Classic Chinese Roast Pork Belly 燒肉

Roast pork belly

I never though I could do a classic Chinese dish or I called it cured pork in Chinese style. It first came to me as French lardon, however the French cured the meat as a whole including the skin. The only different the Chinese style has a very crispy skin after it roast and I have the full classic Chinese recipe. Be prepare to get a kilo of coarse salt in your kitchen, however I have some shortcut for that too, if you could wait it patiently until is ready.

  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine 紹興花彫酒 (you could get it from Chinese supermarket)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 kg coarse salt (this ingredient exist if you couldn’t wait any longer than 24 hours)
  • 3 egg whites
  1. Place the meat on the chopping board with the skin-side-down.
  2. Cut the meat but the skin still intact with the meat, you are not completely cut the meat off.
  3. In a small bowl mix the spice, pepper and Shao Hsing rice wine. Rub this mixture on the the meat on the side and cut area except this skin make sure is fully coated with the mixture.
  4. In another small bowl mix the 2 tsp of the salt and the rice wine vinegar. Now, place the meat onto a flat surface tray then turn the meat skin-side-up and the brush to the skin of the pork with the mixture of salt and vinegar.
  5. Place the meat into the fridge to let it dry for at least 24 hours. (if you are omitting the kilo of salts then you must expend the drying time at least 3 days otherwise 5 days is the best)
  6. After air dry in the fridge for choice of your time, it is time to take the meat out from the fridge, and use a sharp knife to poke many holes onto the skin.
  7. If you air dry it for 3 day or 5 day you can put into the preheat oven of 210°C for 45 minutes, after you poking them. Otherwise after the air dry of 24 hours in the fridge, then you have to build the salt pit cover the meat, first by flat laying the salt the bottom of the roasting pan then place the meat on top of the salt, and build the side-wall of the salt to cover the sides of the meat. Finally cover the skin of pork with salt as well, then only put into preheat oven of 210°C for 45 minutes.
  8. If you did build the salt pit, after 45 minutes in the oven, you can take the meat out from the oven, remove the salt pit then return the meat into the oven with same temperature for 15 minutes. Otherwise increase the oven temperature to 240°C then roast for another 10 minutes. If you did not build the salt pit.

After let the meat cool, you can enjoy it with the crispy skin whenever you bite through the meat. You can keep this leftover in the fridge, to refresh it either with air fryer or simply put them into frying pan.

Home made pancetta tasting

P1170045AIt has been week after week I waiting for this cured meat to be tasted, it is firm to touch as it feels solid, the colour of the red meat had became dark maroon. I believed it soaked up all the red wine and it smell absolutely great.

Finally, I going to pan fry it for tasting, I don’t know how to slice it thinly like the butcher did, and I don’t have a good curving skill either, so cut it into cubes will do. Cured meat content higher salt as it is part of the curing process, alcohol added is to give it a flavour and cure. You could reduce the salt but it is a risk. I cooked it in non stick pan, once the meat hit the pan the fat will release when frying, no extra oil is needed. Pan fry it until golden brown and remove the pancetta onto a plate that lined with kitchen towel to absorb the exceed grease from the meat. Then I tip a bit of frozen pea into fat until is soft. It does made a different with bits of green over the meat. Do remember no extra salt needed for this as meat was cured with salt. I maybe shouldn’t say this, I the first pancetta hit in my mouth I bites the pancetta with fat, it burst! The meat is very tender and succulent, juicy as well because of the fat. I been mentioned the word “fat”, indeed pancetta need fat to protect the meat while curing process begun. It sort of seal the meat after the herbs, salt, alcohol was absorb into the meat, that is where is fat and skin come in useful to seal the meal and starting the curing process.

Most people are terrified when I told them I curing my own meat, and the first thing in their mind, curing is butchers specialty, how could a household could do it? And being a raw to deal with and a lot of risk if didn’t done it correctly. It is always got alternative to do something, not necessary to follow the butchers’ way, think of the shortcut and whichever tool or equipment you got there.

The reason I cured my own meat, is it being too expensive to buy it from the local butcher as he charged me MYR70 (£13) for three slices that is less than 100 grams, that is how I do it myself instead. Well, it won’t be very Italian pancetta, I know this is going to be a good one, indeed it is. If you like to the same here is the delicious recipe.

https://andrewscookery.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/cured-meat-pancetta/

Although it took longer time to cured than cooking it, it is worth to have a go for it, you may fall in love cure the meat in your household. Hope you going enjoy it!

Feast of 2013

P1310870During Christmas 2013, I hosted the dinner at my friend’s apartment, a wonderful couple that runs a private dining in Malaysia. I’m writing to acknowledged Tracy and Alberto for accommodate me for the feast of Christmas. Is a bit late to showing the feast at this time. Here are some explanation of the table setting, I don’t really set a format table for occasional like this because I want to feel comfortable and simple, so tangerine and gold coin should be on the table, as there are some story behind of tangerine and gold coin, but I won’t go deeply about the history. My Chinese guest though it is like a Chinese New Year setting. Indeed it is a bit cliché when over done. Somehow they were similar. Red and golden colour is the rich decoration element, so do the food as well.

P1160714AMy typical feast started with snacks as spice nuts, parmesan biscuit and mulled wine. Most of the dishes you can prepare in advance so you won’t have a panic on your party day. I can’t help myself to thinking about mulled wine all the time during Christmas, the thing that makes Christmassy is mulled wine; the wine and spice that been warmed in saucepan that making this happening. It reminds me the Christmas market in Lincolnshire, the glittery Christmas ornament, street light; it is a feast for my eye, music, church bell and carol singing was everywhere this calming voices are really good for the soul and ears; the smell of mulled wine was a good treat for my nose. Indeed it is a feast for my senses and make my heart lift for Christmas.

Spice nuts is a good idea for starter with mixed of cinnamon and other spice, it is seems like the medieval feasting that using spices to preserved their food during winter. Apart from spices, I do need savory nibble for starter- parmesan biscuit is handy and easy to serve and eat. You even can make it in advance and keep in the air tight jar up to two days.

P1160717AFirst large dish I put on the table is this red salad that simple to make, toss the kidney bean, tomatoes, onion together with dressing then pop on the table. Another classic dish during Christmas – Brussels sprout, you can’t have Christmas without Brussels sprout, this classic dish had the most delicious ingredient – chestnut! The bacon gives a bit of crunchy bites and extra push of savory

P1160732AHere comes the beauty – gammon, the feature of the feast that sat on the bed of roasted potatoes. I called this Christmas ham, the glory redcurrant jelly that gives the beautiful colour on the surface, the gammon had been cooked in simmering for more than two hours for the succulent, tender texture on the meat. This looks absolutely appealing on the buffet table too.  This should be the dish you should show-off.

P1310894AP1160745A

In every Christmas story mentioned about lights in the dark, it has a very comforting agenda and it delights me. Christmas pudding with flame is representing that part of Christmas. This has become the ritual of my Christmas dinner, and it is my love affair moment to flame the pudding at this time of the year, simply because they are beautiful. The secret of keeping the flame duration is to using vodka, I know it sounds not very appealing but it doesn’t really matter because the alcohol will evaporate.

By the time had the pudding, everyone will need some rest for their stomach. Honestly, this dessert is extremely light and the citrus of the strawberries and lemon will helping the digestion the dense of the pudding, the pistachio that finishing touch of dessert otherwise it will be too light to consume.

I hope my way of British Christmas is not too embarrassing to the classic version. The message I would like say, try cooking at home, it will definitely bringing to another level of life about home making. There is no one can’t cook; just being lazy. Hope you enjoying cooking. Let’s food celebrate your life! Bon appétit!

Creole prawns

P1160200AAAs I know this dish are from America’s Louisiana. Obviously I am not been introduced to Louisiana’s food, but Creole‘s food is combination of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese. What I know in my dish is the tomatoey of Italian, Spanish pepper, French wine and Portuguese Chili.

P1160209AAAI have a confession to make here, I haven’t got energy for shopping, I decided to cheat a bit of the ingredients by using a convenient way of supermarket – canned tomatoes, and puree. I always find these stocking in my pantry cupboard, for it is well stock it up, just in case you need something quick and easy that is the convenient products from supermarket. I know is not very antithetic but it is kitchen shortcut, If I would prepare everything from scratch it will take hours to get it done. Not in the mood of grandmother’s method. Here is how I start.

Ingredient

  • 250g frozen raw tiger or king prawns
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can of plum tomato about 350g
  • 1Tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips.
  • 2 red chillies, de-seed and roughly cut into small pieces
  • 150ml dry white wine, I used sauvignon blanc
  • 2 spring onion, including the green parts, finely chopped
  • Handful of Parsley, roughly chopped
  • Cooked rice, pasta, noodles or couscous whichever you prefer to serve with. I used rice.
  1. To start of by cooking 250g washed rice into pan covered with water, and drizzle with some olive oil, let it boil with a lid off, once is boil about 1 minute, turn the heat lowest heat and let it cook further about 5 minutes or until the rice cook through. Once its cooked removed from the heat, give it a good stir and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan then tip in the chopped onion, garlic, pepper, chillies; and moving them around, give them 5 minutes to begin to soften and colour.
  3. After that, add the frozen prawns and stir them around for about 5 minutes, until they start to turn pink on both sides. Now Pour the canned tomatoes, use the white wine to rinse out the can, then add that too to the pan. Stir in the tomato purée, along with some seasoning. Bring to the boil, give a good stir, then turn the heat down to its lowest setting and let it simmer gently for 5 minutes. At this stage sauce will pop and mass up the kitchen.
  4. Scatter with the spring onion and serve with rice. and snip some parsley on top.

Voilà. Bon appétit!

Italian Red Penne

P1150319ABeen a while, I posted the last post; simply because I looking for new inspiration for my meal. Obviously this is not a new idea but along the line I cooked for my pleasure, and satisfied my hunger. Is easy to cook.

  1. Heat up a pan with pancetta and bacon, when the fat of the meat is release adding the crushed garlic and stir fry until golden brown and set aside.
  2. Empty the can of tomato into deep pot with medium heeat. Fill the can with a quater of water and pour into the pot, then you can mash it with potato masher until the plum tomato had completely mashed, add in the wine, and give it a stir, then tip in the cooked bacon and pancetta, tomato puree, salt, blackpapper, leek and cheese. Keep stirring the sauce otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot. Once is done set aside
  3. In another pot of boiling water, add salt into the boiling water then tip in the penne and cook until al denta. Drain and return the pasta in the hot pot with some olive oil and stir the pasta until is coated with olive oil.
  4. Scoop the pasta onto serving dish, and dollop the red sauce on pasta and garnish with basil. You done!