It's been less than a week since I moved back home, but already I'm walking in the front door and am greeted with "So what are we having tonight?" It's actually quite nice cooking for a bigger group than just the two of us, although come next week, I will be getting back to my batch cooking ways. It's just easier, cheaper, and more efficient.
But for now, I appear to be working my way round the world with cuisines and passing the benefits onto my parents. This week, we've already had Italian and now it's time for Chinese. And a dash of Thai. In honour of Chinese New Year, Blue Dragon sent me a bumper pack of ingredients to cook up a feast, and I obliged.
I do much prefer cooking takeaway style food at home. While sometimes, nothing beats that ring on the doorbell and those exciting foil packets, I always feel a bit poisoned afterwards from the liberal use of oil (and inevitable MSG) which never really happens when I cook Indian or Chinese food at home. And now there are so many good recipe kits that the taste is pretty authentic, too.
With the kit that Blue Dragon sent me and a little extra shopping, I dished up a chicken green Thai curry, black bean vegetable noodle stir fry, steamed Pak Choi with soy sauce, chilli and garlic and caramelised pork belly. Most of the meals were made following the instructions on the packets - the green Thai kit is great, for example, and includes separate coconut milk and green Thai paste, along with dried herbs, and it tasted amazing with added chicken, red pepper and Thai basil - definitely buying that again! But I decided to try something new for the pork belly, which had been languishing in our freezer forever. I don't know how authentically Chinese it is - but it sure is tasty.
Caramelised Chinese Pork Belly (adapted from here)
300g pork belly, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Blue Dragon soy sauce
1 tbsp Blue Dragon sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 clove garlic
1 red chilli, deseeded
2 spring onions, finely shopped (and more to garnish)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan.
2. Add the pork belly and cook for about 10 minutes, turning often, until both sides are brown and crispy.
3. Once done, lift and drain in paper towel to absorb the oil. If you're making other dishes, like I was, you can leave this now and come back to it just before serving.
4. In a bowl, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, brown sugar, chilli and spring onions and stir well.
5. Heat up the pan again and add the pork belly to it, and stir fry for a couple of minutes until heated through.
6. Pour in the sauce and coat the meat, cooking for another 2 minutes until it's thickened and the meat is caramelised.
7. Serve as a side dish, or with rice and vegetables.
This would be really good with any pork, or even thinly sliced steak! Definitely one to use again in the future. Serve with a banquet of Chinese and Thai dishes, and prawn crackers, of course.
This post is an entry to the Foodies100 Chinese New Year recipe challenge sponsored by Blue Dragon. The range of Blue Dragon products is available in all major supermarkets at an RRP from £0.69. To find out more, visit www.bluedragon.co.uk.