Comfort Food With A Twist

Go International The Easy Way

Comfort Foods With A Twist

The weather has turned cold, and many of us are turning to comfort food in our kitchens. Comfort dishes bring back feelings of home; of families sitting around the table. They are the tried-and-true recipes that we all tend to fall back on. Sometimes though, we get into a rut and even our favourite foods begin to become a little boring. Many of us want to make things more exciting but have no idea where to start.

Well, I can tell you that with just a little know-how about certain cuisines and some help from VH sauces, you can easily be on your way to a delicious new dinner creation! Sometimes you need some help, whether you're not overly confident in the kitchen or if you just need some advice on adding extra flavor to a stir fry. You can be adventurous without having to visit the Asian market!

Sure, I see you nodding. You are excited for this change in the line-up. But now what?

Try adding a little Chinese to your meal:

In Chinese cooking, five-spice powder—a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and Szechuan pepper—works really well sprinkled on meat like chicken, duck, and pork. Stir fries are a perfect spot to try spicing things up. There are also some great sauces, such as oyster sauce and hoisin sauce, that work well in stir fries or to help add a savory flavoring to your other dishes. Try using new and different vegetables, like Chinese cabbage, sugar-snap peas, water chestnuts, or bok choy.

 Classic comfort food: Burgers
 Add a Chinese VH twist: Combine ginger, garlic, and VH Garlic Hoisin sauce to your ground meat while you are making the burgers. Top the cooked burgers with pickled ginger, shredded Chinese cabbage, and scallions.


Try adding a little Indian to your meal:

Indian food has to be my favorite. When I was a little girl, I used to love watching our Indian neighbour at her stove making roti, a whole wheat flatbread. Figuring out which spices to use can be tricky, as Indian dishes are very diverse and can include many different spices. Spices such as commercial curry powders or garam masala are blends of the different spices you see here, and they can vary depending on where you buy them. You can purchase many commercial blends already prepared, or if you are adventurous, you can make your own. Indian spices are are typically pan-roasted before they are added to the dish to bring out even more of the flavors. Finish up your meal with rice, lentils, yogurt and flatbread, which are all staples in Indian cuisine.

  Classic Comfort food: Burritos
  Add an Indian VH Twist: Heat shredded, cooked pork with VH Vindaloo sauce, then tuck into fresh naan bread. Serve with a cool cucumber yogurt salad


Try adding a little Thai to your meal:

Thai food differs from Indian in that it incorporates more fresh produce, seafood, and the use of coconut milk. A main ingredient in Thai food is fish sauce. You don't need a lot, but it does give Thai food it's distinct flavor. You can find a variety of Thai curry pastes at the store. Kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, cilantro, basil, garlic, ginger, and five spice powder are common ingredients in Thai cooking. Many grocery stores carry a lot of these ingredients, so don't be afraid to play around with them—try a new marinade or make a fun dipping sauce! 

  Classic comfort food: Chicken fingers and veggies
  Add a Thai VH Twist: Serve the chicken fingers with VH Thai Chili sauce, a side of coconut rice, lime wedges, and fresh vegetables

Cooking with new flavors isn't just fun, it adds a bit of an adventure into your otherwise ho-hum menus. Try spicing your regular comfort foods up this winter and see what happens!

Check out more easy ways to express your cooking creativity with a little Asian flair!

She may go by the name Scatteredmom online, but Karen really is anything but scattered when it comes to the kitchen.  Churning out tasty treats within view of the Georgia Strait on Canada's west coast, Karen will hand you an organized weekly meal plan or teach you how to make meals from scratch.  As Mom to a teenage boy, she knows exactly what it takes to keep kids full and happy-which has really come in handy with her job as the Food Editor at Yummy Mummy Club.

A strong supporter of Food Revolution who has been endorsed by Jamie Oliver himself, by day Karen can be found working as a special education teaching assistant, running a kitchen and showing teenagers how to cook nutritious meals for themselves.  By night, when she's not chatting on Twitter and answering cooking questions,  she writes her popular blog Notes From the Cookie Jar, or posting mouthwatering recipes over at Chasing Tomatoes.  Not afraid to give her opinion and passionate about community, Karen spoke at Blissdom Canada 2010 and her writing has been published in Canadian Living magazine, as well as in various online publications. 

Follow Karen on Twitter @scatteredmom