Red Cooked, or 紅燒 dishes, are, as I have explained in previous posts, those in which the main ingredients are braised with soy sauce, giving them a dark, often reddish color. One encounters pork cooked this way with dried squid from time to time and I originally intended to do that here but, on discovering I had run out of squid, I decided to use some dried octopus I happened to have on hand instead. This dish, whether with squid or octopus, is not one you will find on many restaurant menus but is rather more of a rich, home-style preparation. Normally, especially in Cantonese cuisine, red-cooked dishes are spiced with Star Anise, and possibly cinnamon, orange peel, or the like. I am not fond of the addition of the sweeter aromatics in dishes of this type so I am omitting them here and have instead added just a little dried chili and Galanga, both of which you might find in Sichuanese interpretations.
By the way, the process for reconstituting and preparing the octopus for cooking is largely the same as that for Dried Squid, so you may want to take a look at my earlier post on that topic. Also, you really ought to look at my notes at the end of this post before trying this dish yourselves… Continue reading “Red Cooked Pork with Dried Octopus”
I am doing this experiment to test out the Galingale Curry Paste I prepared for a post a few days back. In South-east Asia, particularly Thailand, curries are almost always made with a pre-made spice paste and then coconut milk is generally used to form a sauce. Water, or stock, can also be employed and the sauce can vary from being ‘soupy’, very thick, or, in the case of ‘dry curries’, not much more than a thin glaze on the main ingredients. This experiment will be a dry curry… Continue reading “Experiment: Galingale Curry Pork Ribs”
When I introduced the Indonesian rhizome known as ‘Galanga’ in a recent ‘Spicery’ post, I promised to put together a spice blend that captured the basic character of the typical sorts of curry pastes used in South-east Asia, while show-casing the particular qualities of this exotic and spicy item. The other ingredients I decided upon for this particular experiment would be at home in both Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian curry recipes so, as the result favors neither one over the other and, since galanga plays such a central role, I have chosen to simply just call it ‘Galingale Curry Paste’ (thus reflecting another fairly common name for the spice)… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Galingale Curry Paste”
At first glance, one might take the rather root-like item in the above picture to be a section of fresh ginger, but, while this particular rhizome is a member of the ginger family, it is, in fact, an Indonesian native known most commonly as ‘Galanga’. Few North Americans are likely to be very familiar with it (it doesn’t appear in most grocery stores, generally), but anybody who has eaten in a Thai restaurant will probably recognize the unique taste, as it is common addition to many curry pastes and soups. It is, of course, widely used in Indonesian cuisine (where it is known as ‘lengkuas’), as well as in Malaysia and Vietnam. Other names for the spice are ‘Blue Ginger’, ‘Galangal’ and the much prettier ‘Galingale’, and in China, where it is occasionally used, it is known as ‘Sand Ginger’… Continue reading “Spice: Galanga”