So I’ve managed to get my hands on a copy of Nose to Tail: The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson. And what I think I love the most is that the man is wonderfully simple and a little quirky. I mean, he tells it like it is, no muss no fuss. Which is nice compared to what I was doing a couple of weeks ago with making Torchon au Foie Gras from the French Laundry Cookbook. And no I still haven’t organized that posting yet. I’m still working on it. It took me 4 days to cook, so I suppose in some respects I’m going to take 4 weeks to post it, if I know myself.
But I digress..
Pig, Pee Eye Gee, HOG people. Yes I have a fascination for it. I suppose it goes even deeper than that, to an unbridled love of all things pig that in some countries and religions they’d have shot me long ago. My husband said if there was one meat he could give up and never eat again it’d be pig. I called him a heretic and told him I’d give up Beef long long lonnnnnng before I ever gave up my pig. Fatty, juicy, sweet, succulent, unctuous. Umami personified. Crispy, soft, braised, fried, poached, pickled, stuffed, smoked, cured. Oh the list goes on. I literally dream about pork sometimes.
The Fergus book is like fuel for my fire. How do you cook pigs ear, feet, chitterlings, sausages! Oh dear god, all the nasty bits as Anthony Bourdain points out. All the bits I didn’t think I liked. When in reality it’s just that no one’s ever cooked them for me the way they COULD be cooked. After all, it truly isn’t what you were given, it’s what you can do with it.

So I was watching an episode of Poh’s kitchen, and also some of Masterchef Australia’s second season and the subject of Pandan leaf came up. And it’s rare these days I get an ingredient where I go, What the hell is that?, but I did. And now I know. It’s a frondy type leaf from the tropics, mostly malaysia and it’s sweet! Like tropical vanilla leaf with an almond kick almost. So freaking unbelievable.

I had to have some. So off I went in search of a new Asian market. And boy howdy did I find one! Asiana Market located on the Northwest corner of 44th Avenue and Union Hills, and hooolleee crap do they have a ton of stuff. But bring cash. They don’t accept credit. And I have to say. I couldn’t care less.
I’m in the store 5 minutes and I find black beans in soy sauce, pickled radish, and *gasp* steamed pigs feet with asian seasonings sliced up in little half moons 1/4″ thick with this salty squid chili dip accoutrement. *Gibbering* Okay okay so off to find the pandan leaf…. Well turns out living in the desert once again has bit me in the ass. No fresh pandan leaf, BUT! they do have pandan extract. ZING! I also pick up some seedless tamarind paste, pork short ribs, puff pastry squares, some crazy leaf that looks like spinach on steroids and some galangal root. Which I’ve also been dying to try.

Da da da ding ding, da da ding ding.. off to home I go. LUNCH

So I wash the jasmine rice I have, mix in some coconut milk into two cups of water and add like 2 tsp of pandan extract. (1 probably would have been enough!) and make the rice.

For the stir fry, I start out and saute 1/4 cup of the black beans that have been soaked in soy sauce they’re crunchy but edible and man packed with flavor. After 3 mins or so I put aside the beans. I saute the julienned pickled radish, and set aside. I then saute in a bit of oil 4 cloves garlic and the galangal root that I grated on the microplaner. I add the pork into the pan and sear it off till it’s lightly brown and just barely a little crunch to it. Then reserve with the other items.

I deglaze the pan with mirin, add in some veal stock, soy sauce some of that pickled salty stuff that came wth the pig, the tamarind paste and about a cup of water. I simmered the sauce till reduced then strained it, and placed it back in the pan where I stir fried all of the ingredients into the sauce and let it cook a few minutes.

I dished up the rice on one side of the bowl, and the meaty bits on the other. Came out great. I think Erik even ate his without complaint. HE said, Oh that’s a mushroom piece. I said there’s no mushroom in it. He said oh that was pork? I said yes. He said Oh. and took another bite. :D