I’m a bit partial to meals that can come pre-wrapped, making meal times a cinch. And, before you leap onto your high horse and spank me for eating pre-packaged food, let me explain.
All over the world, there are people that live simple existences. Their main diet consists of grains and pulses, which are relatively easy and inexpensive to grow, and highly nutritious. They work their small holdings, often walking miles every day to collect water to feed their crops, in a tight loop that us “Westerners” call survival, and they call life.
These grains are often pounded down and turned into flat breads, wraps and paper thin sheets that will eventually house more extravagant offerings when times are good.
More prosperous communities have taken these simple staples and added a touch of zing. And the more developed or prosperous the country, or where rain is plentiful, such as in the tropics, the more exotic the offering that’s hidden within.
But really, just because I like to cook doesn’t mean I like to clean up dishes. I like all of these types of meals, because the washing up is practically nil.
That’s why they have become such a popular takeaway meal across the globe. You’ve got the whole meal in your hand and washing up is a matter of throwing the packaging in the fire or thoughtfully disposing of it in a rubbish bin. Or, like a mate of mine who sort of lives on “Souvas”, and who just leaves the empty wrappers in the passenger footwell to procreate. They must, because every time I hop into his car, the wrappers have doubled.
But seriously, these are three fabulous ways to take in your daily dose of yumminess. Enjoy.
Chicken roti wraps
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped small
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp mild mustard powder
- ½ tsp grated ginger
- ½ tsp grated garlic
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 roti bread wraps
- butter for spreading
- 2 cups salad leaves
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 salad onion, sliced finely
To a large bowl, add the chicken, ginger, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge. In a pan, heat the oil, put the marinated chicken into the pan and stir fry until the chicken is cooked and takes on a caramelised appearance.
Warm your roti in the oven or on another pan. Assemble your roti with the remaining salad ingredients and wrap before eating.
Marinated beef rice paper rolls
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp chopped lemongrass
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3/4 tsp cornflour
- 400g rump steak, sliced thinly on diagonal across grain
- 16x6in diameter rice paper rounds
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into matchstick-size strips
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 3/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp green onions, chopped
Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Add the meat and turn to coat. Chill overnight. When you are ready to cook, prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat a frying pan. Remove meat from marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, about two minutes per side. Allow to cool.
Dip rice papers into warm water briefly to soften. Pat dry with paper towel. Place rice papers on work surface. Arrange meat, carrot, lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber and mint down center of rice papers, dividing equally. Fold sides of rice papers over filling. Arrange seam side down on a platter.
Whisk fish sauce, vinegar and green onions in bowl. Serve rice paper rolls with sauce.
- 8 pita flatbreads and shredded lettuce, to serve
For the kebabs:
- 800g lamb, cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- juice of 1 lemon
- 100ml good-quality olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch sea salt
For the tzatziki:
- 1/2 large cucumber, grated
- 200ml natural Greek yoghurt
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled
- 1 heaped tsp dried mint, or chopped fresh mint
- 1½ tsp red wine vinegar
For the tzatziki: Add all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Season to taste and set aside.
For the kebab: Add all of the remaining ingredients and marinate for one hour in a fridge. To a hot pan, add the meat and, stirring continually, cook the lamb until it is caramelised and crispy.
Warm your pita, then top with the lamb, lettuce and the sauce. Roll up and dive in.
Check out the full feature in issue #83 December 2014 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.