My Asian Inspired meal makes entertaining affordable!

“We cannot afford to entertain friends anymore!” This is a comment I hear often from my friends and family. Many of them  feel too intimidated to invite me(as a foodie) for a meal, I don’t know if they think I am going to rate or scrutinize their meals, but I am actually the easiest guest you will ever have.
Maybe they just use the “expensive argument” as a cop out, but I do realize that the cost of living and entertaining  have become a stumbling block for many. I want to show you how wrong you are…….
Clever planning and cooking is all it takes. I also think that if you can pack your meal with flavors and textures, you have a winning plan. Asian food delivers on flavor and texture every time but most people are reluctant to try it at home. So next time you invite a few friends, treat them to this fragrant Asian inspired meal and they will think they went to some Chinese or Asian  Take-out! I made two course. The first being the Vietnamese Spring rolls that you can serve with drinks as your guests arrive and later you can invite them to your kitchen and show them how to make this easy Five Spice Chicken and Stir Fry.

Vietnamese Spring rolls
Serves 4 people

12 round rice paper sheets – buy from Chinese supermarket
spring onions – one bunch
1 red pepper – sliced very thinly
1 green pepper -slice very thinly
1 yellow pepper – sliced very thinly
1 small cucumber – sliced in thin strips
1 big piece of fresh ginger – sliced in thin strips
fresh coriander
125ml good quality soy sauce
1 tbs brown sugar
1 red chili – sliced

Pour the soy sauce, a little piece of ginger, the sugar and the chili in a little pot on the stove and bring to the boil and boil for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. This can be ahead of time.
Place the rice paper sheets in water and allow to soften – about 5 minutes.Drain
Now place some of the sliced vegetables and gingers trips in the middle of the rice paper sheets and fold in the sides and then roll up to make little parcels. Serve with the soy dipping sauce.

Five Spice Chicken and Stir Fry Noodles 

4 chicken Thighs
2 heaped tbsp flour
2 tsp five spice powder

1  big pack of egg noodles or 500gr spaghetti – cooked
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 thumb size piece of ginger- sliced in thin strips
1 medium onion – sliced in strips
1 cup of soy sauce
1 – 2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
about 1 tbsp fish sauce
fresh coriander
black and white sesame seeds
vegetable oil – 100ml
sesame oil(optional)
juice of 1 lime

The chicken can be done an hour before guests arrive, which leaves you only with the stir fry. Preheat oven to 180C. Clean the chicken pieces and season lightly with salt. Toss flour and five spice in a ziploc bag and mix. Now add the chicken pieces to the bag and toss until they are all evenly coated. Place in a ovenproof dish and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes.Keep warm in some foil. Slice your vegetables, garlic and ginger in thin strips(can also be done ahead of time). Heat your wok and the oil. When the oil is hot, add all the vegetables, ginger and garlic and stir fry until cooked but still firm. Add the soy sauce and sugar and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add fish sauce and taste. Adjust seasoning by adding more fish sauce(saltiness) or more sugar(sweetness).Add the noodles or spaghetti and  toss lightly until all the noodles are coated with the sauce. Serve with fresh coriander, a squirt of lime and some sesame seeds for crunch.

And there you have it a fresh, affordable and Delicious Asian inspired meal!

 Cook’s Notes

* Use whatever vegetables you have available in your springrolls or stir fries. You can make it as cheap or as  expensive as you wish. You can add baby corn, sprouts, cooked prawns, chicken etc.

Other Asian Inspired Meals you might like!