Archive for sichuan pepper

Meat Lover’s Vegan Lentil Soup

Posted in indian, lentils, soup, stew, Uncategorized, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by oskila

Turns out this parenting thing takes quite a lot of time, which means the blog has been on backburner to say the least. A strike of genius (if I might humbly say so) just yesterday prompted at least an attempt to squeeze a bit of blogging in. Since we have to eat anyway it’s mostly a question of scaling back on photo editing to shorten the amount of time spent on a blog post considerably. Now to business.

I’m far from vegan myself, but unlike a lot of people I meet I don’t obnoxiously defend meat eating as some kind of human right or whine about unappealing veggie food. Although vegetarian/vegan food made by nonvegetarians or the uninspired or untalented can be on the bland side some times. My solution to this is to add more umami. And not in a way that attempts to substitute meat for something almost similar to meat or downright ghastly (hello tofurkey). To celebrate the occasion and compensate for the lack of images I’m going to give a proper list of ingredients.

Lentil soup (serves 2-4)

1 tsp cumin, coriander, Sichuan pepper, mustard seeds (1 spoon in total. Add more if you like)
1 tsp turmeric
1 bayleaf
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp ssamjang or other kind of chili paste
2 cups beluga lentils
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup crisp fried onion (yes, the store bought crunchy stuff you put on hot dogs)
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup finely grated beetroot
minced garlic to taste
ginger to taste
salt, pepper and vinegar for final adjustments

Toast cumin, coriander, Sichuan pepper and mustard seeds in a dry pan and grind. Sizzle along with turmeric, ssamjang and tomato paste in some oil. Add carrots, beetroot, bay leaf, ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Then add stock, lentils and onions and simmer for about 40 minutes while watching closely since lentils have a reputation of sticking to pots. Add more water if  necessary, especially since the soup gets quite thick and curryish after a while (which is also nice of course). Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and vinegar (or lemon juice) and serve with flatbread or similar.

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Pulled Some More Pork

Posted in american, condiments, leftovers, pork, potato with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by oskila

My brother came over the other day and since he hadn’t had dinner he went to the store for food to cook at our place. He returned with a piece of pork shoulder, shaped like a fillet, and marinated in orange and ginger and also some potatoes and a bottle of ready made red wine sauce. He only cooked and ate half of it, so I had the rest for lunch the next day.

Since both my previous attempts mainly involved an oven and nearly whole days of cooking, I knew I had to change method or have something else for lunch. The choice fell on the cast iron pot that’s been heavily featured recently. I tipped the rest of the red wine sauce in, along with a bit of water, pork stock, sugar and half an onion in slices. Simmered the meat, which wasn’t as large as the big chunks of pork neck I’ve used before, for about two hours

Both this step and the next would have had really nice pictures, if the camera hadn’t messed the files up. (My trusty DSLR does become a bit iffy from time to time.  It’s about 10 years old.)

Next step was to rub the cooked meat with a new batch of dust, basicall same as the old one but with muscovado sugar instead of regular and some Sichuan pepper and English mustard powder added to spice things up a bit. Then half an hour in the oven at 150 C (300 F) to get a bit of bark going.

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Pork pulled and camera working again.

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The remains of the simmering part.

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Meat reheated in a pan with a dollop of homemade barbecue sauce. It had time to go cold due to slightly poor planning with the garnish and all the fiddling with the camera.

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Comparatively quick pulled pork with refried potatoes and some onions and romaine lettuce

Eight Minute Lunch Box

Posted in asian, condiments, eggs, noodles, okra, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2013 by oskila

Tram to work leaves in half an hour, you forgot to pack lunch the night before and the takeaway opportunities at work are sketchy at best? Fear not. Do like this:

1. Put on kettle with just enough water to soften a block of noodles.

2. Heat a pan

3. Chop some garlic sprouts and put in pan with oil. Add some kind of spice that benefits from a bit of sizzling, like Sichuan pepper.

4. Toss some frozen okra in the same pan. Be careful, because the oil will not like this at all and end up everywhere.

5. When the kettle is boiling, pour water over noodles in bowl.

6. Keep stirring pan.

7. Drain noodles and add to pan. Season some more.

8. When the sear on the okra is satisfactory, scrape everything into a box.

9. Fry an egg and put in the box.

10. Finishing touches such as condiments.

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The lunch in all its glory. I got hold of some Taiwanese wheat noodles that are spinach flavored according to the label, but only contain flour, water, salt and food coloring E102 and E133. Those colorants happen to be Tartrazine and Brilliant Blue FCF, both of which are synthesized from petroleum and may be harmful to people with allergies or asthma (And therefore used to be forbidden in Sweden until the EU made a fuss) The two condiment dollops are ssamjang (top) and sambal oelek (bottom).

All of this can be done inside eight minutes. Remove the egg (and perhaps add more vegetables) and you’ll have a vegan lunch instead.

Winter Wok

Posted in asian, crossover, lotus root, meatballs, mushroom, noodles, snow peas, vegetables with tags , on December 5, 2012 by oskila

I STILL don’t really have time to mind the food blog, but sometimes you can’t help but do it anyway. This is another installment of ‘do Asian stuff to prefab Swedish meatballs’. I’ll be using the same flat wheat noodles, the same Sichuan pepper and the same old meatballs, but a new blend of vegetables.

I usually avoid frozen vegetables in my blog food (unless it’s peas) because most of the stuff is readily available fresh anyway, but some of the stuff in this bag, like jelly ear mushroom, lotus root and garlic sprouts are hard to find. There’s also leaf spinach, leeks, snow peas, pumpkin seeds and broccoli in there.

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First, some spices. I’m a bit less happy about Sichuan pepper now than when I first used it, since getting all the seeds out of the pods is rather fiddly, and leaving them in gives the dish a lot of gritty little surprises. Also, chili flakes, star anise seeds (the three large seeds) and a mix called ‘minced meat seasoning’ which is white pepper, allspice and ginger. One can toast this a bit, put the pestle to it or leave as is.

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Noodles, boiling in vegetable bouillon with star anise husks.

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Frozen veg goes into piping hot pan. One of the reasons that I seldom use frozen vegetables for stir frying is that the freezing does structural damage, so that regardless of how quick and careful the cooking is, some sogginess is inevitable. Spices go in too.

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Meatballs, cut in half goes in for some time, before adding the now cooked noodles.

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Liquids vigorously reduced, with a bit of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of sugar added. Thickened with arrowroot (other types of starch are probably fine too) before pouring it into the bowl.

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Nothing like a warming wok when the cold and snow sets in.

Fusion Pork

Posted in asian, crossover, pork, stew, yogurt with tags , , , on November 6, 2012 by oskila

I still don’t have enough time to make proper posts, but I still have to cook most days and sometimes remember to snap a picture every now and then.

Two pounds of stewing pork had been biding its time in the freezer for quite some time, while a pot of Greek yogurt, almost forgotten, was sitting in the fridge. The possibility to combine them in an interesting way occurred to me.

I made a marinade out of yogurt, a dash of oil, tomato paste, sweet chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce and mango chutney. The ‘fusion’ part of the recipe lies in the seasoning; onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, white pepper a hint of dried ginger and quite a lot if Sichuan pepper – a new acquaintance. Evidently, that mix can be traced to both India, Texas and China (and a couple of other cuisines surely).

Pork chunks went in the marinade for a couple of hours, then fished out and scraped off a bit, to be cut into smaller pieces and browned in a pan. Next, the meat was transfered to a pot and salt and enough marinade to cover it was added. After around four hours of simmering, intermingled with adding of more yogurt and  fat-skimming, the pork was falling apart and the yogurt almost solid. A splash of cream to smoothen the whole thing a bit, and dinner was served. Rice is probably nice on the side, but I enjoyed it just as well on its own.

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