Monday, 27 April 2009

Homemade Char Siu (bbq roast pork) - again!

This must be my third blog about this dish. Why? Well, I see it as a constant work in progress. Using the Char Siu I had from Seremban Char Siu as a template (see UGWUG's blog), which I had the pleasure of sampling on my last visit when Nic from KHKL brought me there.

On this occassion, I thought I got the perfect cut for it ... a shoulder joint. Nicely marbled, and not with big streaks of fat like in belly pork.
The ingredients for the marinade this time are:

Hoi Sin sauce - has to be the Lee Kum Kee dark red variety. Never use the brown type.
Dark soy - I stopped using light soy so that the marinade has a thicker and richer texture
5 Spice powder - Preferably fried in oil with a bit of garlic
Salt - to taste
Maltose Honey - Bee honey has a stronger taste than this, which is not desirable. Maltose gives it the sweetness without the smell.
Unsweetened Orange Juice - I prefer this over lemon as it gives it more of a sweet tang to the dish

Marinate overnight.

The cooking process is very important for the texture of the meat. I always grill it as domestic over-heating does not generate enough heat quick enough to seal the juices in to keep the meat succulent and moist. You have to cut the meat according to you grill's capability. Thinner if you have the less hot electric grill.

I turn over as soon as the meat has dried up. And keep turning over .. about 4 times ... until it is charred to your liking. If you have done this correctly, you can tell, because your grill pan will be dry and you have kept all the juices in the meat. If not, then you will see lots of liquid in the pan and the meat could be dry and rough inside.

At the end of the process, if the meat is not glazed looking, you can glaze with a mixture of heated honey and light soy.

Here is the dish fresh from the oven.

Here is a piece being sliced.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Nasi Kandar

Some pics I took from my visit to M'sia last year.
In the middle of a hectic shoppping trip in one of the huge malls in KL, it's great to be able to take a breather in a food court which serves up to hundreds of different dishes, to replenish your energy. However, the problem is that there is such a big variety to choose from, and when your time there is limited, what do you do?

For me, I always resort to the Nasi Kandar stall. A plate of plain or coconut rice, and I select the meat and veg from dozens of mainly spicy dishes on display.

This one above was from the food court in 1-Utama and consisted of a fried kembung fish (like mackerel) marinated with spices, four angled beans in sambal, and brown reconstituted squid in sambal.

This one was from Mid Valley mall in Bangsar. Seemed a bit pricey, so I dunno if I have been ripped off or not. It cost me RM10. Consisted of long beans with white squid strips in sambal, cockles in sambal, and a type of four angled bean (direct translation from its Chinese name!), also with sambal!

A you can probably tell, I am quite fond of sambal (chilli paste with other spices like belacan) over the curry dishes, mainly because I can easily get curries in Manchester, but not good sambal.

These were not the best nasi kandar I have ever had, but when you have been living away for so long, anything will do!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Prawn Biryani

I hope it was obvious that my last post was an April Fool! I'd have to be really desperate to resort to eating that!

For this post, I am debuting my new Panasonic TZ5 online! It is the most automatic camera you will find, but I am still trying to get to grips with what available settings it has. Unbelievably, it does not have manual focus mode. However, it does have a preset for food pics! The last pic here was using that mode, without a flash. However, I find it less sharp than my old Pentax Optio 30. Any suggestions?

And onto today's meal....
A quick and easy dish for a busy lifestyle!

How this dish turns out depend on what spices you use and also the type of rice. Foe the prefect Biryani, you must use Basmati rice as it has that fluffy texture and ability to absorb the taste of the spices used. Be careful not to use too much water when cooking the rice or it will get crushed under its own weight and become soggy and stick together.

First, I use my favourite curry powder, mix into a paste, the fry with onions, capsicum, ann prawns. After that, set aside.

Then, separately, boil rice. Add one tbsp oil so they dont stick together. Salt to taste. When rice is nearly done, pour in the prawns on top. The flavour of the prawns and spices will slowly seep into the rice for the remaining 15 minutes of cooking and standing time. This is quite different from the traditional method, which require you to bury the meat with the semi-cooked rice, but it is quicker.

And there you have it!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Tikus Stew

Tikus is the Malaysian word for mouse. In these hard economic times, we have to be resourceful and use all the resources available to us to save money. As a meat eater, I have no hang ups about what meat I eat as long as its edible. After all, what diffrence is there between a horse and a cow, apart from the sentiments some people have for the former? Likewise, having had rabbit, I dont see how different mice would be, apart from the size.

As the opportunity presented itself to me via a few unexpected visits, I managed to trap a few of these little creatures for my own consumption.

Cleaning, skinning and gutting them required the delicate skills of a surgeon as they were so small, but eventually, I managed it.

And here is the stew! Ratatouille, if you want to know the name. No, I did not concoct this from scratch as I did not know the recipe, so it was done with a packet mix. I did boil the mice in salt water for 30 mins first to get rid of any infection it may have prior to stewing them.