In many ways I’m glad I’m Chinese and grew up with parents who taught us that most animal parts can be eaten. Yes, they also told us some animals shouldn’t really be eaten (like dogs and cats). That being said, in our family we often fought over who would get to eat the fish head, chicken livers and feet and devour the last pig trotter. I developed an appetite for the weird and wild from young.
This is the hubs’ favorite Thai curry. Yes, there is more to Thai curries than red or green – there is hung-lay curry! We first encountered this curry at the Thai grocer in Singapore. We had made a trip to the famous Golden Mile Complex on Beach Road in Singapore as we were passing through the area. We entered the Thai grocery store there and decided to buy a couple of spice and curry packs to bring back to the US. We came across Hung-Lay curry paste and both wondered what it was. We decided to buy a pack to try and there was no turning back after. We made the hung-lay curry in the US and it was so good!
Bak chor mee or minced meat noodles is one of the hub’s favorite eats. It’s something he misses from home, and I thought I would try and recreate it here. There are a few challenges when recreating this dish, one being the lack of good fish cake here. I haven’t found a good one and am not willing to make it for the sake of a bowl of noodles. Maybe one day I might be crazy enough to do it, but not now. I did find something similar at my local Asian grocer – it was even from Malaysia. But alas, the fish cake (though it looks like the stuff you get at home), was too starchy and lacked the bouncy texture of the fish cake we get back home. So if you are in South-East Asia, be thankful you can get good (or at least decent) fish cake almost anywhere. Another challenge is the chilli sauce. If you are South-East Asian, you will know that we have different chilli sauces for almost every other type of dish. The hubs and I scoured the aisles of our Asian grocer, bought a bottle of what we thought might be the closest thing and nope, it wasn’t it. I did try a mixture of sambal and chilli oil and it was so-so.
The hubs and I hosted a Dumpling and Scallion Pancake night for some friends a couple of weeks ago. We all had fun making dumplings and scallion pancakes together. We also enjoyed eating them.
The hubs loves katsudon and often orders it at Japanese restaurants. I, on the other hand am okay with this dish. I usually don’t order it as I find most restaurants either make it too sweet, salty or oily. I came across a recipe for katsudon while watching Cooking with Dog. It seemed simple enough to make and it was pork week according to our meal plan – katsudon it was!
For Chinese New Year this year I decided to try making bak kwa, also known as Chinese BBQ pork jerky. A good friend of mine who lives in Australia had made it before and talked about how easy it was. Bak kwa is one of the more expensive CNY treats and popular bak kwa stalls have long lines during the CNY period. People are known to queue for hours to buy bak kwa. In Singapore, bak kwa vendors also sell beef, fish and bacon bak kwa. Pork, however is still my favorite.
I’ve finally used up the Christmas ham. The ham bone (frozen from Christmas) was finally used up to make this soup. It’s our traditional finale and one might even say we buy the ham so we can make this soup. Truth is, you don’t need to buy a 10 pound ham to make this soup. You can just buy the smoked ham hocks. But we just add in the ham bone for extra flavor – so we like to think. 😀
Japanese chashu is commonly eaten with Japanese ramen though I am sure it might also be eaten with other foods (rice?). I have seen it at the Japanese grocer but decided to try and make it on my own. The recipe is relatively simple but requires some babysitting. I had to turn the pork once every half hour to ensure even cooking. After slicing the pork, soak it in the cooking marinade to help it develop more flavour.
Leftover ham can be a pain. We usually cook a ham for Christmas because it’s the one time of the year it’s so cheap (we got ours at 89 cents a pound!). The hubs and I also like keeping the ham bone for ham and pea soup in the new year. It’s been a running tradition.
I have a few staples in my repertoire and this is one of them. I first used Jamie Oliver’s recipe and made some tweaks. Now I don’t really have a recipe and just use whatever is on hand in the pantry, resulting in meatballs that taste good but are different each time. There are however a few essentials that are present all the time. For example, I always use a combination of meats and always soak my breadcrumbs in milk before mixing it in.