This morning I bought the following fresh produce from a couple of Hmong stalls at the Hobart Farm Gate market.
Later in the afternoon, I went to my local supermarket to buy some other ingredients for tonight’s dinner – a packet of pork mince, a packet of pork scotch fillet, 12 fresh king prawns, 2 purple garlics, 1 brown onion, 1 red onion, a punnet cherry tomato, 1 red capsicum, 5 red chilies, 1 bunch sweet basil and 6 button mushrooms. I still don’t know what I was going to cook until I had them on my kitchen bench.
After looking through all the ingredients, I decided to make 3 dishes tonight. And, decided not to use the Choy Sum, which is best done as a simple garlic stir fry. I will use that for tomorrow night dinner.
All 3 dishes that I decided to create were something new. None of which I have ever done before.
First, I prepared all the ingredients.
1. Spring onions – first trimmed and discarded the roots from the stem. Next chopped the white sections into 3 different sizes. The green sections chopped 1 cm apart for garnishing later.
2. Red chilies – sliced them in an angle.
3. Garlics – peeled and chopped finely.
4. Brown onion – peeled. Cut in half then sliced thinly.
5. Red onion – peeled. Cut into small pieces.
6. Coriander – trimmed and discarded the roots. Then chopped the stem finely. Leaves chopped roughly.
7. Red capsicum – cut into small bite pieces.
8. Mushrooms – sliced thinly.
9. Cherry tomato – cut in half.
10. Basil leaves – chopped some leaves roughly.
11. Carrots – chopped in 2 cm apart.
I guess I made them along the way.
I decided to make a spice paste for the pork mince. I blended the tomatoes, red onions, some chilies, garlic, a bit of red capsicum, and kaffir lime zest (optional) and 1 cm ginger (optional) into a cup (of Nigella Lawson’s cup).
Next, I thought it would be fun to cook outside using my Asian wok and burner on my deck. That was a mistake. It would be fine if I had made only one dish. But with 3 dishes I had to cook the first one. Then take inside. Bring out the ingredients for the second dish. Cooked and then take inside again. And, then the third dish’s ingredients. So lots of rushing in and out! It was madness. I did it anyway but never again.
The first dish was the pork scotch fillets, which I had earlier sliced into smaller bite pieces. The sauce – bean paste (or “Tau Cheong”) with garlic, chilies, spring onions, brown onions and chopped sweet basil.
The second dish was pork mince with my special spice sauce. First fry the spice paste until fragrant. Removed. Then fry the pork mince until almost cooked. Tossed in the spice paste. Combined then added chopped carrots and capsicum. Followed by a bit of fish sauce and pinch of palm sugar. And, finally tossed in finely chopped coriander stem and basil leaves.
Finally, the third dish – fresh king prawns in garlic, coriander, chili and spring onion sauce. Firstly, I fried the garlic, chilies, coriander and spring onion. Then tossed in the prawns. Added a bit of oyster sauce, fish sauce, caramalised dark soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine. Garnished with chopped coriander leaves.