl to marinade squid and prawns and mushrooms.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

You could mix it up of course - try chicken instead, add scallops, have just all sorts of different mushrooms.

Cook the seafood on a hot griddle pan or in a non-stick frying pan - you could of course just add to the soup if you want to keep it really simple but I love this charred griddled seafood.

I added another squeeze of runny honey over the seafood in the last minute or so.

Add lots of diced vegetables to the broth along with a nest of rice noodles (thin ones or wider ones, both work!) for a couple of minutes.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

Finish with a squeeze of lime and a dash more soy or fish sauce as needed - to taste.

Share the noodles into two bowls, ladle over the soup and vegetables, top with seafood, griddled mushrooms or meat.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

This is one that once you've made it you can just play with, adapting to whatever you feel like and whatever you have in the fridge and cupboard.

It was perfect for a frosty morning here in London, lots of warming flavours with the chilli, garlic and ginger, and then the rousing citrus lemongrass and lime juice, alongside comforting broth and noodles.


Thai-style salade nicoise

I had eggs and I had tuna and I had green beans.

So it was looking like a salade nicoise ... but I was STILL hankering after my favourite salad dressing of the moment, which goes with EVERYTHING!


I've had it with roast beef, with sliced steak, with chicken.

Why not with tuna and egg?

Here's how to make my Thai-style version of a (kind of) salade nicoise (give or take the lettuce, olives, potatoes, French dressing ...) for two.

For the dressing, mix together to dissolve the sugar:

1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 small garlic clove, minced very fine

1-2 teaspoons sugar, to your taste

the juice of 1 juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the salad, whatever you like really!

I had tomatoes, spring onions, courgette (cored and sliced with a julienne peeler), cucumber (peeled and diced), radishes, green pepper.

What makes it really good is also to have some chopped fresh mint and coriander (or parsley if you don't like coriander) leaves.

Oh, and toast some almond flakes in a dry pan ready to add to the finished dish.

For the tuna - I decided I wanted the tuna to be spicy rather than all the salad or the dressing:

1 tin tuna, mixed with a few drops of soy sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and a finely diced red chilli (just use a few slices or half a chilli if you don't want it too hot).

And finally, you'll need:

some fine green beans

2 eggs

Put a pan of water on to heat, add a pinch of salt and when boiling carefully add the eggs.

After two minutes add the green beans and boil for a further four minutes.

Immediately remove from the heat and rinse and rinse in cold water to prevent the eggs or beans cooking further, then set aside.

Combine all the salad ingredients, add the salad dressing and mix - I just use my (clean!) hands to scrunch it all together.

Put the green beans on top, then the tuna mixture and peel, halve and add the eggs.

Top with the toasted almonds and a little freshly ground black pepper.

Rachel Redlaw


Eating for overwhelm // white fish with ginger + onions

A lovely soothing dinner to ease a stressful day.

Working under stress, at a fast pace, can mean feeling nauseous and dizzy - and here's where ginger can help.

Onions are good for the heart and reducing high blood pressure, but my belief is also that eating for your heart also nurtures the heart emotion, that overwhelm that can come with stress.

And white fish is soothing on the digestive tract, soft and soothing to eat too.

Serve with a little white rice (which is easier to digest than brown) and with a green vegetable stir-fry, with a little chilli and soy sauce, to give hope and vibrancy  ...

This is a good choice for a dinner to wind down, take some time, allow yourself to relax, let all that jumpiness and tightness unwind a little.

I use my beloved remoska electric cooker for this, but you could put the fish into foil parcels on a baking tray or just straight into an ovenproof dish with a lid - and cook in a medium heat oven.

Here's what you'll need for two:

2 white fish fillets (cod, hake, haddock - up to you)

cooking oil

2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon light brown demerera sugar

4 teaspoons fish sauce

the zest and juice of a lime

1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

coriander leaves to garnish, if liked

Put the fish into the remoska, foil or oven-dish and add a few sprays (or a couple of teaspoons) of oil, then the ginger, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, lime zest and juice and a splash of water and cook in a medium oven for 20 minutes or so - check that it's cooked through.

Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions

Cook your rice and any vegetables you'e serving with this ready for when the fish has cooked.

Five minutes before the end of the fish cooking time add a few sprays or a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and cook the sliced onion until soft and golden.

Serve the fish with rice and vegetables and topped with the fried onion and coriander leaves.

Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions
Rachel Redlaw the food healer fish with ginger and onions


Pork belly + noodles

Sticky, crispy pork belly, with soft noodles and lovely warm flavours - this is my favourite comfort food of the moment.

Really simple to make, and really good.

Quantities are kind of flexible so it's up to you if you want more of the pork belly or more of the noodles, or to make the sauce more of a soupier texture. Or just more of all of it of course!

I'd say maybe 2 pork belly slices per person and we want these good and dark and sticky and crispy, so add a couple of tablespoons of light soy sauce and another couple of runny honey. 

Mix it all together and then cook on a baking tray a medium oven (or in a remoska, like me), turning a few times, for 45-60 minutes. You can finish under the grill if you really want it crisped up more.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

While the pork is cooking, prepare some dried rice noodles according to the pack instructions so they're ready to stir fry.  

I like these vermicelli rice noodles for this dish and mine took longer to soak than the packet said - I like them very soft in this dish anyway, so soaked mine in a pan of boiling water (taken off the heat the minute it comes to the boil and the noodles thrown in) for about ten minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to stop them cooking further.

They can then just wait until the pork's done.

Also prepare the other ingredients:

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 - 1 red chilli depending on your taste and how you feel 

2 or 3 tablespoons - maybe a little more - water

1/3 Knorr chicken stock cube

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 finely sliced spring onions

fresh coriander leaves, chopped

When the pork is cooked, remove it from the baking dish and slice into bite-sized chunks - I also remove some of the fat if it's very fatty but that's just personal choice, so do whatever's going to taste best for you.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

Then put a non-stick frying pan on the heat, add the tiniest amount of oil - I use a few sprays of a spray oil - and add the onion, garlic and chilli, stir frying for a couple of minutes.  Add a splash of water if it looks like it might be sticking - garlic burns really easily so keep it moving and add that splash of water if you need to.

Then add a good slosh of water, crumble in the piece of stock cube, add fish sauce and bring it all to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes or so until the onions are soft.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

It's entirely up to you if you want to add more or less water, to make more of a sauce or more of a dry dish.

When the onions are softening, add the noodles, and stir fry for another few minutes - again add water if you need or want to - until the noodles are hot through.

Then add the pork pieces and stir - cook for another minute or so, then add the spring onions and coriander, stir through, remove from heat and serve.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

Finish with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and - that's it!


Yes it takes a little time for the pork belly to cook, but then the rest of it is just combining a few ingredients really.

Eat and enjoy .... 


New fave salad dressing // rare roast beef Thai-style salad

Yep, I made my salad with rare roast beef because I was in the supermarket and this lovely piece of beef was in the marked-down pile.

I hate food waste.

I also hate not choosing meat that's free-range and/or organic, animals who had a happy life. Sometimes I have this internal tussle about whether it's 'better' to choose that poor little battery hen who's ended up in the reduced pile, it's life worth nothing in life or death .. or whether to stick by the principle that if we don't buy that stuff, well, that's the important thing, to ensure there's ever more limited demand.

It's a hard one. 

Anyway, that was a bit of an aside as on this occasion, I did buy the reduced little beef joint, and cooked it rare, as I like it.

So this is a long-winded way really of saying that this post is actually ALL about the amazing dressing ... and serve the salad with whatever you choose! 

Make a salad out of JUST those things you really love - I used to make salads stuffed with things I didn't - goodness knows why, perhaps it was habit or thinking that was what you 'had' to have.

I’ve got peppers, radish, spring onion, celery, carrot, tomatoes .... plus some sliced red chilli.

Not too much chilli either - just enough to feel it tingle - as the dressing shines and doesn’t want overpowering.

And then add some toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander and mint leaves, chopped.

This really adds to the beautiful fresh flavours - DO add these! 

And then such a good dressing!  Here we go!

This was enough to dress a salad for two:

 the juice of one juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

a piece of ginger (grated)

1/2 (or one small) garlic clove minced very fine

All just stirred together to dissolve the sugar, poured over the salad and mixed with my (clean!) hands.

Rachel Redlaw Thai salad dressing rare beef salad
Rachel Redlaw Thai salad dressing rare beef salad

Then topped with the sliced rare beef, or whatever you're choosing to have with it.

This is kind of a back-to-front salad, starting with the dressing rather than the meat or salad itself!


Orange spiced gin

I'd intended to make this back in December as a Christmas drink - it's a Waitrose recipe for Spiced Clementine Gin.

But I didn't get round to it in time and then thought perhaps I would make it in January instead - using oranges though, January being that time for Seville oranges and when marmalade is made.

But these aren't even Seville oranges, and this certainly isn't marmalade!

I used lovely sweet juicy Naval oranges as thought that Seville would be too bitter.

So for this beautiful jar of sunshine, I just mixed:

70cl bottle of London Dry Gin

2 Naval oranges, unpeeled and sliced

200g caster sugar

5 cloves

2 star anise

... and then poured it into a Kilner jar - but use any wide-necked jar or bottle - and left it to infuse for two weeks.

Rachel Redlaw Orange Spiced Gin
Rachel Redlaw orange spiced gin

Strain and decant into bottles.

Serve on it's own, as a liqueur, with slices of fresh orange.

Or try a little orange spiced gin topped up with fizz.

Or in a tall glass over ice with soda water.

Rachel Redlaw orange spiced gin
Rachel Redlaw orange spiced gin

Yes, it would have been perfect for Christmas - but it's also perfect for dark, cold January.

There's something just so cheeringly sunny about this that even looking at the jar makes me smile.


Gai pad pong karee / chicken curry stir fry


It's a curry, kind of, a stir-fry, kind of ... and just a good, easy comfort-food dish really.

It uses curry powder rather than paste plus some nam prik pao - chilli paste in oil - for the heat, and it's all finished into a scrambled egg mixture.

OK, I can't say it's the prettiest dish ever, but when you need something warming, comforting and easy ... this would be a good choice, whether for brunch or a simple supper.

Serve with lovely hot fluffy rice and do cook the rice first - so it's ready to go.

For two, you'll need:

one egg

1 teaspoon mild curry powder

2 teaspoons chilli paste in oil (buy in Asian supermarkets or it's easy to make your own)

a good splash of fish sauce

a good big blob of oyster sauce

a good splash of almond milk (or use cow's milk if you prefer) - maybe 50-100 ml

cooking oil spray plus 1 teaspoon of the oil from the top of the chilli paste in oil

1/2 an onion, sliced

a few slices of red chilli, if liked

1 garlic clove, minced

1 chicken breast, cut into very small pieces

some vegetables, whatever you have and like really - I made it once with red and yellow peppers and spinach and then again with orange pepper, asparagus and broccoli - all cut up small

Mix the egg, curry powder, chilli paste, fish sauce, oyster sauce and milk in a bowl and set aside.

Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry
Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry

Add some sprays of cooking oil and the oil from the top of the chilli paste to a non-stick frying pan and then add the onion, chilli (if using) and garlic and cook, stirring often, over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add a little splash of water if needed.

Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry
Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry
Rachel Redlaw Gai Pad Pong Karee chicken curry stir fry

Then add the chicken and cook for another three minutes or so, again add a little splash of water if it's too dry.

Next add the vegetables and cook again, stirring all the time, for another two minutes or so.

Then tip in the egg mixture and stir to cook and scramble - it'll take another couple of minutes or so until scrambled.

I forgot to take a photo of when the eggy mixture first went in! I'll add one next time I make this.

Rachel Redlaw gai pad pong karee - chicken stir fry curry
Rachel Redlaw gai pad pong karee - chicken stir fry curry

And that's it!

Rachel Redlaw gai pad pong karee - chicken stir fry curry

Something a little different and really easy - I hope you try it.


Eating for energy // steak + broccoli

Eaten alone, these are both still great choices for energy, each being a great source of iron and of B vitamins.

But eaten together they are even more powerful - broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin C and the body absorbs iron better when it's taken with vitamin C. 

So by adding broccoli to our steak we get maximum energy benefits.

Rachel Redlaw The Food Healer steak and broccoli

And of course, it's also just a great-tasting meal.

First I toasted some flaked almonds in a dry non-stick pan and set aside to add at the end - just for a lovely crunch on top of the broccoli and for extra healthy fats. Don't use peanuts - peanuts are legumes rather than nuts and don't have the same health benefits as nuts!

I trimmed the ends of the broccoli and then put it into a pan of boiling water which I then immediately removed from the heat and let the broccoli sit for ten minutes.

I drizzled my piece of rump steak with a little soy sauce then cooked it on a very hot griddle pan for three minutes on each side (leaving it alone during that cooking time) and then rested it while I stir-fried the broccoli n a few sprays of cooking oil in  a non-stick pan with a little red chilli and a dash of soy sauce.

Note: I like my steak medium-rare to rare so do just cook your steak the way YOU like it!

I love the simplicity of this dinner and also just that magic of how things work together - this is a perfect pairing for energy.


Quick beef rendang-style curry

OK, when I cook something three times in one week, I know I'm onto a winner!

A traditional - utterly gorgeous - Malaysian beef rendang takes HOURS to cook, like a great stew, it can't be hurried.

But ... I really wanted those flavours ... but much more quickly.

And this is super-simple and really fast - it takes about 20 minutes to cook and only perhaps 10 minutes to prepare and - as I said - so good I've made it three times this week (already).

I pretended to myself I needed to perfect the recipe before sharing it but actually, the recipe is so simple I didn't really need to, I just wanted to.

Cook some rice while you prepare the ingredients, and it can then sit and steam while you cook the curry.

For two people, you'll need

a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated

a thumb-sized piece of root turmeric, peeled and grated - or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

one stalk of lemongrass - cut a cm or so from the base then a couple of inches from the top, remove the outer woody layers (you'll need to just see what works for your lemongrass, but you want to be able to chop it easily) - minced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 red birds eye chillies, diced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 onion, peeled and sliced

sirloin or rump steak - how much is kind of up to you but I think around 300g for two people

2 teaspoons cooking oil

1 tin coconut milk

1 stick of cinnamon, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 - 1 juicy lime

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt


Put the ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, chillies, coriander, cumin and cloves into a mortar, add a splash of water and use a pestle or rolling pin to pound into a beautiful paste.

Slice the onion and the steak so they're ready to go.

Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang
Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang
Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang

Add the oil to a non-stick pan and when hot tip in the spice mixture so it sizzles.

Stir for maybe 30 seconds to a minute - until it releases that gorgeous flavour - and add a tiny splash of water if you think it might be sticking.

Then add the onions and beef - and another splash of water - and cook, stirring often, until the beef is browned all over - about three minutes.

Tip in the coconut milk then add the cinnamon, lime juice, sugar and salt.

Stir to mix and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.

Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang
Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang

Serve with rice and a couple of slices of a milder red chilli - mainly just because it's looks nice and also because I'm a chilli fiend!

Rachel Redlaw quick beef rendang

I LOVE this dish and I love that it's so quick and simple that you can make something that tastes really special for a midweek dinner.

Well, actually - it IS a bit special.

It has creamy coconut milk and good steak.

A great winter supper to feel warmed and comforted - this is a really good one.


Immune-boosting, health-giving, soul-food roast chicken

In the darkest of January days, the sleet falling outside, we need to nurture ourselves - mind, body, spirit, and of course what we choose to cook - for ourselves and for others - can also nurture that feeling.

Making something good, healthful.

Something that soothes but also that adds so much natural immune-boosting, digestion-friendly, anti-oxidents in one meal ... today, it's this roast chicken.

Roast chicken is a soul-food, a nourishing, soothing, happiness-inducing food.

There's also something about the time it takes to cook that feels right, in these slower times of year, where we hunker down a little and take a little time to cook something good.

It goes without saying but I'll say it anyway - you can't have soul food from an unhappy hen, so choose organic, free range chicken, with a happy life. A chicken's life needs to be honoured too so use every scrap - make stock when you've finished with the meat.

Using all of our ingredients - meat, fish or vegetable - and avoiding food waste is a key part of our overall health and wellness.

So, organic roast chicken for the soul. 

Every ingredient in this plays a part in providing these health benefits:

boosts the immune system

promotes heart health

anti-inflammatory (great for the joints in these winter months)

aids digestion

can help to reduce blood pressure

Every ingredient is chosen for their health benefits, and also taste benefits - which of course then also aids overall health by the pure enjoyment of our food too.

For this marinade you just need the following (super-immune-boosting) ingredients:

a thumb sized piece of ginger, grated

another thumb-sized piece of turmeric root, grated (if you can't find it, just add 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder)

a good big garlic clove, squashed and minced, and one garlic clove squashed and put inside the cavity of the chicken

1 lemon, half squeezed into the marinade and the other half cut into two quarters and put into the cavity

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

a small pot of natural yogurt, about half a cup

2 teaspoons olive oil

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and massage into the chicken - and do this with love!

We need love in our cooking and taking a couple of minutes to honour the chicken, massage in the added health-boosting marinade, will all make for something extra special.

Leave the chicken to marinade for a couple of hours or overnight and then roast.

I use my beloved remoska - it's a small electric oven - but on this occasion so small it burnt the edges of the chicken.

Rachel Redlaw The Food Healer Roast Chicken
Rachel Redlaw The Food Healer Roast Chicken

But hey - it still reduces waste in electricity heating a huge cavernous oven for one chicken - AND that small space means it steams and cooks and remains beautifully moist.

It takes an hour and a half in the remoska, so probably similar in your oven - just make sure to test it's done and cooked through completely - the easiest way is by putting a knife into the leg and checking the juices run clear.

Rachel Redlaw The Food Healer Roast Chicken
Rachel Redlaw The Food Healer Roast Chicken

(Note on the remoska: do look it up HERE. It's not a slow cooker, it's just a tiny, economical electric oven. The initial outlay is quite a lot, yes, but I've used mine several times a week for over 15 years now, so it does end up in cost-per-use - ha, I nearly put cost-per-wear - very economical, without even factoring in the lower electricity/gas costs).

And then just enjoy your soul-food, health-providing roast ... I like it with a rice salad full of herbs and lemon, or with traditional roast vegetables.

Use the leftovers in all the creative ways you can - HERE's some of my favourites.

Rachel Redlaw The Food Healer Roast Chicken

Make stock from the leftovers and bones.

Make the whole experience one of nurture, thoughtfulness, love, sensuality. 

Yes I do find the act of cooking healthful food for my loved ones, beautifully, mindfully ... sensual - it indulges so many senses to choose to do this.

And this is a power-punch of immune-boosting ingredients to stave off all the winter colds too.



Ruam mit gratiem - pork + seafood stir fry with garlic

II'm not sure about these Thai words - except gratiem meaning garlic.  But having looked them up, I think it means 'all together' something to do with 'friends' .. and garlic.

I like to think - as pork and seafood are such great friends - that it's along the lines of the pork and seafood being friends and inviting the garlic to join them!

This recipe was sent to me by a friend fluent in both spoken and written Thai who has translated it from a Thai cookbook for me.

I tried it for the first time a couple of years ago - and somehow have forgotten to make it again.

But that's now been remedied as I've made it twice this weekend. 

It's delicious.  And easy.  And quick.

And all the things I wanted it to be.

As always, cook your rice first as the dish itself comes together very quickly.

For a lovely, quick and simple dinner for two you'll need:

cooking oil

about 100-200g pork - tenderloin would be best as the Thai instructions were to cut into 'spoon-sized' pieces, but I only had a loin piece and so chopped into 'bite-sized' bits (and I've since made with a pork belly slice, chopped small)

5 or 6 prawns, defrosted if frozen, and de-veined (I had huge jumbo prawns so two each was perfect)

two big cloves of garlic, finely chopped  (a dessert spoon of minced garlic)

2 squid,, defrosted if frozen and cut into tubes and scored, or sliced into rings

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons ground chilli powder (I used flakes)

a splash of water

2 spring onions, finely chopped (optional)

white pepper, sliced cucumber and coriander leaves to garnish

Put some oil in a wok or frying pan and heat until hot and then add the pork and garlic and fry over a medium heat (not so hot the garlic burns), stirring all the time for two-three minutes.

Add the prawns and squid and turn the heat up a bit at the start until it's really hot, then reduce again to medium and cook for a further two-three minutes until the pork is cooked (cut into a piece to check).

Tip the meat and seafood onto a plate or into a bowl and then tip away any juices from the pan.

Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic

Then return the pan to the heat adding a little more oil if necessary to cover the bottom.

When the pan and oil are hot add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and chilli flakes plus a splash of water, and the spring onions - and stir fry for about a minute until mixed and sticky.

Return the pork, squid and prawns to the pan and cook for a minute more.

Serve with rice with a shake of white pepper plus sliced cucumber and coriander leaves to garnish.

Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic
Rachel Redlaw Ruam Mit Gratiem - pork and seafood stir fry with garlic

I hope you try this - I think it's so much nicer than I can describe, and so simple too!


Thai crispy fried garlic

Well, pretty much most Thai recipes call for garlic ... most start by saying, 'fry the garlic until it smells good ...'

And this yummy crispy fried garlic is used as a topping, added often to noodle soups or perhaps some fried rice, or onto steamed vegetables, but honestly, it's good on so many things! 

Add to eggs, to pizza, to pasta ... anything that could do with a bit of nutty, crunchy, garlicky goodness.

A jar will last several days, maybe a week (I'll double check this with my own and come back and be less vague) at room temperature - if you put it in the fridge, the oil's going to solidify.

It's so easy too - to make a jar you'll need just a cup of cooking oil (something without a flavour of it's own so don't use olive oil, use rapeseed, grapeseed or sunflower) and a bulb of garlic.

I like to use this big flat knife as it makes it so easy to cut the ends off the garlic bulb and then flatten the cloves, which releases the skins, and then just chop into small pieces.

Rachel Redlaw Thai crispy fried garlic
Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic
Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic

If you have Thai garlic (my local Thai supermarket sells it) you'll notice the cloves are much smaller than our usual garlic and the papery skins much lighter - so you could just throw the skins in too as they'll crisp up and look lovely and are fine to eat (and easy to pick out if you don't want to).

Anyway, back to our crispy fried garlic.

Put the pan on over a low heat and add the oil. Unlike when we usually stir fry and heat the oil first, for this recipe put the garlic straight in.

If you heat the oil first the garlic is going to burn.

Keep stirring the garlic in the oil over a low heat and after about a minute you'll see the oil begin to sizzle.

Keep stirring!

Don't leave this unattended because well, A ... boiling oil can be dangerous and B ... the garlic will still burn easily.

You need to catch it the moment it turns a nutty brown - probably after about four minutes or four and a half minutes - so just keep an eye on it.

Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic
Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic
Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic

Immediately remove from heat as it'll continue cooking in the hot oil even as it cools.

And when cooled a little pour into a jar (you may need to pour into a jug first), seal and then it's ready to keep and use.

Having made some this morning, I'm adding crispy fried garlic to add some pizzazz to my simple chicken and noodle lunch.


Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic
Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic
Rachel Redlaw Thai fried crispy garlic


Easiest + perfect comfort-food ... beef stew

It was cold last weekend, icy outside ... and I was wondering what would be perfect for dinner.

Not just what would be GOOD, but what would be the absolute best thing we could eat for right then.

And I suddenly just knew what it was .. .and what I wanted was something that was MORE than food and even more than 'just' nourishing, wholesome, good food.

I wanted food that also gives you a hug as you eat it, food with heritage, something a bit nostalgic, proper comfort food, food with history, food to anchor you in the season, in life, in time, in a line of all these made before, and those yet to come.

Food with soul.

And food that takes TIME.  

Time and love. 

Mostly I cook food very quickly, most of my recipes take a little preparation time sometimes, but are usually very quick to cook.

Last weekend, I WANTED it to take time, but still be simple.

Simple ingredients, tried-and-tested flavours, hours of cooking time to fill the house with incredibly evocative, gorgeous, nourishing smells too.

It had to be a stew, a classic stew. OK, not completely classic as I was just using what I had so I did some slightly unusual substitutions eg oyster mushrooms instead of using button mushrooms but hey, still a mushroom, right?

What I really wanted was to make boeuf bourguignon - but I also didn't want to go out in the cold and I didn't have a few of the ingredients.

I'll be making it soon though and will post a recipe then.

So, beef stew it was ... with a nod to the boeuf bourguignon with the late addition of sauteed mushrooms and bacon.

Oh and I'm not even entering the debate about the 'perfect' cut of beef ... use whatever you like!

Today I just ran to the shop and got this pack of braising beef I think it was and that's fine by me. I'm sure there are nuances of flavour but personally, when I want a home-cooked beef stew and it's going to be cooking for some time, it all tastes good to me at the end.

If I'd gone with making the boeuf bourguignon,  I wouldn't have put potatoes in it - I ADORE the bourguignon with mashed potato.

I especially like roasting potatoes in their skins then scooping out the flesh and mashing with butter, salt and pepper, for the mash.

I think it's also a classic accompaniment to serve bourguignon with egg noodles, or a flat ribbon pasta, but ... I like mine best with mash.

But anyway, that's for another day - and another day soon, I think.

For now, back to simplest beef stew - made even more simple by just cooking the potato in the stew. 

I was very vague with quantities - it's really just what looks enough to feed however many you're feeding ... 

I cooked for two (a greedy and stew-loving two) and used: 

400g braising beef, or stewing steak, or other cut of beef, cut into chunks and sprinkled with salt and pepper

cooking oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 tablespoon plain flour

1/2 bottle red wine

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1-2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano

a chicken or beef stock cube plus hot water to fill the casserole

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces

a few carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces

a handful of mushrooms, preferably button mushrooms but any will do (I have oyster mushrooms as that was what was in the fridge and needed using up)

a couple of rashers of streaky bacon, chopped

salt and pepper to season

fresh parsley to serve

Rachel Redlaw beef stew
Rachel Redlaw beef stew

Get all the ingredients prepared before you start, just so it's then super easy - and all you need is time, love and patience (especially once those smells start coming out of the oven).

If you're using a lovely proper casserole dish (I really must get one) that you can first use on the hob and then transfer to the oven, then of course, do use that.

If like me, you don't (yet) have one, we'll use a saucepan to start and then transfer to an ovenproof dish with a lid (or you could use foil).

Put the pan on the hob with a good glug of cooking oil and add the beef pieces, turning often until browned all over.

You may need to do this in a couple of batches as they need space - otherwise they'll steam and stick to each other.

And yes, it will get a bit sticky and gnarly there in the bottom of the pan - keep stirring and don't worry about it.  Also don't worry if they're not totally browned - mostly is plenty good enough.

Remove the beef and put into a bowl.

Put the balsamic vinegar (this helps loosen those stuck bits) in next, together with the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until the onion softens.

It'll take five minutes or so and add more oil and/or a splash of water as needed to keep the garlic from burning.

It's not pretty, it does stick, the pan will need soaking afterwards - don't worry!

When the onions are softened but not browned, tip the beef back into the pan and add the flour, stirring all the time.

Once all combined, add the wine, the tomato puree, the herbs and the stock cube, stirring all the time, and then top up with some water.

Bring to a simmer and add the potatoes and carrots - this will probably decrease the heat, so bring back to a simmer and then - if using a different pan for the oven, transfer into the ovenproof pan.

Rachel Redlaw beef stew
Rachel Redlaw beef stew
Rachel Redlaw beef stew

Put a lid on the ovenproof pan or your casserole dish and put into the oven.

Cook for 1.5 hours, remove from oven, stir and season to taste, and return for another 30 minutes.

While this is cooking, saute the bacon pieces in a pan, and then the mushrooms in the same pan in the lovely bacon juices.

Remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the bacon and mushrooms, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Utterly delicious and somehow I always feel anchored, grounded somehow (maybe it's those root vegetables) - part of all life, of families, of history ... when I eat a good stew. 

Rachel Redlaw beef stew
Rachel Redlaw beef stew