Thursday, 29 November 2018

Black Vinegar Pork Trotter - a dish to keep me warm and buzzing

This dish in Malaysia is called 'tu kah chor' (Hokkien: pig leg vinegar) / 'chu kiok zhou' (Cantonese: pig trotter vinegar). Randomly found at chinese economy rice eateries, roadside pushcarts or more commonly bak kut teh kopitiam and usually served on selected days of the week. 

This Cantonese cuisine is filled with collagen as the broth thickens with sweet nutritious porky-vinegary-sesame fragrance. The richness keeps me fueled for days. 

Otherwise known as black vinegar pork trotter. Best had over steamed white rice. It's made with  ingredients that regulate the body temp keeping internal warmth.

Here's the formula/recipe for a happy Asian tummy; Bliss = (Cold days + )*Vinegar

Prep & Lessons:
1. Pork - best to balance between trotters which gives the gelatin layer and meatier parts to soak in gelatin. To be par-boiled to rid scum and blood. Rinse pork.

2. Ginger - while scumming pork, clean the ginger by scraping off skin with spoon.  Next, bruise it by pounding or sliced. Sautee with sesame oil til fragrant. Add pork to fry in flavour.
3. Add sweet black vinegar. Rule of thumb is ratio 1:1 vinegar to water. Add to taste:
- sugar (rock sugar or palm sugar but ordinary countertop sugar is fine too)
- light soy sauce (optional)
- dried chilli & mushrooms (optional)
- hard-boiled eggs (optional to add during the last hour. Egg will toughen like jerky if left long in the stew)
4. Substitute sweet black vinegar with the easily sourced China's Zhenjiang Vinegar and sweet black sauce. Instead of plain water, the earlier boiled liquid (pork broth) can be added back per suggested ratio.

5. I used a Crock-Pot for 30mins high, 2hrs low. I like thia dish cooked through with gelatinous soft bones. When cooking vinegar, use cookware made of glass, clay or ceramic. Cookware made of cast iron, metal, aluminium and non-stick material are unsuitable for cooking acidic dishes. The acid eats into the metal.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

An Injustice to all the Maggi Goreng I've ever had

Good grief. The cold autumn temp is having my stomach calling the shots with sending crazy morse code signals to my head and mouth. I've been craving for fried tauhu (tofu)...the one condiment that I disliked and (sometimes) refused to eat. This is my i-tried-but-fail imitation of Maggi Goreng ala mamak style. 臘

What I learnt:
- still needing Maggi / Ibumie for that nostalgic taste. Ramen noodles is just different
- Maggi/Ibumie has that superior spring in their noodles for this sort of big fire frying dish
- need to use Maggi chilli sauce. Sriracha didn't quite hit the spot
- need wok hei (fired up wok)

My references:
Recipe -
The required 'kungfu' (mastery skill to control wok) -

Monday, 5 November 2018

Colder Months means Wild Onion Foraging

The colder months of Fall (aka Autumn) is upon us and with that the wild onions are happily sprouting all over the backyard. They sprout sooooo easily too. These were pulled out from soil that's been sprayed with layersss of weedkiller over monthssss. How did they even sprout out with that level of toxicity? And, that size of a thumb too! HOW??

I'm wary of making them food. They have a fibrous crunchier texture, hardier than the commercially available onions. The green stalks has a faint onion scent and it's just nice when chopped. Not too overbearing. I hope they will make good mosquito deterrent.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Bonging for Ice

Saw this sign outside a gas/petrol station in the city of Greenville (South Carolina). I want me some of that ice which increases focus and elevates mood in my soda. To go please!

Then I saw these bongs inside the shop behind glass cabinets. Many bong paraphernalia in that gas station, manned by a rather chilled guy. First time I came across these in a gas station, funnily it's located near to a residential area that may look like its residents/customers do scout for these.

A quick google search leads me to a marijuana strain called 'Ice Cannabis/Ice Marijuana', claims to make patients more sociable and open when used in small doses. Some insomniacs claim that it helps them sleep better. Enlightened aren't we.  Amused certainly.
Disclaimer: I do not bong. 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

From a Marker's point

Points to note when going through heaps of papers to mark.

1. Students do write crap.
There will be a handful. I suspect to fill the wordcount.
2. If you grew up playing Where's Wally and you loved it, this is the right task for you.
As a Marker you'll be finding for their points to award. It's a treasure hunt.
3. Sneaky students trying to buy time! Only a handful tries but their names go into our personal watch list.

With that, I also get,
- an ache when a student doesn't respond correctly to direct simple questions
- Students with poor referencing because it's free marks! It is worth investing time to know the correct way to reference. This will last you for the rest of your academic years.
- half-assed assignment with poor layout gets you half of a half-assed marks
- and with every assignment that I mark through, i get flashbacks to my student days when I too was struggling to submit. Every. Single. Assignment. Marked.

A Gardener's Enthusiasm

SH : There's a tiny watermelon growing out in the back! Around this size (shows two fingers)
R : My nut, that size.
SH: ...

And just like that my gardener's enthusiasm to measure up the budding watermelon blossom went away.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Love me some Trader Joe's

Love me some Joe-Joe's (possibly pronounce as ho-ho?). This is my go-to Trader Joe's substitiute for Oreos.
Look at those specks of real vanilla bean. What generous portion. Look! I can hear angels singing.
Check out the thick vanilla cream that sits sandwiched. The vanilla essence triumphs over smell of sugar icing with every bite. I swear sugar has a certain smell, I put on the pounds just by inhaling too much!
Love me long time, Trader Joe's...