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

Jennee’s Sunday Spread… Thai feast a la David Thompson and her own brain

SAMSUNG CSC

Jennee’s Thai spread, if you will. Now please remove your filthy little minds from the gutter and your hands from the top button of your pants as this is not the type of Thai spread that will be hitting fat Australian business men in the face with ping pong balls. This is a Thai spread of even more awesome-ness than that my friends…

Read on.

Jennee is the type of girl that would have a sweet pony saddled up and waiting for me when I arrive home from work so I may trot into the hills and ride away my woes. That is not code for anything, but by Jeeves it could be!

This girl knows how to save a man from the perils of a big week at work like the homeless man knows how to rescue the stray dog… not how to feed or shelter it though, but one out of three aint bad.

At the end of lunch service at work yesterday I did declare to my co-workers and kitchen brethren that I would not be eating dinner tonight unless it was mother effing nachos. I was hell bent that I was going to finish my working week (I know. A little bit different to yours, but that’s OK yeah?) by piling a fat load of shit into my mouth hole. Not actual shit of course, that’s only at the parties the Johnston’s have on the third Friday of every month… but that’s a hell of a story for another time… or not at all. Anyway, needless to say nachos were not to be the end to this working (and actual) week. I was about to flip the fuck out and then Jennee laid this upon our table. I instantaneously realised that all would be OK… I’ll have the effing nachos tomorrow!

For this dinner Jennee drew inspiration from David Thompson’s book, “Thai Street Food”, and her own brain to boot.

A Thai spread for 4.

That rice. Top left
That rice. Top

STICKY RICE WITH GOLDEN DRESSING AND MUSHROOM TOPPING
• Cook 2 cups of sticky rice just like you would normally cook sticky rice. If sticky rice is in the too hard basket, try cooking jasmine rice instead
• Once rice is cooked stir trough golden dressing (recipe follows), cover and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes
• Serve the rice covered with mushroom topping (recipe follows)

Golden dressing
½ cup coconut cream
¼ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sliced tumeric
• Combine the coconut cream with sugar and salt
• Add the tumeric and leave to infuse for 30 minutes
• Douse the hot rice with that and smell the glory

Mushroom topping
150g mushrooms, chopped finely
1 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 30 minuntes, strained
5 coriander roots, washed and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup finely grated coconut
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
2 tablespoon white sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded. Really finely shredded
1 small handful picked coriander
• Using a mini food processer or mortar and pestle, make a fine paste out of the shrimp, coriander root, salt and pepper. Heat oil and fry paste over a medium heat until aromatic – 3-4 minutes – stirring contantly to prevent it from catching
• Add mushrooms and fry for another 3-4 minutes until cooked
• Add coconut and fry for another 3-4 minutes and then add sugars. Keep cooking until sugars are dissolved and then absorbed until almost dry
• Cool
• Check seasoning – it may need a little more salt and/or pepper
• Serve on top of golden rice, garnished with shredded kaffir leaf and coriander. Just quietly, this is well worth the effort

That beef
That beef

BEEF & CHOY SUM WITH LEMONGRASS & COCONUT
500g ribeye or rump steak, sliced into 5mm strips for stir frying
1 bunch of choy sum or gai lan or bok choy, or even broccoli if none of the other options appeal to you, cut into 4-5cm pieces
1 brown onion, diced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
5 coriander root, washed and chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
Zest of 2 kaffir limes

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
• Blitz all except beef, choy sum and oyster sauce, to form a rough paste. Marinade beef in said paste for a few hours
• In a very hot wok/pan, add a splash of oil and stirfry beef for one minute. Set aside
• In the same pan add choy sum and oyster sauce and simmer for 5 minutes
• Add beef and any resting juices back to the pan and simmer for another minute
• Get it on the table

That salad
That salad

CUCUMBER, TOMATO AND SPROUT SALAD
1 continental/telegraph cucumber, chopped or cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandoline
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (or a big handful of cherry toms straight from the garden if you’re lucky enough to have some), halved
200g bean sprouts
2 spring onions, sliced
1 handful each mint and coriander, leaves picked
½ cup black rice, shallow fried in vegetable oil until starting to puff and pop (this is some tasty shit right here and brings a bit of a tasty crunchy party to the salad, as every good Thai salad needs)
½ cup nam jim dressing (recipe right here) or a similar sweet, sour, salty, hot dressing
• Yo yo yo… Toss it all together and put it on the table