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Spicy Hare stir-fry regional SiChuan style – Recipe

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Hunting season has begun with an abundance of local Wild Game choice; Hare, Pheasant, Goose, Deer and Wild boar to name a few. Since I returned home I haven’t had the chance to try on Wild Game cooking. The occasion did not present itself till recently, to buy Wild Game and fowl directly from a hunter-gatherers group. Almost two weeks ago I picked up a Wild Rabbit or Hare, already butchered in parts; front legs, back legs and saddle at my request. Otherwise, I would have to skin, gut, debone and butchering it myself well that is just too much 麻烦 ’mafan’ or trouble since I only could prepare it the next day.

For this dish, you can use the whole Rabbit or Hare saddle rack by chopping it up in pieces or cut out the loins and then cut at an angle in fine slices. After I had posted my photos I received questions how I deboned the Hare. Instead of writing out that process I found a good instructional video to watch. Newbies to deboning might find this to be helpful improving their technique and make this dish as a next meal.

Sichuan is one of the popular cuisines in China and has set ground in Europe with a growing group of gourmets aficionados, its famously know because of their hot spicy taste and the flavour of numbing Sichuan pepper (aka Mala Wei 麻辣未). However it is actually a variety of flavours combined together; spicy, salty, sour, sweet, bitter, smokey and flowery (Sichuan peppercorns). It is not rare that you will find all of these flavours in one dish.

Flavors of Chuan Cuisine — hot and spicy

A variety of seasonings are used in Chuan Cuisine, and each dish can be cooked differently. Therefore Chuan Cuisine enjoys a reputation for variety. As the saying goes it’s ‘one dish with one flavor and one hundred dishes with one hundred flavors‘.

The most common flavors of Chuan Cuisine are hot and spicy, “the five fragrances” (Fennel, pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, and clove), other mixed spices, chili and Sichuan pepper (made with prickly ash), and sweet and sour. Source: Chinahighlights

Ma Po Doufu, Kung Pao Chicken, Yu Xiang Rou, are favourites in and outside of China, next to the common and exotic ingredients are wild game dishes, in all Chinese cuisines and all over south-east Asia. This realisation came to me after the huge response I had on my post with the request to share my recipe.

Now you might have an idea what you are preparing to taste, eating spicy and hot will never be the same. Since it was a trial cooking with Hare meat I have not taken any photo shots during preparation or cooking, these will be added later. For more information on some of the ingredients with images, you can read this here.

Last Sunday I’ve picked up a frozen goose and another Wild Rabbit, the Goose to try a roast and the Rabbit in three different dishes. Coming up!

Spicy Hare Sichuan style

Spicy Hare Sichuan style, dinner tonight

Enjoy!

Piri Piri chicken, baked potatoes & zucchini

With all the rain last week, cold wind and gloomy faces outside, it sure is time for comfort food. Had 3 large chicken legs, cut into parts and rubbed with Piri Piri spice mix then set it aside to marinate. Half of the time when cooking I whiz up the dishes without thinking too much, even when I am experimenting I should write it down immediately not to forget even to photo record the little tweaks.

Cooking with a camera in the kitchen, nearly broke the damn thing because it almost slipped off the counter. Or had to throw away cooking attempts because it burned while being distracted with other devices not being cooking utensils. Ever since the smartphone arrived featuring 5 or higher megapixels camera, combined with options for HDR settings I have become a die-hard fan. Using mobile photography as long as I don’t forget to pick it up and make shots in between. It is also the main reason why I am searching for photo apps as an amateur to make better photography shots of ingredients, dishes and fun things.

A while back I wrote a post about new photo video app, referring to Everlapse an iPhone app with PC version, well Flipagram is a newer app free download for iPhone, Android and Windows version. I have started using this app and become a fan, am really pleased with the results. While the photo video story below has an intense glow, it’s not because I used a filter but they were made in the kitchen at dinner time with only kitchen lightening hence the slight distortion.

In the kitchen busy cooking, background music entered the kitchen from the living room playing fittingly “I just wanna make you smile”. Now you know how this little photo video story came together. You can find the recipe here under attached to this post.

Piri Piri chicken, baked potatoes mix and zucchini

 

Instead of regular chicken seasoning give it a try with a Piri Piri spice blend, choose a Portuguese, African or original South American mixes or make your own mix it’s worth the try. You will grab this more often and not only for chicken, very versatile uses with all kind of meats, shrimp and prawns. Share your dish and favourite cooking method with us, leave a comment and like us on Facebook Asianfoodtrail page.

Piri Piri spice blend it’s just a tiny bottle, little bag or packet but it carries a long and interesting story. A history of slavery and an origin far from what most people believe they know about this pepper, watch here for the upcoming post.

Bitter Melon juice with Ginger, Honey and Lemon

The basic recipe for bitter melon or bitter gourd juice:

  • 2-3 small spiky bitter melon cleaned, halved remove sponge with seeds and pith or 1 medium-large smooth bitter melon
  • honey and lemon juice to taste
  • water

In some cooking and juicing recipes you can use the whole vegetable only removing the ends and chopped, the seeds are edible but work on your digestive system, a known side effect is a gastrointestinal discomfort.

Drinking bitter Melon juice plain mixed with a little bit of water is common, but it gets more palatable by adding ginger, lemon/lime juice and honey. For more recipes click here.

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Bitter Melon Juice with Ginger, honey and lemon

 

5 Best Bitter Melon Juice recipes

Bitter gourd vegetable has many varieties and even more recipes in the south-east Asian region, some of the tested dishes are gobsmacking good. However, I was not used to drinking bitter melon juice that only happened when we moved to live in Asia. For centuries it is known and praised for it medicinal and curative properties purposes. Used as a folk remedy to help with weight loss, blood disorders and bad hangovers; it helps lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics. To extract bitter gourd juice, a juicing machine is helpful but a blender will work as well.

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Bitter gourd, bitter melon, bitter squash in English, goes by many other language names

My friends in New Delhi informed me to drink some bitter gourd (Karela) juice on an empty stomach each morning. First, remove the seeds of two to three bitter gourds and use a juicer to extract the juice. Add some water and then drink it.  The Indian variety is much smaller and pointier, it differs from the Chinese which is longer and smoother as shown in the image above.

To drink on a regular basis you must have grown up with and accustomed to regularly consuming the bitter gourd/melons juice. Bitter Melon Juice honours its name by absolute bitterness, it is for the initiated to drink without qualms and a taste exploration for beginners to learn to appreciate its medicinal values and flavour.The juice of one medium size Chinese variety bitter melon will yield around 200-250ml and that is more than enough to start the day or adding a new dietary regimen to your lifestyle.

For the healthy nutritional benefits, cleansing, diabetic and inflammatory properties half the amount will be more than sufficient. Please consult your doctor or dietitian for diabetic advice.

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Bitter Melon Juice with Honey and Lemon

In south-east Asia, every region has its own dishes and recipes and most likely if you travel around you must have seen or already eaten this vegetable. Drinking the juice or in mixed drinks is something I have been experimenting with various fruits and vegetables to find the best Bitter melon juice recipes to enjoy. 

Bitter gourd is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C protects your cells from free radicals, harmful agents involved in cancer development, cardiovascular disease and ageing. It also benefits your immune system, keeps your tissues strong by facilitating collagen production and helps you absorb iron from your diet. A cup of bitter gourd contains 78 milligrammes of vitamin C. This provides the entire daily recommended intake of vitamin C for women and 87 percent of the RDA for men.

How to buy and prepare

  • When you buy, do select bitter gourds that are unripe and firm as the ripened ones are extremely bitter. They should have a solid, light green colour, without any signs of yellow or orange colour on the skin or blemishes.
  • It is said to reduce the bitterness, you can soak the chopped pieces for about 30 minutes in a bowl of water with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt or juice from half/whole lemon. Next, to soaking you could parboil the slices or chunks, a method I prefer when cooking.
  • Rule of Thumb balancing food flavours: “bitter taste pairs with sweet, salty or sour flavours”.
Bitter Melon Juice recipes

Bitter Melon Juice recipes

 Five best Bitter Melon Juice recipes

Scroll down for recipe Bitter Melon Juice with ginger, honey and lemon juice or click on the links for other recipes.

  1. Bitter Melon Juice with Ginger, Honey and Lemon
  2. Bitter Melon Juice with Chaat Masala
  3. Bitter Melon Beetroot Juice
  4. Bitter Melon Avocado Smoothie
  5. Bitter Melon Pineapple, Guava Juice

Aubergine stuffed with minced lamb and spices

Greek/Turkish Stuffed Aubergine with minced Lamb and spices
Greek/Turkish Stuffed Aubergine with minced Lamb and spices

Had plans for MaPo DouFu, but the minced meat was Lamb mince, slight adjustment and a dive into the cupboard and fridge to see what else was available. On the left two shiny aubergines, a jar with tiny dried bird’s eye chilli peppers, a quick look in the cupboard with jingling spice bottles. Two bell peppers from the vegetable drawer, asked hubby to snip a big hand of fresh parsley from our potted garden outside. Love Greek and Turkish cuisines and thought it would be a nice surprise after a few days of Asian dishes, with most of the ingredients at home it is easy to fuse flavours and mix with spices. Creating a new dish or cooking a flavour is most of the time not ingenuity but missing an ingredient which forces you to substitute in the hope it fuses and blends all well together. If it does happy faces at the table, if not it will be voted out not to be repeated. Luckily this dish is a keeper, easy to prepare and adapts with all most all vegetables even a spinach version turned out tasty, so go figure.

Aubergine vegetarian version

If you want an aubergine vegetarian version just omit the meat and cook the vegetables or you may add one can of chickpeas instead. After cooking and filling the eggplant shells, you will have more than enough stuffing left over to enjoy the next day either for lunch or dinner.

Variations we like for the next meal as lunch or dinner ideas are:

  • Wrap in a tortilla as a burrito with extra lettuce or with rice.
  • Grill Turkish/Moroccan bread/Ciabatta layer with lettuce and top with eggplant stuffing
  • If you don’t have time to wait and bake the potato, zapp the spud in the microwave on full, cut a cross and pull it open top the eggplant stuffing on top with a dollop of yoghurt.
  • or if you happen to have some hummus, lavash and other dips you can have it as a snack too.

Share the food! Enjoy and send me a photo of your dish 🙂

Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

A request from TinYee for “What’s for dinner?”, how about a quick stir-fry tender chicken with broccoli florets flashing out of the wok onto a plate. Let’s not forget to write down the Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe and post it please :-).

If you’re cooking for a family or friends this is a healthy and tasty dish to serve on the table. Chinese stir-frying and Asian cooking is all about setting up for flash cooking.

Chicken Broccoli stir-fry recipe is an easy budget-friendly dish and a crowd pleaser. All the ingredients can be easily substituted with other meat cuts and greens in season. Pork, lamb, beef (even fish, see note) with vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, Pak Soi or Chinese cabbage. Versatile and ideal to mix vegetables of what is left in the refrigerator and needs to be finished

 

Quick, easy and economic no leftovers of ingredients, whether you cook Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry for 4 persons or make 4 meals ahead for your weekly meal plan. Start with the preparation, cutting up the ingredients in bite-size pieces. Season the thinly sliced meat quickly set aside. blanch the vegetables and quickly into an ice-bath. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Cut up broccoli florets or other vegetables in equal bite-size pieces. Blanch the vegetables, short and quickly into an ice-bath. This will stop the cooking process. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Chicken broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

Tip:

Check the fridge if other ingrediënts can be chopped into the dish too. This help clearing and finishing into a colourful and healthy cooked meal. When stir-frying always add the hardest/toughest ingredients first and soft ingredients last into the wok.

Another Chinese stir-fry recipe is Flat beans with ground pork and bean sauce or try seafood suggestion Thai Red Curry Mussels Recipe.

Cooking notes:

  • This recipe is suitable to adapt for Keto, Paleo and diabetes diet.
  • For soy sauce gluten free options:
    • soy sauce choose tamari sauce (wheat free) as the closest substitution
    • Bragg liquid amino (purist would say nay because it’s not made with a natural fermentation but chemical process instead)
    • Coconut amino (a healthy soy substitute, made from coconut sap. It has a salty, slightly sweet flavour and is rich and dark in colour)
    • fish sauce (made from fermented fish/seafood although it is different it tastes as good). If there are none dietary restriction I often use both in cooking.
    • home-cook experiment, make your own instead. Will follow up soon with a discovery post.
  • Cooking oil
    • Olive oil use light, extra virgin is too heavy and will carry an after taste.
    • Sesame oil is only used for flavouring at the end, not intended for stir-frying, it burns too quickly and becomes bitter.
    • Coconut oil is mostly used in Keto and Paleo cooking.
  • Chicken seasoning powder in principle should be gluten free or use a vegetable powder as substitute
  • For vegan diet:
    • use fresh tofu
    • dried compressed soy flavour tofu
    • Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
    • Okara, when I make fresh soy milk the leftover soybean pulp is called Okara. Very nutritious and versatile to make pancakes or burgers.
    • Quorn
    • You can also buy a large variety mock soy meat packages at Chinese supermarkets.
  • Instead of meat, you can also substitute with fish fillets too. Coat the pieces in corn flour and fry them first, take out, continue with the recipe and add when almost done.
  • Cornstarch is what I standard use, next tapioca starch and tapioca flour or arrowroot.
  • Mushroom sauce (vegetarian) and oyster sauce are both used as extra flavour seasonings or omit.

 


Cranberry Orange preserves

Wanted to make a quick bake with one of my staple frozen berries, I had none in the freezer but I did have a last punnet of fresh cranberries waiting to be used so I started making this ahead.

When you boil the water with sugar and adding the cranberries, you will hear a popping sound just be careful for the splatters do not squash unless you want a smooth variation or turn it into a jam or jelly. I only added one cup of sugar, but depending what you want to do with the final result and taste you can vary between 1-2 cups and add vanilla and/or cinnamon to boost even more flavour. For a Christmas dish, I have added Cointreau liquor to enhance the taste but cranberries and vodka find each other in marriage as well. Since my AppleBerry Oatmeal bake mix already has cinnamon added I choose not to repeat in this Cranberry Orange preserves.

Before I couldn’t tell the difference between jellies, jam and preserves but the secret lie in its appearance apparently:

  • In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice.
  • In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit (and is less stiff than jelly as a result).
  • In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a syrup or a jam.
  • In compote, whole fruits are cooked in water with sugar and spices. The syrup may be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon sticks or powder, cloves, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit, or raisins. The compote is served either warm or cold.

So I suppose without adding the flavourings my Cranberry Orange Filling it is a preserve and if I had added the spices it changes into a compote, whad’ya know two preparations in one. I should make it again just to fine tune the recipe, but please share your results so we can make adjustments together for a better fruit filling with multiple purposes.

Note: You might think when tasting the final cranberry orange preserves it is too sour or tart, keep in mind that it combines flavours with the flour oatmeal bake and apples, so do not add more sugar or sweeteners it might be too much for the end result.