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Archive for November, 2009

There are certain dishes that you always reach for when you are at the Chinese buffet.  For me, sweet and sour pork is definitely one of those.  The crunchy batter, the tender pork all coated sweet sauce that tingles with heat.  *sigh*.  I’m wanting to make it again, just thinking about it.  Especially when you toss in some peppers and pineapple. Yum yum yum.

sweet n sour pork

As I learned while making the Orange Zest Chicken , it really is all about the prep work.  This experience with a ‘busy’ recipe went much quicker once I knew the game. Prep EVERYTHING first.  And then its mere minutes til chopsticks are in hand.  I started my rice in the cooker just before I started cooking the pork.

Sweet and Sour Sauce –  { Adapted from Rasa Malaysia}

  • 1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp plum sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Marinade

  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp rice wine

Frying Batter

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 oz. flour
  • 1 oz. corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 pinch salt

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pork tenderloin (bite size pieces)
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 2 stalks scallions (white parts only, 2″ pieces)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple (bite size pieces)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • oil for frying

I began by cubing my pork and letting it sit in the marinade for 20-30 minutes.  This gave me time to assemble the sweet and sour sauce and dice my veggies.  Next, I mixed together the batter. 

Prep Work

Once the batter was finished, I tossed all my pork cubes into it and swirled them around to coat.  I used the wok for shallow frying and even used the oil from the previous frying event.   I only cook about 4-6 pieces of pork at a time, for roughly 1 minute per side.  I use a fork to flip.

Pork Fry

Once the pork pieces were all cooked and draining on paper towel, I drained the oil from the wok.  Then gave it a quick wipe with paper towel and drizzled 1 tbsp of canola.  Once hot, quickly cook garlic for 1 minute.  Then toss in peppers and pineapple, about 2 minutes. Next, pour in the sauce. It will thicken quickly. Once thick, stir pork into the sauce and veggies, add scallions.  Serve immediately.

Pork w veggies

I paired mine with long grain brown rice and it was amazing.  My only comment from making this recipe is that you could easily double the sauce.  I like sauce. I like my rice to mingle with the sauce.  So if you like sauce too – double the quantity!

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Now that I’m in the possession of an amazing iron wok from the Wok Shop, I’m on a mission to use this wok as much as possible.  About a year ago, I found a 1st edition copy of The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo online.  I believe it was on Slashfood that I read a blog that spoke highly of this book.  And I want to use this book as a foundation to learning how to cook real chinese cuisine. I do feel really inspired to create asian dishes with my wok.   Or maybe asian fusion would be a better category, because I’m so prone to recipe tweaking.  I’m also going to use food blogs as another resource in my attempt at creating an asian fusion recipe bank. 

Now, of course, all of this will be more fun if I had friends to join in and help me! And I do! Linda, from One Scoop at a Time , is a west coaster I met while at BlogHer Food ’09. And she, too, is an avid wok user.  We’ve decided that something needs to be done to encourage more wok-style cooking.  Now, from her perspective, woks can be used to make ANY kind of dish – not just chinese or other asian creations.  And, I am beginning to see that.  A wok is very versatile, quick and simple to clean.  All excellent characteristics to have on a busy weeknight.

So, I invite you to join our special event.  Either weekly, monthly or when you have a chance.  I can’t promise that I’ll always have a post every wednesday, but I do promise to provide you with interesting and healthy dishes that I’ve made with my wok.

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At the cocktail party hosted by Campbell’s/Swansons at BlogHer Food ’09, they served the most amazing butternut squash soup that I’ve ever encountered.  It was amazing. And, as my luck would have it (and I was quite lucky that weekend), I won a Campbell’s gift basket that contained a cookbook. And on page 71 of that cookbook, was my dearly beloved butternut squash soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

Now, I’m going to come right out and say it:  I didn’t like my soup. But, I’m not giving up on it.  For I made a few changes to the original recipe, because it was what I had available to me at the time. In the future, I will make certain that I have all the required ingredients on hand. Ok. End of disclaimer; on with the soup!

Butternut Squash Soup (with Sage Butter) – {adapted from Swanson Homemade Soups}

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-2.5 lb butternut squash: peeled, seeded and cubed (1″)
  • 2 md granny smith apples ( I had Mac’s in the house)
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (I ground whole seeds; possibly too old)
  • 3 cups chicken broth

Squash cubes

Using a 6qt soup or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Toss in squash, onion and apple; cook until the squash is almost fork tender. This took about 10 minutes or so.  Next, sprinkle in coriander; stir. Cook for 2 minutes.

Coriander

 Add broth and heat to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until squash is tender.

*Recipe calls for removing squash with slotted spoon and processing in food processor until smooth. Then add liquid back into puree until desired consistency. I did not do this.  I used an immersion blender to puree the soup in situ. Then I wasn’t happy about the smoothness, so I then put it through the f/p anyhow.  So, this is me, telling you, to go ahead and listen to the recipe and not me. For next time,  I’ll do it the way I am told.

Finally, the recipe says to garnish with fresh sage leaves (which I didn’t have on hand). Also, in a side note, it recommends frying 12 sage leaves in 1 tbsp of butter until crisp. Then, drizzle each serving with fried sage leaves and sage butter. I’d really like to try this next time.

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