Vietnamese Pickled Garlic Chives & Bean Shoots

Vietnamese Pickled Garlic Chives & Bean Shoots

Now you all know I’m a huge fan of anything pickled. The zesty zing they add to a dish can change a boring meal into something special. In this recipe we are going to make pickled garlic chive and bean shoots. It’s super easy to make and will be ready to eat in just about no time because unlike a traditional style of pickling. This recipe employs the quick pickle method, so no caning is required and as such is meant to eaten rather quickly. However they need to be refrigerated and will last for up to 2 months.

 

THE SHOPPING LIST

200g Asian Garlic Chives
200g Bean Shoots
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Cup Hot Water
1 table spoon Salt

8 Hot Chillies (optional)

 

NOW LET’S GET OURSELVES INTO A PICKLE  YES?

LET’S!!

Step 1.  Wash both the garlic chives and bean shoots then shake well to dry.

Step 2. Cut the garlic chives into 5 cm lengths.

Step 3. Add the sugar and hot water to a large mixing bowl.

Stir well to all the sugar has dissolved.

Then add salt and stir to dissolve again.

Finally add the vinegar and stir to combine.

Step 4. Add the garlic chives and bean shoots to the bowl. Also add the chillies if using.

Give everything a good mix up, but be gentle as not to break the bean shoots.

Allow everything to rest in the bowl until the bean shoots are soften. About an hour.

Step 5.  Transfer the vegetables into a clean pickling jar.

Step 6.  Cover the vegetable with the pickling brine ensuring all vegetables are submerged.

Step 7.  Close the lid of the jar and place in the refrigerator over night.

 

There you go peoples Vietnamese pickled garlic chives and bean shoots. How easy was that!!

Vietnamese pickled garlic chives and bean shoots.

 

 

BEYOND THE BRAND – 8 Frame Honey

Welcome to the second edition of my new segment.

BEYOND THE BRAND!

Where I sit down and chat with business leaders in the food industry to find out more about the people that make these companies and brands tick. Hopefully we can get some insight into what makes their companies so great and gain a few helpful tips along the way.

 

Today I sit down and chat with Ben Merivale. Founder of 8 Frame Honey to get to know the man behind the brand.

  Saba. Tell me a bit about yourself Ben and your background?

B.M.  I have always loved being outdoors. Camping, hiking, gardening, walking the dog, whatever the task, being outside makes me happy. My wife and I moved from the ever expanding Sydney commuting times to the outskirts of Canberra to improve the quality of our lives and that of our future kids. We purchased a large block of land big enough for our kids to run around for hours and keep a few animals – or several thousand as it turned out. Prior to becoming a beekeeper and educator I ran a garden maintenance business. Working outside was great even though the freezing Canberra winter mornings were not so much fun. It beat working in an office all day! The business was successful and quickly expanded to several staff members and involved me working 6 days a week and often 10-12 hours a day.

My wife and I were fortunate enough to have a baby girl shortly after our move to Canberra and this changed my view on life.  I sold the gardening business to become a stay-at-home dad and started 8 Frame Honey as a part-time business. I hope once my daughter is at school I can further expand the business and it will give me the freedom to have the optimal work-life balance.

Saba. What motivates you Ben?

B.M. Setting a good example for my daughter motivates me to try to do little things everyday to improve our lives and our planet. Whether that is taking time to have a meal as a family or reducing the amount of plastic waste our household creates. I remember watching a speech on YouTube of the incredibly talented Tim Minchin addressing a graduating class. In it he encouraged them to teach others, impart their knowledge and help other people learn. This idea has stuck with me and I get a great deal of satisfaction teaching others about how we can make small changes to live a more sustainable life. Bees have become my passion, without them nearly 70% of our crops would not be pollinated as effectively or at all. I want to help save bees from varroa mites – a disease killing hundreds of thousands of colonies every year. Australia is the only country fortunate enough not to have varroa mites yet. Our mono-agriculture techniques are also reducing the amount of variety in the diet of bees. It’s the equivalent of us only eating carrots for every meal. Carrots are good, but you need variety. So I try to teach people about planting bee friendly plants to help give bees more food sources. If everyone in Australia planted a 30cm square pot of bee-friendly plants 13,484,714 extra bees could be fed (quoted from Damian Appleby – The 53 top bee-friendly plants and trees).

It must be said that as a beekeeper you never stop learning and I am constantly looking at how I work my hives and what I could do continue to improve the health of the bees today and in the future. I believe if we all take small steps today to reduce our impact on the environment we can preserve the beauty of nature for our children and future generations.

   Saba. What drove you to start your own business?

B.M. I love working for myself, working from home and the challenge of starting with nothing and trying to create a brand and products that people want to buy and be apart of. Running your own business is hard. There are many obstacles and plenty of easier ways to earn money. For me it’s about passion and drive. I am most passionate and driven when I’m building my own brand. I get a real buzz out of teaching other people and igniting their passion for beekeeping.

Saba. Why this business?

B.M.  My wife bought me a course on how to keep bees as a birthday present and I immediately fell in love with bees. Since then I knew that a beekeeping and education business is where I wanted to spend my working hours. I am not overly interested in being a commercial honey supplier. Nor do I wish to cart truckloads of bees from farm to farm to pollinate crops. These are both big businesses in beekeeping. I wanted to take a different path and focus on inspiring and teaching others about the importance of bees. Educating people on how to keep bees, teaching others to overcome their fear of bees and watching the delight on the face of a person who tastes fresh comb honey for the first time are all amazing experiences I can only enjoy as a result of this business.

Saba. What sort of products/services do you provide?

B.M. We have three distinct product areas.

Firstly we sell products produced within a beehive including honey, honeycomb (honey still in the wax the bees make it in), beeswax and propolis. To complement this section we also sell handmade top bar beehives and bees to populate your new hive.

We also sell educational workshops. We run 2.5 hour and 5 hour beekeeping workshops from our apiary in Murrumbateman, 40 minutes north of Canberra and 3 hours from Sydney. We also run a course in how to make your own reusable beeswax wraps. Finally we offer a course in how to make your own furniture polish using beeswax.

Our final product area is handmade items made from hive by-products, predominantly beeswax. Our current range includes reusable beeswax wraps, beeswax furniture polish, melts to make your own wraps at home and a kit to make your own furniture polish at home.

Saba. For people who don’t know what propolis is like me, do you mind explaining what it is?

B.M. Propolis is made from tree resin (sap). Bees bring it back to the hive and convert it into propolis. They use it as a glue and seal up cracks and holes with in the hive. In warm temperatures it is sticky and it becomes rock solid in the cold. It has anti-bacterial properties and is used in alternative medicines as well as an additive in some foods such as chewing gum. It has started to be used cosmetics as well.

Saba. What is your most popular product / service?

B.M. Our beekeeping workshops are our most popular service, just ahead of our beeswax wrap making course. Honey is our best selling product due to its mainstream popularity. We also regularly sell out of propolis.

 

 

Saba. What are your hopes for the business in the future?

B.M. I hope to expand the business to do more workshops in schools. I would love to teach the next generation about the importance of bees. To help them consider the use of chemicals in agriculture and find new and innovative ways we can reduce our reliance on chemicals and improve the way we interact with nature. We will also be investing a lot of time testing flavoured honey varieties this season.

Saba. Tips for anyone who wants to get into a food business?

B.M. Follow your passion. If you are passionate about your food business (or any business for that matter) it makes it much easier to get up everyday and work on improving your business. Align yourself with mentors who can guide you in the right direction. In food businesses regulatory requirements, food safety guidelines and council demands can be a headache, especially if you are new to the industry. There are mentors such as Business Enterprise Centres Australia who offer business-mentoring services to guide you through areas you have little experience in. I used a mentor to help me navigate the red tape of operating a home-based food business to ensure my kitchen set-up met council and NSW Food Authority regulations. I found such a service invaluable. It saved me a lot of time and gave me the assurance that my business was meeting all the food safety standards. Promote yourself. If nobody knows about your business it won’t grow. Instagram is a must for any food-based business these days. Make sure your posts are relevant to your business, you post frequently and tell a story about your business. Follow other food businesses to see how they make their Instagram posts relevant and stand out.

Saba. Where can people find your product / services?

B.M. The best way to purchase our products and services is directly from our website www.8framehoney.com.au. Our courses are run in Murrumbateman New South Wales (approximately 40 minutes north of Canberra and 3 hours south of Sydney). Murrumbateman is a well-known cool climate wine district with many attractions. We have created a guide to Murrumbateman on our website so you can make a day trip or weekend out of your visit to this beautiful area.

You can also purchase our products from markets in and around Canberra. Check our Instagram account @8framehoney for updates on when and where we are attending markets. We are also in the process of finding stockists for our products so watch this space!

Saba. What’s your favourite dish to have with 8 Frame Honey?

B.M.  Honey goes well with all manner of foods – breakfast cereal, tea, cheese, bread and of course on its own. Whilst I am a Weet-Bix and honey guy for breakfast, I do love skewered pepper prawns with lime served with a honey vinaigrette. These quick and delicious treats can be cooked on the pan, grill or BBQ.

Saba. So lastly Ben, do you have any special offers for my readers today?

B.M.  Of course! Enter the code “saba” at the checkout on our website and you will receive 15% of your purchase.

*Discount is valid until the end of October 2018 and not valid with any other offers.

 

There you go people, a look beyond the brand that is 8 Frame Honey!

 

 

 

BEYOND THE BRAND – 8 Frame Honey

 

 

SPICY PORK FILLED DUCK NECK SAUSAGE

I often buy my duck whole, cause buying them portioned is such a rip off. If I was to buy two duck legs on their own it would almost cost me the same price as buying a whole duck. So why would I?  Why would I indeed. The other advantage of buying the whole duck there is so much you can do with it. As you already know I don’t like to waist food and so I use up every part of the duck. One part of the duck that rarely gets used is the neck, which is a shame. If you do buy a whole duck don’t throw the neck away keep it for making stocks or broths. Today I’m going to show you how to use the skin of the neck to make a casing for a sausage.

Whilst I mad this sausage I rendered down some of the fat from the duck but you don’t have too, you can just use your favourite cooking oil. But if you do want to make your own duck fat all you need to do is add any excess fat trimmings and skin from the duck into a saucepan with a little bit of water and gentle simmer it for an hour or so to render out the oil.

mmm duck fat

THE SHOPPING LIST

Skin of 1 duck neck

200G minced pork

1/2 tbsp. Fish sauce

1/2 tbsp. Ground pepper

1/2 tbsp. Sugar

1/2 tbsp. Turmeric

1/2 tbsp. Hot chilli powder

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 Lime

1x Long red chilli

2x Kaffir lime leaves

1x Lemon grass stalk (white part only)

2 inch piece Galangal

3x Large cloves of garlic

1x Medium sized onion

THE SAUCE

We are serving this dish with my happy duck sauce, follow the link to see how to make it.

HAPPY DUCK SAUCE

LET’S GET COOKING YES? LET’S

You can purchase the duck neck from your butcher but if you have a whole duck like I have today you will first need to remove the neck.

Step 1. Cut off the head of the duck, then cut the neck off the body. Try to cut as far back as you can to ensure you have as much skin as possible. Once you have removed the neck peel off the skin. Then remove the wind pipe and wash  the skin inside out and pat dry.

Step 2. Next chop up your onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, long chilli and lime leaf into small chuck and place in a food processor and wiz into a thick paste.

 

Step 3. In a large mixing bowl add your pork and all the other ingredients. Add the freshly processed paste and mix everything well to combine.

Step 4. Take a piece of kitchen twine and tie the smaller end of the duck skin closed.

Step 5. Stuff the skin with the stuffing. I used a funnel for this but it’s not necessary you can do this with out it. fill the skin with as much stuffing as you can but leave enough skin at the end as so you can tie it off.

Step 6. Take a piece of kitchen twine and tie the open end of the duck skin. Take a sharp knife and trim off any excess skin from each end for a nice appearance.

 

Step 7. Wrap the sausage in cling wrap, at least four layers, and tie off the ends the same way as you did the sausage its self. Now place in the refrigerator to rest. I left mine over night as I wasn’t planning on eating it to the next day. But an hour or two is fine.

Step 8. Place the sausage cling wrap and all into a medium high simmering pot of water and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 9. Remove the sausage from the pot, remove the cling wrap and pat dry.

Step 10. Add the sausage to a hot frying pan with some oil (I used duck fat) and sear off to its well browned all over.

Another option is you could also bake this in the oven for 15 minutes.

 

That’s it people, my spicy pork filled duck neck sausage.

I hope you have a quack at making it!!

Spicy Pork Filled Duck Neck Sausage

 

 

SPICY VEGAN OKARA SEASONING POWDER

I often make soy milk at home, it’s cheap and easy to do and only needs 2 ingredients to do. Soy beans and water. Yep that’s it. However making soy milk produces a lot of byproduct or waist. One thing I’m not a big fan of is wasting food.  The byproduct I speak of here is the pulp that is left over after the soy beans have been ground up and strained. This pulp is called Okara. At first glance it doesn’t look like much and one would be forgiven if they were to throw it away. But many inventive people have come up with all sorts of clever dishes to use this product in from biscuits to burger patties and so on. The great thing about Okara is that is packed full of protein, fiber and all sorts of beneficial minerals. So why not use it? Why not indeed!

Today I’m going to show you how to turn it into a seasoning you can add to your rice for an extra kick. Sprinkle it on your noodles for some texture the possibilities are endless

 

straining the soy milk

okara

Shopping list

1 Tablespoon Rice Bran Oil

1 – ½. Cups of Okara

2  Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

2  Tablespoons of Mirin

1 Tablespoon White Sesame Seeds

1 Tablespoon Black Sesame Seeds

½ Tablespoon Garlic Powder

½ Tablespoon Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Ground Hot Chilli  Powder

(add more or less depending on how hot you like it)

½ Sheet of shredded Nori

 

Step 1.

Add your Okara into a large frying pan over high with the oil and fry until the Oraka has lost all it moisture and becomes golden in colour. This will take around 10 to 15mintues. During this time keep stirring and moving the Okara around as to ensure you don’t burn it and it is evenly browned.

Step 2

Add the soy sauce and mirin and give it good stir to combine ensure all the okara is covered. Keep stirring around to the soy/mirin has been absorbed (about 2 minutes)

Step 3

Add in both the white and the black sesame seeds and give the pan a good toss and stir for about 2 minutes.

Step 4.

Add the garlic powder and give the pan a good toss to combine

Step 5.

Add the chilli powder and give the pan a good toss to combine and fry for another 2 minutes.

Step 6.

Add the shredded nori and give the pan a good toss to combine and fry for another 2 minutes.

 

How easy was that!!

There it is you just made yours self a spicy vegan okara seasoning powder.

 

 

Home Made Soy Milk From Scratch

HOME MADE FROM SRATCH

When I came to Australia some 40 odd years ago. My family ended up in a little rural Victorian town. It was a little farming community with a rich history in dairy.  A very different setting to the modern-day Melbourne in which I live today. I have very fond memories of my childhood there. I remember riding up the hill with my brothers on our chopper style bmx bikes to the old caravan park where the old abandoned swimming pool was. It had been overgrown by nature and had become more like a creek. We would go there to catch yabbies. We would go rabbit hunting with our pet ferrets. Collect fresh eggs from the chickens and pick seasonal fruits all the time. It was a simple and joyful childhood. The summers use to last forever and we never ran out of things to do.

Unlike today’s world of 24/7 hour supermarkets, we only had 1 local supermarket. I think it was called SSW or Tucker bag, I can’t really recall now, it was owned and operated by a local and so was the local hardware store. When my dad went for his driver’s licence the local police officer just followed him as he drove around a few streets and that was test. There was only one car dealership and one butcher shop. Back in those days, the butcher did not sell things like ham hocks, chicken thighs, lamb shanks or even pork belly. Lamb shanks where taken for dog food. Now those are the most expensive cuts of meat. Go figure hey!

So as you can imagine, trying to find Asian staples and food was pretty much a zero chance. My parents grew just about all the Asian greens we ate, Mum use to make almost everything from scratch. This was very time and labor intensive but it was a necessity for my family.  These days living in Melbourne mum no longer needs to cook from scratch but I learnt a valuable lesson from those years seeing where my food came from. I’ve always made it a point to learn to cook whatever I eat from starch. I don’t do this out of necessity but for the reason of knowing where my food comes from and just in case life takes me to a place where certain foods are not readily available to me. So today I thought I would show you how to make soy milk from scratch.

First off we are going to need some soybeans. We are using dried soybeans which are readily available in most supermarkets or health stores these day. If you have a local Asian grocer near you, they will have it for sure or you can order them online. They are super cheap and last for just about ever and we can make so many things with them. I recommend if you can get them to use organic beans.

Step 1. Soak The Soy Beans

I’m using 2 cups of soybeans to which I’m soaking them in 1 litre of cold water. Leave the beans to soak for about 8 hours.

After 8 hours the soybeans should have increased to about 3 times their original size

 

Step 2. Remove The Skin From The Soy Beans

Using your fingers gently massage the beans to loosen off the skins from the beans. Skim off the skins from the top of the water and drain and pick out and left over skins. You will need to repeat this step a few times to remove all the skins.

Step 3. Rinse and Clean The Soy Beans

Now that all the skins are removed give the soy beans a good rinse and drain.

Step 4. Time To Turn Beans To Milk

Add one cup of your cleaned soy beans and 600mls of clean fresh water to a blender. Blend until smooth.

 Step 5. Time To Cook The Milk

Pour the content of the blender into a pot. Over a medium high heat bring the pot to a boil, don’t walk away from it as it will have a tendency to boil over. If it does start to boil over remove it from the heat and keep stirring. Once the milk has come to a boil turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

 

Skim off any film that form on the top of milk. This film that forms on the top is called Yuba and is widely eaten in many Japanese and Chinese dishes. I like to keep it and add it to my noodle soups.  You can dry it out and store it away. There is so much you can do with it.

Now turn off the heat and allow the milk cool down enough to handle.

Step 6. Strain The Milk

Cover a strainer with some cheese cloth and pour the cooled milk and all the pulp from the pot over into a large bowl. Ring out all the liquid you can as this is your finished milk.

The leftover pulp in the cheese cloth is call Okara. Don’t throw this away. It is a super food. Full of protein, fiber and other minerals. It can be used in many recipes. It actually taste pretty bland but I like using it to add texture and all the above health benefits. It does absorb flavors really well, so don’t tell Shorty Kun but I do sneak this stuff into some of his meals.

Step 7. Leave The Milk to Cool

 

Now you have made your fresh soy milk allow it to cool completely.

Step 8. Pour into a bottle

Finial step now, pour your freshly cooled soy milk into a bottle or air tight container. I like to use a small strainer and a funnel to do this as to ensure we remove any last yuba remains and don’t spill the milk of course.

There you have it peoples fresh home made soy milk from scratch.  Now this soy milk won’t taste like a store bought soy milk as it taste as real soy milk taste, free from any artificial flavors, colours and sweeteners.

If you wish to sweeten it you can but I like it just the way it is.

 

If you would like to watch my full video tutorial follow the link over to Lion Brand Rice to find it

 

Home Made Soy Milk From Scratch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEYOND THE BRAND! BKK Australia

Welcome to my new segment.

BEYOND THE BRAND

 Where I will sit down and chat with business leaders in the food industry to find out more about the people that make these companies and brands tick. Hopefully we can get some insight into what makes their companies so great and gain a few helpful tips along the way. So let’s get things kicked off with the company behind my favourite rice brand!

BKK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

 

Today I sit down for a chat with Peter Tan, director of BKK Australia to take a look at the man beyond the brand.

 

Saba. Tell me a bit about yourself Peter and your background?

P.T. My name is Peter Tan and I was born and raised in Sydney Australia. I spent much of my education and career in science, with my last job working at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute however I got a bit disillusioned with the daily grind and entered the family (and food!) business about five years ago.

BKK Head office in Sydney

 

Saba. Why a food business?

P.T. A lot of this journey has to do with food. All I wanted as a kid was McDonald’s and KFC but as I experienced more of the world and ate more widely, the more I realised that the things that people eat is tied up in their environment and traditions. Food is a great catalyst to find a human nature, culture and history.

Other companies may do team building exercises like paintball or golf, but the aunties in the office will cook big pots of great food, fire up some gas stoves and lay out some amazing spreads in our meeting rooms.

 

Saba. What motivates you Peter?

P.T. Australia is a multicultural society but I feel that our pockets of culture are still segregated. Despite the prevalence of Asian Australians, there is a severe lack of representation of the people and culture in the mainstream media. Nowadays we are able to reach people through the internet with videos, podcasts or just simple blogs and it would be great to show that there’s more to Thai food than just red, curry, green, curry & padthai. Or that Vietnamese food is not just Phở and Bánh mì. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your Aussie BBQ became synonymous with Gai Yang or Bún Thịt Nướng? I want your average person on the street to know about Foi Thong or Bún Riêu. And also to know how to make it

Saba. Bún Riêu  yummy!!

Crab Bún Riêu made by yours truly.

 

 

Saba. Tell me a bit about your business?

P.T. The business started out as a supermarket in the Western suburbs of Sydney serving the Asian communities there. Over time there was a demand for genuine Thai Jasmine rice and as a result the business started an import branch. This import branch was called “BKK Australia” and was the first company to import Thai Jasmine Rice “Lion Brand” which is of course our flagship brand. However over time our products diversified and BKK Australia product range now boast over a 1000 Asian foods. Every product is tasted and tested by our staff which makes for interesting conversations at the office. Our staff are particular and food obsessed and there’ll often be arguments which are the best or most authentic products that we bring in. Other companies may do team building exercises like paintball or golf, but the aunties in the office will cook big pots of great food, fire up some gas stoves and lay out some amazing spreads in our meeting rooms. One of my favourite things is to come back to my desk sometimes to find a surprise noodle bowl at my computer.

Always a nice surprise to find a bowl of noodles on the desk!

 

Saba. What sort of products/services do you provide?

P.T. We are an import and distributor of fine Asian food products distributing to retailers nationally.

Maesri Curry Paste

 

Saba. What are your most popular products / services?

Lion Brand Jasmin Rice

Lion Brand Glutinous Rice

P.T. Of course Lion Brand Thai Jasmine rice is our number one seller.

But we also sell glutinous rice, broken rice, rice paper and dried rice noodles

 (bún tươi is particularly good) under the Lion Brand umbrella.

Besides that we are also exclusive distributors of Maesri Curry Pastes which are very popular and widely available. You can find them in Woolworths nationally. This is a favourite of mine and I cook with the green curry paste almost every week.

Lion Brand Rice Paper

 

Saba. What are your hopes for the business in the future?

P.T. Of course we wish to see our business grow and expand. But more than that, I want Lion Brand to represent a point where people can connect and learn more about Asian food and culture in Australia

Saba. Where can people find your product/services?

P.T. The majority of our products can easily be found in your local Asian grocery and some select brands in major national chains (Woolworths, Aldi, Costco).

For businesses looking for a specialist Asian wholesale food supplier they can contact our office by phone on +61296320072 or email us at enquiry@bkk.com.au

Made with Lion Brand bún tươi (dried rice noodles)

 

Saba.  Any special offers for my readers today?

P.T. The first five readers to comment on your next blog posts at the

Lion Brand Blog

and leave the hashtag #SheepXLion will receive a free gift pack!

(*open to Australian residents only, remember to include email address)

 

There you go peoples! A look beyond the brand that is Lion Brand Rice.

My next post on Lion Brand Blog will be on 14.09.18 so make sure you get over there and have a read and leave a comment for your chance at receiving one of those five gift packs.

Lion Brand Blog

To see the full range of BBK products head over to their website http://www.bkkaustralia.com.au/

You can also find them on Instagram @bkk_Australia  or Facebook @BKKAus

 

BEYOND THE BRAND – Lion Brand Rice

 

HOW A CRYING TIGER BECAME A HAPPY DUCK

I’m not going to share the recipe for this dish today as I will share it with you on a later post. Sorry guys.

However I will show you how to make the sauce as we will need for an upcoming post.

What I really wanted to do today was share with you a story, a very true story.

So sit back and let me tell you the tale about a crying tiger who turned into a happy duck.

 Quite awhile ago I went out to dinner and got a bit drunk. Ok a lot drunk. But that’s not the point here.

Anyway during dinner I ordered a dish called Crying Tiger. I have had this dish many times before and I’m quite familiar with it. However the one at this place was totally awesome.

This version used wagyu beef and had a salsa on top of it. Not your average crying tiger that’s for sure.

Anyway the next morning when I was no longer drunk I got a thinking why the hell do they call that dish crying tiger? Yes these are the hard questions I ask my self. So for the life of me I couldn’t work it out.

Then it struck me, like a lighting bolt. That’s it!!

It’s cause the tiger had no spice in it life. So I thought Duck it!!! I’m going to make my own version and spice it up. With chilli of course and it not going to be crying anymore cause its  going to happy.

I didn’t have any wagyu lying around, who the duck does..

So I went Duck instead, and that’s how a Crying Tiger became a Happy Duck 😊😊😊

 

Lets gets saucy yes? LETS!!!

HAPPY DUCK SAUCE

1 serving

This is how I made it

First off I got some palm sugar.

About 2 teaspoons.

I grated the palm sugar into a mixing bowl.

Next I added about 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste.

 Next added some fish sauce, about 2 teaspoons.

Then hot chilli powder, I used 2 teaspoons.

I grabbed myself a shallot and dice it fine

I only used half and added it to the bowl

Then I chopped up some herbs. I used 2 sprigs of coriander, 1 sprig of rice patty herb, 2 saw tooth coriander leaves and 1 sprig of spring onion. I used the stems and all.

Then added it to the bowl

Next I got myself a nice juicy lime

Grated the zest into the bowl

Then I finished off by squeezing the juice of the lime in.

I later added some fresh chilli as I just wanted a bit more heat but to tell you truth it didn’t really need it but I wanted it to be spicy!

That’s it peoples, that’s how I made my happy duck sauce.

I’ve got a interesting dish in mind coming up that I’ve never made before, and I plan to service it with this sauce so stay tuned!

 

How a crying tiger became a happy duck.

Pork Belly Yakitori with only 4 ingredients

I think meat taste better when its on a stick, don’t ask me why I just do. Especially if its getting grilled over a BBQ.  In todays post I’m going to show you how to make a super simple Japanese yakitori. This recipe is so simple that it only has 4 ingredients. That’s if you don’t include the beer that accompanies it haha.

 

THE SHOPPING LIST

750G. Pork Belly

100mls. Soy Sauce

100mls. Mirin

2.5 tbsp. Sugar

Told you there was only 4 ingredients

LET’S GET A COOKING YES? LET’S

Step 1. Add the soy sauce,  mirin, and sugar into a large bowl and mix well to all  the sugar has dissolved.

Step 2. Remove the skin from the pork belly and dice into 1 inched cubes

Step 3. Add the diced pork belly to the bowl then mix well. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for an hour.

Step 4.  Time to skewer these bad boys.

note. if using wooden skeweres ensure you soak them first for at least half an hour

When skewering try to keep the shape and size as even as possible. This will ensure even cooking later on.

Step 5. Take the left over marinate and pour into a sauce pan. Place onto a medium heat and let reduce to a thick sauce. This should take about 10 minutes.

Now the best bit. Time to cook these bad boys and enjoy the aroma. I highly recommend you cook these over a charcoal BBQ but if you don’t have one you can do this on a grill pan or in the oven.

Step 6. Place the skewers onto the BBQ. A medium heat is ideal and turn frequently to stop the sugar in the marinate from burning.

If there are any left over marinate juices glaze them over the skewers whilst they are cooking.

Once your skewers are cooked right through remove them from the heat allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

To serve them place them on a plate and drizzle over with the reduced sauce, crack a beer and enjoy!

There you go peoples Pork Belly Yakitori with only 4 ingredients.

How easy was that?

Pork Belly Yakitori with only 4 ingredients

 

How to make chilli flakes from scratch

Any one who follows my blog will know I’m a big chilli lover. It’s in just about everything I eat. I even have it on my eggs at breakfast time! It doesn’t have to be super hot, but I need to know its there. So with the amount of chilli I eat I always need to have them on hand at any given time. So naturally I grow them at home.  One healthy tree can produce so much fruit that it’s almost impossible for me to eat them all. So I need to come up with all sorts of crafty ideas to use them up. Some I will freeze, others I make into hot sauces and the list goes on. But the one thing I love doing the most is turning them into chilli flakes. Its so easy to do and they last for just about ever! So in todays post I’m going to show you how my chillies go from the fresh fruit on the tree to dried out chilli flakes.

Lets get started? Lets!

Step 1. This is so easy, just pick the chillies from the tree then wash and dry them.

 Now there are many ways to dry out your chillis, in a oven,  or a dehydrator,   you can string them up and so on. But the most basic and easy way is the good old fashioned way we are going to do today.

Step 2. Lay the chillies out in a single layer in a large strainer or wire rack so that air can move freely around the chillies and leave to dry in a warm sunny spot. If you leave them to dry inside make sure the room is well ventilated.  I like to give them a shake around ever now and then as so they all dry out evenly. The drying process will vary depending on the weather conditions. But they should be ready in a week or so, but do leave them to they are fully dehydrated.

I find only smaller chillies lend them self to drying much more then larger ones, so leave them for eating fresh or making hot sauces

 

Step 3. Now that your chillies are fully dehydrated remove the stems and discard (I just throw them back in the garden) and place the chillies into a food processor. Now give the chillies a good wiz to you reach your desired flake size. Be sure to keep your face well away from the food processor as any fumes will surely burn your eyes.

That’s it peoples, you just made your very own chilli flakes. How easy was that?  To store the chilli flake place them in an air tight jar and use them when ever you want!

 

How to make chilli flakes from scratch

Vietnamese stir-fried beef with chayote. su su xào thịt bò

I love cooking and knowing exactly what’s in my food. But like most people I do work a full time job. So there are days where I just can’t be bothered spending to much time in the kitchen. So on days like that a quick stir fry served with some rice is always a winner for me.

 

 

 

Shopping list

For the marinade

250 grams, Sliced beef

1,  Sliced red onion

1  Tablespoons, soy sauce

1  Tablespoons, sugar

3, Cloves of garlic diced

1 Tablespoon, chilli paste

½ Tablespoon Black Pepper

A few drops of sesame oil

Other ingredients

1 Tablespoon cooking oil

 1, large chayote peeled and thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon, soy sauce

2 Tablespoons, water

Cracked pepper to taste

Lets get cooking hey? Lets

Step 1.  Add all your marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix to coat all the beef well.

Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

Step 2. Heat your wok on high to it gets really hot and add the cooking oil. Add your beef and stir fry for 2 minutes just to seal the meat. Remove from the wok and set aside.

(For best results do this in 2 small batches)

Step 3. Add your chayote and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Step 4. Add the water and cover the wok with a lid, this will allow the chayote to steam. Leave for 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 5. Remove the lid and give everything a quick toss. Now add back your meat and stir-fry for another 2 minutes

Step 6. Transfer to a serving dish and crack some black pepper over the top.

How easy was that!

 Vietnamese stir-fried beef with chayote

su su xào thịt bò

Game Day Prawn Platter

I’m a big fan of sports, more so watching then playing it hihi. Of late I’ve been spoiled for choice. World Cup soccer, Wimbledon tennis, golf, football, motorsports. You name it and I’ll watch it. So in today’s post I thought I would show you 3 really simple game day snacks you can prepare in next to no time and with very few ingredients. So the star of these 3 game day snacks will be fresh prawns and a can of Maesri curry paste. No we are not making a prawn curry and Yes, you don’t just have to make a curry from a curry paste.

 

Game Day Prawn Platter

 

Dish 1. Prawn Spring Rolls and Curry Sauce

Dish 2. Butterflied Prawns

Dish 3. Crispy Prawn Balls

If you want the full recipe of my game day prawn platter  head over to www.lionbrand.com.au to find my blog post and video.

 

http://www.lionbrand.com.au/blog/a-platter-of-prawns-3-game-day-snack-recipes

 

 

 

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Marinade

For 1Kg of meat

Lemongrasschicken1

 

THE SHOPPING LIST

4 Lemongrass stem, white part only, smashed and roughly chopped  (80g)

 1  Large brown onion, roughly chopped

5 Cloves of garlic, minced

 1 tablespoon of ground chilli paste  (or 2 fresh chillies minced)

 ½ tablespoon of fish sauce 

½ tablespoon of Soy sauce

1 tablespoon of Oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of Sugar

1/2 tablespoon of Honey

 1 teaspoon Ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Sesame oil

 

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

 

As this is a marinade you want the end result to be more liquid and not like a paste, so I find this works better in a food processor, but if you’re a purist feel free to do it in a mortar and pestle.

 

Place the lemongrass in the food processor and wiz to it become quite fine and no large chunks are left. 

 Now add the Onion, Garlic.  Give it a few pulses and then wiz it to all the ingredients become a thick paste and are all incorporated.

 Now add the rest of the ingredients and wiz to all the ingredients are well combined and the pastes starts to becomes a thick liquid. 

Now its ready to marinate your favourite cut of pork with.

  YOUR DONE  HOW EASY WAS THAT!!

Note.

I find that for best results marinate your pork for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.

 

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Vietnamese grilled pork marinade

Spring Onion & Chilli Pancakes (Scallion Pancakes)

Spring Onion & Chilli Pancakes

 pan1

You know what I really love, its spring onions.  I also love pancakes. So naturally I love spring onion pancakes!! oh for those of you that don’t live down under or are not sure what a spring onion is. You might call it a green onion or a scallion. 

A spring onion pancake is a savoury pancake that originated in China and is know as (Congyoubing). Unlike a western style pancake that is make with batter this pancake is made from a dough.  These pancakes are delicious eaten on there own, with a dipping sauce such as soy, chili and vinegar. But I also love to eat mine as part of a meal as you would with bread. You can have them on the side, use them as a roll. The possibility’s are endless. In Today’s recipe I’m going to spice things up a bit because I love my chilli.

So lets get to it hey?

LETS!

 

 

THE SHOPPING LIST

1 Cup plain flour

1/2 Cup warm water

1/2 a bunch of spring onion

1 long red chilli

Sesame oil for brushing

Salt to season

 

Step 1. Make the dough

 Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl along with a big pinch of salt

Add the water and mix to a dough has formed

Remove from bowl and kneed to the dough becomes smooth and elastic

Roll into a ball and add back to bowl

Cover bowl with a damp towel and allow the dough to rest for 1/2 an hour

Step 2. Prepare Spring Onion & Chilli

Finely chop the spring onion and chilli

Step 3. Lets roll some dough

pancakelay1

Roll the dough out to fat log shape and cut into 3 equal size parts and roll into balls

Dust your working surface with flour

place your first dough ball down and using a rolling pin roll it out as thin as possible

Brush the top of the dough with some sesame oil

Sprinkle over an even layer of spring onion and chilli

Starting from one end roll the dough into a tight log

Now coil the dough into a snail shape

Place back in bow and cover with damp towel and let rest of 15 minutes

Repeat with remaining 2 other dough balls

pancakelay2

Step 4. Make the pancakes

Dust your working surface with flour

Using the palm of your hand flatten the coil out to make a rough circle

Now with your rolling pin, roll the dough out to make an 8inch pancake you may want to flip it and roll it once or twice

Repeat for the other 2 coils.

Step 5. Frying the pancakes

Add a third of your cooking oil to a fry pan

Place one pancake in at a time and fry on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side

HOW EASY WAS THAT

Serve and Enjoy !!

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The Rice Dish! Crispy Rice Balls

Ok, how about we make some rice balls?   What rice balls?  We have all seen boring rice balls before. I hear you say…..

Don’t worry, these little bad boys are going to be super crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and explode with Thai red curry flavour goodness!

 

 

 

For me and just about every other person of South East Asian descent. Rice is life!  I know there wouldn’t be too many days where I don’t eat something that contains rice in it. From rice noodles to rice crepes even rice sweets and more. It is such a diverse ingredient and the most important staple in my house. I never run out of rice!

So today I’m back on www.lionbrand.com blog posting again and I’m focusing on that little white grain and I  make something that really makes rice shine!

Ok, how about we make some rice balls?   What rice balls?  We have all seen boring rice balls before. I hear you say…..

Don’t worry, these little bad boys are going to be super crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and explode with Thai red curry flavour goodness!

Now I got you interested yes?

Not only are these going to be super delicious and crispy, they take hardly any time to make.

In the post I’m going to use rice paper in some different ways that you may not have thought of before, I even make an edible rice plate!

So follow the below link over to lion Brand Rice to check out my post  and recipe!!

http://www.lionbrand.com.au/blog/recipe-the-rice-dish

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to cook rice on the stove

 

I know some of you may laugh when you see this post. For the most part I’m sure it’s a very simple task, but for the novis cook it can be quite the challenge to get right.  But I kid you not. I remember a time when I was a teenager and a dear friend of mine asked me a pretty straight forward question.

How to cook rice?

Our conversation went like this.

Him. Saba, how do I cook rice?

Me.  Mate, that’s easy, wash the rice grains, add water and turn the rice cooker on.

Him.  But Saba I don’t have a rice cooker.

Me.  Oh.

I didn’t know what to say as I had never cooked rice without a rice cooker before. So that day we both went  back to my house and I asked my mother to teach us how to cook rice without a rice cooker.  In this day and age, we have all these fancy appliances and gismos to help us in the kitchen, some of which are great! And other of which are just there to clutter our kitchen. Sometime I think we need to take a step back and learn things the good old fashion way. That’s why from that day I made it a point, whenever I ate and loved something I would learn how to cook it from scratch.   You just don’t know where you will end up in life and if you will be able to purchase the foods you love there, hey you might even get caught out without a rice cooker too.

 

For this recipe, we will be cooking short grain rice, but if you want to cook long grain just change the rice to water ratio to 1 cup of rice and 1.5 Cups of water.

 

 THE SHOPPING LIST

1 Cup  Short grain rice

1 1/4 Cups Water

OK. THIS IS HOW WE DO IT.

In a strainer, place the rice grains and rinse under running water. Move your fingers through the grains to ensure they are all getting washed. Continue this to the water runs clear.

Leave rice aside for 5 minutes to dry a bit.

To a small sauce pan add your washed rice grains and cover with the water

Bring to a boil uncovered over a med-high heat. Stir a few times to loosen the bottom

Turn to low and simmer covered for 12 mins. It’s important not to lift the lid and peak during this time.

Now turn off the heat,  and then let rest it for another 10 mins

Fluff the rice up with a fork.

That’s it folks. Saba’s old fashion way to cook rice.

Now serve and enjoy!!

Cheesy Chicken Wings

Who doesn’t like a oozy cheesy meal, and who doesn’t like chicken wings right?

I for one love both!

The  AFL football season has just started here. So in celebration I’m going show you how to make a yummy cheesy game day snack. It’s a little spicy, very delicious and very cheesy!

It’s so easy to make and will sure be a crowed pleaser!

 

So for this dish you will first need to make my

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

form my last  post.

 

The Shopping List

Saba’s  Marinade

1.KG Chicken Wings

150 grams shredded mozzarella cheese

a few shavings of parmesan cheese

Chilli for garnishing

Chives for garnishing

 

Lets get cooking hey… LETS!!

Cut your wings in half by cutting through the joint between the drum stick and the wingette.

Next marinate the wings in Saba’s Marinade and let marinating for at least 4 hours.

Next place the wings on a baking tray in even single layer.

Now bake in a 180c oven and to golden brown and cooked through.

Next add an even layer of the mozzarella to a sizzle plate and set on a medium heat.

(you can use a normal pan if you don’t have a sizzle plate)

Now add your chicken to the pan

Sprinkle over some more mozzarella and some shavings of parmesan

cook until the cheese is melted and oozy

Now garnish with the chives and chilli

Add a wedge of lime and crack open a beer and enjoy the game!!

How easy is that?

 Cheesy Chicken Wings

 

 

 

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

For 1Kg of meat

chicken

I’ve always been a big fan of lemongrass in chicken.  As a kid my dad would make my brothers and I a lemongrass and crispy chicken wing dish. They were very popular and with limited supply on offer we would devour as many of these wings as we could get our hands on.

So whenever I eat any kind of chicken with lemongrass in it, I think of my childhood.

My father would make his chicken wings quite salty as back then we were quite poor and being salty it would result in us eating a smaller amount of chicken and a lot more rice.

 In my younger days I would try to replicate my father’s recipes. But as the years have gone on, my pallet has change and I have swung from one of loving salty and savoury taste to loving sour and zesty flavours. So as such most of my recipes have evolved alongside my pallet.

Chicken and citrus are like a match made in heaven, and in my recipe you will find many ingredients pushing the zesty citrus flavour I love.

So it’s fair to say my recipe has moved a fair way from that of my father’s traditional recipe, but I believe you will find it to be a tantalising mix none the less.

THE SHOPPING LIST

4 Lemongrass stem, white part only, smashed and roughly chopped

 1 Red onion, roughly chopped

 2 Spring onions, white part only, roughly chopped (save the leaves for garnish)

 2 Coriander root and stems washed and roughly chopped (save the leaves for garnish)

 4 Cloves of garlic, minced

 1 Thumb size knob of  galangal minced (30g)

 4 Kaffir Lime leaves stems removed and roughly torn

The zest and juice of one lime

 ½ tablespoon of ground chilli paste  (or 2 fresh chillies minced)

 1 tablespoon of fish sauce

 2 tablespoon of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of sugar

 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

 

As this is a marinade you want the end result to be more liquid and not like a paste, so I find this works better in a food processor, but if you’re a purist feel free to do it in a mortar and pestle.

 

Place the lemongrass in the food processor and wiz to it become quite fine and no large chunks are left. 

 

 Now add the Onion, Spring Onion, Coriander, Garlic, Galangal and lime leaves.  Give it a few pulses and then wiz it to all the ingredients become a thick paste and are all incorporated.

 Now add the rest of the ingredients and wiz to all the ingredients are well combined and the pastes starts to becomes a thick liquid. 

Now its ready to marinate your favourite cut of chicken with.

  YOUR DONE  HOW EASY WAS THAT!!

Note.

I find that for best results marinate your chicken for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.

lemongrasschicken2

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Steamed scallops with sweet and spicy fish sauce

 

I love eating seafood, but funny thing I don’t actually eat it that often. I think the reason being is that I only ever want to eat if I know its super fresh. Another reason maybe cause its so darn expensive. But today I’m eating it, yep I’m eating seafood, and it’s scallops to be exact. Now the key to a good seafood dish is not to do to much with it. Seafood is delicate and we don’t want to lose that flavour. But there is also one other rule you need to stick to and this rule is the golden rule.

DONT OVER COOK IT!!

 

Scallop

 

Steamed scallops with sweet and spicy fish sauce

 

THE SHOPPING LIST

6 fresh scallops in shell

5 table spoons warm water

1 table spoon white caster sugar

1 table spoon freshly squeezed  lime juice

1 table spoon Vietnamese fish sauce

2 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped

1 small shallot finely diced

6 chive leaves finely chopped

1 table spoon coriander leaves picked

 

LETS GET A COOKING YES? LETS!

In a small bowl add the sugar and pour the water over and stir until dissolved. Now add the fish sauce and lime. This dressing needs to be well balanced so you will need to test and adjust the sweet, sour and saltiness of it to suit your taste. Now add half the chilli and set aside to let the flavours develop.

Now open, remove the scallop from the shell

Clean the scallop and set aside

We will use the bottom half of the scallop shell to steam and  as a our serving plate so give a good clean too.

Place scallops on the shell in a single layer in a bamboo steamer baskets. Top each scallop with 2 to 3 teaspoons of the dressing mixture. Place the bamboo steamer basket over a wok of simmering water, cover with lid and steam scallops for 4 to 5 minutes or until the scallop has turned opaque

Remove the scallops from the steamer and place on serving dish.

Garnish the scallops with the chives, coriander leaves, shallot and chilli.

HOW EASY WAS THAT

Serve immediately and Enjoy !!

scallop001

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Yum Yum Noodle Chicken Burger

Yum Yum Noodle Chicken Burger

Do you ever get those times when like you played golf all day and just feel like some fast food. Well I felt like that tonight. On the way home I was thinking I might just grab a Zinger burger from KFC. But being Asian, instant noodles is our answer to fast food.

Oh so confusing what to do, what to do!!

Anyway I had a packet of YumYum spicy Thai grilled chicken flavour instant noodles in the pantry and some chicken in the fridge. Well to cut a long story short. I had one of those 💡 moments and what do you know I killed 2 birds with the one stone. Noodle and burger craving settled.

Oh actually it was only one bird killed.

Just the chicken!

 

Here is a quick description and video on what I did.

 

 

 

  1. Rub the chicken fillet in the seasoning that came with noodles on it.
  2. Rub it in flour
  3. Dip in egg milk mixture
  4. Crumb in the crushed noodles
  5. Deep fry that bad boy to golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Toast Buns
  7. Add Sriracha
  8. Add kewpie mayonnaise
  9. Add cos lettuce
  10. Add the burger patty
  11. Top with cheese
  12. Add a sunny side up egg

 

 

Now lets eat that bad boy  😎

That’s my YumYum Noodle Chicken Burger Folks

Edible Chilli Flower Blossom Garnish

Edible

Chilli Flower Blossom

Garnish

 

BeefRoll

Having a beautiful garnish can lift the look of your dish from simple to down right mouth watering. I find using colourful and unique shapes can really make the food on the plate pop. And having an edible garnish such as a chilli flower blossom ticks all the right boxes. As this is such an easy to make garnish, that adds such an impact to the plate. You will find that I use it quite often. Also the fact that I love chilli is an added bonus too. Best of all its so easy to make and you won’t need any special tools. All you need is a very sharp thin knife. For best results I recommend using a box cutter. The only other thing you will need is a bowl of water.

Lets get this show on the road hey? LETS!!

THE SHOPPING LIST

1.Chilli Pepper  (I’m using a large birds eye chill )

1. Cup of cold water in a bowl

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

ChilliBloomCutComp

Starting from the top, just below the stem of the chilli. Slice down lengthwise to split it in half. (Ensure you do not cut through the stem at the top as this will hold your flower together)

ChilliBloomCut1

Turn the chilli around 90 Degrees and repeat the first step again

ChilliBloomCut2

You should now have 4 petals

(if you would like to remove the seeds and membrane now is the time to do so. I prefer to keep them in as it will give you flower a more realistic look)

At this stage, split each of the 4 petals in half again so you end up with 8 petals

ChilliBloomCut3

Now place the chilli in the water and let sit for about 20mins and watch it blossom

ChilliBloom

There it is peoples an Edible Chilli Flower Blossom Garnish   

HOW EASY WAS THAT!!!

BunOc

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Vietnamese Green Mango Salad, Gỏi Xoài Xanh

 

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới

 

 

Happy New Year everyone!! So I had planned to do a traditional Vietnamese New Year dish for todays post, but I’ve been so busy doing work on the lion brand rice blog posts that I didn’t get time to do one. Sorry about, I’ll have to make up for it next year.

Vietnamese Green Mango Salad

I love making Gỏi  (Vietnamese salads) especially in summer.  I was at the local Vietnamese grocery store the other day and came across some beautiful green mangos and my mouth started to water. So I picked a couple up as I decided I will make Gỏi Xoài Xanh

(green mango salad).

Green Mango Salad, is sweet, sour, savoury and spicy with many layers of textures. Every mouthful leaves your taste buds singing for more !!

I’ve kept this recipe simple and just used what I had handy in the fridge.  You could add some poached prawns or pork to this dish. , I also would usually put fried shallots in it, but I ran out and was to lazy too fry some up. But you can add them to yours if you like

Gỏi Xoài Xanh

simple & delicious vietnamese green mango salad

Gỏi Xoài Xanh

When picking your Mango be sure to a pick firm green unrippen mango. A ripen mango will be to sweet and soft and will not work for this dish. We are looking for a crunchy tart mango.

You can use any herbs you like, there are no golden rules, if you like it, you add it.

mango1

THE SHOPPING LIST

1. green mango

1. red onion

1. birds eye chilli

2 tablespoons dried prawns

1.5 tablespoons crushed peanuts

1/2 cup picked Vietnamese herbs

(I used mint, perilla & Vietnamese mint)

 nuoc cham  to dress

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

Cover the prawns with warm water and let sit for 20 min to soften

Peel and julienne the mango

Peel and thinly slice the onion

Thinly slice the chilli (de-seed it if you don’t want the heat)

Once the prawns are soft, rinse under cold water to clean, then roughly chop.

In a large bowl add the green mango, onion and prawns then mix well

Now tear the herbs over the bowl then drizzle in nuoc cham to taste and toss again

Transfer the salad to a serving plate and garnish with peanuts and chilli

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There you have it lady’s & gentlemen, Saba’s

Simple Vietnamese green mango salad

Serve and enjoy !!!

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District 3429

I visit District 3429

 

So this week I was out in Sunbury, a township 40km North West of Melbourne. Whilst I was there I dropped in to check out District 3429 a modern Vietnamese restaurant.

I was lucky enough to be granted all access to the entire restaurant and got to see everything from the store rooms, to the kitchen and front of house. It was an awesome day and was fascinating to see the workings of the restaurant from the other side.

From the outside the restaurants stands out from all the other stores along the street, with its outdoor seating area, distinct red and black colour scheme and very lovable Vietnamese drink cart. It’s a great looking shop front and feels very inviting.

I arrived on a Sunday and assumed it would be very quiet however to my surprise it was buzzing with people and sounds. This is a very happening place, and you get the sense straight away that you’re going to be in for a good time. And that’s exactly what happened!

I was greeted upon entering by the lovely Ami Tran who is the brainchild behind the District group and of course District 3429. Ami is a passionate chef, confident business woman and just one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. I sat down with Ami for a chat and discovered, she is passionate about people, as an example of this is when she threw out a life line to some young unemployed workers with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues. She believes that these guys bring a positive vibe that the customers respond to well. She is also passionate about the produce too and started an initiative, The Fat Monk which is her vegan plant based menu. The menu seeks to use only the freshest, locally sourced produce to create modern clean Vietnamese inspired dishes. Customer can indulge without feeling guilty or left out with this menu!

 

All this passion reflects in the presentation of the restaurant where you can see no expense was left spared.

The décor is hip and funky, from the neon lights to the hard wood tables and Asian lanterns. It’s a well thought out design with many nods to the Vietnamese heritage of the cuisine.

The kitchen area is very modern and well equipped. With a range hood that stretches almost the entire length of the kitchen and stainless steel from head to toe. Massive walk in fridge, but I loved the huge wok burners the most. There was even an area dedicated to making rice paper rolls. The purpose built steamer can fit more bamboo baskets than a panda could eat. For a foodie like me it’s like being in heaven!

Now I love me a good beer, and the fridges at District 3429 have no shortage of choice, from your locals to my favourite Vietnamese beer 333. For those of you who prefer a drop of the old Vino, they have a whole wall of the stuff, and I literally mean a wall. I’ve dubbed it

“the great wall of vino”

So anyways, enough of the small talk I’m sure you all want to get into the serious stuff.

Let’s talk food yes? Lets!

So first thing I got to try were the crispy pork bao’s. The pork is slow roasted for 5 hours and the skin is super crispy. The buns where soft and fluffy. There was a few Vietnamese mint leaves in there too which I found to be a very nice addition to these bad boys. They are a very generous size and they get the thumbs up from me.

Next to the table was the Saigon Beef! This dish comes out super-hot on a sizzling plate, slices of tender scotch fillet and two fried eggs. Yummos!! This dish is perfect to eat with a Vietnamese Baguette which are crispy on the outside and airy in the middle. This is one of the most popular dishes.

I was then invited into the kitchen to help prepare the next dish and watch Chef Ami in action!

The dish was Crispy pork belly stir fried with Asian kale and ginger. The texture of the crispy pork and the kale worked well together. I would have liked a bit more chilli in it but I guess that’s my fault for not speaking up especially when I was helping to make the dish hahaha. All jokes aside I really enjoyed this dish and highly recommend you try this one.

Next up was the Vegan stuff. Now admittedly I’m a meat loving carnivore, but if there is flavour involved I’m all for it and I’m up for giving any dish a crack! Now I’m not going to lie to you I had my reservations about the next few dishes, being vegan and all. But I wanted to put the fat monk to the test. First up was Salt & Pepper tofu. I know what your think Tofu? Yep, tofu. I’m actually a big fan of tofu as I did grow up eating the stuff. So I sort of already knew I was going to like this one and I was right. And I did. The little bite sizes pieces of Tofu where crispy and the satay sauce that came with them. OMG!!! No more to say on that one. 1 – O to the fat monk. Second of the vegan dishes were the Hanoi Crispy Spring rolls. Wow I was very pleasantly surprised and as the name stated they were sure crispy. These little bad boys were filled with all sorts from mushrooms to carrots and even mung beans! Ok 2 – 0 for the Monk. Now I’m a huge curry fan, but I would be lying if I told you I had ever made one without meat or even fish sauce or shrimp paste for that matter. So I was confident I was going to get one up on the Monk here! But first and foremost I have to say this dish looked beautiful and the colours where amazing. I took a spoonful of the curry and boom! Oh, I was not expecting that. Flavour bomb!!! This curry rocked and I have to admit I didn’t miss the meat in there at all. The monk won me over on this day!!!

They say we should leave the best for last! And that’s an understatement here. The final dish of the day was none other than a bowl of the world famous noodle soup. Pho!!! But from the offset I could tell this was not going be no ordinary Pho. With a big beef bone sticking out from the bowl I knew this was going to be tops! To my delight, upon inspection I found tender sliced beef and bone marrow. Turns out that bone sticking out of the bowl was an 8 hour slow cooked rib eye that was just fall off the bone delicious. Normally I would add bean shoots, basil leaves a squeeze of lemon, and of course some chilli and sauce. But I just couldn’t wait. I just wanted to duck straight in and try that beef. And oh my, was I a happy camper. Sorry fat monk, Sir loin wins on this one. hahahaha
I really only have one word to say one this say about this dish.

Pho-licious !!

So all in all I had a great day, and got to enjoy some awesome food. If you would like to come and try it for your self. You can find District 3429 at 91 Oshanassy St, Sunbury VIC 3429. Or you could even have them come cater your next party, event or even wedding! Give them a call on 03 8015 8704 for more details. Web. www.district3429.com.au IG. @district.group @thefat_monk FB. @district3429

 

 

If you would like to see my full video segment from the day and full write up follow the link over to www.lionbrand.com. to my blog post.  Its a fun watch!!!

https://www.lionbrand.com.au/blog/restaurant-review-district-3429

 

But here are some bloopers for your viewing pleasure 😂😂😂

 

Video filmed and edited by Paul Anthony Nelson of Cinema Viscera 

   

 

 

The Broken Lion!

 My Cơm Tấm Burger

 

So in this post today I’m not sharing a recipe with you. Sorry about that.  I just want to share with you one of my cooking stories. I hope it can inspire you to have fun and be creative in the kitchen.

Cooking is an essential part of life. We cook so we can we eat. We eat, so we can live. I guess it’s as simple as that.  So if we have to do it why not enjoy it?

Some of us are really good at it, and find it enjoyable. Some of us just hate it. But love or hate it, one time or another we will find ourselves in the kitchen when we really don’t want to be there.

For those that don’t know me, I’ll tell you a bit about myself. I don’t like cooking, I really don’t.  I love cooking!!

For the most part I can’t wait to get into the kitchen.

But I’m just like most of you, I work a full time job. So after a long day’s work, cooking dinner can feel like a chore.

Lucky for me I only need to cook for one. Actually I tell a lie, I need to cook for one and a half  (the little fury four legged guy need to eat too)

So during the week days  I tend to cook meals that I will have left overs so the next day I won’t need to cook again.

Sometimes the left overs actually taste better the next day, say like a curry or something like that.

Now I hate wasting food, (I really do!) so I won’t throw anything away, but after multiple days of eating the same thing I can start to get over it.

It’s on those days that I start to get a bit creative and those are the days I have the most fun in the kitchen.

So the other day was one of those such days. I had been eating pork chop on broken rice for a few days straight.

For those who are not familiar with this dish it’s a very popular Vietnamese dish which in Vietnamese is called  “cơm tấm bì sườn chả trứng

So a marinated pork chop sườn is served on top a bed of broken rice cơm tấm accompanied by some shredded pork and pork skin with a slice of pork loaf  chả and then topped with a fried egg trứng !  It is usually served with some fresh slices of tomato and cucumber and of course a bowl of Vietnamese dipping sauce nước chấm.

 

As much as I love the dish after 3 days of eating it, I had had enough.

Now want to see how and why I turned it into a burger with cheese?

Which I named THE BROKEN LION burger.

Follow the below link over to my blog post on www.lionbrand.com.au to see how I came up with the idea and made it.

www.lionbrand.com.au/blog/the-broken-lion-sabas-com-tam-burger

 

 

 

Trái khơm nướng. Grilled Pineapple with xo cognac & butter sauce

Grilled pineapple with xo cognac & butter sauce

 

 

So I bought a whole pineapple the other day to make some mam nem dipping sauce as I was having beef wrapped in rice paper rolls.

(I’ll show you how I make them in a later post)

After making the mam nem, I still had half of the pineapple left and wasn’t sure what I would make with it, so I put it in the fridge for later use.

After dinner I was sitting on the couch having a glass of cognac. As one does of course.

As I was sipping away, I thought to myself. I wouldn’t mind something for desert.

Now I’m not much of a desert person, but the sweet tooth does rear its head from time to time.  I got to thinking, I might have some ice cream.

  Yep that sounded good!

Then I remembered I still had half of the pineapple in the fridge. So I had some Ice cream in the freezer, half a pineapple in the fridge and a glass of cognac in hand.

Well what do you know hey!

 I’m guessing you can work out what came next.

 

Trái khơm nướng

Grilled pineapple with xo cognac & butter sauce

XO PINE

ingredients for grill pineapple with xo butter sauce

THE SHOPPING LIST

1 /2 a large or 1 small fresh pineapple

1 /4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup XO cognac

(Rum or Bourbon would work well if you don’t have Cognac)

2 tsp salted butter

2 kaffir lime leaves

Juice & zest of a lime

Ice cream to serve

 

 THIS IS HOW WE GRILL

Peel and core the pineapple, then slice into wedges about 2cm thick.

Finely slice the kaffir lime leave into slivers.

Zest and great the lime.

In a small sauce pan over low heat, add your sugar, lime juice, butter and XO cognac stir to

Combine until all sugar has dissolved and sauce has thickened a bit. About 2.5 mins

Grill the pineapple on each side for side for 3 mins, brush with the sauce as you go

Now place 2 or 3 pieces of the pineapple on a plate, add a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with the sauce.

Then garnish with the lime zest & kaffir leaf to finish off.

ENJOY!!!

Surf N Turf Asian Style

Surf N Turf  Asian Style

It’s summer in Australia now and it’s religious here that you fire up the BBQ!!
It’s pretty common for us to chuck a couple of snags on there or a rissole or two.

But that can get a bit boring at times.

There is so much you can cook on a BBQ. In fact if you can cook it in the kitchen you can pretty much cook it on the BBQ.

You can do vegetables on the BBQ which can takes them to a whole new level.

Meats are the most popular thing to cook, from a good old lamb chop to a fancy steak.
You could even go the seafood route, like a famous Aussie once said

“chuck a shrimp on the barbie”
Funny thing is we don’t call them shrimp down under, we call them prawns.

You can combine the two and cook a surf ‘n’ turf, and that’s exactly what I did for my first guest blog post on www.lionbrand.com.au .

But of course I had to put a Saba twist on it and gave it an Asian flavour.

If you made my Yakiniku Tare from my last post then you are already half way to making this dish.

Want to check out how I made it?

Press on the below link to  check out my full recipe and video at Lion Brand Rice

https://www.lionbrand.com.au/blog/recipe-asian-style-surf-n-turf

 

 

Yakiniku Tare, Japanese Grilled Meat Sauce

Yakiniku Tare  Japanese Grilled Meat Sauce

Let me tell you a bit of a saucy story! 

Many years ago I met this kind and beautiful Japanese girl named Aya.  She would later become my wife. But that’s a story for another time. What did you think I was going to tell you about my love life? This is not that type of saucy story. 😂😂😂

Aya introduced me to many Japanese ingredients and flavors. One of these things was a Japanese dipping sauce called ‘Yakiniku tare’. I still remember the first time I tried it. I was blown away with how good it tasted. We would go to the Japanese mart and buy this sauce, but it was very expensive. It would cost from $6 -$10 for a tiny little bottle. I really loved this sauce, but I couldn’t afford to keep shelling out that much cash each time, especially with the amount of it I would use in one sitting. So I made my own version and now I use as much as I want!

 

The Shopping List

1/4 cup  Sake

1/4 cup Mirin

1/3 cup Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1/3 cup Sugar

1 Teaspoon Ground Dried Chilli (optional if you like spicy)

1 Teaspoon Grated Garlic

1 Teaspoon Grated Ginger

1 Cheek of a Nashi Pear Grated

1 Tablespoon Toasted White Sesame Seeds

 

Ok lets make some sauce!

In a small saucepan add the sugar, sake, mirin, vinegar and soy sauce.
Simmer over a medium heat to all the sugar has dissolved and flavours have come together.
(About 3 minutes)
Add the grated garlic and ginger and stir well to combine.
Turn off the heat and add the toasted sesame seeds.
Leave to cool.
Now add the chilli (if using), and grate in the nashi pear.
Pour into a jar and refrigerate to let the flavours become best of friends.
For best results leave overnight.

Now it’s ready to serve and enjoy!!

Guest Blogging For The Lion! Lion Brand Rice

Lion Brand Rice

So this website is only a few weeks old now and I’m super happy how its coming along.  When I started conceiving and building the website, I actually didn’t even know what a blog was. I didn’t even know where to start to create a website. I’m not even that computer literate. All I knew was I love to cook and love taking photos of my food. All I  really wanted to do was share it with the world. I didn’t expect much from it, just hoping that people would enjoy my content and find some of my recipes interesting and delicious of course.

So when Lion Brand Rice approached me and asked me to be a guest blogger on their website  www.lionbrand.com.au  I was all for it and very excited!

 But then I thought to myself.  I actually don’t know how to blog!  I’m not a writer or photographer.  What was I going to do???  I was a little stressed out about it to tell you the truth.  I spoke to a friend about it and she said to me “Saba you dumb dumb, what do you think your been doing the last few years on your instagram account? just do what you do every night”   That put my mind at ease. So here I go, off to enter the big wide world of blogging. Wish me luck!!!

Press on the below link to  check out my interview with Lion Brand Rice

https://www.lionbrand.com.au/blog/guest-blogger-an-interview-with-saba-of-sabablacksheep

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Pork Chop on Broken Rice with a Sunny Side Up Egg!

 

The Story of Pork Chop on Broken Rice with a Sunny Side Up Egg!

 

You know I’ve been told that every dish has a story to tell.

Here is the story of my dish and I hope it brings a smile to your face.

Did you ever hear the tail about the pig and the chicken?

No?

Ok, I’ll tell it to you.

A chicken crossed the road and walk over to a  rice field.

He didn’t notice it straight away.

But there was a pig resting in the field.

The chicken laughed at the pig and said to him “your so fat piggy”.

Unbeknownst to the chicken. This was no ordinary pig.

It was THE KARATE PIG.

So the pig gave the chicken the biggest pork chop ever!

It was so hard the ground shook and all the rice broke.

And the chicken ended up laying a sunny side up egg.

That’s my stupid story and this is my dish. Pork chop on broken rice with a sunny side up egg!

By the way I’ll show you how I cooked this dish in a later post

Vietnamese Pickled Carrot and Daikon, đồ chua

đồ chua

Vietnamese Pickled Carrot and Daikon

I love anything pickled, the zesty zing they add to a dish can change a boring meal into something special. In this recipe we are going to make pickled carrot and daikon. Or đồ chua as its now in Vietnamese. These pickles are best known for being used in the famous Vietnamese baguette Bánh mì . But their use in other dishes is endless. I always have a jar in my fridge and it makes an appearance on just about every second meal I eat. Although we are using carrot and daikon today, you could replace them with what ever mix of vegetables you desire.  Unlike a traditional style of pickling, this recipe employs the quick pickle method, so no caning is required and as such is meant to eaten rather quickly. They need to be refrigerated and will last for up to 2 months.

 

This is such an easy recipe and only requires a few ingredients.

THE SHOPPING LIST

300g Carrot

300g Daikon

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup white vinegar

1 Cup water

1 table spoon salt

NOW LETS GET OURSELVES INTO A PICKLE

1. Add the sugar, vinegar, water and salt to a saucepan and heat over a low heat.

2. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Clean, peel and julienne the carrots and daikon.

4. Add the carrot and daikon mix to a clean air tight jar and cover with the vinegar mixture.

5. Tighten the lids and refrigerate for 3 days.

Wow how easy was that, now serve and enjoy!

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Chinese Sausage, lap cheong, lạp xưởng , What is it?

lạp xưởng

lạp xưởng

Chinese Sausage

lạp xưởng is a Chinese style sausage, known as lap cheong, lap chong in China. Chinese Sausage is generally made from pork but flavour and ingredients will vary from region to region and country to country.  In  Vietnamese we call Chinese sausage lạp xưởng and it is mostly made from pork which is marinated and sundried. It’s quite fatty and salty so a little bit can add a tone of flavour to your dish. In Vietnamese cooking it is used for a whole host of dishes ranging from fried rice to omelettes and pork buns. I always have some of these delicious sausages on hand ready for use. I like to keep mine in the fridge for a longer shelf life. You can find lạp xưởng at your local Asian store. These days I have even seen them in the Asian aisle at my local supermarket.

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Nước chấm. Vietnamese dipping sauce

Nước cham

You know that saying that goes like this.

“we eat with our eyes first”

Well this was the dish that taught me that.

I remember when I was young and I was helping my mother to make up some nuoc cham, she asked me to chop up the garlic, so I went at it like a bat out of hell. I smashed through it in lighting speed. I was so proud of myself. That was until mother had turned around and seen my handy work.  She said,

My god, your just like your father, no care in presentation. Start again and cut that garlic more fine and more consistent.  When you cook something that looks beautiful then it will always taste better.

I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about then, but another time she told me, During the war people in Vietnam were very poor and didn’t have much to eat, sometime nothing or just rice. So when ever I was to cook, I had respect the produce, make it as appealing to the eye as possible. That way it already tasted good before it was even eaten. That way one could be fully satisfied once they did eat it.

From then on, I’ve always tried to make my dishes as appealing to look at as possible.

Nước chấm

At its core

Nước chấm, is essentially only 4 ingredients ,  lime, sugar, fish sauce and water. but for this recipe we going to spice it up a bit with some garlic and chilli.   Its flavour should be well balanced and it is a staple in just about every Vietnamese house hold. I always have a jar made up in the fridge and ready to serve!

THE SHOPPING LIST

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup white caster sugar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup Vietnamese fish sauce

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 bird’s eye chili, minced

OK. THIS IS HOW WE DO

In a small bowl add the sugar and pour the water over and stir until dissolved. Now add the fish sauce, lemon or lime, garlic and chilli. This sauce needs to be well balanced so you will need to test and adjust the sweet, sour and saltiness of it to suit your taste.

Simple folks, that’s Saba’s Nước chấm

Now it’s ready to serve and enjoy!!

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Fried rice with Chinese lap cheong sausage. Cơm chiên lạp xưởng

Cơm chiên lạp xưởng

Fried rice with lap cheong sausage

comboluclac

I’m a big fan of fried rices. Its a great way to use up any left over rice and vegetables you have left in the fridge. It’s great as a meal on its own or as a side dish. You can add what ever you want in there and the choices are endless. There are no golden rules to it, but I have to admit I always add eggs to mine.  For best results you should use day old rice from the fridge, but it will still work with freshly cooked rice.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a family favourite and is my go to meal when I’m feeling lazy. It doesn’t have much ingredients but the ones we are using will add a punch of flavour.  The hero of this dish is the Chinese sausage. In Vietnamese we call it lạp xưởngThe sausage is quite fatty and little salty and very delicious. You don’t need a tone of them to add a load of flavour to your fried rice, but I won’t blame you if you do.

 

THE SHOPPING LIST

fried rice (3)

2 tablespoons, oil

1, brown onion

3 cloves of garlic

4 cups, cooked white long grain rice

3 eggs, lightly whisked

4 Chinese sausages, (lạp xưởng) diagonally thinly sliced

2 Spring onions, trimmed, diagonally thinly sliced

2 teaspoons, soy sauce

Salt & Pepper to taste

THIS IS HOW WE WOK & ROLL

fried rice (2)

Add oil to a wok and heat to a high heat. Add egg and swirl to make an omelette.  Cook until egg is just under and remove from wok

Let omelette cool enough to handle, then cut in to 1x3cm strips

Bring wok back up to heat and add garlic and onions and stir fry for 30 seconds.

Add in lạp xưởng and stir fry for 20 seconds. Add rice and soy stir fry for 2.5 minutes.

Add egg and toss well to combine

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add spring onion and give a final toss.

HOW EASY WAS THAT

Serve and Enjoy !!

FRIEDRICEPLATE

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