Ginger Pork Cutlet

(edited and re-published) This Ginger Pork Cutlet really hits the spot when I’m craving for something salty and fragrant to go with rice.

Cooking cutlets is for me a little more involved. There’s the trimming of fat, the thinning of the meat to cutlet-thickness, and the pan-frying followed by sauce-making. But is it worth it? YES. Enjoy!

Homemade ginger pork cutlets

Homemade ginger pork cutlets

Ginger Pork Cutlet

Ingredients
6-8 pork cutlets, fat trimmed off (you can buy pork chops then slice them in half to as close to 1/4 inch thickness)
ginger,* 3-5 thin slices
light soy sauce, 2 teaspoons
rice wine, 2 teaspoons
rock sugar, 2 teaspoons
salt
cornflour
vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon

*A nice variation would be substitution of ginger with a trio of minced garlic, red chilli, and spring onion

Method
1. Mix soy sauce, rice wine, and rock sugar together. Add ginger slices to infuse. Set aside
2. Marinate pork cutlets lightly with salt, and then a thin layer of cornflour, for at least 15 minutes.
3. Heat oil in frying pain on medium heat.
4. Pan fry pork cutlets. When nicely browned on one side, flip, and add soy sauce mixture including ginger slices over cutlets, caramelizing the meat.
5. When other side is brown, flip cutlets back to cook away any juices that may have oozed from the meat. Pork needs to be cooked thoroughly before consumption.
6. Serve with white rice, or a light salad with sesame dressing.

Chinese Pork and Watercress Soup

In Cantonese cuisine, soup is very important. When I was growing up in Hong Kong and Singapore, my family would enjoy hot soup at the start of dinner, emptying our bowls before heaping freshly boiled white rice into it for the main meal. My favourites at home were my mom’s fish and tomato soup, and pork and lotus root soup; out at restaurants, double-boiled pig’s lung soup (yep, you read correctly).

To Western palates, Cantonese soup may resemble more of a meaty broth or consomme. And while I love soups like potato and leek, and New England clam chowder, nothing compares to homemade Chinese-style soups in their simplicity, healthiness, and subtlety in taste.

W and I often eat this Pork and Watercress Soup when we are lazy or feeling a little under the weather. It keeps well – just make sure you sterilize it by bringing to a full boil before eating and before storing in a covered pot.

Pork and Watercress Soup

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Ingredients (makes about 4 servings):
0.5-0.8 lb boneless pork stew cubes, excess fat trimmed
1 medium bunch of watercress, soaked and thoroughly washed in cold water
3-5 dried red dates
small handful of wolf (goji) berries
1.2 litres of water
salt to taste

Method:
1. Add pork, watercress, red dates, wolf/goji berries, water, and a dash or two of salt to large pot. Bring to boil.
2. When mixture has come to full boil, lower heat so that soup is just simmering.
3. Simmer soup for at least 1.5 hours. Before serving, check taste and add more salt if necessary. Use ladle to skim off any excess oil or scum that might have rendered from pork.

Despite my love of savoury foods, I am equally quite appreciative of ‘blander’ foods so I like this soup for its subtle sweetness. The pork in this soup is also great dipped in light soy sauce if you want more saltiness in your meal.

Silken Tofu with Spicy Preserved Vegetable – based on ChiChi Wang’s recipe

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Silken Tofu with Spicy Preserved Vegetable Dressing based on ChiChi Wang’s recipe

I recently discovered ChiChi Wang’s recipes through Serious Eats and decided to create a version of her wonderful Silken Tofu with Chilli Oil.

The combination of salty and tangy preserved vegetable with the silky, almost sweet nuttiness of tofu works incredibly well. I love pickled vegetables, especially zhacai (Chinese pickled mustard tubers)!

For reference, I deviated from the original recipe in the following ways:
– The original recipe presents the tofu in slabs; I’ve kept it in a block because I think part of the fun is cutting into the tofu when eating.
– Instead of sprinkling the preserved vegetables and spring onion at the very end as garnish, I cooked them in a combination of sesame oil, light soy sauce, and chilli sauce because I wanted the dish to be warm. A matter of personal preference, really.
– Perhaps the original dish tastes ‘fresher’ especially with its addition of cilantro but I didn’t add cilantro (didn’t have any / felt that the tofu was equally fine without).

This dish was a great part to our vegetarian meal on Sunday – eaten alongside stir-fried garlicky Chinese greens and a preserved egg omelette!

Comforting Chicken and Shittake Mushroom Stew

I’ve often fantasized about making this Comforting Chicken and Shittake Mushroom Stew whenever I craved for a simple meal with lots of gravy . Finally I cooked this dish in an attempt to make the a nice meal for W last week when he was ill with a bad cold.

The stew turned out to be right up our taste alley. It was even better the next day for lunch – loved the mushrooms. A little on the oily side (I wasn’t as thorough in trimming the chicken fat as I could have been), but very satisfying with Thai white rice.

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I’ve approximated the measurements here but I’m afraid my recipe is not tried and tested at all. Still, wanted to share.

Comforting Chicken and Shittake Mushroom Stew // Served two ways here

Ingredients:
400 grams chicken thighs, in bite-sized pieces
6-8 x dried Shittake mushrooms, soaked in warm water so that they are reconstituted and soft (remove stalks)
2x cloves garlic, minced finely
a small section of ginger (I use about 4 cm squared), finely sliced into little matchsticks
vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon
salt

for the sauce:
light soy sauce, 1.5 tablespoons
dark soy sauce, 1.5 tablespoons
oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon
rice wine/Shaoxing wine/sherry, 0.5 tablespoon
water, one-third cup
ground white pepper, a few dashes

Method:
0. Soak Shittake mushrooms in warm water. This is done preferably a few hours before cooking but if in a rush, use boiling water and half an hour should do it. Slice each mushroom into 4 wedge pieces.
1. Chop chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces, removing excess skin and fat. Marinate with salt.
2. Heat wok on low-medium heat. Add oil.
3. When oil is hot, stir-fry garlic and ginger until fragrant.
4. Add chicken to wok, stir-fry.
5. When chicken is slightly browned on outside (not completely cooked inside though), add mushrooms.
6. Mix mushrooms and chicken.
7. Mix ingredients for the sauce in bowl. Add to wok.
8. Cover wok with lid. Once mixture has come to a boil, turn heat down to low so that it is just simmering.
9. Let simmer on low heat for at least half an hour.
10. Make sure that there is enough liquid to just barely cover the protein. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary.
11. Taste stew and add salt to taste.
12. You’re done!

When making this last week, I added a few large Romaine lettuce leaves to the wok to steam them for 2 minutes before switching off the heat. I then ladled the stew on top of the lettuce. It was an easy way of getting some green in our meal without having to prepare a side.

In my college days, I used to make a version of this with small chunks of potato – also yummy but the starch in the potato would make the sauce very thick. I refer this version for its relative simplicity.

Enjoy!

Baked Soy Chicken Thighs and Broccoli

chickendish

Baked Soy Chicken Thighs and Broccoli

I like this dish for its simplicity – protein and veggies, cooked in an oven, no fuss whatsoever!

I adapted the recipe from here. Didn’t get quite the same level of caramelization because I scaled back on the soy sauce and sugar, and added small broccoli florets and thin carrot coins into the mix.

The marinade featured in the recipe is pretty good, and I love the idea of marinating the chicken in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to really infuse the meat with flavour. Personally I think the baking then broiling steps are bit of overkill – I just kept baking at a steady temperature. My dish came out a little dry, probably needed a bit more sauce and perhaps to cover the glass dish for the first 20 minutes or so.

I realize that this post and the last featured recipes from other people (gasp) but I promise the next few are going to be original creations ;), so stay tuned.