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My plans to prepare dinner a very good dinner on weeknights are all the time getting sabotaged, largely by laziness.

It is all too straightforward to order in, or to drop by the hawker centre close by to do a takeaway. Cooking after work is usually an excessive amount of to ponder.

But I need to eat nicely, so I have been doing prep work within the morning or the evening earlier than.

Having meals defrosting within the fridge and elements prepared for the pan can typically stem the flood of excuses that leads me to the hawker centre.

I have found that you could make a steak dinner in 30 minutes or much less.

The meal will not be fancy, however the steak is paired with an easy-to-make basic cream and cognac sauce spiced with inexperienced peppercorns.

I not too long ago began cooking with the peppercorns after shopping for some that had been grown in Kampot, Cambodia, from Hong Spices (hongspices. com), run by Singaporean Lai Poon Piau.

I used them in a Thai inexperienced curry and made steak sauce with them.

The sauce was so rewarding that this meal has develop into a staple. I differ the greens I have with it – steamed asparagus spears, sugar snap peas or broccoli, or a spinach salad.

Fresh Kampot peppercorns are usually not all the time accessible, however you may get Thai ones at Tekka Market or from Thai grocery retailers in Golden Mile Complex. Both are nice locations to purchase greens and herbs for dinner too.

There is hardly any prep work to be finished however to make issues simpler for myself, I choose the peppercorns off the stem within the morning, rinse them and have them draining in a small colander within the fridge.

The stock and steak I transfer from freezer to fridge the evening earlier than.

If I’m having a salad with the steak, I make the dressing for it the evening earlier than, and it sits in a glass jar within the fridge. Then all it wants is a couple of shakes earlier than I pour it onto the greens.

For good measure, I place my trusty frying pan on the (unlit, after all) range and a smaller pan for making the sauce.

I do know this sounds fiddly, however I wish to boil the stock, shallots, garlic and crushed peppercorns after which pressure these elements out after they have flavoured the stock.

Feel free to disregard this and keep on with out straining – you’ll, in any case, have one fewer pan to clean.

I do not thoughts doing it as a result of I get a clean sauce punctuated with simply entire peppercorns.

The sauce has an addictive warmth I can’t get sufficient of. You can use peppercorns bottled in brine too, however you lose out on that clear, fragrant warmth.

Cognac gilds the lily a little bit and sounds indulgent on a weeknight. I have a look at it this manner: I survived to combat one other day, proper?





  • 75g recent inexperienced peppercorns on stalks (above, get them from Thai grocery retailers in Golden Mile Complex or at Tekka Market)
  • four to five shallots
  • three to four cloves garlic
  • 2 striploin steaks, 2cm thick, about 200g every
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra to style if wanted
  • 200ml beef or rooster stock
  • 75ml cooking cream
  • 1 Tbs cognac


  1. Rinse the peppercorns beneath operating water and choose the berries off the stalks. Discard the stalks, rinse the berries once more and pat dry with paper towels. Crush about 2 tsp of them in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Peel and slice the shallots and garlic. If leaving them within the sauce, chop them finely as a substitute.
  3. Place a frying pan over medium warmth. Coat each side of the steaks with the oil, sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt over them.
  4. Cook within the pan for 1 minute and 15 seconds on both sides for medium uncommon or 1 minute and 30 seconds on both sides for medium. Remove the steaks to a plate and allow them to relaxation when you make the sauce.
  5. Add the crushed inexperienced peppercorns, shallots and garlic to the pan and toss with a spatula, scraping up the browned bits on the backside of the pan. Pour within the stock and convey to a boil over excessive warmth. Let the stock boil and scale back to half its unique quantity.
  6. Strain the stock right into a smaller pan or pot and discard the crushed peppercorns, shallots and garlic. Or go away them within the stock and proceed with out straining.
  7. Add cooking cream, cognac, the remaining entire inexperienced peppercorns, and any juices from the cooked steaks to the stock. Bring the warmth all the way down to medium, and prepare dinner till the sauce thickens and coats the again of a spoon. Stir continually. Add salt if wanted.
  8. Place the steak on plates, pour the sauce over the meat and serve with a salad or steamed greens.

Serves two.

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