This little item arrived in a parcel of foodstuffs I recently ordered from down south. I had completely forgotten ordering it but I ended up being very glad I did …
It is a Cock Brand™ product, and at first, I mistook their logo as being the same as that of the manufacturers who make one of my favorite Sriracha Sauces. They are a different company, however, but when I checked their website, I saw a number of other products I have bought before and which I found to be very good.
The ingredient list on the label specifies the main components being, in descending quantity order: Soybean Oil, Holy Basil leaves, Garlic, Red Chili, Sugar, Salt, and Oyster Sauce. The aroma, on opening the jar, is a little hard to describe in that no specific ingredient leaps out at one… It smells a little like a mild XO sauce, but with a very herbaceous quality … even a little ‘minty’.
The flavor, though, is terrific. It is somewhat fiery, although not blindingly so, and the oyster sauce and sugar lend it a marine sweetness. The Holy Basil, which can be quite pungent, even harsh, when used fresh in some dishes, is nicely mellow in here and really adds a very pleasant herbal note to the overall flavor.
Anyway, just before this product arrived, I was trying to think of a way to ‘round out’ a specific dish I had in mind… this suddenly seemed like the perfect addition and I will be posting the recipe very shortly…
In the last few months, our local selection of lamb has gone beyond just legs and chops and many different cuts have become available. Today, I bought a large bag of frozen, bone-in pieces that will make me a fair number of meals. For my first use, I decided to prepare some using Basil. This is not as common a pairing as, say, lamb and mint, or lamb and rosemary, but the Basil I had on hand was top quality and I thought it would work nicely here, especially with zucchini as the vegetable quotient… [ Continue reading “Lamb with Zucchini and Basil”
I bought some frozen cooked lobster back at Christmas-time to use in a seafood stew and I kept a couple for future use. As the ‘keep-until’ date is drawing near I decided to use one of them in the little appetizer dish you see above. In some ways, given the use of both chili and basil, the dish has a Thai flavor to it but, aside from this, it could easily be incorporated into a more western dinner menu.
After chopping the tail, claws, and main ‘arm sections’ into small pieces, I made a stock using the body and little legs, then reduced this to a very concentrated liquor of no more than a quarter cup or so. After, I fried some garlic puree in a little oil and added the stock along with a splash of sherry and some Sriracha sauce. When this was steaming, I added the lobster chunks and cooked for a few minutes until the sauce was almost a syrup then added chopped basil leaves, plating as soon as these were wilted.
This turned out to be a really nice dish. It was a bit messy to eat but sucking the sauce from the shell before teasing out the flesh from within was delightful. In a future evolution, I would like to try doing this with fresh, raw lobster as I think the result would be even more succulent than this…
This particular dish is Asian in spirit but doesn’t belong to any specific cuisine. It calls for the long, slender types of eggplant common to Japanese, or south-east Asian kitchens rather than the fatter, deep purple eggplants more familiar in the west. It could easily be served as a side dish as part of a more complex meal, or eaten alone as a snack or even a simple breakfast… Continue reading “Eggs with Eggplant and Basil”
Back in October of last year, I featured a commercially produced Lemongrass Paste in a Tube by the same manufacturer as the Basil Paste you see pictured above. I am afraid I wasn’t very kind in my review of the Lemongrass as I found it a little insipid and a pretty poor substitute for the fresh article. This product, on the other hand, is far better and one I have found very useful indeed… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Basil Paste in a Tube – Gourmet Garden™ Brand”
This particular experiment was inspired by not much more than a need to use some basil I had in the fridge before it wilted away. I had a couple of chicken pieces set aside for supper and I decided it would be nice to bake them with a nice pesto marinade. A little lemon zest, I thought, might add a nice little sparkle of flavor… Continue reading “Lemon Pesto Chicken”
Larb, or ‘Laab’ as it sometimes spelled, is a cold salad of meat, herbs and other seasonings that is not only reckoned to be the national dish of Laos but also quite common in Thailand as well. The meat is often beef or pork, sometimes raw, sometimes cooked, but fish and poultry version exist as well. As to the seasonings and other ingredients, the variations are endless but fish sauce, lime juice, chili, mint and basil make regular appearances, with some versions adding a host of spices including cumin, cloves, star anise, galangal, and others. Garnishes can be fried onions, peanuts, chopped chili, and various herbs and, in Laos especially roasted ground rice powder is commonly used as a flavoring agent and binder.
After seeing a number of recipes where the salad is served as a wrap in lettuce or other leafy herbs, I thought it might make an interesting appetizer if used as a filling for some endive leaves I happened to have leftover from a previous meal. For this experiment, I decided to use my homemade Sambal Terasi paste as part of the spice flavoring but you could substitute any commercial Thai curry or spice paste of your choosing… Continue reading “Larb Stuffed Endive Boats”
This recipe is not inspired by, or adapted from any particular recipe, but the ingredients I am using are very southeast Asian in spirit and would likely be quite at home in Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand. Lemongrass plays a very central role here, but the fire in the recipe comes from the Sambal Terasi I prepared some weeks ago… Continue reading “Chicken with Lemongrass and Basil”
I have three bags of the Mirabel Brand Frozen Clams I featured in a recent ‘Foodstuffs’ post and I thought I would use a couple to make a nice light meal for me and the wife. The first time I used this product, which was only a few weeks before I started writing this blog, I steamed a bag of the clams in a rich liquor made up of soy, ginger, garlic, sugar and rice wine, along with a small bunch of fresh basil. For this experiment, I wanted to use Basil again (as I still have some which needs to be used up) and I thought I might try something a little more delicate using white wine… Continue reading “Experiment: Clams with White Wine and Basil”