One of the great things about premium Pilsener beer is its ability to cross over a broad range of dishes. Indeed, the light, refreshing, pleasingly bitter flavours are a perfect cut for dishes with richness or char, yet still subtle enough to be a neat foil for salads, vegetables, raw foods, seafood and dishes with chilli, ginger or other Asian spice.
Many people overlook beer as an element of dining. Or, at best, bring out the beers for an Indian feast or when tucking into yum cha. However, beer is way more versatile and way more suited to dining experiences than most expect. Indeed, it can also be the ‘healthier’ option if you opt for beer with zero alcohol, yet full flavour.
Here are some healthier option meal ideas for where alcohol free beer finds neat synergy:
1. Thai Beef Salad
Whisk up lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and palm sugar in a bowl, brown your beef in a pan, assemble your cut veggies including tomato, cucumber, onion, chilli, mint, coriander, basil, peanuts and lime leaves. Toss the lot together. The heat of chilli and variety of spice, sweetness and savouriness will marry perfectly with a frosty, refreshing beer.
2. Grilled Vegetables
Sure, it sounds like a side dish or something you eat alongside a hunk of meat, but grilled vegetables, done well, are a thing of beauty. Grab seasonal vegetables, brush them with oil, then sear on the BBQ. While you wait, mix up oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil and rosemary in a small bowl to use as dressing for when the char is just right. Season with salt and pepper. The final condiment is a cool glass of premium Pilsener.
3. Quick Fish Curry
You’re going to have to use high quality curry paste or know your way around the kitchen enough to make your own, but fry onions and garlic in a deep pan, then add curry paste, fry till fragrant, then add a can of chopped tomatoes and some stock. Once simmering, you can tip in some chunks of white fish fillets and cook gently for five minutes. Serve with garnish of herbs, but make sure you have a couple of nicely chilled Pilseners alongside – the light bitterness is palate-cooling and revitalising alongside curry.
4. Healthy BBQ Chicken
You know what’s fun? Eating something that feels like junk food, but is actually healthy. Hence, get some chicken quarters and marinate them in a combination of crushed garlic, soy sauce, mirin, caster sugar, and a dusting of pepper/salt. Fire up the barbecue and grill until cooked through. Serve with squeeze of lime. Bang on, and that teriyaki like vibe is a good match for thirst-slaking beer. Trying a flavoursome, alcohol free beer alongside will up the health ante.
5. Simple Quiche
Ok, so quiche usually doesn’t win the culinary Olympics, but as a quick, relatively healthy dish alongside a gigantic pile of garden leaf salad, it goes alright. You get a pie dish, you put in some pastry crust, you mix up ham, onion, mushrooms, cheese, salt and pepper, fry them up, then blend that combo into a jug of whisked eggs and milk. Pour the lot in the pie crust, bake until golden. Simple and delicious. The beer while making it and then alongside it just makes great sense.