Thursday, March 1, 2012

Valentines dinner: Pork curry on noodles & Chinese tapioca pudding

A couple weeks ago Mr. Artist and I celebrated our third Valentines together.  Contrary to most couples I know, we've never been the Valentines type.  In fact, I suspect Mr. Artist of subtly manipulating me with his anti-Valentines vibe to the point where I too prefer a lowkey night.  Hmmm!!

On our first Valentines, Mr. Artist gave me a Quatchi, a spiel on how he hates Valentines, and a gory revenge movie date.  It was kinda cute in his way, and truth be told I kinda love revenge movies too.  I guess we are two alike.

For this year, I decided to just make us a homemade meal.  Since Mr. Artist will eat practically anything, I get to have free rein in the kitchen.  I opted to take on another recipe from my Noodles for Two cookbook and try out the "Pork Curry on noodle bed" dish.

Oddly enough, this dish serves 4 supposedly, but it made for 2 huge portions for us!

To make this recipe, you'll need:

  • 8oz (250g) of lean ground pork
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, or grated zest of 1 lemon (I subbed in a bunch of lemon juice instead)
  • 1 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk (I subbed in evaporated milk)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp brown, or palm, sugar
  • 1 package of hokkien noodles
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 scallions chopped (I'd recommend 2)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

In a bowl combine pork, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger. Get your hands slightly wet and dig in here.  Massage all the ingredients together like dough.  Shape into walnut-sized balls.  Mine were mutant big walnuts and I still got plenty so don't worry here on not having enough.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in a separate pot in boiling water.  Once the noodles are soft to your liking, drain and set aside.

In a wok, warm oil at med-high heat.  Add curry paste and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.  Stir in coconut milk and stock.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.

Raise heat to medium again and add pork balls, fish sauce and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 mins or until pork changes color.

Serve noodles into bowls and spoon over pork balls and the sauce.  Garnish with the scallions, basil and cilantro.

This dish was super flavourful, tasty and just the right amount of spicy.  The only modification I'd make is definitely less raw onions and cilantro as I find them easily overpowering.  Alternately, I might cook the noodles with the pork instead to take the bite off their flavour.  This dish took about 45mins to make and cook.

For the dessert, I kinda winged based off memory.  This is a pretty typical simple Chinese dessert to make and one of my favourites.  The simple creamy taste of this tapioca soup contrasted with the chewy tapioca balls is always satisfying.

You'll need:

  • 1 cup tapioca pearls, soaked for 15 minutes in warm water
  • equal parts water and evaporated milk, about 1.5 cups
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Boil milk and water together.  Once it's steaming, add the tapioca pearls and sugar.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently until pearls are translucent and chewy to taste.  This recipe takes some patience and time to make, so caution!

I hope you enjoy these recipes!  Please let me know if you try them out and how it goes - and if you have a cool recipe to recommend, I'd love to try it out!

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