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Asian Veggie Salad with Coconut Dressing

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Another busy day today – dentist in the morning all the way across in East London (not very convenient, but he’s good) and then a belly dance photo-shoot in the afternoon which took a lot of preparing for (hair, makeup, assembling costumes, jewellery, sword etc…) It went well so hopefully I’ll have some good material for my new website.

I really didn’t feel like cooking when I got home, so I just chucked some chicken thighs in the oven and steamed some broccoli and cauliflower to go with it. Not terribly interesting. If only I’d had some of this salad left instead…

Asian Veggie Salad with Coconut Dressing (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:
400g green beans
400g sugar snap peas
500g asparagus
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 red chilies, finely sliced
1 cup coriander/cilantro leaves
For the dressing:
Bottom inch of lemongrass stalk
1.5 cm piece of ginger
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp honey
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 can coconut milk
1 large kaffir lime leave, hard rib removed

Steam the beans, sugar snaps and asparagus (I did each vegetable separately as my steamer is quite small and they don’t all take the same amount of time to cook). Keep checking whilst they cook to make sure they are still crisp. When they are just tender, remove from steamer and immediately run under cold water to stop them cooking further.
Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with a little salt.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and whizz up until completely blended.
Pour over the vegetables, add the chilli and coriander and toss well so that everything is coated in the dressing.

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Asian Slaw

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It’s been a long time since I last posted, I know and I apologise! Life has just been getting in the way recently, plus with the weather being warmer (finally!) and things being busy, I haven’t been doing so much cooking. I’ve been chowing down on a lot of salads. I based this one on something I had in Cambodia, but I have to (rather arrogantly) say that my version was even better than the original. This makes quite a large amount which would be perfect as a take along dish for a barbecue.

Asian Slaw (serves 10)

3/4 of a pointed cabbage, finely shredded
3 carrots, grated
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
For the Dressing
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Mix the vegetables and seeds in a large bowl
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing
Pour over the veggies and toss well.
VoilĂ  – enjoy with some Asian spare ribs or some other kind of delicious marinated meat!

Asian Baked Salmon Wrapped in Pandan Leaf with Roasted Chilli Broccoli

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I’m feeling so exhausted today. Those of you who don’t know me personally probably don’t know that before I became a personal trainer, I used to be a professional belly dancer. Yes, you read that right! To cut a long story short, I had a dancing job last night in a casino for an Arabic event. I was supposed to dance at 11.45 (yes, pm!) but I ended up going onstage at 12.15 and finishing at 12.45! There was a time when I would have thought “great, an early finish” as I often used to finish at 3 or 4am! Nowadays I generally follow my bodies circadian rhythms not go completely against them. Therefore I am really suffering today, despite having had 8 hrs of sleep! I haven’t even had the energy to workout today. It has really driven home to me that I could never go back to that nocturnal, sleep deprived lifestyle! Once in a while is fine though.

This was a pretty simple and quick dish, and if you don’t have any pandan leaves to hand (let’s face it, unless you live in Southeast Asia, it’s pretty unlikely), you can just bake the salmon uncovered.

Asian Baked Salmon Wrapped in Pandan Leaf with Roasted Chilli Broccoli (serves 2)
Ingredients:

For the salmon:
1 shallot
1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1 red chilli, deseeded
1/2 tsp palm sugar
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp water
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 salmon fillets
2 pandan leaves

For the broccoli:
1 head broccoli cut into florets
1 red chilli, sliced
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
Himalayan salt

Put all the ingredients for the salmon except the salmon fillets and pandan leaves in a food processor and blitz until it forms a smooth but slightly runny paste.
Pour the paste into a ziplock bag, add the salmon and leave to marinate for an hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Wrap each salmon fillet in a pandan leaf and secure with a toothpick. Place in an ovenproof dish.
Put the broccoli florets into an ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle over the chilli, salt and sesame oil.
Place both dishes into the oven and bake for around 20 mins.
Remove the pandan leaves before devouring the salmon (they aren’t edible, just for flavour)

Amok Trey (Cambodian Fish Curry)

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I fell in love with this dish in Cambodia. It’s one of the most popular dishes in the country and you can find it anywhere. Every place I had it, the ingredients were slightly different, as was the presentation, although traditionally it is supposed to be steamed in a bowl made of banana leaves. My version is quicker and easier, just making it in a wok and certainly not messing around making banana leaf bowls, however I might go to the trouble if I were serving this for friends.

The most important ingredient in Amok is the Kroeung or spice paste. Traditionally it is made in a mortar and pestle, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to pound, pop the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste. The veggies are interchangeable so feel free to experiment. I have also made this with French beans and okra.
Obviously in Cambodia it is served with steamed rice, so I served mine with cauliflower rice. If you’re not a great fan of fish, it can also be made with chicken, shrimp or both!

Amok Trey (serves 2)
Ingredients:

For the Kroeung
3 stalks lemongrass, bottom 3 inches only, outer leaves removed
8 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 oz galangal, peeled and cut into pieces
1 oz fresh turmeric root or 1 tsp turmeric powder
4 kaffir lime leaves, hard rib removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water

For the Amok
1 portion of Kroeung
375g ling or other white fish fillets, cut into bite size chunks
1 red pepper, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 large pak choi, sliced
2 red chillies, sliced (add more for extra heat if you like)
2 green chillies, sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
1 egg
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves

Blitz the Kroeung ingredients in a food processor until you have a paste.
Heat the coconut oil in a wok. Add the red peppers and chillies and stir-fry for a minute.
Add the paste and fry for 30 secs until it is is fragrant.
Add a little coconut milk to the paste to loosen it. Continue to add a little more until all the coconut milk is mixed in.
Bring to a simmer.
Add the coconut sugar and shrimp paste.
Stir in the carrots and white stalk part of the pak choi, reserving the leaves for later.
When the veggies are tender (this should only take a few minutes), carefully add the fish and gently fold into the sauce. You don’t want the fish to break up into tiny flakes – it should retain it’s chunk size.
Continue to simmer for about 3 minutes until the fish looks just cooked.
Beat the egg and fish sauce together and gently fold into the curry, trying not to break up the fish as you stir it in. At the same time, add the pak choi leaves.
Simmer for a minute or less until the egg has cooked and coagulated and the pak choi leaves have wilted.
Serve with the cilantro leaves on top and some extra green birds eye chillies if you like. It goes very well with cauliflower rice.

This is how it looked when it was served to me in Siem Reap

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Thai Style Stir-Fried Pork

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you that for a good long while the majority of my posts are going to be Asian inspired! This delicious stir-fry is kind of an amalgamation of several dishes I had whilst I was in Thailand and Cambodia. You could substitute any other veggies you have on hand.

Thai Style Stir-Fried Pork (serves 2-3)

500g pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1″ piece of ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
200g tenderstem broccoli
3 medium shallots, finely sliced
2 ramiro peppers, finely sliced
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
Juice of half a lime
2 tsp fish sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

Melt half the coconut oil in a wok.
Add the pork and half the chilli and ginger.
Stir-fry until browned and any liquid has evaporated.
Add the remaining coconut oil, followed by the veggies and remaining ginger and chilli.
Cook until the veggies have softened.
Add the kaffir lime leaves and the garlic, stir-fry for a minute longer.
Add the fish sauce and lime juice.
Stir to make sure everything is coated and heated through.
Serve on it’s own or with cauliflower rice.