Sunday, February 24, 2008

Roast Pork (Siew Yuk)

Tried experimenting with siew yuk yesterday with a recipe I found on the net. I'm a bit lazy to jot down the recipe, except to say that the ingredients are so simple. All you need is good pork belly, five-spice powder, quite a bit of salt and vinegar.

The recipe first called for scalding the skin with a boiling vinegar and water mixture. I don't know why this needs to be done, but it did firm up the skin and seemed to help remove the moisture together with the salt.

Marinade the meat with the five-spice powder and salt for at least 2 hours. Score or pierce the skin and rub a generous amount of salt on it to remove moisture. This will help make the skin into crackling. Pop it into a 180°C oven about 1/2 hour and you'll see the salt crystallize. Remove them and roast for a further 1/2 hr or until the skin bubbles up and turn crispy. Rest and serve.

Fresh from the oven, resting...

After some deft knifework and a bit of garnish...

Nice and juicy...

Crispy pork!

The best part was cutting the meat. A good measure of siew yuk is how crispy the skin gets, and it was such a nice 'shyok, shyok' sound that reached my ears while I was chopping it into bite-sized pieces. Ahh..heavenly!
p/s: If anyone can explain about the vinegar, please let me know!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Char Siew Pork Ribs

I made some char siew a couple of weeks ago, and last week I tried using the same recipe to do pork ribs.

The ingredients are simple, but the roasting takes some time, effort and vigilance to ensure a nice shiny, sticky glaze when it's done.

About 800g - 1kg of ribs, or about 5-6 ribs
2 1/2 tbsp of Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
250g - 300g sugar, or to your preference (you need loads)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Shiao Shing wine, or rose wine
Mix all the seasoning together to make the marinade. It should be a bit thick so that it will stick to the meat. Rub marinade all over the ribs and put the ribs together with the remaining marinade into a freezer/storage bag. Leave the ribs in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Put the ribs onto a roasting rack/pan and into the oven. Turn down the temperature to about 150-160°C for a slow roast. After 30 minutes, glaze the ribs with the marinade from the freezer bag and put it back into the oven. Turn up the heat back to 180°C. Repeat the glazing about every 10-15 minutes for about another hour. The glaze will become sticky and give a nice caramelized colour to the ribs. Rest for about 10 minutes and serve.
Note: Line the bottom of the roasting rack/pan aluminium foil to avoid a messy and painful cleanup job. Burnt sugar is a b*tch to remove.

The meat was juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender, and the marinade was sweet, sticky and delicious. Really enjoyed the meal. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Secret Admirer

An unknown number calls; I press the busy button and cancel it. A mysterious text message follows:

Mystery woman: Hi yeng, perhaps I’m a bit too forward to call you straight away..i’m Cheryl, we met briefly last weekend…anyway, are you free tonight?

YY: Hi Cheryl, sorry my memory fails me. Where did we meet?

Mystery woman: Your message aches me! Did I not leave an impression at all? Hint: somewhere in ss2 over a coffee?

YY: Aiyoh I really can’t remember. What day? Where? Hehe.

Mystery woman: Aiyo, I give you 30 mins to think about it before I give you a call. I’m expecting a good answer ;)

She gave me a missed call. Then her text said…

Mystery woman: Cibong, Chuan here la…

Bugger Chuan*!!!!! =P

*prolific prankster with a penchant for beer and pork, girls under 18 beware.

Monday, February 4, 2008

KL Towerthon 2008

Last Sunday I went to visit the Kl Tower for the first time. Being a Malaysian staying in the Klang Valley, I’m sometimes a bit embarrassed that I haven’t even visited a landmark so close at home. However my first visit was a real challenge, because I did not take the lift up the tower. I ran. All 2058 steps to the deck. I probably did a lot of walking too, but I was too light headed to notice.

All I can say is that the KL Towerthon is a great workout for your cardiovascular system, legs and bum. It beats any Stepmaster machine in the gym or squat exercises. You will struggle to breathe, and fresh air will feel so good. You will zone out, seeing nothing but steps, steps, and more steps. In the end, your legs will feel like jelly and you will wobble. But you will feel proud that you reached the top.

I was almost a no-show because frankly, nobody wants to get up on a Sunday and run up a tower at 6.30 in the morning when it’s raining. But I paid RM20 for it, and I couldn’t let my running buddies down! So it ended up with us at the starting line, slightly soaked and losing momentum because it took so long to flag off our group of runners. There were 15 minute intervals between groups and we were in the third batch. Any warm up we did had dissipated.

The kilometer uphill leading to the tower proved to be quite exhausting. I was cold, my muscles weren’t ready for it, and my legs felt like solid lead. I think that stretch really spaced the field out.

The first few floors were quite bearable, but I could feel my leg muscles start to work overtime. My thighs were getting tight and tense, and I was sweating profusely even though the stairwell was well ventilated. By the time I reached the 16th floor I was gasping for air and dreading the remainder of the climb. I had no idea how many floors there were to go, and somehow not every level is labeled. I had no choice but to just keep going. It wasn’t really that bad once I got used to the rhythm, but my mood was spoilt by some inconsiderate people who threw empty bottles and bottle caps from above. One hit my head and really got my nerves going. Why did they have to throw anything at all? This ugly side of Malaysians really reared its head big time.

The view from the observation deck was really quite nice. As it was cloudy and cold, it kind of felt like I was in Genting especially when it got all foggy and white outside. I just pitied some of the tourists who had to share space with a few hundred sweaty participants!

The Towerthon was quite a fun experience and not as tiring as normal road runs due to the short duration. It’s like a short sustained burst of energy rather than a long burn that tests your stamina. I did it in about half an hour, which I think is average. The winner did it in less than 14 minutes. Crazy bugger.

Good as it was, I’m not sure if I want to do it again, hehe. Suffer la.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Char Siew @ Overseas, Jalan Imbi, KL

I had one the best char siew ever at Overseas last weekend. The few of us wanted to have lunch but we arrived too early and the restaurant wasn't opened yet, so we popped to a coffee shop nearby to have some great pork noodles first. Truly focused on our mission, we then headed back to Overseas just for the char siew. My cousin said it would make me happy.

We had to wait for about 15 minutes for the meat to be ready as it was still in the oven.

Captain: Char siew ah...have to wait a bit loh...12:15 lah...

Then we saw it; large strips of glistening, dripping, blackish pork...beautiful like you've just met your first love. The caramelized glaze around the meat was thick and dripping down slowly, like stalactites forming at the bottom. We got all dreamy as the chef started chopping up our order.

The meat was warm, juicy and tender; full of flavour and bite. The marinade stuck to the barbequed pork so well, and the caramel stuck to our teeth as we chewed. Ah...heaven.


Needless to say, the whole plate was gone in less than 10 minutes. :)
It's a bit pricey at RM30 for a portion of 4 pax, but I guess it's worth it because it really does make you happy!