A traditional Filipino staple with a Taiwanese twist. That's how I would describe this next recipe. Pork Adobo is the lesser known cousin of Chicken Adobo which is a very popular Filipino dish that many people, outside of the Philippines, would recognize. Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly also known as Lu Rou (卤肉) is a similar dish with more spices added. My recipe combines the best of both dishes leading to a very tasty meal. Adding hard boiled eggs and deep fried tofu to this dish brings it up another level.
Some thoughts before you get into the recipe itself. Cutting the pork belly into cubes of about 1 inch makes it not fall apart as fast when simmering. Keep in mind that the meat will shrink about 30-40% in size. Making a bouque garni with the spices (except 5 spice) will make your life a lot easier when plating. There have been many times where I've inadvertently bit into a clove or star anise seed, although I like these flavours, biting into them isn't pleasant.
How to make it:
1. Put the pork belly into a large pot and add enough water to cover it all. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes, occasionally stiring to move the meat around. The purpose of this step is to remove some of the excess oil from the fatty pork belly and to remove that scummy part that often comes when boiling meat. Once time is up, remove the meat and place it aside.
2. In a large pot, sweat the onions and garlic until transparent. Add bay leaves, black peppercorn, cloves, and star anise. (OPTIONAL step - make a bouquet garni with the spices so you can easily remove it once the dish is cooked.) Add in the pork belly and sauté for a few minutes.
3. Add the light and dark Soy sauce, vinegar, five spice powder and mix everything around, ensuring the meat is coated with the sauce. Continue sautéing for a few more minutes.
4. Add in the water, enough to just cover the meat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low/med. Simmer uncovered for the next 30 minutes.
5. If you have opted to add in the hard boiled eggs and/or deep fried tofu, add them now. If you wish for a thicker and slightly sweet sauce, add the brown sugar now as well and continue to simmer until the meat is fork tender. The eggs and tofu will soak up the sauce and are great to eat on their own!
6. Serve with a side of steamed rice. I sometimes also serve this dish with a side of spicy white vinegar on the side to dip the tofu and pork belly in. It gives it an additional layer of flavour and cuts some of the richness of the sauce. Enjoy!
Shepherd's pie for us North American people usually means some sort of ground beef mixture with gravy and veggies that is topped with a mashed potato topping and baked in the oven. But did you know, to be a real Shepherd's pie, it has to be ground lamb? If the meat base is beef, it's actually called Cottage pie. I love mashed potatoes and am always ready to eat anything that is covered in it. My version of this dish isnt very traditional but works for me and if you really want to cut corners, a bag of frozen mixed veggies works as a substitute for all the veggies I listed above.
1. Peel and cube the russet potatoes. Number of potatoes vary as russet potatoes vary in size. I would recommend against using the yellow Yukon gold or red potatoes as these types of potatoes dont quite mash very well. They become a bit gummy or pastey once mashed and I dont care for that consistency in my mashed potatoes. Boil off until fork tender. usually takes about 10-15 mins depending on the size of your cubes. Drain off and add butter, salt and white pepper and mash. Place to the side.
2. In a large pan, brown off the ground beef. I dont usually add any additional oil when doing this so there usually isnt too much excess oil that I need to drain off. Once browned, add garlic, worchestershire sauce, and cajun seasoning. Toss around to evenly coat the ground meat.
3. Add chopped veggies and the onion soup powder. If you dont have onion soup powder, the canned onion soup also works but I would only add about 3/4 of the can as its often a concentrated mix and can get very salty. If you opted for the frozen veggies, you may also want to add less of the canned soup as there will be extra water coming out of the frozen veggies at this point.
4. Add flour to the meat mixture and mix around, making a semi roux. Add in red wine and water (If you used the canned onion soup, omit water unless necessary) to make the mixture moist. You dont want it to be overly wet like a gravy.
5. Transfer into an oven safe baking dish and spread out evenly. Combine the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture in an even layer. Once assembled, you can now keep this in the fridge for 2-3 days until you are ready to bake.
6. Once you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 365 degrees F. bake the shepherd's pie for 30-45 minutes. Oven times vary depending on the state the pie was in prior to baking (i.e. if it was in the fridge for the last couple days then it'll take longer). You dont want the mashed potato topping to get brown, youre only looking to heat it through and "set" it.
I've been missing Hawaii something fierce these days. If it wasnt for this pandemic, I would have had my Hawaiian fix the first 2 weeks of January 2022. But alas, plans got cancelled and I stayed home, in the snow and all I could do was a virtual vacation by surfing on the internet and watching Youtube videos of paradise. And of course, I started surfing for food recipes. 2 of my favourite dishes from Hawaii are Kalua Pork and Pork Luau.
For those who dont know, Kalua Pork is the dish that is typically cooked in an umu, the pit that the pig is placed in and covered in rocks, leaves, etc. Pork Luau is a taro leaf dish that is very similar to the Filipino Laing dish. There are many ways you can prepare Luau but I made it with pork since I was already making Kalua Pork.
It is a very simple recipe and method, all you need are a few ingredients and a slow cooker.
4-6 pounds of pork butt/shoulder with a healthy amount of fat on it still
1 package of dried taro leaves (dahon ng gabi)
Sea Salt (any type of sea salt will work but better to use rock salt as opposed to fine ground table salt)
6-8 drops of Liquid Smoke
1 chopped small onion (optional)
2 cloves of minced garlic (optional)
Prep time: 20-30 mins
Cook time: around 12-16 hours on low
Pork Luau feeds 4 people
Kalua Pork feeds about 6
1. Soak the dried taro leaves in some water for about 10 mins to rehydrate. It doesnt have to be completely rehydrated but keep in mind that if you dont rehydrate it completely, you will need to use more water in the slow cooker.
2. Rub the pork with liquid smoke & salt it as a whole piece. I find for a 4-6 pound piece of pork, I use about 7-8 drops of liquid smoke. I dont like to use too much because at some point, the liquid smoke will start tasting too artificial. Plus, the dried taro leaves usually add a bit of smokiness to the dish as well.
Also, I dont trim the fat off or cut it into chunks as the fat will drip into the meat to keep it moist and flavour the taro leaves. If the pieces are too small, they will dry out too fast and you'll end up with jerky instead. The fat will be removed at the end before shredding the meat.
3. Place the rehydrated taro leaves in the bottom of the slow cooker. (Some recipes call for the taro leaves to be placed on top of the pork but I like to keep it underneath so it soaks up the juices.) Pour in the water to almost cover the taro leaves (probably no more than 2 cups.) Make a bit of a well to place the pork butt/shoulder on top of the taro leaves fat side down and cover. <Optional: you can add chopped onions and garlic to the taro leaves to give it a bit of extra flavour>
4. Cook on low heat setting for 12 to 16 hours. I know this is a huge range but it all depends on how big your meat is and your slow cooker. Sometime around hour 7 flip the meat so the fat is on the top. This allows the fat to drip into the meat while cooking to keep it moist and dries out the fat a bit.
I recently experimented and shortened the cooking time a bit. The first part of the cook I did it on high for 3 hours, then flipped the meat. I then turned down the heat to low and cooked for an additional 6 hours. I had a smaller piece of pork, about 3-4 pounds so if you have a bigger (and thicker) piece, I would increase the cooking time on the high setting for another hour.
5. Once the cooking is complete, remove the pork and place into a large dish. Remove the fat layer and place into a separate bowl. Using 2 forks, gently shred the pork into bite sized strips. Take about a cup to a cup and a half of the meat and mix it in with the taro leaves. A lot of the salt would have already dripped into the taro leaves so it should be salty enough but adjust as necessary.
6. Because the taro leaves have soaked up all the cooking juices, take some of the fat pieces with the oil and incorporate back into the Kalua pork. Adjust salt levels to taste.
7. Serve with some plain white rice and mac salad of course!
That's it! Hope you all enjoy.
Tasty, simple and versatile. This is how I would describe this receipe since you can use whatever seafood you want in it. This time around, I made it with shrimp, scallops and cod, but in the past I've also used clams, mussels, and crab. This recipe can be served with rice or pasta.
- 1.5 lbs Seafood of your choice
- 1.5 cup white wine (Any type. But remember, if it's not good enough to drink, it's not good enough to cook with)
- 1 - 2 tbsp Old Bays seasoning
- 1 - 2 tbsp lemon pepper
- 1 tsp Chilli flakes (optional)
- 2 med/lg cloves Minced Garlic
- 1 med Diced Shallot
- 3 stalks Diced Green Onion
- 2 slices Ginger
- 1/2 cup Cilantro or Parsley
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 a Lemon or Lime
1. Sauté shallots, green onions, garlic and ginger being careful not to brown them too much
2. Add chilli flakes and continue to sauté for about another minute to release some of that heat
3. Add seafood of your choice. Depending on the seafood you have chosen, you may need to stagger adding them. For example, if you are adding squid or scallops, these tend to cook quite quickly and you may want to add them closer to the end. But if you are adding crabs or lobster, they will need a bit longer to cook and will need to be added first
4. Sprinkle in the Old Bays and Lemon Pepper
5. Add white wine and butter. Cover for 2-5 minutes to complete cooking (time varies depending on the type of seafood you have used)
6. Stir in cilantro and parsley. Add salt to taste
7. Squeeze in lemon or lime before serving.
Never Fail Roast Beef
There have been many times when I overcooked a roast in the oven. It still tasted great but needed a lot of help from the gravy. So when I got my Anova sous vide, one of the first things I learned to cook in it is roast beef. You can use whatever cut you want but cuts that are already soft to begin with, like tenderloin and ribeye, doesn't seem to work as well. So I would suggest sticking to cuts like chuck or eye of round or brisket. This recipe will take over a day of cooking so plan ahead.
1. Liberally rub the roast with your choice dry spices. I tend to not salt the roast at this stage and usually wait till the searing stage to salt.
2. Seal the roast using a vacuum sealer or using the ziploc bag method
3. Cook in a water bath at 129 degrees fahrenheit for 20-24 hours (depending on the thickness of your roast). This will cook the roast to a medium rare to medium doneness
4. Remove from the bag and dry off the roast with a paper towel. You can re-season the roast with your choice of spices and salt at this stage before searing it
5. Sear the meat on all sides in a hot pan, or in the oven at broil. You can also use a torch but it may take a long time so I would suggest using a pan/oven first and using a torch to get at spots missed.
6. You dont need to let the meat rest when you cook in a sous vide so you can cut slices whenever you are ready to serve. However, letting it sit for 10-15 mins doesnt hurt either!
Join me as I celebrate life through travel, food and photography.
I will only send out newsletters once a month or so. I promise not to spam