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.

Pan Fried Country Dijon Mustard Chicken

I haven’t been doing much on the blogging front at all since I started a new job in April, and for some reason feel supremely guilty about abandoning my blogs. Blogging to me feels like exercise, a testament of self-discipline and endurance; you need to make it a habit in order to create and extract any value from it. So here I am, trying again :).

Pan Fried Country Dijon Mustard Chicken: I first made this back in March, or as it is known in my memory, as the Month of Interviews. I didn’t have much mood or will to do much cooking during those tiring weeks so our meals were very simple. This is one of them.

Pan Fried Country Dijon Mustard Chicken

Pan Fried Country Dijon Mustard Chicken


Ingredients
(for 2 portions)*
2x chicken breast (slice width-wise into 2 thinner slices)
2+ tablespoons, or enough to cover both sides of chicken, of country Dijon mustard (hybrid of Dijon mustard and whole-grain mustard)
1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
salt and black pepper for marinating and to taste
water/wine for cooking process

Method
1. Sprinkle salt and black pepper on both sides of chicken. Then coat chicken with mustard using back of spoon or hands.
2. Let chicken. marinate for 15 minutes.
3. Heat frying pan on medium. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
4. Pan fry chicken breasts when oil is hot but not smoking – do not overcrowd. Cook first side until brown, then flip over. I usually cover the pan with a glass lid to ensure the meat is fully cooked. If the pan gets a bit dry, I’ll add a bit of liquid like water or wine.

Goes great with mashed potatoes, asparagus, string beans! Hope you enjoy.

Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

Feta cheese was on sale the other day so I knew I had to buy some – I love salty and sharp cheeses! And as feta is practically synonymous with Greek cuisine, we enjoyed a Greek-style salad to go with cheeseburgers for dinner on Sunday. Didn’t have any lemon on hand so the dressing is honey mustard.

Salad with FetaCucumber, Tomato and Feta Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

I mixed the following together in a large bowl:
finely chopped red leaf lettuce
chopped cucumber (cut into quarters)
grape tomatoes
crumbled feta
and minced red onion

(Perhaps what was missing is olives!)

For the honey mustard dressing, I whisked together:
extra virgin olive oil
rice vinegar
country Dijon mustard (= Dijon mustard mixed with mustard grains)
honey (the runny kind)

This is the approximate proportion of dressing ingredients I like:
5 olive oil, 2 rice vinegar, 3 country Dijon mustard, and 2 honey.

I hope that makes sense. For example, if you use a teaspoon to measure, then it’s 4 teaspoons olive oil to 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar, etc. Depends on how many portions you are preparing. I would use like a quarter-teaspoon amount as the basis.

Salad dressing is just oil, some kind of vinegar, some kind of salty-tangy, and some kind of sweet all mixed together. If you have balsamic vinegar, or rice vinegar, then you’re pretty much set.

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

porkwatercress

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.

Salad with Vietnamese-style dressing

saladviet2closeup

I love a good short-cut when it comes to cooking, but when it comes to salad dressing, I try where possible to make my own. Store-bought salad dressing is just never quite as good.

One day I’ll share how I make my own Honey Mustard, Caesar, and Thousand Island dressings but today – it’s salad with Vietnamese-style dressing. I love how it is sweet and salty with a tangy pungency that comes from the addition of fish sauce and freshly squeeze lime juice.

Back story: I deep fried a bunch of Malaysian/Nyonya style chicken over the weekend and wanted a sauce that would double as dressing for salad and dipping sauce for the chicken. Something really salty and flavourful, almost pickled. I remembered then the dipping sauce that one of the Vietnamese eateries near us serves (thank you LS for introducing me to Saiguette :P).

I looked at this recipe from Luke Nyguyen as a starting point, reducing the amount of rice vinegar but increasing the amount of lime juice. Sorry, didn’t get think to take a picture of just the dressing itself!

saladviet1Salad with Vietnamese-style Dressing

Ingredients (makes about 1/2 a cup)
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar

2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Chilli sauce (or 1 small red Chilli, de-seeded and finely minced)
2 tablespoons lime juice

Method:
1. Heat the water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and white sugar in a small saucepan over low-medium heat just until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
2. In the meantime, mix garlic, chilli sauce (or fresh chilli) and lime juice in bowl.
3. Add the cooled fish sauce mixture to the bowl of garlicy, fragrant lime juice.
4. Taste – if it’s too salty, add more lime juice or a little bit of water.
5. Drizzle dressing over tossed crunchy vegetables like thinly sliced cucumber, carrot, onion, and a bit of tomato and cilantro leaves if you like. Also goes fantastically with grilled/deep fried meats.