Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mee Goreng Mamak

Empty plate with a lime ... waiting in anticipation for the best dish of all time --> Mee Goreng Mamak! (fried noodles, Mamak style)

All you need is fresh yellow egg noodles, chinese greens (I used bok choy/pak choi), fish cakes, potatoes, chilli paste, tomato ketchup, firm (deep fried) tofu, dark soy sauce, garlic, lime juice and some chicken meat (drumstick/thighs are ideal). I had to do it twice, given the small wok, but personally feel that it produces a better result than mass production...

As usual, add in a bit of oil on the wok. When its hot enough, stir in the roughly chopped garlic and potato slices (or in thin wedges) for a minute or two. Next is the chili paste (lots of it!), where the heat starts to kick in. Add the chicken, fish cakes, tofu and bok choy next and stir fry quickly for another 3-4 minutes before adding in the noodles. Stir as quick as you can to evenly coat and mix. Finally season with dark soy sauce, tomato ketchup, a bit of salt to taste and its done!

Serve it on a nice hot plate with a wedge of lime. Always gives the dish an extra kick with a tangy aftertaste. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Ultimate Summer BBQ Pork Fillets

This is something inspired both from Jamie's cookbook and the unexpected good weather on Saturday morning: Blackened BBQ Pork Fillets. Great for parties and ever so popular during summertime since the sauce is just finger lickin' good :) Try it out and see if I'm right!

Ingredients wise its slightly lengthy, as we're gonna create our own marinade pretty much from scratch, so let's take this opportunity to build up your spice rack ...

What you'll need:
500g pork fillets (serves 2-3)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp full of paprika
2 cloves
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
120g good quality tomato ketchup
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
zest of 1 orange, and juiced (or if lazy, just use fresh 100% orange juice with pulp/juicy bits)

metal/wooden skewers (optional)
lemon juice (optional)

So there you go, not too bad eh? This recipe is a good start for you to start dabbing into the world of spice and knowing what they look like and how they smell, what they go well with etc ... bringing your culinary skills to a higher level with more tools in your hands!

Ok, so maybe we need a mortar and pestle, to grind those cloves, cumin and fennel seeds. And since I couldn't find one at the supermarket, I omitted the fennel seeds, bought ground cumin instead, and use all my power and might, with the back of my knife, slamming and trying to crush the cloves into powdery form, with 50% success rate, so not too bad hehe. Best if you have the mortar and pestle to grind it to release the aroma, but if not, don't beat yourself over it yea?

So first, mix the cumin, crush cloves, garlic cloves, generous amount of paprika, thyme, orange juice and zest. Then add the ketchup and spoonfuls of balsamic vinegar and gently incorporate them and you got yourself some mean BBQ marinade there, dip a finger in and taste and see ...

Next up is easy, just put your pork fillets in to marinade, at least 1 hour, preferably whole morning/afternoon for me! Refrigerate and rub your hands (or tummy if you prefer) in glee ...

So after 5 hours, I took them out of the fridge and used wooden skewers to present the pork fillets in kebab style, easier to cook in that sense. But if you don't have them, no worries again, it's not necessary, you can just cook them on the BBQ/grill and flip them around with a tong.

Time to test out my new grill pan, keen to get a few professional charred lines on my meat :P So heat up the grill and start cooking! Should hear a loud sizzling noise right away, make sure you have cut the fillets properly as its quite difficult to cook if it's too thick. You should have extra marinade leftover and use these to brush over the meat whenever you turn sides. Cooking should take about 15-20 minutes per batch on the grill. You should start seeing the marinade getting thicker and meat getting into a nice dark color as below ...

When it's done, leave it aside for 5 minutes to rest, whilst you prepare a very simple salad of your choice. I had mine with plain lettuce, cherry tomatoes on the vine and some sweet corn, with a light lemon salad dressing and balsamic vinegar. Then slice your meat up in serving portions and feast!