The Trick of Seafood Fakeaways
In her latest blog post for The Big Prawn Company, Claire Partridge shouts about the delights of faking it and making it… saving both your pocket and your waistline.
Do you have concerns over your close relationship with your Deliveroo driver? Does the Chinese across the road know you on first name terms? Ever called the Indian 2 streets down and they’ve answered your call with “usual order tonight?” I could be that person. At least 2 of the 3 above have happened either to me, or to a friend… in fact, who’s known to the kebab place as “lamb pizza lady”.
There becomes a point where you need to break off that relationship. Try the classic line of, “it’s not you takeaway, it’s me.” The problem is though, it tastes good. That’s why we keep going back for more. But it’s time to start kicking saying cheerio to the sauce laden white plastic tub arriving in the white plastic bag. Even if it means no free prawn crackers.
I come with good news though Big Prawn Company fans, you can DIY your local takeout treat. It’s healthier, it’s cheaper, and the buzz of creating something from scratch that possibly even tastes better than your regular fried delight, should probably be enough to convince you to make the occasional switch. I’m not advocating you go cold turkey but maybe cut down your habit slightly.
Keep the takeaway for the weekend and try faking it during the week, or vice versa, if you’re time strapped during the week and happy to potter about the kitchen on the weekend.
I’ve made the focus of this fakeaway piece on prawns to show just how versatile they are… across several key takeaway options.
Who doesn’t love a chow mein? Prawn chow mein can be put together in about 20 minutes start to finish. Just pick your favourite vegetables and head on to the nearest Asian supermarket for some ingredients – my local one does chow mein noodles as an option (they cook from dry in under 5 minutes) and also does sachets of chow mein paste, for the authentic flavour experience. Cook your noodles first and cool them, before throwing the prawns and veg in a hot wok, with the paste. Cook up for 5-7 minutes, then heat the noodles through the wok with your other ingredients. You’ll hardly use any oil, so it’s probably healthier than your local takeaway’s version. But it tastes real!
Love a prawn curry? Swap the fat laden sauces of your local Indian, for a homemade tandoori prawn skewer instead. You can buy tandoori spice mix, which makes a great base for a marinade. Just add a couple of teaspoons of this, to a little oil and some lime juice. Mix in a bowl and add the prawns. Marinate for around 4 hours. Then, add to skewers, with peppers and onions and grill until the prawns are cooked through and the vegetables are beginning to char. Serve up with a portion of basmati rice (I’m giving you permission to use the microwave pouch rice here, in the name of speed).
For all you cold, overworked city dwellers, who doesn’t love a warming pho on a winter’s night? Take it up a notch and make your pho from scratch. Make a simple stock from a vegetable stock cube, boiling water and some garlic, ginger, chilli flakes and lemongrass paste. Bring to the boil, boil for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes. When your broth is ready, add the prawns and any other vegetables you like (green beans for the win) and your noodles. Bring back to the boil and cook until noodles are soft – I use egg noodles and they are usually ready in under 5 minutes. Garnish with herbs (coriander and a little fresh chilli looks lovely) and serve up straight away. Hearty, warming and healthy.
The trick to great fakeaways is a well-stocked larder. Foods like noodles and rice are cheap cupboard staples. Herbs and spices are the secret ingredients of a good cook. Buy them up in bulk, cheaply at the local continental food store (it’s worth a trip here – you get so much more for your money). Then you’ve got all the basics you need to get faking. Switch up fakeaways regularly with different meats or seafood and seasonal vegetables, to impress your friends next time they appear on a Friday night with a bottle of wine at your door. And all that money you’re saving? Time to book a holiday to try the real deal!
Written by Claire Partridge – alter ego What Claire Did – a 30 year old blogger from Glasgow in Scotland, who loves cooking, eating out and travel.