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.

Stir fried water spinach and store bought dumplings for #easytastygood dinner


Oft times when it is really warm out I don’t do much.

I might sit in the pool for a bit, tighten a screw or oil a hinge (not a euphemism) and maybe watch a show, but that’s pretty much it.

I can’t even be bothered to write very much words.

I just cannot be assed.

But let’s face it; I’ve still gotta eat. Me going a day without food is like a Quentin Tarantino film without Samuel L. in it – highly fucking unlikely.

So, when it inevitably comes time to prepare our evening meal on said days I like to stay in character and stick with the whole “not doing much” theme.

This dinner is classic “not doing much”; store bought dumplings and sauces steamed and served with a really quick stir-fried water spinach number.

Piss easy enough for even you to not work up a sweat on a day like today.

Water spinach AKA morning glory, AKA kang kong, is one of my favourite things to put in a hot wok. It is quite simply just some tasty tasty shit. When we were in Vietnam and Laos it was sold as “morning glory” and was available at just about every restaurant and roadside stall we came across. Now I have a little trouble admitting this but I loved it. There you go. Never once in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would be admitting to the world that someone’s morning glory was one of my favourite things ever to put in my mouth… but it was.

This shit is damn well addictive. Even if you don’t like greens just try this… at the very least it might give a little life to your pasty little poster-boy-for-serving-fruit-and-vegetables-in-the-school-canteen demeanor and maybe get a little blood flowing down stairs so that poor little thing can get a little rigid again.

Eat it.

I’m out.

The ubiquitous "before" shot
The ubiquitous “before” shot
Get it on the table
Get it on the table
One more quick look before totally destroying it
One more quick look before totally destroying it
A better view of the water spinach number. Pretty sexy shit, eh
A better view of the water spinach number. Pretty sexy shit, eh

STIR FRIED WATER SPINACH WITH OYSTER SAUCE, GARLIC AND SOY (serves 4 as a side)

1 large bunch water spinach (this shit will wilt down a fair bit), sliced into 4-5cm pieces
2 spring onions/shallots, sliced into 2cm lengths
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat edge of a knife
½ tablespoon each oyster sauce and light soy sauce
vegetable oil for frying

• Add a splash of oil to a wok or decent sized pan and get it plenty hot
• Add the water spinach, spring onions and garlic and toss for a minute
• Add the sauces and toss for another minute
• Have a little taste to check for seasoning, add a little more soy if you need some more salty
• Put it on the table with a few steamed dumplings, those sticky rice and pork parcels wrapped up in banana leaves (possibly one of the sexiest of items on the dim sum trolley… the banana leaf , once gently and seductively pulled aside, reveals a sticky, soft, yielding mound of ricey porky goodness… dear good lord I’m getting myself excited…) and a heap of condiments; sriracha chilli sauce is a good start, soy sauce, chilli in soy bean oil, kimchi, something else that you can’t read the label of but grabbed anyway, etc. you get the idea.
• Go fourth, eat water spinach and dumplings and be happy

A close up of the glutinous rice and pork in banana leaf porn
A close up of the glutinous rice and pork in banana leaf porn

Easter-ness

Mmmmm. Roast lamb in the fire
Mmmmm. Roast lamb in the fire

I know. I’ve been offline for over a week now and all I have to offer is the same ol’ tale of a man who works in the hospitality industry and is tied to the stoves during holiday periods. A man who loves the customers that demand so much of him during these times. A man who always returns home with a smile on his face… mostly. A man who talks an awful lot of bollocks… definitely. Anyway, I am back like a dirty old stalker. You will never really get rid of me. I’ll always be there, lurking in the shadows, just around the corner, armed only with my dirty beard and mind.

Cyberdyne industries is ready to go online.

Our humble home played host to another couple of guests this week; me old mates Nozza and Troppo. These guys are some of my favourite peeps in the world, so needless to say, I couldn’t spend my whole time on the tappy-key-screen-thing writing stories for you… that may have been mostly because I was drunk… or cooking… sometimes both.

So Nozza and Troppo were here. We, as good hosts, thought it appropriate to start with some canapés and witty banter, and then realised we were far from this “good hosts” couple we were speaking of, so we started off in the usual manner; beer consumption and stories of times gone by…

Old skool catch-ups are the best.

We were both by-standers and protagonists in the over-consumption of Easter eggs. We ate hot crossed buns for no other reason than “because it is Easter”. I like to anoint a toasty grilled bun with something similar to it’s own weight in butter – really lube that shit up. We also ate many great food. Very, very nice indeed. And what, may I ask you, would any festive type holiday period be with the consumption of a beverage or two? That’s right; it wouldn’t be a very fucking festive holiday at all, would it? So we also drank festive amounts of booze.

When all was said and done, and chocolate eggs eaten and dodgy theories about Easter discussed, this was a damn fine weekend. It was a weekend I needed like a royal needs stupid looking pets and what can only be described as WTF sporting obsessions.

This shall be somewhat of a visual diary of the week that has past.

Duck sausage, pork rib, mushroom and kale pasta
Duck sausage, pork rib, mushroom and kale pasta
The photo doesn't look that crash hot but this shit tasted good
The photo doesn’t look that crash hot but this shit tasted good
Chicken, coconut and kaffir lime broth, noodles and dumplings
Chicken, coconut and kaffir lime broth, noodles and dumplings
Have heaps of lime with this one
Have heaps of lime with this one
Lamby rubbed down with garlic, anchovies, preserved lemon and rosemary followed by three hours in the coals of the fire
Lamby rubbed down with garlic, anchovies, preserved lemon and rosemary followed by three hours in the coals of the fire
Nothing wrong with this picture
Nothing wrong with this picture
Served up with roasted potatoes and baby capsicum from the coals and chickpea and cavolo nero pilaff
Served up with roasted potatoes and baby capsicum from the coals and chickpea and cavolo nero pilaff
That pilaff
That pilaf
The boys made frittata omelette for breakfast
The boys made frittata omelette for breakfast
Tomato, mushrooms, cheese and herbs… and fully made by the kids to boot
Tomato, mushrooms, cheese and herbs… and fully made by the kids to boot

I hope it was a good one and fulfilled all expectations for you and yours. Lots of love from your friends at foodisthebestshitever.

Robina Yum Cha and the continuation of Jennee’s Birthday

Anyone who knows me, or thinks they know me, or follows my life through the misty little second story bathroom window that is this blog, will know two things. That I am a fan of the yum cha, and that one day of birthday celebrations is never enough. There are yet undiscovered tribes of pygmies in the amazon that received the memo regarding these points. Catch up quickly would you.

So the obvious combo, considering yesterday was Jennee’s birthday, would be me, Jennee and another lady of her choosing have a special little party of our own… the second most obvious combo was to piggy back a trip to yum cha into Jennees birthday celebrations. So, as you could well imagine, we got our asses up the coast and indulged our faces a feast of tasty dumpling-y treats. And maybe a little peek at some cute Asian girls…

They have tables and chairs
They have tables and chairs
Start with some salt and pepper squid tenticles and a nice clean table
Start with some salt and pepper squid tenticles and a nice clean table
Two essentials; soy sauce and saricha hot chilli
Two essentials; soy sauce and sraricha hot chilli
Pork and prawn dumplings
Pork and prawn dumplings
Crisp honey chicken for the boys... but truth be known, I probably ate most of it
Crisp honey chicken for the boys… but truth be known, I probably ate most of it

For me yum cha, and a lot of eating in general, seems to follow a bit of a porky motif. This in mind, it is probably no surprise (even with your 1st gear brain) that items such as steamed pork and prawn dumplings, pork buns, braised pork ribs and fried pork dumplings (these were so damn fine I got a second serve) featured very heavily on my own personally designed 12 course degustation menu, not lacking in anything I needed to make my dining experience complete; sriracha hot sauce, soy sauce, steamed rice and plenty of jasmine tea. Just jasmine tea. Leave the beer to the crew who aren’t in the know because for every beer you drink you will be denying yourself two dumplings at the very least and that is just a silly mans game. And, if you really want the crew to think you’re a yum cha pro, when your teapot is empty turn the lid upside down. Immediately one of the hundred staff will appear at your side with a new pot, or possibly a cheap hospital-tea-lady top up out of a large aluminium pot in a less reputable joint. But you will have more tea.

Braised pork ribs with black beans
Braised pork ribs with black beans
Fried pork dumplings
Fried pork dumplings
Crisp squid rings
Crisp squid rings
Prawn dumplings, pork dumplingd and steamed pork buns
Prawn dumplings, pork dumplings and steamed pork buns
The bill. I seriously have no idea what that says. It might say "charge the stupid round eye like a wounded bull" and I am going to give them my money with a full belly and a smile on my face
The bill. I seriously have no idea what that says. It might say “charge the stupid round eye like a wounded bull” and I am going to give them my money with a full belly, a smile on my face and say thank you

I have a theory (here we go…) that all yum cha restaurants follow a basic set of rules or guidelines put in place and policed by an organization that is quite probably called “the International Bureau for the Standardisation and Quality Control of the World Dumpling Industry”, or possibly fondly referred to by the acronym TIBFTSAQCOTWDI… Robina Yum Cha had been given the brief and certainly followed the 6 basic guidelines set out by TIBFTSAQCOTWDI;

  1. Dumplings, sriracha, soy and rice
  2. A lot of staff, all whom are clearly of Asian descent and speak in thick accents, always experiencing a little difficulty in deciphering if you want braised pork ribs or fried pork dumplings, causing havoc for the table of fat yobbo Australians behind us. Yeah, the guys who are eating with their hands. And also for the clearly Gold Coast mum trying to hold a phone conversation and order at the same time on the table next to us, but for me… I am in love.
  3. Dockets written in some kind of Chinese looking dialect.
  4. Paper tablecloth protectors.
  5. Tables and chairs that are not quite big enough for a tall white man.
  6. And there is jasmine tea flowing like the golden shower in the alley out back… damn that CCTV!

But this place didn’t quite tow the line like others before it. The staff were a little happier and had time for a little chat and a laugh. There was none of the get in, eat and then scurry out to make room for the next lot of diners. It saw nary a man nor woman carrying a stack of bowls twice the size of his or her own body, nor with the ability to reset a table of seven place settings, with only the flick of a tablecloth a la David Copperfield. The food on the trolly was fresh, definitely the freshest of any of the yum cha we have been to in the area. This place rocked. They rocked a cracking balance of enough food to feed the punters, enough choice, freshness, staff per customer and Pop Asia chic.

Defo worth a trip if you’re in the area… but maybe not a “hire a personal jet and go there for lunch from the other side of the country” type thing. Although Jennee disagreed with that last comment and thinks it is well worth the hire of a personal jet to eat there.

Go there and get your dumpling on!

Robina Yum Cha

Click here for their facey page

Liz McGuiness gets Ducked…

The Ghost of Barney is turning 21 today. Well no, he’s not, he’s turning a bit over 40 but he likes to think of himself as a young, virile thing still, so we shall humour him! So as the dutiful wifey of said spectre, I set to thinking of an appropriate dinner to celebrate his milestone. I couldn’t think of anything really, so I turned to foodisthebestshitever and what do you know? They’d thought of it for me. Thank you chaps! Peking* Duck and Miso Broth with BBQ Pork accompanied by sticky rice balls, and some duck dumplings and fried chicken wontons as starters. The offspring are making a cake so that’s dessert done.

Let’s walk through the journey of how I got the ingredients – or as I like to call it, Liz’s totally awesome adventure through Chinatown, after which I may have bought a lychee juice box, when I should have been at work doing boring shit. Oh yeah.

First I got on the bus which stopped conveniently, just outside my work door and was also conveniently, air conditioned. I got off the bus and accompanied a large group of Chinese young people making merry all the way to the Asian supermarket. I love the ducks and chickens and bbq pork hanging in the window. I think it’s the only non-sausage, non preserved meats that I have ever seen in a shop window since 1979 when I went to see our local butcher in Wallumbilla. Yes people, that is a place – and what do you know, spell check knows it already. All hail spell check, for you art our new Lord.

Anyway, I left the duck til last and entered the Aladdin’s cave (what do you know, spell check knows Aladdin as well) of Asian goodness. Man I love Asian supermarkets. They speak of taste bud adventures, hidden gems and possible upset stomachs after you buy something that doesn’t have a speck of English on the wrapper and ingest it the wrong way.  Winding my way slowly through the higgledy piggledy (damn you spell check, you DO know everything!) aisles, I went so slowly so enthralled was I by the strange and potentially dangerous produce on offer, that I was passed by an old man with a Zimmer frame and one leg. My basket was loaded with all sorts of lovely jubblies (ha! Gotcha spell check!) and I carefully approached the doyen at the checkout.

After scanning all my goods, the doyen at the till asked me if I had a “buserwersadurkastan” or something. I instinctively said “sorry what?” and she said “do you have a buserwersadurkastan?” I said no, I was trying to give them up. She looked at me funny and turned to her comrade at the other till and said something in Chinese. I wasted no time and hurried off to choose my duck from the ones hanging in the window. I also couldn’t resist a fillet of BBQ Pork – you KNOW I love a good porking – and made my way back to boring work on another conveniently air conditioned bus. And then drank my lychee juice box which was delicious.

Now as luck would have it, the Ghost of Barney drove by my work and picked me up with my shopping and drove me home, saving me the inconvenience of walking anywhere in the heat. I introduced the duck to the family when I got home. The duck said hello politely because it still had its head and beak and its manners and the family thought the fact it still had a head and beak was a little bit distressing. More distressing than a talking duck it would seem.

the duck
the duck

I then went to work on de-skinning, deboning and mincing the meat from the duck for the dumplings and defrosting a chicken breast for the wontons. It took me a while to make up a couple of packets of the dumplings but it is well worth the effort as fresh dumplings are to die for. Just ask the duck. Anyway, because the dinner wasn’t until the next day, I put the dumplings on a biscuit slide with baking paper and popped them in the freezer. I used to do this with the dumplings and wontons in the restaurant I worked in and they come out a treat. To fill one small packet of wontons, I used one chicken breast, coriander, a small piece of chilli, garlic and ginger into the food processor and whipped that bitch’s ass until it was a chunky gelatinous mass. Then I laid each wonton wrapper out so that a corner was pointing towards me. Using two teaspoons, I put small heaped portions of the mixture into the middle of the wonton wrapper. Dip your finger into a glass of water and run it sexily around two sides of the lower side of the wrapper like you’re painting your lover’s nipples with chocolate. Then, unlike painting nipples with chocolate, take the point closest to you and fold it up to the top point, making a triangle. Starting from the filling, press the air out and the sides of the wrapper together, sealing the triangle. Pick the wonton up with the bottom pointing at you and bend the two outside points around together and seal with water. Yeah, like some tantric sexual position. You know you want to try it.

chicken wontons, deep fried and ready to be inserted into your face
chicken wontons, deep fried and ready to be inserted into your face

Finished! Deep fry these suckers and you have an awesome snack.

photo-4
mincey mince… drinky drink
duck dumplings
duck dumplings
steam those puppies and then put the in your face
steam those puppies and then put them in your face

The dumplings, I cooked in a small quantity of oil in a heavy based pan then tip in a half cup of water, put on the lid and steam them. These dumplings are also known as pot stickers – because they stick to the bottom of the pan. Duh.

The Ghost of Barney was well pleased with his meal, especially the broth – and the duck skin which I deep fried to make a crispy treat! Plus he digs my tantric sex moves. Sorry, too much??

 

*Pekin (as apposed to peking duck) duck is a breed of duck. Pekinging a duck is Pauly’s way of describing an individual of said breed that is going through the process of being killed, plucked, marinated, blowed, dried and baked. Pekinged is Pauly’s way of saying that the said duck is ready for his further cooking and consumption…

click here to be transported to Pauly’s world

“An ode to Bargearse” by my wife Jennee… aka dumpling night

So the time has come for me to enter into my husbands “other” world. He tells me tales of this world that are laced with adventure and excitement, naked women throwing themselves at him and the adoration of a nation of fans…. so I thought I should get me some o that!!! I, not unlike the g man, have spent a year or two in a commercial kitchen with the sweat and anxiety of service hot on my heels. I have come home caked in sugar (bahahah- that’s my first hilarious pun) from my days in the pastry section and have been yelled at a number of times for not getting the chips to cook faster. And as you can probably tell by my lament of times gone by, I have left the kitchen to graz, and have found a life where the only burn I get is from the sun. However, I do the odd cameo appearance and every now and again when I can wangle my way into the kitchen past gray (he usually gives me a small portion of the bench to work my magic) I churn out what can only be described as , pretty much amazing (copyright… chitty bang)….
So I have just spent the weekend at my lovely sisters house and after a heated discussion (as in every discussion is heated as it’s the tropics!!!) about yum cha (I am pretty sure that anyone who is a semi regular follower would know our familys love for this sport). My son chose the meal for the evening before he fell asleep on the journey home… and you guessed it- dumplings…Seba rolled more than half of the 40 that we made and ate about the same amount..
Granted this meal is not the type of meal you would make on a school night after a 9 hour day and with the kids breathing down your throat whilst trying to kill each other. Unless of course you have the small hands and dexterity of a china man who has spent the good part of his life working in a dim sum factory!!!!! However, if you have the time these little nuggets are pure gold… We did them 2 ways- steamed in the swell new steamer that Queenie gave gray for his bday and fried- as in potstickers ( my personal fave) and served them with an Asian slaw. However if you wanted to channel the 90s character made famous by the “D-generation” comedy crew, you could go bargearse on these suckers and have “a shitload of dim sims and a bucket of soy sauce!!!!!”

Note the concentration…………..

The eye patch helped him focus!!!

Seba on the job…..

The dumplings
I whizzed up an onion with shitloads of coriander, parsley and mint and a few cloves of garlic as well as a knob of ginger,
I added this mix to some pork mince and then added some fish sauce,…
Sorry about the quantities- but I am off the chef clock so my measuring system is such… you cant go too wrong – unless you add shitloads of fish sauce- then it might go pear shape!!!!

As for Asian slaw, I shredded, cabbage, snow peas, carrots, and ribboned cucumbers the dressing was whizzed up cori, mint , lemon juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and dried shrimp…. DAMN FINE!!!!!!!!

I couple of things have come to my attention today. After the last couple of posts it appears like we may be running an illegal child labour kitchen type set-up at our house (we don’t even give them a shirt for goodness sake), and clearly with poke them in the eye with a stick if they don’t work fast enough… I can neither confirm or deny these allegations. Also, and I think Pauly’s going to feel this one too, Jennee seems to have a delightful mix of our humor and writing styles with less (or none even) gramatical errors. Well done Jennee! – G