Sometimes you just want a meal that is easy, healthy, and reminds you of home. I’m sure many of us have that those recipes up our sleeves, and it’s dependent on what we ate as a child at home, our cultural backgrounds, and what we crave as comfort food.
Here’s one of the meals I throw together when I’m in this mood, for a meal that takes no longer than 20 minutes start to finish (including prep time) but has tastes that remind me of “home” foods (that actually take much longer than that to make!). I made this last night, and thought I’d document the process since I have a few girlfriends who have asked for this recipe.
“Steamed” fish fillet, Stir fried veg, Tomato rice
1. Set rice to cook in rice cooker. For the liquid, I use some stock (vegetable or chicken) and a tin of tomatoes, a few drops of sesame oil and if I’m feeling exciting, some chopped up garlic. Set rice cooker to start cooking.
2. Take some fish fillets – any firm white fleshed fish will do, or even salmon. I like Barramundi. Give them a rinse. Squeeze some lemon juice over them, if you don’t have any, that’s fine. In a bowl, combine – a couple of generous squirts of light soy sauce, a dash of vinegar or chinese rice wine, a few drops of sesame oil, a few drops of fish sauce if you have it. Add a bit of liquid (broth, water, white wine) – about 1/4 cup at most. If you like heat, some minced chilli. Mix it all up. You’ll know it’s right because it’ll smell like something you WANT to eat. Yum. Add chopped herbs of your choice (I like spring onion or coriander, but parsley works nice too). If you don’t have fresh herbs, the tube stuff is fine. Add a bit of chopped ginger. Pour liquid mix over fish, then top with herbs and ginger.
3. Put fish aside for a minute and prep vegetables. Chop up some bokchoy or choy sum and rinse it. Allow to drain. Whilst it’s draining, chop up tomatoes if you have them, and some ginger and garlic.
4. When the ricecooker has about 5 minutes to go, put the dish with the fish into the microwave, you’ll need about 5 minutes on high to cook them through. Heat up your wok with some oil. When oil is hot, throw your garlic and ginger in, and when they’re fragrant, toss the chopped tomatoes in. When they start cooking and sizzling, throw your green vegetables in, and whilst waiting for them to wilt, add to the pan: a fleetingly quick pour of soy sauce, a splash of liquid (water, broth, white wine), a dash of fish sauce. Let fry until it looks nice (3 minutes or so). Transfer into a bowl.
5. Your rice would have finished cooking – open the rice cooker and give everything a really good stir with a rice paddle to mix all the tomatoes and flavours in. Leave lid open to let it steam out a little, and get your fish out from the microwave. Plate it all. I start with using a bowl to get my rice into a nice little shape:
Then everything else gets kind of plopped on in a hurry – I don’t need my food to be pretty, just yummy. And there you have it, it’s time to EAT!
Disclaimer – this is not “real” Asian cooking. But it is SUPER yummy, my friends keep asking for the fish recipe so it must work well enough, and it is incredibly easy and quick. So if you’re having a hankering for a quick healthy meal with an Asian bent, that any fool can cook, this would be it. The tastes remind me of my family’s home cooked food – light sauces, tangy tastes, full of vegetables and fish that falls apart and tastes fresh. I actually keep fish in the freezer and rice/tinned tomatoes in pantry just for this meal.