It may seem as though I am getting a lot of inspiration from Waitrose of late however it is a coincidence – really!. That said, this recipe is one of the latest in its card series for February and I cooked it the other night and thought it ideal for a quick tasty Friday night dinner. Or any night for that matter.
I have tweaked this recipe a bit too because I thought that the quantities given for the sauce in the original were a bit on the meagre side. Whilst you don’t want your dish to be awash with sauce you do want to have enough to taste and enjoy.
The quantities I have given to make up the sauce (tomato paste, rice vinegar et al) can be fiddled with to suit your own taste and how much you think you may want but the trick is mix as you go along and adjust/add accordingly.
What you’ll need for two people as a main course is:
180 g / 6 oz raw prawns (frozen or fresh) Add or subtract the quantity according to your appetite.
1 tbsp tomato purèe
1 tsp chilli flakes (If you don’t like your food too fiery reduce the amount of chilli – or increase if you prefer it hotter!)
1 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar*
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 and a 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
200 g / 7 oz fine green beans trimmed and cut into halves or thirds
2 Salad/spring onions aka scallions sliced on the diagonal
1 or 2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tsp finely grated fresh root ginger
2-3 tsp sesame seeds toasted
*I would recommend that you do try to get Chinese rice vinegar if you can because it has a nutty flavour which another rice vinegars (such as Japanese) may not.
Tip:The cooking time for this recipe is short so prepare everything in advance so all you have to do is throw each ingredient into the wok in turn.
To accompany: Steamed rice or fried rice will, of course, go well with this dish. Also egg noodles would be good too – they can be stirred into the mixture at the end before serving. In either case, make sure you have your rice or noodles cooked ahead of stir-frying the prawns and kept warm.
What you’ll need to do:
Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Once the frying pan is hot tip the sesame seeds into the (dry) frying pan and toast the seeds. Keep an eye on them and stir them around. When they turn golden (not nut-brown) remove the frying pan from the heat and set seeds aside to cool.
Then heat the wok over a high heat and add the vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot add the beans, spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
Add the prawns and fry for a minute until they start to turn pink.
Tip in the sauce mixture ensuring that everything is coated nicely and fry for another 2 minutes until the prawns are cooked through.
Just before serving sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the prawns.
I created this soup as part of my repertoire for my 5:2 diet regime – a dish that is so straight-forward it really doesn’t require much thinking about and provides me with a dinner of around 600 calories, maybe fewer. Though you might not think it by the sound of it a full portion of this soup is a pretty substantial meal.
And the beauty of this soup is that it can be vegetarian by excluding the prawns or chicken and using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
What you’ll need for 2 people as a first course or for a main meal for 1 person is:
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
A little vegetable oil for cooking
1-2 cloves of garlic peeled and thinly sliced
1 red or green chilli chopped – I use Thai chillis
6 to 12 large raw or cooked prawns (12 if the soup is to be shared) or 100gr – 150 gr shredded cooked chicken breast. (Thigh meat can be used too of course)
Soy sauce (about a dessert spoonful or more to taste)
Half a carrot peeled and diced*
1 -2 teaspoonfuls of Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce (optional)**
2-3 Cavolo Nero leaves sliced or any other green leaves you may have to hand such as kale or Swiss Chard
Half a pack of mixed exotic mushrooms (Eryngii, Shiitake & Oyster were in the pack I had and which can be bought from Waitrose) or any assortment of mushrooms you fancy. Slice the mushrooms.
1 nest of Rice Vermicelli noodles (I use the Thai Taste brand)
Handful of coriander or chives chopped for garnish if liked.
*You may like to substitute the carrot with fennel or celery
**When I made this a few days ago I decided to add a bit more zip to the broth by adding a teaspoon or two of the Sriracha Chilli Sauce and it was even more delicious but do take care, the Thai chilli is heat enough.
What you’ll need to do:
Make up your 500ml of stock and have it to hand.
In a saucepan (large enough to take 500ml of liquid plus the ingredients) heat a little of the vegetable oil and gently fry the garlic and chilli to release the fragrance. Try not to let the garlic brown because it will taste bitter.
Add the chicken/vegetable stock and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
Add the soy sauce to taste. (Be careful in the amount you use due to its saltiness)
Add the diced carrots and sliced mushrooms. Continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the vegetables to cook.
Add the prawns or chicken if using. (If using raw prawns they will turn pink when cooked. If using cooked chicken ensure that it is heated through thoroughly)
Add the chopped Cavolo Nero leaves
Whilst the broth is simmering bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Once boiled turn off the heat and drop the nest of vermicelli into the hot water, place a lid of top and leave for 10 minutes or follow the recommended time on the packet. when the time is up drain the vermicelli and keep warm.
Once the broth is ready divide the vermicelli noodles between two soup plates or bowls (or just one large bowl if it is a main mean) and ladle the soup over the noodles.
Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves or chives over each portion and serve.