What to Cook this Week is a newish weekly recipe series we publish every Monday with weeknight meal ideas from the Grantourismo recipe archives. Suggestions include easy midweek dishes, ideas for upcoming holidays, and recipes that we’re developing and testing that we’d love you to try.
If you’re all cooked-out after cooking for loved-ones over Christmas and New Year and if you’ve been staying at home to avoid rising Covid numbers – and I really didn’t think I’d be writing that in January 2022, almost two years into the pandemic – then like us you might be in need of some simple comfort food favourites this week.
If you’re visiting our site for the first time or you haven’t dropped by in a while, What to Cook this Week is a regular recipe series, where every Monday I dig into our recipe archive – which is bursting with hundreds of recipes from around the world, many dating back to 2010 when we launched Grantourismo – for easy midweek dinner recipe ideas for you.
In What to Cook this Week, I share meal suggestions for those nights when you’re feeling like you don’t want to spend a whole of time in the kitchen, as well as ideas for meals requiring a bit more effort, when you’re happy to while away the evening in the kitchen with loved-ones, a bottle of wine, and good music in the background.
We’ll also share recipes that we’re planning to cook here in our Cambodian kitchen in the week ahead. And if you’re interested, we’d also love to offer the occasional recipe that we’re developing for our cookbooks and invite you to test it out and let us know how the dish turned out for you.
Now, before you scroll down to our ideas for what to cook this week, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve enjoyed our recipes, please consider supporting our work by buying us a coffee. We’ll put that coffee money toward cooking ingredients for recipe testing.
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What to Cook this Week from French Onion Soup and Vietnamese Bun Cha to Chive and Pork Dumplings
Monday Night – Classic Cambodian Kuy Teav
There are few things more comforting than soup and this classic Cambodian kuy teav recipe makes Cambodia’s popular chicken noodle soup, kuy teav sach moan, in the restrained style you’d typically find in a simple local eatery or market or street food stall in Cambodia.
‘Kuy teav’ – pronounced ‘k’tieu’ – is the kind of soup that this is, made with vermicelli rice noodles, and ‘sach moan’ is chicken meat in Khmer, the language of Cambodia. While this is a chicken kuy teav recipe, you can also make this with beef, duck, pork, or offaly bits.
A good clear flavourful stock is the hallmark of this soup rather than a bowl abundant with ingredients. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Terence is the maker of the chicken stocks here in our household and will make a big batch and freeze it in resealable plastic bags. He has long used a recipe from David Thompson’s Thai Food cookbook, which he tweaks depending on what he has planned for the stock.
Serve with lime quarters, fresh fragrant herbs such as basil, coriander, mint, etc, extra blanched bean sprouts, finely sliced birds-eye chillies, fish sauce, chilli sauce, chilli flakes, and perhaps some homemade chilli oil.
Tuesday Night – French Onion Soup
this French onion soup recipe will make you a fragrant and deeply flavoured French onion soup that has a hint of Southeast Asian spice and umami, thanks to star anise and a fine quality fish sauce. Oui. Je suis désolé. I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.
Firstly, I’m Australian, which means that I’m born with a natural tendency to reach for anything in the pantry to adjust a recipe or dish to my taste. It’s in my genes. The Australian taste knows no bounds. If you’re Australian or you’ve eaten in Australia, you’ll understand.
Secondly, we’ve been based in Southeast Asia for almost a dozen years, which means that almost everything we cook is imbued with Southeast Asian spices, herbs and ingredients. I even add a little fish sauce to my traditional Russian family recipes.
This recipe is based on French chef Raymond Blanc’s vegetarian French onion soup recipe, which uses toasted flour to add a nuttiness to the broth. I’ve added a little fish sauce for umami and star anise for aroma and flavour to create a deeply-flavoured onion soup.
Wednesday Night – Vietnamese Bun Cha
Of all Vietnamese specialties, bún chả must be the most quintessential Hanoi dish after phở and it’s easily as comforting as the Vietnamese soup but more filling. This Vietnamese bun cha recipe makes the style of bún chả we used to eat for lunch on the streets of Vietnam’s capital when we settled into the city for a few months some years ago.
Smoky char-grilled pork patties and pork belly (the ‘chả’) are served in or with a warm dipping sauce, rice noodles (bún), aromatic herbs and greens (perilla, ﬁsh leaf, basil, mint, coriander, butter lettuce, maybe sprouts), and fried spring rolls.
The most distinctive attribute of the barbecue pork is that it must be cooked over charcoal to achieve that smoky flavour. We heat up and break up a charcoal briquette. The smoke comes from the pork fat and marinade dripping onto the charcoal. Remember to put your extractor fan on high!
One of the most ingenious elements of this dish is the BBQ grilling basket that holds the pork patties and the pork belly. You lay all your patties and pork belly in the grilling basket so instead of having to individually turn each piece, you just flip the basket over.
Thursday Night – Thai Rad Na Gai
Pad Thai might be the most popular Thai dish amongst travellers to Thailand or at least the most popular Thai street food dish. Massaman curry is frequently named as the most popular Thai dish amongst foreigners, however, it’s mainly eaten in Thai restaurants in Thailand.
The most popular Thai street food dish amongst Thais is arguably Thai pad kra pao, a breakfast, mid-morning ‘snack’ or lunch dish beloved by everyone from office workers to taxi drivers. Rad na gai, however, is easily another one of the most popular street dishes with Thais, especially in Bangkok.
This Thai rad na gai recipe for charred rice noodles with chicken and gravy makes a delicious Thai-Chinese street food dish that is super easy to make and is a fantastic week-night meal.
This recipe, adapted from chef David Thompson’s Thai Street Food cookbook, makes a rad na that tastes exactly like our Bangkok favourite.
Make sure to use a seasoned carbon steel wok for charring the noodles. If the noodles start to stick, do splash a little cooking oil into the wok. I find that fresh rice noodles stick more to the wok than reconstituted dried noodles.
Friday Night – Easy Chive and Pork Dumplings
Friday nights are fantastic for having some fun and making dumplings and this chive and pork dumplings recipe is super easy. It makes the Cambodian-Chinese version of jiaozi, the addictive Chinese dumplings that come in myriad forms, the filling, folding, shape, and pleating distinguishing one dumpling from the next.
Boiled, steamed and fried, dumplings are cooked all over China and in countries in Asia where the Chinese travelled, traded and emigrated, such as Cambodia. Here in Cambodia, they’re more rustic – no fancy pleating here – and packed with chives and a little ground pork mince.
Our recipe is inspired by the handmade dumplings we’ve been eating at our favourite hand-pulled noodles and handmade dumplings joint in Battambang for years. We’ve tweaked the traditional recipe, adding scallions and garlic to the mix, and used more fatty pork mince, so they’re more flavourful and juicier.
We’ve also seasoned the mixture, rather than relying only on condiments for flavour. We’re red chilli oil lovers who tend to drown the dumplings in the stuff. We have a recipe for Sichuan red chilli oil here.
Please do let us know if you’ve made any of our What to Cook this Week recipes in the comments below as we’d love to get your feedback and hear how our recipes turned out for you. We’re also eager to hear what you think of the series and if you have any suggestions.