Lime Chicken infused with garlicky, savoury lime flavours! The trick to getting depth of flavour in a simple lime marinade is to use soy sauce for saltiness, plus a touch of sugar for great caramelisation.
Fabulous for a quick midweek meal and ESPECIALLY great for the BBQ! Bonus: super healthy at less than 300 calories for a whole chicken breast.
If you love lime flavour – and I’m yet to meet anyone who doesn’t – this Lime Chicken has your name written all over it.
It’s juicy. It’s caramelised. And it truly tastes of lime.(gasp shock horror!)
(PS The key is to use lime ZEST. That’s where most of the lime flavour is )
Grill it. Pan fry it. You can even BAKE it!
And it’s HEALTHY, clocking in at under 300 calories per serving!
Lime Marinade for Chicken
The trick with fresh citrus based marinades is getting depth of flavour into it. If you just use lime juice, salt and garlic, the flavour is quite flat and the chicken – especially if using chicken breast – will lack something (because breast has virtually no fat, and fat = flavour).
So I add a bit of sugar and olive oil (so the chicken caramelises when cooked), use soy or fish sauce for the salt (adds complexity but doesn’t taste fishy OR Asiany!) and throw in chopped cilantro / coriander for another layer of flavour!
For this Lime Marinade, chicken is best marinated for 12 to 24 hours. It will make the outside a touch white because the amount of lime juice in this marinade “cooks” the chicken a bit (think ceviche).
But it doesn’t take it so far that the chicken starts to break down so don’t be alarmed. In fact, this marinade is fine for 48 hours, though I wouldn’t take it further than that.
TIP: I like to prepare freezer bags of the chicken in marinade then immediately pop it in the freezer. Then the night before, put it in the fridge and let it defrost for 24 hours, during which time it will marinate.
What to serve with Lime Chicken
The Lime Marinade makes the chicken juicy on the inside and injects with flavour so you won’t need a sauce with it. And after resting the chicken for a few minutes before serving it, some of those juices will sweat to the surface, like you see below.
As for what to serve on the side, here are a few suggestions!
Lime Coconut Rice (pictured below) – lime overload?? Nope! Lime tastes different when cooked with the chicken vs in a coconut rice.
Recipe video above. This lime marinade has a beautiful depth of flavour and really infuses the chicken with lime flavours! Touch of sugar caramelises the chicken, and depth of flavour is achieved by using soy or fish sauce instead of salt (it doesn’t taste Asiany at all, I swear!). Stove or BBQ best, but can also bake!
Use fist (or rolling pin!) to pound fat end of chicken breast to about 1.7 cm / 2/3″ thickness (not required for thigh).
Place chicken and Marinade in a ziplock bag, massage to distribute marinade evenly. Place on a plate or bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours (min 12 hrs, max 48 hrs – Note 3)
Remove chicken, discard Marinade. Cook using one method below.
To Cook (cooked internal temp 165F/75C)
STOVE: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook chicken for 3 minutes on each side or until caramelised and golden brown (see video!).
BBQ: Brush grills with oil and heat to medium high (or medium if your BBQ is strong). Cook chicken for 3 minutes on each side until caramelised (see video!).
OVEN: Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Bake 15 minutes, then flick broiler/grill on high and grill for 3 minutes to caramelise surface & finish cooking.
Rest and Serve:
Transfer chicken to a serving plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 3 minutes.
Garnish with extra coriander/cilantro, lime wedges and chilli if desired, then serve!
1. Chicken – chicken breast pictured in post. Marinade is especially great for breast because it adds juiciness and caramelises the surface. Also terrific with boneless thigh, and any other cut of bone in skin on chicken, but see notes for adjusted cook times and methods.
2. Fish sauce is better than soy because it has deeper, more complex flavours. Adds depth of flavour to this otherwise simple marinade, but does NOT make it taste fishy!
Sub with soy – but use more (1.5 tbsp) because soy doesn’t have as complex flavours as fish sauce. Soy – use light or all purpose, do not use dark soy (too strong)
3. Marinating time – Lime juice will make the surface of skin white with 24 hour marinating time but it won’t break down the surface. 12 hours minimum to really get the lime flavour into the chicken. 48 hrs is the max marinating time – after this, chicken will start to break down.
Prepare ahead, place the chicken and marinade in a ziplock bag in the freezer straight away, then defrost in the fridge overnight, during which time the chicken will marinate.
4. Optional extra flavourings: chilli is fantastic in this. Add inely chopped fresh chilli or chilli paste added to the marinade.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings. This takes into account that most of the marinade is discarded.
Lime Chicken originally published 20 April, 2016. Updated with new photos, brand new video, new writing, and step photos. No change to recipe – readers love it as is!
LIFE OF DOZER
No photo of Dozer and the Lime Chicken today. But here’s a little look back at when he was a wee puppy, just 4kg/8lb. Today he’s 10x larger – he’s 40kg/80lb!
Triple Chocolate Cookies are reserved for Hard Core Chocolate Monsters only! Loaded with 40% dark and white chocolate chips, these chewy cookies are RICH with a capital R – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
BETTER than Byron Bay Triple Chocolate Cookies
Yeah, that’s a BIG call……and totally obnoxious to say.
But I’m standing by it!!!
Byron Bay Cookies are Australia’s favourite cafe cookies. And after sharing a copycat of the popular White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies, it was inevitable that the next target would be their mighty chocolate ones.
They promise to be fudgy and loaded with chocolate chunks. I bought one (two, three!) …. and you know what? I was disappointed. They weren’t fudgy at all – in fact, the texture was kind of crumbly like Shortbread – and had less chocolate in it than I expected.
So I ditched them. And decided to make my own “perfect” Triple Chocolate Cookies.
What they taste like
These Triple Chocolate Cookies are:
VERY chocolatey – with 3 chocolate hits in the form of cocoa for the cookie dough, dark AND white chocolate chips. 40% of the cookie is chocolate!!
Crispy on the edges – so you know you’re eating a cookie rather than raw cookie dough (though I know there are plenty of cookie dough fans out there!)
Chewy on the inside thanks to a secret ingredient… GLUCOSE! Stole that idea from the ingredients of the packet of one of Triple Chocolate Cookies that I used as my muse.
PS When I say these cookies are chewy, I really do mean chewy as opposed to fudgy and soft, like brownies.
What you need
A LOT of chocolate. And not much else.
How to make them
Nothing tricky or unusual with the making part.
Impatient bakers will be happy to hear that there’s no refrigeration needed.
And those without an electric beater or stand mixer will be happy to hear that with a bit of an arm workout, these cookies can be made with just a wooden spoon (a beater just makes it easier )
These are the cookies you make the you want a serious chocolate fix.
These are the cookies you make if you want to impress the pants off your girlfriendsat book club.
These are the cookies you make if you want to be the first to sell out at the school bake sale.
And these are the cookies you make just because you literally cannot buy cookies like this here in Australia. Bakeries simply don’t sell cookies like this!
I know you’ve been good all week. Heavy on the salads, low on the pastas.
Go on, you deserve it! (And if you don’t, your family does… right??) ~ Nagi x
Recipe video above. Better than Byron Bay Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookies with 40% chocolate! Crispy on the edges and truly chewy on the inside (rather than just being sloppy raw cookie dough) thanks to a secret ingredient – glucose. And they live up to their name – these are outrageously rich!
Preheat oven to 190C/375F (170C fan) with one shelf in the middle and another under it.
Use a bowl at room temp, not ice cold glass/metal (butter will go hard).
Place butter in bowl and beat until smooth – about 30 seconds on speed 5.
Add sugar and beat for 45 sec to 1 min until light and fluffy.
Add yolks, beat until fully incorporated (~20 sec).
Add vanilla and glucose, beat until incorporated (~15 sec).
Add flour, baking powder and cocoa. Stir with wooden spoon until incorporated (will be a stiff dough).
Mix through chocolate chips.
Scoop / roll 12 balls a touch smaller than a golf ball, then flatten to 1cm / 2/5″ thick on baking trays (2 trays).
Bake both trays for 10 minutes.
Take top tray out, move tray underneath to top shelf and bake a further 1 minute then remove.
Leave cookies to cool on the tray for 20 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.
Allow to cool fully before serving (becomes chewy when cools, even better the next day!)
1. Glucose – sub light corn syrup. Gives the cookies a terrific chew you don’t normally get in homemade cookies! Found this as an ingredient on the packet of cookies I wanted to copy.
Suspect golden syrup and molasses will also work and the small quantity used shouldn’t affect the flavour (especially given how much chocolate is in this!) but I haven’t tried these.
2. Cocoa powder – Dutch processed gives it a stronger chocolate flavour but is more expensive than everyday cocoa powder. Works just fine with normal cocoa powder!
3. Chocolate chips – feel free to use chunks, or roughly chop block chocolate. Best to use baking chocolate (ie chocolate chips and blocks found in the baking aisle at the grocery store) but actually, eating chocolate works just fine in cookies!
4. Different measures in different countries – cup and tablespoon sizes differ slightly between countries. Because of the consistency of this dough, I’m confident it’s forgiving enough to work irrespective of the country you are in (except Japan, please use weights provided)- I’ve played around with different cup and tbsp sizes combos. But note – it’s good practice to stick to weights or cups when making a recipe rather than switching in between.
5. Storage – chew is even better the next day! Store in a very airtight container. Great for 3 days, then the middle tends to lose that juice chew a bit – but still terrific!
6. Nutrition per cookie.
Life of Dozer
When Dozer got sent to the naughty corner today (though as someone pointed out, his “naughty corner” involves a big cosy bed and furry cushion so it’s hardly a punishment)
Tastes just like risotto…. except it’s far quicker to make! Also known as Orzo, this risoni recipe comes with juicy chicken, a creamy parmesan sauce and plenty of hidden vegetables. It’s a quick one pot recipe the kids are sure to love. (And grown ups too!)
Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Risoni (Orzo)
This is a quick dinner recipe that will tick all your boxes:
fast and easy to make – 10 minute cook! made with everyday pantry staples highly customisable – use whatever vegetables and proteins you want complete meal – protein, vegetables, carbs, dairy! the sort of food that’s universally appealing, one that big and little people love
Is there a difference between Orzo and Risoni?
Nope, they’re the same thing! Tiny rice shaped pasta that’s widely available nowadays, it’s called risoni here in Australia but most countries in the world call it orzo.
A quick Risoni recipe that’s a complete dinner made in one pot!
How to make it
If you’re wondering how on earth this risoni recipe can be cooked so quickly, here’s why – risoni / orzo takes a mere 8 minutes to cook from start to finish.
So we only have it on the stove for 7 minutes, then the tiny rice-like grains keep cooking while you’re faffing around getting bowls out, serving it up, sprinkling on parmesan and yelling for everyone to get to the table for dinner.
What you need
And here’s what you need for this Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Risoni. There’s plenty of substitution and customisation options – see below.
LOADS of substitution options!
Loads and loads… even the risoni!
Risoni / orzo – sub with other very small pasta (like kiddie alphabet, tiny macaroni)
Chicken – any protein, or skip it
Frozen veg – I use this for convenience, sub with any diced vegetables
Baby Spinach – I throw in a couple of handles to get extra nutrition in. Use any wilt-able veggies (even the leafy end of Asian greens!) or add more veggies
Parmesan – any grated cheese!
Flour – any type of flour (white, brown, self raising, cake flour)
Milk – dairy or non dairy! Or a mix of cream and water, or evaporated milk
Chicken stock (broth) – stock cube with water. In emergencies, use water and lots more cheese!
Onion – leeks, extra garlic, geen onion, shallots
Garlic – garlic powder, extra onion
This recipe makes enough for 4 to 5. Leftovers will keep for a few days – but note that leftover pasta is never quite as saucy. Or try making Muffin Tin Spaghetti Nests with the leftovers which kids absolutely adore! ~ Nagi x
More risoni / orzo recipes
I love risoni because it’s so quick to cook – making it super handy for quick dinners!
Drunken Noodles is the literal translation of Pad Kee Mao because the theory is that these spicy Thai noodles should be eaten with an ice cold beer and that they are a great cure for hangover. I can confirm both cases to be true!
This Thai noodle dish is a very popular both in Thailand and in Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. You will be surprised how fast and easy this recipe is to make!
Get Drunken Noodles from the streets of Thailand, and unless you have an exceptional spice-o-meter, you’ll be chugging down the beer in an attempt to cool the burn in your mouth.
Make this at home and you can control the heat!
The amount of chilli I’ve included in the recipe is mild enough for most people (I think), but enough so you can taste the heat. By all means, feel free to turn up the spice dial!
What you need
There are all sorts of variations of Drunken Noodles in Thailand and even more in the western world. In Thailand the two constants are chicken and Thai Basil, and quite often it came with baby corn as well, though from my research I couldn’t confirm that this was a “must have” in this dish.
Get the widest dried rice noodles you can find at your grocery store. Here in Australian supermarkets, the widest I can find is labelled “Pad Thai”, though ironically, it’s actually too wide for Pad Thai!
There are actually two types of Thai Basil – regular Thai Basil and Thai Holy Basil. Drunken Noodles can be made with either.
Outside of Thailand, restaurants typically use regular Thai Basil because it is easier to find than Holy Basil. I even have difficulty finding Holy Basil in Thai grocery stores!
Is Thai Basil the same as regular basil?
Thai Basil is not the same as regular basil. It tastes like regular basil with a slight aniseed flavour. A very distinct flavour that you know and love about your favourite dishes at your local Thai restaurant like Drunken Noodles and Thai Chilli Basil Chicken!
Best substitute for Thai Basil
Regular basil! In fact, Drunken Noodles is traditionally made with Holy Basil which tastes more similar to regular basil than Thai Basil!
How to make it
As with all stir fries and stir fried noodles, this moves fast once you start cooking – around 6 minutes start to finish – so have everything ready to go before you start cooking!
Comparison to other popular Thai noodles
Whereas Pad Thai is nutty and sweet, Pad Kee Mao is spicy and savoury. Compared to Pad See Ew, the sauce of Drunken Noodles is lighter in colour and not as sweet.
Also, neither Pad Thai nor Pad See Ew does not have Thai Basil in it, and it is not as spicy.
In Western Thai restaurants, Drunken Noodles are usually very saucy, oily and salty – too much so in my opinion, and very different from the streets of Thailand. So it’s really nice to be able to make a healthier yet just as tasty version at home!
And remember to crack open an ice cold beer to enjoy these Drunken Noodles with! – Nagi x
(Yes, I Thai Food, in case you hadn’t figured it out!)
Watch how to make it
Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) - YouTube
Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
Recipe video above. Spicy Thai Noodles, a popular Thai take-out dish from the streets of Thailand! Make sure you have all ingredients ready to toss into the wok as once you start cooking, things happen quickly! Spice level: moderate to high (it’s SUPPOSED to be spicy!)
7 oz /200g dried rice noodles (dried (Note 1))
2 tbsp oil ((peanut, vegetable or canola))
3 large cloves of garlic (, minced)
2 birds eye chilli or Thai chillies (, deseeded, very finely chopped (Note 2))
1/2 onion (, sliced)
200 g /7oz chicken thighs (, cut into bite size pieces (breast ok too))
2 tsp fish sauce ((or soy sauce))
2 shallot/scallion stems (, cut into 3cm/2" pieces)
1 cup Thai or Thai Holy Basil leaves ((sub regular basil, Note 3))
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce ((Note 4))
1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce ((Note 4))
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp water
Prepare noodles per packet directions.
Mix Sauce in a small bowl.
Heat oil in wok or large heavy based skillet over high heat.
Add garlic and chilli and cook for 10 seconds. Don’t inhale – the chilli will make you cough!
Add onion, cook for 1 minute.
Add chicken and fish sauce, and fry until cooked, around 2 minutes.
Add green onion, noodles and sauce and cook for 1 minute until the sauce reduces and coats the noodles.
Remove from heat and immediately add basil, toss until just wilted, then serve immediately.
1. Wide rice noodles – use wide ones and prepare per packet. I use ones labelled as “Pad Thai” rice noodles (see in post, here it is at Woolworths). Fine to use thinner ones if you can’t find wide ones.
2. Chilli – 2 birds eye or Thai chillies gives this a nice buzz of spice but won’t blow your head off! Feel free to adjust to your taste. Can also use a dollop of chilli paste instead – add it with the chicken.
3. Thai Basil – tastes like regular basil with slight aniseed flavour. Traditionally made with Thai Holy Basil which tastes like regular basil but most restaurants outside Thailand use regular Thai Basil (easier to find, sold at Harris Farms and some Woolies, Coles in Australia).
Substitute with regular basil (it tastes like Drunken Noodles in Thailand!)
4. Soy Sauce – both light and dark soy sauce can be substituted with all purpose soy sauce (ie soy sauce that is just labelled “soy sauce” without “dark” or “light” or “sweet” in front of it).
Can also sub the dark soy with more light soy.
DO NOT use all dark soy sauce – will be far too strong.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 3 servings.
Drunken Noodles recipe originally published July 2014. Updated June 2019 with new photos, new writing, new video and most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Like my video shooting area isn’t a tripping hazard as it is, let’s add a giant fur ball into the mix.
(PS the wine is a PROP! I wasn’t having a cheeky glass at lunch!! )
Make your next Grilled Salmon AMAZING with a simple yet incredible Salmon Marinade that will infuse it with extra flavour! Bonus: it does double duty for basting and as the sauce for serving.
Plus, my very simple tips for cooking salmon on the BBQ – no more burnt salmon, and how to stop salmon from sticking to the grill!
I feel like a lot of people are intimidated at the thought of cooking salmon on the BBQ. Fear of it sticking to the grill, of flaking into bits when handling it. Or of the sugar in marinades causing it to burn into a black bitter mess.
Ditch the fear! Cooking salmon on the BBQ is easy when you know a couple of simple tips that make all the difference. With THIS grilled salmon recipe, your salmon will be:
caramelised but not burnt on the outside it won’t stick to the grill cooked to juicy perfection on the inside has extra insurance from a marinade just in case you cook it a bit over
You’ll love how the Salmon Marinade is also used to baste the salmon AND as a sauce for serving!
(PS I totally manufactured the flare up you see below. Just cause I thought it looked cool! )
Secrets to the best Grilled Salmon ever!
So here are my tips for perfect grilled salmon.
Use skin on salmon fillets. The skin holds the salmon together much better when handling on the grill. Serve the salmon with the skin peeled off, or serve as is and let people decide for themselves!
Drain excess marinade off the flesh side – set it aside for 10 minutes or so to really make make the marinade drip off. (Skin side doesn’t matter as much because it’s not as fragile). This tip is especially relevant when you have sugar in the marinade.
Drizzle with oil just before cooking. Key tip!
Brush grills generously with oil before heating BBQ
Grill salmon on medium – or even medium low, if you know your BBQ is very strong. It is safer to cook on a lower rather than higher temperature. You can always cook for longer – but can’t undo a burnt mess! Key tip!
Put the flesh side down first – because you just oiled it, and it’s the more fragile side so it’s just safer to cook that side perfectly first. The skin side is hardier and can take longer cooking if needed. Plus, it’s a general rule to cook the presentation side first.
Do not move the salmon once you put it on the grill.Key tip! It will initially stick to the grills, then it will release once cooked (and don’t forget, we have extra insurance from oiling the flesh!)
If you’re a pro griller, you might feel confident enough to skip some of these. But for ordinary folk like myself you don’t want to risk the salmon, follow these for grilled salmon success every. Single. Time!!
How you know the salmon is cooked
The side of the salmon changes colour from translucent to opaque; or
The internal temperature of the salmon is 50C/120°F (medium-rare), or 55C / 130F (for medium). I cannot endorse cooking salmon beyond medium!
The Salmon Marinade
And here’s what goes in the Salmon Marinade. It adds a savoury-sweet-garlic flavour to the salmon and makes it beautifully caramelised.
Soy sauce is the key ingredient here. Because it’s salty, it acts as the brine, injecting flavour and juiciness into the salmon flesh. It does not make the Salmon taste Asiany!
Plenty of subs available, I’ve listed them in the recipe card.
What to serve with Grilled Salmon
If I’m cooking something non-Asian on the BBQ, it’s pretty much inevitable that grilled corn makes an appearance too.
Add a garden salad tossed with French Vinaigrette, Italian Dressing or even just with lemon juice and olive oil, plus some crusty bread rolls for a perfect warm weather BBQ dinner.
Or try one of these big-batch sides that keep great for days and days (and take some of the leftovers to work!):
Please try to ignore the top left corner of the salmon in the photo below. You know full know I went to eat the salmon before I finished taking all the photos I needed.
I suppose my limited Photoshop skills are sufficient enough to have patched that up.
But then I decided to leave it so I could sign off with this vision: that split second when my mouth was wide open and the fork was just about to go in, when I realised that I’d forgotten to take the photo below.
Putting the fork down in a huff, pushing the piece of salmon back into place, climbing a little ladder, taking this photo, then 2 seconds later, that piece was gone. (And minutes later, so was that whole piece of salmon) ~ Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Marinated Grilled Salmon - YouTube
Marinated Grilled Salmon
Recipe VIDEO above. Make your next grilled salmon AMAZING with a simple yet incredible Salmon Marinade that will infuse the salmon with extra flavour!
4 salmon fillets (, skin on best (150-180g/5-6oz each, Note 1))
Olive oil (, for cooking)
Marinade (Sauce)- Note 2:
1/3 cup (85 ml) soy sauce (, low sodium)
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves (, minced)
Parsley, chives or green onion (, finely chopped)
Place marinade in a ziplock bag and mix to combine.
Add salmon and massage to coat. Marinate for 3 – 24 hours (1 hr minimum).
Take out of fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Remove salmon onto plate, allowing excess marinade to drain off.
Sauce (basting + serving):
Pour remaining marinade into a small saucepan and simmer over medium high for 3 to 5 minutes until syrupy.
Pour into bowl/jug (some used for basting, some for serving).
Brush BBQ grills with oil. Then preheat to medium (or medium low for strong BBQ’s).
Drizzle salmon with oil, the place onto the BBQ flesh side down (skin side up).
Cook for 3 minutes or until golden, then use tongs to carefully turn.
Brush the flesh with Sauce, then close BBQ lid.
Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, basting one more time halfway through, or until the internal temperature is 50C/120F(medium rare) or 55C/130F (medium).
Transfer salmon to plate and serve with remaining Sauce.
1. Salmon – skin on is best for grilling, the fish is easier to handle because it holds together better. Serve with either skin on and let people choose whether to eat just the flesh or the skin as well (I do this), or peel the skin off before serving. Make sure the scales have been removed from the skin and there are no bones (the fish monger should have already done this for you).
2. Marinade substitutions / alternatives:
Soy sauce – use light or all purpose soy sauce, preferably low sodium (but ok if not). Do not use dark soy sauce or sweet soy sauce.
Lemon juice – sub cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. Or 1.5 tbsp any other plain vinegar (white, balsamic, red wine, champagne etc)
Honey – maple syrup or other sweet liquid, or 2.5 tbsp brown sugar.
Olive oil – or other oil of choice.
Garlic – fresh is best, otherwise 2 tsp from jar.
Customise it – chilli flakes or dash of hot sauce, ginger, five spice, sweet chilli sauce. All of these would be great additions!
3. Cook time – skin on salmon fillets about 200g/7oz each that are 2.5cm / 1″ thick at the thickest part will cook in about 6 minutes if taken out of the fridge 30 minutes prior.
4. Nutrition assumes all the marinade is consumed. In reality, you’ll lose some of it through the cooking process.
Life of Dozer
Me – lying on the sun lounge, soaking up the warm sun.
Dozer – standing over me, not only blocking the sun but also showering me with his slobber. Eeewww! Go away Dozer, leave me alone!
Say goodbye to boring beef mince recipes….. these Asian Beef Bowls are super tasty, super easy and SUPER fast! Made with just a handful of staple Asian condiments, the ground beef can be switched with chicken, pork or even turkey.
This one is for all those nights when you peer into your fridge, find a packet of beef mince and are completely uninspired to make Spag Bol – yet again.
This is also one for all those nights when you’ve been baking, filming and photographing recipes all day, and you swear you don’t have the energy to make anything for dinner but your mother brain washed you so well, you feel guilty for even thinking about picking up the phone to order home delivery.
Oh wait. Is that just me?
This is not a traditional Chinese or other Asian recipe, hence the obscure name “Asian Beef Bowls”.
However, if you have ever made a Chinese stir fry – or in fact, any Chinese recipe – you will likely instantly recognise all the ingredients in the sauce. No Western ingredients. This is made with 100% authentic Asian ingredients. And when you take the first bite, it will be so familiar to you.
Because the sauce is so similar to many stir fries, yet an exact replica of none!
Here’s what you need
And here’s how easy it is to make:
I love this recipe because it’s made with beef mince (ground beef) i.e. no meat slicing. Asian recipes made with beef mince aren’t that common, but there are a handful of terrific ones and they are worth knowing for the convenience of being able to make a quick meal when you’ve got a packet of mince on hand. Here’s a handful of my favourites:
Unlike most stir fries, this one doesn’t come with a ton of sauce. But it’s juicy and the beef has a ton of flavour in it so when it’s all mixed up with the rice, you certainly won’t feel like you’re missing sauce. Promise! ~ Nagi x
“Wow! Can’t believe something that was so quick to do was also so tasty.”
– Jacqui, January 2019
“This would have to be the tastiest easiest mince dish I have ever cooked in 15 minutes.”
– Wendy, 10 May 2017
Asian Beef Bowls - YouTube
Asian Beef Bowls
Recipe VIDEO above. A fabulous quick stir fry made using beef mince (ground beef) <<– No slicing meat! It’s not saucy like usual stir fries, you don’t need sauce because the beef mixes through the rice, and it has plenty of flavour and it’s JUICY. Great recipe to add diced or julienned veggies!
1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce ((or sub with Oyster))
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce ((or sub with 1 1/2 tbsp Hoisin))
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine ((or Mirin, dry sherry, sake or any rice wine) (Note 1))
2 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce ((Note 2))
2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper ((or sub with black))
1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
500 g /1 lb beef mince (ground beef) ( (lean is good))
1/2 cup shallots / scallions (, sliced, plus more for garnish)
Mix Sauce together in a bowl
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute or until onion starts browning.
Add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go.
Once the beef has all changed from red to brown, add Sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes, or until Sauce has evaporated and beef is cooked. If you want the beef cooked more, add a splash of water and keep cooking (I don’t do this).
Stir through shallots, then serve over rice, garnished with more shallots and sesame seeds, if desired.
1. Chinese cooking wine (read more here)- sub with Mirin, dry sherry or cooking sake. If you can’t consume alcohol, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock/broth – the sauce will take around 3 minutes to evaporate, but the end result will be similar!
2. Soy Sauce – This recipe calls for DARK soy sauce, has more flavour than light and all purpose soy sauce, and makes the food a deeper brown colour. Can sub with all purpose soy or sauce, but beef colour won’t be as dark brown.
3. Storage – leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months!
4. Nutrition per serving, excluding rice.
Originally published May 2017, updated with new video, new photos, step photos, refreshed writing, and latest and greatest in Life of Dozer!
Jambalaya – one of New Orleans’ most beloved dishes! Juicy plump prawns, golden seared sausage and juicy pieces of chicken jumbled up with Creole spiced tomato rice and tender vegetables. This easy Jambalaya recipe filled with big punchy Louisiana flavours is arguably the world’s best one pot meal!
There’s chicken and rice.
Then there’s Jambalaya.
It’s chicken and rice. PLUS smoked sausages. PLUS prawns (shrimp). PLUS bacon. All mixed up with perfectly cooked rice in a Creole spiced tomato broth and tender vegetables.
It is one of THE most epic rice dishes in the world*. And I scoffed down many a bowl during my travels to New Orleans, determined to replicate it back at home.
And finally, here is is!!
* Along with Biryani, Bibimbap, Paella and Tachin, she says in a small voice, knowing full well that she probably declared those to the “epic” too.
About THIS Jambalaya recipe
It’s generally understood that there are two types of jambalaya – Creole and Cajun. Creole Jambalaya has its roots in the New Orleans area and is cooked in a tomatoey sauce, while Cajun Jambalaya is the rustic country version that omits the tomatoes and goes for a simpler approach.
This recipe is the Creole style Jambalaya that I am more familiar with, that I ate too much of during my travels to New Orleans!
How your mama cooked it
Like many great dishes from the South, improvising and making use of what is at hand is at the heart of this dish. So there are broad guidelines but no hard rules around what goes into a Jambalaya – for many, it’s however your mama cooked it!
The “holy trinity” of bell pepper, celery and onion is fairly standard. Meat-wise, seafood, chicken, pork, sausages, cured meat, rabbit and game can all find their way into the pot.
The one ingredient that seems to be fairly constant in all Jambalaya preparations though is some kind of sausage, and preferably a smoked one. Andouille, a spicy smoked sausage native to Louisiana, is the traditional choice. Don’t worry if you can’t get Andouille, I’ve figured out some excellent subs that anyone can get, read more below!
Along with the sausage, chicken and shrimp (prawns) seems to be a classic combination with Creole Jambalaya. So we’re going to stick with the tried-and-true and go for this combo!
What goes in Jambalaya
A whole lot of good stuff! When you look at the ingredients, you know you’re in for a good thing, right??
Just a note about a few of the items:
Sausages – Andouille sausages are the traditional type used which are hard to find outside of the US. But don’t fret! There are near perfect subs – read below the photo for more information.
Bacon – while not found in most traditional recipes, some call for cooking in bacon fat which, as you might imagine, is a very tasty thing. So I figure, why not?
Homemade Creole Spice Mix – because I’ve never been 100% happy with store bought (even the ones I’ve brought back from the States). There’s not that many spices in it anyway!
Rice – long grain white rice is best, medium and short grain are ok. Risotto, paella, brown rice, and wild rice won’t work. Jasmine and basmati rice will work but will add a non-New-Orleansy flavour to the dish
Sausages used in Jambalaya – Andouille
Traditionally, the sausages used in Jambalaya are Andouille which are spicy, heavily smoked pork sausages. The Andouille imparts smokey flavour as it cooks with the rice – this is one of the characteristics of traditional Jambalaya.
But for all those who, like me, do not live in the States and literally cannot find Andouille sausages anywhere (and I have hunted wide and far), do not fret, there is still a path to a GREAT Jambalaya…..
Best substitute for Andouille sausages
Your Jambalaya will still make any Louisiana Mama proud if you use either of these substitution options:
Smoked sausages – kielbasa or other Polish sausage from a Polish or European deli. This is the best substitute for Andouille, I’d go as far as to say they’re a 95% match. I get mine from Boot and Wurst (Warriewood, Sydney) and Tatra Delicatessen in Parramatta, Sydney. I always ask for the smokiest sausage they have; or
Kransky* or even chorizo, which are not very smokey, combined with SMOKED bacon and SMOKED paprika (instead of unsmoked, which the recipe calls for).
To be honest though, even if you make this with ordinary sausages, unsmoked bacon and normal paprika, you’re still going to end up with a mighty tasty dish loaded with plenty of Cajun flavours!
* These are sold at Woolworths in Australia ($8-12/kg). Though labelled as smoked, it’s not enough to add much smokey flavour into the dish.
Jambalaya recipe – how to make it
Here’s how this Jambalaya recipe goes down. I always start by browning the bacon and sausage because they release flavoured fat in which everything else is seared.
Essentially, once each of the proteins are seared (which I like to do separately to ensure they get good colour on them because as I always say, colour = flavour!), Jambalaya is really just a one pot rice recipe. Everything gets tossed in and cooked in the one pot.
TOP TIP: BAKE IT!
You’ll make your Jambalaya life a whole lot less stressful by baking the rice rather than cooking it on the stove (and I’ve recently discovered Serious Eats agrees!).
Jambalaya cooked on the stove requires experience. You need to master the skill of knowing how many times you can stir the rice so it cooks evenly and stop the base from burning, but ensuring you don’t stir too often which turns the rice into a gluey mushy mess (because this activates the starch).
The ONLY rice made for stirring is risotto rice. It distresses me to see so many Jambalaya recipes “out there” that say to stir lots. Distresses me!!
So – skip the mushy rice and head straight for stress free Jambalaya-Nirvana by simply popping it in the oven instead. 100% hands free, Jambalaya perfection Every. Single. Time! ~ Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Jambalaya - YouTube
Jambalaya Recipe Source: This Jambalaya recipe is a RecipeTin Family effort that evolved based on our taste. Not too tomatoey, spiced but not too spicy, and rich with smoky flavours from the sausage as well as smoked bacon (our little touch).
We sought inspiration from recipes by the chefs from two of our favourite restaurants we visited on our last trip to New Orleans: The incredible Mother’s Restaurant (recipe) and a recipe from renowned Louisiana chef Donald Link (of Herbsaint and Cochon restaurants) for Cajun style jambalaya.
We also arrived at our the same conclusion as Serious Eats’ recipe that the oven method is the most foolproof way to ensure your rice is evenly cooked without scorching the bottom of the pot, or over-stirring and ending up with gluey mushy rice!
Recipe VIDEO above. Filled with big, punchy New Orleans flavours! The safest and best way to cook Jambalaya is to bake it – same flavour as cooking on the stove, minus the risk of uneven cooking and mushy gluey rice from over stirring. I’ve never been happy with the store bought Creole/Cajun spices used (even from the States), I prefer to make my own.
Heat oil in a very large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. (Note 4)
Add bacon, cook for 30 seconds (to start fat melting), then add sausages. Cook until sausages are golden – about 3 minutes – then remove into bowl.
Add chicken into the pan and cook until golden (doesn’t need to cook inside), then add to bowl with bacon.
Sear prawns in the pan for 1.5 minutes on each side, then transfer to a separate bowl (reserve until later).
Add butter, then garlic, onion, celery and capsicum. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
Add rice, stir to coat grains in oil.
Add chicken broth, tomato paste, canned tomato, thyme and Spices.
Stir well, then add chicken, sausages and bacon (including all liquid).
When you see bubbles across most of the surface, stir well once more. Ensure all rice is submerged, cover with lid, then transfer to oven. (See video)
Bake 30 minutes, then remove – rice should be practically cooked (Note 5).
Add prawns/shrimp and green onions, QUICKLY (but gently!) stir through, cover with lid, and return to oven for just 3 minutes (just to heat prawns).
Remove from oven (see video for finished consistency), stir gently then serve, garnished with more green onions if desired.
1. Andouille Sausages – smokey spicy Louisiana sausages, imparts smokey flavour into dish. Hard to find outside the US – I have not found them anywhere in Sydney, Australia.
Best substitute for Andouille:
a) Smoked polish sausages from Polish or European delis (ask for the smokiest!)
b) Kransky* or even chorizo plus SMOKED bacon (instead of normal) and SMOKED paprika (instead of sweet). Extra smokey flavour will make up for non smokey sausages. * Found in supermarkets in Australia like Woolies, Coles. Note: Kransky in supermarkets is labelled as smoked, but they are not very smokey.
But honestly, even if you make this with normal sausages, normal bacon and normal paprika, you’re still going to end up with a mighty tasty dish!
2. Rice – long grain is best here for the rice texture in the finished dish. Medium and short grain rice will work ok too but the rice is a bit stickier. Recipe not suitable for: risotto, paella, brown, wild rice. Will work with jasmine and basmati but they will add a fragrance not typically associated with Jambalaya!
3. Chicken broth – FULL SALT broth used here, if you only have low sodium chicken broth then add an extra 3/4 tsp salt.
4. Pot size – I use a 30 cm / 12″ Chasseur cast iron pot which is 2.5 L/2.5 quart. A large dutch oven works a treat here too, or any very large skillet with a lid.
5. Consistency – the rice should be juicy and wet, not dry and stodgy nor swimming in liquid. The rice itself should be soft but not mushy and gluey on the outside (notorious problem with overstirring when Jambalaya is cooked on the stove).
6. Nutrition per serving (this is a decent size bowl!)
Life of Dozer
The golden glow of Dozer in the car as we do winter meal deliveries in the cover of darkness!
He loves coming for food delivery rides – all the attention and free treats at every stop!