A simple autumn slaw

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After a wonderful summer of traveling, chilling on the beach of Langkawi, tasting new food, indulging myself in mum’s amazing food and learning to cook Malaysian cuisine, I’ve been back in Leipzig for about a month and a half now. It seems like I blinked and missed September all together and, although I have been cooking a lot, for some reason I haven’t been keeping up with my new recipes on this little space of mine. So, here I am, after almost a three month interlude.

Today was market day. There are gorgeous apples everywhere these days. Fennel bulbs of all sizes seem to be having its high point, as the morning air becomes crisp. I bought my first bunch of kale the other day, and now I finally feel the change of season. My boyfriend’s parents have a big walnut tree in their beautiful garden, and every October, they bring a big bag full of walnuts for us.(shelled! I’m eternally grateful.) Today for lunch, I have decided that all these amazing autumn ingredients call for a little celebration to welcome the new season. This simple slaw is dead easy to make, especially if you have a mandolin slicer at home. Otherwise, a very sharp knife will do the job of slicing the fennel bulb wafer thin. If you can’t find kale, I think a bulb of radicchio could work in a pinch. The slight bitterness would well compliment the sweet-sourness of a crisp new season’s apple.

I hope all of you had a lovely summer/winter, depending on which hemisphere you live in. xo-A.

Kale, Fennel, and Apple Slaw

*If you are using radicchio instead, as I suggested in the intro, you won’t need to massage the leaves. Just toss all the ingredients with the dressing.

Serves 2

5 meidum-large kale leaves

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1 small handful walnuts, toasted

1 small fennel bulb, sliced wafer-thin, if possible

1/2 crisp new season apple, sliced very thinly

For the dressing,

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1.5 tsp walnut oil

3 tsp rapeseed oil or mild-tasting olive oil

A splash of maple syrup

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste, and a few grinds of pepper

1. First, pick off the leaves off the kale, leaving the tough stalks in your compost bin. Give them a good wash. Squeeze out the water with your hands, and chop the leaves finely. In a big salad bowl, add the kale, along with the apple cider vinegar and salt. Get your clean hands in there and massage the kale for about 2-3 minutes until the leaves are welted. Leave to stand for about 30 mins.

2. Preheat the oven to 150 deg celsius, place the walnuts in the oven for about 8-10 mins until they are nicely toasted. Do check after 6 minute mark to see if they aren’t burning. Transfer the walnuts to a plate and cool until ready to use.

3. Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing until well emulsified.

4. Add the fennel and apple slices to the kale. Add about 3/4 of the dressing and mix well with two forks. Check to see if the slaw needs some more dressing. Scatter the toasted walnuts and serve immediately.

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Linguine with slow-roasted tomatoes and garlic

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Another pasta recipe, guys. I hope you don’t mind! :)

What do you do when you have less than perfect tomatoes? The other day, my boyfriend bought a pack of organic tomatoes from Rewe. Clearly, he meant well, (sorry!) but organic or not, I don’t normally buy tomatoes at a supermarket. They are pretty much tasteless or watery even in the summer, so I always get mine from the local market.  Slow roasting is my favourite thing to do with less than perfect tomatoes. It brings out the sweetness and intensifies the umami taste. Even the dull tasting ones turn out to be delicious after 2 hours in the oven. This recipe is probably a no-brainer, and definitely not the most innovative recipe, but I think the ingredients here show simplicity at its best. There’s nothing better than tomato and garlic, with a sprinkle of slivered basil.  Summer vegetables are just so delicious that I don’t usually like to play around too much. For example, I made some potato salad the other day with new potatoes I bought at the market. I knew they were slightly under seasoned, but I didn’t mind because the taste of the potato itself was so delicious. I learnt this way of enjoying food from my paternal grandfather who knows more about taste than most people I know. Once, he gave us some zucchini from his garden. My mum sliced them and stir-fried them lightly with a sprinkle of good salt. No garlic. No spices. Just olive oil, zucchini, and salt. I’m telling you, it was one of the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Anyways… enough blabbering. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy! xo-Ange

Linguine with slow-roasted tomatoes and garlic

Note: If you are not going to use the roasted tomatoes right away, store them in an airtight jar with some olive oil. It will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Serves two

6 medium-sized tomatoes

1/2  tsp sugar

3/4 – 1 tsp salt

Olive oil

1 small head garlic, broken into cloves, but un-peeled

3 sprigs thyme (optional)

220g-240g linguine

5-6 large basil leaves, cut into thin slivers.

Salt and pepper, to taste

Parmagiano Reggiano, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees celsius. Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Lay the tomatoes and garlic cloves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle evenly with salt and sugar, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes have shrunken considerably and the kitchen is smelling divine.

2. Remove the garlic cloves and let them cool. Pop the flesh out of their skins. Mash the flesh with fork and mix in a good drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

3. Cook the linguine in plenty of water with plenty of salt until al dante. Drain, reserving some cooking water in a separate bowl. Put the pasta back into the pan.  Add the roasted garlic paste, roasted tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir around quickly until well mixed. Serve with some grated Parmagiano reggiano cheese and slivers of basil on top.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fusili with Pea, Lemon, and Herb Pesto

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Hot, hot hot!!!

For the past 4 days, the weather has been seriously warm. And with the temperature exceeding 30°C  with sweltering sunshine, I finally wanted to cook with basil. In my kitchen, I usually try to cook with the season’s ingredients. The other day, I was thinking about food pairings, especially with herbs. For example, it’s rare that there are autumn or winter vegetables that match well with soft herbs like chervil, dill, tarragon, basil, or mint, but on the other hand, sturdy herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme,  or bay, go better together with these vegetables. Let me give you some specific examples; basil goes well with tomatoes, strawberries, capsicums, and zucchini, which are summer vegetables. But, it’s not such a good pairing with to earthy tasting, hearty cold weather vegetables like pumpkin, squash, parsnip, or cabbage.  Now summer is finally upon us here, I started craving basil, which hasn’t happened in many months for me. Peas are one of the first summer vegetables you can find and basil and mint are natural pairings. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find fresh local peas. I bought some once years ago but I haven’t been lucky since. If you are buying fresh peas, it’s important to buy the ones from your local farms, as the sweetness of the peas starts to diminish quickly after they are picked.  Here in this recipe, I have used frozen peas. I know using frozen vegetables might not sound too “foodie”, but peas are about the only frozen vegetable you would find in my freezer, and I find they taste actually quite similar to freshly podded peas.

This dish I made for lunch today is easy and quick to make. It is delicious served either hot or cold, so depending on how hot it is outside, you can give it a ring of change in the dish’s temperature too.

If you are looking for another recipe for a hot day, the recipe I submitted, cold beetroot and yoghurt soup, for the Guardian won the Reader’s Recipe Swap two weeks ago. Click here to see the full recipe.

Have a nice week guys! xo-A.

Fusili with Pea, Lemon, and Herb Pesto

Note: This dish can be served either hot or cold.

Serves 2-3

200g frozen or fresh peas (podded weight)
1 medium sized leek, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 clove garlic, (new season’s garlic, if possible)
A small handful mint leaves (about 4g)
A large handful basil leaves (about 8g)
40ml olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
350g fusili
80g feta cheese, (I used goat’s feta but any feta would work well) to serve- optional

1. In a small saucepan, bring the lightly salted water to boil. Add the peas, sliced leek, and garlic. Boil for 1.5 mins. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain well and add to the food processor. Add the herbs, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until roughly pureed. Set aside.
2. Bring a large saucepan with generously salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dante. Drain. Refresh under cold water, if serving cold. Stir in the pesto and serve with some feta cheese on top.

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Jamaican Flower Gin&Tonic

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Summer is upon us. The warm breeze and the sun feels amazing on my skin when I ride my bike around the city. Whenever there is a heatwave, I keep a large pitcher of iced tea made with Jamaican flower tea, or also known as Hibiscus tea, and drink a glass or two when I feel worn out by the heat. This hot pink, wonderfully fragrant and sour tea made from dried Jamaican flowers is a great thirst-quencher, and it is known to bring the body temperature down. As it is Saturday, and the Champions League finale is about to happen in about an hour,  I made an alcoholic version. You will have about 230-250ml syrup from the recipe below, which you can mix with sparkling water and lime juice if you don’t feel like drinking alcohol. A small handful of mint muddled a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients for the cocktail would also be lovely.

Dried Jamaican Flower tea (Hibiscus)

Dried Jamaican Flower tea (Hibiscus)

 

Jamaican Flower Gin&Tonic

Note: Jamaican flower tea (hibiscus) can be easily bought at specialty tea shops. I bought mine at an organic supermarket in Leipzig called Biomare on Karli. 

For the syrup,

20g dried Jamaican flower (Hibiscus) tea

250ml water

100g sugar

20g ginger, peeled, and sliced thinly

For the cocktail (serves 1),

30ml or 2 Tbsp Jamaican flower syrup from above

30ml-40ml Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire. You can use whatever gin you prefer)

15ml or 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 slice lime

A handful of ice cubes

Tonic water (I like Schwepps, even though it sounds boring. I tried some expensive hipster tonic water but I can’t taste that much difference)

1. To make the syrup, bring the sugar, water, and ginger to boil, and wait until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add the Jamaican flower tea and remove from the heat. Let it steep for about 30-40 mins. Strain the syrup in a clean glass jar and chill in the fridge.

2. To make the cocktail, add the ice cubes in a tall glass. Add the syrup, lime juice, and gin. Top with tonic water and garnish with a sliced lime.

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Banh Mi Sandwich with Tempeh-Brown Rice Balls

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Hi guys! Excuse the long absence from blogging. I have been very busy with work lately and I barely had time to cook. I ate out a lot (probably spent way too much money) and felt pretty gross after not eating at home for days. I missed my knife and cutting board, and fresh vegetables. I then realized that this city lacks in quick eateries that focus on healthy yet delicious food. Sure, there are many bakeries in every corner with ready-made bread rolls smeared with remoulade sauce (why? why always the remoulade??), some bland cheese or ham, and sad, limp pieces of lettuce. Or there are plenty of packed salads consisting of (again) sad looking iceberg lettuce, tasteless tomatoes, chopped ham, and canned corn (eeeek) , and you can choose from yogurt dressing, balsamic dressing, or some unidentifiable “herb” dressing in a packet. But I wish there was a sandwich place where you could order what goes in your roll or sandwich, and they are freshly made. Ready made salad would be fine by me if these places would have some variations. A good friend from LA sent a picture of a ready-made salad that he bought from Trader Joe’s. What was in the picture were the followings; Lemon chicken&rocket salad, Roasted butternut squash, red quinoa, and wheatberry salad, and Kale&edamame salad. Seriously? You wouldn’t even find these kinds of salads in most cafes here. Needless to say, I was very jealous. And let me stress that these pre-packaged salads weren’t from some fancy-shmancy gourmet supermarket. Humph.

Anyways. Enough complaining. Life is still great even if I can’t buy pre-packaged kale salads. :) After craving vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich one day, and not wanting to make yet another marinaded tofu for the protein filling, I came up with these little balls. They are packed with protein, punchy herbs, lemongrass, allium, and chili. You can freeze these babies once they are shaped, and take them out whenever you feel like a Banh Mi. (see recipe note). Enjoy!

Banh Mi Sandwich with Tempeh-Brown Rice Balls

Recipe note: To freeze these balls, shape them, then put them on a plate, slightly apart, and place the plate in the freezer for an hour. After that, remove the balls and pack them into a ziplock bag. To re-heat, brush them with oil, and bake them in the oven in 180 celsius degrees for about 30 mins, turning a couple of times in between.

Serves 3-4

For the quick pickles,

250ml rice vinegar

2.5 Tbsp Sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp chili powder

8 pink radishes, sliced finely

1 medium carrot, julienned

For the tempeh-rice balls,

140g tempeh, cut into cubes

2 tsp coconut oil or canola oil

5 small shallots

2 lemongrass, 6cm of the root, tough outer layers removed, and finely chopped

1 thumbnail sized ginger, finely minced

2 large clove garlic, finely minced

1 hot chili

1 large handful coriander

1 small handful mint leaves

1 egg

2 tsp soy sauce

A pinch of salt

1/2 tsp palm sugar (grated if necessary)

6 Tbsp breadcrumbs

100g cooked short-grain brown rice, cold or at room temperature (*scroll down to the bottom for the recipe)

2 Tbsp coconut oil or rapeseed oil, for frying

For the sauce,

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp (or more) sriracha hot sauce

1/2 Tbsp-1 Tbsp soy sauce

To serve,

2 baguettes

A small handful of the following,

-Coriander leaves

-Mint leaves

-Thai basil leaves

Sriracha or other Asian hot sauce

1. First of all, make the quick pickle. In a jar, dissolve the first four ingredients until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the radishes and carrots and mix to combine. Leave in the fridge for 30mins-1hour to pickle.

2. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add the tempeh cubes and simmer for about 5-7 mins. Drain well.

3. Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chili, and lemongrass. Fry until fragrant and soft. Transfer to a food processor.

4. Add the tempeh cubes, soy sauce, the herbs, egg, salt, palm sugar, and breadcrumbs to the food processor. Pulse 6-8 times to combine and break down the tempeh. Add the brown rice and pulse quickly to combine, scraping the sides in between. Add a bit more breadcrumbs if the dough seems too wet.

5. With wet hands, form little balls about the size of pingpong balls. Place them on a large plate. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour for them to firm up.

6. Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

7. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the balls, without crowding the pan, until they are golden all over.

8. To assemble the sandwich, cut the baguette in half and slice it lengthwise but not all the way. Smear some of the sauce on both sides. Lay the herbs, pickles, and the tempeh balls. Add some hot sauce on top if you like. Close the baguette. Enjoy!

*How to cook short-grain brown rice (“Rundkorn Naturreis” in German. You can find it at organic supermarkets or sometimes at DM)

1 cup short-grain brown rice (soaked for 4-8 hours, if possible)

1.5 cups water

In a saucepan with fitting lid, bring the rice and water to the boil. Turn down the heat to low, and steam the rice for 30-40mins until the rice is tender, and has absorbed all the water. Remove the pan from the heat. Let it stand for 5 mins before fluffing the rice with fork.

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Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg with Yellow Miso Hollandaise

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I’m sure some of you know I’m on Instagram. I resisted on using for years because I thought it was for people who can’t take photos. Ooops. Did I mention I’m not the greatest photographer in the world? Silly me. I ended up downloading the app a year ago and started using it once in a while, until it became a daily thing. I used to take photos of food and post them on Facebook, but I didn’t want to annoy people by posting too many photos. Instagram seemed like a perfect sphere for posting food photos without people looking at you weird. Plus I didn’t have to face questions like, “why do you always take photos of your food?” , “everything you post is about food!”, “oh my god Ange, you are obsessed!” XD

Anyways, I’ve started following chefs like Rene Redzepi and David Chang, magazines like Bon Appetit, and websites like Food52 or thekitchn.com. The photos they post are not only far better quality than mine, but sometimes I get inspired by the dishes they create. The other day, Momofuku (the famous restaurant empire by David Chang) posted a dish that perfectly captured spring. So, I waited until yesterday when the farmer’s market was open, to buy fresh asparagus, and recreate the dish from the photo. The miso is unusual in a hollandaise, but it gives a subtle umami kick to this classic french sauce. My kitchen lab rat friend yesterday tasted and approved so I hope you guys like it too. It probably tastes nothing like the exact dish you would eat at Momofuku, but I hope it’s close!

Ps. My sambar recipe was the winning recipe of the week two weeks ago in The Guardian Recipe Swap.  Needless to say, I was stoked! The coleslaw with peanut dressing was also printed in The Guardian this weekend. It totally made my day! :)

Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg with Yellow Miso Hollandaise

Re-created by an Instagram photo from Momofuku.

Note: I make my hollandaise in a hand-held emersion blender. If you don’t own one, I guess you will need a bit more elbow grease than me. Just whisk vigorously while trickling in the melted butter. 

Serves 2

400g green asparagus (preferably local), trimmed.

A good drizzle of olive oil

A good pinch of salt

2 poached eggs (see here to learn how to poach an egg properly. And practice. From 1:49)

For the hollandaise,

100g butter

1.5-2 tsp  yellow miso paste

1 egg yolk

1.5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or substitute with lemon juice)

To serve,

Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning. Skip it if you don’t have it)

1. Melt the butter and whisk in the miso until well emulsified.

2. Fill a small saucepan with water, enough to fill about a quarter of the pan. Bring to boil and turn the heat down and keep it on a simmer. In a smaller pan (a double broiler), add the egg yolk and the rice vinegar. Whisk over the simmering water until frothy (Do NOT let the pan touch the water!). Transfer the egg mixture to a bowl or the long cylindrical container that usually comes with the hand-held emersion blender.

3. Trickle the melted butter into the egg yolk, either with the blender running, or constantly whisking. Do this until the butter is used up and you are left with a beautiful, silky sauce.  (NOTE: Always add the butter a bit by bit, otherwise you will split the sauce. Should this unfortunate disaster happen in your kitchen, trickle some cold water. Mine never split, so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard that trickling in some cold water into the split sauce while whisking helps. But if you trickle in the melted butter slowly, a bit by bit, while constantly whisking or the blender running, you won’t be left with a split hollandaise!)  Keep the sauce warm.

4. Preheat the grill function in your oven to high. Fill a large oven-proof frying pan ( with water and bring to boil. Boil the asparagus for 1 minute and drain. Lay the asparagus on a clean tea towel to absorb the moisture. Wipe the pan clean and add the asparagus back in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Slide the frying pan under the grill for about 8-10 minutes until they are nicely roasted. Keep an eye on them after 5 minutes though. Every oven is different.

5. Poach the eggs according to your method. Or watch this video  from 1:49.

6. To serve, place the asparagus on a plate, and place an egg on top. Drizzle with as much hollandaise you would like, and sprinkle some furikake on top, if using. (Note, by now the hollandaise might have cooled down. Just place the pan over simmering water again and whisk until the sauce has warmed and loosened up)

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Lemongrass and Coconut Tempeh, Coleslaw in Peanut Dressing, and Coconut Brown Rice

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I have three new recipes for you today! Jackpot!

When I first saw a block of tempeh sitting next to tofu at an Asian grocer, I was put off by the way it looked. I vaguely see that there were some soybeans in the block, but the whole thing looked slightly rotten to me. (click here if you don’t know what tempeh looks like). I’ve never given a second thought about buying it until I started reading 101cookbooks.com. This wonderful blog was the first food blog that I started reading regularly and still do until this day. Tempeh showed up once in a while in her post and after a casual googling, I realized this block of off-looking soybeans was in fact a delicious food originating from Indonesia, and has spread to the western world as a healthy meat substitute. It’s fermented and therefore easier for your body to digest. It’s also full of vitamin B-6, iron, magnesium, and calcium. So after trying this recipe  from 101cookbooks, I was hooked. It’s meatier than tofu, and really delicious after being marinated and grilled. I know many people frown upon hearing the word “tofu” but this distant cousin, tempeh, my friends, is a whole different business.

After vaguely trying to plan a holiday to south-east Asia, I have created a marinade for tempeh that includes ingredients from there, and the result was absolutely delicious. Lightly coconut-y, spicy, and the addition of lemongrass and lime leaf made me want to teleport myself to the street food stalls in south-east Asia, although I imagine the food there would be a zillion times better than mine. :) I paired the tempeh with coleslaw with peanut dressing that was inspired by the Gado-gado sauce from Indonesia, and coconut brown rice cooked with galangal and lime leaf. If you have never cooked with tempeh, give this a try. I swear you will be hooked like I did.

 

Lemongrass and Coconut Tempeh

Serves 2

250g tempeh, cut into triangles

1 lemongrass, 5cm from the root, the outer layer peeled, and the soft center part finely minced

1 lime leaf, finely minced

60ml coconut milk from a very well shaken can

1.5 tsp sambal olek or sriracha

1 Tbsp soy sauce

Juice of 1/2 lime

To fry, coconut oil or vegetable oil with high-smoking point.

To serve, a small handful coriander leaves

1. In a medium sized saucepan, bring water to boil. Add the tempeh and steam over medium heat for about 5 mins. This process eliminates the bitterness that might be present in some tempeh, and also it will make the tempeh absorb the marinade faster.

2. In a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Drain the tempeh and transfer them to a large but shallow casserole dish. Pour the marinade over and coat well. Marinate for 1 hour. It can sit in the fridge for a couple more hours if you want to make ahead of time. Flip once or twice.

3. Heat the coconut oil or vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay the tempeh slices in one layer and fry for about 4 mins. Flip and wait for 3 minutes. Pour the remaining marinade and reduce to a thick sauce.

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Coleslaw with peanut-chili-coconut dressing

Serves 4-6 as a side

1/2 head small green cabbage, finely sliced

1/2 head small purple cabbage, finely sliced

3 spring onions, white and green parts, finely sliced

1 large carrot, julienned

1/2 large kohlrabi, julienned

1 bunch coriander, chopped

A small handful mint leaves, chopped

A handful roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

For the dressing,

2 Tbsp peanut butter

1.5 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbs coconut milk

1 thumbnail sized ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 small cloves garlic

1.5 tsp sambal olek or sriracha

1 lime, juice only

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp palm sugar or raw cane sugar

1. In a large bowl, mix the chopped and sliced vegetables.

2. To make the dressing, add all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Check the seasoning. The dressing at this stage should be a little salty. Not to worry, the vegetables will absorb some of the salt.

3. Toss the dressing and the vegetables thoroughly, preferably with hands.  Leave to rest for 30mins to 1 hour. Scatter the peanuts on the salad before serving.

Coconut Brown Rice with Lime Leaf and Galangal

Serves 2

1 cup short-grain brown rice

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

2 lime leaves

A thumb-nail sized galangal or ginger, sliced

1/2 tsp salt

To serve: Lime wedges

1. Wash the brown rice and soak, if possible, for 4-8 hours.

2. In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the rice and the rest of the ingredients to the boil and turn the heat down to low. Steam the rice for 35-45 mins, until tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the rice with fork.

 

 

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