Monday, February 20, 2012

Yummy Pork Rendang

So many ingredients, so little (cooking) time!

That pretty much sums up what this dish is about. I first came across this recipe in the Culinary Queries with Amy Beh column in The Star newspaper and it immediately caught my eye. Knowing my husband and his mad love for pork, I had to give it a go. Considering most of the recipes from Amy Beh which I  have tried have turned out well, I was ready to give it a go especially since the recipe called for it to be cooked using a pressure cooker (cooking time is so quick!).

The only thing which truly annoyed me the slightest bit was the list of ingredients as you can see from below. But trust me the whole process is so worth it. This dish is a must try for pork-lovers!

Besides the usual suspects of fresh red chillies, garlic, ginger and shallots, some of the remaining ingredients needed are seen above
Note: I halved the recipe because it was my first time making it.
However I have reproduced the recipe below as seen in the column with some personal notes.

Pork Rendang Recipe
From Culinary Queries with Amy Beh (Star2 copy 31 Jan 2012)

What you need:

1kg pork fillet, cut into thick slices
4-5 tbsp oil
250ml coconut milk (squeezed from 1 coconut) (I used coconut milk from the carton)
½ cup grated white coconut, fried till brown and pounded finely to make kerisek
3 pieces dried tamarind pieces or asam keping
½ piece turmeric leaf, finely shredded
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

Ground spices:
20 – 25 shallots
1 whole garlic bulb
30 dried chillies, soaked in some hot water (I did not remove the seeds)
5 fresh red chillies
1 cm piece galangal
2 stalks lemon grass (use bottom white part only)
5 candlenuts
20g ginger
2 tbsp meat curry powder

1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
50g palm sugar (I used normal white sugar)

Ground the ingredients well

What to do:

1) Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add ground spices and fry until fragrant. Put in pork and pour in coconut milk to mix. 
2) Add dried tamarind, turmeric leaf shreds and kaffir lime leaves.
3) Cover with pressure cooker lid and cook over medium heat until the indicator rod shows enough pressure. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes. (I cooked for 10 minutes)
4) Release the pressure and remove the cover. Adjust with seasoning and add kerisek. Stir and cook till the gravy is thick. (I cooked for another 10 minutes before gravy was thick enough to my liking)

Pressure cooking saves time!!
What I liked was the pork pieces were so well cooked. Very lovely. How it remained tender but not too soft.
Because I halved the recipe, I felt like I didn't get some flavours balanced.
My other  half really loved it but he is partial to pork anyway!
Overall, I would definitely make this again. Next time I will cook it using 1kg of pork considering it turned out well the first time.
Update: I tried making this over the weekend using 1kg of pork. Turned out beautifully! Only thing different I did from the recipe was add 200ml of coconut milk (instead of 250ml) and topped of with 50ml water.

Try and get 'pork fillets' for this recipe. According to the aunty I bought these from, pork fillets are soft and excellent for making rendang. After trying it, I whole heartedly agree!

Learning how to pressure cook has been a bonus for me. I personally cannot keep an eye on something which takes 1 hour to cook. So pressure cooking is for me.
Here is another recipe using the pressure cooker this time with mutton.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Yummy Blueberry Muffins

One of the first blogs that I found appealing and informative and that truly helped me as a novice cook was What I liked were the bright pictures, the relatable recipes and the tips provided by the blogger in some of her recipes. Although I browse many many blogs these days, I do find myself coming back to this blog for more recipes to try.

Recently, I was inspired to try this recipe of Noob Cook’s, and it turned out well. Here is the recipe as seen on her blog with some personal notes.

By Noob Cook

What you need:
190g plain flour
1 ½ eggs beaten (I used two eggs)
½ tbsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
150g blueberries
125ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract (I used normal vanilla essence)
65g butter, softened
Cupcake liners measuring 5cm in diameter by 3cm in height

What to do:

Sift flour, baking powder and sugar together and mix well.

Add in milk, vanilla extract, eggs and butter and stir until just blended (and lumpy). Be careful not to over mix as it will result in a tough texture.
(I used my hand mixer to mix all together)

Fold in the blueberries into the mixture. Place baking cases in muffin tins. Spoon the mixture into the cases till almost full.
(I spooned just above 2 tablespoons of batter into each liner)

Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven of 200C or until slightly golden brown. Allow to rest for several minutes before serving.

In future, I would add a small pinch of salt into the mix.
Also, if your oven heats up fast, I would advice to bake the muffins at a temperature of 180C.

It’s best to eat them warm. So if you’ve frozen or refrigerated a batch, be sure to remove the liners, pop them into a microwave for a few seconds and enjoy!

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