As promised, here is Rox’s pouch method for cooking Asian fish noodle dishes. The reason the method is so useful is that it is so adaptable and can be used for almost anything. As I mentioned in my previous post (see below) this is a great way of cooking when you’re looking to keep the calories down, to limit the time it takes to actually cook or to be able to prep dinner in advance. My friend Jayne asked me (quite a while ago now, sorry Jayne!) for some quick but delicious ‘proper’ dinners for mums with very young babies who are short on time but, more than anyone, need decent meals.
I’m not going to give exact amounts here because the beauty of these pouch meals is that it’s all about personal taste. Also, if you’re trying to cut back on the carbs you can make separate pouches for yourself and dining partner(s) with less noodle content in your own. In fact, all components are subject to adjustment. More chilli, less chilli, more ginger, less ginger and so on. The possibilities are endless.
Another trick for busy mums is to replace the ginger/garlic/chilli with a teaspoon each a good ready stuff in jars and also, instead of making the marinade a good ready made marinade/sauce could be substituted.
When it comes to the greens, again, you can use any type; if you go for something like Pak Choy you only need to shred it and throw it in the mix. If you go for a thicker leaf like Savoy or January King you will need to blanch it in boiling water first and refresh in cold water before adding to your pouch.
Fish Parcel Ingredients
Fish (any!), sliced into pieces
Chilli, fresh or dried flakes. (Cut finely if fresh)
Greens of your choice
Sliced spring onion
1 lime/lemon to garnish
Fresh coriander to garnish
2 tbsp fish sauce/soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp black Chinese (Chinkiang) vinegar (or balsamic)
Fish Noodle Method
*With regards to noodles, use whatever you want. I actually use whole wheat spaghetti. A noodle is a long dried thing whatever it is called – Italians call it pasta, Asians call it noodles but they are the same thing. I use whole wheat spaghetti because I don’t particularly like eating white anything (pasta/rice/bread) but any noodle can be used. The only thing you must do is cook the noodles until they are three quarters done, i.e. if the packet says the cooking time is 10 mins then cook them for 7 ½ mins and then run cold water over them in a colander in the sink until they’re cooled. This will stop the cooking process.
Next, prep your other ingredients and throw everything into a bowl and give it a thorough mix with your hands. Then all that remains is to lay out a large sheet of foil, tip everything onto it and then lay another, very slightly larger sheet on top. Fold the edges in tightly so that when the heat hits it and it begins to puff up the seams will hold. Place the pouch on a baking tray and cook in a very hot oven for 10 – 15 mins. You will see when the pouch inflates and a few mins after that it’s done really. When piercing the pouch be careful, a head of steam will have built up inside. Serve with a scattering of coriander and a couple wedges of lime.
Vietnamese Salad Ingredients
½ pack of bean sprouts
1 large or 2 medium spring onions
1 2tbps dry roast peanuts or plain peanuts
Handful fresh coriander
2 tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
Juice of one lime plus a few lime wedges
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp sesame oil
Vietnamese Salad Method
This one is a bit more of a labour of love but so worth it if you have twenty minutes spare. Start by pinching the ends off the bean sprouts. Not strictly necessary but it adds an elegance to the salad if you’re serving it for a special occasion. Next, cut your mango into long sticks (the aim is to get all the salad ingredients to around the same shape/length). To do this, slice the sides off the mango so you have sort of oval-halves. Take a sharp knife and cut thin lines into the flesh (see photo), then run your knife under the whole thing to separate it from the skin and finally cut across the flesh to produce long sticks. Cut the spring onions into the same shape, chop the coriander and crush the nuts in a polythene bag using a rolling pin.
Combine all the salad ingredients bar the crushed peanuts, combine the sauce ingredients in a jar, give them a good shake and pour over the salad. Finally, sprinkle the crushed nuts on top and serve with a wedge of lime.