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Category / Beef and Lamb

I was raised in a place in Penang called Pepper Estate, essentially a small housing “kampung” with mostly “grade 3” houses arranged haphazardly along narrow and steep roads. What it does not have though, is pepper plant.

At my current place, perhaps to remind myself of my origin, we planted a peppercorn plant at the garden, and the little thing has grown over the years and start to bear fruits on quite a regular basis. Birds usually got the most of it, but when I’m fast enough, I get myself some too!

While we mostly have peppers in dried & powdered format, raw green peppercorn does have its use, especially in Thai cuisine. Today I’m going to share my first dish with this ingredient – Stir Fry Green Peppercorn Beef

green peppercorn beef stirfry

Ingredients:

  • 200 gram beef, thin slice
  • few stalks of spring onion
  • 1 red chili
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
  • cooking oil
  • a few stalks of raw green peppercorn, crush likely with pestle and mortar

home grown peppercorn

Instructions:

  • with some corn starch on the beef, marinate with rice wine, dark & normal soya sauce
  • fry the beef half way and set aside (just about 1+ minutes)
  • heat up oil and fry garlic and onion till fragrant
  • add peppercorn
  • add back beef and fry for another minute or so
  • finish off with green onion and red chili

Result is a pretty delicious and fresh tasting beef dish with a bit of a kick. Try it!

Check out more simple recipe here.

While fusion food has gotten a bit of a bad rep over the years from many restaurants that came up with dishes that were neither here nor there, I still always applaud those who dare to imagine and come up with something different from the ordinary. Sometimes it is done by mixing ingredients from different parts of the world, other times by turning traditional recipes upside down. Either way, it is one way to ensure that culinary art does not stay stagnant and only look backwards.

glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup
glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup

Several days ago I received some fresh ingredients courtesy of the Zealand Trade Enterprises, and as part of the challenge, we were supposed to use them and come up with dishes worthy of sharing. Since cooking is one of my many hobbies, here goes!

For dinner last Friday, I decided to make grilled hake (or any cod, really)  with miso marinate & vege, while the wife came up with spicy mussle soup as a companion dish. Both seafood ingredients were New Zealand products.

Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient
Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient

I will be sharing the hake steak recipe here:

Ingredients:

  • Hake steak (or any white fish, such as cod) 250-300 gram per pax
  • asparagus & mushroom (sliced)
  • a few gloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil

Ingredients for marinate:

  • 2 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

asparagus and mushroom as sides
asparagus and mushroom as sides

Cooking instructions (fish):

  • mix marinate in a bowl and apply generously on fish, let marinate for at least 15-30 minutes
  • heat up the oven to 175 C
  • pan fry the fish for 2-3 minutes
  • bake fish in oven for 10 minutes

fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed
fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed

Cooking instructions (vegetable):

  • heat up frying pan with cooking oil
  • fry garlic till fragrant
  • add mushroom & asparagus and saute for 2 minutes
  • add leftover marinate to the vege and continue to saute for another 2 minutes

Time your cooking of vegetable to coincide with the fish so that they’re both served hot. Enjoy!

spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long
spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long

Since we lack tomato puree or white wine, the spicy mussel soup involved the use of sake, ketchup, New Zealand mussels, and black magic. My wife made it, so I don’t think I’m qualified to know enough of the recipe to share it here.

Happy cooking! #

Today I want to share a very simple recipe, and with an ingredient that you can probably plant on your garden, or even in a pot on your balcony at home – basil!

Remember the home made ghetto sous vide solution? Well, we made more beef from the session than we can eat and kept them in fridge, so the natural thing to do for the next day was to use it to cook something instead of having cold steak, enter fried beef with basil.

beef with basil recipe
beef with basil recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 200 gram beef – thinly sliced (raw beef is fine too)
  • one bunch of basil leaves
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic, chopped
  • pepper
  • chili padi (optional)

3 types of greens from this pic were from our garden
3 types of greens from this pic were from our garden

Cooking Instructions:

  • heat up cooking oil and fry garlic till fragrant
  • throw beef and basil, stir, and then all other ingredients, stir for a couple minutes
  • the end

This is literally one of the simplest recipes, tastes great and goes really well with steamed rice. Have fun cooking, and get started on growing some of your own food! In the picture above, the radish, long bean, and basil were from our garden.

When it comes to steaks, quality of cut is often directly correlated with satisfaction in eating them, and unfortunately, so is the asking price. To “solve” this problem, sous vide is often the most recommended solution – cook the beef in a slow and controlled temperature, and you’ll get almost any cut to be tender.

Sounds good, right? But here’s the catch – sous vide machines can be very pricey, and I’m not about to spend upwards of RM 1,000 – 2,000 without really knowing what I get myself into.

Enter McGyver inspired cooler-box sous vide solution. (well, I actually read this from another website)

all you need is a thermometer and a cooler box
all you need is a thermometer and a cooler box

For this method, you only need the following 3 crucial items

  • cooler box
  • ziplock bag (freezer type recommended as they’re usually stronger)
  • cooking thermometer

Now let’s look at how to make your own sous vide beef & chicken.

sous vide steak, medium rare, done in an hour or so
sous vide steak, medium rare, done in an hour or so

Instructions:

  • season your meat with salt and pepper, or any other desired seasoning
  • place them in zip lock bags
  • prepare hot water 2-3 Celsius above your desired internal temperature for the meat (example: slightly less than 60 C for medium rare beef, 75-80 Celsius for chicken)
  • lower the meat-bags and shake off excess air pockets before zip locking it
  • monitor every half an hour, if temperature drop below desired level, add hot water to bring it up
  • let the meat cook for an hour or two, depending on the thickness

sous vide chicken breast is surprisingly good on salad
sous vide chicken breast is surprisingly good on salad

  • use the thermometer to ensure that internal meat temperature is appropriate
  • for beef, heat up skillet (I use an IKEA one) to high temperature, then sear for a minute on each side before serving, a blow torch will do similar wonder for chicken breasts
  • add your side dishes, and eat away!

The results we got were amazing. Relatively cheap cuts of grass fed beef had the texture not entirely unlike tenderloin, and for the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed chicken breasts as it came out succulent and moist.

Will do it again!

I’ve always love beef stew, a hearty dish with super tender beef in thick and flavorful broth, and with the various vegetable in it, a full and balanced meal all by itself.

ingredients for beef stew
ingredients for beef stew

I always thought making a pot of mean beef stew is an exercise in patience, but after doing a bit of research, I found out you can actually make a perfect bowl of beef stew in less than 30 minutes, including time for preparation – with the help of a pressure cooker.

pan fry the beef till brown, then add water and rosemary
pan fry the beef till brown, then add water and rosemary

The ingredients (this is good for 4 bowls)

  • 4-500 gram beef (lower quality is fine, I love those with some tendon and fat attached)
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 4-5 sticks of celery
  • 2 onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 potato
  • 1 table spoon rosemary (dried is fine)
  • 1.5 tea spoon salt
  • 1 tea spoon black pepper
  • 2 table spoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 table spoon cooking oil
  • 1 table spoon flour

chopped up vegetables and put in pressure cooker for another 8 minutes
chopped up vegetables and put in pressure cooker for another 8 minutes

Here’s the instructions, pressure cooker is used twice to ensure the beef gets to it’s super tender consistency while keeping the vegetable not overly cooked

  • heat up some oil in the pressure cooker, then add garlic, and fry beef till all sides are brown
  • add Worcestershire sauce, 3 cups of water, pepper, and rosemary
  • bring to boil, cover the pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes in high pressure
  • in the mean time, chop up all vegetable and potato to bite size chunks
  • release pressure (by running cold water over the pressure cooker in the sink), then add vegetable to the pot
  • bring to boil and cook for another 8 minutes in high pressure
  • add salt
  • slowly add up to a table spoon of flour while stirring to make the broth thicker
  • serve while hot

 

a hearty bowl of stew with very tender beef
a bowl of hearty stew with super tender beef

The result is a pot of beef stew that is prepared in less than 30 minutes but with beef so tender it almost melt in your mouth. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you’ll have to boil the stew for at least 3-4 hours to get the same result. Alternatively, use a slow cooker.