The beauty of cooking in a parcel is multi layered, in that it can be extremely nutritious, needing very little added fat to achieve a tender and moist result every time due to the steaming effect the parcel creates. And yet given the parcels are baked, some degree of caramelisation still occurs giving such a beautiful flavour.
Another benefit of cooking in these parcels is the minimal fuss to prepare, and the minimal time needed to cook them (and assuming you assemble the parcels correctly, very little dishes to wash!). Last night I made this salmon parcel and I was literally preparing the parcels at 10 to 5, in the oven by 5 and on the table by 25 past 5!!!! Seriously, ordering and picking up a pizza would take more time than that right?!
The most recent benefit I have found is the novelty value of serving a 'bag full of secret treasure' to two little boys, one of which has definitely been wanting to test my food imagination skills of late!!! Having them open up their parcel to see what is inside has helped lighten the mood and make dinner time fun. So perhaps an option for your fussy little eaters (or even those that aren't!).
Any of you with young kids would probably understand when I say that spicy green chicken curry or Vindaloo are a thing of the past (well, except for when we go out, or, of course, if you have kids with a worldly palate!) however making parcels for everyone in the family allows you and hubby to get your spice fix whilst still all sharing a similar meal and not really having to cook multiple meals just to achieve it.
And lastly, there are endless flavour combinations to parcel up and try. That, my friend, is limited only to your imagination!
So here is one recipe to get you started. In true Mellymaks style it is really a bit of a 'splash of this and that' recipe however I have tried to quantify some of the ingredients to give you a guide. Adjust it to your taste though by all means!
Thai salmon parcels
Ingredients1 salmon fillet per person (Any fish or chicken could be used though. If using chicken, use the breast halved widthways or the thigh laid flat so that it cooks evenly and quickly.
1 small or thin carrot per two parcels, sliced diagonally and quite thinly
3 bok choy leaves per parcel, washed
1 celery stick per two parcels, sliced diagonally and quite thinly
a couple of sticks of red capsicum
Sauce ingredients (per two parcels)2-3 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp tamarind paste (available from asian section of major supermarkets)
2-3 tsp rapadura, brown or grated palm sugar
1 cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
some thin slices of fresh red or green chilli (optional)
enough organic shredded coconut to sprinkle across top of fish (sometimes I have used a few spoons of organic coconut cream or coconut powder in the sauce instead)
Method1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
2. Tear off a wide enough sheet of baking paper to allow the food stack to be completed covered twice when rolled in the paper, and enough room at each end to seal with a twist.
3. Arrange the sliced veggies in the middle of the baking paper sheet about the width of the salmon fillet (or whatever meat you are using).
4. Place the salmon fillet on top of the veggies to make a nice neat stack.
5. Place all of the sauce ingredients except the coconut into a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust to your liking and to achieve a balance of sweet, salty and sour.
6. Evenly distribute the sauce across the two salmon fillets and spread to coat the entire top of the fish. Sprinkle with coconut.
7. Bring one end of the sheet up and over the salmon stack, tucking it in and then rolling the whole stack over carefully one full circle so that the coconut side is upright and all paper has been used. Twist each end to make a 'bon bon'/sausage shape. Repeat with remaining parcels.
8. Place the parcels on a suitably sized baking tray and place in oven for 25 minutes.
9. Place on serving plate and serve with coconut rice to mop up the juices and steamed or stir fried veggies.
|Apologies for the poor shot but there were 3 hungry mouths waiting to be fed so this is as pretty as I had time to make it!|
Here are some other flavour/ingredient suggestions:
* chicken breasts, veggies of your choice and a soy sauce, honey and sesame seed sauce
* prawns with lemon juice, crushed almonds and butter on veggies
* flathead fillets with your choice of veggies, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a knob of butter.
* wafer thin potato slices, chicken, a rasher of cooked bacon, a splash of cream, salt and pepper and grated cheese.
* veggies of your choice, chicken, slices of fresh tomato, olives, capers, fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper
What can you come up with???