Braised Pork Belly with Yam

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how home sick I always get. One way to make myself feel better is to cook. Not just cook anything, cook something that reminds me of home. So that’s what I did, I made something my mum makes best – Braised pork belly with yam. (: You usually eat this with a bun and some salad leaves. But it also goes super well with rice!

The recipe I found is a little time consuming, but all the work and effort put into the dish is definitely worth it. By the time it’s done steaming, the yam would be broken down and it would have absorbed all the flavours. The pork too will be melt in your mouth! Of course the happiest person when I said I was going to cook this was my baby. hehe He and pork belly are very good friends. hehe

so here’s the recipe that I’ve adapted from :

Ingredients :

· 1.2kg pork belly with skin
· 700g yam/taro
· 1 piece reddish cheese (also known as fermented beancurd)
· 1 tbsp reddish cheese juice
· 2 tbsp salted bean paste

Part (A) :

·4 garlic cloves, chopped
·50g shallots, chopped
·1 stalk (20g) coriander stalk, chopped

Gravy :

·1 tbsp light soy sauce
·1 tbsp dark soy sauce
·1 tsp five spices powder
·1 tbsp sugar
·1 tbsp Chinese rose wine (I used Shaoxing wine)
·1 tsp monosodium glutamate (I left this out)
·800ml water

Steps :

1. Blanch the pork belly with 3 bowls of boiling water in a deep pot for about 20 minutes, remove and pat-dry, then rub a little light soy sauce over the pork belly, prick holes over the skin with a fork, deep-fry into hot oil until golden brown, dish up, transfer the pork belly into boiling water again and cook for further 30 minutes, remove and keep aside.

2. When the pork belly is cool enough, cut into thick slices.

3. Peel the yam, cut into square slices, slightly deep-fry into hot oil for a while, dish up and leave them aside.

4. Heat up 3 tbsp oil, to sautethe chopped ingredients A, reddish cheese, salted bean paste and reddish cheese juice till fragrant, add in sauce mixture, and bring to the boil, place in pork belly slices and yam, simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, remove from heat.

5. Prepare a deep bowl, arrange yam and pork belly slices alternately (skin side down); pack pieces securely into bowl, press slightly, pour the remaining sauce over the meat and yam, steam over medium heat for approximately 45 minutes, until the meat are tender.

6. Drain gravy into a bowl and retain, invert pork and yam slices onto a platter, heat up retained gravy until boiling, and thicken with a little cornstarch solutions, pour the gravy over the pork slices, serve hot.

Bon Appetit! (:

Comfort food.

Winter. Cold winds, rain, super low temperatures. To conquer all these, to me, only means one thing : comfort food.

what’s better ya? the ultimate comfort food for me is mash. The creaminess and butter-i-ness texture of the mash just makes everything seem better. (: So everything with mash, would just be a kind of comfort to me. Last night, I decided to make Shepard’s pie!

Shepard’s pie has always been a family favourite. So of course, I immediately went to source for a recipe so that I could cook it for everyone to enjoy! (: I was pretty worried the first time I made it, and I remember my brother having to always taste my mash to see if it’s buttery enough or salty enough. And my mum would stand next to me to make sure the mince is in small pieces and not in chunks, and if my meat sauce is thick enough.

alright, did I say I miss my family and I’m home-sick? I didn’t? Well, I am. That’s why I needed comfort food, pronto.

So here’s my recipe, hopefully, it will be as comforting to you as it was for me! (:

Ingredients :

600g mince pork (you can always use chicken or beef)

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 medium size carrots, chopped into small pieces

1 leek, sliced into thin rings

10 button mushrooms, sliced thinly

1 tin of chopped tomatoes (can always substitute with 3 tbs tomato paste)

3 tbs plain flour

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs Worcester sauce

5 bay leaves

750ml chicken stock

8 potatoes, cut into cubes (for mash)

50g butter

50ml milk (or cream)

1 tsp nutmeg

Parmesan, to sprinkle on the mash before baking it

salt and pepper, to taste

Steps :

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan and add the garlic and leeks and fry till fragrant and the leeks are transparent, make sure they do not brown. Add the carrots and mushrooms and fry till carrots are soft.

2. Add the mince and fry till the meat is cooked and the pieces are small.

3. Add the flour and mix till well combined. Add the stock, the Worcester sauce, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and mix and allow the mixture to boil before turning the fire down to small. Cook the mixture and allow the liquid to thicken till almost dry. (about 20-25mins)

4. While the meat mixture is reducing, cook the potatoes in a pot of salted water till tender and easier to mash. Drain, and put them back into the pot over very small fire. Add the butter, milk and nutmeg and mash till smooth. Season with salt and allow it to cool for about 5 mins.

5. Place the meat mixture into a baking tray and slowly pipe the mash on top of it. Sprinkle the Parmesan and flash it in the oven grill for 5 mins, till the top is golden brown.

6. Serve and enjoy! (:

Guest Post : Baby’s Crispy Skin Pork

if you guys have been reading my blog, you know my baby is an awesome cook. and one of his signature dishes that everyone loves is crispy skin pork. He recently saw how the chefs at Masterchef done it and decided to cook it for me and his family after he’s tried it on his own back in Melbourne! I’m so glad he did. It was super yummy!

a nice slab of pork with the skin sliced and salted and dried in the fridge uncovered (:

and baby fried the skin first before baking it. (:

the worse thing happened that night. the oven suddenly broke down, and the portable oven tripped the whole house after heating it for 10 mins. So we had to use the small toaster! hehe and guess what? My baby pulled it off! hehe

it was cooked perfectly. (:

we all preferred this way of cooking the pork instead of whacking it in the oven from the very start.

well done sweetie! (: it was really good! hehe

have it with home-made gravy : perfect .

Can’t wait to have more of my baby’s cooking when I get back! (:

i love you.

Not So Traditional Moussaka

My first time having a Moussaka was a vegetarian one and I had it at the best place to have vegetarian food, Original Sin. I have been wanting to make my own moussaka for ages, and finally got down to it! (: I’m so glad I did, cause even though it was time consuming to grill the vegetables, it was all worth it! It was yummy!

Eggplant-Potato-Ricotta-Cheese-Meat Sauce-Eggplant (you get the idea!)

It’s very rich when you have it on it’s own, but have it with a cucumber raita, and it’s just one of the best combination you will ever have on a plate! With this combination, you would never feel too overwhelmed and could just keep eating!

My moussaka, however, is not the traditional kind you find at Greek restaurants. I improvised it a little, adding a little bit of mexican flavour (in a tin) to the dish. I was afraid the flavours might clash, but instead, it gives the dish just the slightest bit of spiciness and the kidney beans gave a good bite with every spoonful! I do apologise if you think it’s not the right way to cook it, but I do enjoy this version quite a bit. hehe

so give it a shot, and let me know if you still do prefer the traditional way of cooking it or the taste (:

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Easy Pork Chops with Apple Sauce

Sorry about the recent fascination with pork chops. haha Baby and I got it pretty cheap at Footscray market and we just couldn’t resist buying! We ended up buying almost 3kg of pork chops. haha

so that’s why I’m experimenting on different recipes that I can get my hands on! (:

Tonight. I decided to go all western! and what goes better with pork than apple sauce? it’s like a match-made in heaven!

The apple sauce could be done in less than 10 mins or you could even do it the day before and make it hot just before you serve your pork chops! (: and it’s not difficult at all!

Recipe (Adapted by Heat Beads)

Apple Sauce

2 Grannysmith apples, cut into small pieces

25g butter

2 tsp caster sugar (or alter to your liking)

Steps :

1. Peel and chop the apples into small pieces. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat.

2. Add the apples, cover the pan and cook down until the apples have softened. Sweeten with sugar to taste.

3. Using an electric stick blender, process the apples until smooth. Alternatively, push the apples through a sieve. If necessary, add a dash of water to thin down the apple sauce. Leave on one side while you fry the chops.

Pork Chops

3 Pork Chops

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Olive oil (for frying)

Salt and Pepper to season

A dash (or more) Tabasco sauce

Steps :

1. Make light incisions in a criss-cross pattern on one side of the pork chops.

2. Brush the chops with olive oil and place on a plate scored side upwards.

3. Squeeze over the lemon juice and push the  garlic into the incisions. Leave for about twenty minutes.

4. Just before you fry it (or on the barbecue), add the tabasco and season well.

5. Cook the chops, scored side upwards for about 5-7 minutes on one side – until slightly charred and crisp. Flip the chops over and cook for a further minute or two. By this time, the chops should be tender and cooked through. The shorter cooking time helps stop the garlic from burning. (Don’t worry about cooking it longer than this time especially if your chops are on the bone, it will stop it from over-cooking!)

Bon Appetite!