Each traveller’s delight is generally something personal and subjective, but few can argue that the sight of a street food stall or shack manned by an entrenched local doesn’t make the knees go weak and the mouth water. Perhaps it’s a puri cart on the side of a treacherous Mumbai highway or a steaming hotplate on a strip-lit road in Bankok promising the world’s fastest pad thai. I’m endlessly compelled by their magnetism. But throw yourself over to Australia and you might receive, bizarrely, San Choy Bow.
Although it is coined a chinese dish, San Choy Bow is seemingly more likely found in Perth or Sydney. And, bully for us, this versatile dish is a fun starter or main and can be made vegetarian or with any mix of meats or seafood. I’ve opted for the vegetarian common denominator recipe, but you can jazz it with whatever protein tickles your fancy on the day. My fussy 9 year old critic had chicken on the brain, so that’s what I made. Lots of good noises from my adult crowd but, despite eagerly awaiting the verdict of my particular junior critic, she only ate the chicken…
Serves 4 as main/8 as starter
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 chilies, finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
3 tbsp tamari/soy
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa (a mix of colours is fun for presentation)
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Iceberg lettuce cups
Raw macadamia nuts (optional garnish)
First boil your quinoa. Whilst these are on the go, heat the oil in a pan, adding the mushrooms, ginger, chili and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for 2 minutes, until it becomes fragrant, and stir in the sesame oil, maple syrup, tamari and 1/4 cup of water.
Drain your chickpeas and quinoa and add to the pan, stirring it into the mix to heat through. To finish, add the lime juice, coriander and season to taste. Serve on a cup of iceberg lettuce with the chopped macadamia for garnish.