I was stupid to make plans really in these DC [during coronavirus] months [maybe years] but I did. We have two old friends who live on the rural edge of Greater Manchester. We have known one of them since school and met his partner in the mid-1980s; we go back a long way and have few secrets from them. In those carefree BC [before coronavirus] days we would normally see them every six weeks or so for a wild night out in Manchester city centre and spend at least one holiday a year with them. These are not normal times and we have only seen them via a laptop screen since the end of January … it isn’t the same.
As restrictions eased, we arranged to meet up at their house for a takeaway. We decided on their local Cambodian and had even spent ages going through the menu and ordered our meals. The it was announced on Twitter that Greater Manchester was off limits!
The disappointment of not having an evening laughing with these friends is hard to put into words, a week later I am still choked up about it. We had nothing planned for an evening meal at home as we thought we would be enjoying a delicious Cambodian meal, so a quick trip to the supermarket and a Zoom meeting booked with our friends we had a go at making the best of the spoilt evening. Here’s what we ate:
Substitute Cambodian stir fry – for two
Spicy peanut sauce
- I onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 chilli pepper
I blitzed these with a little water in our mini food processor.
In a pan with a little vegetable oil I gently fried:
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
Then added the onion / tomato mixture and two tablespoons of peanut butter. I added more water to make the sauce consistency I wanted and seasoned to our taste and kept this warm. You can make this in advance.
I unwrapped a 225 g pack of smoked tofu [any tofu will be fine] squeezed some of the liquid out of it and cut it into 1 cm cubes. I coated these in flour mixed with salt and pepper and shallow fried them in vegetable oil until they were crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
Stir fry vegetables
- Green beans – we had some cooked ones left over
- 1 pepper cut into thin strips
- About 2/3 rds of a bag of beansprouts
- 1/2 stick of celery cut into thin batons
- Bag of Singapore style rice noodles [From Sainsburys these are already in a curry paste and red chilli dressing]
In a wok, I stir fried the pepper and celery quickly in a small amount of vegetable oil, adding the green beans, beansprouts and noodles at the end.
I mixed the tofu with the stir fried vegetables and served with the sauce poured over. It tasted great but would have been so much better with good friends.