Pantry Staples and Lockdown Cooking From Top Chefs
In light of the recent pandemic sweeping the globe, normal life as we know it, has been turned upside down. Several countries have imposed lockdowns already—and it’s fast becoming the new norm to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Since everyone has to stay and work from home, many are panic buying and stockpiling corned beef, canned tuna, maggi mee, dried pasta, coffee and ‘precious’ toilet paper. Yes, provisions are needed, but let’s not forget about our health and nutrition. It all begins with your plate, and perhaps a handful of kitchen utensils to bring out the domestic god or goddess in you. To help you get inspired, we asked chefs from around the world to share what they’re stocking up on, and pantry meals that you can cook at home to keep you satiated.
Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn of One-Michelin-Star Le Du: “Shrimp paste, dried chili powder, oyster sauce, palm sugar and fish sauce. With these five essentials of Thai cuisine, I will survive.”
Seumas Smith of Pärla: “A good loaf of bread, preferably, sourdough. Onions. A slab of smoked bacon. Potatoes and butter. As long as I have sourdough and butter, (and ideally plenty of wine) I should be able to tide through.”
Alex Dilling of Two-Michelin-Star The Greenhouse: “Eggs, fleur de sel, parmesan, soy sauce and dried herbs de Provence. I’m already dreaming up a beautiful French omelette.”
Nic Vanderbeeken of Apéritif: “Vodka, chicken, water, potato and oil. First and foremost, I can eat chicken every day; I’ll never get bored of it. Vodka, in reasonable doses, to inject a party mode. Oil is an essential in my pantry because it can be used to fry stuff or to dress a salad.”
Petrina Loh of Morsels: “Salt, dried chili, dried noodles (like mee sua, udon, capellini), ikan bilis and soybeans. Could I have a bonus ingredient? Olive oil.”
Jeremy Chan of One-Michelin-Star Ikoyi: “Rice, anchovies, EVOO, barley miso and Maldon salt. Anchovies are incredible in sauces. Think mashed up, mixed with butter, covering grilled vegetables. Sometimes I throw them into ragu and pasta. These tiny fishes have so much flavour.”
Han Li Guang of One-Michelin-Star Labyrinth: “Definitely versatile produce because I can’t eat the same thing daily. Eggs, soy sauce, flour, milk and chicken. Flour allows me to make dough which equates to lots of dishes. Eggs are the same. And get this: Flour + Milk + Chicken = Fried Chicken ?.”
Kristian Baumann of One-Michelin-Star Restaurant 108: “These are my desert island food: Fried garlic chips in oil, soya sauce from the Baekyangsa temple, tiny pine cones in honey, palm sugar from Phangnga province in Thailand and gochujang from the village in Yangdong. One can always dream.”
Chef Fernando Arévalo of Preludio: “You mean no one mentioned toilet paper?!? Charcuterie, cheese, olives, bread and olive oil. Keeping it simple here!”
1. Thai Stir Fry by Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn
1 part oyster sauce
1/2 part fish sauce
1/4 part palm sugar
“You can cook anything with it and I can guarantee that it will be delicious.”
2. Pyttipanna (Swedish Hash) by Chef Seumas Smith
You’ll want to start with diced potatoes, onions and smoked bacon. In a skillet, render out some bacon first and then toss in the potatoes. Cook till tender before adding in the cubed smoked pork. Butter is always welcome at this stage. Season to taste with herbs, salt and pepper. Plate the hash in a shallow dish with a fried egg and serve with bread and butter.
“Pyttipanna is a Swedish comfort dish usually served at breakfast. We would usually have it when we are camping out in our little fishing huts.”
3. Indonesian Waterzooi by Chef Nic Vanderbeeken
Based on Gentse Waterzooi, a classic Belgian chicken stew, chef Nic is inspired by his favourite Indonesian soup, Soto Betawi, and has decided to incorporate those flavours in there.
Bouillon to poach chicken in, together with 20g garlic, 30g shallot, 10g ginger, 2 lemongrass, 5g fennel seeds, 5g coriander seeds, 1/4 nutmeg, salt, pepper, 4 kaffir lime leaves.
400ml cream/coconut cream
Bumbu (spice mix)
2 big carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 thin leeks
Poach the chicken in the bouillon with spices at low heat for about 35 minutes. Blend 8 shallots, 5 cloves of garlic, 5cm of numeric, 8cm of ginger, 3cm of galangal, 3g of coriander seed, 3g of fennel seed and 5g of white pepper. Sauté the bumbu and add 1 lemongrass and 4 kaffir lime leaves. Add 150ml of the bouillon, followed by the cream to make a sauce.
Boil the potato chunks and carrots in the same chicken bouillon. When they are almost cooked, tip the drained vegetables into the cream sauce and give them a toss. Take the lemongrass and kaffir lime out of the cream. Break down the chicken and add it to the cream sauce. Heat it up gently in the “waterzooi”. Plate the chicken with the cream sauce, and finish the dish with sliced celery, leek and chili oil. Garnish with coriander.
4. Rice Porridge with Bacon, Crispy Garlic, Chives and Lemon Zest by Chef Kristian Baumann
50g organic jasmine rice
300g chicken stock or water infused with a chicken bouillon cube
50g garlic cloves
You can always add more water or stock to change the consistency of the porridge to your liking. Rinse the rice in cold water and add a light chicken stock or water infused with bouillon cube to the rice. Bring to a boil. Give a light stir and cook until a homogenous porridge texture. This can be done in a pot or a rice cooker.
Slice and sauté the bacon until golden and crispy. Peel and slice the garlic cloves thinly. Add them to a pan with vegetable oil. Turn the heat to medium and make sure to stir gently occasionally. Once they start to turn semi golden, turn the heat off and let them cool down in the oil. The residual heat will continue to crispen the chips. It is important not to overcook them, if not they will go bitter. Store in a glass container with a lid at room temperature. These crispy garlic chips go with almost anything so don’t be afraid of making larger batches.
To plate, spoon the rice porridge into a deep bowl. Add the bacon in the middle of the plate. Ladle on some cooking fat from the bacon—that’s the secret ingredient. Add crispy garlic chips, finely chopped chives and fresh herbs. Zest some lemon over the top. Use soya sauce or mushroom soy sauce to add more savouriness.
5. Pissaladière by Chef Alex Dilling (Serves: 6-8)
450g AP flour
300ml warm water
2g yeast dried (6g fresh)
Mix the yeast with the warm water until dissolved. Add the water and yeast mix to the flour, and mix for two minutes until incorporated. Add the salt and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Make into a nice ball. Grease a bowl with olive oil and add the dough. Rub some of the oil around the dough. Cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm for 1 hour.
20g olive oil
6 large white onions finely sliced
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 tablespoon herb de Provence (optional)
150ml dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the sliced onions. Cook slowly for 20-30 minutes stirring regularly until deeply caramelised. Add the garlic and dried herbs, and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the wine and continue to stir until completely reduced and dry. This should pick up all of the caramelised bits from the bottom of the pan. Season to taste. Remove the mix from the pan and cool in the fridge.
To Build the Pissaladière
Preheat the oven at 250c. Prepare a large oven tray with parchment paper of the same size. Remove the dough from the bowl and with your hands pushing from the centre, shape it to the same size as the tray. Try not to push on the edges as this will leave you with a nice crust. Once shaped, spread a thin layer of the onions on top leaving a small border around the edge.
30-40 pitted black olives
2 small jars of anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons picked thyme
Arrange the anchovy fillets and olives in an attractive fashion on top of the onions. Sprinkle picked thyme leaves all over. Brush the border of the pastry gently with olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Halfway through the cooking rotate it as there will be hotspots in the oven.