An Asian Feast

29 Jan

For the last dinners I have organized at home I tried new ideas and new techniques. I tried the wild flavor of the Hot Smoked Paprika from Spain then I felt like a Magician playing with a crazy amount of spices to cook Indian food. Yesterday, I was in an Asian Mood…. I had tried one of Nigel Slater‘s pork recipe from is book Real Food and it was really yummy! That’s why I decided to do it again with a few other easy Asian dishes. Here is the menu… and the recipes!

Menu: serves about 6 people

Mango and Sugar Snap Peas Salad with a Ginger and Lime Dressing

Molded Pilaf Rice with Grilled Coconut

Pork with Cashews, Lime and Mint from Nigel Slater Cookbook


Mango and Sugar Snap Peas Salad with a Lime and Ginger Dressing

Ingredients

  • 500g of sugar snap peas
  • 1 mango firm not ripe in order to cut nice squares
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • coriander and/or mint, chervil
  • 1/4 cup of cashew nuts
  • Sesame oil
  • kecap mani sauce (sweet soy sauce)

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 2 limes juice and zest finely grated
  • 2-3 cm of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 red chili seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of palm sugar or honey if you don’t have it

Method

First prepare your ingredients.

Wash the sugar snap peas and cut them into 2-3 stripes with an angle to give them a nice shape.

Peel the mango and cut 2 thick slices along the stones then cut the slices into 2-3 cm squares.

Mango peeledMango Diced

Wash the spring onions and finely slice them with the same diagonal angle.

Wash the herbs and chop or slice them finely. If you are using them later, put a wet piece of kitchen towel on top of it to prevent them from getting dark.

In a wok or large frying pan, toast the cashew nuts until golden brown. Because the nuts are oily, you need to toast them to release the flavor.

Add 1-2 tsp of kecap mani sauce or honey on top of it and stir them until well coated. The sauce will caramelize around the cashew nuts. Pour the cashew nuts on a silicon mat or a piece of parchment paper.

In the same pan while it’s still hot, add a little sesame oil and pour the sugar snap peas in the wok. Fry them quickly as they need to remain crunchy. The leftover of kecap mani will caramelize the edges of the peas.

After 2-3 minutes, pour them in a container and let them cool down.

Then add a little sesame oil in the wok and quickly fry the mango cubes. Because the mango is not ripe, the cubes will not tear apart and they will keep their shape.

Set aside and let them cool down.

While that time, prepare the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and depending on your taste, add more palm sugar for the sweetness or lime to make it more sour.

Just before serving, mix together the sugar snap peas, mango, spring onions, herbs, cashew nuts and the sauce, place them in a nice serving dish and decorate with a few remaining chopped herbs.

Molded Pilaf Rice with Grilled Coconut

Ingredients for the Pilaf Rice

  • 2 cups of Basmati Rice
  • 5 cups of hot water
  • 1 chicken/veg stock cube dissolved in the hot water
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped or crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • groundnut oil
  • grilled coconut

Method for the Pilaf Rice*

In a deep medium frying pan, pour a little oil and start to gently fry the onions then add the garlic and keep on frying until golden brown.

Add the rice and cook it until it becomes translucent. Stir it to avoid it sticks to the pan.

Then add the stock on top of it, some salt and pepper and stir it just one time. Bring it to a gentle boil. Cover it and let it cook for at least 20 minutes.

When the rice is cooked, (just taste it to check, it has to be tender) either put the pan in the oven if it is oven proof or keep on cooking on a very gentle heat.

It will slowly create a nice crust of rice at the bottom of the pan.

Just before serving, you can add some grilled coconut on top of the rice to have it at the bottom and as for a cake, turn the pan upside down on a serving plate. The rice should come out easily and keep the shape of the pan.

Add some grilled coconut on top and serve it.

* You can have a lot of fun with the pilaf rice and give it the taste that you want. For example, you can add some spices to the onions such as curry, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and make it more Indian like.

You can also replace half of the stock with coconut milk or infuse Jasmine Tea instead of stock cube.

You can add fresh herbs, toasted nuts, chopped vegetables.

Indeed, this recipe is just a base that you can adapt to the main dish you are cooking.

Pork with Cashews, Lime and Mint

from Nigel Slater Cookbook

Ingredients 

  • 800g-1kg of pork fillet
  • 60ml of groundnut oil
  • 2 handful of cashew nuts or peanuts
  • a bunch of spring onions finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic or 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 8cm of ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 red chillies seeded and finely sliced or chopped
  • 60ml of nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • a bunch of mint leaves finely chopped
  • a bunch of basil finely chopped

Method 

Start by preparing all your ingredients. Chop the onions, ginger, chillies and cashew and set aside for later. Chop the herbs and keep them in a wet kitchen towel so that it does not get dark.

In a large wok or frying pan heat 1 tbsp of oil and seal the whole pork fillet until it gets golden brown. Turn the fillet upside down to get the other side the same golden brown color. If the fillets are thick, do the same for the sides that are still raw or barely cooked.

Once it’s done, set the meat and its juice aside. Cut the meat into thin strips about 7-8mm and keep the juice that comes out when you are cutting it.

Return the unwashed wok to the heat, add 2 tbsp of oil in it and as soon as it is hot, add the spring onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Fry the whole mix and stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Just before serving, reheat the unwashed wok and pour 1 tbsp of oil in it and when it’s hot, quickly fry the slices of pork and pour the mix on top, stir it then add the nuts, the meat juices, the lime juice and the fish sauce. Stir it for about 2 minutes then stir in the herbs.

Serve immediately.

2 Responses to “An Asian Feast”

  1. Doreen Haanigan October 27, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    searching for your pork fillet with watercress and crumb coating

    • dthuret October 27, 2012 at 8:06 am #

      I don’t have such a recipe but I would love to try it!
      It sounds like making a gremolata with watercress and crostini.
      If you want to make it exotic, you can add ginger and spices as well but if you want to keep it simple I would just add honey to help caramelization.

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