Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Improvisational Cooking

This meal started because I had 1) orange juice - sometimes I have a drink from the office for my car ride home. Orange juice in this case and on the way home, I hardly drank it. And when I got home, I wasn't really looking forward to drinking it either. So instead, I thought I would cook with it! Item 2) cooked beef shanks from Shanton broth. I knew I would have to use the meats from my broth this week. I couldn't just keep re-heating the broth. Those two were the starting point. Who else did I bring to the party?

I was thinking of two dishes when I made this up. 1) Laksa and 2) Beef Rendang. There was also some other weirdness going on in my head.

I first made a paste grinding 1 tsp each of coriander, cumin seed, and fennel seed + 3 dried peppers in my spice grinder. I advise not smelling it when you open the lid! I mixed it with shrimp paste and some tomato paste (cause I have a tube of it), mixed it up. Added a tiny bit of soy sauce in there since I think I didn't use enough shrimp paste. Basically, it wasn't pasty enough and I needed more liquid. Oh yeah, and for the hell of it, some worcestershire sauce. Because it still wasn't pasty enough. This is my flavor base.

Riffing off of Rendang, I opened a can of coconut milk that was just sitting on my counter. I cooked the top layer of coconut fat in oil and then add chopped scallions and the paste. I really don't know if the coconut fat does anything. It's just what they do in Thai curry. I think...

Rest of the coconut milk goes in with the orange juice, a cinnamon stick, and some sugar (to taste because my OJ was watered down which subsequently make the OJcoco-soup taste a little watered down which lessens the orange flavor. Boil that shit. Oh, equal parts OJ and Coconut milk.

Add the meats in. If you don't have already cooked soft beef shanks, I bet you could parboil some pieces and do this. I really don't know. I might try this recipe again with the chicken sometime this week. I really let the meat pick up the sauce. I also let the sauce really cook on the bottom there. After about 3 minutes? I add some of my shanton broth and deglaze the pot. I think I added about 1/2 cup of the broth? Around 4 ladels worth. Brought to a boil. Added my OJcoco soup (only an equal amount to the current volume in the pot). Let that cook a little bit. If you start with the parboiled shanks, I guess you could let it cook here for at least 1 hour. up to 4 if you want the meat really tender.

Serve with dry cooked rice (that is with little water in it so it doesn't come out all moist so it can soak up a lot of sauce) and orange slices. Maybe some cilantro garnish but I don't have any of that. OK. In progress experiment.

Oh, and left over OJcoco soup is also tasty! (well like I said, my tasted a little watered down but otherwise the cinnamon is quite nice.

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