Fragrant Heart Dine In Menu
Click on any dish to view the recipe. Recipes in the book are not included in the dine-in menu
Beijing Street Noodles
Here's an ultra-easy lunch or dinner. Tasty, cheap and moreish... For true authenticity, serve in a polystyrene bowl with splintery chopsticks.
Fresh noodles or dried noodles freshly soaked and ready to cook
1tsp Dark soy sauce
1tsp Light soy sauce
100ml vegetable or chicken stock (a well-flavoured stock is key)
Dried chilli flakes
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 spring onions, sliced finely
Pickled vegetables, chopped
Add the soy sauces to the stock mixture and place to one side.
Heat a wok. Add groundnut oil and swirl to coat the wok as it heats. Add the garlic and spring onion and cook for 20-30 seconds. Now add your noodles and toss to coat in the flavoured oil. Pour over the stock and soy mixture and toss the noodles as they cook for a further minute. Just before serving, season with a tiny pinch of salt and chilli flakes and toss to allow the flavours to disperse.
Turn out noodles and top with pickled vegetables and spring onion.
Crispy Sesame Roll
Not exactly a health food... but fun to make and very moreish.
Serves 4 as a dessert, more as a teatime snack
250g plain flour
5 tbsp hot water
100g sesame seeds
50 - 70ml oil for deep frying
In a dry pan toast the sesame seeds until they're golden, then grind them in a pestle and mortar. Mix together with the sugar and set aside.
Add the water to the flour and mix until you get a dough. When it's maleable, divide it into 5 pieces. Roll each piece out so that it's a rectangle, just less than 1cm thick.
Heat the oil in the wok. To test temperature, put the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil. When bubbles appear at the tip of the handle, the oil is ready.
Deep fry the dough rectangles, one at a time, lifting them out when bubbles appear on their surface.
Blot them with kitchen towel, then sprinkle them with the sesame and sugar mixture. Roll them into long sausages and cut them into little spiralled pieces. Serve warm if possible.
Tofu with chilli and spring onions
150g firm tofu
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 red chilli and 1 green chilli, deseeded and cut into thin slices
1 tbsp soy sauce
1tsp Shaoxing Wine
Large pinch of salt
150ml oil for deep frying
80ml chicken or vegetable stock
Cut the bean curd into long, rectangular pieces. Blot them with kitchen paper.
Heat the oil in a wok and deep fry the tofu pieces until golden brown. Take out and blot to remove excess oil. Discard all but 2 tbsp of oil. Now stir fry the chilli shreds until fragrant. Add the spring onions and wine. Cook for a minute and then add the tofu, soy sauce, salt and stock. Cover the wok and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.
Rice with Many Mushrooms
Scour your local Asian food store or supermarket for a good selection of mushrooms. Look for enoki, oyster, shittake etc. The original recipe calls for 10 varieties but 5 might be more realistic. You will only use a little of each.
150g rice, steamed or boiled and set aside
1 - 2 of as many kinds of mushrooms as you can find
60g cooked pork or chicken, shredded (optional)
1/2 inch ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
3 tbsp groundnut oil for stir frying
2 tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp pork, chicken or vegetable stock
Blanch the mushrooms and asparagus for a few minutes, then refresh in cold water. Cut them into small pieces and set aside. Scramble the egg.
Heat wok with oil. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, asparagus, meat (if using), oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, stock and a splash of sesame oil. Toss everything together then add the steamed rice. Add in the scrambled egg and keep tossing until everything is coated and cooked. Serve sprinkled with spring onion.
Roast Salmon with Mushrooms
2 large salmon steaks
80g oyster mushrooms
80g straw mushrooms
1 tsp light-tasting oil
salt and pepper to season
1/2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
red chilli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp boiling water
Preheat oven to 230 degrees C. Blanch mushrooms in simmering water for three minutes and refresh in cold water. Set aside. Place salmon steaks on large piece of cooking foil and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over a little dash of cornflour.
Mix sugar and boiling water in small bowl. Then add fish sauce and lime juice. Allow to cool before you add the red chilli and crushed garlic.
Pour your marinade over your fish along with the single tsp of oil then wrap up your fish into a foil parcel. Put the fish in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.
Tigerskin Green Peppers
These look fabulous on the table for a big family meal or dinner party.
Serves 4 - 6 as a side dish
500g green peppers
150ml oil for frying
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sugar
large pinch salt
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp water
Remove the stalk and seeds from the inside of the pepper but keep shells intact. Heat the oil in a wok until bubbles form on a wooden spoon handle dipped into it. Now put your peppers into the oil and deep fry them until the skin starts to bubble up and they become paler in colour.
Take them out and then decant most of the oil, leaving just a decent layer to stir fry with. Place wok over medium flame and the peppers, the soy sauce, the wine, the sugar, the salt and the water. Bring to the boil and then turn heat low. Simmer for three minutes. Now turn heat up until sauce is fully reduced. Sprinkle on the sesame oil and serve.
Sichuan-style Stir-Fried Celery
Combining mild green veg with a fiery sauce is a real Sichuan speciality.
Serves 2 - 4 as side dish
300g celery, washed, topped, tailed and cut into 3cm pieces
3 tbsp groundnut oil
2 tsp chilli bean paste (look for Lee Kum Kee brand or similar in Asian food stores)
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 spring onions, topped, tailed and sliced
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
Heat the oil in a wok. Stir fry the celery for a scant minute and take out of the pan, leaving as much oil as possible. Now add the bean paste into the oil and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the celery, spring onions, ginger and garlic and stir fry for one minute. Add the soy sauces, the sugar and the Shaoxing wine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Serve.
Pumpkin and Pork Soup
Okay, the name doesn't sound very exciting but this is a good one... an interesting, flavourful soup. Vegetarians could replace the pork with firm tofu and omit the prawns.
200g white flour
1/2 tsp salt
150g lean pork, cut into pieces
200g pumpkin, skin removed and cut into bite size chunks
3 tbsp small dried shrimp (from Asian food store)
2 spring onions, topped, tailed and chopped
2 tbsp groundnut oil
Seasoning mix 1:
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp cornstarch
Seasoning mix 2:
1 tsp salt (or less if using salty stock)
750ml chicken, pork or vegetable stock
Combine flour, salt and 125ml cold water in bowl. Add egg and whisk until lumps are gone and you have a smooth batter.
Marinate pork in seasoning mix 1 for a few minutes. Soak dried shrimp in water until they're soft, then rinse well.
Heat oil in wok and stir fry spring onion, pork and shrimp until fragrant. Now add pumpkin and stir fry for one minute. Now pour in stock and salt mixture and bring everything to the boil.
Simmer gently until pumpkin is fully cooked. Spoon balls of the batter mix into the soup and simmer until the batter pieces are cooked. Serve topped with spring onion pieces.
Vegetarian Noodle Soup from Northern Vietnam
1 litre vegetable stock
An inch of ginger
2 small cinnamon sticks
2 pieces of star anise
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
350g of fresh or reconstituted rice noodles
Half a block of firm tofu (and groundnut oil for frying)
A handful of beansprouts
A couple of handfuls of chopped greens ie bok choi or cabbage
6 sliced spring onions
2 chillies, carefully seeded and finely sliced
A handful of peanuts
A handful of chopped coriander
A little chopped mint and Thai basil (optional)
1 lime, cut into pieces
Heat your ginger over a flame on the stove until charred. Now place in a pot over a low to medium heat and add your stock of choice. Break up the star anise and cinnamon and add these along with your cloves and peppercorns. Simmer for up to an hour, then taste and season with the soy sauces and the sugar.
While your stock is simmering, chop your tofu into pieces and fry in a lightly oiled wok until very slightly coloured. Set aside.
Dry fry your peanuts until lightly coloured and crush roughly. Set aside.
When you are happy with the flavour of your stock, remove all the solid matter with a slotted spoon and add your cooked tofu to allow it to absorb some flavour.
Cook your noodles separately in clear water, drain and refresh under cold water, then place in two serving bowls.
Add the tofu, the beansprouts and the greens and pour over a generous amount of stock.
Garnish with peanuts, chillies, the herbs and the spring onions. Serve with pieces of lime on the side.
Salor Kor-Ko Sap
Cambodian Vegetarian Stew
This is traditionally served with steamed rice or warm, white bread. Bitter melons look like plump, knobbly cucumbers and can be found at some green grocers and lots of Asian supermarkets. If you can't find these, you can substitute courgette, okra or cucumber.
1 aubergine, cut into chunks
1 bitter melon, seeds removed and cut into chunks
1/2 pumpkin, flesh cut into cubes
200g spinach, chopped
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 slices galangal
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 tbsp minced lemongrass
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
250ml coconut milk
Place a quarter of the coconut milk and all the rest of the curry paste ingredients into a blender and blend. Now slacken paste with the rest of the coconut milk and 500ml water.
Put aubergine and bitter melon cubes in cooking pot on medium heat and pour over slackened paste. Bring to boil, reduce heat, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach and pumpkin. Cover again and simmer over medium heat until the pumpkin is cooked through. Season with salt and sugar.
Num Creme Ma-Nor
Baked Pineapple Custard
This is pretty much what it appears to be: a Cambodian reinvention of creme caramel.
200g of fresh or tinned pineapple
230ml coconut milk
100g white sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Put all ingredients in blender and blend. Pout into small dishes or ramekins. Now place the dishes in a roasting tin and fill the tray halfway full of boiling water from the kettle.
Put the tray in the oven and bake the custard for 30 - 45 minutes. If knife inserted in custard comes out clean, they're fully cooked.
Take out of the oven and leave to cool. They may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Turn them out onto plates and serve cold.
Kreong is the classic Cambodian curry paste. Make it up as you would a fresh Thai curry paste, then store it in the fridge with some oil added as a preservative. Keeps well for five days in an airtight container. Traditionally the ingredients would be pounded together in a large pestle and mortar. For simplicity - and the sake of my arms - I generally just blitz them in a blender. There are lots of Khmer curries you can make using Kreong... Why not start with this. It's made with chicken in the original, but I've provided instruction for veggies too. Serve with steamed rice and maybe a light green salad.
200g chicken or 1 medium aubergine - either one cut into pieces
2 tbsp peanut or groundnut oil
2 tbsp Kreong (see below)
1 tbsp fish sauce (or 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce for veggies)
150ml coconut milk
a large handful of green leaves: choose from sorrel, spinach, Swiss chard etc
2 tsp lime juice (or to taste)
2 tsp palm sugar (or to taste)
For the kreong:
2.5 inches fresh galangal, peeled and chopped
3 inches fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
5 dried chillies, stalks removed
4 kaffir lime leaves
Half a white onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 3-inch stalks lemongrass
large pinch of salt
a few twists of black pepper
water added as necessary to make the paste
Make your Kreong paste. Heat oil in large pan. Start to fry the Kreong and then add the chicken or aubergine pieces and stir fry gently. When the Kreong is fragrant add 200ml water and put the lid on. Cook for 10 minutes, covered.
Uncover and pour in the coconut milk. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the sorrel and lime juice. After 30 seconds, take off the heat and serve.
Sweet and Sour Carrot Salad
If using tofu and nuts this makes quite a substantial meal in its own right. And it's fantastically healthy!
Serves 2 as part of a main meal or 1 for a large crunchy lunch
3 carrots, grated
3 tomatoes, well chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
100g firm tofu, chopped into small cubes and lightly browned in dry pan (optional)
15 cashew nuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp shredded coconut
In pestle and mortar, pummel together the garlic, cashew nuts and coconut then mix in a large bowl with chopped tomatoes and tofu cubes.
Add all the other ingredients and toss thoroughly.
Thai Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4 for lunch, 6 as a starter
2 tbsp groundnut or peanut oil
1500g sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into chunks
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chlli, chopped (and deseeded if you want a very mild soup)
1.5 l of vegetable or chicken stock
300ml coconut milk
handful of fresh coriander leaves
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes. Then add the sweet potato and cook for another couple of minutes. Now add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for half an hour. Take off the heat for 5 minutes and blend.
Return the blended soup to the pan and add the coconut milk. Warm through and serve garnished with coriander leaves.
Deep fried Pork or Tofu with Taohu Saweai (Sweet and Hot Sauce)
Perfect for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Serve with rice or a light noodle salad for a main meal.
250g firm tofu or 200g pork loin, cut into large cubes
salt and pepper
2 medium eggs, beaten
80ml oil for deep frying
40ml cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sambal oelek (found in many Asian grocers)
1 tbsp plum sauce
To make Taohu Saweai, put the water, sugar, vinegar and salt into a sauce pan and cook over a medium heat for half an hour. Stir in the plum sauce and sambal oelek and put into a small dish for the table.
If using tofu, press to remove water. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roll the beancurd or pork pieces in flour. Then dip them in the whisked egg and roll in breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in the wok over a medium/high heat. Deep fry in batches until golden brown. Remove from oil and blot with kitchen paper. Serve.
Spicy Malaysian Vermicelli
125g rice vermicelli
3 tbsp groundnut or peanut oil
200g firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 tsp sugar
150g bean sprouts, tails removed and well washed
1 spring onion, finely sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve
For meat eaters:
100g chicken cut into thin strips
100g medium prawns, peeled
1 - 2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
Half an onion, peeled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp tau cheo (black bean paste - look for it in Asian grocers. If you don't mind the heat you can use Lee Kum Kee Chilli Bean Paste instead - easier to find but fiery!)
Blend the ingredients of the seasoning paste and set aside.
Cook the rice vermicelli in rolling, slightly salted water for three minutes. It should still have some bite. Drain and set aside.
Beat the eggs with salt and pepper. Then add to a hot, oiled frying pan and make a thin omelette. When just set, turn and cook the other side. Remove from pan and cut into thin strips.
Heat a little more oil in your frying pan and cook your block of tofu whole until lightly brown all over. Remove from frying pan and cut into strips.
Heat your oil in a wok and when hot add the seasoning paste. Cook it over a medium heat for four minutes. Now add the chicken (if using) and cook for two minutes. If making vegetarian version skip to next step.
Now add your prawns (if using), tofu and sugar and stir fry everything for four minutes. Season with a little pinch of salt.
Add the noodles and toss gently so that the sauce coats them. Cook for three minutes. Add the bean sprouts and cook everything for another two minutes until the bean sprouts are becoming soft. Check the seasoning before serving. Add a little more salt if necessary.
Put into two bowls and sprinkle over the omelette strips and the spring onion. Serve the lime wedges.
Penang Crab Curry
Serve this with steamed rice or lots of bread and butter.
Serves 2 hungry coast dwellers
1 medium to large fresh crab
300ml coconut milk
4 tbsp oil for cooking
6 curry leaves
1 tsp salt
Spice mix 1: 6 dried red chillies, soaked for 15 mins and drained, 1 inch of fresh turmeric, peeled, half an onion, peeled, 4 cloves garlic, peeled.
Spice mix 2: 3 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds. 1 tsp fennel seeds. 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tsp poppy seeds.
Remove top shell, gills and all unwanted parts of crab. Quarter what's left and wash thoroughly.
Blend the two spice mixes separately. Heat oil in large saucepan and add the first spice mix. Fry it for 30 seconds then add the second spice mix. Add a splash of coconut milk to prevent sticking and fry until fragrant.
Add crab pieces, stir fry for 5 minutes and then cover. When crab is half cooked add curry leaves, salt and the rest of the coconut milk. Now stir fry until crab pieces are red and well cooked and sauce is medium thick.
Sour Spicy Fish
Serve this lovely fish curry with steamed rice or chunks of bread and butter in winter or a wonderful salad in summer. Belacan is a very powerful ingredient. I would make this with a small amount the first time.
250g firm saltwater fish
10 fingers of okra
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
small handful coriander
5 tbsp groundnut or peanut oil
1 tsp medium curry powder (in Malaysia they use fish curry powder)
1 tbsp sugar (palm sugar in the original)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 stalk lemongrass
2 cloves garlic
half a white onion
8 dried red chillies
1 - 2 tsp belacan (shrimp paste)
Blend the spice paste in a blender and set aside. Dissolve the tamarind paste in the water or replace with tamarind juice.
Heat the oil in a wok and fry the spice paste for two minutes. Add the curry powder and pour in the tamarind water/juice. Bring to the boil.
Add the tomato and okra and cook for 2 minutes then add the fish, salt and sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes - fish should be cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Fish Stuffed with Spices
Serves 2 - 4
Whole seawater fish weighing roughly 500g, gutted and cleaned ready to have its skin stuffed (you can ask your fishmonger to help you with this)
Large pinch of salt
2 Kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp tamarind paste , slackened with 4 tbsp water
Groundnut oil or oil for frying
1 small white onion or 5 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 red chillies
2 stalks lemongrass
3 tsp belacan (shrimp paste)
1 inch of fresh turmeric, peeled
Rub the outside of the fish with salt and set aside. Grind spice mix then add to bowl of kaffir lime leaves, sugar, salt and tamarind sauce. With a sharp knife cut a long slit in each side of the fish, piercing the skin. Stuff the slits with the stuffing.
Heat several tbsp of oil in large frying pan and heat until oil is hot. Fry the fish until well done on one side, then turn carefully and cook the fish on the other side. Remove from the oil, allow the excess oil to drain and then serve.
Hokkien Hae Mee
Penang Noodles with Prawns
This is an absolute Penang classic, worth the time it takes. There are a million and one versions of this dish, some of them extremely complex: here's my (relatively) simple variant.
200g lean pork
500ml pork or chicken stock (if you can, make your own with the most interesting cuts and bones you can find, some ginger, garlic and salt. Or, you know, don't.)
Groundnut or peanut oil
500g prawns, deveined and shelled
2 tbsp sugar
400g egg noodles
200g rice vermicelli
2 handfuls bean sprouts
2 hard-boiled eggs
salt for seasoning
10 dried chillies, deseeded and soake
40g dried shrimps, soaked
1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
10 dried chillies, deseeded and soaked
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the wok and stir-fry the prawns until cooked. Set aside. Heat the stock until it's simmering and put in the pork to cook. While the pork is cooking make your chilli paste and spice mix.
Grind or blend the chilli paste. Now heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok and fry the chilli paste for ten minutes until a dark, deep red. Put in a serving bowl for the table. Grind or blend the spice mix. Then heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok and fry the spice mix for ten minutes until fragrant.
After the pork has been cooking for 20 - 25 minutes, remove from the stock. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then slice thinly. Cover and set aside. Add the spice mix into the stock and simmer for fifteen minutes. While the soup is simmering, cook the egg noodles and rice vermicelli in fresh boiling water for 3 - 4 minutes and refresh under cold water. Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water then place them in the serving bowls with the egg and rice noodles.
Add sugar to the stock and season with salt. Briefly heat the prawns and pork in the stock then use a slotted spoon to take them out and divide them equally in the bowls. Add quarters or halves of boiled egg. Bring the stock to a boil and ladle over the other ingredients. People can add chilli paste at the table to taste.