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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flavours of Asia for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory with the MLCC

(Sichuan Peanut Noodles with Tofu knots - photo by Karen)


I had the pleasure yesterday of presenting a variety of flavours from Asian countries as a fund raising event for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory with Education Coordinator Bonnie Tulloch. I chose samples from the Caucasus to Korea but also items that could easily be made in your own home kitchens. They are versatile to local ingredients yet still very authentic to their origins. For example, in the first recipe, if there is a walnut allergy, try making it with almonds. Adapt the heat of the chilies in other recipes to your tastes. Most of all, enjoy.

All of the dishes were paired with excellent beverages on behalf of MLCC's Product Ambassador, Gary Dawyduk.

To Start:
Ginger Beer Fizz
1 part Tsingtao Beer (#293787, 300 ml, $1.73)
1 part Ginger beer (“Old Tyme” or “Grace”)
mix ingredients with slices of fresh ginger, serve over ice

1. Pomegranate Walnut Paste on Endive - Caucasus

Paired with Crémant de Bourgogne Brut – Simonnet-Febvre (#7451) $19.09

½ cup pomegranate molasses
1 onion, chopped
½ cup walnuts (use almonds if walnut allergy)
¼ cup softened raisins
1 tbs pomegranate seeds
good amount olive oil (1/4 – ½ cup good olive oil)
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tsp paprika (smoked or plain)
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix first 9 ingredients in a blender until a smooth paste. Adjust seasoning to taste. Spoon into endive leaves for an appetizer, salad and serve cold or grilled. Used also in grilled chicken or lamb.

2. Kerala Shrimp – South India

Paired with Gazela Vinho de Mesa Rosé – Sogrape (#9394) $8.61

1/4 kg small shrimp
1 tsp ground chilies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp vinegar

1 tbs cooking oil (grapeseed oil or canola so as to not add flavour)
1 large onion, chopped
a few curry leaves
1/4 tsp. paprika or chili powder (depending on how spicy you like the food)
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Clean and marinate shrimp in chilies, turmeric and vinegar at least 1/2 hour before cooking.

Heat oil in pan and sauté onion until golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside. Fry the shrimp in the same oil until crispy. Then add the fried onion, curry leaves and optional paprika or chili powder on low heat. Add the coconut oil for good Keralan flavour. Test for salt and serve with rice, roti or chappati, etc.

3. Bulgogi – Korean BBQ Beef

Paired with Old Vine Zinfandel 2006 – Klinker Brick (#5877) $28.80

• Bulgogi marinade for 1 lb of meat (approx 1 cup)
• 1 pound sliced beef *
1. Prepare Bulgogi marinade according to directions.
2. If beef is not sliced, slice into thin, finger-length strips (if you freeze the beef for 15 minutes, it will be easier to slice).
3. If you can, ask the butcher at the meat counter to slice for you in very thin strips. Korean and/or Asian grocery stores will often have meat for Bulgogi pre-sliced for sale.
4. Mix marinade into meat with hands or chopsticks, making sure all the meat is covered.
5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. For tougher cuts, the more hours, the better. You can also freeze the uncooked marinated beef in small amounts for later use.
6. Grill, broil, or stir fry the beef until well-done and caramelized on the outside.
7. Serve with rice, lettuce leaves, and side dishes.

(Serves 4)
*Top sirloin or tenderloin work best, but almost any steak cut will do. The best quality meat will obviously taste the best.
• 3 Tbsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
• 3 Tbsp soy sauce
• 2 Tbsp sugar
• 1 Tbsp honey
• 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed juice from an Asian pear
• 1 Tbsp Japanese rice wine (mirin)*
• 1 Tbsp sesame oil
• 3 green onions, finely chopped (including white part)
• 1 tsp pepper

4. Sichuan Peanut Noodles – Sichuan, China

Paired with Singha Lager Beer (#676395, 330ml) $2.33

Please note, the beer will help cool the effect of the chilies.

2-3 tbs chunky peanut butter
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2-3 tbs vinegar
2-3 tbs good soy sauce
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup good Chinese hot sauce (to taste)
1 heaping tbs brown sugar
drizzle sesame oil
Cooked Chinese noodles or spaghetti
Options: chopped or grated cucumber for serving cold, cooked tofu for hot or cold, chopped scallions or chives, snap peas, etc.

Mix the first 8 ingredients into a smooth paste. Mix with cooked pasta or noodles and serve immediately or chill.

5. Burfi – India

Paired with Vin Doux Muscat – Samos (#44578) $13.62

2 cup Whole Milk
2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
2 tbs dried Milk Powder
3 tbs powdered Sugar (Cheeni)
3 tbs Ghee
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
1 sheets Edible Silver Foil (Varq)

• Heat the milk a little and add lemon juice in the milk to curdle it.
• Hang the curdled milk in a muslin cloth for 3 hours.
• This results in the solidification of milk into cheese.
• Add milk powder and sugar to the cheese and kneed the mixture well.
• Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and add the cheese mixture.
• Stir-Fry over very low flame until the ghee separates.
• Take off the mixture from the heat, add cardamom powder to it, and allow to cool slightly.
• Blend properly by again kneading it.
• Pat the kneaded mixture into a flat cake and allow it to cool completely.
• Cut into squares and decorate with silver foil.

To Finish:
6) Red Lotus cocktail
1 ½ parts Lychee Liqueur (Soho, #6340, $23.99)
1 ½ parts Vodka (SKYY, #410415, $22.99)
1 part Cranberry juice
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake well; strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with lychee or cherry


Elatia Harris said...

Just astonishing! I'm Facebooking the whole post, and making pomegranate walnut paste in an hour. Woof!

Karen Food said...

Thanks. It was the one recipe that I was holding out on but it is very popular and versatile in catering options. Use more pomegranate for more tang.