5 Quick & Easy Asian Dinners For Weeknights

After a long day's work, what we need the most is comfort food and relaxation time. Spending a few hours cooking dinner is definitely not relaxing!

Yes, you can order takeout or delivery from your local restaurant but there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal to truly satisfy your taste buds, and close the day.

Need some ideas? Don’t worry! We are here to help you with some quick meal ideas and the best part is, it probably won’t take you more than half an hour to whip up. You might even have leftovers for lunch the next day.

You don’t need a silver fork to eat good foodUdon

1. Garlic Prawn Udon

Fried noodles are always quick and easy to make. In this fried noodle dish, we use garlic prawns to give it a nice, flavourful twist. If you don’t feel like udon you can always change it to egg noodles, or any other type of noodle. You could even make this recipe with rice!

Fried noodles are super versatile. Feel free to change the choice of meat and vegetables to suit your preference. It’s a great way to use up any fresh produce you can find in your fridge.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place udon noodles into a pot of boiling water. Use tongs to gently separate them. As soon as they come apart, transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Toss with sesame oil.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until just starting to char.
  • Add ½ tsp of sugar and ½ tbsp of soy sauce. Stir-fry for another minute or until the cabbage is nicely coloured.
  • Add garlic and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Then add prawns and chilli flakes, stir-fry until the prawns are just cooked.
  • Add the noodles, oyster sauce, remaining soy sauce and sugar. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds until the sauce thickens. Toss the spring onions in and it’s ready to serve.

Basil Stir Fry

2. Hot & Spicy Thai Basil Spaghetti With Fried Egg

Welcome to spaghetti - Asian style! Basil stir-fry is one of the most popular foods in Thailand because it’s full of flavour. Cook it with spaghetti and you get a simple and classy fusion dish that is easy to prepare and oh, so delicious.

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 500g pork mince (or your choice of meat)
  • 1 large bunch of basil
  • 4 fried eggs
  • 1 handful spaghetti
  • 4 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the pasta.
  • Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chilli and onion and cook until fragrant (or when you can’t stop sneezing).
  • Add pork mince (or your choice of meat) and stir-fry until cooked. Then add oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar. Stir-fry until it’s well combined.
  • Turn fire to low heat and toss through the basil leaves. 
  • Once your pasta is cooked, scoop up and add pasta straight into the wok. Toss the pasta in the sizzling pork for 1 - 2 minutes or until thick and glossy. 
  • Place your spaghetti onto a plate and top with a fried egg. Your Thai spaghetti is ready to serve.

Everything you see I owe to spaghettiJapanese Curry

3. Japanese Curry Don

Feel like a quick curry? Japanese curry is perfect for people who don’t really like food that is too spicy. So if you’re cooking for kids or people who prefer a slightly ‘safer’ curry, this is the dish to make. It is light and versatile, and goes well with any type of meat or vegetable.

Ingredients

  • 2 brown onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped (cube)
  • 3 potatoes, roughly chopped (cube)
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 box Japanese curry paste mix
  • 1 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • Steamed Rice (or Udon)
  • Fried Chicken (or your choice of meat or vegetables)

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a pot, then add garlic and onion. Stir-fry until the onion turns a bit yellow.
  • Add carrots and potatoes stirring for a few minutes, then add water to the pot. After it boils, reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  • Remove from heat and add curry paste mix. Stir well so the pieces in the mix fully dissolve. Add ketchup and oyster sauce then let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Get your steamed rice ready on a plate. Chop up some fried chicken and place it on top of the rice. Pour the curry over the rice and it’s ready to serve.

fried chicken

4. Sesame Chicken on Rice

Did you love crunchy chicken nuggets as a kid? This sesame chicken dish is like a combination of a grown-up casserole and the yummy chicken bites you loved as a child. It’s hard to say No to these crunchy nutty bites of chicken. Watch and savour as you pour the glossy sauce on top of the white, steamed rice.

Ingredients

For Marinade:

  • Chicken thigh cut into cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Black Pepper
  • 1.5 tsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ⅜ tsp  Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg White
  • 0.5 tbsp Potato Starch to add to the marinade
  • 1 cup Potato Starch to coat the chicken

For Sauce:

 

Instructions

  • Cut some boneless skin-on chicken thigh into 1-inch pieces. 
  • Marinate the chicken with garlic, soy sauce, salt, some black pepper, baking soda, egg white and starch. Mix everything until well combined. You can marinate it the night before or for at least 10 minutes in the freezer.
  • Gently spread a tiny bit of water into the starch a few times. Some of the starch will clump up and create some mini balls. Just wait for 10 seconds to let it set and use the whisk to stir it. Then spread more water, wait for 10 seconds and stir again. Do this 4 times in total.
  • After that, you will still feel some little lumps in the starch - this will give some extra crunch to the chicken. 
  • Dump half of the starch into a big container. Spread it out. Add in the chicken. Do not throw all the chicken in at once as they will stick together. Try to separate them piece by piece. Cover the meat with the other half of the starch. Put on the lid and shake for a few minutes. All the chicken pieces should be coated with flour evenly. Pick out the meat and shake off all the excess flour.
  • Heat up the oil. Add in the chicken piece by piece so it doesn’t stick together. In less than 2 minutes, the surface will get crispy and the colour will turn slightly yellow. Take the pieces out and repeat until all the chicken has been fried.
  • Let all the chicken pieces rest for about 15 minutes, then double fry the chicken. Double frying will stabilise the crunchiness of the chicken so it lasts longer. In 2 or 3 minutes, it will reach that beautiful golden colour. Take all the chicken pieces out and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, water and vinegar. Mix the sauce until well combined.
  • Put your wok on the stove and pour all the sauce in. Keep stirring the sauce on medium heat. Bring it to a boil and pour in some potato starch water to thicken the sauce. Keep stirring until it reaches a thin syrupy texture. 
  • Introduce the chicken back into the wok, along with a drizzle of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Toss everything until the chicken is coated nicely. 
  • Take out and garnish with some diced scallion.

Hard work should be rewarded by good foodNasi Lemak

5. Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is one of the most popular dishes in Malaysia, and is practically a national dish. Did you know it is not that difficult to cook? Check this recipe out and see what you think. You can serve it with any meat but the most popular is fried chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 400g Coconut Milk
  • 1 Lemongrass stalk
  • Fried Peanuts, to serve
  • Hard Boiled eggs, halved, to serve
  • Sliced Cucumber, to serve
  • Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken), to serve (Optional)

Spicy Ikan Bilis Sambal:

Instructions

  • To cook the rice, add the rice, coconut milk and lemongrass into a saucepan. Settle the rice evenly into the bottom of the saucepan. Place your finger on top of the rice and add enough water so that the liquid comes up to your first knuckle. Place over a medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Place a lid on and reduce the heat to low and cook for another 2 minutes. Then turn the heat off and allow it to sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • For the spicy ikan bilis sambal, soak the dried chillies in hot water for 15 minutes to soften. Drain the chillies squeezing out the excess liquid. Reserve the soaking liquid.
  • Place the soaked chillies in the bowl of a small food processor along with the fresh chilli, shallot, garlic and shrimp paste. Process until a coarse paste forms.
  • Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the anchovies and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until crisp.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • Add the onion to the pan, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the anchovies.
  • Add the chilli mixture to the wok. Reduce heat to low, cook, stirring often for 5 minutes or until red oil rises to the surface. Add the sugar, tamarind and 2 tbsp of the chilli-soaked liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced. Stir in the anchovies and onion then transfer to a bowl.
  • When ready to serve, use a fork to fluff up the coconut rice. Serve the rice with the spicy ikan bilis sambal, peanut, egg, cucumber and ayam goreng (or your choice of meat).

 

We hope these easy recipes will make your busy day more relaxing and enjoyable. May 2021 be a more peaceful and stress-free year for you and your family. Tell us what you would like us to feature on our next blog or feel free to join our Facebook community on Asian Nom Nom.

The best memories are made around the table

 

Source: JapaneseCooking101, soupeduprecipes, Marion Grasby

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