Caramelized Ground Pork in Oyster Sauce

I came across a recipe that looked delicious called Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Bowls — it looked divine and I was looking for something that wasn’t time intensive. There were a few ingredients I didn’t have on hand so I switched them out and everything came out so tasty! (see the original recipe below) The sauce “caramelized” similarly the way sugar does and just as delicious!

Here’s the link to the original recipe: https://www.recipetineats.com/vietnamese-caramelised-pork-bowls/

Ingredients:

FOR THE BASE:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced or paste
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced or paste
  • 1 jalapeno, minced

FOR THE GROUND PORK:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce + 1-2 tbsp oyster sauce (keep separate)
  • 1 tbsp shao xing wine
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Instructions:

FOR THE MAIN:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat
  2. Cook the shallots, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno for about 2-3 minutes, until slightly golden brown
  3. Add pork into the mixture and break apart with spatula to mince it as it cooks for another 5 minutes
  4. Sprinkle in the white pepper and salt, mix well
  5. Add in oyster sauce and mix to cover everything
  6. If you don’t think there is enough sauce to cover all, add in another tablespoon or two and mix well
  7. After three minutes, add in the shao xing wine
  8. Cook mixture until “caramelized” to preferred liking (I cooked further for about fifteen minutes, mixing only once in between to prevent burning)

Tips/Notes:

  • Can freeze and keep for two weeks
  • I didn’t have any scallions but if you do, I recommend adding some in at the beginning with thee shallots and all for added flavor

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Kidney Bean and Beef Chili

I have a small, slightly funny story to tell you about a can of kidney beans I bought. I needed them for a recipe and when the pandemic struck I had done most of my ordering online through Instacart. I saw a can for a great price and added it to my cart. I received my order and the can of kidney beans had me in shock. The can was the size of a human head, maybe even slightly larger depending on the head! I was baffled! My roommate couldn’t stop laughing!

So now I had this massive can of kidney beans and I needed to make something with it. I could have made rajma which is an Indian kidney bean recipe and a delicious one, but I decided to go with chili since I had been craving it. I usually do a turkey chili but I decided to go the original route for this one with some tweaks of my own! This came out so well, I had to share!

Here’s the link to the original recipe: https://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/beef-and-kidney-bean-chili

Ingredients:

FOR THE HEART OF THE CHILI:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion (white or yellow) diced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1-3 cans of kidney beans (whatever you desire)
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or two large tomatoes diced)
  • Handful of parsley chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock

FOR THE SEASONINGS:

  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt + 1 tablespoon vintage merlot sea salt (or as desired for seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder (I didn’t have an actual chili mixture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions:

FOR THE PREP:

  1. Chop all your ingredients as listed to keep them ready for tossing into the pot

FOR THE MAIN DISH:

  1. In a large Dutch oven (I have a 6 quart pot), heat olive oil over medium-high and add chopped onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until they have softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Toss in the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir often and break up ground beef with a spoon if needed, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Toss in ground cumin, ground coriander, oregano and smoked paprika and stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the jalapeno and further season if needed. Stirring often, adding a teaspoon or two of oil if they start sticking, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ancho chili powder and diced tomatoes here, mix well.
  6. Pour in the beef stock and reduce heat to medium, stirring often, until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
  7. Add in 1 to 3 cans kidney beans. Cook, stirring often, until flavors meld, about 15-20 minutes.

Tips/Notes:

  • I generally like to make chili a day before because the flavors seeps in real nicely and you’re left with a flavorful bite every time! Not to say the chili now isn’t tasty but even better the next day!
  • I switched the poblano peppers for jalapenos as that was all I had. I know the flavor will change a little bit with a different pepper. Be sure to pick one that works for you!

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Pork Ribs in Black Bean Sauce

I have been wanting to experiment with short ribs for some time now and stumbled across this scrumptious looking recipe! I skimmed through to see that I had everything for the ribs and pressed forward. Luckily it has a slide option for serving sizes and reduced mine from 6 to 2. With that, I had to tweak the timings a bit.

Here’s the link to the original recipe: https://thewoksoflife.com/pork-ribs-black-bean-sauce/

Ingredients:

FOR THE PORK:

  • 3 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork ribs (cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 slice ginger (smashed)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons black bean sauce (or 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (or 1 long hot green pepper or poblano pepper)
  • 1 medium onion (cut into 1 inch chunks)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

FOR THE CORNSTARCH:

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions:

FOR THE PREP:

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients and keep to the side
  2. If you haven’t already, cut the pork ribs into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  3. In your wok, bring water to a boil and add the pork
  4. Turn heat down to medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  5. After the 30 minutes, the liquid should be reduced quite a bit and you can remove the pork ribs to a plate
  6. Use a strainer and keep the pork stock from wok and set aside for later use (around 1 – 1 1/2 cups)

FOR THE MAIN:

  1. Heat oil in wok over medium and saute ginger for 30 seconds to caramelize a bit
  2. Add garlic, black bean sauce, onions and bell peppers to stir-fry for 1-2 minutes then add pork ribs back in
  3. After another minute or two add in Shaoxing wine
  4. After add in the pork broth (~ 1 1/2 cups) and bring it to a simmer over medium heat (just under medium mark)
  5. After you bring it to a simmer, add in the sauce mixture for about 2 minutes, mixing well
  6. Taste for salt and add more if needed
  7. Now slowly add in the cornstarch mixture while stirring the ribs around and mix well – add more cornstarch is too watery or less if it’s becoming too thick
  8. Toss chopped scallions in and the ribs are ready to serve

Tips/Notes:

  • You can add more stock or water on step 4 under the main course if you like your ribs saucy
  • You will cook the ribs for longer or shorter depending on your desired level of rare

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Beef and Pork Burger Patty

Looking for a good burger recipe? I’m not generally one to toot my own horn but this came out exceptionally well!

Last year, I started hitting up quite a few burger joints to find one I would make my “regular” joint. I have a list of the top burgers around town, hitting each spot if I get the chance during the gruesome work-week! However, since the lockdown, I haven’t been ordering out much. To fulfill my craving, I thought I’d give a shot at making some burgers at home. In my fridge I had both ground pork and beef meat to use for the patties. It was a great choice to mix the two together! Since they came out so juicy and tasty, I had to share it! My next try will be with just beef and see if I can get it to be just as juicy and flavorful!

Ingredients:

FOR THE INITIAL PATTY BLEND:

  • 1 1/2 lb ground pork (80/20)
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef (90/10)
  • 1/4 large red onion minced (1/2 a medium sized)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cooking sake
  • Handful cilantro minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno minced (optional)

FOR THE FINISHING TOUCH:

  • 3 tablespoons black truffle sea salt
  • Wax paper/parchment paper

Instructions:

FOR THE PREP:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat
  2. Hand mix the initial blend together well (add in minced jalapeno here)
  3. Once everything is blended well, add in the black truffle sea salt
  4. Make a tiny patty to test for salt level/flavor
  5. You can create the rest of the patties if you feel you added enough salt and place them on wax or parchment paper for easy moving

For GRILLING:

  1. Once the grill is ready, place tiny patty onto grill (cook for 3 minutes each side and taste for salt)
  2. If you need more salt, you can add more black truffle sea salt (or regular salt) and create your patties
  3. Once you have decided on a desired salt level, place the remaining patties onto the grill for 4-7 minutes per side (depends on your level of desired smokiness/rareness)

Tips/Notes:

  • Always good practice to make a small test patty, just in case you need to add more flavor somewhere
  • If there is a sauce you wish to have with the burger then use a basting brush and brush both sides of the patty lightly before putting it into a burger — this allows for flavor to really settle in
  • If you wish to add cheese, best time to add is last 30 seconds before taking the patty off the grill OR you can put a slice of cheese on top of one patty and place another patty on top of that for double the yumminess!

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