15 Minute Monday – Asian Steamed Sea Bream

Image: delicious. - October 2012, Page 46. Photographer: Ben Dearnley.


Asian steamed sea bream with spring onion and ginger uses the bright flavours of Asia to make this fast, fresh midweek dinner irresistible!


  • 2 x 150g bream fillets
  • 2 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 3cm piece ginger, finely shredded
  • 1 each long red and green chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 6 spring onions, finely shredded
  • Coriander leaves and steamed rice, to serve


  1. Place a plate inside a bamboo steamer and lay the fish, skin-side down, on the plate. Place the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and stir to combine, then pour over the fish. Scatter the ginger, chilli and half the spring onion over the fish. Set the steamer over a large saucepan or wok of simmering water and cover with the lid. Steam for 6 minutes or until the fish is opaque and just cooked.
  2. Garnish the fish with coriander and remaining spring onion, then drizzle over the cooking juices and serve with rice.



Spanish Paella

Paella is one of those festive looking dishes that is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste-buds. With a base hue of bright yellow and splashes of red and green throughout this dish is as synonymous with Spain as tapas or sangria or really bad wine hangovers for that matter.

Originating in the rice-growing region of Valencia, Paella was traditionally a dish to feed farm workers and peasants, but aren’t the best? Consequently, it was bulked up with whatever was at hand, typically rabbit, chicken, snails and beans dependent on the farm location with each region adding their own twist; like seafood which is not in the original incarnation of paella, however is now a popular inclusion in variations found by the coast.

While within reason you can throw just about anything into your Paella there is one crucial rule that you must follow – DO NOT STIR! Paella is meant to be a dry rice dish that relies on the delicate partnership of absorption and evaporation. At the end of cooking, the aim is for the surface to be pitted with holes and the base crusty, crispy and slightly caramelised. This is called a socarrat and is the sign of a good Paella.

Serves 6-8


  • 3 tbs olive oil – this seems like a lot but you need it to coat the rice
  • 1 large brown onion – diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 long red chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
  • 500g short grain rice such as calasparra or arborio which is more common to find
  • 2 good quality chorizo – sliced diagonally
  • 500g chicken thigh fillets – trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tbs of turmeric – you’re welcome to use saffron here if you can afford it would like
  • 2 tbs of smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of ground oregano
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1.5L of good quality chicken stock
  • 500g green prawns with tails in tact
  • 1 large red capsicum – cut into strips
  • 1 cup of frozen green baby peas
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley – coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon – cheeks cut off to serve


  1. Heat half the oil in a Paella pan or a large flat pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and fry until translucent.
  2. Add the rice and chorizo to the pan and allow to fry, constantly stirring, until the rice and chorizo turn golden. Do not freak out that the chorizo will release oil, this oil will act as a delicious flavour base for the Paella.
  3. Add the remaining oil, chicken and all spices, salt and pepper to the pan and fry until fragrant the chicken has browned. Add the stock, cover, turn the pan down to a simmer and allow to cook for ten minutes. This is where you will stop stirring.
  4. If your burner is not big enough to directly heat the entire pan ensure you are rotating the pan every two minutes so that your Paella cooks evenly.
  5. Uncover and add the prawns to the Paella by pushing them into the rice mixture with the tails slightly visible at the top. Cover and allow to cook for another five minutes.
  6. Uncover the Paella and check the consistency of the rice and the amount of liquid in the pan. The rice should be almost cooked and almost all of the liquid absorbed. If the rice is still hard and there is not much liquid you will need to add a little more, use your best judgement but you shouldn’t need anymore than 250ml.
  7. Pour the lemon juice evenly over the top of the Paella, arrange the capsicum strips to fan out from the centre of the pan and sprinkle the peas over the top. Cover and allow to cook for another five minutes.
  8. Remove the lid from the pan, sprinkle with chopped parley and arrange with lemon cheeks. Serve the pan straight to the table for your guests to serve themselves.


Asian Glazed Pork Chops

This meal is so easy to prepare and even easier to eat. While it does take some time to cook, preparation is a breeze. It is perfect for a midweek meal to set and forget while you clean, work, look after kids or relax in the bath as I did. It is so tasty that you could serve it at a dinner party, with all the components placed on the table for guests to serve themselves and I am sure the recipe won’t stay a secret for long!



  • 700g pork – you can use chops, belly, strips etc. I used chops but it is entirely your choice
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced
  • The roots of 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1 long green chilli halved and sliced – don’t worry about this chilli being too hot, the bigger they are the milder they are. If you are concerned about the heat remove the seeds and the white membrane which is the hottest part of the chilli
  • 2 tsp Chinese five spice


  • 1 leek – white part only
  • 2 bok choy or pak choy
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 6 drops sesame oil
  • Brown rice to serve
  • Fresh coriander leaves to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C.
  2. Place the stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, garlic, coriander roots, green chilli and Chinese five spice in an oven proof dish and mix to combine. Ensure that the honey and sweet chilli sauce are fully dissolved in the sauce.
  3. Score any edged fat on the pork chops in 1.5cm intervals, add to the dish and turn to coat. Place either a lid or al foil over the dish and place in oven to cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning half way through cooking.
  4. Remove the pork from the oven, turn, uncover and place in the oven for 10 minutes each side.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the bok choy into 3cm lengths, cut the leek lengthways and finely slice and cut the capsicum into strips.
  6. Add the olive and sesame oil to a pan and heat, add the leek and stir until tender.
  7. Add the bok choy, capsicum, sesame seeds and soy sauce. Cover and allow to steam – you may need to add a dash of water here if the vegetables appear to be sticking.
  8. Remove pork from oven and serve in a bowl with steamed brown rice, vegetables. Top with the juices from the pork and fresh coriander leaves.


Sushi! Tuna Nori Maki

Sushi - Tuna Nori Maki

Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.

Tuna Nori Maki Sushi – Tuna Seaweed Rolled Sushi.


  • 2 cups of rice – sushi, arborio or medium grain rice will do
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 tin of tune chunks in springwater
  • 2 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
  • 2 shallots – only the white part, cut down the centre and finely sliced
  • 1 large carrot finely grated
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, sliced
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1 packet of dried nori
  • small bowl of water


  1. Add rice and water to rice cooker and switch to cook. If you don’t own a rice cooker you should seriously consider buying one. You can get the very cheaply and they are amazing and always produce light, fluffy, well cooked rice.
  2. Once the rice has cooked, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Add rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt to a small pan on low heat and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Many people add the ingredients directly to the rice without allowing them to dissolve, however this will result in a gritty rice and uneven flavour distribution.
  4. Add the mixture to the rice, stir and allow to come to room temperature.
  5. Drain the tuna to remove as much excess liquid as possible, add to a medium sized bowl with mayonnaise, carrot and shallots and mix until well combined.
  6. Carefully remove the nori sheet from the packet and place shiny side down on a dried surface. Cover 3/4 of the sheet in a thin layer of the rice mixture, try for no more than 3-4 grains high. The rice should extent from side to side on the nori and finish 3/4 from the top.
  7. Form a line of the tuna mix down the centre of the nori extending from side to side. Place a slice of the cucumber and avocado alongside the tuna mix.
  8. Dip your fingers in the small bowl of water and run along the exposed end of the nori sheet.
  9. Take hold of the front of the nori sheet and lift slightly, using a very quick motion roll the nori into a circle, speed is key here if you hesitate it WILL all fall apart.
  10. Repeat.
  11. Allow to rest until the nori has softened. Slice the nori maki into 1-2cm pieces.
  12. Serve with chopped chilli in soy sauce and wasabi. You can also serve it with kewpie if you wish.


Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto


Serves 4

  • 1 large brown onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 shallots – white part very finely sliced and green part roughly chopped
  • 500g arborio rice
  • 500g chicken (I used thighs but you can use breast if you would like)
  • 300g mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 cup of baby green peas (they are sweeter than regular peas)
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 500ml water
  • a dash of milk (I used skim, probably 1/4 to 1/2 a cup)
  • fresh rocket/roquette/green space ships
  • fresh parmesan cheese
  • oil olive
  • raw sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
  • dried rosemary, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, chilli, marjoram, sage, thyme


  1. Finely chop onions and add with crushed garlic and finely sliced white part of the shallots to a hot pan with a dash of oil. Cook until translucent.
  2. Add the mushrooms, diced chicken, a sprinkle of raw sugar and spices. Stir and cook until all chicken sealed.
  3. Add rice and fry until rice appears slightly translucent. This helps the rice to absorb the liquids slowly with becoming soggy and is called “Toasting the Rice”. The color should remain pearly white, not turn brown.
  4. Once this happens turn the pan to a medium heat and begin adding ladles of the hot stock to the rice, stirring until all is absorbed. Repeat until you run out of stock. It is important to add hot stock, not cold, to the rice during the cooking process. Adding cold broth to hot rice results in a hard, uncooked kernel in the center of the grain.
  5. Add peas and repeat the absorption process with the water. It is important to note that the quantity of liquid suggested in the risotto recipes is always approximate. In actual cooking, you should be prepared to use more, or sometimes less, as each risotto is different.
  6. Once the rice is cooked to your liking, traditionally risotto is served al dente, meaning the rice is firm but not hard, add the green parts of the shallots and a dash of milk, stir; this will help make your risotto creamy without the addition of cream, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve on a bed of rocket/roquette/green space ships and top with fresh parmesan cheese.

Note: NEVER wash the rice before you make risotto. Every bit of the rice starch helps make risotto creamy.