|Ingredients for Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir-Fry|
|Searing the beef|
|Ingredients for Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir-Fry|
|Searing the beef|
|Colorful, mildly sweet and spicy beef|
Most of you know that I have been making jam for a little while now. This is something I learned from my awesome sister-in-law, Jeanne while visiting her up in Northern California. After getting down the basics, I decided to try making jam with uncommon fruits. Uncommon to jam-making , that is. Since my mother loves persimmons I chose that to be my first step in canning outside of the box.
I have gone beyond persimmons since then and I’ll share my adventures in future posts. This Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir Fry is one of the first recipes my son, Toby, and I have collaborated on. Most of the ingredients as well as the technique are basic, but the addition of chile pepper flakes and persimmon jam gives this dish an updated exciting taste.
Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir Fry
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, mince
½ teaspoon chile pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 lbs London broil or other lean cut of beef
3 medium carrots peeled, sliced diagonally
½ cup rice wine
1 leek, white and light green parts sliced ¼” horizontally
1 cup sliced green onions
8 tablespoons Hummingbird Hill Persimmon Jam
On high heat sauteé garlic, ginger and chile pepper flakes until fragrant. Add beef and let cook until just a little bit pink. Allow juices to evaporate, or remove with a spoon, leaving no more than 1 tablespoon. Add carrots and 1 ½ tablespoons rice wine. Stir fry until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add leeks and scallions. Add more rice wine if meat and vegetables begin sticking to pan. Add 8 tablespoons Hummingbird Hill Persimmon Jam and stir to coat beef slices. Cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
I used a cut of beef called London Broil because it is lean and uniform in size but any other lean cut will work. Placing the beef in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to slicing and using a very sharp knife aids in achieving thin slices. The essence of stir frying is to cook food very quickly over high heat. Thus it is imperative to have all the ingredients ready and prepped beforehand, and have them lined up close to the wok. As soon as the wok is very hot, pour a thin line of room temperature oil down the side of the wok. Sautéeing the dry aromatic ingredients like garlic, ginger and chile pepper flakes first infuses the oil which will later flavor the meat. Toby, in his artistic and perhaps Le Cordon Bleu-trained way laid the beef slices one by one flat against the wall of wok to sear them. Chinese cooks would probably toss the whole lot into the wok! When Toby saw that there seemed to be a lot of juice from the beef accumulating at the bottom of the wok, he removed most of it to prevent the meat from steaming. We want them seared after all!
You will notice that my carrots are crinkly. I use a crinkle cutter to add dimension and texture to my vegetables. The crevices are also a good place for the yummy sauce to cling to. Although this is a stir-fry, liquid is added to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the wok. Rather than using water, I use alcohol or broth to add flavor. And finally, the jam is added last to prevent it from caramelizing too much and burning in the hot wok.
None of the flavors overpowered each other; everything came together well. The persimmon jam’s sweetness is the first to hit your taste buds, followed by rich beefy flavor tempered by the sweet leeks, and then you get little (or a lot!) explosions from the chile pepper flakes. You calm your mouth down with steamed white rice, and then it craves more of that scrumptious flavor, and the cycle starts all over again.
Stay tuned to more recipes using our extraordinary jams.
What would you use Hummingbird Hill Persimmon Jam for?
|Hummingbird Hill - a virtual French cafe|
|Our delicacies in front of the Louvre.|
|Sliced cooked pork with other ingredients|
|Paste, black bean sauce and sweet bean sauce in hong you.|
|Hui Guo Rou|
A couple of months ago (September 3, 2013) I posted a piece about Hong You, or Sichuan Red Chile Oil. While spicy, it isn’t really a condiment by itself. Rather, it is a key ingredient in many Sichuan dishes like Lu Rou (Triple-Cooked Spareribs with Chiles) and Mapo Tofu (Sichuan Tofu and Ground Beef in Red Chile Sauce). You are probably familiar with Mapo Tofu as it is a staple in most Chinese restaurants. The question is, do they use Hong You?
I decided to make the following dish because spicy crispy pork belly sounded divine! I also had an extra slab of pork belly from when I made bacon. This is adapted from a recipe in Saveur (March 2013).
Hui Guo Rou (Stir-fried Pork Belly with Chinese Chives)
Ingredients: 1 ½ lbs skin-on pork belly
2 cups cooking oil
1/3 cup hong you (Sichuan red chile oil)
2 tablespoons douban jiang (Chinese red chile bean paste)
2 tablespoons dou chi (Chinese fermented black soybeans)
4 teaspoons tian mian jiang (Chinese sweet bean paste)
1 teaspoon sugar
10 suan miao (Chinese chives, blossoms discarded) or scallions, sliced into 1” pieces
1. Bring pork and 12 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat. Reduce to medium-low heat and cover. Cook until pork is tender when pierced with a fork, 1 – 1 ½ hours. Transfer pork to an ice bath. Drain and dry completely with paper towels. Slice very thinly crosswise into ¼” pieces and set aside.
2. Heat cooking oil in a wok or large pot. The same 6-qt. sauce pan may be used. When temperature reaches 350°F, add pork slices. Be ready with the saucepan cover as oil will splatter. Cook the pork until slightly crisp, 5-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a bowl lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
3. Discard cooking oil. Add red chile oil to wok and heat over medium-high heat. Add paste, beans, sauce and sugar. Be ready with the pan lid as oil will splatter. Cook, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Add reserved pork and chives. Cook, stirring constantly until chives have wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve with rice.
I cooked the pork up to step 1 then froze it as I didn’t have the other ingredients on hand. When I finally got everything together, I thawed the pork and dried each slice with a paper towel. Then I started cooking the rice. The house smelled heavenly as the pork was frying! I almost couldn’t wait. Then the smell became pungent when I added the paste, beans and sauce. The moment was fast approaching! In went the pork and chives. It only took a couple of minutes for the chives to wilt and the pork to be coated with the spicy mixture. The rice was already waiting expectantly on the plate. While I was turning off the heat with one hand, my other hand was spooning several pork slices onto the rice. Then oooohhhh, mmmmm, yummmmm!
The pork provided a satisfying crunch, the sauce was piquant, salty and a little sweet, while the rice was the perfect vehicle for the whole taste experience. Remember what I wrote last time about Sichuan peppercorns which are present in most Sichuan food? Compounds in Sichuan peppercorns activate the nerves in our mouth and produce a tingling sensation. That is the ma effect. The capsaicin in chiles then kicks in with the spiciness which is the la effect. Thus Sichuan dishes have that one-two punch.
Although this dish had a lot of heat I was seeking, I found it a little on the salty side. So for those of you who are a bit sensitive to salt, cut the bean paste and fermented soy beans to 1 ½ tablespoons each. And do keep that saucepan lid handy. You don’t have to clamp the lid down, just lay it on the pan slightly askew. Otherwise you’re going to have oil all over the place. You’re going to want to eat this as soon as it is cooked, not be cleaning up a greasy mess.
I thought it was so good I had it 2 meals in a row! While the rest of my family was eating pork chops and mac ‘n cheese, I was savoring my Hui GuoRou!
So what is one of the most anticipated dishes you ever made?
|Steaks coated with ground pepper|
|Steaks sauteeing in butter|
|Flambeeing with Cognac|
|Steak Au Poivre|
Steak au Poivre
4 7-oz fillet steaks
2 tablespoons oil
6 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
1 ½ oz butter
3 tablespoons Cognac
¼ cup white wine
½ cup heavy cream
1. Rub steaks on both sides with the oil and press the crushed peppercorns into the meat. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the steaks for 2-4 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness.
2. Add the Cognac and flambé by lighting the pan with a match. Stand back when you do this and have a pan lid in case of a flare up. Put the steaks on a hot plate. Add the wine to the pan and boil, stirring, for 1 minute to deglaze the pan. Add the cream and stir for 1-2 minutes. Season and pour over the steaks.
In 1983 my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary by taking our entire family to a fancy restaurant for dinner. As I was enamored with the French language at the time I decided to practice by ordering the Steak au Poivre. I don’t know whether it was the waiter’s ignorance or the background chatter going on but what I got wasn’t Steak au Poivre. So when I saw this recipe I had to make it. I’ve waited 30 years to taste this dish!
I thought that the steaks were merely coated with crushed/ground pepper. I was surprised to read that they are fried in butter and flambéed. Oh goody, another chance to flambé something!!
Oh, it was delicious! Frying crushed peppercorns on the meat mellowed out its spicy bite. The steaks were tender, and the creamy sauce was velvety. Definitely something to have again!
|Banana Leaf Roasted Pork|
|Jen's Hawaiian Coleslaw|
Lilikoi Cheesecake – The cheesecake was purchased from Costco, and then I topped it with my Passion Fruit Jam.
Spam Musubi – This is a ubiquitous snack available all over Hawaii. It is composed of rice and Spam wrapped together by a strip of nori. Spam was introduced to the islands during the Second World War when it was brought over by the military. Since then, Spam has become part of numerous dishes in Hawaii.
Macaroni Salad – Macaroni Salad or sometimes, Potato-Macaroni Salad is an integral part of a “Plate Lunch”. A Plate Lunch consists of a meat dish (such as teriyaki, laulau, fried shrimp tempura, chicken adobo, etc.), 2 scoops of rice, and a scoop of macaroni or potato-mac salad.
Banana Leaf Roasted Pork – I debated with myself for several days on a pork dish and finally I came up with this. The concept was borrowed from Kalua Pork and Pork Laulau. I used 2 boneless pork picnic shoulders and seasoned them with patis (Filipino fish sauce) and Hawaiian sea salt, and wrapped them with fresh banana leaves. Then I baked them in a 300°F oven for 6 hours. Everyone raved that the meat was moist and tender!
Jen’s Hawaiian Coleslaw – Jen made this dish. She added Mandarin orange segments for flavor and color.
Poi – Poi is the traditional Hawaiian staple made from taro root. It is boiled or steamed and pounded to form a paste. Oftentimes it is allowed to ferment slightly to develop a sour taste. This poi came from Hawaii!
Tofu Poke – Poke is popularly known as a dish of seafood cut into blocks and seasoned with salt, seaweed, soy sauce and sesame oil. I made this one with firm tofu, sesame oil, chile pepper flakes, sliced scallions, Alaea red Hawaiian sea salt and fresh ogo. Ogo is a thin purplish-brown seaweed from Hawaii.
Seafood Poke – I used the same seasonings but on baby octopus tentacles and fresh salmon.
Fried Rice – This is a Filipino version of fried rice. To steamed white rice I added: minced garlic, diced pork, diced chicken, sliced Chinese sausage, peas and carrots, soy sauce, ground white pepper, and strips of egg omelet.
Not pictured are: Shoyu Chicken, Chuka Salad (seaweed and sesame seeds), and sliced carved fresh pineapples.
I love planning for a party, particularly if there is a theme. It is exciting to research dishes and traditions and put together a menu! This is a great way to get to know someone else’s culture. In this case Hawaiian culture as we know it today is a mélange of different ethnicities. First of course are the Polynesians who came to the islands from the Marquesas, and later from Tahiti. Then Captain James Cook discovered Kauai in 1778 and a succession of Europeans and Americans followed him. The next wave of immigrants followed about 100 years later comprised of Chinese, Japanese, Okinawans, Koreans, Puerto Ricans, Portuguese from the Atlantic islands, and Filipinos. This mixture is reflected in the luaus or feasts where you may find Okinawan Konbu Maki right next to a Portuguese Vinha d’Alhos. The majority of people living in Hawaii are haole, or mixed.
As I mentioned above, some of the ingredients I used came from Hawaii. Being a bit of a purist, I strive to be as authentic as I can. And obtaining authentic ingredients is part of the fun; it’s like a treasure hunt! To obtain these ingredients often means having to go into ethnic grocery stores which is an adventure in itself because you’re sure to find new foods and ingredients, and then learn how to use them! It’s a never-ending journey!
So, how far do you go to obtain authentic ingredients?
|Milk, heavy cream, garlic, grated Gruyere, nutmeg, potatoes|
|Sliced potatoes using a mandolin|
|Ingredients for Pork Afritada|
|Fried pork and fried onions|
|Meat and vegetables simmering in the pot|
|Ingredients for Scones|
|Butter cut into the flour.|
|Egg and milk mixed in the flour mixture|
|Scones with Passion Fruit Jam|