Easy Asian meals you can make (and what you need to have in your pantry)
Asia is a delicious diverse continent. Invite just a few of its abundant aromas and tantalizing tastes into your home and you’ll be transported.
Mackerel in herb butter
Total time 20 min
- Butter, softened 1/2 cup
- Fresh coriander, chopped a small handful
- Mackerel fillets 4
- Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- Olive oil 2 tbsp
- Lemon, juiced 1
Lime or lemon wedges for serving
- Combine the butter and coriander in a small bowl and set aside.
- Pat down the fillets with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Season on both sides.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the fish, skin-side down, for about 3 minutes or until golden.
- Add the lemon juice and half the coriander butter to the pan.
- Flip the fillets to fry them on the other side.
- Continuously baste the fillets with butter while frying for another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the pan and drizzle the drippings. Serve with extra herb butter and lemon or lime wedges.
This recipe works well with hake or any other sustainable white fish.
Asian-inspired chicken meatballs
Total Time 30-35 Min
For the meatballs
- Chicken mince 500g
- Spring onions, chopped 2
- Sesame or canola oil 1 tbsp
- Soy sauce 1 tbsp
- Ginger and garlic paste 1 tsp
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- Canola oil for frying
For the sauce
- Soy sauce 1/4 cup
- Oyster sauce ¼ cup
- Garlic, chopped 1 clove
- Honey 2 tsp
- Water just a splash
- Fine green beans, blanched 1 packet
- Sesame seeds, toasted 2 tbsp
- Micro herbs for serving
For the meatballs
- In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and season well.
- Use a tablespoon to divide the mixture and roll into balls.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the meatballs in batches until golden all over and cooked through, about 10 minutes for each batch. Set aside.
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a pan and place over a medium heat.
- Cook the sauce for about 3-5 minutes or until sticky. Stir regularly.
Serve the meatballs with the green beans and garnish with sesame seeds, micro herbs and the sticky sauce.
For a budget-friendly sauce, combine 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce.
Sticky lamb riblets
Total time 40 min plus 30 min marinating time
- Hoisin sauce 1/3 cup
- Honey 1/3 cup
- Soy sauce 1/3 cup
- Lime, zested 1
- Lamb riblets, separated 1kg
- Spring onion, sliced 2 Red chilli, chopped 1
- Fresh coriander, chopped 2 tbsp
- Combine the hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce and lime zest.
- Pour the mixture over the riblets. Toss to coat evenly.
- Cover the riblets and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Arrange the riblets on a greased baking tray and roast for about 30-35 minutes or until crisp.
- Place the riblets onto a serving platter and garnish with spring onion, chilli and coriander.
For a cheat’s marinade, combine store-bought sweet and sour sauce, a splash of soy sauce and coriander.
It’s in the secret sauce
Still gathering all those dreamy Asian pantry items? No worries, the My Kitchen team has you covered with these quick substitutes:
Sesame Oil is made from untoasted sesame seeds and has a nutty taste and a distinct sesame seed aroma. Use canola or olive oil as a replacement.
Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce is a sweetened version of soy sauce. It’s darker in colour and thicker in consistency. As a substitute, add 1/2 cup soya sauce and 1/4 cup honey to a saucepan and reduce until it becomes syrupy.
Mirin is a type of rice wine similar to sake. It has more sugar but less alcohol, a less acidic flavour, and more of a sweetness to it. A dry sherry or sweet marsala wine will work as a substitute. Alternatively, use white wine vinegar with 1/2 tsp sugar for each tablespoon of the vinegar you use.
Hoisin Sauce, also made from soya beans, is dark in colour and is sweet yet salty. It is a thick sauce which works best as a glaze, as a flavouring in a stir fry or as a dipping sauce. To replace it, combine 1/2 cup bbq sauce with 1/4 cup soya sauce and 1 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder.
Chinese Five-Spice Powder is a must-have. It’s a combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds and Szechuan peppercorns. The perfect blend of sweet, savoury and spicy. But if you don’t have a box, use ground All Spice instead.
Photography: Fresh Living Magazine, Zhann Solomons