How to Cook, Eat and Order Climate-Friendly Meals
In partnership with Food Made Good

How to Cook, Eat and Order Climate-Friendly Meals

As the world warms, a sustainability enterprise wants to show you how to eat green with recipes, a map of restaurants, and chef-led workshops

With a warming world fuelling some of the fiercest fires in the US, and record floods in Asia - chefs are rushing to the rescue. Yes, chefs. That's the belief of a food sustainability enterprise, that the answers to some of the most urgent climate problems lie in a plate of food. 

Well, it's something we certainly think a lot about here too. You see, our food system is responsible for about a quarter of planet-warming greenhouse gases. That's all the way from a cow burping methane, to forests being cleared for livestock, and the way food is shipped worldwide. 

Food Made Good's three pillars of food sustainability. Photo: Food Made Good

That's why starting every Monday for six weeks, Food Made Good Hong Kong (which we're proud partners with!) is gathering top chefs and the community in a series of inaugural sessions (with delicious cooking included) - that answer pressing questions like, "How will my meals look like in a warming planet?", and more crucially, "How can I eat, cook and shop in a way that's still full of flavour, and does the climate a big favour?"

If you haven't signed up for these One Planet Plate sessions, you can do so here. But if you're outside of Hong Kong, there's still a treasure-trove of information on green restaurants, and for the homecook, loads of climate-friendly recipes that you can pour over as part of their mission to make food sustainable for all. 

Now with the help of that handy recipe collection, and some of ours, let's take you through some ways to make your meal easier on the planet:

More veg, less meat please!

One Planet Plate's recipe submission: Turmeric fried rice with choy sum. Photo: One Planet Plate/SOHOFAMA

So, you might think that it's hard to make your meals climate-friendly. But all this really means, is for instance, adding more vegetables in a golden turmeric and choy sum fried rice (pictured). Easy right? There's more like that to dive into, in our snappy list that features 10 of the tastiest and easiest ways to make vegetables

Well, they're a big deal in eating green as plant-based foods have the least impact on the environment compared to meat. So if you're concerned about the climate and want to change your diet, moving away from a meat-heavy diet to a vegetarian and vegan one is the most effective way. You know, avocado toast, tofu, hummus, beans, grains and nuts. In particular, we're recommending this nutty, plump, lemon-slicked edamame hummus that you can make in minutes and refrigerate for later. And, this herby, garlicky, tempeh nuggets that are addictively crisp, full of flavour and protein. 

But if you're not prepared to go all the way, then simply do less meat, more plants, and one more thing, reduce diary - like in this spiced cauliflower and coconut creamed dhal. Studies show that of all diary products, cheese is the top contributor to a warming world. And of all "milk" types, cow milk is the top climate contributor. Generally, oat, almond and soy have the smallest footprint, almond in particular, has the lowest.

Use better meat 

Our sweet and peppery Korean fried chicken recipe

Generally, meat has an unusally large impact on the climate, and some meat much more than others. Beef and lamb fare much worse than chicken, for instance. That's because the former two make the biggest climate footprint per protein gram. Though how cows are reared matters too - some argue there are different climate impacts from grass-fed vs grain-fed beef. Generally, pork and particularly chicken, in comparison, have much less climate impact. And if you've been following us for some time now, you've got to celebrate - because some of our best recipes are all about chicken.

We've got sizzling Korean gochujang chicken, a very popular recipe, maple and vinegar glazed chicken wings for easy picking, and a lot more that you can browse through here.

And look at our partner's impressive recipe collection too - here's one that uses goat meat, skewered and smoked in a caramelised kecap manis Indonesian satay mix

Buy sustainable fish

One Planet Plate's recipe submission: Slow poached salmon in tomato consomme. Photo: One Planet Plate/FEAST.

Besides that though, there are other ways to make a meal climate-friendly. Let's talk about fish. The general rule of thumb is that wild fish like sardines, anchovies (we know them most readily in South East Asian cooking as ikan bilis) and other small fish have the least environmental impact. Salmon and tuna are also choice picks. There are differences between farmed and wild-caught ones though, so, always read labels, or ask your fish monger.

Outside of fish, oysters, scallops and clams are have the second lowest climate impact. To that end, we've got great recipes for the mollusks lovers. We'd recommend starting with a spicy, smoky sambal-shrimp paste clam dish - a Malaysian favourite. Or, a silky, garlicky Hong Kong styled pan-seared scallops with glass noodles.

And if you want to go deeper, view this entire collection and select the filter "sources fish sustainably".

Love local and seasonal

Organically-grown herbs from session leader Justine Kwok's Flow Farm and Sanctuary. Photo: Flow Farm and Sanctuary

In other words, use the produce you have in your neighbourhood, and use the ones available now. The biggest reason for this approach lies in the transportation. If you're in the Philippines for instance, a trip to the supermarket will typically yield locally-grown pineapples, mangoes, bananas, rice and other meal essentials. So, you'd be making less of dent on the climate than buying flown-in fruits and other exports that are shipped by plane.

In export-reliant cities like Singapore and Hong Kong though, it may be tougher to find local produce, even as farms grow in the city through smart engineering. To begin, find out from your local supermarket or city authorities on the kinds of local produce available.

Waste less, or none, if you can 

One Planet Plate's recipe submission: Kimchi cauliflower stem. Photo: One Planet Plate/Caravan.

Things like potato peels, wilted scallions and fruit peels do in fact have recipes of their own. We have one here, that fries discarded potato peels to a five-spiced crisp and uses wilted scallions in a dark and savoury Hong Kong ginger-scallion sauce.  Stalks, stems and cores are other useful food scraps to keep. This ginger, beetroot and pineapple smoothie uses the juice of normally discarded pineapple cores.

And we just love this recipe for a spicy, snappy cauliflower stem kimchi (pictured) that brilliantly substitutes cabbage for often thrown out cauliflower stems. There's plenty more ideas for climate-friendly meals in this recipe collection, just scroll down. And if you're digging through our site too, check out these vegetarian and vegan recipes to begin. 

  • Waste No Food, led by Punam Chopra @spiceboxorganics, and Chris Ho @ho_la_ho_sik, are the final of six-week sessions. They take place on 23 Nov 2020. For all session listings, see here

The One Planet Plate Launch in Hong Kong is a Food Made Good event in partnership with WWF Hong Kong, Hysan Development and Asian Food Network from 12 Oct - 23 Nov. Follow this event on their Facebook and InstagramAll recipes from the sessions will be made available on asianfoodnetwork.com.

  • Food Made Good is a global sustainability consultancy with an internationally lauded framework that measures and awards food businesses with sustainable food practices, and is a trusted sustainability food partner with The World's 50 Best and San Pellegrino Young Chefs. To find out more and join the sustainability food movement, visit foodmadegood.hk or contact hello@foodmadegood.hk . 

Reviews

Share Recipe
Close

We use cookies to enhance your experience, for analytics and to show you offers tailored to your interests on our site and third party sites. For more information, please refer to our Cookie Policy.

By clicking "Accept", you agree to our use of cookies and similar technologies.