Gourmandism is an act of judgment, by which we prefer things which have a pleasant taste to those which lack this quality.As an incorrigible gourmand/gourmet, food enthusiast and hedonist*, I am a adorer of all things beautiful (not in the narrow sense) and palatable. I constantly need to be stimulated by my environment and delighted, inspired as well as awe struck by what I see, eat, smell, touch, hear, feel and experience, hence my existence pretty much revolves around the pleasing and tiltillating of the five senses. My inner artist and intellect simply crave bedazzlement, novelty, grandeur, decadence, magnificence and refinement.
- Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Pleasure is the only thing to live for. Nothing ages like happiness.
- Oscar Wilde
Emotional stimulations are my life force and it is for this reason that I cannot stand callousness, neutrality, déjà-vu and lack of good-taste (unless it is expressed in an artistic manner). If my soul's strings are not tugged on a regular basis, then my well-being is at stake and just like a flower which is deprived of sun and water, I starts to wither.
So, when I choose a cookery book, I make sure that its contents will keep me captivated, entertained and fulfilled. Texts, recipes and pictures (photos or illustrations are not always a must, though) have to reach my standards and be on the level of my expectations. Therefore, I am extremely finicky when it comes to buying such items as I don't want to purchase a dust-catcher that will neglectfully sit on the corner of a shelf and be of no use to me.
Rare are the cookbooks that literally steal my heart, but everytime I get my hands on one that ticks all my boxes you can be guaranteed I'll never let go of it. Good and useful manuals are precious and accompany you through life.
* Call me what you want, even the controversial title "foodie" if you believe it suits me. I won't get irritated, I promise! After all, I am a "bonne vivante" and I am not ashamed to be an "amateur" who enjoys quality grub...
At the moment it is very trendy to despise this word. Anyway, I am an unfashionable misfit and I hate snobism or categorizations, so I don't give a damn about the insignificant, childish and fascist-like debates surrounding this denomination. I'm above that.
What makes cookbooks interesting is to find out about the people and the culture that invented the food.Speaking of which, Leemei Tan's "Ginger And Lemongrass" definitely belongs to this category as not only does it offer a remarkable selection of well-detailed, accessible, pluri-ethnic, sense-awakening, colorful, mouthwatering, hunger-igniting and authentic recipes (over 100 of them), but it also contains a warming foreword, clean and vibrant pictures that breathe simplicity, elegantly evocative introductions and informatively clear explanations.
- Vincent Schiavelli
With its seven chapters, each dedicated to a different country or style of cooking (Japan & Korea, China, Philippines & Indonesia, Malaysia & Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam, India & Sri Lanka) and basics section comprised of a techniques category and glossary, this excellent and somewhat zen publication takes us on a fantastic and exhalirating culinary voyage/adventure through the mysterious East.
Although a majority of the savory and sweet courses presented within the pages of this manual are popular classics which have already been published in numerous gastronomic magazines or compendiums before ("Thai Papaya Salad", "Indian Saffron Chicken Pilau", "Chinese Prawn and Pork Wontons", "Maki Sushi", "Sweet And Sour Pork Belly", "Penang Assam Laksa", "Sri Lankan Sour Fish Curry", "Bibimbap", Dan Dan Noodles", "Mapo Tofu", "Beef Rendang", "Thai Green Curry Chicken", "Pho", "Spring Rolls", "etc...), Leemei definitely did a great job revisiting and modernizing them by adding her personal twist to each of them. Thus, the specialities she shares with us are all incredibly appealing, imaginative, refreshing, enticing and delectable (rich in aromatic spices, herbs and flavourings).
"Ginger And Lemongrass" is perfect for people who are just starting to tackle Asia's fantastic, aromatic, seductive and diverse cuisine as well as for competent cooks who want to fall in love again with the art of handling the wok. This exquisitely produced object is worth checking out!
Selecting a recipe to showcase here on Rosa's Yummy Yums wasn't an easy task as the entire book is chock-a-block-full with fares which speak to me and meet my eclectic taste. It took me a while to make up my mind, but after a few days of intense hesitating I finally found what I was looking for.
Pork, mushrooms, noodles and soy sauce being some of my favorite ingredients, it is quite naturally that I decided to execute a simple, homely, yet succulent Southern Chinese stir-fry called "Bak Chor Mee" and which is not only highly appreciated in the land of dragons and emperors, but also in Malaysia and Singapore.
As expected, those "Noodles With Minced Pork And Shiitake" turned out marvelously well and we feasted on them with intense pleasure. Actually, it was so scrumptious and moreish that we had seconds and thirds (in our defense, on this very Saturday we were starving like lions in a cage because we had no breakfast and lunched minimally).
An all-star piece de resistance which is light, laden with comely and harmoniously balanced flavors, a no brainer to put together, budget-friendly and looks really appealing. The kind of dish you want to prepare over and over again without ever getting tired of seeing it appear on your table month after month.
About the author:
Leemei Tan is an award-winning blogger, freelance recipe writer, food stylist and photographer who was born in Malaysia (the most multifaceted land in Southeast Asia) and has spent most of her years there before she flew off to Australia to complete her degree. After having graduated, she spent 3 years in Kuala Lumpur before quitting her job to travel and work around Europe.
Good food has always been important to her and while growing up, she has spent a lot of her time in the kitchen watching her mother cook. Her attention to details and great determination have naturally led her to be well equipped with essential cooking knowledge and skills. She is passionate about making it, writing about it, photographing it, and of course eating it!
Nowadays, she lives in London, travels extensively and shares both her recipes and experiences as a globetrotter on "My Cooking Hut", her personal food blog, which has been attracting a lot of visitors from all around the planet since its creation in 2007.
This passionate and talented youg woman has been interviewed by the New York Times and was featured in Grazia Magazine as one of the best female food bloggers in the world. And to top that, her recipes have been published in a few UK food magazines and she contributes to several publications, including to the Southeast Asian edition of Flavours Magazine.
Noodles With Minced Pork And ShiitakeRecipe slightly adapted from Leemei Tan's "Ginger And Lemongrass" coobook.
Ingredients For The "Sauce":
3 Tbs Runny honey
5 Tbs Light soy sauce
2 Tbs Dark soy sauce
1 Tbs Sesame oil
4 1/2 Tsp Balsamic vinegar
Ingredients For The "Noodles":
1 Tbs Peanut oil
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
30g Dried shiitake, quickly rinsed, then soaked, drained and sliced (reserve soaking water)
350g Pork mince
150g Mung bean sprouts
300g Chinese noodles, cooked/warm (cook as specified on the package)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Chives, cut into thin matchsticks
Sambal oelek, for serving (optional)
Method For The "Sauce":1. In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce and add 2 Tbs water. Pepper to taste and set aside.
Method For The "Noodles":
2. In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil at medium-high temperature.
3. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another 1 minute.
5. Add the minced pork and stir-fry for a minute before pouring 5 Tbs of the soaking water (shiitake).
6. Pepper to taste and continue stir-frying the meat for 5-7 additional minutes.
7. Remove from the pan from the heat, cover it with a lid (too keep its contents warm) and set aside.
8. On a medium pan, bring water to the boil and blanch the mung bean sprouts for about 20 seconds.
9. Arrange the warm noodles on the plates and sprinkle with the sauce.
10. Add the meat and then the blanched mung bean sprouts.
11. Sprinkle with the spring onion and add a dollop sambal oelek in each plate.
You can replace the shiitake by porcini or wood-ear mushrooms and the chives by spring onions or leeks (white or pale green part only).
Serve warm with green tea (jasmine or genmaicha) or ice cold beer (pale lager).
Nouilles Au Porc Haché Et Aux ShiitakeRecette adaptée du merveilleux livre "Gingembre Et Citronnelle" par Leemei Tan de "My Cooking Hut" (voir info).
Pour 4 personnes.
Ingrédients Pour La "Sauce":
3 CS de Miel liquide
5 CS de Sauce de soja légère
2 CS de Sauce de soja foncée
1 CS d'Huile de sésame
4 1/2 CC de Vinaigre balsamique
Ingrédients Pour Les "Nouilles":
1 CS d'Huile d'arachide
2 Gousses d'ail, hachées
30g de Shiitake séchés, rapidement rincés, puis trempés, égouttés et tranchés (réserver l'eau de trempage)
350g de Porc haché
150g de Germes de soja (haricots mungo)
300g de Nouilles chinoises, cuites/chaudes (voir emballage pour les instructions de cuisson)
Poivre noir fraîchement moulu, selon goût
2 Ciboules, coupées dans la langueur en fines lamelles
Sambal Olek (facultatif)
Méthode Pour La "Sauce":
1. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger ensemble tous les ingrédients de la sauce et ajouter 2 cuillères à soupe d'eau. Poivrer selon votre goût et réserver.
Méthode Pour Les "Nouilles":
2. Dans un wok ou une poêle, faire chauffer l'huile à feu moyennement fort.
3. Ajouter l'ail et le faire sauter pendant 1-2 minutes.
4. Ajouter les champignons et les faire sauter pendant 1 minute.
5. Ajouter le porc haché et le faire sauter pendant une minute avant de verser 5 cuillères à soupe d'eau de trempage (shiitake).
6. Poivrer selon votre goût et continuer de sauter la viande pendant 5 à 7 minutes supplémentaires.
7. Retirer la poêle du feu, la couvrir avec un couvercle et la réserver au chaud.
8. Dans une casserole moyenne, porter l'eau à ébullition et faire blanchir les pousses de soja pendant environ 20 secondes.
9. Disposez les nouilles chaudes sur les assiettes et assaisonner avec la sauce.
10. Déposer la viande par-dessus, puis les pousses de soja.
11. Parsemer de ciboules et ajouter une cuillère à café de sambal oelek dans chaque assiette.
Les champignons shiitake peuvent être remplacés par des bolets ou des oreilles de bouddha et les ciboules par des onions de printemps ou même par du poireau (partie blanche ou verte pâle uniquement).
Idées de présentation:
Servir chaud et accompagnée par du thé vert (type jasmin ouz genmaicha) ou de la bière (blonde) glacée.