Laksa with fried chicken and tofu puffs

Laksa is traditionally made using candlenuts in the paste, but there are macadamias lining the streets up here so I’ve oft subbed them in very successfully.

Also, in another development in the world of substitutions, the paste section of the recipe could be subbed out for a store bought paste if you are time-poor. Please note though; the store bought paste will not come off the bench to a standing applause like the macadamias would. Don’t get me wrong, Mr store paste will still get a couple of cheers from a few drunkards down the front, it’s just not going to be the full John Farnham coming onto stage at his third “final goodbyes” tour standing ovation.

Anything you can’t find at a supermarket is no doubt at your local asian grocery store. While you’re there you should grab yourself something else you have never seen before and work out how to use it.

One thing I love about Asian cooking is the big ol’ pile of colour that you start with
Look at those tofu puffs just waiting to soak up so much flavour
Just bloody delicious

LAKSA WITH FRIED CHICKEN & TOFU PUFFS

(serves 4 – 6)

PASTE

1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled
8 dried long red chilli, rehydrated in enough hot water to cover
1 thumb sized knob tumeric, roughly chopped
1 thumb sized knob galangal, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
5 coriander root, roughly chopped
4 stalks lemon grass, white part only, roughly chopped
¼ cup candle nuts or macadamias, lightly toasted
¼ cup oil to blitz

TO COOK

Paste above
8 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
3x 400 ml tins coconut milk
750 ml chook stock
1 tablespoon castor sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce, plus extra if necessary
2 tablespoon lime juice

TO SERVE

500 g fresh rice noodles or dried rice noodle equivalent, cooked as per instructions of chef packet
300 g chicken thigh fillet, poached or fried, kept warm in low oven
100 g fried tofu puffs, cut in half
200 g bean shoots
Extra lime and chilli
Coriander, sliced fresh shallots and crisp eshallots
A chilli condiment of your choosing

Blitz all paste ingredients in a food processor or pound with mortar and pestle until coarse pasty consistency.
The paste goes into a pot over medium heat. Cook out for 5 minutes or until it’s starting to smell delicious.
Add all “to cook” ingredients except lime juice and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Add lime juice and curry puffs and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Fish sauce for more salt, sugar for more sweet.
Chop chicken into bite sized pieces.
Now it’s time to assemble.
Noodles go into a bowl, soup and tofu get ladled over them, add the chopped chicken and then garnish with bean shoots, coriander, sliced shallots, crisp shallots, fresh chilli and chilli condiment, with extra lime on the side.
You know you will be patting yourself on the back for this one.

And here is an almost-instructional video to help you too

Beef and beer stew with secret lentils

I put a tin of lentils in here just because it’s probably something you think you hate. You will not hate them in this. In fact, you will most probably fall in love with them and want to marry them. Plus, your bowel will thank you for getting a little roughage in your diet.

Get all of the stuff together and the go and get comfy next to the camp fire
Get it all into the pot and then let it simmer away for a few hours while you sit back and get slightly simmered yourself


BEEF AND BEER STEW WITH SECRET LENTILS

(Serves 6)

1 kg some kind of beef slow cooking cut – chuck, shin, brisket, etc – cut into 3 cm dice (no need to get the ruler out. Just make it a decent sized piece or even ask your butcher nicely and they might do it for you)
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 anchovies. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
2 bay leaves
A sprig of rosemary or thyme if you have some in the garden
3x 375 ml cans dark beer
1x 700 ml tomato passata
1x 400 g tin lentils
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley, to serve
Soft polenta, mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, pasta or something along those lines, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Season beef with salt and pepper and add to the pot (normally you might brown everything off separately but this is going to be an all-in type thing) along with anchovies and herbs. Sauté for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Add beer and tomato and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 ½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Check that the beef is tender – it should be ready for Nan to gum to death by now. If not, simmer for another 30 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Finish with a handful of chopped parsley.
Eat it.

If it’s easier for your eyes to watch these things you can find the video at foodisthebestshitever youtube channel.

Low country boil

This is meant to be a big ol’ prawn (shrimp), crab or crawfish stew for a heap of people to enjoy. Your seafood gets loose in a party of potatoes, corn, sausage and some kinda spicy seasoning and then you get some paper on the table, lay it all out with a couple of dipping sauces and don’t even worry about plates or cutlery. Could life be any better?

This though, is the lockdown version, so maybe when all of this shit blows over you can invite a crew over and multiply the recipe by 4 or 5.

I feel like the seafood could be easily replaced with chicken drumsticks added at the same time as the potatoes.

Also, I feel like the main skill involved here is boiling water. I’m going to leave that there all by itself.

Get on it.


LOW COUNTRY BOIL

(Serves 4 corona virus lockdownees)

16 – 20 large prawns (shrimp)
200 g smoked pork sausage, cut into 2 cm pieces
600g baby potatoes
2 cobs sweet corn, cut into thirds
5 – 6 baby onions, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon, quartered
1 tablespoon each salt and pepper
¼ cup Lanes New Bay, old bay or shrimp boil seasoning, plus extra to dust
5 lt water
Melted butter, to serve
Hot sauce mayonnaise, to serve

Boil water in a big pot. Something big enough to hold the water and then some is the go.
Once water is boiling add every thing except prawns, sausage and corn. Cook for 9 minutes or until potatoes are half way done.
Add sausage and corn and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, add prawns and simmer for another 5 minutes or until prawns and potatoes are fully cooked.
Strain the lot through a colander and whack it onto a serving tray or straight onto newspaper on the table for the post-lockdown party version.
Give it a flick of extra seasoning.
Serve with melted butter and hot sauce mayonnaise for dipping. Napkins are pretty essential too.





Prawn & sausage jambalaya

Jambalaya. A Cajun classic. Allegedly first made by European immigrants in New Orleans and deeply rooted in the Spanish paella. It’s a tasty-assed mash up of some kind of meat, smoked sausage, a few vegetables and rice in a pot, where they are left to make love and produce offspring of immensely really good flavour.

Cajun cooking has a bit of a thing going on with the celery, capsicum (bell pepper) and onion, the holy trinity of Cajun cooking if you will, and I certainly have no problem with this. It works, it does what it is meant to do, it doesn’t cause any trouble and it’s clean. I love a good clean house guest… or holy trinity…

This poor man’s dinner can be very easily consumed all by itself, but this sort of ricey goodness can also act as a side for a fillet of fish, a nice piece of roasted chicken or grilled pork chop.

On a side note, this corona virus shit certainly makes me realise why child mortality rates were so high in the old world. Also, it has made very clear why children were sent to work full time at such a young age. Coincidence that there was no proper school system to get the kids out of your hair and each other’s faces for 5 days of the week? I think not.


PRAWN & SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA

Serves 4


400 g large prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, 5 heads reserved for cooking
200 g Andouille or some kind of smoked sausage, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ long red chilli, chopped
1-2 tablespoons Cajun spice mix or your favourite BBQ rub
250 g basmati rice
1 lt chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and lemon wedges, to serve


Heat pan over medium-high flame.
Sauté chorizo, the Cajun holy trinity, chilli and garlic in oil until softened and starting to brown.
Add prawn heads, tomato and spice mix and cook out for a further minute.
Add rice, stock and prawns to pan, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon.
Get it onto a plate or bowl of some description and then into your face so as to benefit from it’s tasty goodness.

Beer battered fish

There’s a lot to be said for a good beer batter. I like it to be puffy and I really like it to be crisp. I want to know it’s there, but not so much that the fish doesn’t get a look in. I want it to be a part of something that is going to make the world a better place.

This is such a beer batter.

This recipe was given to me by my mate Perry who was gifted it by a guy who ran a busy fish and chip shop, so I was immediately pretty sure he would know something of a good batter. After trying this batter recipe I knew for a fact that he did indeed know a thing about a good batter.

Now that was another bloody cracking anecdote now wasn’t it.

Also, i’ve got a youtube channel now and this recipe is on it and the link is at the bottom of the page.

BEER BATTERED FISH

Serves 4

600-700g fresh fish fillets, pin bone and skin removed

1 cup plain flour, plus extra to dust

1 cup self-raising flour

1 can (375 ml) of whatever beer you have in your hand

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus enough to fill your deep fryer

Chips, tartare and lemon, to serve

Fill deep fryer with oil to level.

Get oil up to temperature. Around 180 C (350 F) is good.

To make the batter, mix flours, oil and beer. Whisk until your batter is quite smooth and is thick enough to coat your finger nicely. Not too thick is the key here. If it seams a little thick you might want to add another splash of that beer you’re drinking.

Coat fish fillets with plain flour, shake slightly to leave only the slightest dusting of flour and then dip them into the batter.

Drag them out of the batter and ever-so-slightly drag them across the side of the bowl to remove excess.

Deep fry for 3 minutes or so, until fish is cooked and batter is crisp.

Season with salt and serve with chips, tartare and lemon, and maybe a nice little salad.

TARTARE SAUCE

1 ½ cups good mayonnaise. I believe that something that tastes like it belongs in your mouth is key here.

2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle

2 tablespoons chopped capers (even if you think you don’t like capers, you should still use them in here)

2 tablespoons chopped spring onion (shallot)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and get that thing all mixed up so you might serve it with your fish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNC08ID_yaw

Special fried rice. Why is it so special? It just is, that’s why.

It’s fried rice time.

foodisthebestshitever


This cracking way to use up extra Christmas ham (that you will probably want to book mark for next year) is based on the Aussie-Chinese take away restaurant classic – the special fried rice.

Why is it called special fried rice?

I am not really sure, but maybe it had the little pink shrimpy things in it and the bog-standard fried rice didn’t.

Whatever the reason, I do remember the special fried rice costing an extra couple o’ bucks a portion and it was worth every penny.

My big tips for cooking fried rice are;
Cook the rice in the morning or the day before so it breaks up nicely and doesn’t get all clumpy and shitty.
Get everything ready. This is called your mise en place. Translated this literally means “putting in place”. Mise en place is super important in the world of wok cookery because it’s such a…

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