What to Cook this Week, from potato pancakes and chicken and rice to a chickpea curry. What to Cook this Week is a new weekly recipe series we publish every Monday with weeknight meal ideas from the Grantourismo recipe archives. Suggestions will include easy midweek dishes, suggestions for upcoming holidays, and recipes that we’re testing that we’d love you to try.
We are so busy right now – Terence has been baking sourdough in our new toaster oven and is about to make a batch of these traditional roasted spicy peanuts to nibble on over the festive season. I’ll pop some to put in mason jars, as they make such fab homemade edible Christmas gifts.
I’ve been testing a new Vietnamese deep fried spring rolls recipe this morning – we don’t have nearly enough Vietnamese recipes on the site, even though it’s one of our favourite cuisines and we used to live in Vietnam – and this afternoon I’m testing a French onion soup recipe and a Cambodian banana fritters recipe as a neighbour gave us a big bunch of sweet little bananas.
I expect you’re busy too – just twelve days until Christmas! – so when it comes to what to cook this week we’re keeping things simple. If you haven’t visited us in a while, for our new What to Cook this Week series, every Monday I dig into our recipe archives – which is heaving with hundreds of recipes from around the world, many dating back to 2010 when we launched Grantourismo – for easy midweek dinner ideas for you.
In What to Cook this Week, I’ll share meal suggestions for those nights 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 and 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.
Before you scroll down to browse our suggestions for what to cook this week, if you didn’t check our home page before you landed here, we’ve been publishing Christmas recipe collections over the last week that you might also like, including our best Christmas cocktail recipes, best dip recipes for crackers and crudités for festive parties, best Christmas starters, best Christmas salads, and best desserts for Christmas. We also shared homemade edible Christmas gifts you can make and Christmas gifts for food lovers designed with Terence’s mouthwatering images in our Grantourismo shop.
Every day between now and Christmas, we’ll be adding more recipes and recipe compilations for Christmas day breakfast and brunch, Christmas finger food and nibbles, Christmas mains and sides, and ideas for Christmas leftovers, so do bookmark this page, drop by and visit again, or subscribe (bottom of the site).
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What to Cook this Week from Potato Pancakes and Chicken and Rice to a Chickpea Curry
Monday Night – Russian Potato Pancakes and Garden Salad
I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously tired and craving comfort food, yet I after so much cooking and writing in recent days, I want to keep things easy tonight and keep the food comforting but light. I’m planning to nibble on these Russian potato pancakes and tuck into my favourite garden salad.
One of the things that I love about this potato pancakes recipe – one of my Russian family recipes – other than it is so super easy, is that it’s versatile. You can finely grate the potato and onion and use more rather than less flour for a light pancake that’s similar in texture to a pikelet.
Or you can grate larger pieces of potato, finely chop or slice your onion, and use less flour – just a few tablespoons – if you prefer more texture and crunch, and you’ll end up with something more akin to a German kartoffelpuffer.
I use a kitchen grater with a storage container attached, but you can use any grater – from a simple box grater to a food processor with a grating or shredding attachment. I like the rustic look and spoon the mixture directly into a fry pan or skillet, however, Terence, the perfectionist, uses silicon egg rings.
Tuesday Night – Beef Skewers and Banana Flower Salad
I think you know me by now, and know that I can’t go long without eating Asian food, so I like the idea of a simple dinner of these Cambodian marinated beef skewers and this banana flower salad recipe or banana blossom salad recipe for gnoam trayong chek, a fragrant and crunchy salad that is all about the texture and aromas.
This banana flower salad is made with shredded poached chicken but you could make a vegetarian version. It’s super-easy to make, just work fast so your banana flower doesn’t brown. Look for banana flowers or banana blossoms at your nearest Asian market or supermarket.
When buying banana flowers, look for big firm pink-purple buds. You don’t want to squeeze it and find that it feels soft and hollow. You also want to see a creamy stalk at the end. Leave it behind if it’s black.
If you can’t source banana flowers where you live, try this wonderful pork and jicama salad, this green papaya salad that is full of texture, our very moreish Cambodian minced pork larb, or this fragrant grilled beef salad.
And if you’re not in the mood for those beef skewers, we have more Cambodian barbecue recipes. I love these smoky grilled pork ribs, these pork spare ribs with star anise and these beef and pork belly skewers (stuffed beef skewers).
Wednesday Night – Southern Thai Chicken and Rice Recipe
Have you tried our easy Southern Thai chicken and rice recipe for khao mok gai yet? It makes braised chicken cooked in a spicy gravy, served with turmeric rice and sprinkled with crispy fried shallots. This is what I’m making on Wednesday night.
It’s a Thai Muslim specialty that’s often called a Thai biryani or Thai style biryani in Thailand, yet if you’ve eaten a biryani in India or the Middle East, they’re very different. Like a biryani, the chicken can be cooked with the rice or separately. Either way, it’s wonderful.
There are a few ways of preparing the chicken and rice in Southern Thailand, including braising the chicken and cooking the rice separately and cooking the chicken with the rice in a pot. Cooking the chicken with the rice is more Malay, separating it from the rice is more Thai style, and using a rice cooker, which makes it way more easy, is simply more modern.
Depending on where you eat this addictive Thai-Malay street food favourite in Thailand, the dish might come garnished with crunchy cucumber slices or spears, and fresh mint, coriander and chillies, or might be served with a fragrant relish or sauce of pounded herbs and cucumber – and/or sweet chilli sauce.
Thursday Night – Chickpea Curry
We’ve not long had this chickpea curry recipe up on the site, but I’ve been craving it since we tested this comforting Punjabi chole recipe and photographed it for Grantourismo. It doesn’t matter that we ate it over two days and nights, I’m already thinking about making it again, so that will be Thursday night’s dinner
This chickpea curry recipe is from the new cookbook Indian Cooking Class by legendary Australian chef Christine Manfield, whose love of spice, Indian food and India began soon after she started cooking. This is Christine’s fourth cookbook on spice and Indian food, and she also leads culinary tours to India.
If you don’t know the dish, chole is ‘chickpeas’ and this richly spiced chickpea stew is a beloved specialty of Punjabi cuisine of Punjab, a region straddling Northern India and Pakistan, although it’s now made all over India.
The recipe is called Chole Bhatura in Christine’s cookbook. ‘Bhatura’ is a puffy deep-fried bread typically served with although it’s perfectly acceptable to eat chole with papadams and long grain basmati rice – although we’ve had to use jasmine rice, as we don’t see a lot of basmati here in Cambodia.
Friday Night – Easy ‘Nduja Pizza
Friday night we usually like to do something a bit special, even though we’re usually tired. You know that feeling, right? But I know we’re going to be completely exhausted by the time Friday comes around, so I’m thinking we might do a pizza night.
I’m going to ask Terence to do his easy ‘nduja pizza, which makes a gently spiced pizza with the spicy Calabrian spreadable pork sausage combined with tomatoes and tomato paste to make a delicious base.
Although cooked in a Dutch oven it manages to have the hallmarks of a pizza made in a traditional pizza oven.
If you’re not familiar with ‘nduja, we have an introduction to Calabria’s ’nduja di Spilinga for you. If you can’t find any ‘nduja locally, you can buy ’nduja online. We are so lucky, that’s one thing we can sometimes find in Siem Reap.
Of course, you don’t have to make this pizza with ‘nduja. You can put anything on it: capers, anchovies and olives is another combination I love. I might put my order in for that one now…
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.