How To Look Back At Past Pictures and Create New Dishes

As most of you would know, I am a self taught chef. I did not become a chef until I was 29! Prior to this, I'd spent 10 years in the fashion industry. Therefore, I often gather my inspiration and ideas from visuals.


Today, we all have 1000's of pictures stored on our Smartphone. A fair amount of them would be pictures of the meals we've had in the past. Now, you can turn them into inspiration for your next meal!






So this dish in the picture is - Thai style beef & crispy rice noodle salad. I have made it countless times but I still refer to this picture for more inspiration.


Ingredients

  • a sirloin steak

  • 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts

  • 2 rice vermicelli noodles

  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander

  • 2 tbsp chopped mint

  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 cloves garlic chopped

  • 2 shallot sliced cross-sectionwise

  • 1 tbsp crispy shallots

  • 1 chilli sliced

  • sunflower oil for deep-frying

  • sunflower oil for steak


Method

  • Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, half of the herbs - together. Reserve half of the herbs for garnishing.

  • Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. Season the steak and rub over with oil.

  • When the pan is smoking, put steak into the pan. Usually count to 45 seconds becfore you turn it over. Repeat this twice. Remove the pan off the heat and let steak rest in the pan.

  • Heat oil in a wok. Test that the oil is ready but standing a chopstick in the oil. The oil should bubble actively around the chopstick.

  • Break the rice noodles into 4 and fry them one by one. The noodles will puff up really quickly. Remove them and drain on kitechn paper.

  • Remove steak onto a chopping board. Using the same pan, saute the garlic and shallots till golden and then pour in the lime mixture. Bring to a simmer until the sugar has dissolved.

  • Plate the crispy noodles onto a plate, slice steak & place on top the noodles. Drizzle with the dressing.

  • Sprinkle over with the toasted pinenuts, crispy shallots, sliced chilli and so of the herbs.

  • Drizzle with the dressing & serve immediately.


How to turn it into a French Dish: I substituted the noodles for potato noodles that has been sautéed briefly in butter. In place of the thai dressing, I serve this steak & potato noodle dish with a truffle-almond-mushroom-garlic-parsley dressing.

How to turn it into a Italian Dish: I switched the dressing in a spicy tomato pesto with garlic, cheese, tomato puree, fresh tomato and pine nuts. The noodles would be replaced with zucchini noodles/ thin angel hair pasta/ butternut squash noodles or even a mix of the 3! Instead of steak, I could use a choice of prawns, squid, chicken and even fish.

How to turn it into a Moroccan Dish: With a mix of harissa, tomatoes, cumin, coriander & rose; the dish is now a sensual and mysterious dish with lamb loin/cutlet and crispy rice noodles. I replaced the thai dressing with a pistachio-herbed tabbouleh dressing.


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