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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Curry Pork Skin & Fish Balls 咖喱猪皮魚丸

If you’re curious about pork skin, well, there are raw pork skin and pre-fried pork skin. Raw pork skin requires longer cooking (or the skin is very hard or chewy), used typically in Chinese cooking especially in stew recipes, to create the bouncy texture. If it is cooked down further it is very soft and melt in your mouth, and releases gelatin (the stew liquid will turn to gelatin when chilled).

Pre-fried pork skin are, like the name suggests, fried to the point the pushes out all the fat underneath, leaving many tiny air pockets. These tiny air pockets act like a sponge, as they soak up whatever sauce they are cooked in. Can you replace with pork rinds commonly found in snack aisle in grocery stores? The answer is NO– the pork rind snacks are processed more to make it very light weight and puffy, and it will disintegrate during cooking. Because pre-fried pork skin is processed with oil, it needs to be boiled and wash a couple of times before adding to your cooking.

Curry Pork Skin & Fish Balls 咖喱猪皮魚丸

Back to this dish, curry pork skin and fish balls is a popular dish at dim sum restaurants. It usually comes with daikon in a watery sauce. I left out daikon (not a big fan), and made my sauce much thicker. The sauce is very easy to make with these Japanese curry sauce mix cubes. My family takes very spicy foods so I used spicy level “extra hot”. One note about using the sauce mix cubes– it s concentrated and has thickening agent, so it’s always good to start with one cube first, adding more sauce mix or water as you cook.

Curry Pork Skin and Fish Balls 咖喱猪皮魚丸

Ingredients:

1 piece pre-fried pork skin (about 8″ x10″ or similar size)
10 frozen fish balls (brand Ho Ho preferred “好好”牌)– defrosted
4 slices ginger
2 cloves garlic– chopped
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 cube Japanese curry sauce mix
1 cup water or canned chicken broth
Salt to taste

Garnish: chopped green onion

Method:

  1. Put pork skin in a pot of boiling water until it just softens. Remove pork skin, rinse under water while squeezing it several times. Cut into 1″x 3″ strips. Discard water and boil another pot of water. Add ginger.
  2. When water boils, add in fish balls. After fish balls float up, boil for another 2 minutes. Fish balls will slightly puff up. Remove fish balls. Add cut pork skin to the pot, cook for 5 minutes to get rid off the greasy smell then take them out. Rinse pork skin in a bowl several times, each time squeezing it to further remove as much oily smell without ripping. Squeeze dry. It is now ready to use.
  3. Heat up cooking oil in a pan, sauté fish balls on high medium high heat, stirring continuously to ensure fish balls are lightly golden brown all around. Add garlic, sauté until aromatic.
  4. Add water (1/2 cup at a time), curry cause mix and pork skin. Stir until sauce mix dissolves. As it cooks the sauce will thicken so add more water if needed. Salt to taste. Cook for another minute after it boils. Dish out and serve.

Regina’s Note:

  • Pork skin and fish balls can be prepared in advance (step 1-2).
  • If you also use daikon (peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces), cook them in water first (step 4) before sauce mix and pork skin. Add a bit more water if needed later as daikon draws out liquid during cooking. When daikon just turns soft, add sauce mix and pork skin, continue cooking for a few more minutes. Add more water if the sauce thickens too much.

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Crispy Roasted Chicken 脆皮五香烤鷄

I don’t know why I don’t make roasted chicken as often as I should. Come to think of it, roasted chicken is actually pretty easy to make because the oven does the dirty work for you. No more last minute cooking and wiping clean the stove. While the chicken is roasting, it frees up your hand and time to cook other dishes, or better yet, take a shower!  When you are out of shower, maybe even have time to catch some TV, the chicken is done~ deliciously juicy and tender, and with crispy skin.

Crispy Roasted Chicken 脆皮五香烤鷄

Yes, CRISPY skin.

How? Air dry the bird, for at least 2 hours. The famous Peking ducks in Chinese restaurants go through this air drying process to achieve crispy skin too. Second, use a vertical roasting stand (with dripping plate) to hold the chicken~ vertical stand will allow fat and liquid drip down to dripping plate thus keeping the skin dry during roasting. You don’t have to turn the bird over halfway during roasting and cut down roasting time as heat distribute more evenly.

For the chicken, I like to use Long Kong chicken 龍崗雞 which can be found in Chinese grocery stores. Fryer chicken is big and meaty, but it has a lot of fat and I just don’t like the mushy soft texture of the meat. Free ranch yellow chicken 黃毛雞 (commonly found in Chinese grocery stores) has a lot less fat, but the meat is a bit chewy. Long Kong chicken is like a hybrid between the fryer and free ranch chicken~ it’s has less fat; the meat is tender but not mushy soft. It is more pricey than fryer, but definitely worth it cooking for my dear family.

Crispy Roasted Chicken 脆皮五香烤鷄 Recipe

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken– see note below

Seasoning rub (no exact measurements, just a thin layer of each seasoning on the inside and outside of the chicken):
salt
ground white pepper
five spice powder
sugar
soy sauce– enough to rub the skin (optional)

oil– enough to rub the skin

Method:

  1. Clean the chicken. Remove head, neck, butt and feet if necessary (I save the neck and feet for making chicken broth or braise them in soy sauce). Remove excess fat. Pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle a thin layer of salt, ground white pepper, five spice powder and sugar on the inside and outside of the chicken. As you sprinkle seasonings with one hand, rub the chicken with the other hand to coat throughly inside and outside. Then rub just enough soy sauce (start with 1 tbsp, pour in your palm then rub) on the skin to create brown color. This will make the skin look golden brown after roasting. Take care not to use too much soy sauce. It is used as a coloring agent.
  3. Insert a vertical roasting stand inside the chicken with a dripping plate under the stand. Let the chicken air dry in room temperature for at least 2 hours for it to dry the skin. This is critical for making crispy skin so don’t skip this step.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Rub enough oil to the skin (start with 1 tbsp, pour into palm then rub onto chicken skin). Roast for about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. The chicken is cooked when you wiggle the legs are loose and relaxed. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Skim off the dripping fat from the dripping plate, and the dripping sauce is a great dip for the chicken.

Regina’s Note:

  • Chicken– I like to buy Long Kong chicken 龍崗雞 commonly found in Chinese grocery store because it has a lot less fat than fryer chicken, and the meat is not as chewy as brown free ranch yellow chicken 黃毛雞.

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Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs 韓式烤牛小排

In the past whenever we had Korean barbecue for dinner, I always bought the marinade and kimchi in a jar. But after watching Korean TV drama “Crash Landing on You”, I was interested in making my own. So, I made Traditional Korean Kimchi, and this homemade Korean barbecue marinade. This marinade tastes so much better and flavorful than store bought brands, which are mostly soy sauce and sugar. It is very easy to make– just purée everything in a blender and done! My choice of meat was always beef short ribs, but one time I couldn’t find it at Costco so I used pork belly instead (skinless, slice into 1/4 or 1/3 inch thickness and 2 inch long). To my surprise it was the best Korean barbecue we had (the fat keep the meat juicy)! I am sure boneless chicken thighs will taste as good too.

Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs 韓式烤牛小排

Besides beef short ribs, skinless pork belly (shown above) is also excellent with this marinade.

Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs 韓式烤牛小排

Ingredients:

4.5 lbs thin cut beef short ribs (crossed cut)

Marinade sauce:
5 cloves garlic
2 inch ginger
1/2 Asian pear or brown pear– cored and peeled
8 tbsps soy sauce
5 tbsps brown sugar
2 tbsps gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste concentrate)
2 tbsps ground hot chili peppers (optional)
2 tbsps sesame oil

Method:

Purée all marinade ingredients in a blender, then marinate meat (be sure to coat well) for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Char grilled. To eat, cut meat into pieces (remove bones). Put meat on a piece whole green lettuce leaf, adding sliced raw garlic, sliced jalapeño pepper and Korean chili paste if desired, wrap up and enjoy. Serve with steam rice.

Regina’s Note:

If pork belly is used, choose pork belly with even meat and fat layer. I like to buy it at Costco. In order to easily cut pork belly into thin slices (1/4 or 1/3 inch thickness), I let the meat defrost halfway, cut it into 2 inch blocks, then thin slice the meat. Keep an eye when grilling pork belly, because of its higher fat content and thin cut, your grill can easily catch a grease fire or burn the meat.

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