24 hours is not enough. So little time, so much to do. I don't wanna leave my desk, can someone buy a takeaway for me, otherwise I will grab whatever snacks within my sight. The first two statements are undeniably true, they are fixed and I can not change them unfortunately. As for the third statement, I used to instil that behaviour, especially when deadlines are looming, sigh... My days in November were long and late. As a result, eating habits and diets turned upside down. From conscious eating, to convenience eating.
Having less savoury food usually keep me productive for the rest of the day. Yet at busy times, the only snacks I am willing to put in mouth are the rice crackers and tea in the office pantry. Haha they never fill me up, and I need to make several trips back eventually. Alternatively, I stuffed myself with the store-bought salad or soup, yummy, but not at all sustainable for the wallet when Christmas is nearing.
Lately, I'm just conscious with my spending after investing on props, camera and light equipment. So the third statement above is variable, what I need to do is to plan my meals, cook them in the morning and save some money. So far, packing lunch to work is not such a hassle! Here's the four key things to pack an appetising lunch with the powerhouses of nutrition and be proud of it!
THINK AHEAD, KEEP INGREDIENTS ORGANISED AND FRESH😉
1. Buy fresh groceries over the weekend
- Here comes the fun part-SHOPPING! However, it’s a love-hate relationship between me and the groceries. How much should I buy to avoid food waste? Uh-huh, get the essentials first!
- 1 carb (Rice noodles also known as bee hoon 米粉）
- 1 protein (Chicken breasts, enough for two days)
- 2 greens (Courgette, cilantro)
- Seasonings (Olive oil, fish sauce, sugar, chilli flakes, lime)
2. Prepare the ingredients the night before
- After a cold shower, I am shrubbed and awake. It will approximately take me an hour before I tuck in. Within that time, slice the vegetables that can be kept fresh with ice cubes overnight. Assemble the seasonings for the dressing and pour it in a separate container. (Do not mix the dressing with the fresh food as they get absorb overnight, the flavours will integrate badly. The smell is odd and look distasteful on the following day)
- Marinade the poultry overnight. Lime juice, oil and spices are typically acidic. They softens the food, allowing it to absorb the flavours of the sauce. Marinated poultry in plastic can last in the refrigerator up to two days.
3. Time to cook
- I usually get up an hour before heading out to work. Before a cold shower, I use that time to cook up the protein in just a few minutes, then let it cool in a container. Another method is to lay poultry an microwave oven for 10 minutes whilst doing my make up✨ Pack all of them in separate containers and ready to go!
4. Serve it fresh and appetising
- First impression of the food counts! Take out the containers of ingredients and assemble them on a plate. For fruits like avocado and apples, they oxidize quickly in its natural state. Cut them on the spot (not the night before) then add them in as the bonus!
This turmeric and lime chicken rice noodle salad is largely inspired by my cravings for Thai core flavours. Sweet, sour and spicy. Instead of cooking a portion of rice noodles, I added half into the salad and combine with shredded courgette, which is known as a substitute for pasta now! Raw shredded courgette resembles the texture of cooked noodles to al-dente. It's crisp and mild sweetness absorbs the zesty dressing and balances out the rich, golden turmeric chicken breasts slices. A tablespoon of ground turmeric is the key to marinating the poultry. It brings an earthy flavour to the appearance and taste without overshadowing the taste of chicken. And with the courtesy of Yuen Ling from Farmers Harvest , I was introduced to Hojiblanca, one of the key representatives of olive oil from Spain. First spoonful of Hojiblanca to taste is gently bitter with a lettuce and nutty after taste. Gingerly, I poured in one tablespoon of this extra virgin olive oil to the mixture alongside garlic, lime rind and juice. The burst of aroma was given off when the chicken breasts were laid on skillet after seconds. A decent fruity smell in the kitchen that morning😌
Keeping the recipe simple and straightforward to create vibrant little lunch boxes I love is manageable. Cooking for myself is another aspect of knowing what my body likes and dislikes, what types of nutrients I need, let's say a high fat diet to boost my skin and hair health. The brilliant part is that I am empowered throughout the process of putting what's on my plate and feel good about eating well. Now I'm already thinking about what to cook for the next week!
Ingredients (serves 1)
For the marinade
- 800g chicken breasts, skinned and sliced in 2 portions
- ½ teaspoon Himalaya pink salt
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon lime rind
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 tablespoon Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil
For the base
- ½ rice noodles, soaked in boiling water
- 1 stalk cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
- 1 courgette (zucchini), shredded
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Picual extra virgin olive oil
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- Juice of ½ lime
- 4 air tight containers
The night before
- Combine all ingredients of the marinade and toss in chicken breasts slices. Use a spoon to coat both sides of chicken slices evenly. (Avoid fingers contact to turmeric, the yellow stain on your finger tips will take a few days to wash off.) Put them in an air tight container and refrigerate overnight.
- Pack rice noodles and shredded courgette in the second container with ice cubes. Combine cilantro and dried chilli flakes in a compartment of the third container. Pour in ingredients for the dressing in another compartment of the same container. Similarly, refrigerate overnight.
- Add Picual on a medium skillet over medium heat. Lay a portion of chicken breasts and pan fry each side for 3-4 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Flip over to the other side and use the back of a wooden spoon to press them down.
- When chicken slices are cooked, set aside and let it cool for 2 minutes. Slice them up and pack into the fourth container.
- Assemble all ingredients, pour over dressing and sprinkle with cilantro and dried chilli flakes before serving.
(This is not a sponsored post)