Gin-seng is famous throughout Asia for its amazing flavour in food.
Try some ‘Ginger Juice’ with your meal by boiling up some fresh ginger in a pan, stir in some sugar and serve in a mug. You will devise your own proportions according the strength of flavour/sweetness you want.
My favourite starter in Macau was sesame prawn toast with fresh lime juice. Pulse the prawns with a teaspoon of flour in a food mixer with some spring onions, an egg, garlic, ginger and chilli. Paste the mixture on to a slice of white bread and press the sesame seeds into the prawn spread. Cut each slice into four triangles and when your pan is smoking, add a few drops of oil and fry both sides of each slice one by one, adding a few more drops of oil as and when necessary. Serve with some fresh lime wedges.
My favourite main course in Singapore was sweet and sour pork steaks. This amazing dish is slightly different from the take-away equivalent. You need some dry roasted peanuts, pork loin steaks, canned pineapple in natural juice and some freshly squeezed lime juice. For the sweet and sour sauce, place all of the pineapple and juice into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Pour the sweet and sour sauce into the wok and leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a thick consistency. Put this on the table in a mug with a spoon in and stir in some soy sauce and black pepper before spooning over the pork, later on. Blend the dry roasted peanuts in a food processor until finely ground and transfer to a shallow bowl and set aside. Do this the day before if you like. It needs to be dry and powdery otherwise it becomes like peanut butter if it is moist and too thick to go on the pork steaks. A light coating is all the pork steaks need. Using a rolling pin, bash the pork steaks until halved in thickness and cut all the fat off. Roll the steaks in the blended peanut mixture until well-coated, then pat lightly or press in the powdered peanut to secure the mixture to the meat. Fry the pork steaks on both sides and put them on a plate in the oven on a hundred to keep warm for ten minutes.
My alternative favourite main in Thailand was steak in black bean sauce. You need rump steak, black beans rinsed and chopped (fermented/salted), some garlic, spring onion, ginger, green chillis and caster sugar. Blend the black beans, garlic, onion, ginger and chilli with enough water to make a paste. Add salt and pepper and sugar, pinch by pinch when you pulse the mixture until you get it just right. Bash the steak with a rolling pin and cut all the fat off. Cut it into strips and marinade lightly in the black bean sauce. Do this the day before if you like. Fry the steak in black bean sauce for a couple of minutes, turning occasionally. Serve this with the stir fried vegetables.
Fried rice is a must in Asia and having lived in Korea for five years you’ll find the best egg fried rice in the far east. You need 3 eggs beaten and scrambled, cooked rice, chilled until completely cold 3 tomatoes sliced, 1 large spring onion finely sliced, some finely chopped carrot and peas. Heat a wok until smoking and add a little oil, then add the carrot and fry until it’s softened and then add the onion followed by the peas then the egg and finally the tomato. Set aside this lot. Add splashes of oil as an when so that it cooks but doesn’t stick. Add some more oil and lob in the rice. For this recipe use less rice than normal because all the vegetables add up and make it a much bigger dish than you would expect. Keep turning the lot with a metal thingy continuously so it is kept moving but not stir frying because I find that pushes the rice into the pan and squashes it down. Remember this is not noodles or bean sprouts! Keep shaking the pan and moving the rice around. You will have to add splashes of oil here and there too to stop it sticking. When all the rice is sizzling add the dish set aside and mix it all in evenly with a little more oil, still cooking and frying and moving it around continuously.
My favourite vegetarian dish in Beijing was stir fried water chestnuts. You need bean shoots, spring onions, water chestnuts, fresh coriander, mange tout, red pepper, green chilli, cashew nuts and baby sweets. Chop all of the above into thin slices and stir fry in a wok. Do the bean shoots and coriander first so the volume reduces and the pan isn’t over filled with ’stuff’. Then add every thing else and it should be easier to stir it all around.
1. Fried noodles
2. Complete Your Proteins
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