Not very authentic, but a quick, filling meal that can be adapted to any vegetables you have in the fridge. I used a pre-made satay hot pot base for this, but there are recipes online for making the base from scratch too if you’d prefer. Make sure all your vegetables are chopped before you start cooking, since the total cooking time is very short.
Boil 1 nest vermicelli noodles and a small strip of dried kelp, very finely sliced, for 3-4 minutes, then strain and set aside in the saucepan. Lightly beat 1 egg with 1/2 tsp soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan and fry the beaten egg until just cooked, then remove and cut into 1cm wide strips. Bring the oil back up to temperature then add 1/2 onion and 2 cloves garlic, both finely diced, and fry until translucent. Add about 3 inches plantain, a handful of aubergine and a handful of red pepper, all sliced as thinly as possible. Also finely slice a bulb of pak choi, adding the stems to the pan and setting the leaves aside. Fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until softened. Make up 2 cups of satay hot pot base with 1 generous tbsp satay hot pot base and boiling water. Top the noodles with the egg, cooked vegetables and pak choi leaves then pour over the hot pot base. Bring to the boil, allow to cool a little, and serve.
The kelp is optional, although it’s a good ingredient to have in the cupboard as a little goes a long way and it keeps for years. You can buy it from health food stores, but if you have an Asian supermarket nearby it’s likely to be cheaper there. I use sheets of prophase kelp.
You can substitute any vegetables for this – any soft vegetables such as spinach or mushroom should be added right at the end, any harder vegetables such as sweet potato or brussels sprouts should be fried beforehand to make sure they’re cooked through.
To make the dish vegan, substitute the egg for tofu strips marinaded in soy sauce for a few hours then lightly fried.
How much this constitutes a tagine I’m not sure given how many ingredients I substituted from the original recipe, which was for a fish tagine. Serves 3 with bulgar wheat or naan, or 2 alone; reheats well the next day.
Melt ~1 tbsp butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and caramelise 3-4 stalks celery, diced, and 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped. Add 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and a pinch of chilli flakes to taste, coating the celery and garlic thoroughly. Add 1/2 plantain, 1 apple, 1/2 courgette and 1/2 mango, all diced into 1 cm cubes and cook, stirring continuously, until the pan begins to smoke. Add 1 400g can chopped tomatoes, 1/2 can water and 1 tsp stock powder. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low heat, cover, and leave for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has reduced. If the tagine is still a little sour, add 1 tsp brown sugar. Stir in 1 400g can chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes, then serve.
My American friend Rhey and I made this together over Skype on Thanksgiving. It’s not strictly authentic, but personally I prefer Rhey’s less-meat-more-vegetables take on this traditional Cajun dish.
Cut 1 small plantain and 1 small sweet potato into large chunks and place on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil and a few cracks of black pepper. Roast at 180°C while preparing the rest of the dish. Cut 2 pork sausages into chunks and brown in a little butter in a large saucepan. Remove the sausage chunks and fry 1 onion, roughly chopped, and 2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced, until beginning to soften. Add 1 red or orange pepper, cut into chunks, and a large handful of red cabbage, roughly chopped. Fry until the onion becomes translucent, then add the sausage, 1 cup long or short grain rice, 2 cups hot stock, 1 tbsp paprika or smoked paprika, a pinch of salt, a generous crack of black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste, and a splash of Worcester sauce or soy sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes until the rice is almost cooked through, lifting occasionally to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan but not stirring. Take the plantain and sweet potato out of the oven and mix it into the jambalaya with a large handful of pre-cooked prawns. Cook for a final ten minutes or until the prawns are heated through and the rice is done, then serve.
Makes 3-4 portions, depending how hungry you are. Keeps in the fridge for a few days.
Instead of prawns, Rhey used chicken, cooked with the sausage. It’s traditional for jambalaya to have two meats, but it’s not vital.
What vegetables you add to the jambalaya depends on what you have lying around. Any other hard vegetables, such as carrot or parsnip, can be roasted with the sweet potato. Soft vegetables like peas or sweetcorn could be added towards the end of the cooking time; vegetables like green beans or broccoli would probably be best steamed separately and again added with the sweet potato.
I recreated this recipe from things that needed using up in the fridge and a very vague memory of the original sunshine mince my mother used to make. The main features (if I remember correctly) were mince, grated carrot, chickpeas and sultanas – the rest can be whatever needs using up at the back of the fridge.
Rehydrate 1/2 cup soya mince in 2 cups boiling water. Soak a hand-sized sheet of dried kelp in water until soft enough to cut into 1 inch squares. Gently fry 1/2 red onion, finely sliced, and 1 clove garlic, finely chopped until translucent; then add the soya mince and water, kelp, 3-4 inches plantain, diced, a large tomato, diced, 3 mushrooms, diced, 1/2 carrot, grated, 1/2 of a 400g can of chickpeas, drained, a handful of raisins or sultanas, and 1 tsp miso paste (or 1 tsp stock powder and 1 tsp soy sauce). Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the kelp is soft and the tomato has disintegrated. Add 1 tsp smoked paprika and generous cracked paper. Serves 2 with couscous.
Adapted from a Riverford Farms recipe; the dish itself is of North African origin. Serves one, but is easily scaled; if you’re cooking for more than one person make a well for each egg (you’ll need to use a steep sided frying pan or a large saucepan). From start to finish, this recipe for shouldn’t take more than half an hour for one person.
In a small saucepan, fry in oil or butter over a high heat 1/2 onion, thickly sliced, for about five minutes or until softened. Then add 2/3 red bell pepper, thinly sliced and 1/2 plantain, cubed and 1 clove garlic, sliced and continue to fry until the pepper is soft. Add 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes (about 1/3 of a 400g tin), 1/4 teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin, and a generous pinch of cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Add a little brown sugar if it is still sharp. Make a well in the vegetable mixture and crack an egg into it. Cover and simmer for five minutes, or until the egg has set. Season with black pepper before serving.
I’m eating this as I type – for something I just threw together it turned out surprisingly well!
Cover 1/4 cup couscous with 1/2 cup boiling water, add a pinch of salt or stock powder, cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Finely dice 1/2 apple, 1-2 inches of plantain and 1-2 inches of courgette, and shred a handful of spinach. Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the vegetables, 1 tbsp sweet pickle or chutney, a pinch of sage, a pinch of thyme and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle over a small handful of grated cheese.
Omit the cheese for vegan
I haven’t tried this but it should go well with thinly sliced cooked ham or pork
Mixed herbs can be used instead of the sage and thyme if you don’t have them to hand
Spinach should be substitutable with other robust salad leaves.
Adapted from a recipe for squirrel fish in an old Chinese cookbook. Fairly quick and simple once you get the hang of the technique.
In a small bowl, mix 1 heaped tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp tomato ketchup, and 2 tbsp fruit juice (I used pomegranate juice because it’s what I happened to have in the fridge – apple, orange, pineapple, cranberry etc should be fine as well. If using lemon or lime juice substitute 1 tbsp fruit juice with water). In another small bowl slake 1/4 tsp cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water to form a paste. Slice as thinly as possible 1-2 inches aubergine, 2 inches plantain, 1/4 bell pepper, a handful of red cabbage, a handful of frozen peas and 2 mushrooms. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan or wok above a high heat until a haze forms above the oil, then add all the vegetables. They should begin to sizzle immediately. Fry, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes or until the cabbage has softened and the plantain is beginning to caramelise. Stir in the sauce mixture, then stir the cornflour paste and add it to the pan. The sauce should thicken, making the vegetables look glossy. Take off the heat and serve in wraps or with rice.
Serves 1 or 2 with sides
I’ve tried this with sweet potato, but it needs to be cooked for a few more minutes than the rest of the vegetables to make sure it’s softened. Onion would probably need the same treatment too.
Cover 1/4 cup buckwheat groats with boiling water and simmer over a low heat for five to ten minutes. Meanwhile, mix together a handful of lettuce leaves, shredded, one cooked beetroot, finely diced, about two inches of plantain, finely diced, 1/3 red bell pepper, finely diced and a small amount of brie or other cheese, thinly sliced. Strain the buckwheat and stir in 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, a pinch of ground ginger and a pinch of cumin. Pour the buckwheat over the salad.
Serves 1 – can be eaten hot or cold.
Any raw or pre-cooked vegetables can be used in the salad, depending on what you have in the fridge.
Boil 1/3 cup raw buckwheat groats and 1-2 bay leaves in water for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Strain and remove the bay leaves. Meanwhile, mix together 1 medium carrot, grated, 1/3 plantain, diced, a large handful of sweetcorn. Separate 1 egg and mix the yolk into the hot buckwheat. Fry the white in a little oil, then slice and mix into the buckwheat along with the rest of the ingredients and a dash (about 1/2 tsp) soy sauce.
Cous cous can be used instead of buckwheat. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over 1/3 cup cous cous, cover, and leave to stand for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Any vegetables which can be eaten raw can be substituted into this recipe – thinly sliced or grated courgette, sliced olives, mushrooms, fresh peas, etc.
The white can be left out and used to make meringues or added to pancakes later
I haven’t tried this, but the plantain could probably be substituted for unripe (green) banana if plantains aren’t available