Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Enter the Steam Age!

Polpettini con Spezie Cinese, Cimi di Rapa & Salsa di Arancia e Zenzero
Steamed 5-Spice Meatballs & Broccoli Rabe with Ginger & Orange Sauce

Steamed food, for some reason, still has the connotation in many peoples minds, of being bland and tasting "washed-out"- whereas the truth is very much the opposite case. Quick, easy and healthy as well, steaming is a great way to produce a meal- especially as you can steam many items together at the same time- it is something we should all do more often!

The great thing here is that I managed to steam all of the ingredients at the same time and only needed one other tiny saucepan to put together the tangy orange sauce- which absolutely suits me to a "t". I like to keep my stress to a minimum and to get things done quickly and easily... and you can hardly get quicker or easier than this!

I made the meatballs out of a mix of 50/50 ground pork and beef- which I amazingly saw minced right before my very eyes! I mixed this together with finely chopped red pepper, Spring onion, parsley, mint, basil, ramps and a tablespoon of 5-spice powder and rolled it into little balls, making sure to not press them too firmly together. I did not add any egg or breadcrumbs as I wanted to keep the flavors nice and crisp and intense.

I placed the meatballs and the broccoli rabe in my steamer, and had some Jasmine rice in the saucepan below... so by the time the rice was cooked, 15-20 minutes, so was everything else! Before I started, I added some thinly sliced ginger and red peppers- then on went the lid and I turned my attention to roasting some sesame seeds for my garnish and making the orange sauce...

The sesame seeds too all of 5 minutes to toast to a nice golden brown in a dry frying pan- and in the meantime I scraped some orange zest and squeezed some juice ready to make the sauce. I grated a shallot and a little garlic on the finest grater I have and sauteed this in a little sesame oil until it began to brown gently- then deglazed it with the orange juice and added the zest. I seasoned it with soy sauce, green Tabasco, lime juice and a little honey and reduced it down by simmering it for the duration until the rice and meatballs were done. A simple and tasty meal- stress free and relatively healthy considering no added fat or frying. And that can only be a good thing!

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