A friend got me interested in fermented food. The simplest of these is sauerkraut – it literally makes itself. Continue reading Sauerkraut
Shiso only grows for a few months of the year, so here are some techniques and recipes to preserve it – so that you can savour the taste all year round:
Have you noticed the little green plastic leaves that sushi often sits on in take-away sushi boxes? That’s a sad imitation of shiso, also called perilla, a wonderfully aromatic herb with a completely unique taste and a multitude of uses, not only in Japanese cuisine. Ever since tasting the real thing in Japan, I have been obsessed with finding shiso here in Austria, which turned into a two-year quest. None of the Asian shops had it for sale, a nursery sold me something that looked like shiso but turned out to be a Korean variety that is used for oil production and tastes nothing like the Japanese kind. I then ordered seeds on the internet which I never got to germinate. When I was about to give up, I found a passionate Austrian plant collector, Wolf Stockinger, who kindly gave me a green and a red shiso plant. I nursed them with lots of love and last autumn collected the seeds – which germinated this spring without a problem. Now I have loads of wonderful shiso, both red and green and am having plenty of fun with it in the kitchen. Time to spread the word – here is my collected wisdom:
This is a great condiment for Thai and other Asian-style stir-fries and soups.
80 ml oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic gloves, finely chopped
20 grs dried chilli flakes
1/4 teaspon palm sugar
Heat oil and fry shallots and garlic until brown. Add chilli flakes and palm sugar, stir well. season with salt.
Can be stored in the fridge for quite a long time.
Source: A little taste of Thailand, Oi Cheepchaiissara
This is great as a starter with warm bread or with grilled meats.
2 ripe tomatoes
1 small mild onion
1/2 medium hot green chili
1 clove of garlic
bunch of coriander, including stems
lemon juice or white wine vinegar
merquén or smoked paprika
Finely cube tomatoes and onion, mince garlic and chili, finely chop coriander, including the stems. Mix and and dress with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
If you can’t get Za’atar, it is easy to make it yourself. There are are many different varieties, here is one with sumac:
3 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp savory
1 tbsp majoram
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsps sesame seeds
Put the spices in a food processor and give them a short whizz. Dry roast the sesame seeds and roughly grind with a pestil and mortar. Keeps for a couple of months.
Great on flat bread with a bit of olive oil.
1 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tb raw sugar
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (to taste)
2 fresh chillies, finely chopped (to taste)
Mix all together. Keeps well in the fridge.
Essential accompaniment to spring rolls.