Tired of dragging along the same old recipes to every junk trip? A little over falafel and carrot sticks? By combining trusty wet market veggies and classic summer dishes, here is everything you need to up your potluck game.
We’ve hot-weather-proofed all the essentials with a new take on pesto pasta, a creamy spiced carrot dip, sprouted low-carb croquettes, and upgraded the barbecue staple, chicken salad. These light, refreshing dishes are chock-full of nutrients, plus they’re small-kitchen and budget-friendly, saving you from rushing to all ends of the city searching for ingredients!
So grab your sunscreen, cooler box and as many friends as social-distancing guidelines allow for your feast in the sun…
Named after the Central Market, along Jubilee Street, this is a fun take on the bbq staple, chicken salad: Coronation chicken, with a little wet market flair.
White guava and softened goji berries make for delicious updates to the traditional apple and raisins, not to mention bring added health benefits (do feel free to swap back to the original flavours, using either a green or Fuji apple, if you prefer!). Serve with some fresh lettuce leaves for that perfect potluck san choy bao effect.
This recipe can easily be doubled or halved according to the size of your event!
Ingredients (serves 4-6 as a sharing dish)
4 chicken breasts
165ml coconut milk*
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp curry powder (I use medium heat)
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp grapeseed or peanut oil
½ cup hummus (can substitute with yoghurt)
1 white guava
3 tbsp goji berries
2 spring onions (green parts only)
Fresh cilantro for serving
Salt & black pepper
Mixed lettuce leaves
- Marinade the chicken in coconut milk, spices, a pinch of salt and black pepper for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Bring out and leave to come to room temperature 20 minutes before cooking.
- Add 2 tbsp oil to a frying pan over medium heat, shake off any excess marinade and place the chicken skin-side (or smooth-side) down into the pan; cover with a lid and cook for 6 minutes. Jiggle the pan occasionally to prevent sticking. Flip the chicken, replace the lid and cook for another 6 minutes. Turn the heat to low, and place the chicken into some foil to rest; discard any particularly browned bits of sauce/chicken from the pan.
- Add 2 tbsp water to the remaining marinade. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened – about 2-3 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl and, while still warm, mix in the hummus or yoghurt.
- Soak goji berries in hot water. Slice the flesh of the guava or apple into roughly 1cm cubes. Diagonally slice the green parts of the spring onions. Set aside a few goji berries and slices of spring onion to garnish. Shred or dice the chicken into 1-2cm cubes**.
- Combine the ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with some cilantro leaves, garnish with goji berries and spring onions, and serve with a mix of fresh lettuce leaves.
* One small tin; if you have a large can, use ½ cup + 3 tbsp!
** If the chicken is undercooked, continue to chop into cubes and heat in a frying pan for 1-2 minutes until cooked through.
Simply put, this recipe is a combination of some of the ultimate crowd-pleasing dishes to be found on any good party table. Inspired by Italian arancini rice balls and summer-ready satay dipping sauce, these low-carb croquettes are accidentally gluten-free and vegan, without any compromise on flavour!
Baked, pan-fried, breaded or au naturel, these little nibbles will not disappoint.
Ingredients (makes 20-24 croquettes)
½ cup dried mung beans*
1 large sweet potato
1 clove garlic
1-2 small shallots
1 stem fresh Thai basil
Salt & pepper
Grapeseed or peanut oil
3 tbsp potato starch, if breading (can substitute with corn starch)
½ cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten-free)
¼ cup peanut butter (ideally salt and sugar-free)
3 tbsp coconut milk
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (more or less according to your taste)
½ tsp dark soy sauce
1 fresh lime
- Rinse and soak ½ cup mung beans overnight (or up to 48 hours in the fridge) in 1 cup of water. Rinse thoroughly; place into a saucepan and cover with cool water. Bring the pot to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the beans are softened but not mushy. Set aside to cool.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Skin and chop 1 large sweet potato into 1 inch chunks; peel one garlic clove and boil with the sweet potato for approximately 5-8 minutes until soft enough to mash with a fork into a chunky mash (not too mushy). Set aside to cool.
- Finely chop the shallot and Thai basil. In a food processor or blender (or by hand using a masher), use the pulse function to incorporate the mung beans, shallot and Thai basil into a crumbly texture, taking care not to take it to a purée.
- In a small mixing bowl, add your mung bean mixture and about half of the potato. Spoon the potato through until you have a slightly sticky texture that you can handle – adding in more potato if necessary**. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Taking 1 tbsp of mix at a time, roll into a ball and shape into chunky gnocchi / croquette shapes. Set each aside onto a lightly greased sheet of greaseproof paper. If the mixture is a little too sticky, cool in the refrigerator a little. If baking, preheat oven to 180C/360F fan / 200C/390F.
- If breading, cool the croquettes in the freezer for 5 minutes or fridge for 20 minutes. Mix 3 tbsp each of potato starch and water into a small bowl, and place the breadcrumbs into another. Dip each croquette into the starch mix (you will need to stir the starch every 3 dunks or so), and gently shake off any excess. Dip into the breadcrumb bowl and roll until covered. Using your dry hand, pop the breaded croquette onto the greaseproof paper.
- To bake: drizzle the croquettes with a little oil and bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway. To fry: heat a small frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and cook each croquette for 2 minutes per side until gently browned.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce, except the lime, in a small bowl and work them into a smooth consistency (you may add a splash of coconut milk or water until the texture is right). Add squeezes of lime juice to taste and set aside.
- Serve the croquettes and sauce together with fresh lime wedges.
Sassy Tip: A mixed leaf and herb salad with radishes and bean sprouts would go wonderfully with this!
* Dried mung beans can be found at the dried-goods stalls in wet markets at a bargain $10 for roughly 1 cup.
** Keep an eye out for, and remove, any mung beans that did not soften as you combine the ingredients.
This dish is an incredibly light and refreshing take on the classic pesto pasta. Using gluten-free soba noodles and amazing fresh greens from Hong Kong’s wet markets, this is the perfect fusion version that will survive our crazy summer heat!
The Tonkin jasmine flower buds are a stunning ingredient to work into your wheelhouse. They provide a delicate sweetness in flavour and make for a beautiful decorative element to your food. Though not an essential ingredient, I highly recommend them.
Ingredients (serves 6)
250g soba noodles (and 1 tsp baking soda, optional)
½ cup pea shoots (can substitute with bean shoots or sprouts)
½ cup peas*
2 stems fresh mint
Handful Tonkin jasmine flower buds (optional)**
2 cups pea leaves
½ cup cashew nuts
2 stems fresh Thai basil
¼ cup grapeseed or olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. In the meantime, soak ½ cup cashews and rinse the pea leaves, both with warm water.
- Add the peas and jasmine flowers to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute; set aside to cool. Add 1 tsp of baking soda to the pot if you have it to hand; this will help prevent the noodles from sticking. Simmer soba noodles for 4 minutes (or per package directions); rinse under the tap to stop cooking, then sit in a bowl of cold water to cool.
- For the pesto, drain and rinse the cashews then, using the pulse function on a blender or food processor (or using a pestle and mortar), blitz until you have a chunky crumble. Add 1 ½ cups pea leaves, the Thai basil and zest of ½ a lemon. Starting with half of the grapeseed oil, pulse or blitz until you have a smooth, though still nutty, pesto. Add more of the oil as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roughly chop the mint and remaining ½ cup pea leaves. Finely slice radishes by hand or on a mandoline; remove any yellowing leaves from the shoots and set all aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, gently work the pesto and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice through the noodles before adding in the leaves, peas, radishes and shoots. Top with jasmine flowers if using and serve.
* For ease, I used mixed frozen garden and edamame peas.
** Tonkin jasmine buds can be found at the wet markets in the summer, often hanging in little yellow mesh bags. They cost approximately $30 for roughly 2 cups worth, and are an excellent last-minute addition to any soups and stir-fries.
Every potluck table needs a good dip, and though it may sound like a cliché, this lightly spiced, creamy vegan recipe truly tastes as sunny as it looks! It comes together very quickly and can be made ahead of time.
For a tangier flavour, swap out the tofu for some feta cheese.
Ingredients (serves 6)
350g carrots (3 large or 6 small)
1 clove garlic
¼ cup (50g) silken tofu
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ inch fresh ginger (very finely sliced)
Salt & pepper
Grape seed or olive oil
Optional toppings: Softened goji berries*, cilantro, sesame seeds.
- Bring a small pan of water to boil, with a splash of oil and a large pinch of salt.
- Slice the carrots into ½ inch chunks; peeling smaller carrots isn’t essential, however is recommended with larger ones as the skin can taste bitter. Skin and trim the clove of garlic.
- Boil the carrots and garlic until soft (approximately 10 minutes). Set aside a little of the water, then drain the vegetables and allow to cool slightly (cool fully if your blender cannot handle warm food).
- Mash and whip by hand or, into a food processor/blender, add the carrots and garlic, turmeric, chopped fresh ginger and the silken tofu. Blitz until smooth, adding 1 tsp or 2 of the carrot water to get to a smooth consistency if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pour into a serving bowl. If not serving immediately, cover tightly with Cling-film and immediately refrigerate.
- If desired, top before serving with a drizzle of olive oil or pea leaf pesto, softened goji berries, fresh cilantro leaves and/or black sesame seeds. Serve with your favourite vegetable sticks, toasted tortillas and/or crackers.
* If using dried goji berries, soften by sitting in some warm water for 10+ minutes until soft.