Chefs Go-to Pantry Dish

Between panic buyers, restricted imports and sourdough starters, grocery shopping is not what it used to be. With speciality ingredients becoming harder to find, basic pantry staples start to shine a little brighter. To make the most of your at-home meals, our chefs share their go-to dishes for when stock is running low.

Chef Jowett Yu, Ho Lee Fook

Cacio e Pepe is the ultimate pantry dish in my house. All it takes is three ingredients: cheese (I always have parmesan in the fridge, but hey, trying times mean there are no rules), any shape of pasta and black pepper. It takes less than 15 minutes to make and if done right it can even make you feel a bit fancy. If done wrong, well… can you even go wrong with cheese and pasta?

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Chef Braden Reardon, Carbone

My pantry is always quite well stocked, but I tend to lean on noodles mixed up with different sauces and condiments. Right now I am really into chilled soba, so I’ll make that topped with soy sauce, sesame, furikake spices, any crunchy vegetable (like cucumbers or radishes) and pickled vegetables to balance it all out.

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Chef Gisela Alesbrook, Hotal Colombo

I love to spice up dry instant noodles, particularly King Pot Noodles. Instead of boiling the noodles completely, I par-cook them in boiled water then stir fry till perfectly chewy with all my additives. Typically that includes shrimp and any veggies or fresh herbs that are within reach. I also replace the seasoning packets with chilli powder, black pepper and curry powder.

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Chef Lisette Magampon, Osteria Marzia

Pantry pasta is my favourite dish to whip up last minute. One of my favourite versions includes tinned anchovies, which add incredible umami without being fishy, sautéed in olive oil with chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon. If I have any fresh parsley or basil in my fridge I would throw those in as well. Toss with any good dry pasta.

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Chef Theign Yie Phan, Le Garçon Saigon

I make sure that my pantry is stocked with easy-to-find dry ingredients in case I ever want to make a quick soup. That means dashi packets, dried seaweed, crispy anchovies, fried shallots and different types of noodles. Miso is something that I keep in the fridge because it has such a long shelf life and dashi packets are a real flavour-saver. With these staples, I can go a couple of different directions with my soup: Japanese with the miso and seaweed, or South-East Asian with the anchovies. Either way, garnish with crispy shallots!

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Chef Tony Ferreira, Black Sheep Restaurants

I’m a breakfast guy and one of my go-to pantry dishes is French Toast. Sounds like a lot of work, but all you need are some everyday staples. I soak whatever kind of bread I have in condensed milk, fry it up and serve it with butter, peanut butter and maple syrup. And when all else fails, canned corn is always a thing. Just add butter and parm!

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