Monday, 28 June 2010

Pork and Cabbage Momos (Dumplings)

Translated: happiness!

Dumplings are supposedly time-consuming and labour intensive. Bah! Not if you buy ready-made mundu or wanton or dumpling wraps, they're not! And making the filling is the simplest thing in the whole world, one can do it with one's eyes closed (but this is probably not a good idea).

Carrots--chopped into tiny pieces.
Soya Sauce.
Salt, sugar.
(Ajinamoto, shh.) [Ajinamoto=MSG]

How to:
Tres simple. Heat oil in a saucepan/skillet/wok. Fry crushed garlic and ginger till they start changing colour and smelling of fried ginger and garlic. Add carrots and pork. Fry well for about three to five minutes (or till carrots brown and pork turns white, then brown). Add carrots, and keep turning over a medium to high flame till cabbage is well cooked (add a little oil if needed). Add soya sauce, and season with salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Turn off flame, add a sprinkling of ajinamoto. Mix well. Here's the picture parade.

Now, ideally, make a regular stretchy dough with lots of extra flour to make it smooth and non-sticky. Or, do as I did and buy dumpling or wanton wrappers :-) Put a little filling in each, wet your forefinger, run it along the dumpling's edges, and seal it well, folding one side over the other crinkling the edges.

Now, ideally, steam the dumplings like one would steam idlies. In the unavailability of a steamer, bring water to a roiling boil and drop them in. They will turn sticky and you might think they're about to melt into the pan (I did!), but soon they'll turn translucent and we quite thoroughly cooked. Lift them out of the water with a perforated spatula. DON'T let the water go below boiling; non-boiling water WILL seep into the dumplings and undo them. Serve right away, or pan fry and serve, with a dipping sauce.

NOTE: if you're not sure about boiling/steaming, you can bake them right away at around 400F, on a greased tray.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Pork Fried Rice

Because, and continuing from the last post, why pay sixteen dollars when you can make a fresh batch of pork fried rice for two for about... hmm, three dollars max. Counting the detergent for washing-up :-)

1 commercial cut of pork of any kind/leftover roast pork.
Cooked rice, preferably leftover.
Onion, sliced.
Scallions, chopped.
Carrots, diced.
Soya sauce.
Salt, sugar.
Ginger+garlic for extra effect :-)

How to:
I fried the pork first and added it to the rice later (see pics), but the following recipe is how I do it normally. However, sometimes I've known people to go one fancy on the following recipe, use uncooked rice instead of cooked, and after following the recipe till the last step, they add a tin and a half of vegetable broth, and cook the fried vegetables, pork and rice in that for twenty minutes, covered.

Heat oil. Add half an inch of crushed ginger and two cloves of garlic. Fry till they change colour to brown, and, of course, start smelling like fried ginger and garlic. Add the 'hard' vegetables. In this case, carrots. Add chopped pork pieces. Add a little more oil if needed. Fry them well with the carrots. Well. Till *all* of the meat turn white, then golden, and then brown, and the carrots turn brownish-orange. Add onions and fry for about a minute. Add a teensy bit of oil and scrape up pork and carrot bits from the bottom of the pan. Add rice. Fry for a couple of minutes, turning it over frequently. Add soya sauce, sugar, salt and scallions. Give it another good three or four minutes of continuous stirring.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Easy Peasy

Clearly, I love food. And clearly, I enjoy small amounts of cooking, interspered with large amounts of being cooked for. Unfortunately, however, I have a conscience, and when someone cooks for me five nights in a row, I tend to feel squirmy with guilt right behind my navel. So yesterday, I rolled up my sleeves and decided I would make a pale imitation of mutton biryani--not that my dinner companion would know the difference, bless him--right from scratch. Anyway, long story short, never read a thriller with food in the oven, and this is what we had for dinner.

Unbleached bread dipped in olive oil, flavoured with shredded romano cheese, crushed garlic and dry red chilies (or chillie flakes).

Main course: a ham and cheese omlette, that is missing from the pictures.

Dessert: a banana split, with a banana, a scoop each of chocolate chip mint and neapolitan ice-cream, with caramel + chocolate sauce, whipped cream and chopped walnuts. The whole thing took less than about 20 minutes to make, cost approximately three dollars (which is less than half of microwaveable meals), and was utterly delicious. Every time we 'cook' such perfect meals at home, I wonder all over why I insist on take-out so often. Laziness. Must. Be. Stopped.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


I've only ever read about this dessert, and besides, I'm not keen on anything involving bananas. However, when my honey cooks us dinner, dessert is a given. And when I cook us dinner, he makes dessert anyway. Usually, it's fruits in fresh cream or pastry he's picked up, but once he heard I hadn't had a banana split ever, it was, of course, fresh fruit and ice-cream all the way.

Here's how he made it, with whatever he had in the fridge. I have to admit, it isn't half bad!

First, slice your banana

Scoop in your favourite flavours. We only had choco-chip mint and Neapolitan.

Douse in warm caramel sauce.

Swirl chocolate sauce.

Garnish with whipped cream and chopped walnuts.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Chicken à la Kiev, Two Styles

If this blog is anything to go by, the partner and I have clashing frequently in the kitchen these days, and not pleasantly. Locked horns, ladies and gentlemen, locked horns. On the beef stroganoff, I merely showed his mouth my hand, indicating the brain was busy elsewhere while he detailed why my grandmother's recipe for beef stroganoff didn't match his mother's (and why his mother's recipe, being more authentically 'western', was the right one). Silly ass. As if it wasn't him who slurped every last bit of gravy-soaked noodle off his plate. Anyway, the newest contention is about chicken à la Kiev. It's a simple, if somewhat labour-intensive recipe, and one of my third or fourth favourites at good old Mocambo off Park Street back home. This man, who has never so much as set foot in my city, presumed to take over the cooking from right under my nose. Normally, he would have had my blessings, but NOT if his idea of chicken from ol' Kiev is regular baked chicken, with extra dollops of butter. Come think of it, that IS regular baked chicken in my kitchen, and I'm not going to pretend it's chicken Kiev. Battle lines thus drawn, we split the chicken halfway, and got cooking on our individual recipes. And heeeeere they are!

Chicken breasts, rolled or pounded thin.
Butter, preferably unsalted and at room temp.
Dill, oregano, rosemary -- shredded.

The process is explained in pictures, except the 30mins of baking on 450F before the serving.

A LOT more work. Be warned.

Chicken breasts, roughly chopped/minced.
Butter, frozen.
Garlic, crushed.
Salt, sugar, pepper.
Dill, oregano, rosemary -- shredded.

The pictures are also self-explanatory. I hope. We start by heating some oil/butter, and then we go on...