We have not had proper Mexican food in ages. Most “Mexican” restaurants around here is decidedly more Tex Mex – load of tacos and chilli poppers but sadly not a Mole or Recado Rojo sauce in sight. Not that we don’t enjoy Tex Mex occasionally but it doesn’t come close to the real deal. I made Chicken Mole Poblano and Adrienne made Achiote Chicken and Ancho Pork a while back. Since then our Ancho (dried Poblano) and Guajillo (dried MIrasol) chillies have been sitting in the back of the food cupboard. To make up for this travesty I decided to make 3 main dishes for our Mexican date night.
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.
I’ve been wanting to make ossobuco for ages but have not been able to source veal. Then I read that Anna del Conte uses pork when she can’t source veal in the UK. If the doyenne of Italian cooking says it’s OK who am I to argue.
I was unusually uninspired when it came to creating a menu for last week’s date night. I asked Adrienne what he wanted to eat and it took him 2 seconds to say “Eisbein”.
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.
A friend of mine recently took me to a Mexican shop in Midrand called Azteca where I bought some authentic Mexican ingredients. Obviously the next date night had to have a Mexican theme and I decided on achiote chicken and ancho pork.
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.
Feijoada is considered to be the national dish of Brazil. Pork and beans are slowly cooked and served with rice, collard greens and orange slices.
A dish of Portugese origin, it is said that slaves would make this dish out of pork leftovers and black beans. Pig ears, feet and tails are traditionally used in this dish – I opted to leave it out of my version.
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.
Sosatie (pl sosaties) is a traditional South African dish of meat (usually lamb or mutton) cooked on skewers. The term derives from sate (“skewered meat”) and saus (spicy sauce). It is of Cape Malay origin, used in Afrikaans, the primary language of the Cape Malays, and the word has gained greater circulation in South Africa. Marinated, cubed meat (usually lamb) is skewered and braaied (barbecued) shish-kebab style. Sosatie recipes vary, but commonly the ingredients can include cubes of lamb, beef, chicken, dried apricots, red onions and mixed peppers. Source: Wikipedia
I think most South Africans will agree that sosaties are an essential ingredient for any traditional South African braai. I decided to make four types of different sosaties using different marinades and different meats for date night.