Sunday, 1 September 2013

3 Pigs in the Sauna

Polpette di Maiale con i 5-Spezie Cinese & Fagiolini
5-Spice Steamed Ground Pork & Beans

Now, that would be a different little fairy-tale, wouldn't it? I am not sure if the big bad wolf would be able to blow that house down- he might be out of steam trying after all- haha! But all silliness aside, this little dish was as yummy and satisfying as any fried dish and plenty more healthy to boot! Want to know if the fairy-tale had a happy ending? Oh, I am sure you know the answer already... but let me tell the story all the same...

With Chinese food being so "passé" over here in Germany, every now and again I like to cook something up, with that typical 5-spice flavor, maybe out of nostalgia for days gone by when Chinese was all the rage- but mostly I guess, just because I find it to be so incredibly delicious!

Fennel seed, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and Szechuan pepper- how can anybody possibly resist? And this evening, I even went to the trouble of grinding it up fresh using my mortar and pestle, even though I already have a jar from the Asian supermarket. Of course this didn't make my totally phony and invented dish any more authentic... but it made me feel good! 

I only made the 3 meatball/rolls that you can see in the pictures- it was just a test on my part, but thankfully one that worked out! This was less than a quarter pound of ground meat and into it I added 1 finely chopped shallot, about 1" of grated ginger, a little finely chopped parsley and cilantro, 1 teaspoon of 5-spice, some black pepper and a pinch of chilli. I added the juice of half a lime, a little sesame oil, a little soy and a splash of fish sauce and then kneaded the ingredients together into a smooth blend.

In a small saucepan, I placed my little steam rack... and onto the steam rack went string beans, a little chopped garlic, a leaf or two of basil, a slice or two of ginger and little salt and pepper. And on top of this went the 3 ground pork patties that I had formed- all nice and easy and convenient in one little saucepan... I like that!

Once the water was boiling, I set the pork and beans on top, popped on the lid and kissed them goodbye for 5 minutes- and in the meantime, prepared a little "sauce" which I would be adding to them next...

I made a "sauce" or marinade, from very finely sliced Spring onion, finely sliced fresh red chilli, finely chopped coriander and parsley and a little crushed garlic. I mixed these together with a little oyster sauce, a little sweet chili sauce, 1 teaspoon of tomato paste and the juice of 1 lime. Once they were nicely and smoothly mixed, I added about the same amount in water. Easy. 

After 5 minutes or so, the beans and meatballs were, to all extents and purposes cooked. But to make them infinitely more sexy and delicious, I popped them into a frying pan (with no fat of course) and gave them a little roll about. Once they began to brown, I added the marinade and the beans and brought everything back up to temperature... and the aroma was delicious!

After 2-3 minutes, everything was nicely infused with flavor, the dressing had reduced down and was thickening nicely, due to the tomato paste... and all it needed was a last adjustment in flavor with a little soy sauce... excellent! And so easy!

These would be excellent with rice or rice noodles and are so quick and convenient that you can whip them up in next to no time with very few ingredients. And let me reassure you... you WILL love them! There are no two ways about it! As for the fairy tale... it will be a happy ending for you... not so much for the pigs! In any case... Enjoy!

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