Tag Archives: ginger

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pad Thai

Pad Thai

One of the most well-known Thai dishes, Pad Thai is a wonderful street food meal. It’s incredibly simple to make and can be whizzed up in minutes. But it’s easy to get it wrong. Too much sugar, too little lime juice, or lacklustre prawns are a commonplace failing. Here I’ve added just a small amount of sweetness, along with a good amount of spiciness and saltiness. And I’ve used spring onions and beansprouts but then also added sprouted seeds, including mung beans, chickpea sprouts and lentil sprouts – for added munchiness and a good dollop of nutrients. Fast food doesn’t need to be junk food – and this dish proves it in one fell scoop.

Serves 4     Preparation time 5 minutes     Cooking time 8 minutes

Ingredients:

500g/1lb 2oz rice noodles
1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
3cm/1¼in piece of root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste
3 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
4 tbsp fish sauce
1½ tbsp fruit sugar or caster sugar
200g/7oz/2 cups beansprouts
200g/7oz sprouted seeds, such as mung bean, chickpea and lentil
400g/14oz cooked large prawns
2 eggs, beaten
juice 2 limes
banana leaves, to serve (optional)
100g/3½oz/⅔ cup peanuts, to serve
2 large handfuls of coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
tamari soy sauce, to serve

1. Put the noodles in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, put the chilli, garlic, ginger and shrimp paste in a mini food processor or spice mill and blend until finely chopped.
3. Heat the oil in a large wok over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the chilli mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the spring onions and stir-fry for a further minute until they soften. Pour the fish sauce in and sprinkle the sugar over. Add the beansprouts, sprouted seeds and prawns and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes until cooked through but the vegetables are still slightly crunchy.
4. Push the ingredients to one side of the pan, add the egg to the other side and stir-fry the egg until cooked. Mix the egg into the other ingredients and add the cooked noodles and stir thoroughly to mix everything in. Add the lime juice and stir through. Serve immediately (on banana leaves if you like) with the peanuts and coriander scattered over, and with tamari sauce on the side.

The Free-From Food Awards Shortlist (and Slim Noodles and Zero Noodles)

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The Free-From Food Awards Shortlist has just been published. Set up six years ago by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson of freefromfoodsmatter.com, these Awards celebrate the innovation and imagination shown by the food industry in creating foods for the free-from market (ie foods that do not include one or more of wheat, gluten, dairy products, eggs, yeast, soya and sugar.) It’s worth mentioning the website Foods Matter here… Originally a magazine offering information and support both to food allergic/intolerant consumers and to the health professionals caring for them, it went on-line in 2010 and has become the most awesome reference site for people with food allergies/intolerances or coeliac disease (logging over 13 million hits per year!)

I took part in the judging for a day and was hugely impressed with the whole process. There were 11 of us that day and we blind-tasted every entry in our categories in silence, making notes and scoring each one out of ten. Once we had finished, we discussed every entry and then came to our conclusions as a group. This done, we could look at who had produced what. During the day I was there, we covered Breakfast Cereals and Grocery Ambient, including pastas, sauces and condiments.

It was great to taste so many of the entries. Some of them (especially some from outside Britain) I hadn’t come across before. And it was fascinating to sit there, tasting pasta after pasta, cereal after cereal etc against each other. The variety of ingredients, and combinations of those – and the resulting tastes and textures – were really interesting. The results of the awards will be announced in April…

One of the products we tasted was especially interesting. Shortlisted for the Pasta Award, the Slim Noodles were a subject of a great deal of discussion. Recently launched, it is gluten-free and it claims to deliver not only a feeling of fullness, but also an unbelievably low calorie content (7.7 calories per 100g serving). Made from a vegetable extract called Konjac (or Konnyaku) which has apparently been eaten in Asia for centuries because of its health benefits, it expands in your stomach, leading to the sensation of being full for up to four hours. Zero fat, zero sugar, low-calorie and low-carb, it’s currently being hailed (along with a very similar product called Zero Noodles which is made of exactly the same ingredient) as the answer to weight loss for many, many people. What’s more, independent studies apparently show that it can help increase insulin in your blood sugar levels, making it great for diabetics, and can help lower cholesterol. Wow!

Slim and Zero Noodles

Slim Noodles comes in three different guises – Slim Pasta, Slim Rice and Slim Noodles. The Slim Noodles – and Zero Noodles – look very similar to glass noodles and thin rice noodles in that they are white-coloured and very thin. They have a slightly rubbery texture (the Slim Noodles I find more so than the Zero Noodles) and almost no taste. I tested these at home this weekend with a recipe (see below) and they both worked really well with noodle-style recipes, such as stir-frys and Asian-style dishes. I haven’t tasted the Slim Rice yet but the Slim Pasta was very similar to Slim Noodles – just thicker, apparently more like a pasta-shape. I’m not convinced about the concept of Slim Pasta, though, as it doesn’t work for me as something that would work with pasta sauces, such as tomato-based sauces, and there was a slightly ‘fishy’ aroma to these, I thought.

You’ll find both the Slim Noodles and Zero Noodles in health food stores. In Holland & Barrett the Slim Noodles sell for £2.49 and the Zero Noodles (organic) for £1.99. They’re the same size – so go for the cheaper Zero Noodles if you’re looking to try the product!

Asian-fish Zero Noodles

Steamed Asia-Style Fish with Zero Noodles

gluten-free, dairy-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Serves 2     Preparation time 10 minutes, plus at least 1 hour marinating time     Cooking time 12–15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 fish fillets, such as salmon, trout or cod
  • 2 large salad onions or 6 spring onions, white part finely chopped
  • stir-fry vegetables, such as beansprouts, pak choi

Marinade:

  • 2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 serving of Zero Noodles, to serve
  1. Put the fish in a shallow, non-metallic dish. Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl or jug and pour over the tuna. Cover with a lid or cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably longer.
  2. Spoon the marinade into a large wok and heat over a medium-high heat. Cook for 2–3 minutes until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent. Add the vegetables and then place the fish on the top. Cover with a lid and steam for about 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve hot with the prepared Zero Noodles.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free & Egg-Free Crab, Ginger & Coconut Pancakes

This recipe comes from Sophie Michell’s gorgeous new book, Love Good Food, and is based on a dish that Sophie tried when she was in Malaysia. Malaysian food is definitely the unsung culinary hero of Asia. It’s uniquely diverse cuisine combines the original Malay cooking style along with cooking techniques and ingredients from China, India, Portugal and Holland, with Thai and Indonesian influences. The huge variety of cuisines creates a delectable mix of regional specialities and iconic dishes.

Probably the most immediately-noticeable aspect of Malaysian food is the use of an unusual mix of spices. The Chinese, Indian and Portugese spice traders brought in spices like cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, tamarind and turmeric and these are used with great effect in the dishes. Here Sophie has mixed turmeric into the pancake mixture, giving the batter a beautiful yellow colour, along with a slightly tart, peppery flavour. Mixed in with the rice flour, the creamy, sweet coconut milk and the light-onion flavour from the chive, this is a really delicious pancake mixture.

What’s more, this recipe is not only gluten-free and dairy-free but it’s egg-free. Yep – pancakes you can make without having to use eggs or egg substitutes. Brilliant! You can also use strips of pork or prawns and peanuts instead of the crab. Sophie finishes the dish off with some oyster sauce but this contains gluten, so you could simply leave it as it is, or perhaps try a squeeze of lime if you like.

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, seed-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes resting time     Cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1–2 tsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2.5cm/1in piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 300g/10½oz picked cooked white crab meat
  • 1 tsp tamari soy sauce

Pancake Batter:

  • 175g/6oz/heaped 1 cup rice flour
  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup coconut milk, plus extra as needed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives, plus extra for sprinkling
  • a pinch of sea salt
  1. To make the pancake batter, whisk together the rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric, chives and sea salt in a bowl with 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup water until thoroughly combined to make a smooth batter, adding more coconut and water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. To cook the pancakes, heat a frying pan with a base about 20cm/8in in diameter over a medium-high heat. Add some of the groundnut oil, and, when it is hot, pour in one-quarter of the pancake batter. Tilt the pan to spread the batter into a thin, lacy layer, then cook the pancake for 5 minutes until the batter is set and the edges are starting to turn golden. Flip the pancake over and cook for a further 2–3 minutes until golden. Turn the pancake out onto a heatproof serving plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining 3 pancakes, adding more oil to the pan as required.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the ginger and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the crab meat and tamari soy sauce and stir-fry until heated through. Divide the crab mixture onto the pancakes and roll them up. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chives.

Leemei Tan’s Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Malaysian Coconut & Lemongrass–Scented Rice with Squid Sambal

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, making the same spice paste over and over again. So I tried a new one to make this recipe – from Leemei Tan‘s Lemongrass & Ginger. I have an all-time favourite Thai green curry that I make that is hard to drag myself away from. But it uses a lot of different ingredients so it was great to try this simple paste – especially as it delivers delicious flavours and tons of oomph.

Leemei Tan is a food blogger, stylist and photographer. Her blog is gorgeous – full of Asian (inspired by her upbringing in Malaysia) and French/Asian (inspired by her French husband) recipes. Her brilliant book covers recipes from all over Asia – Japan & Korea, China, Philippines & Indonesia, Malaysia & Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam and India & Sri Lanka. Here I’ve tried one of the Malaysian recipes as I’ve become increasingly interested in this particular cuisine.

Malaysian food reflects the country’s different ethnic backgrounds. The mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Nyonya, Eurasian and the indigenous people of Borneo has meant the cuisine majors on a fusion of Malay and Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques. Added to that is the effect of the spice trade in the 15th century that brought a wide range of exotic spices to Malaysia, including cardamom, cinnamon, clove and star anise, all of which often play a starring role in the dishes.

This recipe uses star anise, ginger and lemongrass, along with coconut milk, to make a truly delicious rice. (I made the rice the other morning, before I went to work, thinking that Zoe would love it for her lunch, as she loves coconut-flavoured rice. But when I came home and asked Peter whether she had liked it, he said that she’d eaten a fair bit of it but didn’t seem to enjoy it particularly. Later on, I realised that he’d given her the chopped up dried anchovies for this Sambal recipe that I’d had in the fridge instead. No wonder she hadn’t gone for it big time!)

This recipe is a great one for cooking squid. Squid can so easily be tough and rubbery when you’ve cooked it, so you have to either flash fry/stir-fry or cook it slowly, as you do here, to get a lovely tender texture. And the whole dish is full of punchy, vibrant flavours – delicious!

I went to New Loon Moon Supermarket in Chinatown, London, to get the dried anchovies, the pandan leaves and the banana leaves for this recipe. It’s always wonderful going to this store – and I generally spend far too long in there, drifting around the aisles looking at the wonderful selection of foods…

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, soya-free, nut-free

Serves: 4–6     Preparation time: 1 hour, plus soaking and resting time     Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 350g/12oz/1¾ cups long-grain rice, washed and rested
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves and stalk ends removed and crushed
  • 3 pandan leaves, tied into a knot (optional)
  • 2cm/¾in piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100ml/3½fl oz/generous ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4–6 banana leaves (optional)

For the Squid Sambal

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced into rings
  • 800g/1lb 12oz squid, cut into rings
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice or 1 recipe quantity Tamarind Water
  • sea salt

For the Sambal paste

  • 4 dried chillies
  • 5 red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 10 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp roasted shrimp paste
  • 2 macadamia nuts

To serve

  • 100g/3½oz/scant ⅔ cup raw, skinless peanuts
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1 small cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 80g/2¾oz dried anchovies
  1. To make the Sambal paste, soak the dried chillies in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain, deseed and roughly chop. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. To make the Squid Sambal, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add the spice paste and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 10–15 minutes until fragrant and the oil starts to rise to the surface. Tip in the squid, stir until well coated and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and season with salt, then add the lime juice and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and turns a dark reddish brown. Leave to one side and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, put the rice, star anise, lemongrass, pandan leaves, if using, ginger, coconut milk and salt in a large saucepan and pour in 300ml/10½fl oz/scant 1¼ cups water. Put the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil for about 20 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent the rice sticking to the base of the pan, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the lid tightly closed, and leave to one side to steam for 10–15 minutes until cooked. Fluff the rice with a fork and discard the star anise, lemongrass and pandan leaves, if using.  Leave to one side and keep warm.
  5. While the Sambal and rice are cooking, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add the peanuts and dry-roast until fragrant and starting to brown. Tip the peanuts onto a plate, sprinkle over the sugar and leave to cool. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the dried anchovies until slightly browned.
  6. Serve the rice on plates or banana leaves. Ladle the Squid Sambal over the rice and top with the eggs. To the side, heap the cucumber, toasted anchovies and sugared peanuts. Serve hot.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pak Choi-Wrapped Fish

Spring onions turned up in my veg box this week and it made me think of lighter, Asian-style food. I’ve been meaning to try this idea out for a while, but it’s felt too wintery recently. But as the blossom is now in full bloom on the trees and the weather has turned warmer, I thought it would be good to try this.

Spring onions are often combined with ginger and sesame oil, and these marry wonderfully well with the subtle tastes of pak choi and white fish. I’ve used pollack because the sauce makes the fish taste delicious, and I’ve added lots of the sea vegetable, arame, to maximise the healthy aspect of this dish. Arame, like all sea veg, contains high levels of iodine, which, as well as boosting your immune system, it helps to keep your metabolism working at an optimum level.

I bought some Chinese rice wine for this dish – and it was a revelation! I’m not sure what I was expecting but, to me, it tastes rather like sherry. The recipe uses 5 tablespoons of the wine and the bottle says that the wine will only keep for a week. So there was no choice, really – we had to drink the rest. (Yep, the detox is over!) I had bought Doragon Sake – and we drank it warm as the bottle suggested, slowly over the course of a couple of days. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world of wine!

Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 10 minutes     Serves 4

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 pak choi
  • 6 spring onions, cut into strips
  • 1cm/½in piece root ginger, peeled and cut into strips
  • 4 skinless white fish fillets, such as pollack
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 150ml/5fl oz/scant ⅔ cup miso soup
  • 1 handful of arame
  • steamed rice or cooked rice noodles, to serve
  1. Remove the 2 outer leaves from each pak choi and immerse in a bowl of boiled water for about 1 minute until the leaves have softened. Refresh under cold running water and leave to one side. Cut the remaining pak choi into quarters.
  2. Arrange the spring onion strips and ginger on the top of the fish and wrap the softened pak choi leaves around the fish, tucking each end under the fish.
  3. Heat the sesame and olive oils in a large wok over a medium heat until hot. Pour in the rice wine, tamari and miso soup and add the arame, making sure the arame is immersed in the liquid. Bring to the boil, then place the fish on the top and cover with a lid. (If your wok is too small for all the fish, cook in batches.) Cook for 5 minutes, then add the remaining pak choi quarters and cook, covered, for a further 3–5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Serve immediately with steamed rice or rice noodles.