This week I bring you a taste of the Orient, authentic cuisine from, Korean and Indo-China. Ethnic cookery is immensely rich and varied, based on religious beliefs, geography, climate and availability of ingredients. If you travel the orient you will notice that as you come close to another countries border the dishes are an infusion of both countries, hence Chinese and Thai and Indian and Thai Korean cooking methods are very similar to that of Japan’s with emphasis on visual presentation and flavour. Korean dishes however, use many spices and sugar to enhance their food, like Chinese cookery. Rice and soup are common at all meal times plus a choice of a couple of other dishes with dips and sauces. Many of the dishes tend to have a sweet flavour so desserts are rarely served; instead a selection of fresh fruits is readily available to refresh the palette.
Spices are available in most supermarkets, I bought mine from the Oriental Emporium opposite Jarvis Centre.
Chap-Chae (Vermicelli with Pork & Vegetables)
Ingredients Cooking Instructions
100 g Vermicelli
1 Courgette, topped and tailed
1 Red pepper, halved and seeded
150g Green cabbage
2 small Onions
4 Shiitake mushrooms
50g Bean sprouts
3 tbspn Vegetable oil
2 Garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
600g Lean boneless pork (loin or fillet)
1tlbspn Five spice
3 tbspn Soy sauce
½ tspn Freshly ground pepper
4 spring onions
Preparation time 10 mins.
Cooking time Approx. 8 mins.
|1.||Roub the five spice all over the pork and dry roast in a hot oven 200C for 40 minutes, all to cool before using.|
|2.||Place the vermicelli in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 mins. Drain well. Cut into 5cm (2-inch) lengths.|
|3.||Finely shred the pork into 5cm (2-inch) lengths. Cut courgette, cabbage and pepper into 5cm (2-inch) lengths. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Cut each mushroom into 5-6 slices.|
|4.||Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the garlic and pork. Stir-fry for5 mins. Or until the pork is cooked. Add the soy sauce and black pepper. Stir well. Add all the vegetables and vermicelli. Stir-fry for 2 mins. or until the carrot is tender but still crisp.
|5.||Transfer to warm serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped spring onions.
Canh Cua (Crab Soup)
Ingredients Cooking Instructions
1 kg Cooked crab, prepared
2½ litres Chicken stock, strained
6 Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
100g Squash, cut into 2cm dice
250 g Fresh spinach leaves, washed
120 g Moolie (Japanese radish), peeled and coarsely grated
100 g Bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips
15 mls Vegetable oil
1 tbspn Cornflour
2 Egg whites
3-4 spring onions, finely shredded
Sprigs of fresh coriander
Portions 8-10 mins.
Cooking time 20 mins.
|1.||Bring the chicken stock to the boil, skim any excess fat.|
|2.||Loosely tear the spinach, into 5cm pieces.|
|3.||Heat the oil in a wok or large heavy-based frying pan. Toss in the grated moolie, bamboo shoots, squash and sliced mushrooms. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered for 8-10 mins.|
|Just before serving, mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with a little cold water. Stir into the soup to thicken it.
Add the spinach and cook for a further minute. Add the prepared crabmeat to the soup; whisk in the egg whites to form white threads. Correct seasoning.
Serve hot, garnished with shredded spring onions and sprigs of coriander.