Hanoi Turmeric Fish with Dill

This recipe intrigued me at once when I saw it on Sandra’s Please Pass the Recipe. Firstly because I’ve never cooked Vietnamese before, and secondly because although fish and dill are a well-known combination (especially in Scandinavia), I had never heard of dill being used in Asian cuisine. This is how Sandra described it: “Cha ca la vong, originates from a single restaurant with a huge reputation in Hanoi. Essentially it’s white, firm fleshed fish marinated with turmeric, pan fried, tossed with fresh dill and served with peanuts and nuoc cham, the Vietnamese sauce that makes everything taste good.” I had picked up some fresh turbot fillets and thought it would be nice to prepare them this way. I’m glad that I did, because it was easy to prepare and delicious! Continue reading “Hanoi Turmeric Fish with Dill”

Thai Green Curry with Shrimp

Sometimes I can be a bit of a purist (OK you may laugh). Everyone can do as he pleases in the kitchen and everybody can eat what he likes, but please let’s not confuse each other by calling things what they are not. If you want to eat spaghetti with bacon and cream, fine, but don’t call it carbonara (which is made with guanciale or pancetta and eggs, and definitely without cream). There is nothing wrong with using garlic and parsley in a pasta sauce with meat and tomatoes, but don’t call it bolognese. I always try to prepare dishes as authentic as possible, which is sometimes difficult as most of the dishes I cook have not originated in the Netherlands. So I try to research and disclose it on my blog when I am not sure about the authenticity or when I cut corners.

What does this introduction have to do with Thai green curry? I’ve never been to Thailand and I don’t eat at Thai restaurants often, but when I do I tend to like the food. And so I thought I’d do some research and try to prepare an authentic Thai green curry. I found the High Heel Gourmet blog and had a blast reading it. You think I am a purist about Italian food? Check out this lady! I quote: “If you want to follow the “Do it yourself” recipe that uses green onion, cilantro, ginger root, lime juice and THE WHOLE POD of cardamom to make green curry paste so much, go ahead, but don’t call it Thai curry paste and please, don’t serve the curry to the Thais. They would barf!” I love it! She even critiqued Richard’s green curry, but was very nice about it.  (That is actually how I discovered her blog.)

As the High Heel Gourmet appears to know her stuff, I decided to go by her rules. I managed to find the authentic ingredients as specified and prepared my first Thai green curry with it, and absolutely loved it! Also my friends loved it, who have been to Thailand and who eat at Thai restaurants all the time. The curry had great depth of flavor and tasted very fresh. This was of course due to making fresh green curry paste from scratch. That is not a lot of work if you own a blender, the work is in finding the ingredients. It was hot but not extremely hot, and you can of course control the heat by using less or more chili peppers. Continue reading “Thai Green Curry with Shrimp”

Sous-Vide Pork Belly Asian Style with Garlicky Broccoli

One of the things you can only do sous-vide is making tough meats tender while keeping them juicy and without cooking them ‘well done’. As I am a great fan of medium rare meat rather than well done, this is one of the reasons why so far, I’ve almost exclusively cooked sous-vide meats that way. The only exceptions have been duck leg confit sous-vide and pulled pork sous-vide. This means cooking meat sous-vide at temperatures between 55ºC/131ºF and 65ºC/149ºF, sometimes as long as 72 hours to allow the meat to become tender at such a relatively low cooking temperature.

Lately I’ve started to wonder about cooking meat sous-vide at higher temperatures. The meat will surely become well done and flaky, but I’m curious whether it is still better than a traditional braise on the stove top and in the oven. There is only one way to find out, and that is to try. The first experiment in this series is pork belly. Usually I cook pork belly sous-vide for 36 to 72 hours at 60ºC/140ºF, but in this case I tried it for 10 hours at 77ºC/170ºF. After that it was briefly crisped under the broiler. The inspiration for the recipe came from a post on Serious Eats. I thought it would be nice with broccoli stir-fried with garlic (inspired by REMCooks.com) and some rice, and that did indeed work well. Continue reading “Sous-Vide Pork Belly Asian Style with Garlicky Broccoli”