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Some like it sour

18 May

In the following please find a recipe for a refreshing dish, especially delicious in the summer / during hot seasons, sour meat. This dish came actually back to my mind when I was staying in Dongguan where I used to visit a German snack bar that belonged to a friend of mine (cheers Andre). He used to serve beers, sausage and other German specialties. In the northern part of Germany, where my friend comes from, this dish is called Saurfleisch (sourmeat), in the southern regions of Germany where I come from; we call it Tellersuelze (aspic in a plate). According to the tales of my mom, this dish was masterfully prepared by my grandmother, apparently she was so good at it that all the friends of my grandpa used to come around when she made it. This is also the reason why, when I had this dish, alongside with a cold beer, the taste came back to my memory and I decided that I had to try and make this dish again. It is not that difficult to make, basically it is nothing else then a very tasty delicious cold meat dish. So here is the recipe for you.

For the meat dish
•    For the meat and the broth
•    1 liter of salt water
•    500 g pork (shoulder of stomach)
•    1 onion
•    1 bundle of greens
•    1 bay leave
•    125 ml vinegar
•    1 package of gelatin
•    3 – 4 whole black pepper corns
For the garnish
•    Sliced hardboiled egg
•    Sliced carrots
•    Onion rings
•    Pickled gherkin slices

Cook the salt water, wash the pork and add it to the water, get the foam from top of the water. Add the onion that you cut in quarters, add the bay leaves, the pepper corns and the greens and cook everything for 90 minutes. After this take out the meat from the broth, run the broth through a sieve and catch the liquid in a bowl. Take 375 ml of the liquid, add the vinegar, season to taste with sugar and salt. After this add the gelatin powder, bring the liquid to a boil and switch off the fire as soon as the mixture boils lightly.
Now you can let the mixture cool down and you can start to make the final dish in individual bowls, plates or in a cake forms (this is what I did so I will describe it based on what I did). I first pulled apart the meat and put it in a cake tray (leave everything light and fluffy, don’t press the meat to hard or try to compress it). Now, on top of that meat, I added the slightly cooked onion rings, the sliced gherkins and some sliced carrots (you can try other veggies if you like to, the more colorful and suit to your taste, the better for your taste). Put everything in the tray and store the tray in a fridge. Let everything cool down until it all turns hard, then slide a knife between the side of the cake tray and the sour meat so that the meat will be separated from the side cake tray. Now you put the tray upside down and carefully shake the whole meat “cake” on a board on which you can now slice some portions off.
The best way to enjoy this dish is alongside with some German style fried potatoes and some homemade mayonnaise (guess I will post these recipes soon). Here some pictures of my last “small” portion of sour meat… Enjoy.

Fleischkäse – meatloaf

30 Apr

The folks in Germany are divided in their opinion about the name of the following “recipe”, some call it Leberkäse, some call it Fleischkäse. Fact is, this meatloaf recipe does not need any liver, as the name Leberkäse would suggest, in fact, it is not even a normal cooking recipe per se, but together with the author of this blog, you can now go the extra mile and become a traditional sausage maker / butcher, yeah baby, it’s Sausage time.

Don’t be afraid, the recipe is actually easy to make. The most difficult for me was to find curing salt as this item is not sold in China. But thanks to a friend that works in a big hotel in Guangzhou, I got my hand on curing salt. Curing salt is a salt nitrite mixture which helps keep the meat nice and of rose color, don’t use it and your result will come out all grey and sad. The other things that you need and won’t find in China is cutteraid (I translated this word freely from the word Kuttermittel), which is helping the meat, while putting it through the cutter, to bind the water better and help the emulsification of the fat. But fortunately I found out that I can use baking powder instead of this cutteraid, but it’s going to be baking powder that contains phosphate. I had that as well, so I was very excited and happy to start my project “sausage factory” for some real taste of Germany.

–          Ingredients

150 g lean beef

500 g pork meat (well marbled)

200 g non treated pork speck, belly or back speck, both is fine

150 g crushed ice

–          Spice mix fort the meat:

20 g curing salt

2 ¼ g white crushed pepper

½ g nutmeg powder

½ g paprika powder

¼ g ginger powder

¼ g cardamom

–          The twist:

2 bell peppers

1 onion

2 chilies

5 g cutter aid / baking powder (the one that contains phosphate)

– Meatloaf can tuned up according to your taste buds. As we like It spicy (as a frequent reader of my blog you are very familiar with this, I like to prepare my meat loaf with a little twist. For this, I cut the bell pepper, the onion and the chilies in cubes, fry everything in the pan until the onion turn light brown, and let it cool down thereafter.

– Now I cut the meat in cubes, season it with the spice mix (see above) and freeze it until everything is nearly deep frozen (the meat should be around 1 degrees Celsius, it should be nice and hard so it can be put more easily through the meat grinder).

– When the meat is cold enough, feed the seasoned meat through the meat grinder to have it mince with the fixed hole plate with the smallest holes.

– Now, together with the crushed ice, put the minced meat in the cutter and cut everything so long until you get a real nice and smooth sausage meat mixture, it should have the consistency as in the picture below. Take care that the mixture don’t go over a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius in order to mix the fat and the proteins well together so that the meatloaf won’t lose all the juices later and turn dry. If your cutter is having a hard time to cut the mixture, maybe you want to add a little bit of iced water that I always keep ready for the case. But don’t add too much so the mixture would turn watery…

– Thanks to the cutter aid, everything should be nice and sticky, you can feel the mixture between your fingers stick together. Now you can use the cooking method in order to see if everything is consistent and nice. You cook up a small amount of water, then you take one small spoon of your meatloaf mixture and drop it in the water and cook it for ten minutes. If the meat sticks nicely together and the meatball has a good consistency, you already are done by now. This test is also good to check if the seasoning is correct of if something is missing according to your taste buds.

– Now I mixed the mixture with the paprika onion mix. In the meantime I buttered a baking form and then I pour the mixture in the baking form making sure that there are no air bubbles.

– Then I shove it in a preheated oven and bake it at 180 degrees Celsius for 12 minutes and 150 degrees Celsius for another 1 hour 20 minutes. These times are rought indications, check that the meatloaf got a golden brown top and is baked through in the middle. If you have a meat thermometer, stick it in the meatloaf and see if in the middle it should be around 70 degrees Celsius.

After you are done, you can garnish your slices of meatloaf with an egg sunny side up, slices of tomatoes, friend onions, mustard, some like to melt cheese over it and it definitely goes very well with potato salad…

Traditional hungarian goulash…

17 Jul

Today I am cooking an Hungarian recipe, the national Hungarian recipe to be more precise – goulash. It’s a spicy, hearty stew made from meat (there are lamb, pork, veal and horse goulash recipes) in combination with paprika and onions. It originated from Hungary and found its way into many countries, most likely via the Austrian army that used to cook this dish for its soldiers in the beginning of the 19.th century. The German army took this habit from the Austrians and used to cook this goulash soup on its stoves for its soldiers. From this the Germans derived the expression “Gulasch Kanone” = goulash canon, that still exists in the Germany language ever since. The recipe is easy to make, tasted hearty and the ingredients are easy to find in China, so its a no brainer that I cook this dish rather frequently. Here is a picture of my version and the translated my favorite recipe, which I found on this web site (the author got the recipe from his Hungarian co worker and it is my favorite goulash recipe so far): http://www.kochproben.info/data/65.php

goulash

1 kg Beef (the meat from the neck works best for me), 1 kg onions, 3-4 red chili pods (hot) cut in small pieces, Salt and pepper for seasoning, Red wine, Paprika powder, 3 diced bell peppers (my addition), ca. ½ liter Meat stock (you need enough of it to cover all the ingridients)

Goulash seasoning:
Marjoram, Cumming, Lemon zest, 3 cloves of garlic

Cut the meat in cubes, the onions in stripes. Now you heat up oil in a pan and fry the onions in it until they are golden brown, then you add the chili pods (if you like it spicy, add the seeds inside the pods, if you cannot eat too spicy, maybe you want to reduce the amount of chili to two pods). Now you add the meat cubes, season them with salt and pepper and let them brown from all sides equally. Doing this the meat will emit juices, don’t throw them away but continue to cook the meat until the juices are completely reduced and the meat is starting to fry again. In the meantime we prepare the Goulash season by grinding the marjoram, Cumming, lemon zest and garlic. Now we are adding the diced bell peppers, a generous dose of paprika powder and the goulash seasoning to the meat. Let everything fry up shortly (don’t let it fry for too long or it will turn bitter) and right after we deglaze it with a generous portion of red wine. We stir everything in the pan, especially everything that sticks to the bottom of the pan so that it can cook now evenly with the red wine. We let the red wine reduce now before we are adding the meat stock up to the level so the whole meat is submerged in the broth.
Now we let everything simmer on small heat for 1.5 to 2 hours (the longer you cook it, the better and richer the sauce will be). I even think that the taste is best when I reheat the goulash on the second or the third day after cooking it. You know that everything is cooked through at the moment when you are able to split the meat effortless with a spoon, without having to add too much pressure, which is when the meat is ready. Serve the goulash with Spätzle, Noodles or Bavarian style dumplings. Enjoy…

Honorary mention – real chinese street food

1 Jun

Asia is undeniably the birthplace of street food. In Europe we are not used to this kind of eating culture but I quickly got used to it. How convenient is it to just go downstairs and get yourself a bowl of fresh made noodles for the equivalent of 50 cents? So today I will introduce my favorite Chinese street food, the lanzhou style noodles, lanzhou lamian (translated to something like “pulled noodle” lanzhou style).

Here we see the cook working the dough, which is worked with aggressively. It is pulled in straight, quick, tugs with no twisting or waving. The cook will slam the dough against their prep boards to ensure even stretching and uniform thickness. While he will pull the dough and fold it over and over, he finally will start splitting the dough when he pulls it apart. The dough will get thinner and thinner and finally he will end up with something like spaghetti sized noodles. You can order your lamian in a bowl of soup or you can get them fried with beef or vegetables. All that for the price of below one USD.

Most lamian shops are run by Chinese Muslims so this street treat works perfect for a Hallal treat on the road side. Enjoy…

spicy shredded fusion chicken balls

15 May

This recipe has its roots in Bali, Indonesian islands of gods as well as in Germany. The German part roots from my favorite meatballs in a white roux, also called meatballs Königsberg style (Königsberger Klopse). I only discovered the Indonesian part of this recipe when I first visited Bali. There, next to a the most beautiful island in the world, I was able to discover new spices and unknown but inspiring tastes and smells. The spiciness of the food first gave my European pallet as well my European stomach a great challenge to overcome at first, but in the end, when I got used to it, I think it was well worth it. The spiciness is something that was completely new to me but that I would not miss it any more. I surprise myself more and more often putting chili paddies into my European recipes. Anyhow there was this dish, it was a fried shredded chicken recipe where the shredded chicken had a coating / marinade with all kinds of different roots, which the locals like to use for their cooking (there was ginger and galangal, I am sure there was some turmeric but I guess there were many others as well), lots of chili paddies that gave the dish a healthy red color and some kind of crust, I guess it must have been a breadcrumb or flour based coating.
Anyway, the dish was so rich in flavors so it inspired me to recreate the dish with a twist. As I try to avoid frying as cooking method (I don’t like to use too much oil as I am never can sure were the oil is actually coming from – I will write more about this in another blog post about food scandals in China, later) I tried to make this recipe fried meatball style but it was too dry. Then, after I successfully tried to make it “Königsberger” style and added some of the European flavors (such as capers…) and rounded everything off with a rich, silky textured roux that binds all the flavors together and gives it a creamy wetness, I had a real winner on hand. This dish came out full of flavors, I can find most of the ingredients easily in China but be warned, it’s not something for the fainted hearted and quite spicy for some. If you are European and you would like to try this recipe, I suggest you half the chili content of this recipe.

Fusion style shredded chicken balls

3 parts recipe:

  1. The soup and the chicken:

½ onion, 1 carrot, 1 strung of celery, 1 leak, 2 big chicken breasts

Heat up ¾ liter of water, put all the ingredients and let it cook on medium heat for 45 minutes

  1. The broth and the roux

Table spoon full of capers, 1 – 2 table spoon of vinegar (up to your pallet), salt and pepper to season off, 1 tea spoon of paprika powder, 3 small hot chili

Now you filter the veggies from the broth, squeeze out all veggies to get the juices, put the clear broth back on medium heat, all the above ingredients and let everything cook on medium heat so the tastes can blend nicely in and you have a tasteful roux later

  1. The chicken balls

Grated zest of one lemon, the juice of half a lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, ½ big diced onion, 1 table spoon of paprika powder, salt and knorr fondor base to season, 1 tea spoon of Cumming powder,  1 tea spoon of dried coriander, one thumbnail sized piece of turmeric and ginger, chopped fine, 4 red small hot chili chopped, 2 cups of bread crumbs, 1 egg

Now you take the tender cooked chicken breasts and start to shred them. After you shredded to chicken to small pieces, fry the onions, garlic, turmeric, ginger and chili in a pan, fry them fast and hot. The onions can turn transparent colored, which is exactly when you take the pan off the heat. Now you add all of the above mentioned ingredients together in a bowl and mix them well. Best is if you have a good hour where you can let everything marinade through, but that is not necessary if you are in a hurry and very hungry. Now you form nice sized chicken balls out of the mix, after rolling them, press them well together so they stick together and won’t fall apart in the broth. Now you place the chicken balls in the hot broth and cook everything together for 15 – 20 minutes on medium heat, so the chicken balls will be cooked well through. Now you can filter out the broth and start making a roux, using this rich flavored broth. Don’t make the roux to watery, stop adding broth when the roux is nice, creamy, rich and silky.

Eggplant Parmagiana

1 May

So, there it is, the eggplant parmagiana. Unlike most other recipes, I have no story to tell about this one. It is one of my favorite Italian dish, certainly not as well known as other Italian dishes, far from being as famous as a pizza, spaghetti, Ravioli or many other recipes from Italy. But it is such a flavorful dish and there is no meat in it, I just love this dish. You should not make this dish if you want to watch your weight or if you are on a diet and even if its not the easiest dish to make and it’s actually quite time intensive to make, I still love it so much, so to cut the story short, here comes the recipe for you to try it yourself:

parmigiana

2 eggplants, 500 gram fresh mushrooms, 2 eggs, 500 gram peeled tomatoes, 250 gram mozzarella, some grated Parmesan cheese, cumming, olive oil, 1 diced onion, salt and pepper to season, dried basil, coriander powder, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove

Cut the eggplant in slices of about 1 cm thickness. Salt them on both sides and put them on some kitchen paper and cover them with another sheet of kitchen paper and put some weight on them so all the water will be pressed out. Let the paper suck up all the water from the eggplant. Put some oil in a pan and heat it up real good put a clove of garlic for a minute in the oil so the oil will get the taste from the garlic. Fry the eggplant slices in the hot oil real good so they get nice and golden brown. The eggplant is very dry now so the slices will suck up a lot of oil, make sure there is always enough oil in the pan. Now you take the peeled tomatoe in a bowl and season with the cumming, salt, pepper, coriander and the basil. Boil the two eggs till they are hard and cut them in slices. Then you slice the mushrooms very thin. Fry some oil in a pan, fry the onions in it till they are transparent, add the mushrooms. and pour some lemon juice all over the mushrooms. Now take a casserole and start putting one layer of eggplant.; put a layer of mushrooms on top and then put a layer of tomatoe sauce and a layer of mozzarella. Do all of that one more time and on top you put the slices of egg and take a handful of the grated parmesan cheese on top of the sliced eggs. Put everything in a preheated oven and cook it for 30 minutes at 180 ° (Celsius that is of course). Enjoy…

Chilli con carne – caramba

19 Apr

Chili, maybe among my top ten of favorite dishes. Easy to make, great flavors getting better the longer you keep it. Actually the very best is to eat it only a day after you first made it, the flavors will really have developed so much more in the dish, you won’t stop eating it But make no mistake, this dish is not for the fainthearted. It only is really good if it’s hot and spicy. So don’t go too easy on the hot stuff in this dish (I usually take 4 or 5 fresh small red chills, the hot ones)

Actually, I always make a HUGE pot full of it, it lasts us at least a few days after i made some. The only downturn, once the pot is empty, you want to go immediately about making another one :). Ay caramba, a nice chili with a cold beer from the fridge, it’s the cheapskate version of a trip to Mexico indeed. There is no one source original recipe for the chili con carne, but without doubt it is made out of beef cubes or chopped beef instead of minced meat. I am too lazy bum to stroll around for some good beef, but I always have some stock of minced (mixed) meat in the fridge so I will use that instead, tastes just as nice I tell ya.

Chilli con carne

Ingriedients:

500g minced meat, 3 big onions, 500 g. tomatoes (the ones from the tin, the pizza ones, got just more flavor), 500 g. kidney beans, 1 tin of corn, 3 bell peppers (red would be best for the color  but green / yellow works just as fine) – diced, some oil, cayenne pepper, 3 dice (I do not have a press but if you have one, press it rather then dicing it) garlic cloves, chili powder / 3- 5 fresh diced chills, 500 ml beefstock 1 tea spoon of paprika powder, cumming, salt and pepper to season

how to make it?

Put oil in a stock pot or a fire proof casserole and heat it up. Add diced onions, diced bell pepper and the garlic and simmer everything till its starting to get soft, now the casserole should be pretty hot already. Then you add the meat and cook everything on high heat until the meat lost all its juices and starts to get a bit brown. Add the stock, and everything else, exept the pepper and salt. Now cover your casserole and let the whole thing simmer for about 90 – 120 minutes on low heat. Don’t forget to season to taste before serving. Again, i cook it a day before I actually eat it, all the flavors will mix nicely and the hotness will get into every piece of the chili.

Best served with rice or even pure with a few pieces of bread… Enjoy