With 22 years of cooking experience under her apron, it’s safe to say MasterChef alumni Jenny Lam knows her way around the kitchen.
As a proud Western Australian, she also appreciates the value of our homegrown goodness. Jenny supports local suppliers who invest the time and effort to grow delicious and nutritious produce in our very own backyard.
We asked Jenny to show us how she creates her delicious Thai green curry using a range of home-grown ingredients, then sat down with her to chat more about the beauty of homegrown goodness.
Try Jenny Lams’s Thai green curry recipe and read on for an insight into how Jenny makes the most of her time in the kitchen, avoids food waste and makes ingredients dance on the plate!
Q&A With Jenny Lam
How would you describe your cooking style?
My cooking style is all about great ingredients, quick and easy to make as my working weeks are generally 50 hours plus. I want to eat tasty good food but without it being a big hassle.
What are some of the benefits of growing your own produce and is it an all-ages activity?
It’s definitely an all-ages activity!
Some plants are super-resilient and need very little maintenance, so as a young grower I would start with plants like chilli, or lemongrass. (Even if you forget it for a day or two to water it’ll survive and grow!)
There is so much joy in growing, harvesting and eating your own produce. I always feel like I accomplished something watching the herbs, vegetables in my garden come to life and when they taste so amazing,
I feel great because I know exactly where they came from, what went into them and they’re free of harmful pesticides.
They also last way longer in the fridge and have a much better flavour!
What are a few vegetables or fruits that can be used in multiple ways in the kitchen?
Carrot and broccoli are great vegetables as nothing needs to get thrown out, you can use the tops in a salad for garnishing and extra flavour and colour.
You can also eat the whole broccoli – leaves, stems, florets – they all have different flavours and texture.
What are different ways to cook the ingredients in your Thai green curry recipe?
Sweet potato is my favourite and so versatile! You can bake them with a bit of honey and cumin or chilli spice, boil them and mash them up with a bit of butter, or even fry them and make sweet potato chips!
What are your thoughts on zero waste in the kitchen?
I’m all about sustainability. I mean you would never throw out free food, right?
My food scraps are free food for my plants and chickens, so I always try to reuse and keep in mind what you put in is what you get out – in the garden and in life.
Describe a simple vegetable stock you can make at home?
Easy. Broil two large brown onions, six carrots and a piece of ginger until charred and fragrant.
Place into a large stockpot and fill up with water, add half a bunch of celery, some peppercorns and thyme – then cook for two hours.
Strain season with salt and bit of sugar. Enjoy!
Do you have your own garden? What do you love to grow?
I do love growing my own ingredients mostly chillies, citrus and herbs.
I also grow my own lemongrass, lemons, quite a big variety of Vietnamese herbs and many different types of chillies.
A work in progress is my passionfruit vine and papaya trees. I ate my own passionfruit last year though which was cool!
Any tips on storing fresh produce to make them last longer?
Wrap a damp kitchen cloth around your herbs and greens before placing them into your fridge. This will keep the crisp for much, much longer.
Do you make your own sauces or pickles? Any tips for us?
I make my own chilli oil and a variety of Asian pickles at home.
My tip for preserving pickles and bottling your own sauces/oils/creations is a very sterile air-tight jar.
Keep them out of direct sunlight as well once bottled. It will keep the flavour more intense and lengthen the shelf life.
How can you make the green curry paste you’ve used in this recipe at home?
They’re actually very easy to make, it’s more just the length of ingredients, so when I make it I make a few jars worth and give them away as gifts to family members.
Green curry paste basic recipe
- Place the following ingredients in a good blender or processor once they’ve been cut down into smaller slices.
- Blend until a paste comes together; coriander root, lemongrass stalk, galangal, turmeric, ground coriander, ground pepper, ground cumin, a handful of green chillies.
- Add the juice of one lime, a lime leaf or two, a teaspoon of palm sugar, and a teaspoon of blachan (shrimp paste).
A good curry paste will last a month in the fridge, any longer and the aromatics and flavours just aren’t as intense.
What year-round produce do you work with?
Two of my absolute favourites: lemongrass and chilli.
Enjoy a taste of homegrown goodness from Jenny Lam’s Vietnamese restaurant, Bunn Mee
In 2019, Jenny opened the doors to Bunn Mee in Leederville – teaming with mum, dad and sister to share their love for Vietnamese street food with locals.
Right now Bunn Mee’s dishing up a range of fragrant and delicious takeaway options, so check out this homegrown restaurant and keep supporting local businesses.