Shakshuka meets fattoush, ultimate vegie burgers, coriander shawarma lamb shoulder and everything you love about spring rolls in one bowl.
Green lamb shawarma and pea pie with sumac butter filo
I fall into the camp that if a dish takes some time, there is a logical moment where one can accept defeat, yet still cobble together a meal. If you attempt this pie but end up short on time or inclination, this is spectacular if you just cook the lamb as is and serve with all manner of salads, breads, condiments and bits 'n' bobs you have on hand.
1 lamb shoulder (about 1.4kg)
4 cups chicken stock
1 bunch coriander, leaves and stems, roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1½ tbsp coriander seeds
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
2 tsp ground turmeric
60ml olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
½ cup cranberries
¾ cup frozen peas
½ cup soft Persian-style feta
8 sheets filo pastry
½ cup melted butter
1 tbsp sumac
1. Preheat oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional).
2. Combine all the coriander shawarma ingredients in a blender. Blitz to a wondrous fragrant paste. Smear this all over the top of your lamb shoulder. Place the lamb shoulder in a large roasting dish and gently pour in the stock – don't pour the stock over the lamb, the key is to keep that glorious crust.
3. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 hours. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, until the meat falls easily from the bone.
4. Remove the lamb, and use a couple of forks to shred the meat into the residual cooking liquid (discard the bone), before plopping the lot into a high-sided pie dish or ovenproof baking dish. Throw on the cranberries, feta and frozen peas.
5. Increase the oven temperature to 165C fan-forced (185C conventional).
6. Scrunch about 8 sheets of filo pastry and place on top of the lamb mixture. Generously brush the tops with the melted butter, using all the butter, then sprinkle with the sumac.
7. Bake the pie for about 20 minutes or until the filo looks gloriously golden and crisp. Watch closely to ensure this doesn't burn.
8. Serve immediately, being careful not to burn the roof of your mouth.
Serves 4 generously
Vegie burgers with bright yellow spiced yoghurt. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Green lentil, feta, chickpea and spice bomb burger with turmeric and harissa yoghurt
This is the perfect spring burger. Green and virtuous, light and flavoursome. If you wanted to keep it vegan, you can omit the egg yolk but please realise it will be a far more crumbly texture without its protein binding capabilities.
1 tbsp olive oil for frying the patties
scant ¾ cup green lentils
enough vegetable stock to just cover the lentils (about 1 cup, touch more)
400g can chickpeas
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp freshly ground cumin seeds
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp plain flour
¼ cup feta
¾ cup frozen peas, rinsed under hot water
2 spring onions, finely chopped
½ bunch coriander, roughly chopped
½ bunch mint, roughly chopped
Turmeric and harissa yoghurt
70g tub Greek-style yoghurt
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp harissa, or to taste
4 brioche rolls
good quality barbecue sauce or ketchup
¼ small red onion, peeled, very finely sliced
mix of coriander, basil and flat-leaf parsley leaves
small handful spinach leaves per burger
1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced (190C conventional).
2. Add the lentils and stock to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Simmer until the lentils are just cooked and the stock has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
3. Strain and add to a blender with the remaining patty ingredients, except for the flour, and pulse briefly in few-second rounds. You want the ingredients to be just combined, we are not making a dip here, the chunks and slight variations in texture and consistency are all good things.
4. Stir through the flour until incorporated in the mixture, then shape into 4 patties and place in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes or so while you prepare the yoghurt.
5. For the turmeric and harissa yoghurt, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.
6. Place an ovenproof frypan over medium heat. Add the oil and once hot, add the patties. Leave on each side for 1-2 minutes before flipping. As soon as you flip the burgers, remove the frypan from the heat and pop in the oven to cook the patties for an additional 10 minutes. This allows the denser nature of the patties to cook through completely.
7. To assemble, smear a brioche bun with the turmeric and harissa yoghurt. Add a pattie then top with ketchup or barbecue sauce, red onion, herbs and any green leaf (I used baby spinach and purple kale). Top with remaining brioche bun half and repeat with remaining patties and burgers. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 generous burgers
Vietnamese spring rolls in a bowl. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Charred lemongrass chicken spring roll bowls with chunky peanut hoisin dressing
I adore spring rolls but more for the filling than the sometimes mouth-cloying nature of the deep-fried wrappers. Here it is heavy on the salad with the spring roll sheets being lightly flash fried in a super-hot pan so you don't miss out on that glorious textural crunch.
I like to serve this in one large serving bowl so you can toss the salad at the table, ready for people to heap onto plates and top with a crisp puffed piece of rice paper and lashings of fresh lime juice.
500g chicken thighs
3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, chopped
3 tbsp coconut oil, plus extra as required
1 small bunch coriander, leaves and roots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, roughly chopped
4 makrut lime leaves, deveined, chopped
2 x 50g portions of dried rice vermicelli noodles, softened in a bowl of boiling water and strained
1 small green mango, shredded using a mandolin
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled into ribbons or grated
1 large carrot, peeled into ribbons or grated
½ bunch coriander leaves, coarsely torn
½ small bunch Thai basil leaves and flowers
3 tbsp Vietnamese mint leaves
½ cup salted peanuts, to serve
¼ cup crispy fried shallots, to serve
Crisp rice paper
rice bran or flavourless oil
4-6 rice paper spring roll wrappers (Vietnamese style, not spring roll pastry)
½ cup salted peanuts
¾ cup hoi sin sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
juice and zest of ½ lime
generous pinch brown sugar
1. Blitz the marinade ingredients in a blender, you may need to add a little extra coconut oil to help loosen it and to ensure the fibrous woody lemongrass breaks down properly. Once blended, scrape out into a bowl, add the chicken thighs, rubbing them thoroughly in the marinade then cover and pop in the fridge. This does amazing things if you can let it marinate overnight but at a minimum, 2 hours will be more than fine.
2. Assemble the salad ingredients, aside from the peanuts and shallots, in a large serving bowl.
3. To make the dressing, roughly smash the peanuts in a mortar and pestle then add to a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Stir and set aside.
4. To make the crisp rice paper sheets, place a large frypan over high heat. Coat the base of your pan in oil – you want to have a thin film of oil as it seems to puff best like this. Once the oil is very, very hot and shimmering, add a sheet of rice paper, pressing down on it as it puffs and moves around with a pair of tongs, until all the translucent parts have puffed white and golden in spots. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining rice paper sheets and additional oil. I suggest reapplying the oil for each rice sheet. (If using an electric stove, you may need to flip the rice paper and cook both sides to get it to puff evenly.)
5. Return the same pan to the heat and reduce the heat to medium. Add the chicken thighs and any marinade and cook until lightly charred and golden on one side, about two minutes. Flip and continue to cook for an additional 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.
6. Transfer the thighs to a chopping board and slice into generous slices. Add the chicken to the bowl of salad and top with peanuts and fried onions.
7. Serve with the dressing to the side to toss at the table or so that people can help themselves. Serve with puffed rice sheets.
Shakshuka meets fattoush salad. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Green shakshuka fattoush
I love a throw-in-the-dish shakshuka, but we must admit the homogeneity of texture, despite the explosions of flavour you can achieve, can be rather same-same. So, I threw in a few elements of my favourite salad – all the crisp pita bits – and I really encourage you to do the same. You can serve this completely standalone, it's a light dinner or lunch. Or you can extend it by serving it as a side to some slow-cooked lamb or heck, even throw in a few bits of chopped chorizo, the meat all gnarly and crispy, to extend this to feed a few more mouths.
2 Lebanese breads (large thin pita)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 green capsicum, deseeded and chopped into cubes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
3 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
3 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (or chilli flakes)
1 cup small spinach leaves
1 cup roughly chopped cavolo nero leaves
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup soft Persian-style feta, coarsely broken into chunks
2-3 tbsp coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1-2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (or chilli flakes), or to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
2. Cut the Lebanese breads into strips and then cut into bite-sized squares. Spread out on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle over the oil then use your hands to spread the oil across the squares. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until golden. I love to take these to the edge – darkly crisp and brown.
3. Place a frypan over medium heat. Add the oil and once hot, add the capsicum, garlic and leek. Cook for around 5 minutes or until soft. Add the coriander seeds, cumin and Aleppo pepper flakes. Cook for another minute or until fragrant.
4. Scrape into a baking dish (about 25cm diameter) and add the spinach, cavolo nero and peas. Stir gently to incorporate. Scatter over the feta. Gently indent the mixture in four spots, like you are making little divots, and carefully crack an egg into each indent.
5. Place in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Depending on the 'go' of your oven, you do need to keep an eye on this, until the eggs look cooked through on top. Sometimes the yolks will form a surface, but still be gloriously soft and runny underneath.
6. Remove and add the crisp Lebanese bread squares. Scatter with coriander leaves and another pinch of Aleppo pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.