Top 10 Stir Fry Recipes
Adam Liaw recommends adding at least one vegetarian meal to your repertoire. Photograph: Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School/Hachette Australia
There’s a point in our cooking life we must leave behind the instant noodles and cereal for dinner of our teens and 20s, and start to take a little pride in being able to feed ourselves as fully functioning adults. If you’re ready to make the transition, here are 10 dishes you should know.
It is often said that the measure of a chef can be seen in how they make an omelette. The problem is most of us aren’t chefs, so for the rest of us good scrambled eggs are more important. If you’re like me and you want eggs that are soft and creamy with folds like a crumpled duvet, follow Bill Granger’s method here.
Roast chickenAdam Liaw’s fish sauce roast chicken. Photograph: Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School/Hachette Australia
Roasting a chicken is to cooking as riding a bike is to transportation. You only need to learn how to do it once. My advice: if you’re not going to stuff it, butterfly (spatchcock) it so it can be laid out flat. It’ll cook faster and you’ll get tastier skin. Try this one with a bit of a twist.
You’re not going to get through life never having made a pancake. Whether it’s distracting the kids on a weekend morning or breakfast in bed for a loved one’s special day, pancakes are going to happen and you need to be prepared. Although pillowy American stacks are in fashion right now, you can’t beat a good old British Shrove Tuesday special.
The great benefit of the stir-fry is variety. It’s one dish, but it can also be a thousand others. Chicken and mushrooms, chicken and asparagus, beef with black pepper – the combinations are unlimited. You don’t even need a wok, as a frypan works just as well. My advice is to keep the ingredients to a minimum, and go easy on the sauces. This stirfry one of my favourites.Beef and broccoli with oyster sauce. Photograph: Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School/Hachette Australia
These days eating meat at every meal of every day is starting to feel very last century. Vegetables aren’t just for vegetarians. Take a cue from Ottolenghi, the man who made eating greens cool again, and add at least one meat-free meal to your menu.
A pasta that isn’t bolognese
If you’re around 30 right now and you’re not Italian odds are you grew up with a pretty sad perspective on pasta. Jarred sauces poured over overcooked noodles with cheese out of a cardboard shaker were pretty common in the 80s and 90s, but it’s time to move on. Even just a simple aglio olio will change the way you look at pasta. I recommend Nigel Slater’s recipe.
From homemade cure-all to a light Tuesday dinner, soup is an old friend that always has your back. It can be magicked out of fresh ingredients, or those a little past their best, or even from leftovers, and just one pot means you’re left with next to no washing up.Adam Liaw’s Mulligatawny soup. Photograph: Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School/Hachette Australia
Fried rice is the hero of a meagre cupboard. Treat it like a meal rather than a side dish and, like modern day loaves and fishes, it turns a couple of cups of rice from the pantry and some odds and ends from the fridge into a certified crowd pleaser. You need good technique, though.Adam Liaw’s egg fried rice. Photograph: Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School/Hachette Australia
A signature cake
Every adult cook should have one cake they do better than any other. It could be a chocolate number your family asks for at every special occasion, or a Christmas pudding that comes but once a year. Sponge cakes are classic but they’re a bit fiddly, so my recommendation is cheesecake. It’s easy, forgiving, and suitable for everything from birthdays to bring-a-plate dinners.