Steamed pork rib with black beans


There is not much I do not enjoy about the yum cha (dumpling) table.

Normally I would write a few more words to introduce a recipe.

Not today.

This Christmas thing makes a chef’s life too bloody busy 

A few things I consider to be essential at the dumpling table

Pieces o’ pork
That pork ready to hit the steamer
The sticky rice ready to be tucked in covered with its #cheflife ALSCO towel
Dish that up

Just like that

STEAMED PORK RIBS WITH BLACK BEANS, STICKY RICE AND A FEW OTHER DUMPLING HOUSE GOODIES

500g pork belly with or without rib, pork spare rib or St Louis cut pork ribs, cut into 2cm pieces (your butcher might do this if you are nice to him/her. Otherwise you may need a meat cleaver…)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 clove garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat of a knife
½ onion, diced
1 long green chilli, deseeded and diced
½ red capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons Chinese black beans
2 cups glutinous white rice, soaked for a day or overnight in 1lt of water
1 bunch choy sum
A splash of oyster sauce
Assorted store-bought dumplings
Sriracha, soy sauce and/or whatever it is you like to dunk your dumplings into, to serve

Combine sugar, Shaoxing, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and garlic. Mix through pork ribs to marinate. Set aside overnight or at least one hour to do its thing.
Add onion, chilli, capsicum and black beans, and transfer to a bowl that will fit in your steamer basket.

Set up steamer in the usual fashion – simmering water in the bottom, and then the layers with the holes in them go over that (dumplings, vegetables, rice and steamed pork go on these levels), and then the lid looking thing goes on top of them.

Line the bottom level of your steamer with a towel, add strained rice and then wrap extra cloth over the top like you were tucking the rice into bed. Now you should say goodnight to the rice. Place steamer basket over simmering water.
Place bowl with pork ribs into top basket. Place onto steamer and cover with lid.
Steam for 25 minutes or until rice and pork is fully cooked.
Remove rice and pork from steamer. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Line bottom steamer basket with baking paper. Place dumplings in basket, ensuring there is ½ cm between each dumpling so they don’t stick together. Place over simmering water.
Place choy sum on a dish that will fit in steamer basket and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons oyster sauce. Place steamer basket over dumplings and then cover with lid. Steam choy sum and dumplings for 6-8 minutes or whatever the instructions on the packaging of the dumplings might tell you.

Get it all on the table now.
Now is the time to eat it.
Place your chosen morsel into the big hole in your face, chew it a little or a lot and then swallow.
You are now eating.
Thumbs up.

The Christmas that just went…

At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze...
At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze…
So there it was.

Christmas.

It came as quickly as a teenage boy… and then left feeling just as ashamed.

The Optimus Prime-esque light displays that were clearly trying to signal another culture from the depths of a very distant solar system will soon yield to the weight of more consumerism in the form of hot crossed buns and chocolate eggs which are seemingly the incubating spawn of chocolate rabbits which are both some how meant to tie into a religious celebration-slash-holiday.

We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour... everyone else mostly chose other drinks
We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour… everyone else mostly chose other drinks

I don’t really follow this whole thing at all.

But really, who gives a fuck.

What ever it is, it is a damn fine reason to get together with your friends and family, and possibly even a random cling-on or two. You share a drink (many drinks), some food (much food) and maybe a story about how two of your squad hooked up together at the same event last year (not appropriate when only family is in attendance). Just a damn good time really. Even carnies and people who hate everything else about life will generally still enjoy the time that is Christmas.

There was much food on the table... and also a fair bit of booze
There was much food on the table… and also a fair bit of booze

As a wise man once told me, “there are systems in place just so we can stand one another”, and I agree that this is definitely one of them.

Right now I sit on a hotel balcony, enjoying a little down time after having the craziest two months of my cheffing career to date, and I ponder how beautiful that whole silly season is* – the truly satisfying climax after the fore play and gentle caress of the trickle of summer function bookings through out the year. Dates are tentatively set, invites drawn up, weddings and birthdays and Christmas parties are all in the mix.

And then it’s on.

The slippery finger that is the rest of the year is inevitably followed by the fully blown orgy (black plastic and raspberry jelly included) that is the start of summer… the silly season… our glory days. Then, as quickly as it begun it is over again. We sit on our milk crates and designated small section of brick wall out the back of the restaurant and we admire those that are still among us…. Chaffed lips and post coital haze… enlarged sphincters… mental scars that will never heal…

Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz... As is trifle... we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo
Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz… As is trifle… we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo

Thank god for Christmas.

I fucking love this shit.

#beingachefisthebestshitever

And then all of a sudden I was here... writing this...
And then all of a sudden I was here… writing this…

*And, if I’m totally honest, I also ponder an Edward Norton in “Fight Club” or the Donnie Darko guy in “Donnie Darko” type catastrophe where the balcony crumbles underneath me and I’m done. Yes I have head issues.