Showing posts with label asian style. Show all posts
Showing posts with label asian style. Show all posts

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Asian Braised Pork Belly


like i always say...

you can't go wrong with pork belly.

it's easy, hard to over cook and always meaty fatty delicious.
this one is skin free and fully braised with Asian aromatics.
no crispy skin technique here...
this one just melts in your mouth.


it's definitely delicious after a 20 minute rest, but i like to let it cool and refrigerate.  then slice and give a quick sear in a medium hot pan.  serve with just about anything...on burgers, in a panini, with eggs, in spring rolls or just in is own broth with a few of the caramelized shallots.
FYI...it freezes well to.


2-3 pound pork belly, no skin

FOR THE BRAISING LIQUID

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
ginger juice, i squeezed a few slices with my garlic press
3 star anise
1 Tbsp brown sugar
a few ginger slices
mix this together until sugar dissolves.
TASTE TEST.  add a little more this or that if necessary.  i'm sure i did.
ALSO...if this is not enough liquid for a braise (because your braisers vary) add a little chicken stock or just some more of the ingredients above.
NOTE...the shallots will weep so do not over do the liquid or you will be boiling the bottom of the belly.

make a bed in the bottom of braiser as shown below...
shallots, smashed garlic ginger slices, star anise.



place belly on bed and pour over braising liquid.  sprinkle with salt and szechwan peppercorns.
cover and put in 320 F oven for about 2 hours, then turn down to 300 for about another 1 1/2 hour, maybe 2 hr...  check your braising liquid.  do you need to take some out?...do you need to add a little?
  EVERY PORK BELLY IS DIFFERENT
you just have to check on it.  if it is truly fork tender then it is ready.
TOTAL TIME APPROX. 3 1/2 TO 4 HOURS

don't worry about the dark ugly looking burnt pan.  this one cleaned off in minutes

serve as is, melt in the mouth...
OR chill over night and slice off and sear as needed.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Duck Tongues. Two ways. Slow Simmer and Oven Braised


DUCK TONGUES !

OFFAL DELICIOUS


YES, ducks do have tongues
YES, people DO eat them and...
YES...i DID go there.

SUPER FUN STRANGE
yet quite delicious

now i see why these are considered a bar-snack or dim sum nibble in the Asian culture.  once you give in and try one you'll find yourself with a pile of 20 or so bones that you've sucked clean.  aside from the "odd-bits" factor, they are quite unique and fun to eat.  i would say it's most similar to a chicken tail or "the Pope's Nose" as my colorful 108 year old Grandmother used to call it.
SO HERE WE GO....i cooked them two ways.  1/2 pound was slowly simmered in an Asian flavored duck stock and 1/2 was marinaded in sweet, spicy soy, ginger, star anise... then braised in the oven.  i think the slow simmer worked best for cooking, but the sauce from the braise was delicious for dipping.
next time i think i will combine the two somehow or maybe i'll try Chichi' Wang's version over at "The Nasty bits"
NOTE...this is a very "Americanized" version of duck tongues.  i do not have a wok, a pantry full of fabulous Chinese ingredients or the proper skills to throw together an authentic Asian-style duck tongues recipe, so this is what i came up with...AND IT WORKED.  i will definitely be having these again SOON.



inflation has hit the duck tongues market.  i remember when i first saw these about 2-3 years ago.  i had no idea what to do with them so i never bought them...too bad.  had i known they were this much FUN i would have purchased a bundle.  i think they were about 5.00$ a pound...now they are 16.99$ a pound

1st...you must rinse

photo above is the cold water bath
2nd...you must do a short pre-boil
put about 7 thin slices of ginger in a pot of water, a good pinch of salt and enough water to totally cover the tongues.  bring the water to a boil and throw in the tongues.  let them boil for 2-3 minutes.  remove them, drain hot water and put them in a cold water bath to stop the cooking.

now you can cook them as you please.
I EXPERIMENTED 2 WAYS...


MARINADE then OVEN BRAISE
FOR THE MARINADE...
1/4 cup soy
1 large T minced ginger
2 star anise
3 T brown sugar
1/2 T sambal chili garlic sauce
splash of shauxing wine
1 small scallion sliced
put tongues in marinade for 30-40 minutes.
strain tongues from marinade and put in oven safe dish.  save the marinade, but it must be boiled if you intend to use it as a sauce.

i poured some "Soy Vay" Hoisin Garlic Sauce over the tongues with a few crushed garlic cloves, a drizzle of sesame oil and added just a bit of stock so there was enough liquid to braise, but NOT boil.
(photo above is before adding the stock)
i had this in the oven, covered,  at 320 F for about 1/2 hour.  checked it at 1/2 hour.  they were still a bit chewy so i lowered to 300 F and continued for another 1/2 hour.
the end result was delicious, but i found that these tongues shrank just a bit...they were not as plump as the slow simmer batch. (example below)
slow simmer on left...marinade/braise right
2nd cooking method...
SLOW SIMMER IN ASIAN DUCK STOCK

i was lucky enough to have some duck stock in my freezer.
find the recipe for Asian flavored duck stock HERE
i suppose you could use homemade chicken stock, but i wanted to get the full "duck" experience.
to the stock i added a couple of star anise, a few ginger pieces, a short stick of lemongrass (tied and slightly pounded), a little bit of garlic chili sauce and a chopped spring onion to the simmer.
bring to a boil and then to a very slow simmer.  check on them until they are done to your liking.  i wanted them fairly soft so they were in for about an hour.

they are delicious straight out of the pot.  serve with or without sauce, over noodles or deep fry to make them crispy good.  mine never made it to the fryer, but i will try this next time.
here's the weird part....
this is what you will find inside the duck tongue
the tip is flubbery and edible if cooked long enough, the flat part is hard cartilage and there is a pebble size bone at the very end.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Sea Tangle Noodle Slaw with Vietnamese Dressing



crunchy, tart, crisp, slippery, sweet, savory, tangy and spicy

this is my new favorite salad.  i've had it every day for a week.   by it's self, a great light snack or lunch, but topped with shrimp, shredded chicken, BBQ'd salmon?..a delicious, filling, low fat, low calorie meal.  fresh and easy when you have some made up in the fridge.   it saves well and gets even better as it sits.  

 i came across these strange Sea Tangle noodles at one of my Asian markets.  i always have to try the weird thing that i've never seen before.  

what a find!...these things are good!
the texture is soooo unexpected.  they are crunchy right out of the bag...i mean CRUNCHY!  they do soften a bit when the dressing is applied or after it sits.
the flavor?...there is none, so the noodles make for a great blank canvas.
great for filling up...they only have 6 calories per large handful.  perfect for watching the swimsuit waistline.


they DO come in a big "tangle"...easy to separate and the wad in the bag grows into a HUGE pile o'glassy noodles.

if the crunch is too weird for you, put them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes with a few squeezes of lemon juice.  them strain them and dry as well as you can before putting them in salad. 
they are also good warm.  i haven't come up with any recipes yet, but i did try this dressing on the warm soft noodles and i think it would make a great side for something...anything.

hey...they're only 6 calories !
eat them with everything.


ASIAN SLAW SALAD

about 2 cups Sea Tangle Noodles, rinsed and dried as well as poss.
1 1/2-2 cups savoy cabbage, sliced very thin
10 snap peas, sliced diagonal
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1 celery stalk, slice thin on the diagonal
 4 large basil...chiffonade
quite a few mint leaves depending on size...(i used about 10.  mine were very small)  torn or chiffonade
scallion or chives..i like just the green of the scallion.
toasted sesame seeds optional, but delicious add.



VIETNAMESE STYLE DRESSING

2 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
 1 to 2 tsp fresh ginger put through garlic press to extract juice and a little minced ginger.
pinch of red pepper flakes.

mix all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.  TASTE TEST...i might have added a little squeeze more lime.  put it in a glass jar.  i usually double the recipe so it's ready in the fridge..  give the jar a good shake before using.
NOTE...use sparingly so as not to over dress your salad.  the salad will save better and sesame oil flavor goes a loooonnnng way.   this was very good the next day for a packed lunch.

this is a bag to look for.  look carefully among the konjac and shirataki noodles.  it took me 5 or 10 minutes to locate another bag in the market.  i found this large bag at H Mart in irvine.  i have recently seen a few bags at Mother's Market, so i bet your local health food store might carry them.
by the way...this is "THE" fish sauce commonly used in Vietnamese cooking.  my friend Cathy gave me this big bottle of fish sauce that her Mom uses at her PHO restaurant in Little Saigon.  she says this is "the" one to use.  it is far better than the commercial one i bought at my local market.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vietnamese Coffee Jelly Dessert...easy


super easy, clean and tasty cool dessert for a summer party.

OR...just kick start your day,
maybe brighten a June gloom afternoon...

coffee jelly, or JELLO as we call it, is a popular dessert in Asia.  in Japan they serve it black, slightly sweetened in a cup...or sometimes offer it with ice cream or in milkshakes.  it's even served with student lunches in public schools.  this cute little easy dessert is Vietnamese inspired simply because it is a strong brewed coffee paired with a healthy spoonful of sweetened condensed milk.  my friend Cathy gave me some delicious coffee from her Mother's Pho restaurant (best Pho in Little Saigon)...so i thought i'd use that for this treat.  her preferred brand is Cafe La LLave.


Vietnamese coffee is usually very strong, brewed in a Phin Filter or can be made in a French press for larger quantity.  use a bold flavor...Cafe du Monde is popular with it's chicory flavor, but a nice French or Italian roast will do.  see my post on Vietnamese coffee HERE.

sweetened condensed milk...the most preferred Vietnamese brand would be the Longevity Gold Brand, but good old American Eagle Brand will be just fine.

NOTE about "jelly"...  quite often you will see jellys made with "agar agar", but i prefer the texture of good ol' jello.


VIETNAMESE COFFEE JELLY DESSERT

COFFEE JELLY...jello

1/2 cup cold strong coffee
1 1/4 cup very hot STRONG coffee
2 packet plain gelatin
sweeten or flavor coffee to your liking
put the gelatin into the 1/2 cup cold coffee, wait 5 minutes for gelatin to "bloom".  heat 1 1/4 cups strong coffee to almost boil and pour into cold mixture.  stir to completely dissolve/combine.  lightly, i say lightly spray a square or rectangle vessel of choice.  choose a vessel that will make it easy to cube.  refrigerate until firm and set....a few hours.
NOTE...these measurements (1 3/4 cups liquid) make a wiggly jello texture, but DOES cut into cubes.  i thought this ratio was a perfect texture for this particular dessert, but if you want it just a bit more firm, cut the liquid to 1 1/2 cups total.

TO ASSEMBLE...
cut the jello into 1/2 inch cubes, set aside 
1-2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of cup
put cubes in cup with the condensed milk
whipped cream of choice for topping
cocoa powder for sprinkle
chocolate covered espresso beans to garnish

NOTE...in the morning i like my "jelly treat" a little less sugary.  try a thick vanilla or chocolate protein shake with the coffee jelly cubes.  it's definitely not "Vietnamese" style...BUT it IS a quick fun protein  pick-me-up.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Malaysian Honeycomb cake...aka "Ant's Nest Cake"


KEK SARANG SEMUT...

aka ANT'S NEST CAKE

how cool is this cake?

you might have seen the Vietnamese Pandan Honeycomb Cake i did last month.  this one is similar in texture, but much easier to make.  you'll probably get it right the first try and unlike the finicky Pandan Honeycomb, you most likely have the ingredients at home.


the flavor is a very subtle caramelized sugar...not too sweet.  some of my taste testers considered it a bit plain on it's own, but delicious paired with a Vietnamese coffee or a cool iced latte.  the texture is what's most interesting...moist...a little cakey on the top, but almost chewy.  hard to describe.

if your looking for a "fancy cake"...this isn't it.  it won't compete with a triple layer double chocolate that everyone expects, but it sure is interesting and out of the ordinary with a lot of possibilities.  breakfast treat?...afternoon tea/latte?
dressed up for a unique dessert?

a warm drizzle of salted caramel?...YES please

i liked it so much that i will make it again.  next time i might try a few add-ins like a touch of vanilla or a dash of cardamom?...a splash of espresso?...star anise?


MALAYSIAN HONEYCOMB CAKE
many thanks to "House of Annie" with great step by step instructions

210 g sugar
240g water...just 250ml
80g butter
6 eggs
160g condensed milk
180g all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

caramelize the sugar until it turns a dark golden brown.  this means the sugar alone goes into the pan.  keep a very close eye so as not to burn it around the edges as i almost did.  don't hurry it and don't worry...it will slowly melt and turn into a dark golden liquid caramel.
SLOWLY and CAREFULLY pour the water into the caramel.  this will spatter and boil and seize up for the first minute or so...not to worry, it will return to a this liquid syrup.  remove from heat.  add the butter and set aside to cool.
preheat the oven to 350F USING BOTTOM ELEMENT ONLY
grease a 9 inch round cake pan
mix the egg and condensed milk in a bowl
sift the flour and baking soda together and add to the egg/milk mixture...mix well.
pour the caramel butter sauce into the batter and mix well.
pour batter into prepared pan.  let sit for 5 minutes for the bubbles to begin developing.
bake at 350F with bottom element only.  no convection for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
when the cake is cool, turn it out onto a plate.

serve sliced on it's own it has a nice caramelized sugar flavor.  fresh whipped cream and or ice cream would be a nice add...
BUT the honeycomb tunnels are just begging for some delicious sauce.

give it a try and get creative with your presentation.  i'm sure it will be a hit and a definite conversation starter.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Soy Sesame Ginger Marinated Pork Belly Roll - Roasted Crispy Skin


someone please stop me from buying a pork belly EVERY WEEK !

I CAN'T HELP MYSELF

i love how versatile it is.  you can dress it up for a fancy dinner party or simply slice a piece off for quick sear.  you can go straight up crispy porkalicious...or...fresh herb roll, maybe a spicy Mexican belly?  how about a brown sugar apple onion crispy skin slab OR for this one i went with some Asian flavors and tried a simple overnight marinade.


i'm also in love with "THE ROASTED ROLL"
the crispy skin surrounds the whole roast and the inside is well flavored and super moist.  of course it's at it's prime just 20 minutes out of the oven, but left-overs are great.  after it's chilled the roll slices very easily for a good quick sear.  i can have an unctuous pork belly meal any time of day.  breakfast is delicious with a fried egg and maple syrup, lunch might be a few lettuce wraps and dinner?...well...i don't eat dinner after all that belly during the day, but i'm sure a slab with some mash or polenta would work well for anybody. 


the roll is also a great way to disguise a flawed, or not so great looking, slab of pork belly...
this one came out quite good considering the piece i started with.
my pork belly was sadly misshapen.  i was not a happy camper when i unwrapped the belly at 10pm.  i had intended this to be a big beautiful slab of pork belly for all to admire.  instead i got one with a big chunk taken out of the skin, meat falling apart and... 

A BOOB !

this boob or "extra bit" has happened to me before with Jamie Oliver's Crispy Pork Belly with extra BITS post.  you might notice the boob is at the very bottom-end of the belly.  maybe the big chunk taken out was another boob?


MARINADE
you might not use it all depending on your cooking method.  i should have reserved some for a nice sauce.

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Shaoxing wine
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tsp fresh ginger, pressed through garlic press
a few slices of fresh ginger
1 clove garlic sliced thin
2 scallions, sliced (about 3 Tbsp.)

ROLLING AND ROASTING...
this was a 2.15 pound boneless pork belly
rinse and dry your pork belly.  
poke holes in the skin with sharp skewer and score the belly(as shown) with a sharp knife OR BOX CUTTER
(i did not do a uniform job on this one because this belly was very unruly)
preheat the oven to 320F, NON-convection.
ROLL THE  ROAST AS DISCUSSED BELOW.
cover roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
slice 2 onions, thick, and lay them under a roasting rack, as shown.
pour just a little stock or wine over the onions so there will be a little moisture going in the oven.
place roast on rack and LOOSELY tent the roast.
put in oven and check every hour.  check to see that there is still a little liquid in the roasting pan...add a touch more whenever needed.  depending on the size it should be fork tender in about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
remove tent and crank the oven up to 380F convection.  i had the top element turned on as well.  you could go straight broiler element at 400F if you do not have convection..  watch carefully until the skin starts to puff and is good and crispy, but not burnt.  you may want to rotate the roast to get even crisp.
remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.
use a very very sharp knife to slice.  the crispy skin is a bit difficult, but that's part of the charm.  the chef gets the crisp bits that fall off.

BELOW ARE A FEW PHOTOS FOR SOME VISUAL AID

 find a vessel that the belly will fit snug in.  put marinade in, but don't let it come up to the skin...just the meat should be marinated.  put this in the fridge, uncovered so the skin will be as dry as possible.  marinade overnight.
remove from marinade, being careful not to get the skin wet...if possible.  if rolling...place skin side down on some paper towels, add your extras, roll and tie it up.  get help...you'll need an extra set of hands.
NOTE...an after thought...i would put some of the solids from the marinade inside the roll.  ie. the scallion, ginger, garlic and some brown sugar and a drizzle of sesame oil.  this would bump up the flavor a bit more than mine.
 i decided to roll this piece.  it was so misshapen and kind of falling apart.  as you can see i practically put the thing in bondage to hold it together.  once it was cooked and had taken shape, i removed some of the strings to crisp the skin...not the 3 holding the roll together.
in the oven partially tented so as not to brown the skin too quickly.

i watched the skin carefully.  when the top and sides were popping and crispy i turned it over to get the underside a bit crisp.  this is not necessary, but i was experimenting to get the entire skin crispy.  it worked...with a watchful eye and tender loving care.

OFF TO BUY ANOTHER BELLY...
stay tuned for the next one.
i think i might go spicy Mexican flavors

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Banh Gan...Vietnamese Flan with Espresso


and so continues my fascination into the Vietnamese culinary world.
 
there are so many sweets and savories that i find interesting, odd, delicious and dare i say...just a bit SCARY?

scary is what keeps me coming back for more.

this Vietnamese treat is strangely addicting.  i've made it 4 times now with different recipes each time.  one better than the next.  i posted Banh Gan #1 here, but didn't find it necessary to post about the others until this one.  the espresso, chocolate and star anise pair so well with the rich caramelized brown sugar.  the texture was spot on....like a very dense flan or egg custard.

a thin slice or a few simple cubes with a nice little Vietnamese coffee or espresso will settle your afternoon or polish off a lovely dinner party.


lately i find my self roaming the streets of Little Saigon here in Westminster about twice a month.   my first experience was rather unpleasant, but that might be due to the "unknown" and my American ways.  i have since gained a little rapport in a few of the tiny shops.  occasionally i can make the vendors crack a smile or two and let me on a few of their secrets...with translation from a helpful customer.

i still stick out like a sore thumb,  have no idea what anyone is saying to or about me, but it has now become a little more familiar and i feel somewhat comfortable in the chaos of a Saturday afternoon.


VIETNAMESE MOCHA FLAN...BANH GAN
ORIGINAL found at Playing With My Food

12 eggs (apprx. 600g)
1/3 cup (35g) tapioca starch (best to weigh this)
4 tsp single acting baking soda, Alsa brand
pinch of baking soda
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 can coconut milk
8 star anise
375g dark brown sugar

preheat oven to 350F
vegetable oil an 8x8 or 9x9 pan
in a sauce pan add coconut milk, sugar and star anise.  bring to a soft boil for a moment, then turn off heat and let steep and cool completely.  remove star anise.  whisk dry ingredients together in a small bowl.   lightly beat egg in a separate bowl then sift dry ingredients in. sifting it in helps create less lumps.  tapioca powder is a hard one to mix in, but combine as well as possible.
NOTE...single acting baking soda works ONCE, when the dry meets the wet.  so it is best not to let that sit.  try to work as quickly as possible (not super speedy) after this point to ensure nice air pocket tunnel  effect.
...at this time put your greased pan into the hot oven for about 5 minutes (empty greased pan).
add cooled syrup/milk mixture to the egg mixture.  combine well.
strain the batter mixture straight into the HOT greased baking pan.  lightly push through left-overs and get this into the oven.
bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.
remove and cool in pan on wire rack to room temp.
refrigerate and serve chilled.

above is an example of the Banh Gan i found in Little Saigon.  this began the fascination and i have to buy it everytime i'm there.
PS...not to toot my horn or anything...but my trusty taste testers said they preferred mine over the store bought.
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