Pork Vindaloo

One of my favorite Indian dishes is the Vindaloo, a slightly acidic and spicy meat stew from the Goa region in India. Even though in the western world, vindaloo is just another “hot & spicy curry from India”, the dish is actually inspired by a very popular Portuguese dish, carne de vinha d’alhos, which roughly translate to “marinated meat in vinegar and garlic”. It was brought to the Goa region by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century and after 200 years of improvements made by both Goanese and Portuguese cooks, when the British discovered this dish in the mid-1700s, it has transformed completely. However, when the dish was introduced back to the west, the tang from the vinegar was replaced by tomato sauce to reduce cost, meat is no longer marinated to save time, and the amazing balance of the different spices are lost under a blistering excess of chiles.

This Vindaloo recipe is very similar to that used by cooks from Goa, based on an early British India cookbook. The spices provide an earthy flavor that balances perfectly with the tangy-ness from the vinegar, and the heat is detectable, but not overwhelming.

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For the marinade, you need (*I use dried whole spices, if you use the powdered version, just use half the volume):

  • 8-10 Kashmiri chilies, dried
  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 piece garlic
  • 1 piece ginger (about the 1/2 of a thumb size)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (something neutral)
  • 2 tbsp water

For the Vindaloo, you need:

  • 1 lb pork shoulder (beef chuck or lamb leg)
  • 1 whole sweet onion
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

How to make this:

  1. Slightly toast the Kashmiri chilies, 72C87CDF-3BBF-43AC-8668-1BDFFD6E4BF2black mustard seed, cumin, and cloves in a pan, then place it inside of a food processor with the turmeric, garlic, ginger, vinegar, cooking oil and water. Blend the mixture until it turns into a thick paste.
  2. Cut the meat into 2inch/5cm cubes, them mix them with the vindaloo paste we just made, cover the marinated meat and place them in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but 24 hours is ideal.
  3. Chop the sweet onion, then place a deep pan over medium heat, add the oil and cook the onion with some salt and the cinnamon stick for 10 min. (I like to add 2 cloves of garlic to add some more garlic-ness)
  4. Add the marinated meat with all the paste into the same pan, cook for about 10 to 15 min or until the surface of the meat is browned. Then add the tomato paste, brown sugar and water into the pan. Bring it to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
  5. Serve the vindaloo with some warm fluffy rice. And Enjoy!IMG_1713
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Katsu Curry

Japanese food is not only famous for its traditional dishes like sushi, ramen or the different “don”s, but also for perfectly incorporating western ingredients & flavors into traditional Japanese cooking, these dishes are called Yoshoku or western food. So, today, we are making an easy and fast dish that you can find almost everywhere in Japan.

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You’ll need these for the Japanese curry:

  • 3 cubes Japanese curry roux
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb mushroom
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion
  • 1 tbsp oil

You’ll need these for the katsu (fried pork chop):

  • 2 slices pork loin chops
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumb
  • oil for frying

How to make this:

  1. Slice the onion and mushroom, then sweat them in an oiled deep pan or pot over medium heat. Peel the carrot and potato, cut them into 1/2-inch or 1 cm thick cubes, add them to the pan/pot and sautée for about 1 min, then add the chicken broth, bring it to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 min
  2. Pre-heat the oil to 170C or 340F. Lightly pound the pork chop, cover it with flour, drench it in the beaten egg, then cover it with panko bread crumb. Fry them for about 7 to 8 min
  3. Add the curry roux cubes into the stock with the cooked vegetable, stir gently while the stock is simmering for about 2 min or until it thickens
  4. Cut the pork chop, serve it over some rice and cover it with the curry sauce

Nashville Hot Chicken

There are three things I absolutely love about Tennesse, the sweet & oaky Jack Denial whiskey, tender & juicy Memphis style BBQ, and the infamous Nashville hot chicken. As fried chicken goes, this is as good as it gets, a perfectly golden crispy crust hides the most tender & juiciest meat, smothered in a layer of hot & spicy butter/lard, served on top of the plainest white bread to soak up all its juicy goodness, creating a truly “finger-lickin’ good” fried chicken.

Even though in Nashville, the true originator and the populizer of this style of fried chicken, Prince’s and Hattie B’s, pretty much set the gold standard for all hot chicken, you can still find this signature dish of Tennesse almost on every street corner. However, if you don’t live in Tennessee and want to try this amazing dish, it’s actually not that hard to make at home since it’s based on traditional southern fried chicken, which the best of the best is almost always made at home.

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So, here’s how to make this.

You’ll need:

  • 1 whole chicken (or 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts & 2 wings)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup pickle brine
  • 3 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 egg
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp lard
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

How to make this:

  1. Mix together the buttermilk, pickle brine, egg, hot sauce, salt, and pepper using a whisk, then soak the chicken in the marinade for about 4 to 6 hours
  2. Combine the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Dry the chicken using some paper towel, then coat the chicken with the flour, dip it in the buttermilk marinade again, then coat it with another layer of flour
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-duty pot (like a dutch oven), fill it half full and heat it till the oil reaches 150C or 300F degrees. Then fry them for about 10 to 13 min, and let them sit for about 10 min
  4. In a small pan, heat up the butter & lard over medium heat, then add the cayenne, paprika powder, and brown sugar, turn off the heat, then stir for about 2 min or until the sauce turns smooth
  5. Smother or brush on a layer of sauce, serve it over some white toasts or waffle, with some pickle chips

Carbonara

If you ask me what the easiest pasta to make is, my answer would probably be Carbonara. It only needs 5 ingredients, takes about 15 min to make, and it’s absolutely delicious with a creamy sauce made egg, parmesan & pecorino romano. This pasta is so good that I use it as a standardized test for every Italian restaurant I visit, and it is the only pasta that I would make on a daily basis for a quick and delicious meal or snack. Since this dish is originated in Rome, but with some of the ingredients that are very hard to find outside Italy, so I make some recontamination on what to use in the ingredients list.

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You’ll Need:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 oz freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 oz freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 oz cured pork (options):
    •  guanciale (It’s very hard to find & expensive, but the Romans love it, it’s cured pork jowl)
    • pancetta (Also very hard to find & expensive, but very popular in Italy, it’s cured pork belly)
    • bacon (Very easy to find & cheap, thick cut, smoked and cured pork belly)
  • 3/4 lb dried pasta (options):
    • bucatini (a hollow, thick spaghetti-like pasta, very light, not easy to find)
    • spaghetti (very easy to find and cheap)

How to make this:

  1. Heat up a large pot of water with salt over high heat, and bring to a boil, cook the pasta until it’s just a bit over al dente
  2. While the pasta is cooking, sliced the cured pork of your choice into pieces about 1/4 inch thick by 1/3 inch square, then sauté the cured pork in a large skillet over medium heat until the fat just renders, just so that the edge are crispy but not hard, then remove from heat and set aside
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks, Pecorino and Parmesan in another bowl, season with black pepper
  4. Save a ladle of pasta water, add the drained pasta to the pan, stir it for about 20 seconds, then add in the egg yolk cheese mix, stir constantly, then add a little bit if the pasta water at a time, mix until the yolk thickens
  5. Server with some extra Pecorino or Parmesan

Crème Brûlée

This is just the perfect dessert, silky & tender egg custard with a crunchy sugar shell. I am just going to stop talking and let’s make this. This recipe makes about 6 serving.

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You’ll need:

  • 1 qt heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean( or 3 tbsp vanilla extract)
  • 8 tbsp sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp sugar (for serving)

How to make this:

  1. Halved the vanilla bean lengthwise, then scrape the seed, mix them with the heavy cream, they heat them in a saucepan on medium-low until it simmers
  2. Wisk together the egg yolks with the sugar, then slowly pour in the cream while whisking, 1/4 cup at a time, this is to prevent the cream from cooking the egg yolk
  3. Fill six 6 oz ramekins, the low & wide ones are better, then place them on a baking tray with some hot water, bake at 160C or 320F for 35 min
  4. Let them chill completely (about 2 hours), sprinkle with some sugar, then you can: 1. broil it in an oven or broiler for 3 min; or 2. Brûlée it with a torch, the tip of the flame should be about 2 inches away so the top won’t burn