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Cherry Pork (Ying Tau Rou 樱桃肉)

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

If I have to select “10 dishes to try before you die”, the famous Cherry Pork (Ying Tau Rou) in Suzhou would definitely make the list. There’s no cherry in the dish, but instead it’s the colour of the sauce that gives it the name. One of the best places to try this is Songhelou in Suzhou.

I have been trying to find a recipe for this for years, and I have just come across a recipe today. Not tried this myself yet, and I am not convinced that it will recreate that unique flavour I had at Songhelou. But here it is anyway – once I have modified the recipe and found my perfect way to cook this, I’ll publish it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 300g Pork Belly
  • 20g Soy Sauce
  • 10g Rice Wine
  • 15g Vinegar
  • 30g Sugar
  • 20g Cornstarch Solution
  • Cooking Oil

METHOD 

  1. Wash the pork belly thoroughly, and cut into 1.5cm cubes
  2. Mix the soy sauce, wine, vinegar, sugar and cornstarch solution together in a bowl
  3. Heat the oil up in a wok until very hot, and then put the pork belly in and deep fry till golden brown. Drain the oil from the pork belly.
  4. Pour away the oil in the wok, and reheat the wok till medium hot. Pour the sauce in the bowl into the wok and heat up.
  5. Once the sauce is reduced, add the pork belly back into the wok. Make sure the meat is thoroughly coated with the sauce, et voila!
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Uzbek Plov

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Plov is the national dish of Uzbekistan that I fell in love with when I visited the country in 2003 – it’s a rice dish consisting of lamb and a variety of vegetables, all cooked to a golden colour. For many westerners, this dish could be considered rather fatty and unhealthy, but for me this is a bit like comfort food – the fat can be cancelled out by drinking gallons of green tea!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds boneless shoulder or leg of lamb, with some fat (the fat lends a wonderful flavor to the dish)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, julienned
  • 3 large carrots, julienned
  • 2-1/2 cups raw rice
  • 4-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon adzhika, or crushed red pepper
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron, stepped in 2 tablespoons boiling water for 10 minutes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Raw onion, sliced paper-thin

METHOD

  1. Cut the lamb into chunks. Heat the oil over high heat in a large saucepan, then stir in the lamb and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
  2. Stir onions and carrots into the fat remaining in the pan, adding a little more olive oil if necessary. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until tender but not browned. Return the lamb to the pot and add the raw rice. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the rice begins to turn golden brown. Then pour in the boiling water, stirring to mix well.
  3. Add the adzhika (or red pepper), salt, saffron tea and black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, or until rice is done. Serve libarlly garnished with paper-thin slices of raw onion and a bit of carrots.
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Anna's Fish Soup from Gamla Rif, Iceland

April 27, 2011 6 comments

I came across this delicious fish soup in the small harbour village of Rif in the Snaefellsnes peninsula in Iceland in June 2010. Gamla Rif, owned and run by two fishermen’s wives, has a variety of delicious homemade food and snacks. Their fish soup was made from the freshest daily catch from their husbands’ boats. It was so delicious that we asked Anna, one of the owners, for the recipe, and she was kind enough to share it with us. The recipe is simple, and the secret of success certainly lies in the fresh fish and seafood. I have experimented with variations of this by using different fish, and adding sweetcorn etc. You should do the same and find the ultimate best combination – let me know!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Cans of water
  • 2 Cubes of fish stock
  • 1 Cube of vegetable stock
  • 1 Tin of peaches
  • Fresh cream (single cream)
  • Fish / Seafood of your choice (I’d recommend firm white fish, scallops and prawns)
  • Curry Powder

METHOD

  1. Chop the onions into small pieces, and cut the peaches into halves
  2. Fry the onions and garlic
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, stock, juice of the peaches, and chopped peaches. Add curry powder to taste
  4. Leave to simmer for 30-45 minutes
  5. Add fish / seafood, and then simmer for another 10 minutes
  6. Add cream to soup, and then serve
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