Hong Kong’s cooler months can have us reaching into the back of the wardrobe for warmer clothes, as well as seeking out winter warming grub.
Here are three, easy, red-hot recipes that are packed full of flavour and bags of nutrients. All of these meals are great freezer favourites which can be batch-cooked well in advance to be ready in a flash for the family’s midweek meals.
Japanese Miso Mushroom Risotto
Risotto has to be one of our favourite comfort dishes. It’s silky, creamy, warming and delicate – all in the same mouthful. This recipe harnesses two of the titans of Japanese cooking – miso and shiitake mushrooms – to deliver an irresistible, umami-drenched crowd pleaser. Just perfect as the nights draw in! This recipe serves up four helpings and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days, or be frozen to be reheated for another meal.
7 to 10 shiitake mushrooms
1 handful oyster mushrooms
½ carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp (level) of white miso paste (Shiro Miso), dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
1 cup Arborio rice (round, short-grain rice)
500ml vegetable stock
1 handful of grated parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking and drizzling
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Warm a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and half of the butter.
- Once the butter melts and starts to foam, add the mushrooms and stir to evenly coat.
- Allow the mushrooms to cook without stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until they start to brown.
- Stir and sauté the mushrooms for a further 1 to 2 minutes until soft and golden brown. Remove from the saucepan and set aside to cool.
- Warm 1 tablespoon of oil and the remaining butter over a medium heat in the same saucepan.
- Add the onion, celery, carrots and a large pinch of salt. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened, but not browned.
- Add the thyme and miso and sauté for 1 minute.
- Stir in rice for 1 to 2 minutes to evenly coat in the butter and oil.
- Add a ladle of the stock and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until the liquid is almost fully absorbed. Repeat this step until all of the stock is finished and the rice has softened (about 15 to 20 minutes total cooking time).
- In the last 2 minutes of cooking time, add the mushrooms to the risotto and stir well to combine.
- Once cooked, remove the risotto from the heat and stir through the parmesan cheese.
- Taste the risotto and add salt and pepper as needed. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately.
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Laurel and Hardy, Lennon and McCartney, cauliflower and cheese. All three, world-class duos. This nutritious pairing with one of our star vegetables packs a serious vitamin C punch — ideal for warding off the sniffles over the winter months. This recipe makes four to six servings and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days, or be frozen to be reheated to live another day on your dinner table.
1 large white onion, diced (about 2cm squares)
2 celery stalks, diced (about 2cm pieces)
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mild curry powder
A pinch of saffron strands, softened in 1 tbsp hot water
450ml chicken or vegetable stock
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large saucepan, warm the oil over a medium heat.
- Stir in the onions and celery and sauté for 4 minutes until softened.
- Add the cauliflower, saffron (with water), curry powder, and a large pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Cover the saucepan and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
- Lift the saucepan lid to sauté the vegetables. Replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes, lifting the lid to stir the contents every 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the stock to the saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Partially cover the saucepan with the lid and simmer for 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and can be broken easily with a fork.
- Stir in the milk and simmer for a further 3 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and use a stick blender (or transfer to a food processor) to puree the contents to a smooth, thick consistency.
- Stir through the grated cheese and add a little water to loosen the soup if needed. Stir well to combine.
- Taste the soup and add further salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.
Shepherds of the world, relax. It’s only minced lamb that features in this family favourite! Perfectly combining the sweetness of root vegetables with the savoury richness of lamb, in a word, it’s YUM! And not a shepherd’s crook in sight! By adding sweet potato into the mix, you can also boost the nutritional value of the dish — a great dose of vitamin C to ward off colds and flu. This recipe makes four to six servings and can be kept in the fridge for up to two days, or be frozen to be reheated for another meal.
500g minced lamb
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp plain white flour
250ml red wine
350ml chicken stock
5 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
250g white potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
350g orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
3 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large, heavy-based saucepan, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil over a medium to high heat.
- Add the lamb, a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until evenly browned.
- Remove the lamb from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and set aside to rest.
- Add the remaining oil to the same saucepan and warm over medium heat.
- Add the carrot and onion, and sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables start to brown.
- Stir in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato puree, flour and thyme, and stir well to combine.
- Pour in the red wine and use a wooden spatula to scrape the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the mixture from sticking.
- Continue to stir the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, until most of the wine has boiled off.
- Slowly stir in the stock and bring to a simmer.
- Add the lamb to the saucepan and stir well to combine.
- Turn down the heat to the lowest setting and partially cover the saucepan. Allow the mince mixture to cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure it does not stick.
- While the mince mixture cooks, bring a separate saucepan of water to the boil.
- Add a large pinch of salt and the white potatoes, and boil for 4 minutes.
- Add the sweet potatoes to the boiling water. Boil the potatoes for another 5 to 6 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a butter knife.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the same, empty saucepan.
- Add the butter, a pinch of salt and grind of pepper, and mash to a smooth consistency.
- Pour over the milk and continue to mash well to combine. Taste and stir through further salt and pepper if needed.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Once cooked, remove the saucepan containing lamb mince from the heat.
- Use a spatula to carefully spoon and spread the mashed potatoes on top of the lamb mixture, to fully and evenly cover the mixture. Use a fork to lightly create ridges in the top of the potato.
- Sprinkle over the parmesan and transfer the saucepan to the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.