Sunday, May 19, 2013

Twice Cooked Pork

The Sichuan style of twice cooked pork, adapted slightly for western tastes - this uses lean pork loin instead of the more typical skin on pork belly.  As such the double cooking isn't actually necessary; it can just be stir fried, but I include the whole double cooking method as a note if you want to try it with pork belly.  The amounts given here are for a single half pound pork chop, but you may well want to double that if cooking for two.

First cooking:
1/2 lb pork loin, trimmed, but in one piece

Other ingredients:
2-3 green onions, sliced in horse ear cuts
2-3 cabbage leaves, de-stemmed and chopped in roughly 1 inch squares
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
several dried chiles, de-seeded

2 T hot bean paste
1 T sweet bean paste
2 t sugar
2 T soy sauce
1-2 t dried black beans

Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil in the wok with the dried chiles and blacken them over high heat.  Add the pork and the garlic and stir fry briefly to slightly brown the pork and the garlic, remove both to a plate.   Add the sauce ingredients to the wok and stir fry until fragrant.  Add the cabbage leaves and stir fry briefly to wilt.  Add the green onions, then add in the reserved pork and garlic.  Toss briefly to coat then serve with rice.

Note:  If you want to cook this with the pork belly substitute that for the loin, and you'll use this as the first step:

Combine the pork with
2 pieces ginger, smashed with the flat of a knife
2 green onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2-3 t shaohsing rice wine
enough water to cover

Simmer the pork for half an hour or until it's starting to become tender.  Move the pork, still in water, into the fridge to cool down; this process can be sped up by dropping a couple of ice cubes in the water.  Once it's cooled slice into relatively thin bite-sized pieces; discard the other simmering ingredients.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Beef Panang Curry

A rich hearty coconut curry made easier by the use of canned curry paste.

2.5 lbs of beef, preferably a lean tough cut like top round, sliced thinly across the grain
1 can coconut milk (I prefer Chaokoh), NOT shaken
1 4-oz can panang curry paste (this can be cut down to 1/2 can if 4 oz is too hot)
Thai chiles to taste
3-4 T peanut butter
3 T roasted peanuts, ground
Fish sauce to taste
3-4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

When you open the can (assuming you haven't shaken it), you'll find that the top layer of the can is a thick solid, while the bottom will be a thin liquid; this is fine, it's just the coconut milk separating.  Transfer the solid top to a pot or wok and heat on medium, reserving the liquid in the can.  When the solid has melted and started to bubble add the curry paste and the chiles and saute for a minute or two until fragrant and well mixed.  Add the beef and a 1/4 C of fish sauce along with the the reserved liquid from the coconut milk.  If necessary add a little water to cover the beef, and simmer, covered, until the beef is tender, ~ an hour.  Uncover, add the peanut butter, roasted peanuts, and kaffir lime, and reduce the liquid until it's a thick sauce.  Add fish sauce and/or sugar if necessary to adjust the seasoning.

Serve with jasmine rice.

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

A simple and healthy Thai salad.

1 3-lb green papaya
12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 C roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
2/3 C small dried shrimp

10 T fresh lime juice
6 T palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
6 T fish sauce (this will vary some depending on how salty your fish sauce is)
8 cloves garlic, crushed or very finely minced
Thai chiles to taste, finely chopped

At least half an hour before making the salad combine the dressing ingredients to allow the sugar to dissolve and the flavors to blend.

Peel the papaya then shred it (this is most easily done using a julienne peeler); the resulting shreds should then be lightly bruised.  You can do this with a mortar and pestle, or by laying them out and giving them a few hits with a rolling pin.  Toss the papaya shreds in a bowl, then lightly bruise the tomatoes and add to the bowl.

Add the dressing and toss to coat, then sprinkle the peanuts and dried shrimp onto each portion as you serve.

Notes: Traditionally this would also include some cut and bruised long beans as well, but I'm not a giant fan of them un-cooked.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fried Brie with Anchovy and Capers

A simple tapas dish; the amounts given are per piece.

1 wonton wrapper
2 t brie
1/2 an anchovy filet, minced
2 capers

Place everything in the wonton wrapper and seal.  Fry at 350 until golden brown.

Fried Brie and Chorizo

A simple tapas dish.  The amounts given are for each piece

1 wonton wrapper
2 t brie
1 t minced chorizo (preferably Spanish)
a small drizzle of honey

Place everything in the wrapper and seal, either corner to corner forming a triangle, or the fancier four corner seal.  Fry in 350 degree oil until golden.