Crispy Asian Roast Pork Belly Salad

This is a delicious way to eat pork belly with crunchy crackling and moist roast pork tinged with the flavours of Asia – soy sauce, coriander, chilli, and hints of black vinegar. All it really needs is some steamed greens and jasmine rice on the side for a complete meal. It would also be a very good pre-prepared dish made for sharing or as part of a buffet.

i have read many very different techniques for getting crunchy crackling but I just stick to the simple method of keeping the pork uncovered in the fridge for an hour or two and then drying with a cloth and rubbing the scored skin with generous amounts of salt before putting into oven. (Seems to work every time for me.)

And, as most of the prep and cooking time is just drying out the pork in the fridge and then roasting in the oven, you can get on and do other things without too much fuss.

Prep time: 2.5 hours  Cooking time:2 hours
Ingredients:

750g boneless pork belly, with skin scored both ways into cross-hatch
2 tablespoons soy sauce for marinade
2 tablespoons salt

Salad
half a bunch coriander chopped
1 red chilli finely chopped
1 eschallot or half a red onion very finely sliced
2 tablespoons Chiangkiang black vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method
Dry out pork belly uncovered in fridge for at least 1 hour or even overnight
Put soy sauce on a plate or in a flat dish and carefully place pork, flesh-side down on top of sauce, taking care not to get any soy sauce on the skin – leave to marinate for an hour

Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius

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Pork marinating in soy sauce

Remove from marinade and carefully place on baking paper lined baking dish/oven tray.

Wipe skin once more then rub salt thoroughly into skin and in between scoring

Place pork in oven, and cook at 200 degrees celcius for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 170 degrees and cook for a further 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn heat to maximum using the top grilling element to grill the pork until crackling starts to crisp up, about 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on the pork at this point as the skin can burn easily.

Meanwhile, chop coriander and chillies and slice onion finely,and set aside.

Remove from oven and rest about 25 minutes until medium warm, then cut into cubes, trying to keep crackling and meat connected where possible.

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Crispy roasted pork belly

Mix herbs, onions and chillies with black vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Cut pork into cubes along the scored “lines”

Layer the pork with the herbs mixture, drizzling the dressing over the pork.

Serve with steamed greens and jasmine rice. I also like steamed pumpkin with salted black bean sauce with it and I promise to post that recipe soon.

Serves 2-3 with other accompaniments.

image Crispy Asian Pork Belly Salad with steamed greens and pumpkin[/caption

Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney

This crunchy, spicy mint and coriander chutney, which is almost like a pesto, goes brilliantly with grilled meats, prawns and fish. It is a great accompaniment for any Indian meal, Aussie BBQ or just spread on toast! I have also used it as a chutney with cheese and biscuits.

Easy and quick to make, it will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. Best to bring to room temperature before serving.

Traditionally made by roasting and then grinding the peanuts, I cheat and use super-crunchy peanut butter which works very well to bind the herbs into a pesto like texture.

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:
1 bunch mint – leaves removed from stalks and washed well
1 bunch coriander – with roots removed, washed well and chopped into large pieces
1-2 red chillies chopped into large pieces
2 cloves garlic and equal amount of ginger crushed to a paste
1 medium onion finely diced
1 medium ripe tomato finely diced
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cummin seeds
1 stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons super-crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Method:
Whizz coriander, mint and chillies in a food processor until finely chopped

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Mint, coriander and chilli chopped finely in a food processor

Heat oil in non-stick frying pan, add cinnamon, cummin seeds and mustard seeds and cook until mustard seeds pop, but be careful not to burn

Add onions and cook slowly over medium-low heat until translucent

Add ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes and a pinch of salt and fry with onions until soft and slightly caramelised

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d garlic with onions and spices

Add mint, coriander and chilli mixture and heat through

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Add mint, coriander and chilli to tomato onion mixture

Just as leaves start to change colour, add peanut butter and mix through as it starts to melt, cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat

Allow to cool slightly so peanut butter firms up again, then serve warm or at room temperature as an accompaniment.

Mussels in Thai Broth

An easy, healthy and delicious main courses or starter – can be served with crispy bread rolls or jasmine rice. Make sure you use fresh mussels. It’s all the better made using homemade Thai prawn stock(see recipe below) but bought fish or chicken stock will do if you are short on time.

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:
1 kg of mussels, beards removed (do not use any broken mussels)
1 small brown onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 pieces ginger/fresh galangal finely chopped
1-2 hot red chillies chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
6 coriander stalks and roots cleaned and chopped, leaves reserved for garnish
thai basil for garnish
750 ml prawn or fish stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method:
Heat oil in large pot that has a tight fitting lid
Add onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and sautéed over medium heat until onions are translucent
Add coriander, stock, fish sauce and sugar
Add mussels, fit on lid and bring stock to boil.
Shake pan and check after 3-4 minutes, once mussels are open, garnish with coriander and basil leaves, and serve in deep bowls with soupy stock. (Throw out any mussels that don’t open)

Homemade Thai Prawn Stock
Ingredients
Heads and shells of 12 prawns
4-5 small pieces of galangal
2 pieces about 1 finger length of ginger
1 stalk lemongrass chopped
1 brown onion cut into quarters
4-5 coriander roots cleaned of any soil
3 cloves garlic
3 litres water

Method
Put all ingredients into stock pot and bring to a rolling boil
Simmer for an hour-1.5 hours
Strain to remove solids
freeze unused portions for use as a base in Thai soups and Curries

Thai flavoured chicken and vegetable noodle soup

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather with the flu and the only thing I felt like eating was a light but flavoursome chicken soup. This version of chicken soup combines Thai flavours like galangal and lemongrass with fresh green vegetables and poached chicken and is full of goodness but omits the traditional coconut milk which often features in Thai chicken soups like Tom Ka Ghai.

Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 1 hour
Ingredients

Poached chicken and stock
4 thigh chicken fillets on the bone, skin and fat removed
1 carrot peeled and chopped in large pieces
4 celery stalks chopped in large pieces
Large knob of fresh galangal peeled and chopped
Large knob of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
1 stalk lemongrass bruised then chopped roughly
4 cloves garlic
4 stalks spring onions chopped roughly
1 red chilli chopped
2.5-3 litres water

Soup
1/2 brown onion sliced finely
2 handfuls of honeysnap peas
5 button mushrooms sliced thickly
1 stalk bok choy finely chopped
4 cloves of boiled garlic retained from the stock and crushed into a paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Shredded chicken
Handful coriander chopped
1 lime
125g vermicelli rice noodles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tspn sesame oil

Method
Place chicken and stock ingredients in large stock pot and bring to a boil
Lower heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes, skimming surface to remove any “scum” that appears
Remove chicken pieces from stock and set aside to cool
Strain remaining stock to remove vegetables, reserving the loves of garlic for the soup
Shred the chicken and discard the bones
Heat vegetable and sesame oil in seperate saucepan
Add onion and cook gently until transparent
Add paste of crushed garlic cloves and mix through onions
Add honeysnap peas, fish sauce, pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes
Add bok Choy and mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute
In the meantime bring stock back to a rolling boil, add vermicelli noodles and shredded chicken and cook for 1 minute, add vegetable mixture and cook for another minute or so.
Garnish with coriander and fresh chilli.
Squeeze over lime juice and add extra fish sauce to taste.

Serves 3-4

Spicy shredded chicken salad

This is a light, healthy salad that is spiced up with some fresh chillies and chilli oil. Use the leftover herbs and vegetables in your fridge for the poaching to add flavour to the chicken. The leftover Singapore style poached chicken is perfect to use for this salad.

Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients

2 chicken thigh fillets, fat removed
1/2 brown onion
1/2 carrot
leftover aromatics e.g fennel pieces, celery, coriander stalks and/or ginger
4-5 cups water
3 tablespoons Mint leaves and coriander chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped
2 cups watercress leaves
salt and pepper
2-3 teaspoons Asian Chilli oil
1/2 a fresh lime

Method
Bring water to boil with aromatics
Add chicken and reduce heat to medium to allow chicken to poach for 20 minutes
Meanwhile chop mint leaves, coriander and chillies
Shred chicken with 2 forks
Add still warm chicken to watercress, mint, coriander and chilli.
Add 2 tablespoons of poaching liquid and mix through
Season well with pepper and salt to taste
Drizzle with chilli oil and a squeeze of lime

Pondicherry Prawns with zuchinni, preserved lemon and herbs

This is an unusual recipe hailing from Pondicherry, originally a French colony in Tamil Nadu, India. Pondicherry is truly unique with French style street signs, French colonial architecture and police that wear French style Kepis. We loved our visit to this special part of India, staying at the UNESCO world heritage ward winning Hotel De L’Orient.

The restaurant at the hotel, Carte Blanch, is atmospherically set in the open air atrium of the hotel and features a special menu of creole cooking combining Tamil spices with French flavours. Recently flicking through Rick Stein’s India recipe book I found this recipe inspired by a meal he had at the hotel.

I’ve adapted it using fresh green Australian king prawns and a slightly different mix of spices, spring onions and some green chilli. The use of preserved lemon gives the dish a fresh tangy flavour and the mixture of thyme, rosemary, basil and coriander is delicious.

An excellent dish for entertaining as you can prepare all the ingredients and stir fry it just before you serve.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

12 large green(uncooked) king prawns peeled, deveined, tails intact
1 zuchinni, finely sliced into rounds
Half a bunch of spring onions, tops removed and sliced on the angle
2 teaspoons ginger and garlic paste
50g preserved lemon with pulp removed and cut into fine strips
1 tsp thyme leaves finely chopped
1 tsp rosemary leaves finely chopped
1 large green chilli deseeded and cut into fine strips
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
1 teaspoon cummin powder
1 teaspoon black pepper crushed
Handful basil leaves torn
Handful of coriander leaves chopped roughly
1 tablespoon of ghee, 1 tablespoon olive oil

Prawns peeled, deveined with tails intact
Prawns peeled, deveined with tails intact
Ingredients prepared for stir frying
Ingredients prepared for stir frying

Method

Heat ghee and olive oil in large frying pan or wok over medium heat
Add spring onions, ginger and garlic and stir fry for 1-2 minutes
Add zuchinni, prawns, preserved lemon, green chilli, rosemary and thyme and sauté for 3 minutes
Add chilli powder, cummin powder and black pepper and cook until prawns turn pink for about 5 minutes
Stir through basil and coriander and serve with basmati rice or roti