This simple and tasty recipe was floating around of facebook a couple of weeks ago and my lamb loving husband emailed me the link saying “Idea?” which is his understated and unpressuring way of saying “We should totally make this very soon!”. The following Saturday proved the perfect occasion to give it a go as we were heading out to the river for a day of ‘day camping’ where we took the BBQ and some chairs and pretended we were there for days on end, chilling out and doing nothing but chatting, eating and throwing rocks in the water. By the time we got home, this yummy lamb which had been cooking all day was ready and from slow cooker to plate, it took very little time and energy to serve. The quantities below serves at least 15 people for around $36 ($2.40 per person), so if you only need dinner for 6-8, just halve everything, which also halves the cost. But if you need to cook for a crowd after being at work or tied up with other things all day, this is a great option.
- 2kg leg of lamb or hoggett, either on the bone or deboned and rolled
- 1tbs of peanut oil
- 1/2 a cup of kecap manis (indonesian sweet soy)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 3 star anise
- 2 stalks fresh lemon grass, beaten and bruised (I use the one in the tube)
- 8 cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 large red chilli, roughly chopped
- 6 green onions, sliced diagonally and/or bunch of fresh coriander leaves
- 1 tbs of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 5x 200g packets rice stick noodles (each 200g packet serves three adults)
- Brown the lamb all over in a rather hot frypan using the peanut oil (or not – seriously, it’s not essential you do this), and stick it in the bowl of a slow cooker.
- In a bowl combine all the other ingredients except sesame seeds, green onions/coriander and noodles. Pour over lamb and switch to low for the whole day or high for half a day of cooking.
- When cooked through, just before serving, remove lamb from the slow cooker and sieve the juices into a small saucepan. Simmer these juices on a low heat until reduced into a sticky sauce. If it thickens too much, whisk in some water to bring back to a sauce consistency.
- Shred lamb with two forks on a chopping board and serve on top of rice noodles cooked quickly in boiling water according to packet instructions. Drizzle sauce all over, distributing it generously and evenly among the plates. Be heavy handed as it’s the sauce that makes this so good. Top with sesame seeds, shredded spring onions and/or coriander leaves. Enjoy!
“Do you have plans tonight? Wanna come over, make me dinner, and watch a movie?”. That was my text to my old friend Sheridan one Sunday night at the end of last year. My husband was away and all the end of year ‘lasts’ – functions/events/things, had left me exhausted. And although normally under such circumstances, breakfast cereal is the dinner time option of choice around here, I couldn’t face another such dinner for the 5th time that week. Generous and hospitable as she is, even at my place rather than hers, Sheri came over and made this delightfully easy and tasty Donna Hay dish, which just happens to be gluten, egg, wheat and dairy free. Her food, good company and contentment with not much chit-chat that night were real blessings to me. And we’re still laughing about how from now on she’s going to have to read my sms invitations carefully to check who’s doing the cooking! Super simple to make, fresh and healthy too, this noodle dish is perfect for cooking for yourself or friends straight after work and can easily be multiplied for a larger group. And all of the preparation can be done quickly and hours ahead of people coming over – once they’ve turned up and have a cold drink in their hand, just stir fry everything from start to finish in 10 minutes. If you purchase your herbs from a grocer rather than a supermarket, this dish costs no more than $10 to make and serves 4. Thanks for this terrific recipe, Sheri.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable or sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped (or, as I do, a good squeeze of Gourmet Garden lemongrass in a tube)
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 500g chicken mince
- 1/4 cup lime juice (I use lime squeeze from the fridge)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
- the stalks of the coriander leaves, washed and chopped finely
- 3/4 cup basil leaves
- 4 green onions, shredded
- Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring the boil for cooking egg noodles.
- Heat a frying pan or wok at high heat. Add the oil, ginger, coriander stalks, lemongrass and chilli and cook for 1 minutes. Add the chicken mince and cook, stirring for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up any large lumps of chicken as you go.
- Add rice noodles to the boiling water and cook according to instructions on the packet and when soft, drain in a colander.
- Stir through the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, coriander, basil and green onions. Serve stir-fry in bowls on top of freshly cooked rice noodles.
Last week on My Kitchen Rules Jake and Elle won the People’s Choice Award with this yummy dish in the Budget Challenge. The show itself gets on my nerves for lots of reasons, but still, I find myself watching it with some regularity. I was so glad I saw this episode! It was easy to find the recipe online and it truly was a fast, easy and cheap meal to make. And the whole family loved it. I love how it uses mince rather than pieces of expensive meat which I always seems to murder in the stir-frying, resulting in tough bits of meat that are hard to eat. But this pork mince stir-fry is wonderfully forgiving – a great one, I imagine, to teach teenagers to cook for themselves when necessary. At the most, this tasty stir fry will take 15 minutes to prepare and another 15 to cook, and using the quantities listed below will cost around $10 to make. Serves 4, though I stretched it out to serve 6 by adding more noodles and it worked a treat.
- 400g egg noodles
- 1/3 cup kecap manis
- 1½ tbs fish sauce
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
- 500g pork mince
- ½ bunch coriander, chopped
- 1 bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped
- 1cm-piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 1 bunch bok choy, chopped
- Coriander, to garnish
1. Cook noodles in a saucepan of salted boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain noodles and set aside.
2. Combine kecap manis and fish sauce in a small jug.
3. Heat oil in a wok or large deep frying pan over high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes or until onion softens. Add garlic and cook for a further 1 minute. Add pork mince and sitr-fry, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add sauce and noodles and stir through for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
4. Garnish with coriander to serve.
• You can also use chicken or turkey mince in this dish.
• For variety, this spiced pork mixture would also be great served in lettuce cups or with rice.
• You can add any type of extra vegetables to this dish – try sliced red capsicum, baby corn or bean sprouts.
Another recipe from Donna Hay’s No Time to Cook, my friend Sonja made this for us for dinner last year – in my kitchen, so I just got to sit back and watch! I couldn’t believe how fast and yummy the whole dish was and so was keen to give it a go myself. When left to my own devices with no recipe, I normally really struggle to cook asian food that doesn’t all taste the same, but this simple recipe gets the balance of these readily available flavours just right without any stress. This recipe feeds 4 and calls for 4 firm white fish fillets, and I couldn’t believe that the 4 HUGE Basa fillets I picked up from the deli at Coles cost $4.80. The whole meal cost less than $8 and no more than 20 mins to make. I keep coming back to this recipe for all these reasons of simplicity and affordability, but also because I always think our family should be eating more fish and my brain struggles to think of anything but tuna (which not everyone loves). If you use gluten free rice stick noodles (such as Chang’s), this recipe is gluten and dairy free. And finally, if you don’t like much spiciness in asian food, go easy on the thai curry paste – and if you do like it spicy, go ahead and knock yourself out.
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tabs sesame seeds
- 2 tabs fresh ginger, grated
- 6 shallots or green onions, roughly chopped
- 2 tabs fish sauce
- 200g dried rice stick noodles
- 4 tsp red curry paste (if you’ve only got green in the fridge, that’s fine too)
- 2 tabs olive oil
- 4 firm white fish fillets
- 2/3 cup fresh coriander (if you have it and if you like it)
- 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves (if you have it and if you like it)
- Place a medium non-stick frypan over low heat, add sesame oil, seeds, ginger, shallots and fish sauce and cook for 2-3 mins. Remove sesame mixture from pan and set aside. Wipe pan clean.
- Place noodles in a heat-proof bowl, cover with boiling water for 10 mins until separated and tender.
- Combine curry paste and oil in a bowl and brush over both sides of the fish. Return the pan to low heat, add the fish and cook for 5 mins each side or until the fish is cooked through.
- Drain noodles, stir through sesame mixture and divide between plates. Top with fish and herbs to serve as well as steamed boy-choy if you’re keen.