Monday, March 30, 2009

College is a time for experimentation... right?

See if you can figure out what I did/plan to do... (note the first pic is unrelated, it was just dinner one day last week, I thought it looked nice lol). It was actually just a quick stir fry of onions which I caramelized with some garlic, thrown in with some broccoli. On the other side, I just reheated some leftover brown rice from some Chinese delivery, and broiled a veal shoulder steak (thanks Morton Williams for your 'meat of the day!') which was done up with a nice dry rub of basil, pepper, and salt before being covered with a thin layer of honey for a sweet crust. No recipe here, it was thrown together hastily, and is probably too easy of a meal to require directions to replicate. Onto the main point of the post...

So if you saw the progression of photos and immediately thought char siu dumplings, then you and I must think exactly alike lol. After cutting the remainders of the first pound of pork belly (still another pound left!), I wasn't really sure what I should do with it. I could've made a noodle soup yes, I could've just sliced it real thin and eaten it with eggs... I mean it is bacon. So as I was slicing the fat off the edges, which I conveniently bagged for later rendering, I decided I'd go with my favorite application of pork belly, which is char siu, but this time, I'd make it in bulk haha. Anyway, to the left is the glorious remainder of fat that I placed ever so delicately in a ziploc bag. Seriously, if you've never cooked with pork fat before, you don't know true flavor (sorry vegetarians).

In any case, onto the preparation for the roast. I went with the same marinate first time, but tripled the recipe to account for the massive increase in surface area. Going through the motions, I waited several hours, baked for 30 minutes, and when I went back to look, the meat was grilled ever so red, with the fat that I left on the pork still sizzling coming out of the oven. I love the smell of roasted Asian meats at 5 in the morning haha. So as you can see on the right, there I have 3 pieces of nicely charred and uncut char siu, but what do to with it. Having stopped by Woorijip (which I learned means 'our house' in Korean) and having purchased a cheap bag of dumpling wrapper, the thought hit me that char siu tastes pretty damn good in bread, tastes pretty damn good with noodles and rice, why wouldn't it taste good in pan fried wrappers?

So the night before I actually planned on cooking, I just sliced and diced one piece of char siu, a sprig of scallion, and went to work filling some skins. For the one piece of meat, I ended up with 12 dumplings, which works out pretty well in terms of filling actually, but let me tell you... I hate filling dumplings, I hate doing the water pinch thing, and I hate the fancy crimping. It all just takes too long. Yes it's satisfying, but when you sit there for 15 minutes and your finished plate is 2/3 empty, you don't exactly beam with pride. So how did they come out? well, uh... that's for another post, since at the original time of posting for this one, I had put them in the refrigerator (it was 9 at night, and I wasn't about to go about frying a plate of dumplings to eat right before bed).


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oh snap. I can control the text here?