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Firepot Rib and Corn Soup

Firepot Rib and Corn Soup 01

My Firepot Stock, although somewhat depleted, is now almost three months old and is still very nicely fresh and flavorful. As I have done most of the experiments I planned for the basic project, and, since the stockpot takes up a heck of a lot of space in my fridge, I have decided that I am going to not replenish it any further but, rather, use up what I have left for soups and sauces.

The inspiration for today’s soup comes, funnily enough, from one of my Chinese cookery books. I say ‘funnily enough’ because there is nothing in the original recipe that one would normally identify as Chinese, being simply pork rib, sweet corn and potato boiled in water with no other seasoning than salt. That recipe uses quite a bit of pork, with the result that quite a nice stock can be formed just using water, but, here, I am just making a small amount and will use my Firepot Stock as a rich and ready-made flavor base… Read more

Butterflied Grilled Chicken

Butterflied Grilled Chicken 01

You can certainly barbecue a whole chicken in its original shape (either with or without a spit), but butterflying it and opening it up so that it lays flat on a grill allows not only for a faster barbecuing time, but ensures more even cooking too. We will take a look at this technique in today’s post and, if you have never tried butterflying a chicken before, don’t worry… it’s really very simple…  Read more

Edible Seaweed: Kombu (and How to make Kombu Dashi)

Kombu 1

You may, at one time or another, when walking on the shore, have come across a variety of large, ribbon-like seaweed cast up on the shore, possibly with the olive-green fronds still attached to a thick, rope-like stem. For years, I knew the basic type simply as ‘Kelp’ but, point of fact, that name actually includes a whole range of very different seaweeds (many of which are edible) and the sort you see pictured above is more properly referred to by its Japanese name ‘Kombu’ ( or, less frequently, ‘Konbu’).

This edible algae (of which there are a number of different varieties) is not widely used in western cuisines but it is very popular indeed in the far east. It is harvested and eaten in Korea, and used to a lesser extent by the Chinese, but it is in Japanese cookery where the seaweed really shines. Indeed, Kombu is more than an occasional ingredient;  it is an essential item in the Japanese pantry and, as we shall see below, is a foundation stone in the cuisine as a whole…  Read more

Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob

Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob 01

Many years ago, I came across a recipe for grilled corn on the cob and it was something of a revelation to me as I had never really considered any other ways of cooking cobs other than by the traditional method of boiling it. There are plenty of ways of cooking corn on the grill, of course, and the preparation featured in today’s post, with its roots in the cuisines of South-east Asia,  reproduces the first recipe I came across as best as I can remember it…  Read more

Spicy Garlic Pork-Belly with Bok-Choy

Spicy Pork Belly and Bok Choy 01

This dish, which is vaguely Chinese in spirit, combines, fried pork-belly slices with garlic, chili, and the last of the Bok Choy grown by my wife this past season…  Read more

Herbed BBQ Ribs

Herbed BBQ Ribs 01

I have recently featured a couple of different back-rib recipes. Both used fairly complex seasoning mixtures and respectively employed the techniques of pre-cooking and  the indirect heat grill method. Today, I am cooking back-ribs again but I am going to grill over a direct flame after a marinating the meat using only garlic and herbs…  Read more

Foodstuff: Mirin

Mirin 1

I think I can safely say that rarely a week goes by that I don’t use Mirin in the preparation of at least one meal. It is invaluable as a marinade component and a glaze, as well as being a great addition to steaming mediums, broths, and stir-fry and dipping sauces. Indeed, I have listed it as an ingredient in so many recipes published on my blog that is high time that I gave this useful foodstuff a proper introduction…

Essentially, a true Mirin is a brewed rice ‘wine’, similar to the Japanese beverage Sake, wherein the starch rice is converted into a sugar by a Koji mold (Aspergillus oryzae) and, during this same process, fermented to produce alcohol. In Sake, the fermentation will consume all, or most, of the sugars but in Mirin, a good deal remains and thus it may be described as a ‘naturally sweet rice wine’.

Products sold as Mirin that destined for the kitchen (as opposed to being purely potable) may be ‘true’ Mirins, but they may also be artificially sweetened Sake, or else non-brewed concoctions that have the taste, and usually not the alcohol content, of proper Mirin. The three products we will look at here are chosen because they provide a pretty good illustration of the range of purchasing possibilities…  Read more

Tteok Galbi

Tteok Galbi 01

Fans of Korean food are no doubt familiar with the popular restaurant offering of grilled beef ribs known as Galbi, but there is also a similar dish known as Tteokgalbi (also Ddeok galbi, Ddukkalbi, Dduk kalbi, and Duk kaibi) made using ground beef formed into patties and either grilled or pan-fried. Frequently, the ground beef (the meat traditionally taken from the ribs) is blended with pork to provide a little extra fat, and the seasonings and other additions can be very simple (just a little garlic, soy, onion and sugar, for example), but may also include carrot, mushroom, ginger, sesame and pear.

Tteok Galbi is often served with rice and a variety of Korean side-dishes known as banchan , but some also serve it wrapped in a flatbread or lettuce leaves with other additions. For my interpretation today, I am going to wrap my patties in some Japanese Red Mustard leaves grown by wife… Read more

Soy Sauce: Lee Kum Kee™ Brand – Dark Varieties

LKK Soy Sauce Dark 1

A few days ago, I featured Lee Kum Kee’s varieties of Light Soy Sauces. In that post I explained that the Chinese classification of soy sauces, as opposed to the western division into ‘light’ and ‘dark’, makes a distinction based on when the liquid, eventually to be sold as soy sauce, is drawn or ‘pulled’ off the fermenting soy bean mash. Light soy sauces are ‘early pulled’ (and identified as 生抽) while the dark type, or 老抽 (lǎo chōu) is ‘old pull’ soy sauce, meaning it is drawn off the mash at a later stage.

The dark soy sauces tend to be thicker and less salty than the ‘early pull’ light varieties and are more commonly used as a condiment rather than in cooking (although the dark types are typically used in the Chinese ‘red-cooked’ style of dish). Lee Kum Kee produces a number of dark types and, recently, I sampled their Premium Dark Soy Sauce and Mushroom Flavored Dark Soy. I can say, in advance, that while the Lee Kum Kee Premium Light Soy Sauce is an excellent product, the dark varieties I tasted are not… Read more

Spicy Korean Beef Ribs

Spicy Korean Beef Ribs 01

Back in February, I posted a recipe for Korean-Style Beef Ribs  using the ‘flanken-cut’ style of rib that I much prefer over the thicker, and usually greasier, standard sort of beef short-ribs. This style of cut has appeared again in one of our local stores recently so I grabbed quite a few packages for the freezer.

For the first use, I decided to try another typically Korean sort of barbecue rib dish, but this time making everything a little spicier with the addition of the fiery Korean Chili paste known as Gochujang  …  Read more

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