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Green papaya salad

Green papaya is said to help fight stomach ulcers. It also aids digestion.

Green papaya should always be stored in the fridge and used within one week.

The seeds of the green papaya should be discarded, whereas ripe papaya seeds can be dried and ground and used as a substitute for black pepper.

Green papaya - Part 1.

Light and tangy, this makes a great appetiser or quick-fix lunch.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1/2 medium green papaya, finely sliced
5 lettuce leaves, shredded
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 chilli padi, chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coriander leaves
4 frozen crabsticks, thawed and thinly sliced
100g honey-baked ham, finely sliced
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, crushed

2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
4 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 heaped tsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp fine brown sugar

1. Pat dry shredded green papaya. Arrange lettuce and cherry tomatoes on a serving dish.
2. Whisk all the salad dressing ingredients together.
3. Add chilli padi, shallots, coriander and green papaya to the dressing and mix well.
4. Put green papaya, along with the dressing, sliced crabsticks and ham on top of the lettuce.
5. Garnish with ground peanuts and serve immediately.

Add 2 tsp small dried shrimps (soaked first) to the dressing.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (May 2007)

Korean beef BBQ

Using an electric Stylux 3-in-1 BBQ set.

Ingredients (serves 4):
750g sirloin steak, sliced thinly
250g shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 large white onion, thickly sliced
8 spring onions, white stems only
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Bulgogi marinade:
2 tbsp garlic, minced
4 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 Chinese pear, skinned

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients, except the pear.
2. Grate the pear into the bowl and mix well.
3. Keep about 3 tbsp of marinade for the vegetables. With the rest, marinate meat for 2 hours. Vegetables can be tossed with the marinate about 30 minutes before the meal.
4. Heat grill and hot stone. Brush both with vegetable oil.
5. Cook mushrooms and vegetables on the grill first. Then, keep them warm in warming pans below the grill.
6. Sear meat briefly on the grill; transfer to the hot stone and let it cook slowly. Serve everything directly from the grill.

The hot stone is ideal for stir frying beansprouts or cooking burger patties as these are hard to scrape off a metal grill.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (May 2007)

Low-fat prawn paste chicken

Stash the deep fryer - this local favourite tastes just as good baked.

Serving size: 260g (regular 260g)
Calories per serving: 357kcal (regular 505kcal)
Protein: 44g (regular 44g)
Fat: 18g (regular 34g)
Carbohydrate: 1g (regular 7g)

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 tbsp bottled shrimp sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1.5kg chicken parts, skin removed

1. Mix the shrimp sauce, rice wine, sugar and sesame oil. Blend well.
2. Marinate the chicken parts in the sauce and leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
3. Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
4. Bake chicken for 30 minutes until cooked.

This dish also makes great picnic and potluck fare.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (May 2007)

Easy chocolate profiteroles

Ingredients (serves 6 to 8):
32 frozen vanilla cream puffs
250g Cadbury Old Gold chocolate bar
250ml double whipping cream

1. Thaw the cream puffs and stack them like a pyramid.
2. Break chocolate into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the cream.
3. Heat and stir gently until the chocolate melts completely.
4. Take the pan off the heat and whisk mixture until smooth.
5. Pour chocolate sauce over cream puff pyramid and serve immediately.

Caramel sauce works just as well. To make it, melt 225g sugar with 175ml water over medium heat.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (May 2007)

Tangy grilled prawns

Ingredients (serves 5 to 6):
18 medium-sized prawns, deveined and butterflied
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
4 tbsp lemon juice
garlic, diced
salt and ground pepper

1. Marinate prawns with oil, juices, garlic, salt and pepper for at least 4 hours.
2. Pre-heat toaster oven, setting temperature on medium high.
3. Line the tray with foil and put the prawns, along with the juice, on it.
4. Grill the prawns for 8 to 10 minutes. Take them out and serve hot.

Sprinkle diced chilli padi on top for a spicier twist.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (May 2007)

Banana upside-down tart

A twist on the usual pineapple upside-down cake.

Ingredients (serves 8):
6 pisang raja
50g butter
100g golden caster sugar
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1. Cut bananas into 2cm-thick sections.
2. Melt butter and sugar in a pan until it turns into caramel.
3. Pour caramel into a 22cm flan dish.
4. Distribute banana slices evenly on the caramel base.
5. Stretch puff pastry over the bananas and cut off the excess, leaving a generous margin all around. Press the extra pastry along the side of the dish - it will shrink during baking to fit the dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in a 200 deg C preheated oven.
6. Remove from oven; place a serving plate over the flan dish and flip over to turn the tart out, with the bananas facing up. Serve immediately.

Making caramel can get tricky - you may want to use half a cup of maple syrup instead of butter and sugar.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Sep 2007)

Nutella coffee brownies

Coffee - Part 3.

This yummy mix will have your family asking for seconds.

Ingredients (makes 12):
175g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened baking chocolate buttons
3 large eggs
3 tbsp brewed coffee
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup Nutella hazelnut spread

1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C, brush a 9-inch square baking pan with butter over parchment paper, with an extra 1cm on the sides.
2. In a heated bowl over simmering water, put the butter and chocolate to melt, and keep stirring until smooth. Add eggs and coffee, and mix well.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and caster sugar. Add this to the chocolate mixture.
4. Pour batter into pan, smooth the top and bake for 30 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the centre of the brownie to check that it's done.
5. Cut into 4x4cm squares and spread Nutella on each piece before serving.

Don't fancy Nutella? Use peanut butter instead.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Sep 2007)

Baked espresso teriyaki fish

Coffee - Part 2.

A flavourful yet light dish for picky eaters.

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
500g fish fillet, cut into 4
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp brewed espresso
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp dried coriander
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp raw cane sugar
3 tbsp orange juice

1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, put the fish in and sear for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking dish.
2. In the same pan, saute the garlic, teriyaki sauce, espresso, mustard powder, coriander, onion and sugar. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then pour the sauce over the fish in the baking dish.
3. Bake the fish in the oven at 175 deg C for 10 minutes, using the top and bottom heat.
4. Check that the fish is cooked, then pour orange juice over it and serve immediately.

Leave the fish semi-cooked from the pan - it will cook fully in the oven.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Sep 2007)

Chicken drumsticks with coffee sauce

Coffee helps bring out the flavour of meat without overpowering its taste.

Good coffee beans should be whole - avoid broken or splintered ones.

Freeze beans that you don't use up within 2 weeks of opening. Wrap in layers of plastic to prevent the beans from absorbing the smell of other food.

Coffee - Part 1.

A twist to the ever-popular coffee pork ribs.

Ingredients (serves 4):
6 chicken drumsticks
1 tsp oyster sauce
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp barbeque sauce
3 tbsp brewed coffee
1 tsp brown sugar

1. Marinate the chicken with oyster sauce, salt and pepper.
2. Saute chicken over a heated grill pan with butter for 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. In the same pan, add the oil and saute garlic until fragrant, then add in the barbeque sauce, coffee and brown sugar. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
4. Finally, add in the chicken, allowing the sauce to caramelise and ensuring the chicken pieces are evenly covered with sauce. Serve immediately.

Prepare the sauce in advance to speed up the cooking process.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Sep 2007)

Stuffed pork chops

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 slices wholewheat bread, cubed
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp water
Coarse salt and ground pepper, for seasoning
4 boneless pork loin chops (about 100g each, 4cm thick)
1 tbsp light brown sugar

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet or pan with aluminium foil. Heat the grill.
2. In a bowl, combine bread, raisins, thyme, butter and water. Season stuffing with salt and pepper; toss to mix.
3. Place pork chops on the prepared baking sheet. Using a paring knife, cut a deep pocket in each (but don't cut all the way through). Fill with stuffing and press each one down. Season chops with salt and pepper and sprinkle with brown sugar.
4. Grill each side for 8-10 minutes, until meat is slightly brown on the outside and opaque throughout. Serve with a salad or boiled green beans.

Recipe source: Simply Her magazine (Sep 2007)

Prawn and pear with mustard-miso dressing

Ingredients (serves 3-4):
300g large prawns
1 Chinese pear
1/2 telegraph cucumber (or 2 Japanese cucumbers)

Dressing (mixed together):
1 heaped tbsp miso paste (mix of red and white)
1-2 tsp whole-grain mustard paste
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Cook prawns in boiling water. Plunge prawns into ice water to stop the cooking. Reserve 1/4 cup poaching liquid for the dressing.
2. Shell prawns. Core and cut Chinese pear into wedges. Toss with some lemon juice to prevent browning. Cut cucumber into chunky bite-sized pieces.
3. Add reserved prawn poaching liquid to the dressing and mix well.
4. Toss prawn, pear and cucumber with the dressing. Serve immediately.

Recipe source: Food and Travel magazine (Feb 2007)

White miso soup with carrot and daikon

Ingredients (serves 2-3):
4 cups dashi
A splash of sake
100g carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
100g daikon, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tbsp white miso paste
A pinch of salt, to taste
Sliced spring onions, to garnish

1. Combine dashi and sake in a pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Add carrot and daikon. Cook for 3-5 minutes over gentle heat.
3. Mix miso paste with 1/4 cup warm dashi. Stir well to remove lumps, and pour mixture into soup. Season with a pinch of salt, if desired. Don't over-boil the soup or the flavour, and nutritional value, of miso will be diminished.
4. Garnish with sliced spring onions and serve.

Recipe source: Food and Travel magazine (Feb 2007)

Sticky miso pork chop

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 pc pork chops
1 tbsp olive oil

Marinade (mix together):
2 heaped tbsp red miso paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sake or white wine
2 tsp oil
1 tbsp honey

1. Rub marinade over pork chops and leave aside to marinate for a few hours, or overnight.
2. Heat olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown the chops for 1 minute, turn, and brown the other side for 1 minute more.
3. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and cook chops for 4-5 minutes. Turn chops over, cover pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes more.
4. Place chops on serving plates and drizzle with pan juices. Serve with green salad on the side.

Recipe source: Food and Travel magazine (Feb 2007)

Thai green papaya salad

Som Tam - Thai green papaya salad.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 garlic, skinned
2 shallots, skinned
3 chilli padi
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar
Lime juice, to taste
3 green beans, cut into 3cm lengths
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
2 cups finely shredded green papaya flesh
1 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Pound garlic, shallots and chillies in a mortar.
2. Add fish sauce and sugar. Mix well. Adjust to taste with lime juice.
3. Add green beans and tomato. Use the pestle to mix the vegetable with the dressing. Avoid mashing the vegetables.
4. Add green papaya. Pound lightly and mix well using the pestle.
5. To serve, spoon peanuts on top.

Recipe source: Food and Travel magazine (Feb 2007)

Warm caesar salad

Ingredients (serves 4):
8 romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
A handful of garlic croutons
8 slices bacon, cut into small dices and fried till crispy
12 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
12 grey prawns, shelled and cooked
Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve

Caesar dressing (makes 600ml):
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp Tabasco sauce
Juice from 1 lemon
500ml olive oil
50g parmesan cheese
A pinch of salt

1. To make the dressing: combine egg yolk, garlic, Dijon mustard, Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and lemon juice in a food processor. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow steady stream until thick and creamy. Stir in parmesan cheese and season with salt to taste. (If the dressing is too thick, add a little warm water and stir well.)
2. Gently toss romaine lettuce in 200ml of the dressing until evenly coated. Divide lettuce between individual oven-proof bowls.
3. Garnish salad with croutons, bacon bits, tomatoes, prawns and shaved parmesan cheese.
4. Place salad under a salamander or oven toaster for just 5-10 seconds until the cheese topping is slightly melted. Serve immediately.

This recipe calls for only 200ml of the dressing. Remaining dressing can be kept tightly covered in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Recipe source: Food and Travel magazine (Feb 2007)