For anyone that doesn’t know, Cape Town is experiencing the most excruciating drought in like forever and due to a whole cluster of circumstances that are all quite controversial, we are facing having our water cut off in April. We could become the first major city in the world to literally run out of water and its all quite terrifying. Water restrictions are in place and we are all encouraged to use 50 litres per day (13.2 gallons). One toilet flush uses around 9 litres and a two-minute shower around 30 litres, so you can see how this has led to radical changes in the way we manage water in our homes. Recycling grey water multiple times and cutting back on all the heavy use activities such as laundry and flushing is the order of the day. I thought I would share a few tips on how to cook using very little to no water. You can see a list of 20 recipes that don’t use any water to help inspire you. This recipe by Franck Dangereux for grilled soy & lime hake with charred greens, fresh tomato & a chili is a perfect recipe to do just that.
The recipe comes from UCOOK, a fantastic home meal service that has added water-wise recipes to their weekly rotation. I have made many meals from this service (you can see them all here), and can highly recommend them. You will find the recipe for this delicious low-carb meal at the bottom of this post (#NOTsponsored).
10 Tips to reduce water use in the kitchen
- The obvious one is to focus on recipes that don’t require a large amount of water to cook the food. So boiling rice or pasta would be an example. If you absolutely have to then try recipes that incorporate the water in the dish like a pilaf or risotto. Or, make pasta dishes where no pre-boiling is required like lasagna and cannelloni. Think of grilling, frying, roasting, braising and braaing (barbecue) as good ways to save on water. Fire up the coals and getting cooking outside. Avoid sushi rice and these delicious poke bowls at all cost as a ridiculous amount of water is used to rinse the rice.
- To save on washing up, line your roasting pans with foil, which can be reused and then discarded
- One-pot wonder dishes are your friend here and Google will deliver a plethora for you, you don’t want to be washing up multiple pans.
- Slow cooking in a slow cooker or fast cooking in a pressure cooker are other good cooking techniques to consider.
- Baking uses no water and if you line the pans with baking paper you won’t have any washing up, so I say dive right in and bake the no-water blues away.
- Salads and raw dishes are a good way to go, just rinse the vegetables in a bowl of water and recycle that to wash the dishes.
- Because we are washing up less and have to keep dirty dishes longer to build up a load, I find rinsing them before helpful to prevent food getting really caked on. Use grey water from laundry to rinse, or spray with a spray bottle and wipe with paper towel. This will make the washing up so much easier.
- Use the right equipment in the kitchen to minimize washing and I absolutely LOVE my Le Creuset ribbed rectangular griddle pan (#NOT sponsored either). I can cook an entire meal (like Francks’s grilled hake recipe here) in one go on this pan. It can be wiped clean with paper towel or a damp cloth afterwards.
- I would normally be trying to minimize on the use of disposable wet wipes, paper towel and foil but in times of crises, these all come in very handy. Use paper plates if things get really dire. So eat out the pizza box or Chinese takeout containers if these establishments will remain open when the water runs out. I think we will all need to be saving time when we have to worry about our basic water supply.
- Better planning and time management is going to be critical now and in the future. Reduce the number of shopping trips to save time and plan the meals in advance on a weekly basis. Think it all through and get a plan of action in place.
What are your water saving tips in the kitchen? please leve a comment below so we can all learn.
Click over here to find a few recipes that don’t use any water
- 1 Hake fillet
- 80g Asparagus
- 175g Zucchini
- 80g Baby tomatoes
- 5g Coriander (small handful)
- 1/2 Lime (juiced)
- 1/4 - ½ Red chili
- 1 Tbs Soy sauce
- Start with your dressing to get the flavours developing. De-seed and finely slice your chili. Place your chilli (to your heat preference) in a jar that has a lid. Add your soy sauce, some fresh lime juice (to your taste) and salt. Close the lid and give it a vigorous shake. Taste to test and season with further lime juice and salt. If you do not have a jar, simply place your ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
- Place a grill pan (or normal non-stick pan) over a high heat.
- In the meantime, brush off any dirt from the asparagus and zucchini (or rinse if you have water). Halve the thinner zucchinis and quater the thicker ones. Trim 1cm off the ends of the asparagus, and halve the thicker asparagus stalks lengthways. The zucchini and asparagus should be a similar thickness to assist with quicker and equal cooking times. Place both in a bowl, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and season well with salt. Toss until well coated.
- Depending on the size of your grill pan, do this in batches to avoid overlapping. Place the asparagus and zucchini carefully on your hot grill pan and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. They should be charred on both sides and cooked, but still “al dente” (a bit crunchy). Use tongs to turn the veggies as they brown on all sides. When the veggies are cooked, return them to the bowl.
- In the meantime, half the baby tomatoes and add them to the bowl (use hte same bowl you tossed hte asparagus & zucchinni in). We are being waterless in this recipe so dust the dirt off the coriander with paper towel or a cloth, then roughly chop it. Add it to the bowl.
- Once your grilled greens are back in the bowl too, add a further drizzle of olive oil, toss to combine and season further with salt and pepper.
- Place a non-stick pan over medium heat. Rub your hake with a drizzle of olive oil and salt on both sides. When the pan is hot, add the hake (skin side down) and pan-fry for 4-6 minutes until the skin is golden and turning crispy. Then turn and repeat until cooked through. Remove from the pan, season with salt & pepper and let it rest for 2 minutes.
- To serve, dish up the grilled greens and fresh tomato salad. Top with the golden hake and drizzle over your dressing (to your preference). Enjoy!
- CHEF'S NOTE: Please note that our fishmonger does his best to de-bone the fish for you, however one or two bones may slip through.
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