On Facebook, Speedy re-shared that Saveur page with the 55 Great Global Food Blogs and it made me re-visit some of the blogs on the list including Leela’s She Simmers where I found a recipe for a stir fried dish that, according to Thai Airways Magazine is “fourth among the ten Thai dishes ordered most frequently by foreigners“. Called phat khaprao (or pad ka-prao), it is a very simple stir fry that consists of minced meat (or seafood) seasoned with fish sauce, soy sauce and a bit of sugar. But what really gives the dish its unique flavor is the addition of Holy basil. Amazing how the basil adds so much flavor and aroma. Fortunately for me, my Holy basil is still growing in the garden and on that basis I decided what lunch today was going to be. … Continue reading »
No, I’ve never been to P.F. Chang’s although I read that the U.S. food chain opened its first Asian branch in Alabang two months ago. It’s easily a two-hour drive to Alabang and… I just wouldn’t. The copycat recipe for P.F. Chang’s Mongolian beef, I found via Pinterest. I posted it on my cooking, wining & dining board where I file all sexy-looking dishes I stumble upon on Pinterest with the intention of cooking them all at some future time. The source of the photo I repinned on Pinterest was Six Sisters’ Stuff which pointed to Food.com as the original source of the copycat recipe. Doesn’t that sound insane — original and copycat both referring to the same recipe…
But, anyway… In cooking the pork version of the copycat recipe for P.F. Chang’s Mongolian beef, I followed the basic recipe from Food.com but with some additions. Which makes one question relevant at this point: When you visit a website, do you read the comments? I do. Because not reading them is missing half the fun and totally missing bits of useful information.
For instance, in the Food.com Mongolian beef recipe, the meat isn’t seasoned before it is fried. Ergo, it relies solely on the sauce for the seasoning. Which is crazy, really, because layering flavors is a basic technique for flavorful cooking. Layering flavors? Essentially, it means seasoning is added at various stages of the cooking. That shortfall was remedied by a commenter who goes by the name Bento or Bust who said that he / she marinated the meat in a mixture of soy sauce, hoisin sauce and cornstarch for 30 minutes before frying. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Not only do the flavors of the soy and hoisin sauces permeate the meat, they also give the meat a deeper and richer color.
I had to mention Bento or Bust and his / her comment because the tweak that he / offered is a huge part in the success of my pork version of the dish. Of course, I added a couple of other things. Like sesame seed oil, rice wine and chili…… Continue reading »
I can’t resist a good recipe when I come across one. I was browsing food sites a couple of days ago, saw a one-pot Chinese-style braised beef recipe at BBC Good Food and I immediately experienced an adrenalin rush. It looked so good. I checked the ingredients and, in my mind, I just knew that the dish would taste good too.
My only objection was that the recipe required the beef to be cooked slowly in the oven. We’re trying to cut down on LPG consumption as I’ve said in a couple of posts recently and cooking the meat in the oven would mean using too much gas.
My first instinct was to use the slow cooker but, on second thought, I wondered if that wouldn’t mean consuming a lot of electricity which is just as expensive as cooking with LPG. I debated whether the convenience of being able to leave the meat in the slow cooker overnight with no supervision could justify the power consumption. In the end, I decided to use the pressure cooker. One hour and five minutes was all it took and the beef cooked wonderfully with the fat literally melting in the mouth. The aroma was insanely gorgeous.… Continue reading »
When pressed for time or too lazy to cook a full meal or when the fridge and pantry are almost empty, one of the easiest — and tastiest — dishes that I can whip up is a combo of thinly sliced Chinese sausages and scrambled eggs. I like to cook them as an omelet or to stir them into rice to make a Chinese style fried rice.
As you can imagine, a pack of Chinese sausages (Cantonese name lap cheong; also lap cheung and lap chong) is a fixture in our kitchen. The dried (not overly dried and rock-hard) and shriveled kind, not the fresh kind. While I am not unreasonably choosy with brands of Chinese sausages, I am aware that there are distinct differences in texture, flavor and the level of sweetness. Chinese sausages are generally sweet, yes, but some are sweeter than others. Chinatown is, of course, the best source. But considering the distance from where we live in the suburb, I have to content myself with what we can find in the grocery. What have I tried, what do I like and do not like and what do I like best among those that I’ve tried? … Continue reading »
In the Philippines, this dish of grilled skewered pork marinated in lemongrass, honey and fish sauce would simply be called pork barbecue. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, it would be a satay. Unlike the Filipino pork barbecue, however, these skewered pork slices aren’t brushed with any sauce during grilling. And, unlike the ubiquitous satay, there is no dipping sauce.
Based on a recipe by Luke Nguyen, the ingredients for the marinade are quite few. Yet, these few ingredients are enough to impart such amazing flavor, color and aroma to the pork. The secret? Sufficient marinating time.
Speedy prepared and grilled the pork skewers. The girls and I loved them. … Continue reading »
For the longest time, I’ve been asking Speedy to blog about the dishes that he cooks. He’s become such a good cook lately — a far cry from the early days of our marriage when all he could manage were cheese omelet and fried hotdogs. These days, he can go to the market without me and buy all the right vegetables (he still refuses to buy fish in the wet market by himself). He’s even become better at finding the market with the best bargains.
The switch from Dream Satellite to Cignal TV was a huge factor. We had Travel & Living Channel before; we have Food Network now. Although we miss Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations like crazy, we’ve been learning a lot from the Food Network shows too. Well, some shows. We only watch a few. We skip Sunny Anderson, the Neelys, Bobbly Flay, Paula Deen and Rachael Ray altogether. We also don’t bother with the likes of The Next Food Network Star which is a reality show more than anything else.
Except for Junior Masterchef Australia, the rest of the food shows on other channels, we don’t bother with either. We don’t watch anything with Gordon Ramsay in it nor Top Chef and all those shows that look like cooking versions of American Idol. Personally, I don’t find them informative. I don’t even find them mildly entertaining.
What we don’t skip — ever — is Alton Brown‘s Good Eats. And Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam which is really on Cooking Channel but we get it on Food Network Asia. These two shows we learn a lot from. The entertainment value is a plus too.
This dish of stir fried pork neck with pineapple and vegetables (muc xao khom) is from Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam. … Continue reading »
Speedy cooked this dish for our lunch today. He was a bit worried that it was too salty but I loved the boldness of the fish sauce and the subtle sweetness of the brown sugar, a combination that I will forever associate with Vietnamese cooking.
Undoubtedly, a good fish sauce is essential. Not only does it impart the necessary saltiness, it also conveys a flavor and aroma that are decidedly Asian.
For best results, use a tender cut of beef. Sirloin, top round, bottom round and tenderloin are good choices.
It is also important to cook the chayote just until tender-crisp. I remember reading a blog long ago, I can’t remember anymore which one, but I distinctly recall the blogger scoffing at the term “tender-crisp”, a term often used to describe vegetables in a stir fried dish. Well, cooks who know how to stir fry properly (see stir frying basics) can easily understand what “tender-crisp” means — vegetables that are cooked just until done so that the edges are tender but the center is still firm.
“Tender-crisp” is not so much a classification of a one-dimensional texture but more of a description of the sensation in the mouth as one eats a properly stir fried vegetable — the vegetable feels tender as one begins to bite into it but before the teeth completely cuts through it, one realizes that the tenderness is only partial as the center has retained the crispness of the vegetable in its raw state. Put another way, “tender-crisp” describes distinct layers of textures that are inexorably intertwined. … Continue reading »
I’ve never had curry this good. Seriously. And just as Speedy was saying how bored he was with curried stews, I served this for lunch today and all he could say was how delicious it was.
What is it?
It is a curried dish, obviously. But, instead of a wet stew, you have a dry stew. The pork is pre-cooked, shredded then cooked in coconut milk, herbs and spices until the mixture is quite dry. The pork finishes cooking in the coconut oil rendered from the coconut cream.
If you’re not into flat breads, or can’t find paratha, serve the pulled pork curry with rice and it will be just as good. … Continue reading »