Sunday, 22 April 2012

Use your tools to their full potential - part 1

One main excuse I hear from people for not cooking, or for cooking very basic fare is the lack of time. Some folk look at a recipe and only see the words SLICED, CHOPPED and SHREDDED. They then decide it is all too hard and either go out to eat, or open a tin.

NOT necessary. A basic food processor doesn't cost a fortune. But owning one opens up a very wide range of options when it comes to preparing your meals. Grating, chopping, mincing - I never buy mince of any sort now, I buy the meat and mince it at home in the food processor. I have total control of the fat content, as well as the specific cut.

The never-ending preparation of Asian dishes is far less daunting using a processor, and the cooking is super quick. The world opens up..........

Here is a recipe for Thai Chicken Rissoles. Easy anyway, it becomes child's play using a food processor. In fact, with supervision, a child could do most of this. I'll give you the processor version.

Serves 4

500g chicken thigh fillets (usually 4)
3 spring onions
1 tablespoon Thai Red Curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 crusts of a nice grainy bread
1/4 cup frozen peas

Fit the chopping blade to your processor bowl. Cut the chicken into large chunks and place in the bowl. Chop on low speed until it is minced and forms a ball. Tip into a large bowl. Cut the spring onions into large segments. With the processor running on low, feed in through the input tube. Follow up with the bread, torn into large pieces. Turn up to high for a few seconds, until the bread is crumbed.
Add the bread and onion to the chicken, along with the paste, coconut milk and peas. Dig your hands in and mix well. (More on using your hands later...)
When well combined, use wet hands and shape the mixture into small balls. Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Shallow fry in hot oil for 5 minutes or so, then finish in a 180C oven for a further 15 minutes. Brush with some sweet chilli sauce if you have it, just before they go in the oven, then serve with extra sauce.
Serve with a salad. In a later blog, I will give you a great Thai dressing.......

* on using your hands - I used to be horrified at how TV chefs dug their hands into everything. Then, with experience, I learned that is just the best way to mix many recipes - you really do get a feel for what you are cooking.
It is of the utmost importance that you practice proper hygiene - those anti bacterial gels are worth their weight in gold. Use them, and also wash your hands often. And, unlike those TV chefs, ALWAYS remove any rings prior to using your hands as utensils - so much bacteria hides under rings. Why else do they make you remove or tape them thoroughly before an operation?


  1. Ahhhh the grater, almost lost my hand on that on (Im kidding, was a nice cut though) I need a processor. Also I need a recipe for fried rice, thanks for reminding me!

  2. Kylie Kwong gives out some good ones. Try this link:
    It is one of those with a cast of thousands, but you can get everything you need out first and prepare or mix it wherever you can. Remember: yesterdays rice is the best fried rice for today.....