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Gastronomical ramblings

Mexicana pizza with pineapples. 

The Spicy Korean Pork Stir Fry

I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that with J’s mum’s absence, he has been harboring more cravings for Asian food. Knowing full well that I couldn’t possibly replicate any of the delicious Vietnamese dishes that she often prepares for J, I decided to go in a somewhat different direction: Korean. Although, having very little experience in cooking Korean, I needed the help of a spicy sauce base. It didn’t help that the instructions were all written in Korean, so I may or may not have improvised…

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Ingredients

400g sliced pork

5 tablespoons pork bulgogi marinade

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 red capsicum, sliced

1/2 large onion, sliced

1 spring onion, sliced

toasted sesame seeds to serve (there was none at J’s place)

rice and kimchi to serve

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1. In a bowl, add the bulgogi marinade to the pork and thoroughly mix through. Cover with cling wrap, and place the meat in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

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2. When ready to cook the meat, heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat. 

3. Once the pan is heated, add the capsicum and cook for two minutes (or until the capsicum starts to soften). 

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4. Add the onions and pork, and cook for a further five minutes (or until the pork is cooked and the onions have softened). 

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5. Spoon the stir fry into serving dishes, and garnish with the spring onion and toasted sesame seeds. 

6. Serve with rice and kimchi. 

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Enjoy! 

Sneak peak: Spicy pork bulgogi on rice.
Recipe to come soon.

Food adventure @ Dinea, Galeria Kaufhof (Heidelberg, Germany)

In this post, I would like to introduce you to the Ikea meets David Jones Food Hall of Germany: Dinea, located at the Galeria Kaufhof department store. But better… 

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There were quite a few stations, each with a different cuisine type. Many of the dishes on offer looked super tasty, and it took us a good 10 minutes of walking around to figure out what we wanted to order for lunch. 

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J.ma’s pumpkin soup, served with bread. 

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After my ten minutes of walking and thinking, I ended up at the Thai station. Here, customers can select the veggies of their liking, making each curry unique. 

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The veggies were first stir fried, before the addition of a curry sauce (satay or green curry). With a dislike for most things peanut, I opted for the green curry… 

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… which turned out to be a fantastic choice, because the flavours were spot on. The curry sported a great balance to spicy to sweetness, and the veggies were well-cooked. The rice that it was served with also tasted just right. Phew… we all know how rice can sometimes be screwed up… 

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It’s a shame that we’re now so far away from Heidelberg (currently in Rome)… I could really do with another green curry - I’m starting to miss Asian cuisine, and there’s not many places that can cook rice out here, let alone dish up a good Asian dish. 

Dinea im Kaufhof

Bergheimer Str. 169115 HeidelbergBaden-WurttembergGermany

Dinea (Tripadvisor)

Green curry, with rice. 

Crispy, spicy chicken. 

Tom yum soup.

Food adventure @ Oriental Spoon

While I used to visit Oriental Spoon on a frequent basis back in my BBmed days, my last visit took place well over two years ago. Much has changed in that time, and not just with me! The restaurant itself has also undergone a major revamp, and if I’m not mistaken, it has also been expanded.

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The interior’s look is now much sharper and brighter than what it used to be, and highlighted the lively and bustling environment of the restaurant. Speaking of bustling, there must be quite a flurry of activity in the kitchen because the food started to come out in what seemed like no time. 

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Banchan time! 

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Pork bulgogi - finely sliced pork belly and pork neck, marinated in [their] hot chilli paste, cooked with vegetables, and served on a sizzling plate. 

WOW, the pieces of pork were so tender that it was impossible to distinguish between the fatty bits and the actual meat! The marinade and sesame added a sweet flavour, before shifting to a lingering spiciness. Perfect with rice, this was a dish that I could not fault. 

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Chicken Tang Su Yuk - sweet and sour vegetable sauce, poured onto fried chicken strips. 

I took one bite, and a familiar flavour came over my taste buds. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but I finally managed to work out the source of familiarity. Or rather, ‘sauce’! It tasted VERY similar to Maccas’ sweet and sour sauce. The batter on the chicken was even somewhat similar to the nuggets! The pieces of pineapple, onion and capsicum were a familiar sight, but the addition of apple slices added a unique factor. 

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Seafood soft tofu jigae - assorted seafoods, with soft tofu and seasonal vegetables, in a hot and peppery soup. 

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Not lying about being hot and peppery, the soup actually packed enough spice to leave a trail of its spicy warmth down to my stomach. An underlying sweetness added to the overall rich flavour of the soup. The tofu was silky soft, and the seafood bits were contrastingly a bit too chewy. This was another dish that went hand in hand with the rice. 

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Kimchi jeon - pan fried Korean kimchi pancake. 

While all of the other dishes came out soon after ordering, they ended up forgetting about our pancakes. After alerting a waitress, the pancakes came out 10 minutes later. Perhaps it may have been better if the dish never came… the crispiness was lacking, and as a result, the pancake tasted very soggy and heavy. The kimchi flavour was evident from the get-go, but the spiciness was too minimal for my liking. 

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While its appearance has changed, the quality of the dishes served at Oriental Spoon remains largely unchanged. With mostly hits and a few misses, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re after a quick Korean feed at a decent price!

Just another reminder: the giveaway of two single passes to any one of David Jone’s Talk & Taste sessions ends tomorrow night (Sunday 3rd November, 6pm AEST). To enter, click here

Oriental Spoon on Urbanspoon

Oriental Spoon

254 La Trobe St,

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. 

(03) 9654 9930

Spicy pulled pork taco. 

The spicy parsley & rosemary meatball

After seeing photos of Jeannie’s (THE Goddess of Scrumptiousness) vibrant red and delicious-looking spaghetti and spicy meatballs on my dashboard, cravings for meatballs immediately kicked in. So I caved and ended up whipping up a batch of my own! 

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Ingredients

500g pork mince

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (plus extra to serve)

2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

1 egg

250g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red capsicum, sliced

800g tomato passata

Grated tasty (or parmesan) cheese and toasted ciabatta bread slices to serve

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1. In a bowl, combine the mince, garlic, chilli flakes, parsley, rosemary and egg. 

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2. When thoroughly combined, roll the mince mixture into meatballs (with a diameter of around 3 centimetres). Cover with cling wrap, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

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3. When the meatballs are ready to cook, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. When oil is heated, add the meatballs. 

4. Cook the meatballs until well coloured on all sides.  

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6. To the same frying pan, add the cherry tomatoes and capsicum. Stir and cook until the capsicum slices start to soften. 

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7. Add the tomato passata, and allow to simmer until the sauce is heated. 

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8. Serve the meatballs with a sprinkle of grated cheese and fresh parsley over the top, and a few slices of toasted ciabatta bread on the side. 

Alternatively, these meatballs can also be served with pasta. 

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Enjoy! 

Spicy Spanish Prawn Pizza… check out that ooozy cheesy goodness…

Food adventure @ Oriental Teahouse, take 2

Behold, the solution to dealing with the wintery cold hand we have been dealt: Oriental Teahouse’s ‘Fire in a Bowl’ experience. While the bowl itself isn’t actually lit on fire, nor will it set you alight, the heat in this spice-laden bowl will have you peeling off the winter knitted layers in no time. I was recently invited to attend a lunch to sample the dish, and I would like to thank Oriental Teahouse and Harvey Publicity for the invitation. 

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The ‘Fire in a Bowl’-dubbed Szechuan hot pot is a recent addition to the yumcha-based menu at the Melbourne Central Oriental Teahouse restaurant. *Note. the Szechuan hot pot is only available at the Melbourne Central location. 

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David Zhou’s Oriental Teahouse restaurant chain is not only renown for their yumcha (particularly because it’s the ONLY restaurant that continues to serve yumcha after the sun goes down) but also for their extensive selection of teas. And if anyone should know about tea, it’s the man behind the making of the restaurant and its menu. The very friendly and charismatic David Zhou joined us for lunch on the day, and I was given a brief lesson on teas whilst tossing up between a few different ones. Wow, free lunch AND a tea lesson. Going by his recommendation, I ended up with a very fragrant white tea. 

Onto the most important aspect of this post: the Fire in the Bowl. The dish is available in three different levels. Well four, if you decide to leave out the spice altogether. All bowls are made up of pork and chive dumplings, sweet potato noodles, tofu skin, black fungus, cabbage, pieces of fish and chicken, and varying amounts of hua jiao Szechuan chilli peppers. 

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Exhibit A: Level 0. 

No signs of red = no spice. 

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Exhibit B: Level 1. 

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Exhibit C: Level 2.

Possessing some tolerance for spice and feeling somewhat daring, I decided to go with the midrange amount of spice. My eyes almost popped out when I saw the amount of redness in my bowl! 

It’s a shame that no one ordered the level 3 dish; I would have been interested in seeing both what the dish looked like and the consumer’s reaction to the spice…

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It’s hard to avoid slurping when it comes to eating noodles, but I learnt the hard way that the move is a no-no with this dish. The chilli oil from the peppers swept through the soup, and slurping will lead to spice going up the wrong pipe… The szechuan spice was subtly numbing at first, resulting in a pleasant tingle, but continued to grow as more of the dish was consumed. Spice factor, tick. The best part of the dish easily came in the form of the pork and chive dumplings. The skin was perfectly gelatinous and yet delicate, and the sweet pork filling was well-flavoured from the ginger and chive additions. The lusciously tender pieces of fish were also quite enjoyable, and provided a welcome distraction from the fiery, spicy presence. 

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Some pointers I picked up in dealing with the spice:

1. Ask for the chilli peppers on the side, and then add the amount you wish to add. 

2. If the chilli is already in your bowl, there’s no shame in conceding defeat and fishing out the chilli. I may or may not have resorted to this strategy…

3. Have a nice cold and refreshing drink on standby to douse out the fiery hotness. This raspberry cordial-like ice-cold tea was a godsend… 

Whether you’re interested in playing ‘spicy chicken’, a fan of spice, or just after a tasty, CHEAP (a mere $12.50 for such a large serving) and hot bowl of soupy noodles to combat the cold, there’s something in every ‘Fire in the Bowl’ for everyone. 

Disclosure: the opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit. 

For other reviews from the lunch, check out The World Loves Melbourne and Gastro-logy.

Oriental Tea House on Urbanspoon

Oriental Teahouse

GD 068/69, Melbourne Central Shopping Centre

(Closest to the corner Elizabeth St, La Trobe St entrance)

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. 

(03) 9066 0208

http://www.orientalteahouse.com.au