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.
The hot meringue/cold ice cream combination of baked Alaska is a winner, but they can be fiddly to put together at the last minute. Here I have simplified the whole process into a flat slice, so it takes only a few minutes to whip up the meringue and grill the top. If you want to finish the whole thing ahead of time, just gently cover the slice – trying to keep the wrap off the meringue – and freeze for up to three days. Let sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving.
These Zingy Fish kebabs are perfect for a summer meal. The original recipe came from issue 8, and it’s hard to believe we were lacking in so many essential ingredients for a Thai recipe back in 1988 – pasta bows were used instead of rice noodles, bay leaves stood in for kaffir lime leaves, and there was no fish sauce! If you can remember to soak the bamboo skewers overnight, they last well on the barbecue.
This recipe has multiple elements, but everything can be made ahead of time and just heated when needed. It can take a few goes to get your pan at just the right temperature and also to figure out the perfect amount of batter to pour in, but this recipe makes enough crêpes that if you muck up the first few, you will still have enough for the dish.
These brûlées look really pretty topped with black and white sesame seeds, and the sesame flavour is delicious. You can buy both toasted and untoasted black sesame seeds, so if yours are already toasted, just toast all the white seeds together in the oven and take one tablespoon from those to add to the black for the topping, rather than setting it aside pre-toasting.