Blog 8: What do Netflix and UberEats Have to do with a Jar of Thai Red Curry Paste?
Want to get a meal on the table in about 10 minutes flat? Recently, I came home and was “starving my guts out” as my son used to say when he was little. I was literally just about to get on the computer and see what was on offer from UberEats but something stopped me in my tracks. You know that feeling you get when you’re stuck in limbo between two good ideas? And then ka-bam! I realised why I should probably figure out what to cook instead of ordering in.
When too much choice equals no choice at all
If you’re anything like me, when you feel like watching TV, you’ll go into Netflix and you’ll spend an hour looking at all the options and still come up empty-handed. Know the feeling? Well for me, it’s a bit like that with UberEats and all those other food delivery apps. I sit there drooling over the gorgeous photos of meals that the mythical ‘Someone Else’ will prepare for me, and ‘Some Guy’ or ‘Some Girl’ will deliver to my door. But while my stomach grumbles ever more loudly, I can never decide what to order!
To avoid having this happen, I realised that I would have to cook for myself! It was one-part liberating to one-part disappointment, knowing I’d have to still figure out what to cook.
For lots of people, the first decision is which protein to choose. On this particular night, the first thing that jumped out at me was a jar of Latasha’s Kitchen Thai Red Curry Paste. (And I almost mean literally because when I went to open the freezer door, I nearly knocked the jar off the top of the fridge. My catching skills kicked in and saved the day!)
So, what’s a girl to do with a jar of Thai red curry paste?
Again, the myriad options flashed before my eyes. Aargh!! There’s SO MUCH you can do with it! First thing that usually comes to mind is a laksa, followed by a stir-fry and maybe a good, deep red curry with beef cubes. Latasha’s Thai Red Curry Paste is SO delicious with its daring red chillies, its earthy cumin and its mysterious shrimp paste.
I opened the jar and took a whiff. Easy does it! You don’t want to get your nose right in there; just approach with respect!
I opened the fridge … no protein to speak of. Then I opened the freezer and found a fillet of salmon I’d bought one day after watching Jamie Oliver cook some up with pesto-slathered vegetables. Somehow, I never did get around to buying the bushel of basil to make the pesto! So, there it was in its pale orange glory; a lovely piece of fish that was going to go so well with my Latasha’s.
Apart from the nutritional benefits, another great thing about salmon is that it defrosts quickly. Had I not been so ravenous, I would have popped it into a sink of cold water to thaw out in its own good time – an hour or so. But this time, I gave it a few minutes on ‘defrost’ in the handy dandy microwave. Job done. Then I coated it with curry paste on both sides and let it infuse while I prepared my veggies.
Forget the rules … what do you feel like?
When figuring out what veggies to serve with your dinner, don’t get all caught up in what’s “supposed” to go with what. Poke your head into your crisper drawer and even your freezer and you’ll pull out what appeals to you. I had half a capsicum, some cauliflower that was starting to get those pesky dark spots on it and a chunk of pumpkin. And as I do love my peas, I grabbed a handful out of the freezer.
Like a ninja, I sliced and diced the pumpkin and cauli in record time and put them in a glass container with a little water to steam in the microwave. I added the peas at the end because we all know they only like a bit of time in the heat. We don’t like them mushy like you get in meat pies from the van at the side of the road!
I sliced up the capsicum and decided I’d fry that along with the salmon. I added a splosh of olive oil in a hot pan, threw in the capsicum and fish and let the heat do its magic. Salmon takes barely any time at all to cook so keep an eye on it. Thanks to Latasha’s paste, a caramelised crust formed and the aromas were utterly incredible!
A simple plate of food prepared in less time than if I’d ordered through UberEats. You could accuse the steamed veggies of being a little bland but with the flavour intensity of the fish and the lovely caramelised edges of the red capsicum, it was all quite nicely balanced. You could always add some butter, some spices or a spoonful of one of Latasha’s exquisite chutneys or relishes. You see? In an instant, you can add crazy depth of flavour and barely lift a finger!