|Banana leaf wrapped Tilapia in Coconut Cream with |
Sprouted Bhutanese Red Rice and Sauteed Turnip Greens
I prefer simple food over ones with highfalutin' names. Don't get me wrong, I love all food, but it's always the simple ones that give me the most satisfaction. I prefer my meals simple, balanced, nutritious and ready in 30 minutes.
I didn't invent 30 minute meals, but that's the average time I spend on a weekday dinner. My secret: planning and prep work.
Before I go to the market on Saturday, I have my menu for the week written, so I would know what to purchase. I buy my main ingredients on my weekend shopping (fish, poultry and meat) and enough fruits and vegetables to last until mid-week (I buy my produce 2x a week). Having a well stocked pantry and spice rack help as well. By having all the ingredients in the house, I am more inspired to cook. Besides, I hate running to the store just for a piece of ginger; or worse, make chicken and rice soup without ginger.
Prep work is portioning and cutting the meat or fish before freezing them. This way, before you turn in for the evening, you can transfer tomorrow's dinner meat or fish from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw. Prepping is soaking your rice or your bean in the morning so its ready when you get back from work. Prepping is making sure your "Bill" did not eat the yogurt that you will use in making that "biryani". However, I discourage you to pre-cut your vegetables or buy them pre-cut. You would think that you will save time by doing this, but that my friend causes vitamin loss. In my book, that is sacrilege and disrespectful of vegetables.
Preparing dinner everyday is a way of life to me. It's my way of unwinding after a long day of work. True, it is way easier to go to the drive-thru or do a take-away, but home cooked meals more nutritious and economical, that's why I make time out of my busy day to cook dinner, I owe that to myself.
|Beautiful chives from my garden|
Tilapia stewed in Coconut Cream
4 pcs. Tilapia fillet
1 knob ginger, peeled & sliced thinly
1 tomato, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 inch lemon grass, cut lengthwise
2 T chopped garlic chives
4 12x12 inches banana leaves
for the stewing liquid—
2 T coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb onion, finely sliced
1 knob ginger, cut into strips
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 T fish sauce
3 cups coconut cream
Take each piece of tilapia fillet, cut in half and stuff with the aromatics, then wrap with banana leaves. Set aside.
Sauté garlic, ginger, and onions in hot coconut oil. Add fish sauce and red pepper flakes. Pour in the coconut cream and add the tilapia packages. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until thickened and the cooking liquid is reduced to a third. Turn off heat and remove the packages from the cooking liquid. Carefully unwrap fish packages and transfer fish in a plate. Strain the cooking liquid and pour over fish. Serve with the sprouted Bhutanese Red Rice and sautéed Turnips and Turnip Greens.
Sprouted Bhutanese Red Rice
Bhutanese red rice is a medium-grain, semi-milled rice from the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas. When cooked, it’s sticky, tender and nutty.
Rice to water ratio of 1:2, soak for at least 30 minutes (if not sprouted) and cook by absorption method for 45 minutes. To sprout: Soak it overnight, transfer to a colander, cover with a cheesecloth and leave in your counter for about 24-36 hours. You know it’s sprouted when you see white roots protruding at the end of the red grain.
2 cup red rice
2 T coconut oil
4 cups water
Soak rice for at least 30 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover pot. Cook for 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
2 turnips, peeled and cut in ½ inch cubes
bunch of Turnip greens, roughly chopped
2 T coconut oil
2 T garlic, minced
1 t fish sauce
freshly ground pepper
Parboil turnip and turnip greens in a salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain. Heat coconut oil and sauté garlic until soft but not browned. Stir in the fish sauce, add the turnip and greens, toss to mix and cook for about 3 minutes.