Sticky rice is my favourite dish at yum cha but it always comes with pork or chicken so, as I try to only eat free range, I either have to forgo my principles or miss out. So instead I make my own vegan version, packed with flavours and still ‘meaty’ with mushroom and eggplant. Add the chilli bean paste if you like a bit of heat.
It is best to use firm apricots for this as soft ones will collapse. If you have a very light, soft goat’s cheese you can forgo the crème fraîche. Trim the tough stalk of the fig leaves off with a sharp knife, trying not to cut through the leaf. I have served these with ice cream but if you wanted to serve them as more of a cheese course, you could have with a fruity bread or cracker and the honey syrup.
These tasty parcels are a great addition to a Pacific feast. They are best cooked and served immediately, though I have pre-cooked them then heated them quickly for 5 minutes in a hot oven and they were still great. Frozen banana leaves are available from Asian supermarkets. The mixture also makes great fritters if you simply want to fry in a little oil.
These simple little small bites make perfect nibbles for a party or as part of a larger barbecue. Pandan imparts a very distinct flavour and aroma, but don’t eat it!
Fish wrapped in vine leaves is a great Mediterranean dish; oily fish such as sardines are popular, but NZ mussels work well as they are big and meaty. If your leaves are small, you may need to overlap two.
These tamales are based on a fresh corn style and can be eaten as an entrée alone or as an accompaniment to a Mexican or South American meal. I like them simply with barbecued chicken or vegetables. To make them vegetarian, replace the chorizo with kidney beans fried up and lightly mashed with oil, onion and some
spices such as cumin, coriander and smoked paprika.
Masa harina, a fine, yellow corn flour is traditionally used,
but I find buckwheat flour also tastes great, it’s just not such
a good colour.