3 Tips For Spicing Up Winter Dishes, From Head Chef Nut

image of two people putting ingredients in a wok

With the cold weather upon us, one of the best ways to warm up is with a hearty, warming meal. At P’Nut, we pride ourselves in being the home of Asian soul food, serving up honest, tasty dishes from all-around South-East Asia. We really know how to spice up a dish to make it more interesting! 

You can head to our restaurants to taste our authentic dishes but we also want to help you create authentic dishes at your own home, so Head Chef and Founder of P’Nut, Chef Nut, is here to reveal his top tips for spicing up winter dishes. Get ready for some fragrant fun at home with Chef Nut’s spicy secrets!

Head Chef Nut’s Top Tips For Spicing Up Winter Dishes:

1. Fresh is best!

Using fresh ingredients and herbs is the number one way to spice up a winter dish. Whether you’re in the mood for Thai, Chinese or Indonesian, fresh herbs and produce will truly elevate your meal. 

Visit your local market or organic supermarket to pick up the freshest, locally sourced herbs and produce. Not only will the freshest produce boost your meal, but it’s a fun outing and allows you to support local suppliers.

Having grown up in Thailand, my favourite herbs and spices are typically Thai – lemongrass, galangal and chilli. I learnt to cook from my mum and family from a very early age. We’d pick up fresh ingredients from the markets and cook together in the morning then go to the temple and eat after that. My family’s traditional and special Thai recipes have been passed down the generations and are still used at P’Nut Street Noodles today. We always used fragrant Thai herbs like lemongrass, galangal and spices. No pre-made elements! We still go by this philosophy at P’Nut Street Noodles – all sauces are made from scratch and time-honoured recipes are used to create each dish. 

2. Spice is nice

If you’re looking to spice up a basic stir-fry at home, the addition of garlic, pepper, five spices and fresh herbs can go a long way. Spicing up a dish can also depend on what kind of Asian dish you feel like eating. 

Classic Thai herbs and spices that can be used to spice up a winter dish include: 

  • Galangal 
  • Lemongrass
  • Chill 
  • Basil
  • Fish sauce

When you’re in the mood for Indonesian, there are some quintessentially Indonesian flavours that boost a dish.  Sambal is a popular paste used in Indonesian dishes. We use Grandma’s special recipe of wok-fried red shallots, tomatoes and chillies crushed with coarse anchovies to make chili sambal from scratch. Satay and peanuts are also great bases for Indonesian-style sauce – we love peanuts at P’Nut!

Indonesian ingredients include:

  • Satay and peanuts
  • Kecap manis
  • Chilli sambal made with shrimp paste/ anchovies

The following ingredients are used to boost the flavour in Chinese dishes:

  • 5 Spice
  • Pepper
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce

Typically, Malaysian ingredients include:

  • Coconut milk
  • Lemongrass
3. Perfect pairings:

Certain ingredients lend themselves to specific dishes and flavour pairings. For example, our Chill Basil Noodle dish heroes chilli and fresh basil. It’s a unique combination that will keep you coming back for more! Try adding fresh basil and chillies to your noodle dishes at home. 

To make a good laksa, lemongrass is essential! Lemongrass paired with shallots is the secret to a good, fragrant laksa.

Speaking of laksa, you can try ours for the special price of $9.95 this July.  Our Laksa Soup is a hearty and comforting dish featuring the flavours of Malaysia in a bowl! With a curried coconut milk base that is spiced with lemongrass, combined with fresh vegetables and your favourite protein, it will awaken the senses. An added bonus – it’s gluten free!

To redeem the deal, use the code “LAKSALOVE” when ordering online here.

As the home of Asian soul food, we provide honest, tasty dishes that are full of fragrant flavours to warm the soul.