On the Plate: Lunch for one please

December 3, 2020 BY

Yippee! It is so lovely to be able to get out and meet up with friends at your favourite local café, restaurant and we are so lucky in our region to have a huge range to choose from.

As best you can it’s probably still a good idea to book ahead, especially if in a larger group as the café-restaurant owners still have to be able to manage the numbers of folk in their establishments.

After such a lean time, I really hope you’ll travel into our nearby regional areas and support the businesses there. The Otways region, the Bellarine, the small country towns on our doorstep all sorely need bums on seats as the saying goes!
But whilst we can all feel a bit freer now, and can catch up with a greater number of friends, family and so on, there’s still times when I’m happily solo and only need a light meal for one.

You’ll be able to make this dish in about the same time it will take you to read this week’s article. And it truly is a simple
3,2,1 affair!

As a result of some baking on Sunday I had three eggs whites leftover, which I’d decided to make into bite-sized coconut macaroons. I’m starting to make lists – aren’t you? – leading into Christmas, and so tiny home baked gourmet gifts are on my radar.

But alas, a tiny skerrick of the yolk found its way into the whites and so making meringue-type recipes was now out of the game. Never wanting to waste food I whipped up a quick, healthy lunch dish on Monday using the 3-2-1 equation. The aforementioned three egg whites, two small radishes, and one tablespoon of kimchi. That’s it! I have to say I really enjoyed the simple flavours, and loved that it was one pan, one plate cook up, so virtually no dishes to wash!

Kimchi is a Korean chilli-pickled cabbage and is delicious with grilled or barbequed meats, chicken, fish, or even with a simple bowl of rice. It can be added to stir fries.

You’ll need a Chinese cabbage (approx1kg) – which is simply cut in quarters lengthways, then again each quarter is cut in roughly 3cm chunks. Use a large bowl to mix 2 litres water and 3 tablespoons of salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Add cabbage and cover with a plate so that the cabbage is weighed down and submerged. Cover and leave for 12 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the cabbage, retaining the water – bring this water to the boil for one minute, then allow it to cool. Mix the ‘marinated’ cabbage with six spring onions which have been finely sliced, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon hot chilli powder, 2 tablespoons caster sugar and 1 tablespoon salt. Toss this thoroughly and pack into sterilised jars and cover with the cooled cabbage water. Seal the jars (plastic lidded ones are best) and leave for five days before using. The kimchi will develop its characteristic hot-sourness and can be left for up to six months before opening.

Ponzu is a sauce made by simmering mirin, rice vinegar, seaweed flakes (kombu) together with the distinctive citrus notes that characterise ponzu – so lemon or even orange juice is added. You’ll easily find recipes online, and I do recommend making your own to avoid the high sodium, msg doses you’ll ingest from the commercial varieties. It’s a simple thing to make and lasts ages in the fridge. For this dish you can simply use soy sauce instead.

If you don’t have, or don’t like the flavour of kimchi, which by the way is a very good, healthy condiment to have on hand – introducing all those good-gut-bugs we all need into your diet – you can simple substitute it with any flavours you have on hand. For example, spring onions, or finely chopped zucchini, capsicum, even a small tin of tuna, or some cooked chicken – use your imagination.

Now, with lunch over, it’s back to those lists for Christmassy gifts…

ASIAN-STYLE EGG WHITE OMELETTE WITH PONZU

Ingredients

• 3 egg whites
• 1 tablspn kimchi*
• 2 small radishes
or other small salad^
• 1 tablspn rice bran oil
• 1 tablspn ponzu sauce P. 5261 4343 or soy sauce

Method

Lightly whisk the egg whites in a small bowl using a fork. Finely slice the radishes and set aside. Using a small non-stick frypan, heat the rice bran oil on a med-high heat. Tip the egg whites in when the oil is hot – they will bubble round the edges almost immediately. Quickly add the kimchi (or other fl avourings) over the egg whites – by this stage they will be almost cooked – it literally only takes about 1 minute. Flip one half of the ‘omelette’ onto the other half and slide onto a small plate. Sprinkle the radishes on top and splash with the ponzu or soy sauce. Serve immediately – for one person. *Alternatives to kimchi are mentioned in the article. ^ A small salad of peppery rocket, any lettuce leaves,
cherry tomatoes – whatever is at hand.