4 February 2012: Beyond bacon

The sun is out (seems to be a little bit of a rarity lately) and its a beautiful Saturday morning. I've been to the markets and restocked - which was desperately needed after having been away and coming home to a completely empty fridge - and am now catching up on various odds and ends including some emails and twitter requests. I was asked for some particular recipes including some low carb pancakes, which are still in the works - I have tried out various mixes and although they have been tasty and acceptable in my own kitchen, the results have not yet been consistent enough for me to be happy with. While its perfectly fine for me to serve and eat a messy (but tasty) dish for myself, I just can not put it on someone else plate. So the experimenting will continue until I am happy with something consistently replicable and virtually fail safe. Stay tuned though!! Another recipe request was for pork. Whilst really good bacon is hard to beat as a pork product, it hardly passes muster as a recipe given that I am not actually doing the smoking or curing. I also wanted to include the recipe for the pork belly roasted on a spit from my friend - who not only gave me the 'recipe' this for me but also bought the spit and cooked the pork in my own house!! That is quite my definition of spoiled actually - having a home cooked meal cooked by someone else at your own home. However most people don't have a spit (I didn't until a few weeks ago) and while it does make incredible roasts, it is not practical for everyone especially as the cooking requires several hours. Not that you actually have to do much once it is slowly rotating but you also don't want to just leave it unless you don't particularly care for your house or those of your neighbours. Plus the recipe is really not much of a recipe - it simply involves getting a really good piece of pork belly (the meat and the fat), filling it with a mixture of some herbs and garlic as you like, seasoning and then rolling and tying up, before it gets the spit treatment.

So for a pork recipe that is just as delicious, much faster and takes pork on a entirely different taste profile I thought I would share one for Pork Sang Choi Bao. Again I am not always the best when it comes to precise quantities (I don't usually cook with measurements) but have done my best to approximate what I use, and anyway much of these need to be adjusted to individual taste preferences. This is a really light dish and is great in summer or for sharing as part of a meal with other dishes. It is actually really good cold too - just don't put it in the lettuce cup until ready to eat to stop it getting soggy.

Pork Sang Choi Bao:

Iceberg lettuce leaves - separated into whole leaves, washed and dried

1 tbs coconut oil

500g pork mince

1 onion finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and finely chopped

2-3 cm piece fresh ginger finely chopped or minced

1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tbs chinese rice wine

2 tbs tamari or soy sauce

2 tbs chopped spring onion

2 tbs chopped coriander leaves

Heat the coconut oil in a large frypan or wok over high heat. Add the onion, pork, ginger, chilli and garlic and cook - stirring until the meat is browned and broken up. Add the rice wine and soy sauce and cook further 2-3 minutes. Stir through the spring onion and coriander and check for seasoning. To serve, spoon pork mixture into the lettuce cups and roll up. It might get messy but its delicious!!