Asian

Vegan glass noodle and mango salad

This was unusual for me. I’m not a vegan, nor a vegetarian, but I was catering to a friend who was staying with me, and I did what had to be done.

To begin with I was a little overwhelmed, what could I cook that is vegan and actually tastes nice?? That was a little ignorant on my part, because as I found, it was actually pretty easy to come up with something. There was a whole other world of food (the vegan world) that I knew nothing about! While it hasn’t convinced me to become vegan (I was sneaky and added prawns and fish sauce to my own salad), it has opened my mind a little.

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Mi goreng

Right now a lot of people must be thinking of the indomie instant noodles. No, this isn’t about me cooking a packet of instant noodles.

This is tenfold better.

Mi goreng translates to ‘fried noodles’ (exciting, I know), and is common in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It’s another classic dish which has many variations, and this particular recipe, once again, was derived from Rick Stein’s fabulous Far Eastern Odyssey. It’s one of those meals you crave for ages after you eat it, and in fact I’m going to make it again tonight.

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Review: Why you should buy Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey

I had never actually cooked anything by Rick Stein before until I came across this book while bored and thinking of what to cook for dinner. Of course, I knew who he was. I knew he was adored by many a housewife, and, after cooking a few recipes from his book, I most definitely joined the fan club.

Far Eastern Odyssey is incredible. Originally I was going to lift some pages out of my parent’s book (shhh) but I realised I would be taking 90% of it, so I’m most definitely going to be buying it. Featuring food from Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, it truly encompasses the far East of Asia. To date (and over only a handful of weeks) I have made 12 dishes from the book, and would have loved to have made more but didn’t have time to get the right ingredients. My dinner table has been replete with mouth-watering dishes from burning hot prawn and noodle salads to slow cooked, melt in your mouth braised pork.

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Beef rendang with coconut and cucumber salad

Another day, another opportunity to eat until I hate myself.

Beef rendang is a rich, spicy curry made with plenty of coconut cream and coconut flesh. A slight sour taste from the tamarind juice is balanced out with brown sugar (or more traditionally, palm sugar), infused with kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass stalks and a hint of cinnamon.

Already you can tell it’s going to be great.

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