Celebrity chef Anis Nabilah shares easy recipes that also feed the soul


Anis has adapted to the MCO by making meals that she feels tick all the right comfort food boxes without using too many ingredients. — Filepic

Popular celebrity chef and television host Anis Nabilah has been busier than ever during the movement control order (MCO).

“I am in the kitchen at home, creating recipes for my followers and recording videos – I am the videographer, scriptwriter, chef, food stylist and I have had to learn how to edit the videos myself too, so it’s been very challenging but fun. And then, there is the whole stress of who’s going to eat all this food? Because I don’t want to waste the food, ” says Anis, who has nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram.

Anis – who is well known for helming numerous television shows like perennial favourite Icip Icip and Eating Wild – has now changed direction in terms of how she approaches recipes during the MCO. These days, she makes comfort food that utilises whatever is in her kitchen, even if that means using very few ingredients.

Like her pasta with mussels and saffron, for instance which was devised based on things she had in her pantry.

“Pasta is one of those ingredients that Malaysians eat a lot of and it lasts really long too. And this dish is versatile because you don’t need to use mussels, you can use clams or even prawns – it still works really well. And I used the saffron because it is just something that I always have with me, but it can be omitted too, ” she says.

Anis’s lamb tenderloin on spicy beans meanwhile, is a recipe she came up with in response to the fact that her neighbourhood supermarket had no canned beans at all when the MCO started, which indicated to her that Malaysians had bought a lot of beans.

“After the first day of MCO, I was shocked by how I couldn’t find canned beans – not one type. I don’t think people usually buy beans, but everything was gone, maybe because of panic buying. So now I think there might be a lot of people thinking ‘What am I going to do with all these beans?’ So this recipe is for all those people who bought all these beans and don’t know what to do with them, ” she says, laughing.

GRILLED LAMB TENDERLOIN ON SPICY BEANS

400g lamb tenderloin, fat and silver skin removed

8 cloves garlic, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stalk spring onion, chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp smoked paprika

3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

500ml vegetable stock

600g canned butter beans/white kidney beans or beans of your choice

coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 tbsp honey

20g feta cheese

parsley and coriander, chopped, for garnishing.

To make

Marinate lamb with half the garlic, salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

Heat coconut oil in a frying pan and sauté onion, spring onion, and remaining garlic until fragrant.

Add tomato paste, chilli flakes, smoked paprika, thyme, balsamic vinegar, stock and beans. Season with sea salt, black pepper and honey and leave to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until mixture slightly thickens. Remove from the heat.

Heat grill/cast iron skillet/non-stick pan. Brush some coconut oil on the lamb. Grill marinated lamb on each side for 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and rest lamb for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve lamb on beans. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese and garnish with parsley and coriander.

PASTA WITH MUSSELS AND SAFFRON

olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, chopped

200ml clam stock/ chicken stock

a pinch saffron

250g mussels

70ml cream

white pepper to taste

salt and sugar to taste

20g French beans, blanched

250g fettuccine, boiled

3 tbsp unsalted butter

80g grated Parmesan cheese

To make

Heat olive oil in a pan with a bit of butter. Sauté chopped onions and garlic till fragrant. Add stock and saffron. Let simmer for 3 minutes.

Add mussels, and leave to simmer for another 4 minutes. Add cream, pepper, salt and sugar and mix well together. Then add beans and pasta and toss everything together. Finish it off with butter and Parmesan cheese.

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