Travellers’ tricks – cooking while travelling

April 22, 2010 at 11:25 am 2 comments

This week I’m in Brisbane.  It’s easy to get caught up with eating badly (and working late), but I’ve been determined to cook my dinners while away this week.  A simple concept, right?  In fact, cooking while travelling is difficult, since (unless travelling with one’s whole pantry), it’s hard to produce tasty meals with limited time and ingredients.  And in my case, ingredients that are gluten free.  This post is the start of a series to inspire fellow regular travellers to cook, rather than order room service – to conserve their wastelines and improve the health of their wallets.  Tonight’s recipe: garlic prawn and veggie stirfry with rice – is no mess, no fuss, no gluten and good for health.  And what’s more, it takes less than 10 minutes to make, so it’s faster than delivery!

Cooking using the MacGuyver approach

The MacGuyver approach

The MacGuyver approach

Work puts me up in apartments owned by The Oaks Group.  They’re generally pretty good, but one can never count on getting a good kit in one’s kitchen.  The utensils, knives, pans, glassware, crockery, etc vary from property to property and even between rooms within the same property.  Speaking from experience, if blessed with only the tools provided, attempts to perfect the Masterchef julienne challenge would meet with certain failure.  A few times I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way – chopping carrots, potatos and other hard vegetables using the Oaks knives is less than graceful.  The products of such self-set challenges resemble weird, stumpy little mutants – and that’s a compliment.  I think you get the picture.

I won’t insult your intelligence so much as to introduce MacGuyver.  I’m sure you know that armed with a piece of wood, an ant and a large patch of dirt, MacGuyver could erect a double storey home with a swimming pool and a car port.  Well – the recipes in the “Cooking while travelling” series are a bit like that.  Using three – or thereabouts – regular supermarket items, and a trusty bottle of this traveller’s olive oil (yes, I travel everywhere with olive oil!) you can produce healthy, tasty dinners with minimal washing up for a reasonable price.

Tonight’s recipe….

Garlic prawn and veggie stir fry with rice

I hear you mutter: “Surely more than three items and oil are required to achieve that feat?”  Not if you shop cleverly.  Here’s what to do:

1. Put your walking shoes on and walk to the Woolworths store closest to your dwelling.

2. Visit the fruit and vegetables section.  Grab a packet of the “One Minute Stir Fry” from the fridge.  Note that the stir fry generally contains carrot, cabbage, spanish onion, greens and other veggies.

Woolworths' One Minute Stir Fry

Woolworths' One Minute Stir Fry

3. Go to the seafood section and pick up some garlic prawns.  In most Woolworths stores they sell De Costi seafood, but on this occassion, I found Raptis brand was what they had on offer. 

Raptis prawns from Woolworths - cnr Edward + Queen Streets, Brisbane

Raptis prawns from Woolworths - cnr Edward + Queen Streets, Brisbane

4. Grab a packet of 90 second Sun Rice from the supermarket aisle.  I’d usually get brown rice – the white rice is designed to impress you. (Many people think that brown rice is for tree huggin hippies!)

I ain't no tree huggin hippie!  White rice

I ain't no tree huggin hippie! White rice

Pay for your goods and get back to your kitchen – you’ve got a meal to cook!

Get cookin’ good lookin’!

When you get into the kitchen, whack a hotplate on that is big enough to house a frying pan. 

5. Once warm, stick your pan on the heat and put a splash of oil in it.

Whack some oil in your pan

Whack some oil in your pan

6. Stick your garlic prawns into the frying pan and cook them until they go from being pale / translucent to being white with orange tails and shells.  If they’re a bit golden on the outside, that can add an extra dimension of deliciousness.  To cook the prawns from beginning to end, it should really only take about 5-6 minutes at most.  It’s advisable to turn your prawns once or twice.

Prawns in frying pan - about half way to being cooked

Prawns in frying pan - about half way to being cooked

7. When the prawns are done, take them out of the pan and put them in a bowl.  Don’t worry about putting foil over them (you probably won’t have any in your kit anyway) as you’ll be warming them up soon.

Prawns - done and waiting for action

Prawns - done and waiting for action

8. Follow the directions on the pouch of rice – squeeze it around in the packet and then tear an edge.  Put it in the microwave for 90 seconds on high.

Rice in microwave - put it on for 90 seconds

Rice in microwave - put it on for 90 seconds

9. Stick an extra touch of oil into the frying pan and put in some of the “One Minute Stir Fry” veggies.  I use about a half of the packet at a time.  That quantity will work well with the quantity of prawns and rice to make two meals.  I’ll take one for lunch @ work (using a container from the kitchen kit) and have one for dinner.

The One Minute Stir Fry

The One Minute Stir Fry

10. The One Minute Stir Fry literally does take as little as one minute.  Cook the veggies to your liking.  I like to have them a little bit soft – you might prefer them more crunchy.

11. When your veggies are almost as done as  you want, grab the rice from the microwave and the prawns from the bench.  Put them all into the pan and toss to combine. 

12. Serve your garlic prawn and veggie stir fry and tuck on in!

The meal - prawns, rice and veggies

The meal - prawns, rice and veggies

If you have them….

If you happen to travel with salt and pepper (which I do) – you could season the veggies before cooking them as a bit of salt and pepper really improves their flavour.  The other nice addition might be a squeeze of lime over the prawns.

I’ve also had the combo without the prawns.  Surprisingly, the One Minute Stir Fry is really tasty and with rice, it’s filling.  The prawnless combo would suit veggos and vegans. 

Finally – I’ve done versions where I’ve used all sorts of other meats in place of prawns.  Chicken works particularly well, and the best trick with chicken is to fully season chicken breast or thigh pieces before cooking for extra flavour.

How’s tricks?

If you’re a regular traveller who likes to cook while travelling, let me know what works for you.  I’d love to hear of other recipes that are quick, simple, cheap and healthy!  Submit your thoughts through the comments panel below.


Entry filed under: australia, Brisbane, Cheap n cheerful, Dinner, fitness, Gluten free. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Karen Martini’s Persian Roasted Chicken with Hazelnuts and Saffron Qantas goodness, part II

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sianne  |  May 6, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Mmmm garlic prawns. Will I be eating this tonight? I think so!

    • 2. myfavouritefruits  |  May 9, 2010 at 8:20 am

      Oooh – let me know how they turned out Sianne! 🙂


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