Steak + noodles w/ Thai green curry-ish sauce

This recipe is one of my frequent 'something from nothing' dinners - when it looks like there's nothing in the fridge, cupboards, house that will make a good dinner for two ... and then, always, there IS.

I was looking at one steak, some slightly-past-their-best vegetables and wondering what to make when I saw there was also just one layer left of the dried rice noodles - like they were signalling to me to use them as well.

So I did.

I wouldn't naturally put beef with Thai green curry flavours, which are much more usually combined with seafood or chicken .... so I was thinking what to do with red curry, but I wanted something with lime and I was just drawn to the green curry paste, so that's what I did.

And a quick word on using a paste ... IT'S FINE!

When I lived in Thailand everyone went to the market in the morning to get meat and fish and vegetables and also to stop at the curry paste stalls to buy curry paste - you add your own touches to it when you use it, but you don't have to make your own. 

I like the one in my photo of the ingredients which I buy from the local Thai supermarket but my nearest Sainsbury's now stocks it too, so it might be in your supermarket - if you don't already have a favourite curry paste - and if not, it'll be available online. They last for EVER (pretty much) in the fridge so well worth getting.

Usually I add the sauce-flavour-ingredients straight into the pan when I cook, but recently have been experimenting with combining them first - in dishes that this feels right to do of course - as with this sea bass recipe - so decided to play with that again for this.

It was quick and easy and really good .... do try!

For two people, you'll need:

1 layer of dried rice noodles, prepared according to pack instructions

1 steak - I like rump best but sirloin would work too

A few dashes of light soy sauce

1 heaped teaspoon of good Thai green curry paste *

1 generous tablespoon light soy sauce *

1 generous tablespoon fish sauce *

the juice of one good juicy lime *

1/2 teaspoon sugar *

(NOTE: if i'd had any toasted sesame oil I'd have added 1/2 a teaspoon of that too) *

some vegetables, sliced ready to stir fry - anything you like really - I had red and yellow peppers, broccoli and spring onions

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

Start with the noodles and prepare according to pack instructions - I usually throw them into a pan of boiling water, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes then drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking further and becoming gloopy and sticky.

And sprinkle a couple of dashes of light soy sauce over your steak so it's got a kind of marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

So the noodles are already done and the steak ready to cook.

Now just chop the vegetables and we want them in quite small pieces so they'll cook quickly, and also mix also the sauce ingredients (marked in the list above with an '*') in a bowl so it's ready to add.

Cook the steak to your liking - I use a very hot griddle and like mine medium rare which is usually 3-4 minutes on one side and another 2-3 on the other then rest for a minute.

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

While the steak rests, put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil (not olive oil as it cooks at too low a temperature - vegetable or sunflower is good - my favourites are rapeseed or grapeseed).

When hot, add the vegetables and fry for around three minutes, stirring all the time, and adding a splash of water if it looks like it's sticking.

Then add the noodles and the sauce and mix it all together and stir fry for a minute or two more until it's all cooked and hot and the noodles and beautiful and not stuck together - and do add a splash more water if needed.

Remove from the heat, pour into a serving dish or individual bowls and top with slices of the steak.

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

You'll understand, this being a 'something from nothing' dinner that I didn't have a lot of fresh herbs to hand - but if I had I might have added some chopped fresh coriander and/or mint to garnish.

Oh, but I did garnish with some toasted flaked almonds - literally just seconds in a dry pan gets them toasty and delicious, well, I wanted SOME kind of garnish, final flourish!



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Crispy peppery seafood stir fry

What I was thinking of was lovely crunchy deep fried prawns in a light batter ... and then what I was thinking was that I wanted something similar but also not deep fried.

Oh and ALSO what I was thinking was that usually those deep fried prawns have the batter around the shell - and I just don't like eating the shell plus I have a bit of a horror of un-de-veined prawns.

So the combination of prawns with veins in, and the shell on AND deep fried .... just wasn't going to work.

(OK ... when I say a 'horror' of not having de-veined prawns, if I'm throwing them in the food processor to make something like my prawn balls, then OF COURSE I don't de-vein them first, I just throw them in and mix with the other ingredients. I just don't like to SEE the vein. Just to clarify :) )

I tried this a couple of times and I was a bit too heavy-handed with the white pepper at first, but yesterday I got it right ... right being just how I like it ... and so I want to share.

I always have frozen seafood in the freezer as it means there's always going to be something good to eat and for this I decided I wanted a variety of seafood, not just prawns after all.

I have prawns, defrosted and de-veined. And I have squid - I much prefer the tubes of squid I can then score and cut into smaller pieces that roll up - but my online grocery shop delivered rings, so I kept them.  I also usually have beautiful big scallops - but again the grocery shop this time delivered these tiny ones and actually I'm a bit smitten with them.

While defrosting all the frozen seafood in a bowl of cold water, I made a little Vietnamese-style dipping sauce and cooked my rice as the cooking of the seafood itself is really quick.

Rachel Redlaw crispy peppery seafood
Rachel Redlaw crispy peppery seafood

I made an easy little kind-of-batter with:

2 tablespoons cornflour

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1/5-1 tsp (to your taste) ground white pepper

1-2 birds eye chillies (to your taste), very finely sliced (I prefer red, but the grocery shopping .... you get it)

Just mix it all together and when the seafood is defrosted and rinsed, tip into the batter and mix with your hands to cover the prawns, squid and scallops (or whatever you're using).

Then put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add some sprays of oil or pour a little oil to coat and when good and hot add the seafood.

It should sizzle immediately - so maybe try one piece to see if it's hot enough before tipping it all in.

Space it out so that nothing is on top of anything else and if there's extra batter add that on top of the seafood - it goes lovely and crisp.

Cook for about three minutes, turning a few times, until cooked and browned.

Rachel Redlaw crispy peppery seafood

And that's it!

Serve with the cooked rice and I like to top this with some sliced spring onion and chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Drizzle over some of the dipping sauce, pour a glass of something cold and good ... and eat.

This is now a favourite 'storecupboard' meal for me - I really love making 'something from nothing - when it looks like there's nothing in the cupboards or fridge and then I can make something as quick and easy - and delicious as this!



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ... 

VIETNAMESE (STYLE) DIPPING SAUCE / NUOC CHAM

A kind of nuoc cham - the Vietnamese dipping sauce .... (aside - and I REALLY must visit Vietnam one day soon!).

I like to make just a little fresh but you could make more and keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week or so.

For this amount - which is going to be perfect for lunch - I used:

1 juicy lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped (I’d wanted red but only had green so green it is)
1 small cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sri Racha sauce

Combine and stir to dissolve the sugar and then taste taste taste to see if it needs more lime or more fish sauce or a little more sugar.

Rachel Redlaw Nuoc Cham Vietnamese style dipping sauce
Rachel Redlaw Nuoc Cham Vietnamese style dipping sauce

Trust your own palate and what tastes good to you - this is lovely and tangy and hot and sour and a little sweet too.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ... 

Watermelon chicken salad

Yes, I KNOW it sounds odd, but please bear with me and please TRY this!

This is so simple, and trust me, it WORKS.

So, how did it come about?

Recently, at my parents for the weekend, my step-mum (a very good cook) put together a quick lunch of salamis, cooked meats, breads and .... watermelon. It worked.

And I thought back to a couple of years ago when I made some Thai-influenced little chicken burgers for a party, and I'd added a chunk of watermelon to them in place of a bun, just a little piece of watermelon skewered with a cocktail stick on top of the burger patty.

Oh and I ALSO thought back to days in Thailand, driving through a rural area when suddenly there would be sign up for gai yang, and you could see the chickens roasting on the spit, and we'd slam on the breaks and jump out.

Where the guy would come out his house, take the chicken down, get that big cleaver out and chop it into chunks (bone included) and bag it up to give you.

Rachel Redlaw - Thai watermelon chicken salad

Where roast chicken is eaten dipped in sweet chilli sauce.

Rachel Redlaw - Thai watermelon chicken salad

So, combine it all together and you've got watermelon chicken salad.

First time I made it I cooked a roast chicken and had the chicken warm with cold watermelon chunks and a good drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, with rice salad.

Since then I've griddled a piece of chicken to mix with watermelon and Thai sweet chilli sauce.

I've been camping in France and bought cooked chicken from the supermarket to mix with the watermelon and the sweet chilli sauce (I brought this with me as haven't found French supermarkets to have the diverse range of foods I take for granted now in London).

And every time I've made it, it's been good.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ... 

Chilli squid with noodles

I've been experimenting this week with how I make sauces, just simple sauces I mean, I suppose just the flavour element really - usually I'll add the flavours straight to the pan, but then I got to wondering if sometimes it would work better to have them separate.

So instead of adding the chilli, garlic, ginger etc to the sea bass I made the other night, I fried the sea bass first and then made the sauce to pour over it.

It worked so beautifully, I thought I'd next experiment with adding the sauce to the pan, but combining the flavour ingredients together first rather than adding directly one at a time.

Oh and I thought I'd also give my rice noodles a little flavour bath to infuse even more layers of flavour!

And this chilli squid with noodles dish is now my current favourite thing to make.  I know it might look a lot of ingredients, or steps, but don't be put off, because it's actually really simple.

To make a huge bowl for a greedy one, or two smaller portions perhaps to have alongside something else, you'll need:

a couple of raw squid tubes - I always have a bag of frozen ones from the supermarket in the freezer and just defrost for ten minutes or so in a bowl of cold water

FOR THE NOODLES

a layer of dried rice noodles, soaked in boiling water (off the heat) for a couple of minutes

1/4 a cup or so of boiling water

1/3 or a piece of a chicken Knorr stock cube

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

FOR THE STIR FRY SAUCE

1 tsp demerara sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tsp chilli paste in oil (if you don't have a local Asian supermarket, it's easy to make your own chilli paste)

THE STIR FRY FLAVOUR INGREDIENTS

a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 red birds eye chilli, finely chopped (use less or more to your taste of course)

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

THE VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS

some vegetables - I had green beans which I cut into smaller pieces and carrot, again cut into smaller pieces - but you could add red or yellow peppers or sugar snap peas or whatever you like

a few cherry tomatoes, halved - I added these just because they needed eating but I really liked them in this dish, so will definitely include in future too

PLUS ...

a few sprays of cooking oil, or a tablespoon or so of cooking oil


Cut open the squid tubes when defrosted (if frozen) and pat dry with kitchen paper then score on both sides to create a criss-cross effect before cutting into smaller pieces - rectangles, triangles, whatever you like!

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add the boiling water, piece of stock cube and dark soy sauce to a little pan, bring to the boil, stir to make sure the stock cube is mixed in well, remove from heat and add the noodles and then just leave them to soak up additional flavour while you prepare the rest.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add all the stir-fry-sauce ingredients to a little bowl and stir to combine so it's ready to use, and prepare the ginger, chilli, garlic and the vegetables. Keep the tomatoes separate as they'll go in last.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the cooking oil and then the ginger, chilli and garlic. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds until it smells good - keep stirring so it doesn't stick and add a splash of water if needed.

Add the vegetables and cook for two minutes, stirring - add a little more water if needed to stop it sticking.

Then add the squid and cook for another couple of minutes - some of the pieces will roll up into tubes and they'll all look lovely where the diagonal pattern was made.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add the stir fry sauce and the tomatoes and cook for two minutes more, then add the noodles from their 'bath' - but leave any liquid that doesn't come with them behind, you don't need all that liquid.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Cook for another minute to get the noodles hot and everything stirred together - and then just tip out into a bowl to eat! 



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Sea bass with a ginger, chilli, garlic sauce

A couple of things, seemingly random ... firstly, I didn't really used to use ginger a lot, I found it too strong and it wasn't a favourite flavour.

Rachel Redlaw ginger garlic chilli sea bass

And then, I started grating it on the smallest grating size of the grater and now I LOVE it! 

Secondly, I've been thinking about how I tend to add all the sauce/flavour ingredients in with fish or meat as I stir-fry and cook, and decided to do tonight's sea bass in two stages.

So I cooked the fish in a non-stick pan with a few sprays of my spray cooking oil, skin-side down for I think it was four minutes to get lovely and crisp, and then turned and cooked for another minute.

Rachel Redlaw sea bass with a ginger, chilli, garlic sauce
Rachel Redlaw sea bass with a ginger, chilli, garlic sauce

Remove the fish from the pan and then put the pan back over a medium heat with a few more sprays of cooking oil, plus some grated ginger, finely chopped garlic and birds eye chilli (amounts of each to your taste - I had one garlic clove, one chilli and a heaped teaspoon kind of sized amount of grated ginger).

Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then add a splash of water, a slosh of light soy sauce, another of fish sauce and a pinch of sugar - and i added a sliced spring onion too.  Cook for a minute or so more adding a little more water if you want more of a sauce, and then pour over the fish.

Rachel Redlaw sea bass with a ginger, chilli, garlic sauce
Rachel Redlaw sea bass with a ginger, chilli, garlic sauce
Rachel Redlaw ginger garlic chilli sea bass

You could have with rice, noodles, potatoes, whatever you like, but tonight I served this very simply with some steamed green vegetables, a wedge of fresh lime and toasted some flaked almonds quickly in a dry pan to sprinkle on top.

I really love it when something so simple tastes so good! 



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Creamy yogurt lemon mustard dressing

OK, World-Cup-obsessed means simple dinners - tonight shop bought fishcakes (they sound delicious too - cod and chorizo).

I was thinking I’d just squeeze lemon juice over the salad but suddenly decided to experiment to make a creamy yogurt lemon mustard dressing.

This was enough for two:

Half a big juicy lemon
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2tsp salt (I have this lovely lemon thyme Cornish sea salt but normal salt is fine!)
1 tablespoon vinegar - white wine vinegar would be ideal but I only had white malt vinegar so used that
1 tablespoon light olive oil (virgin olive oil would have too strong a flavour for me)
A good grind of black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons plain yogurt - just natural or Greek would be lovely
1/2 or a tiny clove of garlic, minced


Then just stir or whisk it all together - taste and adjust as needed!

Rachel Redlaw creamy yogurt lemon mustard salad dressing

Does it need a little more lemon? Yogurt? Seasoning?

Up to you!

I'll be making this again .... I think it would also be lovely over some simple grilled fish.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Chilli, lime + coconut chicken (or mushroom)

This one came about by accident ... on an evening when I'd been planning to make my quick beef rendang, but then realised I was missing several ingredients including, pretty crucially, the steak.

Also, I didn't have any lemongrass, but did have lime leave so decided to play up the lime flavour and see what I could make.

It's now a favourite, made for itself.

I think it would work well with mushrooms in place of the chicken for a vegetarian version.

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

I made this just for me, so portions are for one, but it's easy to scale up and not an exact science anyway really, more about what you've got in, how hungry you are, and what tastes good!

But I used:

a small piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1/2 a teaspoon turmeric powder (when I first made this, I didn't have any, so just leave it out if you don't either)

a couple of lime leaves, torn from the stalks and chopped into very small pieces (if you don't have lime leaves try the zest of a lime)

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1-2 red birds eye chillies (depending on your taste - I like it spicy!), finely sliced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 onion, peeled and sliced

1 small chicken breast

2 teaspoons cooking oil or use a spray oil

1/2 tin coconut milk (or like me, find a cute mini-tin!)

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

1/2 - 1 juicy lime (to your taste - I like lots of lime)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

a few cherry tomatoes, halved

Thai sweet basil, if you have it, or if not perhaps a small handful of baby spinach leaves (or just leave this out)

Put the ginger, turmeric, lime leaves, 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 chicken so they're ready to go.

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 beautiful fragrance - and add another little splash of water if you think it needs it.

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

Then add the onions and chicken - and another splash of water - and cook, stirring often, until the chicken has sealed  - about three minutes.

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

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

Stir to mix and then simmer for ten minutes, stirring regularly, then add the tomatoes and cook for another five minutes.

Throw in the Thai basil or spinach, if using, remove from the heat and stir in to wilt.

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

Serve with rice and a couple of slices of a milder red chilli - I just do this because it looks nice and because I love chilli, so don't add it if you don't want to!

If I don't have the Thai basil or spinach, I might also top with some fresh chopped coriander leaves, but I know a lot of people don't like coriander, so this is only if you like it of course!

Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken
Rachel Redlaw chilli lime coconut chicken

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ... 

Thai green mango salad / som tam mamuang

I love som tam, the traditional spicy sour Thai salad made with green papaya ... and I often make my version using courgette in place of green papaya.

But this one, made with green mango ...

I'm sorry as I always like to give a substitute and try to avoid specialist ingredients as much as possible, but for this one it's green mango or bust.

I don't make this very often, but when I do I take some care over it - there's something very special to me about a green mango salad.

WhenI lived in Thailand, we had a huge mango tree, with it's branches spread above the decking by the pool.

We had a non-stop supply of sour green mangoes which were dipped into a sauce so fiery, sour, salty .... with fermented fish heads, crabs legs, all sorts of things.

And it was so good!

When the mangoes were ripe, there were fruit flies, we wanted to get rid of the fruit ... and every person who visited left with a carrier bag full of ripe mangoes - imagine, that many mangoes we had to give them away by the bag-load. 

But now, it's a little more special for me to make green mango salad and there's also something I find very elegant about it too.

It's the sweet, sour flavours I think, and that it just works best with prawns or other seafood, so as I said ... I just take that little bit more care than I sometimes do when cooking. 

I don't find it a chore, but actively enjoy each little step, from toasting the almonds (that I prefer in place of traditional peanuts as peanuts aren't nuts but actually legumes, and have more calories than nuts and don't have the good fats either), to blanching the green beans.

I want every single element here to be perfect.

And I also create the salad vegetables together with the dressing - it saves time, washing up, and also - so I believe - blends everything so perfectly that the whole dish comes together as one, all those elements combined into one perfect salad.

Green mango salad for two (perhaps served with rice) or for one greedy one (probably without the added rice) ....

LET'S GO!


1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) demerara sugar

4 tablespoons water

flaked almonds

green beans, ends removed 

a few small tomatoes, quartered

2 or 3 spring onions, sliced

1 medium green mango

some raw prawns, defrosted if frozen, and a whole squid tube, defrosted if frozen

1 garlic clove

1-2 birds eye red chillies

1 tablespoon fish sauce

the juice of one juicy lime


Put the sugar and water into a little pan, bring to the boil slowly and when boiling stir to dissolve the sugar and then remove from heat and cool.

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add a handful of flaked almonds and toast for a few seconds, shaking all the time - it'll take maybe 30 seconds - then remove from heat.

Get the vegetables ready: slice the ends from the green beans and cut into inch-long pieces; quarter the cherry tomatoes; slice the spring onions.

Peel the mango and then chop into long thin slices - the easiest way is with a julienne peeler - and put to one side.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

Put a saucepan of water on and when boiling add the prawns for a minute or so until almost done, then add the green beans for a minute to blanch, then remove from heat, and cover with cold water to prevent them from cooking further.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

If adding squid, cut the tubes, score on both sides, and cook on a hot griddle pan for a minute or so each side. I love how the tubes roll up! 

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and chilli into a rough paste but not a pulp.

Then what I like to do is make the salad veg and dressing all as one - so add the green beans, tomatoes and spring onion and pound again.

Tip in the sugar syrup, the fish sauce and the lime juice and stir and pound again, to meld it all together.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

And then it's just all about putting it together! Add the salad veg/dressing to the green mango and toss with (clean) hands.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

Pour it all into your serving bowl or plate and place the prawns and squid on top, and then lastly the toasted almonds.

Elegant, delicious, delicate at the same time somehow as having those huge hot and sour flavours ... this is a special one.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ... 

Simplest curried eggs

Just a nice, easy change on my usual breakfast of a couple of eggs, adding in some favourite curry flavours ... and I do love curry with eggs, specifically this eggs in coconut masala.

So just for one person's two-egg brekkie, this is what you need.


2 eggs, boiled and peeled (to cook them so they're done but still soft inside - bring a saucepan of water + a pinch of salt to the boil, then carefully lower in the eggs and boil for six minutes, then remove from heat and immediately plunge into cold water to stop them cooking further)

a little oil

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1/2 tsp ground cumin 

1/2 tsp turmeric

Or substitute the cumin and turmeric if you don't have them for garam masala, paprika or curry powder instead.

A good grind each of black pepper and salt


Once the eggs are cooked and peeled, they'll probably be quite soft, so handle with care! 

Carefully cut a few slits longways into the white of the egg but very shallow, nowhere near cutting the egg through.

Put a little non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a few sprays of cooking oil or a tablespoon or so, swirl to coat and then add the chilli, spices, salt and pepper.

Rachel Redlaw curried eggs

Stir to combine then add the eggs, turning to coat in the beautiful spices and shake and turn in the pan for about a minute. If it looks like it might be sticking add the tiniest splash of water.

And that's it ... cut the eggs in half and top with a few slices of red chilli and/or fresh coriander leaves, as liked.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

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!



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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.

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Stir fry seafood with chillies / pad talay


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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!

ANYWAY.

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!



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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! 



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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


LIKE THIS? YOU MIGHT WANT TO TRY THESE ...

7 fave comfort foods to beat this big chill

ONE

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.


TWO

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.


FOUR

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!


FIVE

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

SIX

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.



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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


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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.



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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!

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IMG_7024.JPG

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
IMG_7061.JPG


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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


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