The nine step plan
Chinese fast food, a bowl of Dan Dan Mian, so simple yet utterly delicious. How fast and simple?
- Put sesame sauce, light & dark soy sauce, any chilli oil you like and ground Sichuan pepper into a bowl. All to taste and mix.
- Fry minced beef until brown with whole Sichuan pepper, dried chilli, light soy and Tianjian preserved veg (optional). Set aside.
- Cook noodles (or make them), add to the bowl, top with the cooked beef. Mix and devour.
- For a Nigel Slateresque twist replace beef mince with, er, any other mince you like.
Simples, faster than a takeaway but not as fast as this blog!
Happy new year! 恭禧發財
The window to my soul
I could probably eat a whole Cantonese roast duck by myself as my final meal, I’d slip away happy and content. It’s not an extravagance, all you’d have to do for me is go to any Chinatown and pick one up from a roast meat shop. But imagine if you went to the wrong shop, I’d curse you with my last breath. Real soul food is comfort food unique to oneself, only you know what makes that dish just right and satisfies your soul. So in as much as it’s in my own interests that you buy me the best roast duck you can possibly find on my last day (hopefully not soon) here’s an updated Birmingham Chinatown Roast Meat Battle. You might also find it useful when deciding where to eat the best dish Birmingham has to offer, triple roast rice 三燒飯, which includes crispy belly pork 火腩, char siu pork 叉燒 as well as roast duck 燒鴨.
Kau Yuk is a classic Hakka Chinese dish, real soul food. It’s a tone of pinky brown that’s not immediately appetising to the uninitiated, like rhubarb in reverse, it tastes a lot better than it looks. Continue reading
Don’t be alarmed now, I’m a knifenut but not one of those that you’d cross the street to avoid. I mean I’m a kitchen knifenut, particularly Japanese kitchen knives. If you see me with one of these then you can rest assured I’m planning nothing more violent than a nice meal. Continue reading
Do not adjust your set, deep crimson txuletas. Galician left, Basque Cider House right
There are food moments I’ll never forget. Eating at Asador Etxebarri in the rolling Basque hills between Bilbao and San Sebastian is one of them. Victor Arguinzoniz is a grilling genius, the menu is a masterpiece. Every ingredient the best the region has to offer, cooked simply over fire using pioneering instruments and techniques. The main part of the meal ended with a Galician beef chop, a txuleta (or chuleta in Spanish), perfectly charred on the outside and crimson rare inside.
Every Brummie knows a good samosa when we eat one. They started to appear as office treats around the turn of the millennium. Asian colleagues would come in laden with boxes of meat or veg samosa and sometimes paneer spring rolls. Always warm, the smell filled the office, you’d be drooling into your keyboard whilst you wait for the “come get em!” email to ping into your inbox. Like a flash you’d have downed two, one meat one veg of course, it would be rude not too. So much better than cheap and nasty supermarket doughnuts or sweets.
Homemade duck egg noodles
Ramen, at the moment it’s everybody’s favourite noodle. And why not? Cheap and delicious. An everyday Japanese dish with so much variation and endless refinement there’s something for every taste. For me, a bowl of Hakata style tonkotsu is my favourite ramen. Rich pork stock, marinated egg, sweetly soft slithers of chashu and of course those firm ramen noodles. You can get good tonkotsu in London now so I don’t have to go back to Kyushu for them. Though sadly Birmingham is still sorely lacking any, let alone good, ramen joints.
A lorra duck
Tea smoked duck is a cold dish. A cheeky appetiser to go alongside other nibbley things at the start of a meal, maybe smacked cucumbers and marinated peanuts. Or to be stuffed inside fluffy gua bao. Here’s my recipe for them. I’ve gone proper Chinese and not given exact quantities, relax, it all depends on the size of duck breasts anyway. Continue reading
The main contenders Don Guest vs Walter Smith
Pork pies, Melton Mowbray and the East Midlands. When Brits go wobbly sentimental about native foods it’s to the village idyll for which they yearn. For some reason this style of pork pie has become dominant in the British food psyche. Really you should look to the grimy industry of the West Midlands to find the best examples of this traditional British food. To The Black Country you must go.
It’s that time of the year that food bloggers regale you with lists of dishes in restaurants or corners of the world you’ll never go to and if you like that sort of thing you’ll not be disappointed. I’ll be doing that later, read on. But first I want to describe my favourite home cooked dishes of 2014 because you know me, I like to cook nice things. It means we don’t have to schlep to France or India for canelé or curry, we can bring these places to our kitchens and have the joy of creating something delicious.