Monday, 3 March 2014

Underground / Over Ground

Cavolo Rapa, ripieno di Maiale Trittato "Penang"
Penang Ground Pork & Kohlrabi

Some things are just made for each other and 2 such things are pork and greens... Be they Chinese leaves, pak choi, Brussels sprouts or cabbage of any sort for that matter, the sweetness of the greens is a perfect accompaniment for pork. And one of my other favorites in the vegetable department, the humble but delicious kohlrabi, made for a wonderfully satisfying meal this evening. With just a handful of ground pork and some great, Thai spice in the form of Penang curry paste, these 2 simple ingredients were transformed into a yummy, comforting bowl of goodness!

Thai curries are wonderful- rich and creamy and delicious with their coconut milk-rich sauces... but infinitely too rich to be indulged in too often. Yes it is delicious,,, but it is also, sadly, very fattening! Sigh! That is the bad news... but the good news is, of course... that you do not HAVE to use those great curry pastes only exclusively in combination with coconut milk! What a crazy world we would be living in if that were to be the case!  Nope- this evening it was curry paste but no coconut milk that went into my supper-and the result was still mighty fine!

Using just a little ground pork, a Spring onion, a little cimmaron or cilantro, a kohlrabi and a cupful of rice, I had more than enough food for a satisfying evening meal for one. And with just 1 tablespoon each of Penang curry and of tomato paste, I had all that I needed to fix an easy but totally flavorful supper. In just 30 minutes. Yes I know, I know... you like that almost as much as I do! Which is the main reason that I do this every night- because it is great for me to have fun making these fast and simple meals- and nicer still when I can share them with all of you!

There is only one piece of real "prep-work" in making this dish, and that is to peel, top and tail the kohlrabi and then to scoop out the insides, using one of those gadgets that you use to scoop out melon with in the Summer... you know- a "thinga-ma-jig"- or whatever they are called! You can see it in the picture below in any case- haha! If you don't have one of these, you CAN use a teaspoon, if you are careful and patient... I have done it in the past and it does work... but this little gadget does work so much better ;-)

I popped the kohlrabi into my rice cooker upside down, added enough water to cover it about a third of the way up and let it boil and steam away for 5 minutes. I then seasoned it with a little salt, flipped it over and seasoned it with salt from the inside too. And then I added the rice around the outside of the kohlrabi, stirred it into the hot water, put the lid back on and let it carry on cooking for a further 5 minutes or so.

In the meantime, I put the ground pork into a nonstick frying pan and started it sizzling away. I added a tablespoon of Penang curry paste and stirred this in with the meat, mashing it down and mixing it in, until it became nicely incorporated. I stir-fried them together for 4-5 minutes or so and then checked on my rice and kohlrabi again...

The rice was now almost ready- it had soaked up all of the water and needed a little top-up, so I added a little more water, stirred it once, thoroughly, replaced the lid and turned off the power... there was more than enough residual heat in the cooker to finish both the kohlrabi and the rice perfectly by the time I was ready with the curry!

Now that the pork was cooked, I added first about half of the kohlrabi that I scooped out earlier and the white end of the Spring onion. I stirred these in and then seasoned with about a tablespoon of fish sauce and a pinch of pepper- these go well to just "round off" the flavor of the curry paste.

I then added a tablespoon of tomato past and the juice of half a lime, stirred these in and then added enough boiling water to transform everything into a nice, light sauce. I gave this another 5 minutes or so of simmering away together and whilst that was happening, sliced up 4-5 leaves of cimmaron to add towards the end- if you can't get cimmaron, you can of course use cilantro. I added the stem-ends of the cimmaron, with the white stalk, to the pork and kept the green ends for later...

... and indeed, 5 minutes later, I was ready to plate up! In went the rice first, then the empty kohlrabi "bowl". And then of course I added the curried pork with the delicious Penang sauce on top. I added a generous sprinkle of Spring onion and cimmaron and a drizzle of Hoisin sauce as a tasty garnish... and I have to say... this was another great success!

If you like Thai curry- you will like this... it is a simple version of the great flavors you know and love and what can be wrong with that? It has only the fat that can be found in the ground meat... and as this was just a handful of meat in the first place, I would say that it's not worth worrying about. So this is "pretty healthy" too... one more reason to try this out and probably the best reason to ENJOY!

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