Beetroot Carpaccio with Horseradish Dressing

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This recipe came about as a result of some amazing fresh beets that I picked up at the farmers market and my new love for horseradish cream. This is a simple but impressive starter or light meal, or you could serve it with some grilled meat and crusty bread to bulk it out. Replace the horseradish cream with dijon mustard if you’d like the dish to remain vegan.dsc_1110

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Recipe

Ingredients

Serves 4 as a starter or light meal

4 fresh beetroot, stalks trimmed and discarded, leaves reserved
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs fresh chopped dill, plus extra to serve
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp honey
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp horseradish cream (or mustard for vegan)
salt and pepper
50g baby capers
70g walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
Crusty bread

Method

Place the beetroot in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil over high heat and continue to boil for about 45mins or until a knife inserts easily into the flesh. Drain and rinse under cold water,using your hands to slip away the skin. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, to make the dressing, Place the lemon juice, 2 tbs chopped dill, red onion, honey, olive oil, vinegar, horseradish and salt and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake thoroughly to combine.
Using a mandolin, thinly slice the beetroot into rounds.
On a platter arrange the beetroot leaves, and then the beetroot. Drizzle over the dressing. Sprinkle with the capers, remaining dill and walnuts.
Serve with crusty bread.
Enjoy!

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Smokey Pulled Jackfruit Burgers with Rainbow Slaw and Cashew Mayo

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After a few big months of work, parties, events, weddings and catering jobs, life is finally starting to slow down for the year. I have no more major events scheduled in for the rest of the year, apart from going to Indonesia over July and August (where I will be turning 30!), and am looking forward to a couple of months of slower/healthier living and creating lots more recipes.

I cooked this dish a couple of weeks ago as a trial dish for an upcoming wedding. The main for the wedding was to be three taco stands, a pulled pork, a fish, and this pulled jackfruit. It went down a treat and people were shocked when I told them it wasn’t meat. The texture is so similar, I actually prefer it to pork. It soaks in the flavours really well without all the fat of pork (which I know some people love).

The jackfruit is so versatile, you could match it with any flavours, I think next time I’d like to try it in a green curry.

You could also serve it with this smokey sauce in a jacket potato, on rice, in a burrito, enchiladas, or, like at the wedding, on tacos.

Any good Indian or Asian grocer should stock the tinned jackfruit in water or brine.

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Recipe

(Serves about 6-10)

Ingredients

Pulled Jackfruit

1/4 cup rice bran oil

2 brown onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbs smoked paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

3 tbs dried oregano

4 tins jackfruit in water or brine, drained

2 tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup bbq sauce

salt and pepper

Cashew Mayo

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, or boiled for an hour, drained

1 cup water

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs mustard

salt and pepper

Rainbow Slaw

1/2 white cabbage, shredded

1/2 red cabbage, shredded

3 stalks celery, finely sliced

2 small or 1 large carrot, grated

1 red onion, finely sliced

2 long red chillies, finely sliced

Bunch parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

To serve

Soft bread rolls (white or brown)

Store bought sweet potato and potato chips

Siracha chilli sauce (optional)

Method

For the jackfruit, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5mins until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the spices, jackfruit, kidney beans and bbq sauce. Being to the simmer and cook, stirring often, for about 1 hour. Use the back of a wooden spoon to squash the pieces of jackfruit against the sides of the pot to shred them apart. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to suit.

Meanwhile, for the cashew mayo, put all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until a smooth paste. If your food processor doesn’t produce a smooth enough consistency you can transfer the mix to a bowl and finish it with a stick blender. If it is too thick add a little more water. Keep in the fridge until needed.

For the coleslaw, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.

To serve, fill a bread roll with the warm jackfruit, the coleslaw, the cashew mayo, the chips and a drizzle of chilli sauce if using.

Enjoy!

 

 

Panzanella Salad with Haloumi and Pomegranate Molasses

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Hello again. It’s been a long time between posts! Over 6 months I think! But don’t mistake this to mean that I haven’t been cooking, in fact, I’ve been cooking so much that I just haven’t had time to write down recipes or take photos of everything I’ve been doing. The best I’ve been able to manage lately is a quick snap on my phone and an upload to instagram (which I kinda love).
So much has happened over these last six months, the last time I posted was from a friends apartment in Amsterdam, just a couple of days before I flew to Mykonos to work for a month as a private chef in a Villa there. Oh how I wish I had sufficient words to describe that month. To keep it brief, it was one of the most challenging months of my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. I was struggling to figure out why life had sent me there, apart from learning that I never EVER want to be rich. It was an amazing (if not soul destroying) experience and I wouldn’t take back a second of it.

Then it was on to Turkey, one of my most favourite and cherished countries. The food, the people, the landscape, it’s incredible. I spent a couple of months slowly roaming around, a large chunk of which was spent in the crystal clear waters of the mediterranean sea, free diving with turtles and lying on the pebbly beaches. I met some beautiful people and had a beautiful time. I love that place.

After that came Indonesia, where I met up with some friends and also showed my Mum around Bali for her first ever trip overseas. We ate, drank, lay on the beach and hooned around on a scooter, she loved it.
Finally, after being away from my home town for over 12 months, it was time to head back. Fortunately I had already been contacted by a friend here in Aus that owns the cutest little fish restaurant right on the beach about doing some work for them upon my return. I took the job and we haven’t looked back! it’s been an amazing experience and I feel so fortunate to be working with such kind and generous people. I’m learning a lot and have the freedom to be as creative as I like.
This summer has been a total whirlwind of work, parties and beach time. It’s been totally amazing. I could go on and on about all that has happened over the last six months, but, I highly doubt anyone wants to know every detail, and to be honest I can’t even remember half of them. I just know that I’m happier than ever and so excited for everything to come.
Anyway, here is a quick and easy recipe for one of my most favourite types of salads, I absolutely love the way the bread soaks up the dressing, along with the pops of sweetness from the pomegranate, the saltiness of the haloumi and the freshness of the herbs. It’s perfect on it’s own or you could serve it alongside some grilled seafood or meat. The recipe simply lists the ingredients I used, without amounts, so you can adjust it to however many people you are catering for (and also because I can’t find the piece of paper I wrote the actual recipe down on….)DSC_0030DSC_0028DSC_0026DSC_0003

Recipe

Ingredients

Wholemeal sourdough, toasted and cut or torn into pieces

Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Baby cucumbers, sliced

Red and green capsicum, sliced

Red onion, finely sliced

Kalamata olives

Rocket

Mint, leaves picked

Pomegranate seeds

Haloumi, sliced 1cm thick

Olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Pomegranate molasses

Method

In a large bowl, gently toss together the sourdough, tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onion, olives, rocket, mint and half of the pomegranate seeds with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Leave to marinate and for the flavours to develop for about 15mins, tossing gently every 5mins.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or frying pan to medium/hot with a little olive oil. Fry the haloumi until golden. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the salad into serving bowls, top with the remaining pomegranate seeds, drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and place the haloumi on top.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Baba Ghanoush with Pickled Apple, Walnuts, and Paprika Oil

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This weekend I am co-running a pop-up restaurant in Amsterdam! It’s going to be so much fun, I’m so excited to introduce some new flavours and concepts to the people of Amsterdam. We will be serving an eleven course, plant-based feast, with a little seafood and Kangaroo meat thrown in. We want to celebrate the vegetables though, using locally sourced, seasonal produce and some Australian bush spices. I can’t wait to start cooking!

In the meantime, here is a recipe for the most delicious babganoush you will ever taste. A result of some eggplant growing old on my friends sideboard, he told me to use them for something before they went bad. My specialty! I love having the skill to be able to use anything and make it into something, nothing ever gets wasted!

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Recipe

Ingredients

3 medium eggplants

1/2 cup tahini

1 tsp salt

Juice of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, finely grated

pinch chilli flakes, plus extra to serve

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 green apple

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup roasted walnuts

Handful coriander leaves

Toasted pita bread to serve

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Use a fork to pierce the eggplant all over a few times. Using metal tongs, hold them over an open flame for around 10 minutes, turning constantly, until the skin is charred. Place them in a baking dish and continue to cook for a further 20-30mins, until they are very soft and collapsed. (if you don’t have an open flame to char them first, you can do it under a grill or just cook them completely in the oven. You just won’t get the smoky flavour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Add the tahini, salt, lemon juice, garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and some cracked pepper and using a fork, combine and mash the eggplant until a stringy paste forms. (you can also use a blender but I prefer to keep the texture of the eggplant, I find it goes a bit gluey when processed)

Peel and grate the apple. In a small bowl, combine the grated apple with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir well and allow to sit for at least 10mins, stirring every so often.

Combine the olive oil and the paprika in a small bowl and stir well to combine.

To serve, place the eggplant mixture in a large shallow dish. Drain the apple from any excess liquid and place on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with the walnuts, coriander leaves, and extra chilli flakes. Drizzle with the smoked paprika oil. Serve with some toasted bread and other mezze dishes if you wish.

 

Spiced Eggplant with Savoy, Lentil and Pomegranate Salad

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It’s becoming more obvious everyday. I think I finally need to make the move, the one I planned to a couple of years ago but got sidetracked by other travels, it’s time to come and live in London for a while. It’s a weird thing, to want to come and live in one of the biggest and coldest cities I’ve ever been to, but I feel there is so much opportunity for me here, as well as one of my dearest friends, and, when it gets too cold, I’ll just shoot off down to Spain or Morocco and warm the cockles. Anyway, I’ve got a few more months here in Europe, I’m sure I’ll have more of an idea by the time we head back to Australia.

So, we finally got to catch up last night, my dear friend and I. The conversation did not have more than a two second gap in it for about five hours straight. I was so excited to cook for her and wanted to make something wholesome and delicious, but, as it is when travelling, I’m also restricted by the ingredients I can use. Luckily there were some spices in the cupboard here and I was able to find the rest of the ingredients in the endless Middle Eastern grocers lining the main street here. So much pita bread!

If large enough, the eggplants are sufficient on there own as a meal, but we ate them alongside some warmed pita bread, hummus and a quinoa salad. Find the recipe for my favourite creamy hummus here.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, one of my favourite food blogs to turn to when I want some inspiration for a truly healthy and wholesome meal. I also made some little chocolate and almond cakes for dessert, completely sugar, dairy and gluten free. They were so delicious! Unfortunately we were too busy eating and talking to think to get any photos by the time dessert came around!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large eggplant

Olive oil

2 tbs garam masala

2 tbs curry powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

Salad

1 small savoy cabbage, finely sliced

400g can puy lentils, rinsed and drained well

Bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 pomegranate, arils (seeds) removed

1 tbs olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs maple syrup

salt and pepper

To serve, hummus, pita bread, quinoa salad (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthways and use the tip of a knife to cut a criss cross pattern, about 1cm deep, into the flesh. Drizzle well with olive oil, using fingers to rub all over. Sprinkle with the spices, salt and pepper, and use fingers to rub spices into the cuts. Drizzle with more olive oil if they feel too dry. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45-50mins, or until flesh is dark on top and soft in the centre.

Meanwhile, for the salad, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the cabbage, for 1min, drain and rinse under cold water. Leave to drain as much water out as possible. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper and shake well. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lentils, parsley and dressing and toss to combine.

To serve, place the eggplants on a large serving platter, scatter the salad over the tops and sprinkle with the pomegranate. Serve with sides such as hummus, pita bread and quinoa salad. Enjoy!

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Chilled Cucumber and Sesame Soup with Trio of Noodles

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I made this dish to share with our housemates before we left Australia. I can’t believe that was only a week ago. Feels like so much longer. My mind and body still don’t quite know where we are and if it wasn’t for the fantastic company I’ve been keeping, I’m not sure how I would be feeling! I realised today that I left my full time job over nine months ago and have not slept in the same place for more than a couple of weeks since then. Blows me away a little bit!!

This dish is so nourishing, moorish, cleansing and just downright good. We ate it as an entree on a hot night in Darwin. Having a chilled soup still seems like a good idea to me, being in a warm climate, but, if you’re somewhere where it’s starting to get a bit cool, it would be just as delicious served warm. You could add tofu or chicken to this if you liked, I think that would also be yum! You could also use whatever noodles you like, I just used what I had on hand, which was a delicious combination! I love the difference in textures.

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IMG_3677_2Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 Lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup tahini

3 cups vegetable stock

4 tbs white miso paste

2 tsp raw sugar

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

4cm pice of ginger, grated

1 clove garlic, grated

100g vermicelli

250g hokkien noodles

250g thick soba noodles

A handful each of coriander leaves and mint leaves

Toasted sesame seeds and roasted peanuts, to garnish

Method

Combine the sliced cucumber in a large bowl with the 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 30mins.

After 30mins, using your hands, squeeze the liquid from the cucumbers, as much as you can. But don’t discard the liquid. Set the cucumber aside.

Combine the cucumber liquid with the tahini, stock, miso, sugar, chilli, ginger, and garlic and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and add a little salt if necessary. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Before serving, cook your noodles according to the packet directions. Run them under cold water once they are cooked, to cool, and stop the cooking process.

Divide the noodles between the serving bowls and pour over the cold soup. Top with the cucumber, herbs, sesame seeds and peanuts.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Snake Bean and Coconut Salad

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We’ve been in Ubud for a few days now, hanging out with some amazingly talented people, who are also so down to earth, generous and fun to be around. It makes it hard to move on! I could easily live here for a while, but I find myself saying that about so many places that I visit!

Our beautiful and generous friend, who is also an epic musician, has been so accommodating and I’ve been loving having the use of his kitchen, especially with the local markets on just down the road every morning…even if they do finish at 8am…

Every Warung (small restraurant), that we have eaten at over the past week has had more than one beautiful green salad on offer, a lot of them consisting of green beans, coconut and bean sprouts. So, I wanted to give it a try. My version tastes quite different to the ones I have had so far but I think that is because they use ALOT of oil in everything here. I used less oil, but add more if you like. And PLEASE! Don’t be afraid of the salt. Add it until it tastes good cause there aren’t any other salty elements in this dish.

I know it may seem like this recipe calls for a couple of things you may not be able to get from your local grocery store, but they are easily replaced. Use regular green beans instead of snake beans, but cook them for half the amount of time, and if you can’t get fresh coconut, just use the dried stuff. Add or remove anything you want from this dish, you can’t really go too wrong. Alongside the salad we had some omelette with golden shallots, some turmeric and ginger marinated tofu and the peanut sambal and tomato sambal for which you can find the recipes for in the last post.

Also, how funny are my photos looking! Ive had no nice plates or surfaces to work with and it cracks me up that these pics look like something from the 1987 Women’s Weekly Asian Edition. 😀

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Recipe

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

1tbs peanut oil

6 golden shallots, finely sliced

4 cloves garlic, grated

6cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbs yellow curry paste

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

1 small birds eye chilli, finely sliced

500g snake beans, cut into 5cm lengths1 large bunch of water spinach

Flesh from half a mature coconut, finely sliced and toasted, about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup desiccated coconut, toasted

1 1/2 cups bean sprouts

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

juice of 2 limes

1 tbs sugar

salt and pepper

2 tomatoes, sliced

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chillies, and curry paste and cook, stirring for 1min. Add the snake beans and continue to cook, stirring, for about 5 mins, or until beans are just cooked. Add the water spinach and cook, stirring, for 1min, or until wilted. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Add the coconut, beansprouts, peanuts, lime juice, sugar, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and check for seasoning. Add more salt if neccesary. Top with the fresh tomato slices.

Menikmati!

 

 

 

 

Palak Paneer (my version)

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See under the title of my blog it says, ‘food. experiences. experiments. recipes’… this was one of those experiments. So, please excuse this very unattractive curry. It may be the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen but man was it tasty!

The experiment part was the paneer, and although it wasn’t the first time I had made it, it was the first time I had used it in a curry. It is an incredibly easy cheese to make, but so far I had only used it in pies, and crumbled in salads. When I made this curry the paneer had only been setting in the fridge for a few hours, I think it would have had a better chance of staying in solid cubes if I had left it for twenty four hours, so that’s what I’ve suggested in this recipe. Alternatively you could use store bought paneer.

In the end, it was still really delicious, it just wasn’t the same as I’ve had it in Indian restaurants, but, that’s ok! I didn’t use the traditional spices and cream either, and I added chickpeas, so, maybe I shouldn’t really be calling it Palak Paneer, but, in the words of Kylie Kwong, it’s MY version of Palak Paneer. 😉

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Recipe

You will need to start this recipe the day before

Serves 4

Ingredients

Paneer

2L full cream milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Curry

300-350g spinach (I used a mixture of Brazilian and Baby Spinach)
2 long green chillies, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic (1 roughly chopped and 3 finely chopped)
1 Tbs fresh ginger, julienned, plus extra to serve
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 heaped tsp garam masala
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
300g Paneer, cut into 2cm cubes
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, plus extra to serve
salt and pepper
Cherry tomato, cucumber and parsley salad, lemon wedges, and brown rice, to serve

Method
To make the paneer, place the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring, until foamy and steaming. Do not bring to the boil.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. You should see the curds separating from the whey almost immediately. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for 15 mins.
Strain the curds and whey through a sieve lined with muslin or a couple of fresh chux cloths. Bring the corners together and twist to push the whey out of the curds. You can also press down on it to really get the liquid out. Unwrap and stir in the salt. Bring together the corners and twist again and press out the last of the whey. Set the sieve in a bowl, place a small plate on top of the paneer, along with a couple of cans of food as weights. The sieve must be clear of the bottom of the bowl to allow any more liquid to drip out from the paneer. Place in the fridge overnight to set.
For the curry, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Prepare a large bowl with ice and water. Place the spinach in the boiling water, press down and cover with a lid. Remove from heat and let sit for 2mins. Strain the spinach and place in the ice water for 5mins.
Place the spinach in a blender, along with the 1 clove of roughly chopped garlic, the green chillies and the ginger. Blend until smooth (add a little water if necessary). Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook, stirring until they begin to splutter, about 3mins.
Add the bay leaves and the onion. Cook until golden, about 5 mins. Add the remaining 3 garlic cloves and the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes break down, about 3mins.
Add the turmeric, curry powder, garam masala and chickpeas. Cook, stirring, for about 3mins, or until fragrant.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the spinach mixture. Heat, stirring, until nearly simmering. Add the yoghurt and stir through. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the paneer and very carefully stir through the sauce, being careful not to break it up too much. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 mins before serving.
Serve with the brown rice, the salad, lemon wedges, extra ginger, extra yoghurt and a nice cold beer.

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Tamarind and Lime Pickled Leader Prawns with Green Papaya and Rambutan Salad

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Talk about being pushed out of my comfort zone, this week I spoke on live to air radio about cooking, my blog, local produce, and how I work with it in each place I visit. It all happened within a couple of hours. A phone call from the station, asking me whether I’d like to do it and a few questions about myself and what I’ve been doing, then, to answering a phone call at 3.20pm and waiting for the music to finish and the presenter to introduce me. He was relaxed and friendly, and once my nerves calmed down, it was really fun and an awesome experience. What a funny day that was.
Anyway, the whole reason for the segment was to advertise a competition run by the ABC to find regional recipes from around Australia to include in a Cookbook celebrating Australian cuisine and local produce.
So here is my entry! The tropical produce up here in darwin is so beautiful, I can’t get enough! I’ve used the local Leader prawns from the trawlers down at Francis Bay, green papaya from my friends garden, and the rambutans, onion, ginger, chillies, mint and limes from the Rapid Creek Market. With the rest of the ingredients form the local Asian Grocer, I didn’t even need to visit a large supermarket. Which makes me very happy!
I’ve been wanting to try these local Leader prawns since I first saw them, they are so massive, three of them was more than enough for me. However, they are really delicious, with a beautiful texture, made even more special by pickling them in this delicious marinade. You could use any prawns in this recipe through, and it would also work with fish or squid, just omit the blanching part of the process.
This is my third green papaya salad recipe for the blog, obviously, it’s just too delicious. Along with the sweet rambutans, the crunchy coconut, the tangy prawns and the big beautiful edible rice bowl. This is such an exciting meal, that’s impressive whilst still being really simple and easy. I hope you give it a try!

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Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

500g raw Leader prawns, or other large prawns such as King or Tiger
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
Juice of 3 limes
3cm piece ginger, chopped into tiny matchsticks
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp tamarind puree
1 tsp fish sauce
salt and pepper
1 small papaya, julienned or grated
6 rambutans, peeled, quartered and de-seeded
1 small spanish onion, very finely sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted coconut chips
2 rice cakes with sesame seeds

Method

Peel and de-vien the prawns, leaving the tails on for presentation if desired.
Combine the chilli, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and salt and pepper in a shallow, non-reactive dish.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Drop in the prawns and cook for 30secs, no longer. Strain and place in the dish with the marinade. Stir to combine and arrange so that all the prawns are submerged in the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 6 hours.
When ready to serve, toss together the papaya, rambutans, onion, and mint.
Cook the rice cakes, one at a time, in the microwave, on high for 1min.
To serve, divide the salad between the rice cakes. Top with the prawns, some of the marinade (this acts as the dressing), and sprinkle with the coconut chips.
Enjoy!