Saturday, 19 March 2011


I’m a serious Asian cuisine lover. There are so many great restaurants out there from Thai to Chinese but now it’s so easy to cook great Asian food at home.

I’m a big fan of a good Thai curry. Since I first made my own Thai curry paste I find it very hard to be satisfied with the shop brought stuff! Although there are some seriously scrumptious Thai curry pastes in the supermarkets - red, green and yellow - it is so simple to make your own. The best thing is that you can whizz up a big batch in the food processor and then freeze it in small sandwich bags! It takes zero culinary skill and the results are divine. Needless to say everyone’s mega impressed when you can boast that you made the curry paste from scratch. My favourite is a red Thai curry paste made using the following ingredients:

3 Red Chilies

2 teaspoons of coriander seeds

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander

3 teaspoons of cumin

4 stems of lemongrass

3 shallots

3 teaspoons of fresh ginger, grated

4 garlic cloves

Juice of 2 limes

Zest of 1 of the limes

2 tablespoons of paprika

You simply toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan before crushing them in a pestle and mortar and then whack it into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and whizz it up. You can then use it as a marinade for meat or a basis to a Thai dressing.

For a yummy Thai curry I fry off the paste in a frying pan (adding more chili, depending on who you’re cooking for!), then add a can of coconut milk, some fresh coriander, a dash of fish sauce and let it bubble away for ten minutes or so to thicken. Put it to one side until you’re ready to use.

Add whatever meat/fish you’re using to an ovenproof dish and pour over the sauce and pop in some vegetables. I like to use chunks of butternut squash, aubergine and mange tout.

Put this into an oven pre-heated to 1900C for about 25mins and serve with rice, quinoa or bulgar wheat with a scattering of fresh coriander and squeeze of fresh lime.

The oven-cooked method I use (rather than in a wok on the hob) gives a thicker sauce and is also great to make ahead of time or for a dinner party so you’re not slaving over a hot stove at the last minute, away from your guests!

Still on the Asian theme, last night I made a delicious beef stir-fry with egg-fried rice. So quick and easy but so great as a mid-week supper or again a dinner party.

I sliced a steak - I used fillet but you could use any cut - into thin strips and popped them into a bowl with a good squeeze of honey, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, a tablespoon of sesame oil, the juice and zest of one lime, 2 cloves of garlic-crushed, and a dash of fish sauce before seasoning generously with black pepper. With this recipe I find that one good-sized steak is enough for a stir-fry for two.

Meanwhile I cooked some long-grain rice, drained and let it cool. Flash fry the marinated steak strips in a really hot pan and then remove and keep warm under some foil.

Next, I cooked some vegetables in the same pan (I used mange-tout, julienned carrots and spring onions, mushrooms and bamboo shoots). In another frying pan pour in a little oil and add the rice, when the rice is hot, crack an egg in the corner of the pan and scramble it with a spoon as it cooks and then mix it all together: super duper quick and easy egg-fried rice.

Finally pop the steak back in the pan with the vegetables to heat up an then serve on top of the rice! You can play around with this recipe each time adding a finely chopped chili for some more heat, adding different vegetables or using chicken instead of steak. Easy Peasy.

Georgina Davies

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