A visit to the Asian grocery store in Milnerton’s China Town inspired me to try and cook an authentic Chinese Red Cooked Beef dish for date night. We do not eat Chinese food that often – the American Chinese versions of chow mein and chop suey that you get in most Chinese restaurants here does not appeal to us. As is often the case, if you want to get close to any authentic ethnic cuisine you have to cook it yourself.
We’re having a cold and rainy start to spring in Cape Town. No one is complaining though as we need every drop of rain we can get. As I always want to make soup when it rains I decided to make Tom Kha Gai from one of my favourite food blogs – She Simmers.
I was thrilled to find Gochujang in my local Asian grocer recently. This fermented red chilli paste is made from chilli powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder and salt. It has a spicy, savory, sweet flavour and is an essential ingredient in various Korean dishes. I decided to use it in a spicy Korean marinade for pork belly.
Vietnamese caramelised pork belly is a dish traditionally served during Tết (Vietnamese New Year). Pork is marinated in a salty sweet sauce and cooked in coconut juice – Vietnamese comfort food at its best.
I have not made nearly enough curries or South East Asian food lately, so Beef Rendang was a good choice for this week’s date night.
Rendang originated in Indonesia and spread to Malaysia and Singapore when the Minangkabau settlers migrated to those countries. This is a slow cooked dry curry, rich with spices and full of flavour.
Laksa is a popular noodle soup in Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern Thailand. We love soup, noodles and curry, so I decided to make a Malaysian curry laksa for this week’s date night starter. There are many versions of this dish and I opted for Penang Curry Mee.
People tend to associate ramen noodles with the dried noodles you zap in the microwave for a quick cheap meal. This does not compare with freshly made Japanese ramen noodles.
Ramen also refers to the Japanese dish of noodles served in a broth and topped with meat and/or vegetables. I decided to make ramen noodles with a miso broth and miso roasted pork belly for this week’s date night.
Of all the Thai food we ate in Chiang Mai (and we ate a lot), 2 of our favourite dishes were Khao Soi (a soup like dish consisting of egg noodles and meat in a curry coconut sauce) and Khao Kha Moo (braised pork leg on rice). When Adrienne brought home fresh turmeric last week it was a sign to make Khao Soi, and in keeping with the Thai theme I decided to try and recreate the fabulous Khao Kha Moo from the famous “Lady with the cowboy hat” at the Chang Phueak Gate in Chiang Mai.
I needed a Burmese recipe and a dessert recipe for my South East Asian date night menu so was very excited when I came across a Burmese Semolina Cake by the Spice Island Tea House. I paired it with a Low Carb Coconut Ice Cream which I am happy to say turned out to be my best attempt at ice cream making so far.
For the second part of the South East Asian date night menu I made an Indonesian Oxtail Soup (who knew they ate oxtail in Indonesia), a Thai Coconut Fish dish (always a favourite) and a Filipino Pork Adobo which is a dish I’ve been wanting to make for ages.