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Singapore Chinese Pork Curry


(serves 6)
Singapore Chinese Curry is a culinary relic of the British colonial era in Singapore. Many of the British officers had previously been stationed in India and developed a taste for curry. The British Army in Singapore however had to rely on Chinese cooks who out of neccesity concocted their own curry recipes. The result was the unique Singapore Chinese Curry which contains many common items of South-east Asian cuisine. In such curries you’ll find strange ingredients such as pork, dried shrimp, bean curd and cabbage. If you are a fan of curry, this is definitely a novel curry variety you must try. 
IngredientsChinese Curry

  1. Pork Spare Ribs (1 kg)
  2. Yeo’s Singapore Curry Gravy (1x400ml can)
  3. Yeo’s Minced Prawn in Spices (1x140g can)
  4. Cabbage (1 smallish)
  5. Egg Plant (2)
  6. Fried Bean Curd Puffs (2 cups)
  7. Fishcake or Fishballs (200g)
  8. Minced Garlic (2T)
  9. Glass Vermicelli (50g dry weight)
  10. Coconut Milk (200ml)
  11. Five Spice Powder
  12. Chicken Stock Cubes (2)

Preparation

  1. Open the two cans of curry into a large pot. Add 1kg of raw pork ribs and allow to marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Dissolve 2 chicken stock cubes in 2 cups of water and stir in 2T of minced garlic and 1t sugar. Add the stock to the pot and heat to a low simmer.
  3. Sprinkle in 1T of five spice powder and simmer for an hour. Top up with water as neccesary.
  4. While the curry is simmering, cut the egg plants into strips 2 inches long and add them to the pot. The egg plant will disintegrate eventually leaving just the skin. This is intended.
  5. Soak the vermicelli in cold water for 7 minutes and then drain away the water.
  6. Cut your cabbage into quadrants and manually break the quadrants into individual leaves.
  7. About 15 minutes before serving, add the cabbage, fried bean curd pieces, fish cake, vermicelli and coconut milk.
  8. Continue to simmer until the cabbage is soft. Serve with steamed rice or egg noodles.
Ingredients

Bean Curd Puffs and Dried Vermicelli

 Notes

  • This recipe is pretty easy if you can get all the semi-prepared ingredients as they are listed. If not….
  • The spiced minced prawn is a key ingredient but unfortunately not that easy to find. You can order Yeo’s Minced Prawn in Spices from Amazon. One other option is to make your own. if you have access to a Chinese food store, buy some dried shrimp. Soak a cup of the shrimp in cold water for half an hour before mixing in half a chopped onion, 4T chili paste, 2T Oil, 1T Five Spice Powder and 1t sugar. Put the mixture in the blender for a few seconds and then finish off by frying in a pan.   
  • Yeo’s Singapore Curry Gravy is a bit more commonly found than their minced prawn. It too is available on Amazon if you can’t find it anywhere else. Ironically, the one place you can’t find it is in Singapore. 
  • The other uncommon ingredient is fried bean curd (aka tofu) puffs. You cannot use raw tofu because it will disintegrate completely. If you can’t find any bean curd puffs in your local supermarket, you can make some yourself. Wrap a tofu block in kitchen towels and then sandwich it between 2 hard cutting boards. Progressively add canned food on the upper board over half an hour to compress the tofu and squeeze out its water. Next, cut into small blocks and deep fry as you would french fries.
  • Take note that the vermicelli to be used is the glass type (white when raw) which doesn’t get mushy even if it is cooked for quite a while. When in doubt, the ones to get are those made in Thailand.
  • If you like your curry less spicy, increase the amount of coconut milk to 300ml.
  • For additional flavour, add a tin of smoked clams at step 3. 
  • There is another similar style of SIngapore curry known as Nonya Curry. That is a fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisine while this is a fusion of Chinese and Indian cuisine. The two should not be confused. 
 

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Oven Baked BBQ Pork Ribs


(serves 1-2)
I came up with this method of BBQing pork ribs after I had to give up my BBQ stove and it seems every cloud has a silver lining after all. My BBQ ribs are better than ever and I don’t have to keep basting them while they cook. The trick is to cook the ribs as if you are braising them and then dry them out with a second round of baking. I use a hybrid technique with dry rub marination and wet sauce cooking and you know what that means: super succulent ribs that are full of flavour.  

Ingredients

  1. Pork Ribs (800g)
  2. BBQ Sauce (3/4 cup)
  3. Garlic (12 cloves = 1 bulb)
  4. Coriander Seed Powder
  5. Cumin
  6. Paprika
  7. Bourbon
  8. Oregano
  9. Brown Sugar

Preparation 

  1. Have the butcher cut your ribs into individual bone sections. You should end up with about 10 large pieces. Cooking the ribs individually gives more surface area for flavour to cling to and makes for tidier eating as well.
  2. Mix the following in a bowl: 2t brown sugar, 2t coriander seed powder, 1t cumin, 1t paprika, 1t oregano, 1t salt (each t = heaping teaspoon here except perhaps for the salt).
  3. Add your meat to the bowl and massage the mixed spices evenly into the meat. Wait half an hour.
  4. Preheat your over to 175oC (350oF).
  5. Stir together 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce, 3/4 cup water and 2T bourbon. Peel the garlic and add them as whole cloves to the sauce.
  6. Arrange your ribs in a pyrex dish such that the meat is only one layer high. Choose an appropriately sized baking dish such that there is no empty space left over, and if required slant the thinner ribs to make more room (refer to the picture). If you don’t do this, you will end up needing more sauce to cover your ribs.
  7. Pour your diluted BBQ sauce over the ribs. Cover the entire baking dish snugly with aluminium foil and place it in the oven.
  8. After 1 hour and 20 mins, remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes to dry up and scorch the outside of the ribs (and this is why the ribs must be only one layer high). After the uncovered bake, the sauce should have also dried down to the right thickness. Serve the ribs with the thickened BBQ sauce seperate in a small bowl.

Notes

  • Choose a BBQ sauce that is smoked since you won’t be using any charcoal. Other than that, it doesn’t really matter what brand you pick as a lot of flavour will be coming from the dry rub and meat itself.
  • About a quarter of the people tasting my ribs have remarked that it is to sweet. If you think you fall into this category, reduce the amount of sugar a bit in the dry rub.
  • This recipe is reasonably scalable, so you can do multiples of the quantities listed above. You’ll need to bake for longer as a larger batch will take longer to come to a boil. If it is really a large batch (see the tray to the right?) there might be a lot of BBQ sauce left when the ribs are cooked; remove the foil earlier and as a last resort reduce the sauce in a pot instead of in the oven.
  • You can also use a Dutch oven instead of foil, but it may be harder to find exact right size. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with foil.
  • BBQ pork ribs go well with coarse cut fries and cole slaw.
 
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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in A Kobi Original, Main Courses, Recipe

 

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Rigatoni with Ragout of BBQ Ribs


(serves 4)
This recipe uses pre-cooked southern style BBQ pork ribs and as the meat is already saturated with flavour and tenderized during the BBQ process, this makes for a fast and convenient ragout pasta. It’s delicious but probably the last thing you’d find on the menu in an Italian restaurant, given that its main ingredient is from the US of A. The other key ingredient is mascarpone, which has the effect of transforming the tangy BBQ sauce into a hearty ragout sauce.
 
Ingredients
  1. Rigatoni Pasta (350g)
  2. BBQ Pork Ribs (half slab)
  3. Mascarpone (250g)
  4. BBQ Sauce (0.5 cup)
  5. Bourbon (2 T)
  6. Chicken Stock Cube (0.5)
  7. Coriander Seed Powder (1t)
  8. Chopped Basil (1T)

Preparation

  1. Put a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. 
  2. Next, debone you ribs. Without paying too much attention to appearance, cut the meat into smaller bits. You should end up with about 3 cups of meat. 
  3. Using half a cup of hot water, dissolve your chicken cube. Add to it 1t of sugar and 1t of coriander seed powder. If you have (salted) chicken stock available, you can use that instead of the cube.  
  4. In a pot (or frying pan if you have a big one), fry the meat in 2T of olive oil, doing your best to smash the pieces into shreds (with a wooden spatula). This should take a minute or so once the oil is hot. – By now your water should be boiling and you can put your rigatoni into the water.
  5. With the fire still going, add the mascarpone, BBQ sauce (I like hickory smoked myself) and 2T of bourbon. Cook for another minute and then remove from heat.
  6. You should cook your pasta until it is still hard but no longer powdery when bitten. Rigatoni takes longer to cook than most other pasta so this should take about 7 minutes, but will depend on each particular brand.
  7. When the pasta is ‘done’ , drain it and then add it to the sauce in the pot. Pour in the chiken stock and continue to cook the pasta in the pot until it is al dente, or as soft as you like. Stir gently all the way. You are supposed to reduce the water content by heating but if it looks like the sauce is drying up to much, add a bit of water. Add salt to taste if neccessary at the end. 
  8. Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with some chopped basil after you have placed the individual servings on their plates.

Notes

  • The Italian term ‘ragu’ is usually used when you have a meat and veggie bolognaise style sauce. ‘Ragout’ is the French term and is interpreted more loosely to include any kind of slow cooked meat sauce. 
  • When using ragout or any other sauces with chunks of meat, you have to stick to the large pasta so the meat has a surface to cling to. If you don’t have any rigatoni handy, you can also try parpadelle or hand torn lasagne.
  • One of the key secrets in making pasta dishes is to undercook and do the final softening in the sauce itself. This allows the pasta to capture flavour from the sauce and also keeps the temperature from falling before you serve.
  • The whole idea is to not have to BBQ the ribs yourself. You can buy pre-cooked BBQ ribs at the supermarket, order home delivery, or as I often do: over-order at the restaurant and doggie-bag half a slab. However, if you want to BBQ the ribs yourself, I have a recipe for BBQ ribs as well.
 
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Posted by on March 1, 2010 in Main Courses, Pasta, Recipe

 

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Braised Pork Ribs, in Wine


(serves 3-4)
White wine is a nice way to infuse flavour into your ribs and braising is a nice way to get your ribs tender and juicy. Put the two nice ways together and you get a doubly delicious serving of ribs. And as a bonus, you also end up with a tasty gravy to soak your side staples in.
 
nb. No reason why you can’t use beef ribs instead of pork ribs if you so desire.

Ingredients

  1. Pork Ribs (1000g)
  2. Chardonnay (1 cup)
  3. Onion (1)
  4. Carrot (1 large)
  5. Celery (1 cup chopped)
  6. Garlic (8 cloves)
  7. Chicken cube (1)
  8. Flour
  9. Butter
  10. Basil
  11. Bay leaves

Preparation

  1. Start by cutting your carrots into discs, your onion into 8 pieces and your celery into fingernail-sized pieces. Peel the garlic and put it through a garlic press.
  2. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over your ribs. After a few mintues, dredge them through some flour. The flour makes its easier to seal the meat when you are browning it and it also adds some body to your final sauce.
  3. Using a frying pan with a few T of oil, sear your ribs until they are brown on all sides. Set aside the seared ribs in a tall pyrex or casserole dish (see picture).
  4.  In the same pan, without washing it, fry your mashed garlic and assorted vegetables with a knob of butter. When the garlic starts to brown, turn up the heat and degalze with a cup of wine. Make some chicken stock using half a cup of hot water and a chicken cube and add that to the pan as well.
  5. Continue to simmer until the volume of your braising sauce is reduced by a third. Turn off the heat and finish off the sauce by mixing in 1t of sugar, 1T of chopped basil and 6 bay leaves (see picture).
  6. Pour your sauce over the ribs making sure the ribs are fully covered. It’s ok if some of the vegetables stick out. Seal the top of your baking vessel with aluminium foil, securing it around the handles.
  7. At 160oC (320oF), bake for 2 hours. When it is done, taste the reduced sauce and add pepper and salt as required. If you are into or expecting a herby taste, you can sprinkle on some Fines Herbes at this stage.
  8. The ribs should be served with a healthy dose of soft staple food. Rice, rosti (pictured) or mashed potatoes and polenta are the ones I usually serve with these ribs.

Notes

  • Using foil instead of a Dutch oven lets the liquid thicken slowly and there should be no need to reduce your braising sauce after baking. You can check out my braised beef rib recipe for my opinon on Dutch ovens.
  • Can you use any other wine other than Chardonnay? Yep, but avoid dry (i.e. sour) ones like savigon blanc.
  • Why not use a Pork cube? Because Pork cubes are very ‘porky’ and I only use them for heavy dishes like curries.

 

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2009 in Main Courses, Recipe

 

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Braised Beef Ribs, in Guinness


(serves 3-4)
Stout is a good braising beverage because of its rich nutty taste and all the nourishing grains that goes into each pint of it. I experimented with all kinds of flavours to partner stout before I settled on dark soya sauce. I don’t know if its because both are dark, but they match well, resulting in a
East-meets-West braised rib recipe, with hints of Korean cuisine and Pub food.
 
nb. No reason why you can’t use pork ribs instead of beef ribs if you so desire.

Ingredients

  1. Beef Ribs (1000g)
  2. Guinness Stout (1 can)
  3. Leek (1.5 cups)
  4. Carrot (1 large)
  5. Garlic (15 cloves)
  6. Oxo cube (1)
  7. Flour
  8. Honey 
  9. Dark Soya Sauce
  10. Cardamon
  11. Tarragon

Preparation

  1. Start by cutting your carrots into thick discs and diagonally slicing your leek into rings.
  2. There is no need for marination. Just trim off any large chunks of fat and then dredge your raw ribs through some flour.  
  3. Using a frying pan, sear your ribs in a few T of oil until they are brown on all sides. You should do them a few at a time, without crowding the pan. Arrange the seared beef in a pyrex or casserole dish as shown below.
  4. In the same pan, without washing it, fry your leek in a few T of oil. When the the leek starts to soften, turn up the heat and add your can of stout. Make some beef stock using half a cup of hot water and an Oxo cube, and add that in as well.
  5. Continue to simmer until the volume of your braising sauce is reduced by a third. Turn off the heat and finish off the sauce by mixing in 5T of Dark soya sauce, 2t (heaping) of honey, 1t of cardamon, 1T of tarragon.
  6. Arrange the carrots and garlic over the ribs and pour your sauce over the ribs making sure the ribs are fully covered. It’s ok if some of the vegetables stick out. If you don’t have a coverm seal the top of your baking vessel with aluminium foil, securing it around the handles.
  7. At 160oC (320oF), bake for 2 hours. When it is done, there will be a film of oil on the suface. Skim as much of it off as you can by tilting your baking dish to one corner. 
  8. Sprinkle on some black pepper before serving. The ribs can be served with a healthy dose of soft staple food. Rice, rosti or mashed potatoes and polenta are the ones I usually serve with these ribs.

Notes

  • There is dark soya sauce and light soya sauce. This recipe requires the DARK variety which is normally used for marination and you can’t substitue the light variety which is normally used for seasoning and dipping.
  • The height and size of the baking dish is important and you should pick one which is tall enough to prevent liquid from boiling over. It must also be big enough to accomodate the ribs snugly without stacking.
  • Don’t skip the flour. It makes its easier to seal the meat when you are browning it and it also adds some body to your final sauce.
  • Sesame oil is ideal for the frying parts of this recipe but if you don’t have any, any kind of vegetable oil other than olive oil will be fine.
  • If you don’t have cardamon, try using nutmeg.
 
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Posted by on November 17, 2009 in A Kobi Original, English, Main Courses, Recipe

 

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