Homemade Chili Jam

when I first discovered thai chili jam a couple years back, my mind was blown. I had finally found an all-in-one flavour bomb that could instantly transform any stir fry into magic. the store bought version looks like this, but it contains some added flavour enhancers and colouring (if you’re not into that).

traditional homemade chili jam requires deep frying your own garlic and shallots, but this recipe uses store bought versions of those - cutting your time in half. store in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 6, and use with veg, seafood, meat, rice, noodles - the possibilities are endless!

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Corn Tortillas

corn tortillas are the best! everyone should make corn tortillas! they could not be easier to make and there’s absolutely no question that they taste and hold together better compared to the store-bought refrigerated ones. all you need is masa harina, a.k.a. corn flour, a staple ingredient from latin america. add some water and bam! you’ve got corn tortillas. we use maseca which can be found at most major grocery stores near the crispy, crunchy, old del paso tex-mex shells. those are a guilty pleasure and have a different purpose of their own, but about that another time…if you’ve got a mexican store in your area, maseca is 100% sold there. consume with any of your favourite taco fillings or as a vessel for your breakfast!

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Caesar Dressing

This one needs no introduction, you've all had a caesar salad in your life. What makes this recipe special is that you no longer have to buy a prepackaged dressing from the store (even if you were buying the fancy one that's stored in the refrigerator). The only ingredient on this list that might be a little hard to track down is the anchovy. It's not usually stored with the sardines, but instead in the refrigerator near fresh fish. Once you've found the sardines, all that's left is to throw the ingredients together and blend!

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Nuoc Cham

Ever wondered how to make that mysterious fish sauce dressing you get at Vietnamese restaurants? The one that adds a little tang and life to your vermicelli bowl or fresh spring roll?This is it! Nuoc Cham is our go-to for livening up rice bowls, cold noodles, and even salads! Of course, you can add adjust the level of sambal or chili to your liking. If you don't have Chinese soup spoons, 1 is equivalent to 15-20mL or approximately 1 tablespoon. 

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Coconut Rice

Gluten Free Coconut Rice

I struggled for a long time with coconut rice. I loved the concept, but it always turned out a bit gloopy and mushy. finally, I stumbled upon andrea nguyen's technique, which is to use the coconut water found at the bottom of coconut milk cans rather than the cream. In order to separate the cream and water, make sure you buy a good brand of coconut milk that doesn't contain any emulsifiers. 

note that this recipe still works fine if you don't have a rice cooker. use the same cooking method as usual, but for the liquid use all of the coconut water you get from the can and top it up with water to reach the right rice-liquid ratio.

Serves 4 hungry rice eaters or 6 normal rice eaters

Special Equipment

Rice cooker

Ingredients

1 (400 mL) can of coconut milk
3 rice-cooker-cups of jasmine rice (2 1/4 US cups)
6 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
Water

Instructions

Refrigerate the coconut milk for 24 hours to ensure separation of the cream and the water.

Skim the solidified coconut cream from the top of the can, leaving the clear water and any milky liquid. Reserve for another use.

Measure out the rice into your rice cooker and rinse until the water runs clear.

Pour in the coconut water and kaffir lime leaves. Top up with water until you reach the "3 cups" marker on the side of the bowl.

Cook the rice in the cooker. Serve.

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Whipped Coconut Cream

Gluten Free Whipped Coconut Cream

whipped coconut cream is really easy but it requires a bit of planning and careful purchase of the right brand of coconut milk. a lot of coconut milk is made with guar gum so that it doesn't separate, but that separation is integral to the process of making whipped coconut cream. we typically buy Aroy-D branded coconut milk since we've had typically good results with it, but any pure coconut milk will do. next, in order to get the best separation possible and to ensure the cream will whip properly, you'll need to put the can of coconut milk in the fridge for about 24 hours. it might be possible on a shorter time frame, but we've always done it overnight for dinner the next day.

Ingredients

1 can or tetrapack of pure coconut milk (no guar gum or xanthan gum)
1 tbsp white granulated sugar (optional)

Instructions

Refrigerate the coconut milk for 24 hours to ensure separation of the cream and the water.

Open the coconut milk and scoop out the cream that's floating on top. Ideally this will be almost ice cream textured. Reserve the coconut water and any thin coconut milk for another use.

Place the coconut cream and sugar (if using) in a metal bowl and mix with either a stand mixer or a hand mixer on medium high until the cream is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Serve.

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Strawberry Lime Curd

We made this curd to go with our Pavlova, but it can be used for other recipes as well. It's sweet and tangy, a perfect accompaniment for meringue. This recipe calls for 4 egg yolks since the meringue uses 4 egg whites, but if you're using this curd for another recipe you can substitute 2 whole eggs for the 4 eggs yolks.

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Pickled Veg

This recipe works for pretty much any vegetable, though we're partial to pickling carrots, daikons and onions. It's an easy way to add a bit of tang and crunch to a meal and we end up going through a jar of pickled veg pretty well every week. Carrots seem to keep a bit better than daikons (which get a bit of a funky smell after a week or ten days) so we recommend pickling in separate jars/ containers. The proportions of this recipe are more important than the precise measurements - I personally go with the rule "a bit of sugar, a bit more water and a bit more vinegar" but I've tried to translate that to real units.

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