Sharmi on the Trot

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Archive for the tag “amateur cook”

Melt-in-your-mouth Asian Stir Fried Pork

My introduction to pork began at an early age via homemade spiced sausages, salamis, those gorgeous frankfurters that crackled over heat. I remember going to Goa when I was about 12 and polishing off a plate of spicy pork vindaloo with steaming white rice in a small shack on the beach. The sound of waves crashing, the feeling of cold sand touching my feet, the just-right weather – I can still visualise that day.
I was recently shopping at INA for fresh fruits and salad leaves when I crossed the meat section. On a whim I picked up this delicious lean cut of pork. With plenty of flavour combinations playing in my head, this basic South-East Asian style stir fry had to be the first.

250g lean pork (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 tsp oil
1 small onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 lime (juiced)
Handful of rocket leaves
For marinade:
3-4 Sichuan peppercorns (crushed)
1 star anise (crushed)
1 tsp demerara
2-3 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tsp oyster sauce
1-2 tsp dark soy
salt and black pepper to season
(I would suggest when making the marinade, start with the dry ingredients first and then add the wet ones)

Marinate the pork pieces overnight (half an hour minimum if you’re in a hurry)
Heat 1-2 tsp oil in a wok and add chopped onions and garlic. Once its sauteed, add the pork pieces. Cook till the pork has caramelised well on the outside and is tender on the inside. Add a bit of oyster sauce if need be.
Once cooked, take out the pieces to rest. Use lime juice to deglaze the pan and pour over the meat.
Serve with a side salad, steamed rice, stir fried veggies or a baguette!

Served on a bed of rocket leaves

Served on a bed of rocket leaves

Homemade chicken and mushroom puffs

Do you know exactly how easy it is to make puff pastry at home? It is, I assure you. I never like making a dough (rotis are an Indian staple and I’d rather buy them than make them from scratch because something always ends up going wrong with the dough. But with my new-found confidence, that’s about to change, I say).
I was craving, and I really mean craving, for meat puffs that you find in little bakeries. Something you come across after a long walk or jog and as you bite into them, everything seems all right with the world. Since it was a sudden craving, and as they go, it’s difficult to find something you crave on such short notice, I asked myself ‘why not make them at home?’
I’m so glad I made them because as the buttery smell engulfed the kitchen and I saw the puffs turning golden brown in the oven, I couldn’t help but feel proud.

Homemade chicken and mushroom puffs
(Makes 4)
For filling
200g boneless chicken (cut into bite sized pieces)
150g button mushrooms (chopped)
1 small onion (sliced finely)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs dried thyme
Half glass Merlot
salt and pepper to taste
Handful chopped coriander

For pastry
250g rice flour
75g cold butter (if unsalted, add salt to the dough)
1cup water
1 egg (beaten)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C.

Start by mixing the flour with cold butter with your fingers in a bowl. Once the butter is mixed properly, bring the dough together with the water. Don’t overwork it. Make 4 disks of equal proportions.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic cloves. When soft, add the chopped chicken, mushrooms, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Add the Merlot after cooking the mixture for 10 minutes. Put on a lid and let it come together. It would take about another 10-15 minutes for the filling to cook well. Add the coriander and mix together at the end.

Roll out each of the disks with an extra dusting of flour to a nice round shape about the size of your palm.

Divide the filling in four parts and place each in the centre of a disk. Brush the sides of the disk with egg and fold them in half like a calzone. Brush the top of the puff with the beaten egg. Do the remaining three puffs like the first and place on a baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes till nice and crisp. Serve with a salad!

Hot from the oven!

Hot from the oven!

PS: The filling tastes just as good with hot rice. Secondly, feel free to experiment with any sort of filling!

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