Blog 4: Why Dining In is the New Dining Out
As odd as it may seem, dining in is becoming a recreational pastime. Even though these days, consumers think nothing of paying for a meal outside the home, many are also passionate about cooking, discovering new recipes, trying out new styles and so on. Plus, there are a million new gadgets that make life easier and cooking more fun.
So what do you do when you need a quick meal on the table and you don’t want a mess to clean up, but you want it to taste like ‘restaurant food’? As a bit of a lazy cook, I can tell you that when Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates said: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it” he might have been thinking of me! Not that all recipes are hard but honestly, if you want to know what’s easy to cook for dinner, ask a lazy person because that’s where the real answers lie.
Thanks to quality recipe helpers like Latasha’s Kitchen’s curry pastes, you can add incredible, authentic flavour to your meals without having to keep a pantry full of expensive ingredients and without having to chop, slice, dice, puree, mince, crush or shred a dozen herbs and spices.
Recently, I had a chicken thigh in the fridge and was trying to think what to do with it. I checked my fridge for other things that may be sitting there waiting to be used and found some mushrooms, capsicum and a lime in the crisper drawer. I’d bought some really good chicken stock weeks back for something else and didn’t end up using it. And a friend had dropped in with a bunch of coriander. Once I realised I had the coriander, I instantly thought of my Latasha’s stash!! I always keep a few Latasha’s Kitchen products on hand so all I had to do was conjure my recipe in my mind. Easy peasy! What I came up with was my ‘Fridge-spiration Thai Red Laksa’.
It’s funny how we tend to think that Thai food is as close as a phone call away, especially now with Uber Eats and the plethora of other home delivery apps. But let me tell you, from deciding what to make to putting the first spoonful in my mouth, I think I spent around fifteen minutes. Even Uber Eats wouldn’t have reached me that quickly!
Fridge-spiration Thai Red Laksa
Serves 1 (simply double the ingredients to serve 2)
- 1 chicken thigh, cut into desired size pieces
- 4 mushrooms, sliced
- Half red capsicum, cut into strips
- 1 tbs Latasha’s Kitchen Thai Red Curry Paste
- 200ml (half a can) coconut cream
- 250ml good chicken stock
- Bunch of coriander, separate and chop stems and leaves
- 1 bag frozen vegetables (or your desired chopped vegies)
- Half a lime
- Add a little oil to a frypan then add the chicken. Lightly seal all over before adding vegies.
- Add mushrooms and capsicum to the pan and stir fry with the chicken for a couple of minutes.
- Add Latasha’s Kitchen Thai Red Curry Paste and warm through then stir to coat other ingredients.
- Pour in coconut cream and chicken stock.
- Sprinkle in chopped coriander stems.
- Add frozen (or fresh chopped) vegetables then simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Ladle into a soup or noodle bowl and garnish with chopped fresh coriander.
- Squeeze lime juice over and enjoy!
The beauty of a dish like this is that you can add whatever’s in your fridge or freezer! Here are some suggestions:
- Clear out your crisper drawer and throw in what you find, e.g. bean sprouts, carrots, spring onions, sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, kale, asparagus, zucchini, squash, eggplant, leeks.
- Raid the freezer for other ingredients you like and which may have been sitting there waiting to be used, e.g. peas, spinach, corn.
- If you prefer lower fat then use lite coconut milk.
- For vegetarians and vegans, use vegie stock and coconut milk, add tofu and leave out the chicken.
- Latasha’s Thai Red Curry Paste can be quite fiery so if you prefer a less hot dish, use the Thai Green Curry Paste instead.
- Check your pantry for half used packs of noodles, soup pasta or rice.
Why order in when you can easily make this at home?
I know, I know, it’s so easy these days to avoid cooking but frankly, it’s never been easier to cook at home. Consider this:
- We don’t even have to go out to buy ingredients. We can order online and have them delivered to the kitchen bench. You can even order organic fruit, veg and other foods to be home delivered.
- There are endless TV cooking shows to watch that focus on simple, fresh recipes that anyone can make.
- Pretty much no matter what you want to cook, you can find a tutorial or step-by-step guide on YouTube.
- We all have multiple screens with countless apps. Find your favourite one. I like my iPad because it’s big enough to read without having to expand or scroll, I can read the recipe or watch it being made on YouTube and I can easily look up other information such as measurement conversions, nutritional info, ingredient substitutes and recipe techniques.
- Meal planning apps inspire, instruct and invite you to interact.
- Food wastage is at an all-time high. Why not chop up all those forlorn ingredients and make soup?!
Life is extra tasty if you take the time to explore what’s around you and invest a tiny bit of effort into food preparation. When you make it yourself, you get the full sensory experience and the satisfaction of a job well done. Meals delivered to your door can be a little soul-less. Open a paper bag, pull out a plastic container, wolf it down off a plastic fork without even giving your food a second thought. Yep, the flavour is all there but there is infinitely more enjoyment when you’ve lovingly prepared a dish, even if it’s a quick dish made with fridge finds. You save waste, craft it with your own hands, feel it, smell it, taste it and enjoy it. And if you’ve experienced Latasha’s Kitchen products before, you’ll know that every single jar is lovingly hand-crafted using authentic, quality ingredients. You and Latasha will make a great team in the kitchen, I promise!