Sunday, October 19, 2008
Home Cooking with Friends
I am a great lover of meat but for reasons unknown to us we seldom eat pork. Pork is a very popular meat in Chinese cuisine. So we came away from our trip to Andrew Northrop Butcher's with a whole lot of pork ribs and pork mince (made from the meat under the ribs). Our next stop was Seoul Plaza where we bought some tofu and spring onions. From there we went to Al Amin and got a small chicken.
Back at home I started on the ribs. Chinese-style ribs are usually cut into 1.5 - 2.0 inch pieces for ease of eating with chop sticks. I set to chopping the ribs with my cleaver with glee - what a racket I made! After I'd finally chopped them all I froze some and plunked the others into a pot of cold water and brought that up to the boil. These were boiled for 3 minutes and the water then poured away and the ribs rinsed of any residual scum. Then I added some water back to the pot, tossed the ribs in, added some seasoning and let that come back to the boil. I simmered the ribs in the sauce for about an hour, partially covered, stirring every so often so that all of the meat spent time in the sauce.
Next I chopped up the chicken and following the recipe in my favourite Chinese cookbook, the New Chinese Cookery Course by Kenneth Lo, I prepared the Slow-Braised Chicken dish.
While I was cooking, Juching and Chantal arrived. They'd brought their supplies and had between them 3 dishes they wanted to cook.
Korean Cooking by Young Jin Song. Steve has made this subtle, deceptively simple and stunning dish one of his specialities and it is one of my favourites. The vegetable box gave us bok choy so I made stir fried bok choy, naturally. In accordance with the sheer volume of food before us, we spent quite a long time eating - going back again and again to the dishes arranged at the centre of the table. The chat was about food and cooking and they paid me the best possible compliment in the world - they said that my dishes tasted very Asian and that they wouldn't have guessed that they had been cooked by a Western person. Wow... that was indeed a fantastic compliment!
We chatted long after we'd finished eating, lingering over the drying rice grains and solidifying pork fat. Slowly we extricated ourselves from our reverie; I served chocolates and tea. We were so buoyed up by our evening together that we all agreed to have a repeat performance of the dinner sometime soon!