Girl Meets Cooking in the Kitchen with Secret Ingredient
Happy Monday everyone. The beginning of the week is the perfect time to erase the overindulgence of the past weekend and start healthy and fresh. One of the best ways to healthy eating is to cook more often at home. It’s a great way for portion control, and also gives you peace of mind in knowing exactly what went into your meal. However, home cooking often sounds better in concept than in reality. The reality in Hong Kong usually means stumbling to at least 2 different supermarkets after a busy, stress-filled work day in order to find all the ingredients needed, then rushing through rush-hour commute to get home to a tiny apartment with an even tinier kitchen. The hassle, coupled with the difficulty in finding moderately-priced yet quality ingredients, can be discouraging to anyone.
Recently, I joined Secret Ingredient founder, Max von Poelnitz, in his kitchen to experiment an exciting, upcoming recipe. Max, a passionate cook, is revolutionising the home cooking scene through his system of “cooking by letters”. The idea is simple yet effective – by taking the hassle out of ingredient sourcing, recipe research and prepping, Secret Ingredient hopes to put the fun back in cooking. Each week, recipes cards are posted up on Secret Ingredients website (www.secretingredient.com.hk) and customers can choose which meals they’d like to cook, including how many portions of each. Same day deliveries ensure the freshest ingredients, and the simple instruction card guarantees even the most novice of cooks whip up a delicious meal in under 30 minutes. In fact, most meals can be completed in the time it takes to cook rice!
Being a true Vancouver girl, I have a weakness for salmon, so we decided to test out the seared salmon, brown rice and mango salsa recipe. All of Secret Ingredient’s recipes are built for small Hong Kong kitchens, meaning that no oven or other fancy equipments are needed. All you need is a 2 hob stove!
First off, the ingredients – washed, cut, and labeled so you know exactly the sequence in which to use them. I can’t even begin to tell you what a time saver it is to have pre-cut, pre-washed ingredients, measured out in the portion size needed! And for peace of mind, Max insists on using high quality ingredients from trusted dealers. Most of the protein are imported from Australian vendors.
Pre-cut mango salsa, all you need to do is assemble!
First off, we started by preparing the rice. Since this meal can be completed in the time it takes to cook rice, this task also acts as our kitchen timer. The healthy brown rice arrives in a carton that also doubles as a measuring cup for the water needed to cook with, so there’s no need for extra utensils. How clever!
Next, we poured some fragrant broth into the rice to give it extra flavour. There’s always the option to tune the flavouring to your own preference, as you can use as little or as much of the seasonings provided.
In a separate pan, we poured in pre-cut, pre-washed asparagus, and sautéed it for a few minutes with the accompanying salt and pepper seasoning.
The money shot – salmon! Rich in omega 3, salmon is one of my favourite fish. Secret Ingredient’s version came already pre-seasoned with coarse salt and pepper, so there is really little else to do but to roast it in a pan with a bit of olive oil.
Since most Hong Kong apartments don’t come equipped with ovens, Max has figured out a quick and easy way of “roasting” salmon in a pan. First off, place the fish flesh side down in a medium hot pan.
Cook this for a few minutes before flipping it over onto the skin side.
Put a lid on the pan and allow the salmon to “roast” for another few minutes.
Tick-tock – in under 15 minutes, we have the salmon roasted, asparagus sautéed, and rice cooked!
Pouring in the last touches of pre-prepared citrus dressing, as well as a nice chunk of butter. Mm…………
Minimum clean-up needed. The Secret Ingredient delivery bag doubles as a handy garbage bag for all the used cartons. Most importantly, all the packaging used are environmentally friendly and bio-degradable. The “plastic” cartons are actually made of starch, and easily decompose in a matter of months.
Max putting the finishing touches on our salmon salsa meal.
How the packages look when they arrive at your door.
Voila! Bon Appetit!
Simple, fresh, and good for you. Secret Ingredient puts the ease back in home cooking!
G/F, 32-34 Tai Ping Shan Street
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Order hotline: +852 2108 4000