Adam Liaw's five family favourites

Pork with green beans.
Pork with green beans. Photo: Steve Brown Photography

We all have our favourite recipes – dishes we can cook almost with our eyes shut and which have become family traditions. Adam Liaw shares some of his.

Pork with green beans

Pork with green beans is a great combination found in a lot of Chinese dishes. This recipe incorporates a few fresh Thai flavours.


2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

½ tsp castor sugar

500g pork mince

3 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped


2 kaffir lime leaves, central vein removed and very finely sliced

250g green beans, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths

2 large red chillies, sliced

steamed rice, to serve


Combine the oyster sauce, fish sauce and castor sugar in a small bowl. Add half of this mixture (2 tablespoons) to the pork mince, mix and set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat, add the kaffir lime leaves and fry for a few seconds until they are bright green and crisp, then remove and set aside, leaving the oil in the wok. Add the garlic to the wok and fry until lightly browned, then add the pork and toss while breaking it apart. When the mince is browned, add the beans, chillies and remaining oyster sauce mixture and toss for about 2 minutes, until the beans soften. Stir through the kaffir lime leaves and remove from the heat. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest for a minute. Serve with rice.

Serves 4

Roasted pumpkin with

Photo: Steve Brown Photography

Roasted pumpkin with coriander

Roasted pumpkin sits just on the border between sweet and savoury, and it can easily go either way.


½ kent pumpkin, seeds removed and sliced into wedges

3 tbsp fish sauce

1½ tbsp brown sugar

1 long red chilli, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

½ tsp salt flakes

½ cup thick Greek-style yoghurt

lime wedges, to serve

coriander leaves, to serve

freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Place the pumpkin slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Mix together the fish sauce, brown sugar, chilli, garlic and oil and pour over the pumpkin, turning it over to coat well. Bake for 30 minutes without turning, or until the pumpkin is very well caramelised.

Scatter the pumpkin with salt and serve with spoonfuls of yoghurt, lime wedges and coriander leaves. Grind over black pepper to serve.

Serves 4

Adam's tip You don't need to peel pumpkin. The skin softens when cooked and provides a great texture. Just clean any dirt from the skin before slicing.

Orange baked chicken.

Photo: Steve Brown Photography

Orange baked chicken

I made this dish the first time I cooked for my family – I was eight years old. I think it was the exact moment I fell in love with cooking.


6 chicken marylands, cut through the joint to separate the drumsticks and thighs

¾ cup orange juice (about 1½ oranges, slice and reserve the leftover half)

grated rind of 2 oranges

¼ cup honey

½ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp grated ginger

salt, to season


Heat the oven to 210C (190C fan-forced). Cut 2-3 slits to the bone in each drumstick. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the salt, together in a large non-reactive bowl along with the chicken.

Place a few slices of orange on a lined baking tray and arrange the drumstick portions of the chicken on top (leave room to add the thighs later). Season with salt and bake for 20 minutes, basting with the marinade after 10 minutes. Add the thigh portions, season them with salt, and bake a further 30 minutes, basting all the chicken pieces every 10 minutes until they are browned and cooked through. Rest the chicken for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Adam's tip A tablespoon or two of Grand Marnier mixed through with the chicken before roasting adds a touch of sophistication to this uncomplicated dish.

Lamb vindaloo.

Photo: Steve Brown Photography

Lamb vindaloo

It might come as a surprise that lamb vindaloo has Portuguese origins. Portuguese vinha d'alhos crossed the world with the explorers and now pops up everywhere in various forms.


2kg lamb leg meat, cut into 4cm cubes

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

steamed rice, to serve

Vindaloo paste

1 tsp mustard powder

2 tbsp chilli powder

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp black pepper

2 cups dry white wine

1 cup white vinegar

¼ cup castor sugar

12 cloves garlic

2 tbsp grated ginger

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped


Combine the paste ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix to a smooth paste. Pour the paste over the lamb in a non-reactive bowl and marinate for at least 3 hours.

Heat a little of the oil in a large pot over high heat until very hot. Remove the lamb from the marinade, leaving behind as much of the reserved marinade and meat juices as possible. Fry the lamb in batches until well browned, adding extra oil as necessary, and set aside.

Fry the onions in a little more of the oil until golden brown, then return the browned lamb to the pot. Add the reserved marinade plus half a cup of water, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until the lamb is very tender. If the vindaloo starts to look too dry, add a little extra water or cover the pot with a lid.

Serve with rice. The dish also goes well with cucumber raita and a tomato salad.

Serves 6-8

Adam's tip Although vindaloo is great with lamb, it was originally made with pork. For something different, use cubes of pork leg or shoulder or even try this with chuck steak.


Photo: Steve Brown Photography


This Filipino dessert is part ile flottante, part creme caramel and part pavlova. Combining these three classics could never be a bad thing!



1½ cups castor sugar


8 egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

½ cup castor sugar

Orange custard

4 egg yolks

¼ cup castor sugar

¼ cup orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

1 can (400ml) evaporated milk

mango slices, to serve


For the caramel, heat the sugar in a small saucepan until a dark caramel is formed. Pour the caramel around the edges of a 2-litre bundt tin and rotate, ensuring it is completely covered.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fanforced). To make the meringue, whip the egg whites to soft peaks then add the cream of tartar and sugar gradually while whisking to firm peaks. Fill the bundt tin with the meringue mixture and flatten the top. Place the tin inside a tall-sided baking tray and pour in hot water until it reaches about 2cm up the side of the tin. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes. Invert the tin to place the meringue on a serving platter.

While the meringue is cooking, make the orange custard. Whisk the egg yolks, castor sugar and liqueur together in a heatproof bowl. Heat the evaporated milk in a small saucepan until steaming and pour it over the egg mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Return the milk and egg mix to the saucepan and stir over a low heat for about 15 minutes, until the custard thickens.

Serve the canonigo with the warm custard and mango slices.

Serves 6

Adam's tip Try not to incorporate air into the custard while it cooks, so use a wooden spoon and not a whisk. Air bubbles may create a foam, which will spoil the custard.

From Adam's Big Pot, Easy Meals for Your Family by Adam Liaw (Hachette).