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Tag Archives: easy

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug)

Yet another spice blend to add to my repertoire!

Z’hug or Z’hoog (as pronounced) is a traditional blend from Yemen. Traditionally, the blend is in the form of a wet marinade made from fresh and moist ingredients like parsley, garlic, cilantro and the local Marash pepper.

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug) - thespiceadventuress.com

Amongst the cookbooks I own, one of my most prized ones is the New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou. It’s an amazing book where Chef/author Mourad Lahlou delves into traditional Moroccan cooking, basics and fundamentals but executed in a modern, contemporary style.

So there’s information about so many spices, ingredients, techniques from in and around the region; great for those who do not know much about Morocco or its cuisine. Yet the recipes and dishes outlined are global fare.

Though Z’hug is a wet blend as mentioned, Mourad has outlined a recipe in the book for a dry version which is often used in his restaurant. And that’s what I have used too, except that instead of Marash pepper, I used semi dried chillies. Even though I do stock the Marash pepper, it’s not an easy one to find for most people so I decided to use the chilli variety that is available locally and easily for all. But if you do have it, use it by all means.

There are plenty of ways to use Z’hug. It can be used as a dry rub for steaks or roast chicken. It can also be used to spice up casseroles, lentils or roast vegetables. Roast nuts spiced with Z’hug is also a great idea.

Z’hug and seafood would also be a delightful combination. And I wanted to make something that’s quick and simply to put together for a midweek meal or as a party starter. The spice blend can also be made in excess and stored; one that is great to have in the pantry always.

I decided to use prawns marinated with Z’hug and then pan grill it. Prawns do not require prolonged marination, so it’s a dish that comes together in no time at all. And with the holiday season upon us, this is a great dish to add to your party table.

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms tiger prawns; deveined and deshelled
  2. Z’hug blend
  3. Salt; to season
  4. Vegetable oil
  5. Lemon wedges; to serve

Z’hug:

(I have used Gourmet Garden’s semi dried chillies and herbs; but you can substitute with any brand you have access to. Or you can use fresh ingredients to make a wet spice marinade)

  1. 2 tsp semi dried chilli flakes
  2. 3 tsp ground coriander
  3. 2 tsp dried cilantro/coriander leaves
  4. 3 tsp dried parsley
  5. 1 tsp garlic granules
  6. 1 tsp ground cumin
  7. 1 tsp ground caraway
  8. 1 tsp ground cardamom
  9. ¼ tsp citric acid
  10. ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Method:

To make Z’hug:

  • Combine all the ingredients, grind if necessary and store in an airtight container.

To prepare the final dish:

  • Clean and pat dry the prawns.
  • In a non reactive bowl, marinate the prawns with Z’hug and season with salt. Mix well and keep for 15-30minutes.
  • Brush enough oil and heat the grill pan to high. Pan grill the prawns in batches till done.
  • Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Pan grilled Prawns (spiced with Z’hug) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

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Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chillies

For all the prawn lovers out there!

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Personally, I find prawns the easiest yet the most indulgent seafood to cook and eat. Not just for the fact that it cooks super fast but also for its ability to absorb all sorts of flavours in minimal time. Agreed, prawns are slightly more expensive when compared to your regular fish fillets, but there’s so little you need to do to it for a delicious dinner on your table in no time at all.

In our home, prawns are most often cooked for mid week dinners. And that’s because, by Wednesday, I get into the when’s the weekend coming mode and I really need something to get me going. Sometimes, it’s a nice glass of wine or perhaps a late night movie (for which I curse myself the next day morning) and sometimes, it’s an indulgent plate of food. And prawns fit perfectly in that mid week indulgent category.

While I need that mid week luxury, I am not willing to work too hard for it. So today’s recipe, grilled prawns with herbs and chillies is just perfect.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

All you really need for this dish is a bunch of herbs, which makes it also a good dish to use up leftover herbs that let it go bad in the refrigerator. When I have an excess amount of herbs (I grow quite a few at home), I usually chop it all up finely, mix with a generous amount of olive oil and freeze for future uses like this dish. So that’s another tip for you!

So that’s it really, mix the prawns with the herb oil emulsion, a touch of chilli flakes to spice things up and then grill it. Top it over a big bowl of salad or a quick rice or noodle stir fry for a delicious and indulgent midweek dinner.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 350gms tiger prawns; deshelled (leave tails intact) and deveined
  2. 1-1 ½ tsp chilli flakes (adjust to heat preferences)….

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Supreme Seafood, so head over to their website for the full recipe.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

WWFreshBox by Aussie Farmers Direct + a Recipe for Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

‘So what do I cook tonight?’

How many times in a week do you ask yourself that question? I do…almost every single day. Friends often assume that meal planning is something I enjoy and ace at, being a food blogger. Definitely not, at least not most of the time because in addition to the everyday food, I have to plan ahead for the recipes that are to be created for the blog, clients etc…..

It takes me two days to get my meal plans and grocery shopping list in order and there are weeks when the whole exercise freaks me out. So you can imagine my excitement when I get a mail from Aussie Farmers Direct asking if I would like to review the new WWFresh Box that has been designed and created by Weight Watchers. Yes please….bring it on!

Aussie Farmers Direct and Weight Watchers – two brands that we are pretty familiar with and so I am not going into the details here. There’s plenty of information on their websites for the newcomers. Instead, I am going to talk about the WWFreshbox; this perfectly packed box full of absolutely gorgeous and fresh ingredients that has been sourced from local farms and food producers. And also, the printed recipes that got me really excited.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

So my choice was the Family Freshbox which includes ingredients and fresh produce to serve 5 meals for 4 people. I have been testing out and cooking from the WWFreshbox for the past couple of days using the Weightwatchers recipes that was included. And here is what I think;

(Aussie Farmers Direct has also offered a generous discount for all the subscribers of The Spice Adventuress. More details at the end of the post)

Pros:

  • No more meal planning – You don’t have to break your head wondering what you are going to cook each day and then shop around for ingredients. You get the ingredients delivered straight to your door with the recipes included. Definitely a time saver!
  • Choose from different types of WWFreshbox – there are plenty of choices when it comes to the size of the WWFreshBox designed to serve 2 or 4 people for 3 or 5 meals. Ensures zero wastage.
  • High Quality Fresh Ingredients – that are packed to perfection in a special temperature controlled box. Aussie Farmers Direct does a brilliant job at sourcing all the produce from local farmers which means that you not only eat healthy and fresh but also support the local community.
  • Free Delivery – Yup, you heard it right….free delivery to your door.
  • Excellent Packaging – Since all the ingredients are packed in a temperature controlled box, everything stays fresh till you reach home and put it away. The vegetables are packed neatly, in sealed containers where necessary and all the protein is in a special cover with gel packs. The gel packs inside can be reused and if you do not wish to keep it, you may leave it inside the box and place it outside on the day your next delivery happens.
  • Delicious and Healthy Recipes – I mean it guys, really delicious recipes. All the recipes are designed by the nutrition experts at Weight Watchers and includes the Smart Points so that you can keep track. And even if you are not watching your weight, you still can eat healthy. The recipes change every week so it doesn’t get boring at all. Every week’s recipes are updated on the website so you can check out that before placing your order.What I really loved about the recipes is that there is no compromise on flavour and taste as you can see from the dish I will be sharing with you guys shortly.

Cons:

  • Delivery can be an issue for those who live in apartments with unit numbers; the box will need to be delivered to a friend’s place or your business address. Also, delivery is currently not available in certain suburbs. Do check if your suburb is covered on the website.
  • No dry ingredients provided.
  • No exclusively vegetarian WWFreshbox.

Getting to my favourite part; the recipe that I tried out from the WW Freshbox and absolutely loved – Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

We are not big on kale in our house. I don’t mind it but the boys are not very enthusiastic about it and the only way I have been able to make them eat it is in a lentil curry. So with this recipe, I was both excited and apprehensive. But went ahead anyway, hoping the bacon will work its magic even if the kale fails.

And let me tell you peeps, we loved it!

This pasta dish was a winner on all counts – it was light, refreshing, healthy, low on calories and super packed with flavour. From prep to finish, on the table in 30 minutes. All thanks to Weight Watchers, we have found our favourite kale dish.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

Serves: 4

7 SmartPoints® value per serve

Ingredients:

  1. 200gms dried pasta
  2. 5 tsp olive oil
  3. 125gms lean bacon (fat trimmed); chopped
  4. 1 red capsicum; chopped
  5. 200gms button mushrooms; sliced
  6. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  7. 2 small fresh red chilli; finely chopped
  8. 200gms kale; chopped
  9. 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  10. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  11. Salt; to season

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per packet instructions till al dente. Drain (reserve ½ cup liquid) and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes till the bacon pieces have turned golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 tsp olive oil and add the garlic, chillies and capsicum. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the mushrooms. Cook over high heat for another 2-3 minutes till the mushrooms have softened. Transfer to the same bowl as the bacon.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil and add the kale. Season with salt and cook covered for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Then add ¼ cup water to the kale, mix and continue to cook covered for another 2-3 minutes or till the kale has become tender.
  5. Increase heat and return the bacon and vegetables to the pan. Also add the lemon rind and juice; season with salt if necessary.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, half of the reserved liquid and toss on high flame for a few seconds.
  7. Serve warm

I served this pasta dish with a fresh salad made from cherry tomatoes, red onion, coriander leaves, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you would like to make this delicious recipe or make several like these, all that you need to do is place an order with Aussie Farmers Direct for the all new WW Freshbox.

Thanks to Aussie Farmers Direct, a special discount code has been offered to all the subscribers of ‘The Spice Adventuress’ (make sure you subscribe to my blog). Enjoy $25 off* with your first WW Freshbox. Use promo code ‘FRESHSPICE’ on checkout – T&Cs below.  

(Offer open to new customers. Minimum spend $65. For full T&Cs visit AussieFarmers.com.au. Valid until 31/08/2016. Order must be placed by 12 noon 30/08/2016.)

So go ahead, place your order today and enjoy fresh ingredients with healthy recipes, delivered straight to your doorstep. And if you prepare the above recipe, make sure to tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I may see it too.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Aussie Farmers Direct. All the opinions stated in this review are mine; hope it helps you make an informed choice. 

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste)

Are you an extrovert, or an introvert, or someone in between?

I was an extrovert as a child, introvert as a teenager and an introvert’s extrovert in my adult life. Life takes us all through phases; high and low, good and bad, happy and sad…all of which leave profound marks on our character and personality. And there is only one way forward – to evolve with time.

Change is inevitable and the only constant in this world. I resisted it for the longest time in my life; despising it instead of embracing it. It pushed me into alleys of dark despair and loneliness…a sense of unwantedness. Till one day when I realized that I am meant to flow, evolve, adapt and change with the waves of time.

So do we change our entire being, transform ourselves into someone we don’t recognize? No, we don’t; we only adapt, shed the unwanted baggage retaining our core essence as a human, as a person. We reflect inwards, separating the chaff so that we end up with the purest grains.

For me, food takes the same journey of change. With time, my taste and preferences change. And when boredom strikes from the old and known, I need to recharge and experiment in my kitchen; not for the blog but to satisfy my inner need for change. It keeps me happy, it keeps me satisfied and motivated.

Today, I embrace this change in the form of an ingredient or rather a condiment – Gochujang.

 

Gochujang, Korean chilli paste - thespiceadventuress.com

Gochujang or Korean chilli paste is a spicy and pungent condiment that is prepared from fermented soybeans, hot chilli peppers, glutinous rice and salt. It adds that oomph, savoury and spicy kick that Korean food is known for. The heat is there at the back of your throat but you just can’t stop eating!

Darkish red in colour, piquant, smoky and rich to taste and a paste like consistency, Gochujang also has a small amount of sweetener added to it to draw out maximum flavour from the chillies. Traditionally fermented in large earthen jars, this condiment is central to Korean cooking and gives the food a unique flavour. Though not scientifically proven, it is believed that this condiment has nutritional benefits and is rich in several vitamins.

Many of the traditional dishes from Korea use gochujang as one of the key ingredients. But I am using it today in a simple stir fry – an under 30 minute dish which is simple to make, has loads of veggies, a bit of cheese and oh so delicious! Some sticky white rice or a simple fried rice to go along and it becomes the perfect weekday dinner.

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

I have added some Havarti at the end which just about melts when the wok reaches the table. You could go with tofu or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) if you want something firmer. Also no hard and fast rules as to the choice of veggies; I like texture in my stir fries which is why the addition of almonds and sesame seeds. You could also make a non-vegetarian version with chicken, prawns, lobster, scallops….endless options. And of course, don’t undermine the importance of a good carbon iron wok; the perfect vessel for all your Asian adventures.

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  2. 1 medium zucchini; cubed
  3. 1 red onion; cubed
  4. 1 orange bell pepper; cubed
  5. 1 cup white button mushroom; halved
  6. 100 gm havarti; cubed
  7. 2 large garlic cloves; finely chopped
  8. 2 tbsp gochujang
  9. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  10. 1 tsp palm sugar
  11. Salt, to season
  12. 2-3 sprigs coriander leaves; torn
  13. 1 tbsp almond slivers
  14. 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  15. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

  • Heat oil in the wok and add the chopped garlic. Sauté for about a minute or till the raw smell of the garlic goes away.
  • Then add the gochujang and cook for another minute or two on low heat. Add soy sauce and palm sugar and mix well to combine. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the onions and mushrooms. Toss well and cook for 30 seconds; then add the cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Cook for a further 30 seconds on high.
  • Then add the bell peppers and season with salt. Toss through and remove from heat.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with coriander leaves, almond slivers and sesame seeds.
  • Add the havarti cubes just before serving.

Note – How much gochujang to add to your dish should be a personal one. The quantities I have mentioned keeps it medium spicy taking into account my little champ.

 

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

Vegetable Stir Fry with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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