The new year celebrations have come and gone. Many of us have returned to work and the Christmas break seemed so long ago. The gyms are packed full of people attempting to keep to their new year resolutions of losing weight, getting fit etc etc. January is probably the month where carb intake is the lowest due to enthusiastic weight watchers who stuffed one too many roasted spuds and christmas pudding. Don’t quote me, i’m making stuff up, because I am one of those who tries very, very hard to go the non-carb or low-carb way.
Safe to say, I haven’t been very successful. When I’m after a quick and easy one dish meal, I tend to turn to rice or noodles. Hey I can’t help it – I’m asian!
So I try to be as healthy as possible, loading the dish with more vegetables and protein. This cabbage and chicken pilaf is a quick and easy one-pan meal. If you’re really not in the mood for cleaning up either, you can eat directly from the pan too – no one’s judging!
A pilaf is a rice dish (usually, but not always of Indian influence) cooked with vegetables and broth. It’s versatile, so you can chuck in protein like chicken or other meats or seafood. A way to describe it is like an Indian paella? Just with different flavours and spices and much less labour intensive and time consuming.
Simple ingredients, cooked in 30 minutes or less! Great mid-week meal.
CABBAGE & CHICKEN PILAF
3 fillets of skinless and boneless chicken thighs, sliced
1/2 a head of white cabbage, coursely shredded
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1 1/2 cups of long grain white rice (you can use basmati rice too)
2 cups of unsalted chicken stock
2 tsp of curry powder
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste
light soy sauce to taste (optional)
In a 30cm fry pan or cast iron braiser, heat a splash of vegetable oil. Brown chicken pieces until just lightly browned.
Add in ground ginger, cumin, curry powder, garlic and rice. Stir to mix ingredients well and ensure rice is well coated with spices. Add in cabbage, mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in chicken stock and frozen peas. Mix through and cover pan. Cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Season to taste. Sprinkle with crispy fried shallots before serving (optional).
Winter officially made its grand entrance today in Melbourne. It’s been a shade of cool grey 8 (think Copic markers). Thick fog descended upon us in the CBD from mid-morning and decided to stay for the rest of the day. M-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e! What happened to the eternal sunshine that we boasted of downunder? Gah!!!!
On days like these, all I want is a plate of comforting carbs to soothe the sadness away. Preferably one that can be whipped up in no time and accompanied by a nice glass of vino. Like this simple and delicious pan-fried gnocchi with tomato, bacon and basil.
I’ve never been a big fan of gnocchi. Just as I’m not a big fan of mashed potato or other mushy potato products. I’d usually enjoy a couple mouthfuls and that’s about it. It’s probably something to do with the cloying texture of mushed-up taters – not my thing. Pan-fried gnocchi however, has a slightly crisp exterior and chewy insides which I recently grown to love.
The standard way to cook gnocchi is to boil them like you would any other pasta before pan-frying them. I like frying them directly, skipping the boiling process. I find that with this method, it produces a puffed up, crispier gnocchi which is super yummy.
Going along with the idea that this is a quick and easy meal, I’ve used store-bought gnocchi and canned tomatoes. Can’t get simpler than this. Prep time 2 minutes. Cooking time 15- 20 minutes. Oh yes.
Pan-fried gnocchi with tomato, bacon and basil
Serves 2 hungry fellas or 4 regular people
1 x 400ml can of crushed or chopped tomatoes
Large handful of basil leaves, torn
2 strips of smoked bacon, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
50g of grated parmesan
1/2 tsp of sugar
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a pan, add gnocchi (you can pre-boil them first if you wish, but I didn’t) and fry till slightly puffed up and golden (about 7 – 10 minutes). Add garlic and bacon, fry for about 3 minutes or until aroma of fried bacon is wafting through the entire house. Add tomatoes and warm through. Season with sugar, salt and pepper. Stir through torn basil leaves. Serve with another drizzle of good olive oil and grated parmesan. Done!