In January every year we ditch the heavy sauces, rich dishes and heavy carbs for a much lighter way of dining altogether. It’s a month that is screaming out for cleansing, fresh, zingy flavours. Reducing the meat (or using lighter alternatives) and really packing in the fish. Plenty of veggies, raw and cooked and swapping spuds for rice and noodles. Each time we do this, we try something new.
This time around we have been on a journey of discovery with Fiona Uyema’s simply excellent cookbook “Japanese Food Made Easy”. Aside from the trickiness that is unavoidable with regards sushi and sashimi, the book totally delivers what it says on the tin. You thought Japanese food was difficult? Not with this book in your arsenal it’s not!
It’s been quite the fun food experiment. If you follow Flavour.ie on Instagram (find us @flavour.ie) you will have seen our stream of healthy and super tasty dishes, not just from Japan, but all over the world. Last night I was in the mood for something light but tasty. I knew I had some turkey mince that needed using up and was inspired by one of my all time favourite, but simple, Chinese dishes – Meat Sung. Mince pork fried in loads of ginger with nuts and soy sauce and wrapped in a snappy iceberg lettuce leaf and devoured. With knowledge of the Chinese food “holy trinity” of garlic, ginger and chill I set about created my version of this dish with what I had to hand in the fridge. I served it all up with some egg fried rice – the recipe for this is also below and is equally ridiculously simple!
Ingredients (serves 2 generously):
- Apx 200g of minced turkey (you can also use minced chicken or pork for this)
- A thumbnail piece of ginger very finely chopped
- 1 whole red chili, deseeded and very finely chopped (leave a small amount to finely slice as garnish)
- 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and grated
- 1/2 sweet red pepper (the long sweet peppers, not bell peppers – they are too watery)
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
- large bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- 75g of unsalted cashew nuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 head of baby gem lettuce
- 1/2 fresh lime
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 cup of rice (basmati is fine, or Japanese rice is good too. Substituting for brown rice will reduce calories and increase fibre)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- Start by boiling your rice. Measure a cup of rice and rinse it under a cold tap until the water runs clear. Add into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook until ready. Drain, rinse again in cold water to cool and set aside until ready to fry it off with the egg.
- Next we start on the parcels. Have all your ingredients ready and chopped as this is a really quick dish to prepare so you won’t have time to chop anything as you go.
- Drop a small amount of groundnut or vegetable oil into a hot pan. Add the garlic, ginger and chili and quickly cook off to flavour the oil, but not to burn.
- Add the turkey to the pan. Move it around the pan, breaking the mince up as you go along and coating the meat with all flavoured oil.
- When cooked thoroughly, add the red pepper. Cook through for another minute or so. Add the soy sauce and fresh lime, finally the cashew nuts. Toss everything together to combine. Add in most of the coriander and mix through. Turn off the heat and decant into a bowl.
- Wipe the pan off carefully with some kitchen paper, add in the 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and bring the pan back up to heat.
- Add the cooked and cooled rice and move it around the pan making sure that everything is coated in the oil but separated.
- When the excess oil has been soaked up by the rice, add the beaten egg and mix through the rice thoroughly. Make sure the rice is well coated and the egg is cooked through. Turn off the heat and leave it to finish off in the residual pan heat.
- Click the leaves from the head of baby gem and place them on the plates. Fill them with the turkey and nut mix. Sprinkle over the last of the coriander, and garnish with the fresh slices of spring onion and chili. Give a final sprinkle of lime juice to freshen the whole thing up.
- Serve up with the egg fried rice and ….ENJOY!